If you have ever shopped for a diamond engagement ring you will have quickly found out that there is quite a complex grading system that affects the price of the diamond.
Solid timber floors are very similar. There are 4 main factors for you to consider when choosing your timber floor to make it as unique as you.
You have an existing colour palette in your home that you would like to match, or you would like to lighten a dark room. Whatever the reason, the colour of the timber is usually your first consideration. When you walk into a timber showroom you most likely will have already decided whether you would like a light, dark or medium coloured floor. Do you want red tones or neutral browns. As a natural product, all timber will be vary in shade and tone even within the same species. Unlike a tile or carpet, the batch of timber that arrives at your house will be slightly different to what you have seen in the showroom. Why? Well it was cut from a different tree – and this is what we love about timber. The beauty of the grain and knots are whats makes us ‘ahh’ and ‘ohh’ at our timber floor. Timber flooring ranges in colour from the light honey in Oak to the dark ruby reds of Jarrah. At Floors by Nature we don’t give you samples because we would hate you to base all your colour choices on just one piece of wood when many different shades will make up your floor. Come and see the big samples in our showroom so that you can get a real feel of what the timber will be like.
All timbers are graded according to their strength by a measure called a Janka Rating. The average force needed to push an 11.28mm ball bearing halfway into a piece of timber is measured. The higher the number the stronger the timber. What this means in practical terms is that a timber with a high Janka rating like Grey box or Bamboo will dent a lot less when you walk on it with high heels or drop your keys, than a timber with a low Janka rating like Tasmanian Oak. What this doesn’t mean is that is will be more resistant to a large Bull Mastiff or Great Dane charging around your home with his claws out as he rounds the corners. The scratching associated with this type of wear depends upon the resilience of the coating that has been applied.
Our staff will be able to tell you the ratings of all displayed timbers and which is best suited for your family and lifestyle.
The most common widths of timber floor boards fall in the range of 80 – 130mm although there are narrower widths available for the budget conscious. Oak is a very stable timber and is commonly available in widths up to 220mm. As a rule, the wider the board the higher the price. The thickness of the board also affects the price, and as you would expect, the thicker boards are often more expensive, but not always the best choice. (see Installations Page) Board length can also be a factor that affects price, although many people may not discuss this unless you ask the question. Board length ranges from 4m-0.6m in most timber species.
Solid timber is graded according to how much or how little ‘feature’ is present in the board after milling. Feature refers to the black resinous gums, holes and borer marks that naturally occur in timber. Some timbers, like Marri, are heavily featured, and select grade simply does not exist. While other species cut from younger trees have much less feature. Many mills have their own particular names for the grades of their products, but all should be graded in accordance with Australian Standard AS 2796.2. Cleaner timber(Select Grade) will be more expensive than featured timber. Ironically featured timber has become very popular and is increasing harder to obtain. At Floors by Nature we will discuss what grade, or combination of grades, will achieve the look you would like. Another important decision is how you will treat the feature when you finish your floor.
Below are descriptions of the basic grades available.
Select Grade – providing a floor where the feature present or natural discolouration will not dominate the appearance of the floor. Features that are permitted still include short narrow gum veins, a limited number and size of past borer activity and small knots.
Standard Grade – providing a floor that may have significantly more character than a Select Grade floor. To some degree this will depend on the features present in a particular species. In one species gum veins may naturally be prevalent while in another there may be few gum veins but past borer activity may be more prevalent. Therefore, this grade can be expected to have greater character than Select Grade, and contain an increased amount of gum vein, past borer activity, knots and natural discolouration.
Feature Grade – providing for a floor that contains boards with similar features to Medium Feature – Standard Grade but where the length of features such as gum veins may be longer and past borer activity may be more frequent. Again depending on the species, features will vary and in some instances boards meeting high feature grade may only appear moderately featured.
Once you have decided on the timber and grade then its time to think about installation. Please check out the Installation guide to choose the installation suited for your project.
PDF ATFA Info sheet – Floor colour and Grade 5
Link to Engineered Swatches