Over the next week we will be posting five important things to consider when specifying a timber floor. Many people are now very familiar with FSC and PEFC certifications, which is great in terms of the chain of custody, however, as a specifier or interior designer it is important to know your materials in slightly more detail. Which species are best? What is the flooring finished with? Are engineered boards more sustainable than solid boards?
In part one we briefly explain which species are best and suggest some suppliers for these materials.
Part 1 – Which species are the best? – Typically it is better to use fast growing timbers because they are cheaper, easier to grow and can be cultivated and coppiced efficiently ensuring a steady supply of well managed and monitored timber. Pine, Ash and Bamboo are all good options in this case.
Douglas Fir is a member of the Pine family. Dinesen is a great supplier of this material.
Because of its size Douglas Fir can yield very wide boards as demonstrated above. You can see this installed in the Saatchi gallery, London.
Natural Bamboo and caramelised Bamboo. Moso are a supplier we would recommend.
Bamboo is available in a wide variety of colours from light / natural to almost black. This range of colours is achieved by caramelising the sugar in the bamboo with varying lengths of heat treatment. This process produces a consistent colour throughout the timber, which will not be worn away over time unlike other common timber colouring methods (in part four we will talk about the pros and cons of working with Bamboo in more detail).
Oak is a fantastic material, however when specifying good quality Oak it is worth considering the application. Oak can take 4-5 times as long to reach maturity compared to Pine or Ash and therefore it is only right to use it in places where it will be laid for a long time, not in areas where it will be ripped out in 5-10 years time when a refurbishment takes place. Many timber flooring specialists can now colour flooring to resemble Oak or Walnut so this is also worth bearing in mind as it can be a more sustainable and cost effective way of achieving a similar look.
In part 2 we will look at where the timber has come from and how that affects the price, quality and local environment.