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Timber Flooring

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Most new homes in WA have a concrete slab. Concrete needs to cure before you lay a new floor over it. With timber floors the moisture content must be 5.5% or less. Concrete floors must be level to Australian Standards being no more than 2mm difference over 2mtrs or 5mm over 5mtrs. Be aware of where wet area tiled floors meet other flooring. Wet area floors need to have a 'fall' (slope) towards the floor waste. Ensure the fall does not go across the doorway where the tiles need to meet up with timber flooring or the slope will be really obvious.

The main types of internal flooring are as follows:

  • Engineered Timber
  • Solid Timber
  • Timber Laminate

Engineered Timber

Engineered timber flooring is surfaced with real timber. There is a 3-5mm layer of timber glued onto a substrate of either man made timber or a cheaper timber. Normally installed with a tongue and groove system machined into the substrate. As a rule these floors come prefinished with multiple layers of sealants, they can however be resanded at a later date if damage occurs. There are various styles available. The more expensive option being a single, wide piece of timber glued to the substrate, alternatively smaller pieces of timber are glued together under pressure then machined and attached to the substrate. This style is less expensive. Adding an acoustic rated underlay will reduce noise. As the boards are prefinished and already grooved the floor can be laid swiftly and walked on within a number of hours.

Solid Timber

  • Available in boards of various widths (the wider they are the more expensive) and numerous timbers
  • Can be finished in matt, satin or gloss.
  • Dark timber with gloss finish shows the most dirt.
  • Recycled available and /or check with the agent that the timber is from an environmentally responsible source.
  • Beautiful depth of colour
  • Can be re-sanded
  • Will fade in direct sunlight but this can be avoided with tinting
  • Great underfoot. (not hot or cold)
  • Not as thermally responsive as ceramic or stone.

There are many types of timber available in Perth, the more common WA varieties being

  • WA Black Butt
  • Marri
  • Karri
  • Jarrah
  • Sheoak
  • Tuart
  • Wandoo

Timbers from elsewhere include

  • Brushbox
  • Messmite
  • Spotted Gum
  • Sydney Blue Gum
  • Tasmanian Oak

Timbers are available in board lengths or as parquetry. The most common type of installation is direct stick. This means that the tongue and groove timber is stuck directly to the concrete slab. As most new houses in Perth have concrete pads this is the easiest installation as the finished thickness is normally 10mm which will match your tiled areas and allow the doors to swing over the flooring without additional adjustment. The concrete slab will need to be moisture tested to less than 5.5 %( normally 4-6 months in Perth) and a moisture barrier should be installed as per the manufacturer instructions for the product you have selected.

The peak body for Timber Flooring is the Timber Flooring Association, members can be located at

Timber Laminate

The top/visual surface of Timber laminate flooring is NOT made from real timber. The timber look is achieved by a printed film under the protective, clear top layer. Timber laminate is a prefinished product which means there is no need to sand or seal the floor once it is laid. An alternative to solid timber floors, invented in the 1980’s laminate flooring is available in many timber colours. They cannot be sanded back if they get scratched but the better products will offer an extensive guarantee against scratching, staining, spills cigarette burns etc.

  • Laminate floors normally click together in small pieces for easy installation
  • Easy to clean
  • Inexpensive
  • Great for allergy or asthma sufferers
  • Easy underfoot, quick to install
  • Not recommended for bathrooms

Check to see if a poured underlay or glue down matt is included, this will have acoustic benefits

Helpful Hints

If you get sunlight directly onto your timber floors have the windows tinted to stop UV rays and avoid fading.

Related Topics


Floor Tiles

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