Here are 10 popular questions about Hardwood Flooring Sydney:
- What are the different types of hardwood floors?
- What is the average cost to install hardwood flooring Sydney?
- What is the best hardwood flooring for pets?
- How often should you clean and maintain hardwood floors?
- What are the pros and cons of engineered vs. solid hardwood?
- How can you tell if your hardwood floors need to be refinished?
- What are the best hardwood species for high traffic areas?
- How long do hardwood floors typically last?
- Should you install hardwood on concrete or a wood subfloor?
- What can cause hardwood floors to cup or buckle?
1. What are the different types of hardwood floors?
There are two main categories of hardwood flooring: solid hardwood and engineered hardwood.
Solid hardwood is milled from a single piece of timber and made up of solid wood from top to bottom. The most common solid hardwood species are:
Engineered hardwood consists of multiple layers fused together. The top layer is made of solid hardwood, while the bottom layers are made of plywood or high-density fiberboard. Engineered floors are more stable and less prone to expansion/contraction. Popular engineered wood species include:
- Exotics (Brazilian cherry, acacia, jarrah, etc.)
Within these two main categories, there are different plank styles available:
- Traditional tongue-and-groove planks – Most common, joined together with tongue-and-groove milling
- Parquet – Geometric mosaic patterns
- Distressed – Intentionally distressed with indentations and wormholes
- Wide Plank – Wider planks, 4 to 7 inches wide
2. What is the average cost to install hardwood floors in Sydney?
The average cost to install hardwood floors in Sydney ranges from $70 to $120 per square metre installed. This can vary depending on the type of flooring and level of customization.
Here’s an overview of hardwood flooring costs in Sydney:
- Engineered wood – $70 to $100 per m2
- Solid Oak wood – $90 to $130 per m2
- Exotic woods – $120+ per m2 for woods like Brazilian cherry
On the lower end, you may spend $70 to $90 per m2 for standard engineered timber flooring installed. The middle range is around $100 to $120 for solid Oak floors. Exotic woods like Spotted Gum can cost $140 per m2 or above.
Keep in mind there are also additional costs for subfloor preparation, removing old flooring, installation accessories and GST. Many homeowners spend $8000 to $15,000 for quality hardwood floors installed in a standard 50-100 m2 home.
3. What is the best hardwood flooring for pets?
When choosing hardwood floors for homes with pets, the most important factors are hardness and scratch resistance. Here are some top options:
- Brazilian Cherry – Very dense and rated 1,950 on the Janka hardness scale. Resists scratches, dents and damage from pets. Provides rich reddish-brown color.
- Santos Mahogany – Dense, rated 1,815 on hardness scale. Has rich tan/brown tones. Resilient to pets and high traffic.
- White Oak – Hardness rated at 1,350. Durable, scratch-resistant, and easy to clean. Has nice light, neutral tones.
- Australian Cypress – Rated 1,200 for hardness. Holds up to pets, claws, and high traffic areas. Has natural golden brown, reddish hue.
- Bamboo – Technically a grass, but bamboo is durable at 1,200-1,300 on the hardness scale. Resists water, scratching and pet damage. Provides natural grain look.
No matter what wood you choose, a hardwood floor with multiple layers and a durable top coat will be the most pet-friendly option. Keeping nails trimmed and being prepared for refinishing is also wise for hardwoods with pets.
4. How often should you clean and maintain hardwood floors?
To keep your hardwood floors looking their best, you should follow a regular cleaning and maintenance routine. Here are some general guidelines:
- Daily – Dry mop, sweep or vacuum to remove dust, dirt and debris. Pick up spills immediately using a damp cloth.
- Weekly – Give floors a thorough damp mopping using a hardwood floor cleaning solution. Remove scuffs or marks with cloth and cleaner.
- Every 2-3 Months – Deep clean by mopping entire floor with hardwood cleaner or mild vinegar/water solution. Use wax or restorative oil if needed.
- Yearly – Professional deep cleaning, sanding and refinishing as needed to keep wood looking new and remove major scratches/wear patterns.
Seasonally – Adjust cleaning practices based on weather. Dry winter air can cause gapping. Clean less in humid summer months.
As Needed – Spot clean problem areas promptly. Address major spills, pet accidents right away to avoid long-term damage.
Proper hardwood care involves daily quick cleaning plus weekly and monthly deep cleaning sessions. Refinishing and re-coating every 5-10 years will also maintain floors for the long haul.
5. What are the pros and cons of engineered vs. solid hardwood?
- More dimensionally stable since layers resist expansion and contraction
- Can be installed on any subfloor including concrete slabs
- Great for radiant heat and floor leveling systems
- Resists moisture better than solid wood
- Can only be refinished 1-3 times since top layer is thin
- Not considered as high-end as solid wood
- Appearance can seem overly perfect or lack natural imperfections
- Can be sanded and refinished many times over lifespan
- Considered a premium, high-end material
- Expands/contracts naturally, avoiding trapped moisture issues
- Wider plank sizes possible
- More prone to expansion, contraction and moisture damage
- Generally only installed over wood subfloors
- Not good for radiant heat systems
- Limited exotic species available
6. How can you tell if your hardwood floors need to be refinished?
There are a few signs that indicate hardwood floors are due for refinishing:
- Wear – If there is a traffic pattern of dull, worn areas it’s a sign the protective coat has eroded. This exposes raw wood.
- Discoloration – If the floors appear heavily stained, spotted, or overall yellow/faded, a refinish can renew the appearance.
- Scratches – Deep scratches that catch your fingernail reveal unprotected wood and need resurfacing.
- Difficulty Cleaning – Floors that resist cleaning no matter what products you use likely need refinishing.
- Raised Nails/Loose Boards – Protruding nails and loose boards that squeak also indicate a floor that needs sanding and recoating.
Refinishing is recommended once hardwood shows multiple signs of wear and tear. While regular care helps preserve floors, periodic refinishing is needed approximately every 5-10 years to keep wood looking its best.
7. What are the best hardwood species for high traffic areas?
Hardwood floors in entryways, hallways, kitchens and other high traffic areas should be durable and able to withstand a lot of wear. Here are some top species:
- Brazilian Teak – Extremely hard at 2,220 on the Janka scale. Holds up to heavy foot traffic. Has an attractive golden brown color that darkens over time.
- Brazilian Cherry – Very resilient against daily wear with a Janka rating of 1,950. Features deep reddish-brown tones.
- White Oak – Rated 1,350 for hardness. Has good scratch and dent resistance. Offers light, neutral coloring.
- American Hickory – Dense wood rated at 1,320 on hardness scale. Protects well against indoor pets and family activity. Has a variation of brown tones through planks.
- Santos Mahogany – Janka rating of 1,815 for hardness. Works very well in cooking areas with potential spills. Rich brown coloration.
No matter which species you choose, finishes rated ‘extra matte’ or ‘matte’ hide scuffs and scratches better than glossy finishes. Using extra planks allows for simple replacements if heavy damage occurs in high traffic zones.
8. How long do hardwood floors typically last?
With proper installation, care and maintenance, most hardwood floors can last anywhere from 50-100 years. Exact lifespan depends on these factors:
- Quality of Installation – Proper nailing, expansion gaps, moisture barriers and subfloor prep have a huge impact.
- Type of Wood – Dense exotic species and thick solid planks generally last longer than cheap thin flooring.
- Finish – Floors with quality aluminum oxide finishes applied by professionals hold up better.
- Amount of Wear – Foot traffic, pets, and high usage leads to shorter lifespans. Less wear equals longer flooring lifespan.
- Care and Maintenance – Regular cleaning, avoiding excess moisture, and refinishing when needed helps floors last.
With heavy traffic, kids, pets and other wear factors, average expectancy is 25-50 years. For lightly used floors in ideal conditions, 80-100 years is possible. Remember to budget for professional refinishing every 5-10 years for best results.
9. Should you install hardwood on concrete or a wood subfloor?
Hardwood can be installed over both concrete and wood subfloors, but generally wood subfloors are preferred.
Benefits of Concrete Subfloors:
- Provide smooth, uniform surface
- Avoid issues with joist spacing or subfloor movement
- Allow for below-grade installation of hardwood
Drawbacks of Concrete Slabs:
- Moisture and humidity exposure can damage wood
- Concrete dust needs extensive vacuuming before install
- Generally only work for engineered, floating or nailed down floors
Benefits of Wood Subfloors:
- Allow solid or engineered wood of any thickness to be stapled down
- Provide good moisture protection for hardwood
- Can be built up using plywood to correct unevenness
Potential Issues with Wood Subfloors:
- Uneven joist spacing can cause subfloor gaps/voids
- Need flat surface free of protruding nails and debris
- Not ideal for radiant heat systems
Overall, wood subfloors provide the best surface for typical hardwood flooring installation. Make sure to correct any moisture issues and check that subfloor is flat before starting.
10. What can cause hardwood floors to cup or buckle?
Hardwood floors that develop a wavy, cupped or buckled appearance are often reacting to moisture or humidity in their environment. Common culprits include:
- Excess moisture below the flooring due to leaks, flooding, or high humidity.
- Failure to leave proper expansion space around perimeter during installation.
- Extreme seasonal humidity changes causing uneven shrinking/swelling.
- Excessive direct sunlight and heat on the floor causing planks to expand.
- High moisture content in the wood itself during manufacturing or installation.
- Compaction of soil or movement of foundation causing subfloor to deform.
- Exterior humidity barrier issues allowing moisture to seep from ground under the home.
- Absence of vapor barrier on a concrete slab allowing moisture to pass through.
- Damages planks or subfloor that allow moisture to directly penetrate floor.
To avoid cupping or buckling, moisture testing should be done before install. Control indoor humidity at 35-55% year-round. Leave at least 1/2″ expansion space around all edges. Address any subfloor or foundation movement concerns quickly.
- Choose hardwood flooring based on the wood species hardness, grain patterns and color tones that match your home. Consider the pros and cons of solid vs. engineered construction.
- Average costs range from $70 – $120 per square metre installed but can go higher for exotic woods or extensive custom detail.
- For homes with pets, opt for extremely durable species like Santos Mahogany or Brazilian Cherry rated over 1,800 on the Janka hardness scale.
- Maintain floors by sweeping daily, mopping weekly and deep cleaning every few months. Refinishing should be done as needed, approximately every 5-10 years.
- Heavy traffic areas demand very wear-resistant species such as Hickory, Cherry, Oak or Teak with hardness ratings over 1,300.
- With proper installation and care, many hardwood floors can last 50-100 years. Budget to refinish floors periodically.
- When choosing Sydney Hardwood Flooring, consider the wood type, hardness, finish, style, and your subfloor type. Measure humidity and moisture content before installation.
- Leave expansion space between flooring and walls, and acclimate floors gradually. Follow manufacturers recommended maintenance routines diligently.
- Address any leaks, subfloor issues, or foundation movement quickly to avoid damage. Refinish floors when they show significant wear or dulling.
- Professionally installed hardwood with proper maintenance can stay beautiful for decades. Taking the time to choose the right flooring prevents issues down the road.