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Choosing the right timber floors for your property

You might already be convinced that timber floors are a good choice: they add financial value to your property, and immeasurably increase its attractiveness. But if you’re thinking about replacing your timber floors or installing them for the first time, there are a few things to consider that will help you get the best value from your investment.

Whether your focus is on design and aesthetics, environmental sustainability, or future maintenance expenses, you’re likely to find what you’re looking for in timber floors. Generally speaking, you can’t go wrong with responsibly sourced high-quality timber. But different types will offer different benefits, and it’s worth thinking about a few different options before deciding on which beautiful type you’ll be enjoying underfoot into the future.

Hardness

One of the main considerations in choosing the timber for your new floors is hardness.

Most of the timber flooring in older Brisbane homes are softwoods—predominantly pine. Some people still choose pines (like Baltic pine) because they blend well with the existing flooring. But because hardwood timbers have better durability and resistance to indenting and scratching, most new timber floors in Australia are hardwood.

Different timbers have different levels of hardness. There’s an industry rating measure—the Janka rating—that measures the hardness of each species, and it’s a good idea to think about it if you’re looking for particularly hard-wearing timber to reduce your maintenance and repair costs over the long term. The higher the number on the Janka rating, the harder the timber (and, in theory, the less likely it’ll be to scratch and dent). Top-tier timbers that are commonly used for flooring in Brisbane properties include Ironbark (which is rated 14) and Spotted Gum (rated 11), but Blackbutt is also common (rated 9.1).

Grain pattern

Different species of timber have differences in their grains because of the natural fibres they’re made of (their ‘figure’). But the grain pattern you see in your timber floors is also influenced by how it’s cut: it can be plain-sawn, rift-sawn, or quarter-sawn, all of which result in a different grain pattern. Most Brisbane hardwood floors are plain-sawn, giving the floors the recognisable undulating patterns of traditional wood grain.

  • It can be quite the artform—and if you’ve got the inclination and the desire for a truly unique aesthetic, you could consider different sawing techniques to create different visual effects.

Rift-sawn boards look more linear and consistent, and suit sleek, modern and minimalist style. Quarter-sawn boards tend to be more striking, giving a somewhat translucent, patterned effect. The effect of these different cutting techniques can be maximised by choosing planks that are all the same, but in most Brisbane properties, timber floorboards are all plain-sawn or they’re a mix of rift- and quarter-sawn.

Plank width

In older Brisbane properties, you’ll often see hardwood floors comprised of two- to three-inch planks. Contemporary flooring styles, on the other hand, are now trending towards wider planks.

Standard specifications for new timber floors are four- to six-inch planks, but with a trend towards more spacious rooms and expansive floor space, planks around seven inches are becoming more popular.

Wider planks are considered more luxurious now: they look more sophisticated — but they’re also more expensive, which is why we’re tending to see them in more high-end properties.

Part of the attraction of wide planks is that there are fewer seams than in floors made up of thinner planks, so there’s less visual interruption. But there are benefits to thinner planks in this regard: there may be more seams, but the natural changes in the timber (because of expansion and contraction over time) are less exaggerated because they’re distributed over more boards. In floors made of wide planks, these seams will become more noticeable over time.

Colour

Colour is an important factor when you’re choosing timber floors. While it’s generally hard to go wrong with timber floors, even subtle colour changes can influence the overall look and feel of the property, and each design style will have a timber colour that will best suit it.

Rustic and country styles are popular in Brisbane properties. Good timber choices to match this natural, earthy look are the brown and red types, like Grey Ironbark, Brushbox, Jarrah, and Rose Gum. More modern homes are sprouting up throughout Brisbane though, and with the influence of styles like Scandinavian design, we’re seeing blonder timbers being used more often. Lighter timbers that are good for flooring are Tallow Wood, Blackbutt, Stringy Bark, and Mess Mate. They’re used more in architecturally-designed or contemporary-style homes, bringing a brighter, cleaner, sharper feel to the rooms.

Environmental sustainability

If you’re like the growing number of people in Australia who are passionate about fighting climate change, choosing to install timber floors is generally always a good idea.

All wood stores carbon for the life of the timber, helping to absorb greenhouse gases.

However, not all timber is sourced sustainably. This is particularly true of imported timber—a large percentage of it is logged illegally or irresponsibly, so it’s wise to choose locally sourced wood. But while Australia’s forestry practices are improving, some timber sources are better than others at complying with regulations that protect our plants and animal ecosystems, water quality, and social heritage.

The most effective way to ensure the sustainability of your floors is by sourcing plantation timber; or reclaimed timber, which offers a distinctive, country feel that works well in many Brisbane properties.

Maintenance

  • The type of timber you choose will affect how much maintenance is involved in keeping your floors looking attractive and feeling luxurious underfoot. But there are also a number of choices you can make about finishing the timber, all of which have different benefits.

There’s a growing number of finishing products on the market, each with different mechanisms for protecting your timber floors. One of the more popular ones is oil: it penetrates the timber, enhancing its colour and texture but leaving it with its naturally soft and matte feel. Another option is polyurethane, which goes further towards preventing stains and damage, because it leaves a hard topcoat on the wood that’s more resilient to wear and tear. Polyurethane finishes will scratch less easily, but when it does, it’s a lot more work to maintain—less work than oil, which scratches easier but less noticeably. Because there are benefits and drawbacks to all types, it’s worth considering which type will best suit your preferences and lifestyle.

When you choose timber floors, one of the best things you can do is source a good maintenance service provider.

DR Main Floors Brisbane’s timber flooring specialists, and with years of experience and the right techniques, we can help to extend the life of your investment. Whether you’re looking for the security of a partner in caring for your new floors, or you want to completely rejuvenate your old and damaged timber floors, feel free to contact us anytime for obligation-free advice and we’ll be happy to help.

 

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What our clients say about us...
  • DR Main Floors are fantastic. They have done our whole family's floors for a number of years now and they always do an excellent and professional job and we couldn't be happier. We recently had our old pine floors polished and they look so gorgeous I wish we'd done them earlier.
    Nat Treasure
  • Thanks to Alison and Glyn for such a beautiful finish to our timber floors. We have used DR Main floors three time in the past 15 years and have always been very happy with the results.
    Callan Bennett
  • DR Main Floors were friendly, efficient and professional. Our decks look amazing!
    Caroline Milford
  • A very professional and friendly team - Alison with her product advice and Glyn with his workmanship.  We are very happy with our beautiful floors and we highly recommend this business. Lesley and Mark.
    Mark Thornton
  • I'm not normally one to leave reviews but we had such a positive experience using D R Main that I'm happily writing one now. From the get go Alison and Glyn were helpful, informed and reliable. We had a slightly unusual situation because I was pregnant at the time of our floor polishing and so safety and speed were of high priority to us. Alison and Glyn delivered on safety and speed without compromising on quality. They really did their very best for us and the final look of the floors exceeded our expectations. We couldn't be happier with the results.
    Annabelle Winkler
  • We've had our floors done twice with DR Main - once a full "sand and coat" one re-coat following further renovations. Honestly could not speak highly enough of Glyn's work - he is an absolute master of his craft.
    Ben Humphries
  • Alison and Glyn provided exceptional customer service and an absolutely fantastic result on our recent kitchen & dining renovation. We would happily recommend them and the floors have come up so beautifully we want to polish the whole house! Fantastic company.
    Kate Griffiths
  • Everything went according to plan. Fantastic result,  professional and quite reasonable cost. Will have them do our deck next.
    Patricia Byrne
  • Glyn and Alison provide wonderful service and high quality work. Used them in my own home and now looking to use them again
    Pete W
  • D R Main Floors did an amazing job sanding, filling and polishing our floors. We removed a mix of carpet, tiles, and cork flooring to reveal hardwood Brushbox timber underneath. Alison and Glyn were supportive throughout the whole process, very patient (we had a lot of delays in our renovation) and did a fantastic job. We will definitely use them in the future if we ever need floor polishing completed again.
    Jonathan Midgley
  • D R Main were great to deal with from the start.  Alison came over and explained everything while quoting and bought samples of finishings with her.  Glyn started the work on the day he was booked and finished when he said he would.  The floors look spectacular - I had no idea they could look that good from their former state.  I would happily recommend D R Main floors to anyone looking for quality workmanship.
    Phil Cadell
  • Alison came round and talked us through the options and the best way of sanding and polishing our 100 year old timber home full of furniture. Very helpful and reasonably priced. She easily persuaded me to get the two decks oiled. Glynn turned up when he said he would and worked for as long as he predicted. His advice on closing doors and windows, and how to treat the new surfaces, was clear and sensible. The finished work was perfect. The wooden floors gleam and the decks look better than ever. I have hesitation in recommending them.
    Nick Brooking
  • We have just had our floor boards restored by Glynn and his team and whilst I was really dreading the whole experience, I have to say, not only do the floors look absolutely amazing (having been neglected for 20 + years) but the mess was minimal.  Glynn completely explained the costings, the process, time line etc and everything was well above our expectations.  I have heard so many horror stories from friends about their experiences with timber floors being restored but we'd have no hesitation giving the DR Main Floors the highest recommendation.  Thank you so much. Great service - and no wonder you've been around so long.
    Sandy Fuller
  • After 30 years of living with carpet, starting from the staircase through to all the upstairs of our home, it was a huge decision to rip it all up and restore the original timber floorboards. Glyn, Alison and the team were very obliging and professional during the whole process, which caused very little distribution to our lives. Nothing was too hard or too inconvenient for them and end result was absolutely amazing, we will never have carpet again. My wife and I would highly recommend these guys to anyone!!
    Ellis Green
  • Part of our decking is undercover and the other part is out in the weather around a pool. It was looking really bad after years of us basically doing nothing to maintain it. We were recommended to DR Main Floors on a local Facebook page and are so greatful to have found them. Alison came out to quote and we accepted straight away. Her knowledge was fantastic (not just there to measure) she actually showed me why it needed sanding back / nails would need punching down etc and what the best product would be to use. Glyn then came out and completed the job. Whilst the weather did not help, Glyn would still turn up every day to check / give it a go if possible. Within a week they had completed the job and it looks amazing. They also offer a reminder service to remind us and come out and maintain it as required, we will definitely leave it to Alison and Glyn now to keep it maintained!
    Kellie Mikelsons
  • DR Main floors polished the entry hall and master bedroom in our 100+ year old Queenslander back in 1997. That job still looks like the day it was done. We recently asked them to do the remaining floors and two verandas. Done to perfection again. Glyn always turns up when he says he will and only the weather will stop him doing outside oiling. Alison is always eager to help with quotes and choices of floor finishes. Thank you!
    Henk van Roy
  • Excellent to deal with, prompt service and a great finish on my back deck.
    Ben O
  • Very Professional and Efficient!
    Kim Johnson