Sydney Flooring - Terminology glossary

When it comes to your home, there are few more important features than flooring. As one of the core structures, it is safe to say that the floor takes a lot of stress over the years.

As such, if you are making a decision over what type of flooring for your home, it pays to understand a few of the fundamental definitions and terms that you might come across during your research. While the team at Sydney Flooring is always happy to talk you through the options, knowing the basic in's and out's of hardwood flooring is never a bad idea.

Notebook ready? Take a look at our important points below and ensure you get the right floor for your home.

What size floorboards do I need?

Most hardwood flooring is manufactured to either 80/85x19mm or 130x19mm. These are the industry standard, but depending on your requirements, some boards can be cut to thinner, wider or narrower sizes.

Is moisture a major factor?

In short, yes. For most Sydney locations, it's recommended that timber has a moisture level between 10 and 12 per cent. At Sydney Flooring, we supply timber flooring between these industry-standard levels. Of course, depending on specific site conditions, the timber may need to be acclimatised or other measures taken to guarantee a trouble-free floor.. Speak to our team if this is the case.

Will my timber flooring move?

The differences in moisture content (hygroscopic) means that timber flooring could move as it adapts to changes of humidity in its local atmosphere. For example, during low humidity, the boards will expel moisture and shrink, creating small gaps between boards. Alternatively, during high humidity, the floor will expand and those gaps may close again.

It is important to note that our expert team of installers allow for the natural movement of floors and will install it according to location and natural moisture levels.

Will my timber flooring creak?

One of the major misconceptions around wooden floors is that creaks are a bad sign. However, most timber floors will make a creaking noise from time to time. This usually occurs after extreme weather changes or after a period of inactivity. Your floor may also creak until the wood has fully settled after installation.

Additionally, if the floor consistently creaks in a particular area it may need some attention.

What grade floorboard do I need?

Timber grade refers to the natural characteristics and appearance of the wood. This could include gum vein, insect holes, surface checks and other naturally occurring marks. As timber is a natural product which mean floorboards of the same species could differ in colour and markings. However, this enhances the stylish finish of natural timber.

At Sydney Flooring, we offer most timber species in two grades - Australiana and Select. Please note, specific timber types are available in three grades (also Natural) to ensure customers have access to the broadest choice of timber available.

      Australiana/Standard & Better Grade

This grade is well-known for its rich appearance - offering more gum veins, spirals, shakes and marks left by forest insects than the other two grades. The beauty of Australiana Grade is that no two pieces are the same, providing a more natural look and feel to the floor.

      Select Grade

Compared to Australiana Grade, Select Grade features much clearer markings, but offers characteristics which make it unique. You'll still get those gum veins and surface checks, however they will often be more limited in size and occurrence. If you are looking for a more contemporary finish, this grading is most suitable.

      Natural/Rustic Grade

Natural Grade is only available in some timbers and our team can advise you which. Natural grade timber will provide all the natural markings, but may also include some production faults such as holes, very large gum veins and miss milling. If you would like a more rugged look to your floor, Natural Grade might be the best option.

Are colour variations normal?

As mentioned above, wood is a natural product and is therefore subject to soil, climate, local environment and other natural occurrences. This combination creates variations in colour and character - a major part of the natural beauty of timber floors. Please note, the final colour or extremes of colour are often indiscernible until after the timber has been sanded and polished.

Of course, as time progresses, the timber colour could change as it is exposed to natural light. As such, you'll often find darker and lighter areas across a floor if you move rugs, mats or furniture.

How should I finish my timber flooring?

Sydney Flooring uses and recommend the use of oil based seals, conversion varnishes (Synteko Classic) and some water-based products. We do not recommend the use of polyurethane or other products that may cause edge bonding.

Over time, the flooring will be exposed to a range of atmospheric conditions, highlighting the importance of using products that allow the boards to move independently of one and other. This could include oil-based seals, conversion varnish and some water-based seals.

Will cupping be a problem?

Cupping is a phenomenon where the top of the boards become drier than the bottom. As stated above, when timber loses moisture it shrinks and when it picks up moisture it expands.

There are a couple of possible causes of cupping. This includes:

      Dampness under the floor causing the bottom of the boards to pick up moisture faster than it can be expelled.

      An onset of very dry weather (low humidity), air conditioners or heaters drying out the timber from the top or sunlight through a window.

      Wider timber floorboards as this can exaggerate the cupping. As such, it's a good idea to run the timber towards the main light source to minimise the visual effect of cupping.

Most people believe the best way to remove cupping is to sand the floor flat. If you sand too early and the cause is later resolved, you may experience reverse cupping.

We believe it is better to either fix the cause or allow around 12-18 months to see if the cupping dissipates. If not, then you may possibly sand the floor flat.

If you have any other questions about your timber flooring, feel free to get in touch with our team today.