The standard widths of tongued and grooved timber flooring are 75 mm, 100 mm and 150 mm. The width and how they are laid affects the look of the room.
Generally, boards laid along a room make it look longer while boards laid across a room make it look wider. The wider the boards you lay, the greater the natural shrinkage and expansion between them.
Some species and board widths are offered in a choice of top nail or secret nail profiles. Secret nailing is nailing through the tongue so the nails are hidden by the next board.
Which timber flooring finish?
Traditional Tung-oil produces a subdued or semi-gloss appearance. Tung-oil is absorbed slightly into the surface of the timber and allows natural shrinkage and expansion to occur without highlighting any gaps that may appear between the boards.
It may show marks more easily than a hard surface finish, but most marks are easily removed with a little methylated spirits and a damp cloth.
As long as they haven’t been waxed, areas that receive the most traffic can be re-coated to restore their appearance. They will usually quickly blend with the surrounding original finish.
Polyurethane finishes provide a smooth, hard and glossy surface. However, the finish can flow into the tongue and groove joint between the boards and glue them together. Then if natural shrinkage occurs, boards can clump together to make larger gaps. Some could even split.
To prevent this, great care has to be taken to make sure the timber has reached the correct moisture content for the location before being laid. The location also has to remain in a narrow moisture content range.
Controlling shrinkage and expansion of your new Timber Floor
Changes in moisture content of timber are most evident during long dry or wet conditions. But your local environment can also have a big influence.
Good ventilation under your floor is important. Not enough cross ventilation or damp soil conditions from poor drainage can cause problems.
Air conditioning normally reduces the moisture content of your home. Full-length windows, large glass areas and skylights can create sunroom conditions with high temperatures and low moisture. It can cause to boards to shrink. Direct sunlight can also cause colour changes to your floor.
If you live near the ocean, a river, lake, dam or wetlands, or if you get prevailing winds that are very moist or dry you may need to take special moisture control measures. Ask us if you have any concerns.
Before your timber arrives, make sure you have a suitable on-site storage location, as it may need to acclimatise to your home conditions. We can advise you how to stack the timber and how long it needs to be stored on site before being laid.
If you wish to lay your floor yourself, ask us for advice first. You must allow expansion gaps to allow for natural movement.