Here in Spain, the most common materials used for flooring are ceramic tiles, marble or a type of quarry stone. Ceramic tiles come in all shapes and sizes and some are even made to simulate wood. They can all look great (if laid correctly), feel cool in the summer and are reasonably easy to keep clean. But come winter, and a good pair of slippers is a must, particularly living in the mountains, as I do.
When commissioning a builder to construct a dream home in the sun, choosing the tiles is great fun, but very few Spaniards will suggest wooden floors, in fact they’ll probably throw their hands up in horror at the very thought. At one time there was a good reason for this: I live in an old farmhouse where the timber beams were originally a tree that was cut down, left rough and untreated and then hauled into place. Of course, everything living in the wood simply moved house – mine to be exact; and having no concept of structural engineering they continued chomping away regardless until there were more holes than wood. The rest is dust, no floor and history.
But today’s quality timber is treated against everything with teeth, as well as the worst the elements can hurl at it, and that includes wine, thankfully. But old suspicions die hard, and although wood is making a comeback in Spain the wheels of change turn slowly. But they are turning, and the increasing number of wooden houses being built confirms this fact.
So why not have a wooden floor? Once fully stained and sealed, a tongue and grove wooden floor is easy to keep clean and feels great underfoot any time of year, and another plus point, it looks beautiful. As I mentioned, I live in an old house where the old timber beams have been replaced with treated timber. When renovating, I initially thought tiles on the upper floor because, like the Spanish, I didn’t consider wood as an alternative. But this presented a problem: tiles are rigid whereas the timber beams flex – the two don’t go well together. So it meant having to pour a thick layer of cement and light-weight lava balls before tiling could commence. Even after all this expense and preparation, I still have the odd tile come loose.
Salvation came when Woodworks Direct suggested a wooden floor; I wish they had been around all those years ago when I first started transforming a shell into a liveable house. So if you are either having a house built or are taking on an old one for rehabilitation, seriously consider wooden floors – you’ll not regret it.
Please see our website for more information at www.woodworksdirect.com