Flooring (main) : Flooring articles : Polished floorboards

Flooring:  polished floorboards

Polished floors are suitable for most rooms of the house, although if you use them in wet areas kitchen, bathroom, laundry € be sure they are treated with a waterproof and non-slip finish.

Polished floorboards provide a lovely warm, natural look to a room, and are comfortable to walk on.

Colours can range from pale, almost white, to rich deep reds, with many shades between. The grain showing in the floorboards adds character to the floor.

Floorboards must be installed over a solid, perfectly level surface. If they are going straight onto concrete an epoxy membrane must be applied first to avoid moisture rising up to the timber and causing the boards to cup.

Laying polished floorboards in your home  

Choosing Timbers for your floor

Different timbers have specific characteristics  not only colour and grain, but durability. Choose a timber that will suit the amount of wear the floor is going to receive. For example:

Western Australian Jarrah:
is very durable, strong, hard and heavy. As well as flooring it is used for building and marine construction, joinery and furniture, as well as decorative veneers of the red heartwood
Tasmanian Oak:
beautiful colouring from pale cream to pink and reddish-brown. straight and even grain with excellent dimensional stability. It is generally easy to work with nails and glues well but is not as durable as Jarrah.

As well as straight floorboards, timber is often used in decorative parquet floors

Finishes for polished floorboards

The finish you choose for your floorboards will affect its durability, slip resistance, colour and light reflection.

It is important to heed the advice of your floor sanding specialist in deciding the finish to be used.

While you might like the characteristics and appearance of a particular finish, your specialist will consider all the factors before a choice can be made.

There are three types of finish:

  1. Solvent Borne polyurethane
    (one pack, two pack and moisture cured provide some of the hardest finishes available today, with gloss levels from matt to a very high gloss. Polyurethane finishes are resistant to abrasion, but may scratch if care is not taken. They will generally darken over time. There is generally a strong odour after sealing
  2. Water Borne polyurethane and polyurethane/acrylic mixes
    should be applied over a sealer which enhances the colour of the timber. Acrylic is often added to water borne finishes provide more body, but results in a softer, less wear- resistant finish. Products with little or no acrylic provide a flexible, hard-wearing surface. Finishes range from matt through to high gloss and do not darken with time. There is little odour with water borne finishes.
  3. Oil Based Finishes Varnishes
    shellac and the traditional tung oil, are still used, to recreate the effect of the polished and waxed timber floors of the past. A softer finish, they require much more maintenance, and provide a low-gloss sheen.

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