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A room’s flooring plays a significant role in its overall look. Home owners today, have a wide variety of options – from Italian marble, granite and other stones, to tiles, wooden flooring and laminates. Among these, wooden flooring can be used to make the home appear classy and yet, warm and cosy, at the same time.
“Wooden flooring is available in different types, such as hardwood flooring, laminated flooring and wooden-looking vinyl flooring,” explains interior designer Neelanjan Gupto, of Neelanjan Gupto Design Company. “Strip, plank and parquet are the commonly used styles of wooden flooring. Hardwood flooring is the original product, where timber is cut into uniform sizes, seasoned as per standard procedure and then joined with a tongue and groove method. Laminates use a decorative wood-like vinyl base film that is pasted on an MDF (medium density fibre) sheet, with a tongue and groove joint, similar to hardwood flooring,” Gupto elaborates.
The solid timber flooring is made of real wood from a variety of trees like oak, walnut, pine. Hardwood is durable, easy to clean, and can be sanded and refinished many times.
Engineered wooden flooring is a veneer of real wood glued to various layers of other wood, like plywood, underneath. Engineered wood is moisture resistant.
Laminate wooden floor tiles are composed of a synthetic material that has the appearance of wood and is laminated.
Today, one also gets hardwood and laminates bamboo and cork flooring. Bamboo is a sustainable material as it grows much faster than hardwood trees. Bamboo floor planks are made by compressing bamboo fibers under high temperatures and pressure. It is moisture resistant so inhibits the growth of mold and mildew. Cork is made from the bark of the cork oak tree and is manufactured in the form of multilayered tiles. The base and top layer have compressed cork, the middle layer is made with MDF or HDF fibreboard.
Making the right choice
Dark shades of wooden flooring are better at concealing dust and other stains and are ideal for busy areas, while lighter shades make the room appear spacious. Wooden floors have a naturally warm feel, making it comfortable to walk barefoot on them. Aarti Srivastava, a homemaker from Delhi, concurs. “I wanted my bedroom to have a vintage look. So, I used wooden flooring to add a warm and elegant feel and a traditional four-poster bed with canopy, to evoke the old-world charm,” she says.
Home owners can create a stunning impact, by mixing and matching dark and light shades of wood, advises Nishie Gupta, a Delhi-based interior designer. Today, many clients even opt for two different materials. For example, the entire room may have Italian marble or granite flooring, with a small reading corner of the room in wooden flooring, adds Gupta. “Before installing wood or laminate on the floors, ensure that the area is plain and does not have any seepage and dampness,” cautions the interior designer.
Hardwood versus other wooden flooring
Wooden flooring can be used everywhere, except in wet areas like traditional kitchens and bathrooms. Hardwood flooring is vulnerable to moisture and humidity, and even small amounts of moisture can deteriorate the wood. Consequently, one has to be extremely careful and avoid spilling any liquid on such floors.
However, wooden floors have high impact resistance and better acoustics. Moreover, hardwood flooring is a ‘breathable’ material, compared to laminate flooring, owing to the natural pores in the wood. On the other hand, while hardwood flooring is prone to scratches and damage from moisture, laminate floors can be sanded, refinished and restored to last for many years. People also prefer laminated flooring, as it is inexpensive compared to wood.
Wood has certain inherent qualities of its own, which make it popular in flooring for homes. In summer, woods gives a cooling effect. In winters, it can be used with under heaters which provide comfort for the chill. If one has kids, wooden flooring acts as a safety buffer against falls.
See also: Elegant floor design ideas for your home
Wooden laminate flooring generally costs between Rs 120-1,200 per sqft, while China-made laminates are priced between Rs 200-650 per sq ft. Hardwood flooring starts at Rs 650 per sq ft and goes up to Rs 5,000 per sq ft. Engineered wood flooring comes in Rs 200-Rs 900 psf approximately. Well-known brands include Pergo, Krono, Euro, Armstrong, Egger, Greenply and FloorMaster.
All images courtesy: Pergo
New Trends in wooden flooring
Light brown is becoming a more popular colour in wooden floorings. Also, a growing trend is the gray wood flooring in hardwood. It is the effect of a process called fuming to achieve a natural gray tone.
Wider planks of hardwood flooring are popular as smaller spaces, they offer a more open feel.
Eco-friendly, reclaimed wood is in vogue right now. Solid hardwood sourced from old beams, old antique flooring, or logs salvaged It may have bruises and scratches and that’s what makes it appealing
Like distressed hardwood, hand-scraped wood flooring is in trend. Distressed is designed to have a weathered look. Hand-scraped is about texture—it is meant to imitate the look of wood that has been smoothed and shaped by hand, resulting in an uneven texture.
Additional tips for wooden flooring
If the room receives direct sunlight, use blinds to protect the wooden floor from discoloration caused by harsh sunlight.
If using hardwood, laminate, bamboo or vinyl flooring, go for a special layered product to reduce sound, protect from moisture and provide thermal insulation.
Plan well and measure the floor area before installation. Leave a half-inch expansion gap for the flooring in case the wooden chosen reacts to humidity. This can be hidden with base molding.
Can hardwood be used in the bathroom or kitchen?
Hardwood flooring (natural wood) should be avoided in Kitchen and bathroom areas. Hardwood is prone to damage if exposed to water. One can opt for engineered or laminated wooden flooring.
Which colour wooden flooring is best for smaller rooms?
Light coloured wood finishes like oak, cedar or ash, make the room appear more spacious.
With pets at home which wooden flooring is best?
Use hardwood, as the harder the wood, the less it will be damaged by pet nails. (If the wood is soft, huge dogs can cause a dent while running through the house.) Longer pet nails mean a greater likelihood of scratches so keep their nails trimmed. Go for cork or bamboo flooring, which is more scratch-proof.