Guide To Choosing Wood Floors
Natural Variations in Appearance
Why doesn’t what you bought look like the sample in the showroom?
Unlike factory-made, artificial materials, each hardwood board has a unique life story. During the approximately 60 years it takes for a hardwood to mature, each tree develops a one-of-a-kind grain pattern and texture.
Natural hardwood products are never as uniform as plastic laminate or wallpaper from a catalogue. Solid hardwood products, like silks, leather and precious stones, are shaped by natural forces and they may display a variety of character markings.
Knots are character marks, telling the story of tree limbs that grew and fell to the forest floor as the tree matured. Even boards from the same hardwood tree will show significant variation in colour.
For instance, “younger” wood closer to the bark sapwood will be lighter than that which comes from the central portion. You also can see the effects of the minerals and other essential elements that the trees absorbed as they grew.
Character Markings Glossary
Knots : Hard, cylindrical regions marking locations of branches that have been encased by later growth of the tree.
Mineral Streaks : Olive or grayish markings caused by such environmental factors as trace elements in water or soil.
Sapwood : The paler-coloured wood closer to the bark of the tree.
Grain : The directions, size, appearance and quality of wood fibers.
Growth Ring : Layer of wood added to a tree during a single growing season…made up of earlywood and latewood.
No two pieces of hardwood are alike. Because of this, your particular item looks like no other in the world…including those in the showroom.
However, rest assured that none of the natural markings that characterize hardwood floors, affect their durability or structural integrity. When you’re choosing for a lifetime and maybe two or three you should choose wisely. Solid hardwoods are genuine, not imitations. They are natural, not synthetic. They are classic, not artificial. What may look at first like solid hardwood flooring may be something else. It pays to ask questions and take a hard look at materials.
Aside from aesthetic considerations, substitutes can’t compare to solid hardwoods when it comes to holding nails and screws and withstanding the stresses, loads, shocks and abrasions of daily life.
Wood’s Expansion and Contraction
Expansion and contraction of wood is perfectly normal during changes in the weather. Wood is a natural material that seeks to be in balance with its surroundings. Hardwoods destined for use in home furnishings are carefully kiln-dried for that purpose, and they will take on or give off moisture with extreme changes in relative humidity.
When the air is exceptionally warm and humid, solid hardwoods will absorb moisture and expand. Likewise, with much cooler, drier air, the wood will give off moisture and contract. This is completely natural, and craftsman design fine solid hardwood products to accommodate these changes.
Remember that hardwoods are natural materials and they will expand and contract with extreme changes in your home’s relative humidity. A good contractor will take this into account when installing new hardwood floors.
Source: Hardwood Manufacturers Association
Mafkildea General Grading
Mafkildea uses its skill and experience to grade the appearance and characteristics of all the wood flooring it sells or advertises. These grading rules are available on our website or from our office. The Company will determine the grade under which each particular consignment of flooring fits best.
All flooring is generally supplied tongue and groove all round in random lengths. Pre-lacquered will be supplied in cardboard cartons and unfinished in bundles.
We purchase from over 50 manufacturers world-wide, all with different grading rules, all hardwood is inspected and graded to our specifications. Always consult us if you require a full grading specification on your particular choice of wooden flooring.
Select Grade : These are some of the highest grades available and are the most expensive.The timbers selected will be more even in patina and colour and contain very limited knotting. Straightest grain and the least number of burrs and character marks.
Classic Grade : A middle grading with some colour variation between heartwood and sapwood , some knotting and the trees natural mineral streaks, wild grain, surface checks, burrs and other character figuring.
Traditional Grade : Supplied either filled or unfilled depending on the manufacturer. More colour flashes, larger knotting , character marks and burrs, some filling and wilder grain allowed, with natural mineral streaks and trace elements from the trees original location. A serviceable floor with plenty of character and interest, more colour variation than the classic grade.
The customer should ensure he orders the particular grade most suitable to their requirements.
We recommend viewing the large sample boards in our showroom or examining stock in our warehouse.
Samples and Photographs
Samples are usually provided free of charge and are normally taken from a batch of the particular or similar flooring. However this is a natural product and each piece has its own unique appearance and characteristics. No two pieces will be exactly alike and a sample will not give all the variations in colour and grain of the finished flooring. Whilst we take care to reproduce photographs of our wood flooring on our website and promotional material, you should not rely on these pictures to make your final choice.
No picture can be relied upon due to variations in monitor calibration and standards. No two floors or photographs will look exactly alike and will reflect the natural characteristics of the material and the preferences of the installer. Any sale is not a contract for sale by sample or photograph. We recommend viewing the Large sample boards in our showroom. Stock can also be examined in our London warehouse before ordering.
Because hardwood flooring is a natural product please allow 5% grading allowance and dimension tolerance of 2% of product above and below grade. This is common with most manufacturers worldwide. All hardwood flooring we offer for sale has been kiln dried (unless otherwise stated) and all dimensions for wood flooring are nominal.
This is because it is a natural characteristic of wood products whether lacquered or not to adjust in size to its environmental conditions. It adjusts naturally to the level of humidity in the area it is stored or used.