One of our core reasons for launching the business was to give consumers the full picture on how floors are made and how this effects pricing. Only then could people understand whether they were getting value. Broadly, there are five things that will effect the price of your floor…
1. How rustic is it?
Floors that have knots are cheaper than cleaner grades. This is because if your floor contains knots, you can use most of the tree, with clean grades, you have to be more selective. Rustic grades can also contain Sapwood (the outside of the tree..), and cracks (although with the exception of our Highbury range, our Rustic grades do not contain). For most of our floors, they are available in Rustic (knots up to 50mm), AB grade (knots up to 30mm), and a prime grade (almost no knots). The majority of flooring companies in the UK, especially online, only offer a Rustic grade. It is actually a standard joke from many European flooring companies we speak, that they only send their Rustic floors to the UK! Having said this, Rustic floors do have more character.
2.What oils do the floor use?
You can buy floors with cheap oils, but these will perform poorly in busy household environments. Our floors either use good quality UV Oils, deeper reactive stains, or a combination of both. UV oils are applied to the engineered boards, and then dry instantly under UV light. Stains take longer to dry. For this reason, the costs of a stained floor are more expensive than a straightforward UV floor, as the production process is longer. With stains, you can also achieve more unusual colours, such as greys, or very white floors. You also get more consistency of colour. For the majority of people, a UV Oil floor is fine. If you’re looking for something more technical, or a specific look, the floor will have to be stained.
3. Are there any additional treatments that have been carried out to the floor?
There are an almost limitless number of treatments you can apply to a floor. These include cross sawing, heavy brushing, distressing, smoking… the list goes on and on. Every process adds cost. The reality is, all these extra processes are only really used for premium floors, such as our Highbury Range.
4. How common is the platform?
When we talk about platforms, we mean the actual unfinished boards that the oils are applied to. The more of a certain type of platform manufacturers make, the cheaper it is. For example, the 190mm width, 14mm thick engineered board that we use in our Newington Range, is by far the most common shape of plank in the market. Our Herringbones that are 90mm by 450mm are the same. Many of the common platforms and oils, we buy in bulk, which brings down the cost. Very wide or narrow boards tend to be more expensive, as they have to be made bespoke.
5. How much wood is used?
Thicker floors will cost more money. At Kite, we mainly sell engineered wood floors. These have an oak top layer and then a core made of either ply or birch and ply. Engineered floors give the appearance of a solid wood floor, but are far more stable (they don’t expand and contract as much with temperature and moisture changes). When people specify wood floors, they typically say 15/4mm or 19/6mm with the first number being the total thickness and the second being the thickness of the oak top layer.
The more oak you have in a floor, the more expensive it is, but there is a common myth that a thicker floor is of better quality. The majority of floors we sell are cosmetic, so they sit on top of a structural subfloor. From a consumer perspective, you will never notice the thickness of the floor once it’s down. Note, it’s important to have a sufficient top layer on your floor, to ensure if you ever wish to sand it, there is sufficient oak, but anything more than 3mm will give you at least a couple of sands. Where thickness should be considered is if you’re flowing the floor into any other floors, and want these to be flush. It’s not uncommon for us to use a 12mm or 18mm floor to ensure a perfect transition. One final point, if you have underfloor heating, go with a floor that’s 15mm or less; the more wood you have the longer the system takes to heat up.