Timber flooring is a popular choice for many households in Australia for their attractive and polished appearance. While this is rarely an issue for those living in houses, the existence of timber flooring in a strata scheme can create problems.
Most issues revolving around timber floors in strata schemes revolve around the bane of the existence of many living in strata schemes – noise. While timber floors certainly look great, the sound of feet or shoes can easily transmit and create real problems for others. Timber floors which have been poorly installed or poorly insulated can easily be heard by downstairs neighbours, greatly amplifying the sounds such as walking in heels, children walking and running inside, and the scraping of tables and chairs on the hard surfaces.
For these reasons, many owners corporations simply choose to create by-laws which straight up prohibit the laying of timber flooring in strata schemes, although every scheme is unique. So if you decide timber flooring is the go for you, don’t just start installing – always consult your scheme by-laws. This could save you a lot of time and effort! Also if you are renovating, remember to notify your owners corporation of any plans you have to make changes to your lot.
If you discover by laws in your scheme prohibit the laying of timber floors, but you still wish to install them, it may be worth making an application to your OC for an exception. As well as it being necessary (and courteous) to notify the OC you are planning to renovate, you may be able to state your case for installation of timber flooring. To do this, you must be able to show how your choice will not impact upon your neighbours. Properly done timber floor installations may include a heavy duty rubber underlay, which can greatly reduce the noise transmitted through the flooring, as opposed to laying timber straight onto concrete flooring. If you are on a ground floor, you may be able to state in your application the noise will be less of an issue.
If an owners corporation by law prohibits the change from carpet flooring to timber, an owner may be able to go to the Commissioner’s office for a ruling as the by-law may be too prohibitive. In some situations, carpet may be unacceptable to asthma sufferers. Residents may thus be able to state their case to attempt to reach a mutually acceptable outcome. One SSKB managed community has a specific by-law requiring acoustic testing to be done on the alteration of flooring to ensure there are no adverse effects for neighbours.
If an OC still does not permit installation, but you still want the timber flooring, you might want to consider high quality timber-look vinyl flooring options. Some timber look vinyl is also available in planks, which might be your closest and best alternative to actual timber flooring. Timber look vinyl flooring is significantly cheaper to purchase and to install than actual timber floorboards, and is a great, much quieter alternative for those living in strata schemes.
If you have questions on installation on timber flooring in your lot or strata scheme, talk to your SSKB Community Manager. Every strata scheme is different, and we will take note of the small details to point you in the right direction to ensure the best possible outcome for you.