floorboards Image courtesy of Boral Australia

Timber floors have natural beauty and character, providing a warm, stylish and comfortable atmosphere. Timber is durable, affordable and easy to maintain. When cared for, timber floors will last a lifetime.

Timber floors are also a smart choice for the environment. A natural, renewable and sustainable material, timber is carbon positive, meaning that carbon is stored for the life of the timber. Timber also has very high insulation properties, and quite low energy levels are required for its production.

Borthwick Floors™ carefully selects Australian timber products to suit Australian conditions. They specialise in the installation of timber flooring, combining new and old techniques to provide you with the best investment you can make. They also install timber flooring to concrete and high rise slabs.

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing your timber floor:


The colour is dictated primarily by the timber species – see some examples under Timber Species. Keep in mind that no two trees are the same and there are always some natural colour variations within the same timber species. Therefore, it is impossible for an exact colour match to be achieved.

It is also natural for the depth of colour of the timber to change slightly over time, especially with exposure to direct sunlight. Close curtains and blinds whenever possible to minimise colour variation. It is a good idea to move rugs and furniture occasionally, to give the flooring an opportunity to 'even out'.

A lighter timber colour may help make a room appear lighter and bigger. Dark floors tend to show dirt more than light floors.

Characteristics / Grade

Many timber species are available in two or three grades. The higher grade will be more consistent and clear in appearance, and usually suits a sleek and modern environment. A lower timber grade is likely to exhibit more natural characteristics such as gum vein, knots, colour variation and insect markings, resulting in a more rustic, old world charm. See Grades of Timber for more information.

Board Width

Tongue and groove flooring is supplied in varying board widths, depending on the species. Wider boards are more susceptible to natural shrinkage or expansion, which may result in cupping across the width of the board or slightly larger gaps between boards. Generally, these conditions occur during dry weather, or can be due to the use of heaters and air conditioners, but usually disappear with time. Tongue and groove flooring is usually 19mm thick, allowing the boards to be laid directly on bearers, joists or battens, and to be strong enough to manage foot traffic immediately.


Timbers with higher hardness levels are more durable, showing less wear and tear. Consider the durability you require from your timber floor, especially if you expect heavy traffic, in particular by high heel or stiletto shoes. Also, keep in mind that the durability of your surface coating will influence the overall durability of the floor. For details, see Hardness Rating of specific timbers.

Top Nail or Secret Nail

Some timber flooring is available in a choice of top nail or secret nail profiles. Top nail boards are installed with nails through the top surface of the board, and secret nail boards are installed with nails through the tongue, resulting in a cleaner finish. Secret nailing is not recommended for boards over 85mm wide.


Depending on the type of boards used and the sub-floor supporting system, there can be a difference in the feel and the sound of timber flooring when walked on. Generally, tongue and groove flooring laid over joists or battens will have more 'spring', which also means there may be some vertical movement at the edges of the boards when walked upon. This can result in one board moving slightly against the edge of the next board, causing squeaks. Squeaks are often more common during drier weather due to loosening at the joints.

Floors that are laid over a plywood or similar sub-floor will have a firmer feel. Flooring that is glued directly to concrete will also feel firmer.

For more information to help in your decision, see examples of our Timber Species.

Contact Borthwick Floors™ for more information on floorboards.

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