Wood flooring is a popular choice for homeowners in Malaysia due to its timeless appeal and natural warmth. However, choosing the right type of wood flooring can be daunting, as various options are available, each with unique characteristics and benefits. In this article, we will guide homeowners looking to install wood flooring in their homes, covering topics such as choosing the right type of wood, considering the climate and humidity in Malaysia, and matching the flooring to the style of the home.
Choosing the Right Type of Wood Flooring
There are several wood flooring options available.
- Solid wood flooring: Made from a single piece of hardwood, usually around 18mm thick. The most popular types of hardwood used for solid wood flooring in Malaysia are merbau, teak and chengal. Solid wood flooring is durable and long-lasting. It can be sanded and refinished multiple times, making it an ideal choice for high-traffic areas.
- Engineered wood flooring: Made from multiple layers of plywood and a thin layer of hardwood veneer on top. The hardwood veneer is usually around 2-3mm thick. Engineered wood flooring is more stable than solid wood flooring, as it is less affected by changes in temperature and humidity. It is also more affordable than solid wood flooring.
- Laminate flooring: Made from a high-density fibreboard (HDF) core covered with a printed paper design and a transparent wear layer. Laminate flooring is the most affordable option for wood flooring. It is available in a wide range of designs and colours. Laminate flooring does not need to be sanded or refinished.
Considering the Climate and Humidity in Malaysia
Malaysia has a tropical climate, with high temperatures and humidity levels throughout the year. This can affect the performance of wood flooring, as wood tends to expand and contract with changes in temperature and humidity. Therefore, it is essential to choose a type of wood flooring that can withstand the climate and humidity in Malaysia.
- Solid wood flooring is prone to expansion and contraction with changes in temperature and humidity. Therefore, it is not recommended for areas with high moisture levels, such as bathrooms and kitchens. However, solid wood flooring can be installed in other areas of the home as long as it is adequately acclimated before installation and maintained with regular cleaning and maintenance.
- Engineered wood flooring is more stable than solid wood flooring, as it is less affected by changes in temperature and humidity. However, it is still important to properly acclimate the flooring before installation and maintain it with regular cleaning and maintenance.
- Laminate flooring is less affected by changes in temperature and humidity, as it is made from HDF. Therefore, it is a good choice for areas with high moisture levels.
Matching the Flooring to the Style of the Home
The type of wood flooring you choose should also match the style of your home. Wood flooring can add warmth and character to any home. Still, it is necessary to select a type of wood and a design that complements the overall style of your home.
- For traditional homes, the best option is solid wood flooring. Oak, teak, and chengal are favoured for traditional homes, as they have a classic and timeless look. These types of wood flooring are also durable and long lasting, making them a good investment for homeowners who want to maintain the traditional style of their home.
- For modern homes, laminate or engineered wood flooring is a good choice. It is available in a wide range of designs and colours and can be installed in various patterns and styles. Grey, white, and black oak are favoured for modern homes. They have a sleek and contemporary look that complements the clean lines and minimalist design.
- A combination of solid wood flooring and laminate or engineered wood flooring is recommended for transitional homes that blend traditional and modern styles. For example, solid wood flooring can be installed in the living room and dining room. In contrast, laminate or engineered wood flooring can be installed in the kitchen. This creates a cohesive look that blends the traditional and modern elements of the home.
Tips for Maintaining Wood Flooring
Once you have chosen the suitable type of wood flooring for your home, it is crucial to maintain it properly to ensure that it lasts for many years. Here are some tips for maintaining wood flooring:
- Keep it clean: Dust and dirt can scratch and damage wood flooring over time. Therefore, sweep or vacuum the flooring regularly to keep it clean. Use a soft-bristled brush attachment or a microfiber mop to avoid scratching the surface of the flooring.
- Avoid water damage: Water can damage wood flooring, so clean up spills and wet areas immediately. Use a dry or slightly damp cloth to clean up spills, and avoid using excessive amounts of water when cleaning the flooring.
- Use furniture pads: Furniture legs can scratch and damage wood flooring over time. Use furniture pads on the legs of chairs, tables, and other furniture to prevent scratches and damage.
- Avoid high heels: High heels can scratch and damage wood flooring, so it is best to avoid wearing them on the flooring. If you must wear high heels, use heel protectors to prevent damage. However, you can wear high heels on laminate flooring.
- Use area rugs: Area rugs can help protect wood flooring in high-traffic areas, such as hallways and entryways. They can also add a pop of colour and style to your home.
- Refinish when necessary: Solid wood flooring can be sanded and refinished multiple times, which can help restore its original beauty and shine. However, refinish only when necessary, as excessive sanding can damage the flooring.
Whatever type of wood flooring you choose, it is crucial to properly acclimate the flooring before installation and maintain it with regular cleaning and maintenance. With the right wood flooring, your home can have a warm, inviting look that lasts many years.