Timber Flooring: Frequently Asked Questions

Check most frequently asked questions about timber flooring here, if you still need help then please contact us at sales@easternflooring.com.au

Timber Flooring

Solid and engineered timbers are not waterproof. It is not recommended to install real timbers in wet areas. Cleaning with spray mops rather than wet mopping is suggested by the manufacturers. It is possible to apply waterproofing methods to solid timber using an epoxy moisture barrier to the subfloor and the exposed timber surface while coating the top layer with a solvent-based polyurethane. The practice is generally not common due to significantly higher costs.

The cost of supply and installation of tiles can range from around $65m2 for a very basic tile to as much as $320m2 for a top of the range tile and installer. Supply and installation of engineered timbers range from $80m2 up $250 depending on the quality of timber and method of installation. Solid timbers cost from $160 installed, sanded and polished up to $250m2.

Raw solid or engineered timbers can be stained so it is easy to get your desired colour. While tiles are hard wearing and waterproof, they can be cold and hard on the feet. They can also be slippery and give off a glare if highly polished. Grout can get dirty easily, is difficult and time-consuming to clean. Timber gives a warm, natural feel to the home and can be sanded if damaged. Breakable items are less likely to shatter if dropped on timber floors compared with tiles.

Timber floors are not waterproof, they can still be used in kitchens but are not recommended for wet areas. Vinyl and hybrid floors are waterproof options that can be used in any room, including bathrooms and laundries. They come in natural timber looks and many different colour options.

Laminates come in water-resistant ranges with a very realistic timber look and feel. They can be used in kitchens and high traffic areas but are not recommended for wet areas. Vinyl, hybrid and laminate flooring are suitable for wet mopping.  

Most types of hard flooring can be installed over tiles. As long as the existing tiles are structurally sound, with no cracks and are level, then installing a hard floor should not be an issue. Timbers and laminated can installed on top of tiles as a floating floor with an underlay. A good quality rubber or foam underlay is recommended to ensure a high-quality effect, in terms of looks, feel and durability.

Engineered timbers can also be glued to the tile floor. The tiles will likely need to be sanded to allow the glue to adhere to the tiles. If laying vinyl or hybrids over tiles then the grout lines may need to be filled or the entire are primed and coated over. This prevents the grout lines from showing through as well as preventing click system flooring from un-clicking if joins are directly over the grout lines.

Whatever type of flooring you are installing over tiles, you need to keep in mind that the height of the floor will now be raised. This can be a tripping hazard if not addressed, as well as creating a clearance problem for doors. 

Yes, you can install timber or laminate onto concrete subfloors as either a floating floor with an underlay or glued directly to the subfloor (timber flooring only). The underlay used should be good quality which includes a sufficient moisture barrier.

If directly sticking engineered timber to concrete then a moisture barrier, such as Mapei Mapeproof, should be rolled or trowelled onto the concrete prior to the adhesive. Solid timber can be installed over plywood or battens on concrete subfloors.

Laminate flooring typically consists of a timber look finish on a high-density fibreboard core. Over this, a hard-wearing melamine layer is bonded. Laminate floors are always laid as floating floors and can be laid over most surfaces utilising foam or rubber underlay.

Laminates are available with a greater number of timber patterns, longer board lengths and with textured surfaces which follow and highlight the ‘grain’. All current products have a glueless, click joining system and are ready to walk on once installed. Most good quality laminates on the market are water-resistant, although there are still some cheaper products that are not.

Laminates are a cost-effective way to get the look and feel of real timber at a more affordable price. They are typically harder wearing and more scratch-resistant than natural timber product.

Hybrid flooring combines the best attributes of both laminate and vinyl to create a rigid floating floor that can be installed throughout the entire home. Hybrid is made of multiple layers of materials pressed together for an extremely hard-wearing floor. The core is usually made of a blend of limestone with vinyl powder.

The top layer is a UV coating providing a hard-wearing surface with high impact resistance. Hybrids have pre-adhered acoustic backing with improved acoustics and comfort underfoot. This decreases installation costs and improves ease of installation. The thickness and density of the planks are often varied to provide either a heavy and more rigid plank or a slightly lighter and more flexible plank. Hybrids do not expand or contract with moisture uptake, which is a huge benefit when compared to all other timber/ laminate/bamboo products.

Hybrid floor coverings can be installed in areas with high moisture without it leading to expansion, areas
previously reserved for glue-down vinyl floors, stone or tile products. Hybrids are easy to install as they have a click locking system with no need for adhesive or a separate underlay.