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The Types of Floorboards

Updated April 17, 2017

Floorboards are laid down on the bottom or a house or building instead of other flooring alternatives like carpeting and tiling. You can use floorboards indoors, in rooms like the kitchen, living room or dining room, and outdoors for decks, balconies and patios. Floorboard installation usually happens before you fix skirtings so that you can hide uneven cut ends. You will need to nail or screw floorboards in place.

Types of Wood

Floorboards come in either hardwood or softwood. Softwood and hardwood describes the type of wood the manufacturers use to make floorboards. Softwood floorboards are made from conifers and are usually created from pine woods like Radiata Pine, Kauri Pine or Baltic Pine. Manufacturers also make them from Fir, Larch and Redwood. Hardwoods are more expensive than softwoods because they occur naturally and randomly and are more complicated to collect. Woods like Mountain Ash, Beech, Ash, Oak, Birch, Elm, Walnut Red Kauri and Jarrah go into making hardwood floorboards.

Types of Floorboards

Floorboards can be either square edged or tongue and grooved. Squared edged floorboards are not commonly used in current construction. You usually find them in buildings built before the 1850s. Tongued and grooved floorboards eliminate flooring gaps. To ascertain which type of floorboards you may have, choose two floorboards with a small gap between them and slide a knife blade through as far as possible. If the knife punctures around 10 to 12mm inward, the floorboards are tongued and grooved. They are square edge boards if the knife can pass straight through.

Particleboard and Plywood

Particleboards and plywood are other types of floorboards you can use for home flooring. Particleboard is a reconstituted wood product made of waste-wood products mixed with sawdust and adhesives. It does not bow or warp like plywood, but it can become unstable and swell when it has been exposed to water. You can laminate or veneer particleboard for a shined, smooth finish. Plywoods are generally stronger than particleboards and are kilo-for-kilo stronger than steel. Plywood is made up of lots of thin sheets of wood veneer called plies of veneer. Plywood is also the first type of engineered wood to be invented. It is not only strong but lightweight, versatile and decorative.

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About the Author

Nikki Fiedler started writing professionally in 2004. She has been published in "The Vegetarian Journal," "Collegebound," "The Sandspur," "Orlando Style Magazine" and "Rollins Alumni Record." Fiedler graduated from Rollins College in 2008 with a double honors Bachelor of Arts degree in international relations and studio art.