It goes without saying that the colour is a factor that everyone considers when purchasing a hardwood floor. However, with so many finishes to choose from, you must be careful not to get blinkered by this and fail to consider the other important aspect of what makes a board suited to your property.
One of the most important aspects when purchasing a wooden floor is strength and stability; how resilient the floor is to movement and how it will feel underfoot. You can buy the most stunning floor out there but if you're left with a floor that is prone to swelling and shrinking or a floor that feels light weight, squeaky and creaky underfoot you will be left feeling disappointed. The stability and strength within an engineered board comes from a high quality multi-laminate hardwood ply. Many lower spec boards on the market are made up of only 2 or 3 layers and these types of construction are never going to offer the same levels of strength and stability that a board constructed using plywood.
When choosing a finish you also don't want to concentrate primarily on colour and colour alone. Durability, stain and water resistance and ease of cleaning and maintenance are very important aspects to consider if you plan on living in your property for the foreseeable future. It's no good buying a floor that a beautiful colour if that finish marks and damages easily with no ability to put it right. Many pre-finished floors on the market can look fantastic but it's important that you consider how you are able to maintain and look after that floor. Some factory applied finishes are impossible to ever put right if damage occurs so it's important that you keep the nature of the room / property in mind when choosing a finish.
Free samples that you can get through the post can be a great way of assessing the build quality and construction of the board but you must keep in mind when using them to judge the colour that they are only a small section of the timber. Any natural timber such as Oak or Walnut will vary in colour from board to board and from sample to sample. So it's important that you use the small sample piece you receive as a guide but do not expect every board to be the same colour and share the same characteristics.
Colour and finish can very often be the 'spanner in the works' when choosing your wooden floor. You can often find that you are forever searching for the right colour and finish and when you finally find it, other important aspects of the board aren't quite right. Many people who find themselves in this position often chose to purchase an untreated board and treat on site. This way you can choose your board based on quality, dimensions, grade, price etc and be assured that it will be the colour you want as you have complete flexibility over what colour and finish is applied. Not only that, but it would also mean the floor will be treated with a treatment that your familiar with and therefore know how to look after, clean and maintain. There are many finishes out there that you can use to treat you unfinished engineered hardwood floor however one we recommend in particular is Treatex Hardwax Oil. Treatex comes in a number of different colours and levels of sheen and is very easy to apply using a brush or roller. The finish that it provides is durable and easy to look after and we have been achieving fantastic results with Treatex for many years.
No-one can deny that the colour and finish of your floor is what's going to wow your friends and family when they walk into you home but don't let it blinker you into not considering the other important aspects to consider when you're searching for the perfect floor for your home.
We have a range of other articles for you to read relating to colour and the correct choice of board. Related to this article is our top 5 considerations for purchasing a new board help guide for for guidance on wear layer and under core and other considerations. We also have several guides and articles relating to colour and finishes for boards for our clients. White is a popular colour and our white washed lime effect guide for flooring is a great read, this shade is becoming increasingly popular in contemporary and modern homes and adds a real wow factor. On the same subject, you need to choose the right finish, untreated might be a better option if you are unsure at the point of purchase because then you have the flexibility to choose your finish in your own time. For more help, our guide to untreated versus treated floor boards would be a great place to start your research. If you do decide to treat your floor boards then you will need to read our oil or lacquer for wood flooring guide to find out what is best for your home.
About the author
Tom Fanthorpe. Director, JFJ Wood Flooring Ltd
Tom is one half of the father & son team behind JFJ Wood Flooring. An experienced wood flooring specialist with over 7 years in the industry, Tom is following in his father John's footsteps as a true expert in his chosen field. Having absorbed much of John's 35+ years of experience in the joinery and timber trade, Tom now leads the wood flooring department and holds ultimate responsibility for everything from customer service to sales, logistics to quality control.