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Grades & Properties of Wood Flooring —
Other Common Names and Related Species:
Janka Hardness: 1686
Australian Beech is 30% harder than Red Oak.
Grades of Australian Beech Flooring:
Australian Beech flooring is grouped into two grades. The grades are called different things by different manufacturers, but there is a Select grade Australian Beech and a #1 Common grade. Select grade Australian Beech flooring has some color variation but is fairly uniform in color. The #1 Common grade Australian Beech may have pitch pockets and small knots, as well as increased color variation. Pitch pockets are small black openings where pitch gathered inside the tree.
Flooring Dimension Specifications:
Most Australian Beech is milled in Australia because it is more cost-effective to ship finished material than raw lumber. Lengths of the Australian Beech flooring bundles are 7 feet so they can easily fit into 8-foot-wide steel shipping containers. All pre-milled products are tongue-&-groove and end-matched (tongue-&-grooved on the ends of the boards). Moisture content ranges from 6% to 8% for quick acclimation. The average length of the flooring pieces is usually about 3 feet and ranges from 1 to 7 feet. Almost all imported flooring that is found is in 7-foot bundle, with widths available from 2¼″ to 5″. If a long or wide plank floor is desired, raw lumber must be obtained and the flooring must be milled here in the United States. Typically, the lengths can develop up to 12 feet. However, the cost can be double that of the pre-milled stock because of waste and labor costs in the United States. Also, raw lumber is relatively expensive and rare with this species.
Australian Beech flooring is available prefinished or unfinished in solid for nail-down applications and in engineered form with a veneer top layer for concrete applications. Australian Beech is a rare species in comparison with most hardwood flooring. There is a large amount of Australian Beech in Australia, and it is not endangered. However, less logging, stricter regulations, and a slower American economy have limited commodities and caused slightly higher prices of this product in this country.
Finished Floor Appearance:
Australian Beech flooring has mild color variation. The pitch pockets are almost black, and the wood color is dark tan and contains dark color variation. Oil- or water-based finishes are recommended. The flooring does not darken significantly with age.
Flooring Durability and Stability:
Australian Beech flooring is very durable and resists denting and traffic wear quite well. It is harder than many North American floors because of its density but can swell with moisture if not acclimated properly. Australian Beech is heavy, weighing over 3 pounds per square foot.
Workability of Australian Beech Flooring:
Although hard and tough, Australian Beech works with little difficulty with both hand and power tools. When installing the flooring, it is best to use a manual nailer, but staples and pneumatic nailers can be used. It holds screws well, glues well, stains, and polishes to a very attractive finish. It can be difficult to sand with flooring equipment, so professional sanding and finishing is recommended. This wood is very resistant to decay and insects; these resistant properties may contribute to a possible allergic response to the dust. To avoid a possible allergic reaction to the material, wear a dust mask and long-sleeve shirt when working with Australian Beech.
Principal Uses of Australian Beech Flooring:
Australian Beech flooring is used in medium- to high-end residential and commercial applications for an interesting floor. It is used in rustic camps as well as in contemporary structures.