Frequently Asked Questions About Wood Flooring Part 2

Rob Patwary

Rob Patwary

April 12, 2021

Last year we shared a blog all about the questions we get asked the most when it comes to wood flooring (which you can read here) but this was just the tip of the iceberg.

There are many questions that come up when we speak to our clients about wood flooring, many of which we have never touched on in our blog before, such as the dangers of direct sunlight and installing new wood floors over old.

We thought we’d put together a follow up FAQs blog and explore some more popular wood flooring questions to give you a little more insight from the experts...

What is wood grain and which one is right for my property?

When wood flooring experts talk about the grain of the wood they’re referring to the wood fibres which are the visible lines and patterns on the surface of the boards.

The grain can vary in density, shape and size depending on the species/type of wood. For example, the grain of oak wood is usually straight with an uneven texture, whereas maple wood has unusual and varied grain patterns.

Wood grain plays a key role in the overall look of your floors so it is important that you consider this feature when choosing your wood flooring.
If you are leaning more towards a rustic or vintage interior, or you have a more traditional, period property then wood with more distinct, dense grain patterns will work best.
However, if you have a contemporary or minimalist home decor then you will want wood with a less visible or a more uniform grain.

Is solid wood flooring better than engineered wood flooring?

Solid and engineered wood flooring has very clear differences but they both have their benefits, and choosing which is right for you will depend on a few factors.

Engineered wood flooring is more resilient to humidity and temperature change than solid wood so it works better in spaces where moisture is prevalent or over underfloor heating, and it can be more cost-effective and practical than solid wood so if you want a quick, affordable makeover then it is probably the better option for you.

However, solid wood flooring is potentially more durable than engineered wood which means it can last a lifetime when it’s properly maintained. In high traffic areas or spaces where it may be prone to scuffs and scratches, solid wood flooring will hold up well and when it does require restoration it can be sanded down many more times than engineered wood.

Hence, if you are willing to invest and take proper care of your floors then solid wood might be the way to go.

Can wood flooring get discoloured from too much sunlight?

In short, yes, exposure to direct sunlight can be damaging to hardwood floors.

The ultra-violet light (UV rays) from the sun destroys the wood’s lignin - a component of the wood that hardens and strengthens the cell walls - causing photo-oxidation which leads to colour deterioration in the wood.

This can transpire in one of three ways: fading, darkening or lightening of the wood colour.

The speed at which wood reacts to direct sunlight exposure varies depending on the wood species. Exotic woods, like Brazilian Cherry, react a lot faster and turn a lot darker, whereas domestic woods, such as Maple, generally react at a slower rate and will lighten in colour.

You should also consider that the finish applied to the wood floors can also play a role in how it is impacted by direct sunlight.

The best ways to minimize the damage caused to your wood floors by direct sunlight are to:

  • Regularly rearrange your furniture so that the areas of your flooring covered by rugs or sofas get some exposure which will even out the discolouration process resulting in a consistent colour throughout the room
  • Limit the exposure that your wood floors have to sunlight by using window coverings such as blinds, curtains and drapes to block out the sun when it gets too strong
  • Install specialist windows known as low-e glass windows. These windows have a coating that limits the amount of UV light that passes through them
  • Finish your floors with a product that will slow down this fading process such as a Pallmann finish or anything high-end and water-based
Inner Space Flooring

Does wood flooring affect allergies?

Wood flooring has a positive impact on allergy sufferers, including those with asthma, which is why many people opt for wood flooring over carpet.

Carpets attract and cling to dirt, dust, pollen and hairs all of which can trigger allergic reactions.

Meanwhile, wood floors don’t have this problem as pollen, dust and pet hairs can be easily spotted then swept or hoovered up and completely removed from the home.

In fact, hardwood floors are consistently rated as one of the most allergy-friendly flooring choices on the market.

Why are my wood floors noisy/creaky?

Creaky or noisy wood flooring is usually the result of loose boards which is either caused by a gap between the floor joists and the subfloor or the floor not being fitted securely to the joists.

The bounciness and movement in these loose boards causes them to rub together or onto a fixing nail or floor joist which creates an unpleasant noise, such as a squeak or creak.

To learn more about noisy wood flooring and how to get rid of it, read our blog post on How To Fix Creaking Floorboards here

Can I put new wood flooring over an existing wood floor?

Wood flooring can be laid onto concrete or pine boards. Although we wouldn’t recommend installing a new wood floor over an existing wood floor because of the additional height and overall problems with appearance that can arise, it isn’t impossible or completely advised against if you know how to do it.

If you do decide to install a new wood flooring with wood as your subfloor, then you’ll need to remove the floor covering and make sure that the existing wood floor is dry (no water damage or moisture) and level.

This is why you should seek the advice of a wood flooring expert before embarking on this project.

What are the biggest risks to my wood floors?

The risks to your wood floors will vary depending on where they are being installed and your home environment.

If you have a big family or you have people over often then high traffic and accidents, such as scratches and spills, will be a big risk to your wood floors whilst wood flooring that is being installed in a kitchen or bathroom will be more at risk of water damage.

In general, the biggest risks that most wood floors are exposed to, and that you should be aware of, include:

  • Moisture and changes in temperature
  • Foot traffic and the wear and tear that comes with it
  • Scratches from pets, furniture and shoes
  • Stains from spills or dirt
  • Dents and marks from heavy objects falling onto the floor
  • Direct sunlight
How much wood flooring do I need?

If you’re ready to order your wood flooring then you’ll need to make sure you get the right amount because if there isn’t enough when it’s being fitted and you go to order more, you could face the frustrating scenario of the product being out of stock or discontinued.

To work out how much wood flooring you’ll need, you have to measure the room where it is being fitted to get a square footage and then add 5-10% on top of that to account for cutting and fitting waste.

It is always better to order too much flooring and return what is left than to not have enough to complete the job.

We break the entire measuring process down in our blog, How To Measure A Room For Hardwood Flooring.

Inner Space Flooring are hardwood flooring experts that can provide extensive advice as well as fit and refinish your wood floors. If you would like to ask any further questions or have a specific wood floor concern, then call us today on 0121 684 4772