Solid Wood Floor - Recommendations?

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I'm going to put a solid wood floor in my bedroom (replacing a carpet). Subfloor is wood (MDF sheets or something like that). Lots of questions:

1. I want to raise the level of the floor a bit - it's approx 15mm lower than the rest of my flat (don't know why...would have to ask the builder who did it that way!) - would plywood sheets be suitable for that?

2. Can I then nail solid wood flooring onto plywood sheets (instead of gluing - been there, done that, horrible, messy, slow, smelly)?

3. For durability am I right in thinking that bamboo and pine flooring is best avoided? Possibly thinking of a light coloured oak floor instead.

4. Do you have a favourite supplier for wood flooring? I can go to Wickes, B&Q, Homebase, etc. easily enough but maybe there's another supplier you prefer. Happy to pay a bit more for a good quality product although I'd quite like to visit a proper showroom rather than just online, so that I can inspect the flooring closely.

5. I've got solid wood flooring in the rest of my flat and it has caused a lot of headaches - the wood has a fine grain which is like a magnet for dust, which has meant that it has been a nightmare to keep clean. How do I avoid this happening in future - are there particular types of flooring that are easier to care for? Or do I just look for something without this kind of fine grain on the surface?

Thank you.
 
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Subfloor is wood (MDF sheets or something like that).
It will be chipboard in all probability - MDF isn't normally used for flooring
1. I want to raise the level of the floor a bit - it's approx 15mm lower than the rest of my flat (don't know why...would have to ask the builder who did it that way!) - would plywood sheets be suitable for that?
Yes. Screw down to the sub floor at 300mm centres (that's 45 screws a sheet, something like 4.0 x 30mm screws to ensure yo don't puncture pipes or wires beneath the existing sub-floor). Leave a 5mm gap between boards to allow for expansion
2. Can I then nail solid wood flooring onto plywood sheets (instead of gluing - been there, done that, horrible, messy, slow, smelly)?
Yes
5. I've got solid wood flooring in the rest of my flat and it has caused a lot of headaches - the wood has a fine grain which is like a magnet for dust, which has meant that it has been a nightmare to keep clean. How do I avoid this happening in future - are there particular types of flooring that are easier to care for? Or do I just look for something without this kind of fine grain on the surface?
How are your floors sealed/finished?
 
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Thank you. Yes I think you're right - it could very well be chipboard.

Thanks for the tip re: screwing down plywood.

When you ask how my existing floors are sealed/finished - I'm not 100% sure. How would I be able to tell?
 
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Well, when I've installed solid wood flooring (on commercial jobs in the main) it either comes pre-finished, which for the stuff I've dealt with means a 2-pack lacquer applied atvthe factory, or it comes unfinished and we have to sand it after installation then get a decorator to lacquer it in-situ. I thought all the stuff from main stream manufacturers was pre-finished these days, which should mean that it is adequately sealed, but I know that people specify water-based finishes, wax finishes etc which don't seal the grain as well and aren't as durable. A fix for your dust problem might just be to sand the floor and refinish it, using a heavy oil-based finish, but a decorator might be better able to advise you on that. Which leads me to ask how long your other floors have been down and are they showing signs of the surface wearing at all?
 
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Ah ok. The existing flooring has been down for about 6 years. It came pre-finished with (I don't know what) from the factory so I could just glue it down (concrete subfloor) and then job done. I mentioned the problem with fine dust getting stuck in the grain - I wonder if the finish they applied in the factory didn't quite get into the grain properly or something like that. Anyway that's the problem that I'm keen to avoid with my next purchase.

Not too keen on buying unfinished flooring and finishing it myself - sounds like a lot of extra work that I'd rather avoid!
 
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Yes, unfinished is a lot more work (and can cause headaches trying to stop people walking over it). The stuff I've installed has generally been contract manufactured, so bespoke if you like, and therefore it sometimes comes unfinished. I can't say that dust has been a problem with open pore stuff like oak and ash I've put in in public buildings (libraries, universities, etc), but these floors are cleaned daily (because of the environment). Fine grained timber floors (e.g. maple, mahogany, etc) don't seem to acquire ingrained dirt as readily as open pore timbers, but will probably show dust more as they are much smoother surfaces.
 
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Engineered wood will be a lot more stable than Solid wood and less expensive, you also visually won’t be able to tell the difference.

Engineered and Solid Wood usually comes in a couple of finishes:

Lacquered: this is the easiest to live with and the surface is sealed by a layer which means the floor will be easy to clean and hard to stain but not so easy to repair if you put a scratch in it (depending on the scratch you may need to replace the board).

UV Oiled: is a surface finish applied to the open grain at manufacturing and the floor will be serviceable but not quite so easy to clean than a lacquered finish.

Oiled or Waxed: is an open grain floor with the most natural texture but also a nightmare to keep looking nice without treating it like royalty or regualrly attending to any spills etc.

Both UV Oiled and Oiled/waxed finishes are open grained so can be repaired in situ more easily than a lacquered floor.

With any of the above, never wash a wood floor, it will make a mess of it.

Clean with a suitable spray cleaner and microfibre cloth that won’t strip the natural oils out of a open grain floor or leave streaks on a lacquered finish.

As for product, the DIY sheds generally sell pretty low grade product from lower grade cuts etc, seem out your local independent flooring specialist fo mr some honest advice, you’ll also be able to handle the product. Quality wood will cost more though, brands like V4, Holt etc are nice and reasonable for what they are, you can certainly spend ALOT more on wood as well.
 
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Thank you. I'll look into the brands that you mentioned. The info on the various finishes is really useful.
 

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