Our last two houses were both tiled and we felt that it was time for a change. Timber also feels "warmer" in my opinion and I really think that it adds to the value an appeal of a house. There were some issues that we had to think about though, such as surface scratches and maintenance. There were three main types of timber that we saw:
1. Solid Timber
There was also Bamboo Flooring and Engineered Hardwood Floating (distressed timber) but were of less appeal to us.
Solid Timber is real thick timber flooring and perhaps the best value for money out of the three. On the positive side they can be sanded multiple times in case of scratches however some do not come pre-finished which means that that HAVE to be sanded and polished during installation. Another problem is that when laying this type of timber on concrete, it has to be nailed onto a secondary layer of timber which is in turn attached to the concrete slab/surface. This will increase the floor height quite a bit and will be a problem for door height, height of first step on stairs, Dishwasher and fridge space, skirting's, transition from timber to tile/carpet etc. This may make it harder for those looking at a diy installation. You must tell your builder before construction begins so they can adjust all these accordingly.
Floating Timber is made from 3 layers of timber materials. Each individual layer is laid so that the grain is glued at opposite directions. This reduces the timber warping and the overall strength is increased. In addition, expansion and contraction is reduced compared to solid timber floors. It is easy to do a diy installation and comes polished and ready to lay in a simple click lock system. The downside is that they can only be sanded perhaps 2 or 3 times. This is what we have chosen for our house.
Laminate is probably the cheapest option. It is very hard wearing, resistance to scratches, low maintenance and also easy to install. However it is not real timber and in my opinion can look a bit cheap too.
Most timbers will have colour variation and most will scratch so you must chose carefully. In the words of a flooring specialist "if you are worried about scratches, don't buy timber". Few things to remember:
1.Colour - The colour of timber flooring will vary even with particular species of timber flooring
2.Hardness - Timber has a hardness rating system called the Janka rating. I would recommend a rating of 5.0 or higher. Bamboo and Doussie are one of the hardest rated timbers we came across.
3.Origin - Where the timber originated might be of some concern as well as where it was manufactured.
In our search for best price and quality we visited Carpet Call, Deco Rug, Carpet Court. We went though a few overly pushy sales reps who seemed to be full of crap but found Deco Rug and Solomons Flooring at Bella Vista to be genuinely helpful and informative. We have gone with Solomans and will report back once it has been installed. I feel that we have received a good price but perhaps there are better bargains out there if one looks hard enough or is prepared to wait for stock. Compareativley our neighbour has paid $60 sq/m or so for Solid Kempas fully installed from a smaller outlet in Auburn. For us it really came down to different retailers quoting us different sizes of area that they would cover. A 10sq/m difference is a difference of $960! It will really pay to measure up the area yourself or to get them to do an on site measurement instead of the house drawings/floor plans.