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What to Consider When Specifying Timber Flooring

When specifying timber for a commercial project there are a multitude of factors to consider respective of the floor’s aesthetic. These can include the required slip rating, fire rating and the susceptibility of timber floors to oxidisation. The purpose of this blog is to outline some of these key features to consider when specifying timber flooring. 

Board Dimensions 

The thickness of floorboards effects the durability and value of flooring. With thicker engineered timber boards typically sitting a higher price point due to the thicker timber veneer. 

Wideboards are a great way to compliment larger spaces, showcasing larger sections of the timber’s natural features. For this reason, wideboards are considered more prestigious and typically sits at a higher price point. On the contrary, it is important to use the right boards for the space. A wide board can make a large open space look even more grand, however, when used in a small space such as a narrow hallway, the board can make the space look even smaller. It’s important to note that bigger isn’t always better.

Colour Variation

As timber flooring is a natural product, colour variation between floorboards should be expected. This is integral to the charm of timber flooring with each floorboard being unique in its appearance, with different textures, knots and tones throughout.

We try our best to display variation on our website but with every tree the timber is cut from being different it is important to understand natural variation is expected.

Timber Grading

Timber grade quality is contingent on the amount of naturally occurring imperfections in each board, with the number and size of knots, sapwood, pin holes and filler dictating its quality category.

Common timber grade options include AB, ABC and ABCD. AB graded boards exhibit the fewest wood flaws and are the most expensive, while CD boards offer a more rustic aesthetic and cheaper price point.

Embelton’s standard range of timber flooring is ABCD grade, offering a mix of both types of graded timber board. Wood grading pertains to appearance only and doesn’t impact quality or durability; for many, the charm of natural timber lies precisely in those natural flaws.

Note that Embelton can provide custom flooring colours and grades to meet the interior aesthetic of any project.

Oxidisation of Timber Flooring 

When timber is exposed to air and sunlight a process of oxidisation inevitably takes place. How timber flooring reacts to exposure to UV will change across timber types, colours and finishes. For example, smoked colours will oxidise a lot quicker than unsmoked floors over the first 12 months after install. Similarly, white, neutral and brown tones will tend to take on a yellower tone over time.

This fading and colour alteration is a natural part of the timber’s lifecycle. Embelton’s range of Engineered Timber flooring features 7 layers of UV resistant acrylic coating to help mitigate this process. However, considerations should be made to ensure flooring is not exposed to extended periods of direct sunlight, with appropriate curtains and blinds being installed to help protect the floor. 

Slip Rating

A slip rating indicates the slip resistance of a given surface. Slip ratings are allocated to help determine what surfaces are appropriate for certain areas within a building. For example, bathrooms and wet areas will be required to have a higher slip rip rating than a common area. 

There are various tests which can be conducted to conclude a slip rating to Australian Standards. The most common, a pendulum certification test, ranks floor coverings from P0 to P5, with P5 offering the greatest level of slip resistance.

An Oil-Wet Ramp Test ranks floor coverings from R9 to R13, with R13 proving the highest level of slip resistance.

Note that timber floors with a higher slip rating require more effort in cleaning.

Fire Ratings

The Building Code of Australia (BCA) calls for specific requirements regarding fire ratings for flooring coverings. Floors are tested for their burning behaviour as well as smoke generation.

There are two measures given as part of a fire rating. The first is a critical radiant flux rating, which tests the performance of a product under direct fire. For this rating the higher the number the better the fire performance.

The second measure is a smoke value which measures the products level of smoke generation. For this rating the lower the number the better the performance.

Note that the required fire rating for a building or environment is determined by a range of factors, including the presence of sprinkler systems, fire escape exits and the purpose of the space.

For more information about our products or to discuss a flooring solution for your project, get in touch with our experienced team.