Updating your property? Start at the bottom!

Property owners often look at ways to improve the interior of their property in order to make it more desirable to a bigger group of tenants. Replacing an old flooring solution after years of wear and tear is a popular way to improve the property’s décor overnight. Of the various options, hardwood is certainly on most landlords mind, but it is also the most complicated to get right due to the natural limitations of wood. If you are considering fitting hardwood in your residential property, there are a few considerations to take into account.

A hardwood floor might be just the thing to breathe life into your property and potentially increase its value

Noise and The Law

There is no getting away that hardwood boards can prove noise polluting compared to other options due to footstep noise. In 2003, the government set a number of regulations under ‘The Building Regulations Approved Document E’ which is designed to reduce unwanted sound particularly in properties built after 2003. To meet these regulations, regardless of which flooring material you decide to fit, you will need to use an underlay with sound reduction capabilities. Underlay includes walking noise reduction measured in percentage and acoustic barrier measured in decibel. An underlay also makes the floor nicer to walk on which your tenants should be pleased about.

Types Of Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors are not suitable in every property and in every area. As a natural material it includes a number of limitations that you should be made aware of. There are two options that both fall under the definition of ‘real hardwood floors’. One called solid hardwood, while another is called engineered hardwood. The first step is to understand the difference between the two.

Solid Hardwood – These floorboards are made from complete hardwood such as Oak, Walnut and others. The use of 100% hardwood means that service life is lengthy and can potentially reach 100 years. Nowadays, solid hardwood is suitable in less and less properties, as you will soon find out why.

Engineered Hardwood – These floorboards are made from a top layer of hardwood supported by between three to even layers of MDF, Plywood and other artificial materials. The use of less hardwood makes these floorboards cheaper to buy and fit as well as more versatile in terms of suitability. However, service life does not equal solid hardwood.

Which Hardwood Option In Your Property?

In certain cases you might find that either of the two proves satisfactory for your needs, in other cases only one will. The decision to fit one instead of the other is often based on the limitations of natural wood due to heat and exposure to humid conditions, which will drastically shorten its life expectancy.

Properties with under floor heating – These are becoming more and more common in various properties and pose a problem to hardwood. In its natural state, hardwood will expand due to heat and contract due to cold, making solid hardwood unfitting over under floor heating. From constantly expanding and contracting the floorboards will damage. However, engineered hardwood can easily cope in these conditions and is the only sensible choice when fitting hardwood over under floor heating.

Areas with wet or humid conditions – Certain areas such as the bathroom, kitchen, basement and even certain conservatories may prove challenging to natural hardwood due to the presence of wet, moist and humid conditions. Often, landlords will opt to fit a different type of flooring solutions in these areas such as vinyl, tiles or laminate. Landlords who persevere with hardwood should choose engineered hardwood with a suitable watertight coating.

All other areas – If the above conditions do not apply in your case, solid hardwood often makes a fitting choice due to the far lengthier service life potential and your ability to sand the floorboards from time to time.

Information contributed by Wood and Beyond, a timber flooring company.