Which hard flooring is right for you?

Published: March 2, 2016

Timber floors have been popular in varying formats for many, many years. From the early years of intricate parquetry flooring through to the advancements in timber-look flooring today, there have been many changes. Timber may come in many formats these days but one thing always remains constant- our global love and appreciation of the warmth and character timber floors emulates is timeless.

So, with the many options on the market these days it’s understandable that people may be confused as to what type of flooring will suit their home. The truth is, like all design solutions, it’s not a one-size-fits-all answer. Each home and its users all have their own set of unique likes, dislikes, restrictions and visions for their flooring. These all need to be considered when selecting hard floors and the parameters can include budget, time-frame, sustainability concerns, durability of the product, ease of maintenance and aesthetic preference.

Below are some features and benefits of each type of hard flooring- solid timber, engineered (floating) boards and vinyl planks. Hopefully, this may help you decide which product is right for you!


Nothing quite looks and feels like solid timber floors underfoot. The character-filled boards have lined the floors of homes for centuries and the desire for this look certainly remains. Solid timber boards are the thickest of the solid floor family and are generally the most expensive of all the options. To install solid timber boards is not only costlier, but it is also more time-consuming. The process of installing the boards can take up to a month, from acclimatising the boards, installing, sanding and polishing.

There are many beautiful options to chose from and Australia is blessed to have many local varieties of timber which are more than suitable for our homes. Timber boards do take time to maintain and have a level of up-keep which other options may not be burdened by, such as denting and scratching. In saying this, the thicker style board allows for some sanding back and re-furbishing if required. Our beautiful older homes in Australia are a testament to this!

Engineered (Floating) Boards

Floating boards are extraordinarily popular in Australia and for very good reasons. Floating boards are generally constructed using a timber veneer, which is bound to a timber substrate board. Given the thickness of the timber, the element is much finer than that of solid timber boards, floating flooring is considered to be more sustainable as much less timber is required to achieve a similar look and feel.

Floating boards are popular in many applications, such as new homes (more cost-effective than solid boards), units and apartments (for acoustic reasons) and family homes (low maintenance and hard-wearing). These boards are available in many different stains, sizes and looks, meaning there is definitely going to be an option for most properties. They are also quick to install with much of the preparation done within a factory prior to coming to site. They are pre-coated, meaning easy and prompt installation on the day.


Timber look laminate has come a long way and there are currently many great looking, quality brands and options available. The actual “look” of the new laminates is fantastic, with realistic timber grains, knots and stains replicated onto the product making for a convincing replica. This is generally constructed from fibreboard with a photo applied to the surface. These boards are clicked into place on site.

Laminate flooring comes with many benefits and features, such as low maintenance and hygienic surface to maintain. It is also easy to install, with the preparation of the surface being less stringent than that of timber or floating boards.

LVP (Luxury Vinyl Plank)

LVP too comes with similar low-maintenance benefits such as laminates. This cost-effective option is easy to maintain and is hard-wearing, even in high traffic areas. Vinyl planks come in individual pieces which look perhaps surprisingly, very much like timber boards. Perhaps the stand-out feature of the vinyl system is the ability to easily replace vinyl planks in the event of damage. Unlike click-together boards, vinyl planks easily pop out individually to be replaced, as opposed to replacing the entire area of flooring. This along with it’s resilience to water makes it a great option for wet areas, such as bathrooms and kitchens.

There are many different types of LVP but the most popular is the thicker “Drop Down Plank”. These planks have great acoustic properties and also have a high-quality coating for easy maintenance.

Pop into a Flooring Xtra showroom near you to check out all the ranges and ask one of our friendly team members if you have any questions! We look forward to helping you.

Disclaimer: In some states of Australia, the building regulations for Vinyl Planks, Vinyl Tiles and Hybrid flooring varies. Meaning they may not be suitable for areas requiring water resistance, such as bathrooms and toilets. We advise to always ask your local Flooring Xtra store for the correct advice regarding the local regulations. We also advise to follow the manufacturer’s recommended installation instructions and guidelines, not following the instructions could make the product not fit for purpose, for the area it’s being installed into and void your product warranty. To ensure you get the appropriate product for those areas, please contact your local Flooring Xtra store.

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From inspiration to installation and beyond, Flooring Xtra are here to help. If you’re uncertain what product will work best in your home or fit your budget the team are delighted to assist. Choosing new flooring is a big decision so whether it’s hard flooring or carpet you’re looking for, know that Flooring Xtra will have the perfect option for you! VISIT your nearest store