An exciting stage was reached two weeks ago with the installation of the timber floor in the downstairs areas.(yes, sorry for the delay, I’m out on the road again and this is the first chance I have had to write about it).
We decided early on in the planning phase, to have a suspended floor rather than concrete slab to allow the house to sit lightly on the land. What I hadn’t realised at the time was that the new, energy efficiency standards meant that we had to first install yellow tongue sheets to form the subfloor. Over the top of this the solid timber floorboards are glued and nailed down. While this design increases resources and hence cost, there are some benefits. To start with it minimises the problems older timber floors had with gaps opening up between boards creating squeaky boards and drafts. The floor should also be warmer in winter as the yellow tongue forms an insulating layer.
The other change I noticed is the lack of nail holes in the finished floor. The boards are glued to the subfloor first and then nailed through the tongue. A distinct improvement on my memories of being on hands and knees puttying up nail holes on past renovation projects.
We chose a local hardwood timber, Queensland Spotted gum for the floor. This is a fast growing species and I love the rich brown colours of this timber and fiddleback patterns. Once we narrowed down the species that we felt would look best in the house, we had to choose between wide or narrow boards and which of the three grades we preferred. Eventually we decided on the narrow boards as I love the look of floors in houses that were constructed in the 1950’s when there must have been a dearth of large trees around that time, all the floors appear to have narrow boards. We also chose the standard grade; this level has some variation between the boards and shows gum veins and insect trails which provides character to the finished appearance.
Our final decision was the finish. After experiencing all the scratches of a high gloss finish in one of our other homes, we have decided on a satin polyurethane finish, which should look good as well as being hardwearing. I considered a natural oil or wax finish however these require a lot more on going work and we want a low maintenance floor.
The floor is due to be sanded and finished towards the end of this month, it should be one of the last jobs to be done before handover, not too much longer now.