Everything you should know about real hardwood floors

wood floor sevenoaks

There’s a reason that homes with real hardwood floors are more likely to sell for higher amounts. Not only do they provide a sense of timeless class, they’re also long-lasting, practical and, quite frankly, a statement. However, sometimes previous occupants have changed things up a little, fitting a new floor or neglecting the existing one. All isn’t lost though – real hardwood floors can be refitted to any home. There are just a few things you should know first.


Hardwood flooring comes in different grades


Hardwoods can be separated into three broad categories depending on the character of the wood. Aspects such as grain size, colour consistency and the number of knots visible all act to determine which of the following a section of flooring will fall into:


AB grade


Sometimes known as “prime” or “select” grade, these kinds of boards demonstrate a consistent, even coloured appearance – displaying virtually no knots and straight, narrow grain. These look great in contemporary modern homes, where they lend a look of sophistication to whichever room they are placed. Because boards with these properties are comparatively rare, they tend to be more sought after and are therefore considered to be a premium type of flooring.


ABC grade


Referred to as “natural grade” these kinds of woods show a little more character than AB varieties, proudly displaying natural colour variation, mineral streaking and the occasional knotting. During the drying process, knots on ABC grade woods may crack, and small gaps are seamlessly filled with a mix of sawdust and resin to keep its properties. These boards are fantastic all-rounders, adding charm to any classic home.


ABCD grade


Embracing the beauty of nature in all its imperfect glory, ABCD grade boards (also known as “rustic” style boards) have extensive colour variation, knots and other unique markings. However, that’s not to say these boards are somehow inferior to other grades. Indeed, the characterful details are perfect for achieving a warm, country feel; pairing wonderfully with vintage furniture.


There’s more choice than you’d think


The most important aspect of a hardwood floor is, understandably, the kind of wood used. There are dozens of types widely available, each with different textures, colours and markings. It’s important to note that the grades used to sort the boards will vary depending on the exact type. For example, natural grade oak may well have fewer knots than the equivalent mahogany, simply because of the amount available and the way in which these trees grow.


Generally speaking, oak is the most popular choice for hardwood flooring: affordable, durable and available in a number of varieties. It also adds a warmth that’s hard to recreate, making a house feel like a welcoming home. Other popular choices include maple, walnut and ash, while less traditional choices can help make a home truly unique. The choice here is vast, and among these are Brazilian pecan, tigerwood and even compressed bamboo!


It can be finished wherever suits you


When it comes to protecting your darling, there are two options available. The first is to use factory finished boards. These have been sealed just after manufacture, meaning that installation is quick and straightforward – a fitter simply puts them in place and voila, you’re ready to go.


The second option involves fitting a floor first then applying a finish on-site. This is the ideal option for achieving an unparalleled, glass-like finish – the kind you can fly across in your socks. However, site-finishing requires a number of days, or even weeks, to put aside in order to let the surface dry. This makes it great for a new build, but less convenient if you’re simply renovating a single room.  


They last a lifetime, but you should still take care


The beautiful thing about hardwood (apart from its beauty) is its ability to take a lifetime of punishment without losing its integrity. That said, scraping furniture, spilling liquids and using cleaning solutions not recommended by the manufacturer are all ways to make a hardwood floor lose some magic.


Most cleaning can simply be carried out with a damp cloth or mop, while a special hardwood flooring attachment should be used if you attempt a deep clean. Luckily hardwood floors are relatively easy to restore back to their former glory if the worst comes to worst. You can sand away, refinish, or even stain to completely change the character of a room.


There is no golden rule


Just because you’ve found yourself in a super-hip minimalist apartment, it doesn’t mean you can’t use rustic flooring. Likewise, perhaps you feel as though your country cottage could do with some sleek teak. Regardless of the kind of home, the most important part of a hardwood floor is matching it to your personal tastes. After all, a home is what makes you happy.


However, we know that advice is sometimes appreciated, so whether you’re looking to browse our extensive range of real hardwood flooring or simply want to ask a question get in touch! We’d love to talk.