Hardwood Flooring London: The Ultimate Wood Flooring Guide

Welcome to Quicksand Flooring’s ultimate wood flooring guide! We are an experienced team of hardwood flooring London and Essex suppliers, installers, and restoration experts who specialise in floor sanding and staining. Over the years each member of our team has gained an in depth understanding of all the unique quirks of hardwood floors old and new, developing an array of floor installation and restoration techniques to ensure every wooden floor is in peak condition and can remain a key feature of your home or commercial premises for years to come.

From installation to restoration, there are many stages in the life of a hardwood floor, which can last for centuries in the right conditions. Here we will guide you through the important aspects of wood floors that can help you remain informed about the choices you can make for the hardwood flooring in your London business or home.

Softwood vs Hardwood Flooring

There are two main types of wood used for flooring: softwood and hardwood. Common hardwood flooring choices include oak, walnut, and maple, whereas softwoods include pine, cedar, spruce, and yew. Softwoods come from coniferous trees (gymnosperm trees) and hardwoods from deciduous and evergreen trees (angiosperm trees). Not all softwoods are necessarily softer than all hardwoods, but hardwoods do tend to be a better option for floors with high levels of foot traffic.

Hardwood Flooring Wood Species

Lots of wood species can be transformed into flooring – but some species are better than others for achieving lasting hardwood floors! Here are some of the best and most popular wood species used for hardwood flooring across London and Essex:

Oak

Oak hardwood floors are by far the most popular choice, thanks to oak’s distinctive mixture of whirling and straight grain patterns with bold knots. Red Oak and White Oak are the main types of oak flooring wood species available, the latter of which is slightly harder on the Janka hardness test (this internationally recognised testing scale measures denting and wear).

Quicksand Flooring’s own engineered oak flooring range is made using FSC European oak, which is very environmentally friendly because the FSC organisation promotes sustainable forest management. Our oak flooring is available in a huge array of colours and finishes, which you can choose for a hardwood floor that is truly your own. We use UV-cured oil to colour and protect the boards. This means the wood’s durability is protected, floor maintenance is low, and it gives a lasting and reliable colour that can withstand sunshine, time and other fading factors.

Maple

Maple flooring hails from Canada/the northern parts of the United States and is famed for its pale and creamy natural colour with fine graining. The wood can also contain brown and black mineral streaks for a bolder, more unusual look. Maple is a very hard and durable wood.

Ash

Ash flooring is one of the most durable of all the popular hardwood species. Its natural colours range from pale white to medium brown and grain patterns can be straight, wavy, and even curly – ash hardwood floors are sure to add interesting features to any room!

Beech

Beech flooring has a warm and appealing look with pink undertones and subtle speckles. It is also slightly harder than oak so is a great choice for busy areas with lots of foot traffic, such as retail premises or well-used hallways.

Walnut

Straight grained walnut flooring is almost as popular as oak, particularly for homes and small rooms where it creates a warm cosy look. Brazilian Walnut is one of the hardest woods you can have for hardwood flooring, whereas the equally popular American Walnut is slightly softer.

Types of Hardwood Flooring

When looking to install new hardwood floors for their business, retail premises, or home, clients often ask us: what’s the best wooden flooring choice? It’s often the case that a client wishes to balance beautiful hardwood flooring that lasts with easy maintenance and low cost.

The two main types of hardwood flooring cater to these requirements to different degrees. Solid wood flooring lasts for a long time and has bundles of natural charm; however, it takes time to install and can be costly to maintain. Alternatively, engineered wood flooring is rapidly gaining popularity as a more economical and low maintenance option that still retains a natural wood finish with its hardwood top layer. Here is a quick overview of both types:

Solid Hardwood Flooring London

This type of hardwood flooring is made from 100% solid wood planks and can last for generations when installed and maintained correctly. As solid wood flooring tends to shrink or expand with temperature and humidity changes, installation should be undertaken by seasoned professionals to ensure lasting quality. The fitting process includes a period of acclimatisation, in which the floorboards are left in the premises before installation. The acclimatisation period allows the wood to adjust to the humidity levels of the room, so it will fit more naturally after installation.

There are two main styles of joints used to join solid wood planks: click together joints and tongue and groove joints (the latter of which can generally take more stress and strain). The thickness of solid hardwood flooring must also be taken into consideration; when required for a load bearing floor, the planks should be at least 20mm thick. The Quicksand Flooring team installs solid wood floors in a range of stunning colours throughout Greater London and can help you realise your vision of stunning hardwood floors.

Engineered Wood Flooring London

Engineered hardwood flooring consists of several layers, as opposed to a single layer of solid wood. The top layer is a hardwood veneer (a lamella) that can use any species of wood. The inner layers, on the other hand, can be made from hardwood, plywood, or fibreboard. The resulting hardwood floor is much more stable and consistent than solid wood flooring, as craftspeople have much more control over the structure of each plank.

Engineered wooden floors are also quick to install than their solid counterparts, as no acclimatisation period is required and planks fit more easily together. Maintenance requirements are low due to the lack of warping or swelling, making engineered flooring an excellent economical choice for businesses and homes alike. As a result, engineered hardwood is the perfect balance between the charm of solid wood floors and the convenience of laminate flooring.

Here at Quicksand Flooring, we have our very own engineered bespoke wood flooring range where you can fully customise your hardwood floor from colour and pattern to texture and type of finish (brushed, aged, fumed, and smoked finishes).

Wood Floor Patterns

So many patterns are possible with hardwood flooring, from simple and elegant wooden planks to more intricate parquet flooring patterns such as herringbone, basketweave, and Versailles panels. Here are just some of the patterns Quicksand Flooring can achieve with solid or engineered wood flooring:

Making the Best Wooden Flooring Choice

We can help you make the best choice of hardwood floor for your property, considering the unique requirements of your space and your design preferences. The Quicksand Flooring team has worked on a huge variety of hardwood flooring projects; over years of training and practice, our experts have gained the knowledge and skills required for a range of domestic and commercial work.

In some cases, the decision has already been made – many of our clients, for instance, are based in prestigious buildings with solid wood flooring that requires regular maintenance and restoration. We have also worked in many homes with beautiful aged hardwood floors that just need a bit of TLC to bring out their beautiful colours and patterns. This is where our floor restoration and maintenance services come to the fore.

Wood Floor Maintenance and Restoration

The story doesn’t end once your hardwood flooring has been installed – maintenance is key to the continued vitality of any wooden floor and in some cases restoration can bring old and worn floors back to their former glory. The Quicksand Flooring team have sanded and restored floors across the London and Essex areas, including homes, businesses, schools, art galleries, gyms, and theatres (head to our projects page to see samples of the sheer range of work we’ve been able to do).

Floor Sanding

As one of our main floor maintenance and restoration services, floor sanding is key to the work we do in London and Essex. Floor sanding gives hardwood floors a beautiful finish, buffing away scratches and scuffs to reveal the patterns and wood grain beneath. Worn out floors look like new!

Floor Restoration

Beyond floor sanding, there are many services a professional flooring company can undertake to lovingly restore wooden flooring. These services include floorboard filling (using a specialist filler that doesn’t shrink over time or change colour) and floor staining (giving flooring a colour lift and providing protection from wear and tear).

Commercial Floor Maintenance

Many of our commercial clients continue to use Quicksand Flooring for their wood floor maintenance, as floors that experience a lot of foot traffic can start to fade over time and lose their smooth finish. Luckily, regular maintenance will keep hardwood floors in even the busiest areas looking their best.

Get in Touch

Do you have questions about our hardwood flooring London and Essex services? Contact Quicksand Flooring and a member of our team will be happy to help. Alternatively, browse our Services page to find out what we can do for you.