Of the various flooring solutions that suit self-build, wood is a serious contender amongst many property owners. Timber frame homes are becoming more and more popular, when it comes to floors, suitability and therefore service life of wood in your project depends on fitting the correct construction type. In this blog post we will explain your options so you can make an educated decision for your self build project.
Flooring and Government Noise Regulations
Under the government noise regulation of 2003 (The Building Regulations Approved Document E), properties built or renovated after 2003 must comply with regulations designed to reduce noise pollution. These regulations have been updated many times since first introduced and cover various sources of noise around the property not just flooring noise. In terms of flooring, the 2003 building regulations are designed to minimise footstep noise which all floors generate, though some more than others. The solution is to use an underlay with sound barrier and acoustic properties that can contain the sound to within the property. Underlay features noise reduction measured in dB and acoustic reduction measured in percentage. Simply pay attention to these qualities when picking an underlay.
Types Of Wood Construction
The biggest cause of deteriorated service life for wood flooring is fitting the wrong type of floorboard construction in the wrong environment. Many property owners are unaware that ‘wood flooring’ is available in two very distinct construction types and while the two may look similar from a distance, look closer and you will discover that each is built differently. The two are solid wood flooring and engineered wood flooring.
Solid Wood Flooring – Of the two types, solid are the more widely fitted, as they are also the more established solution of the two. Each floorboard is made from 100% natural wood, hence the descriptive name of ‘solid’ wood.
Engineered Wood Flooring – Externally, these floorboards look identical to solid. The top layer is made from solid wood in thickness of 3mm to 6mm thick, while the core is made from 3 to 4 layers of MDF, Plywood and other artificial materials.
The Right Construction Type For Your Selfbuild
Because solid and engineered wood flooring look identical when fitted, you can safely assume that the difference between the two is of a practical nature. It is easier to explain based on the type of environment of your timber framed home.
Properties With Under Floor Heating – Natural wood expands when the temperature climbs and contracts when the temperature drops. This can lead to gaps in the floor and damage to the floorboards. Solid wood flooring due to its 100% natural build will react in such way and is therefore unsuitable to fit over under floor heating. Engineered wood flooring on the other hands due to its diversified construction is perfectly at home over under floor heating.
Bathroom, Kitchen and Conservatory Areas – These areas often feature humid and wet conditions. Natural wood can damage, weaken and collapse as a result of long exposure to damp and wet conditions making solid wood flooring the wrong option in these areas. On the other hand, engineered wood flooring coated in a waterproof coating (such as lacquered) can cope well in these conditions as long as the coating is maintained over time.
All Other Areas – If the above constraints do not apply, you can safely consider either of the two. Solid wood flooring has a far greater service life, which makes it therefore more popular, though engineered wood flooring are often more affordable so you should consider both options.
Enjoy your selfbuild project!