Blackbutt is a native Australian hardwood from the Eucalyptus family.
May 4th, 2022
Blackbutt timber is an extremely popular choice in Australia for settings where longevity and durability are crucial. As such, it has become one of Australia’s favourite choices for timber flooring. Blackbutt timber comes from a form of Eucalyptus tree known as Eucalyptus Pilularis.
The name ‘Blackbutt’ was inspired by the appearance of the tree, which usually has a dark back base as a result of previous bush fires. The bark on the lower trunk of a Blackbutt tree is rough and fibrous, but towards the top of the tree the branches and upper trunk appear smooth and often white – hence the name.
Blackbutt shines out as a flooring option primarily due to its incredible durability. Blackbutt timber has a Class 1 durability rating – the highest possible – meaning that it will remain in perfect condition for over 50 years when installed aboveground and more than 25 years when laid directly into the ground. Blackbutt’s status as a native wood also gives it a huge advantage when it comes to Australian construction, because it is naturally equipped to cope with an Australian climate. Blackwood is one of only seven hardwood timber species that has been approved for home construction in bushfire-prone areas by the Victorian Building Commission.
There are a few different forms of blackbutt flooring. Solid blackbut flooring is made from real planks of blackbutt timber that are manufactured into floorboards. Solid timber planks like these are undeniably the most expensive, but they have immense benefits in the long term when considering the durability and potential for re-sanding.
A slightly more common flooring option is engineered blackbutt timber. Unlike solid timber flooring, each plank has multiple layers. The exterior layer is a (relatively thin) surface of blackwood timber, which is bonded to a thicker base of plywood. This gives engineered flooring the same appearance as solid timber for a much lower price – though it sacrifices some of the long term durability.
Another option to achieve the appearance of black butt flooring is laminate. Laminate flooring has a surface layer much like engineered flooring, but the top layer of a laminate floorboard is actually a printed image of wood. This means that blackbutt laminate is not a hardwood flooring option at all. The benefit to laminate flooring is its affordability. However, the cheaper options will look less like authentic wood, due to an absence of feature grade variations.
Blackbutt vs spotted gum
Spotted gum is another type of hardwood flooring that holds many similar characteristics to blackbutt timber. Spotted gum is slightly harder, though their ratings are very similar. They are virtually indistinguishable in pricing by m2.
Spotted gum has a darker appearance, while blackbutt floors tend to be a light natural wooden colour. Colour variation is more common in spotted gum floors and each plank is often a slightly different shade or colour. By contrast, blackbutt floors tend to have greater colour consistency and a more uniform appearance. If you are struggling with a choice between the two, here is a review of the best applications for blackbutt flooring and images to inspire your flooring remodel.
Vinyl flooring is similar to laminate in that it has a printed surface layer which can be made to mimic natural materials such as blackbutt timber. However, vinyl differs from laminate at its core. Vinyl is 100% plastic, usually composed from fiberglass and PVC. It is a much cheaper material in the short term and can usually be installed easily in a floating floor. You can purchase luxury vinyl coastal blackbutt flooring here from National Flooring Distributors.
However, vinyl blackbutt flooring does not have the same natural appeal as solid blackbutt. If you are hoping for the authentic look of real timber, printed layer flooring is probably not the choice for you.
Laminate flooring, unlike vinyl, has a wooden core of byproducts mixed with resins. The individual layering and structure of laminate flooring is very similar to vinyl. In comparison with vinyl flooring, laminate is more aesthetically pleasing and durable. Laminate appears more authentic and is fade resistance, with an easy installation. You can purchase 10mm quickstep blackbutt laminate flooring here from Bunnings for $42.60.
However, laminate is much more susceptible to water and moisture damage than vinyl flooring.
Hybrid flooring is a mix of both laminate and vinyl. Hybrid floors have a limestone or wooden core to strengthen the plank and improve durability against foot traffic. Hybrid flooring is generally more expensive than laminate and vinyl, but it has greater resistance to wear over time and a more natural appearance. You can purchase the coastal blackbutt hybrid flooring pictured above here from Karma Flooring for $47.00 per m2.
A matte finish is a great way to protect your floors and keep them looking natural over the years. Matte finishes are stylish and give floors a contemporary look. They reduce the glare and reflection of artificial lights and soften the appearance of the room. You can purchase the engineered blackbutt timber flooring pictured above here from Flooring Online for $206.69 per pack. (1.98m2)
Parquet flooring is a style of arranging hardwood timber into repeating geometric patterns. The most common form of parquet flooring is herringbone, a striking design of parallelograms laid in a way that mimics herring fish bones.
Parquet flooring is more commonly found in engineered, laminate, vinyl or hybrid flooring than solid hardwood as it is much easier to manufacture for a top layer alone. You can purchase a box of the blackbutt herringbone flooring pictured above here from Imperial Glass and Timber for $99.
Engineered flooring is one of the best options for blackbutt timber. Engineered flooring can be lightly re-sanded, depending on the thickness. It is also more affordable and easier to install than solid blackbutt flooring. You can purchase engineered blackbutt flooring here from Boral for $118/m2.
Nothing quite compares to the simple beauty of solid flooring. Solid blackbutt timber floors can be re-sanded multiple times and will last decades. They are durable, resistant to pests, scratches, stains and fires, and are low maintenance. In the long term, a solid wood floor is one of the most cost-effective blackbutt flooring options available.
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