There are three types of wood floor:
Each board is made from a single piece of timber, usually with a tongue and groove joint on the ends as well as the long sides. Wood is a natural product and is susceptible to dimensional changes due to moisture and humidity – each installation needs to be professionally assessed and the floor acclimatised before installation commences.
Real Wood Engineered
These floors offer added stability and a greater variety of design. They are normally constructed in three layers, using a chosen species as a top wear layer, with a central core either of softwood, high-density fibreboard (HDF) with a balancing spruce veneer, or birch plywood. The top wear layer can vary from 2mm to 7mm depending on the product.
These floors are made from HDF board coated with a decorative wood grain foil beneath a transparent but hard wearing melamine surface.
How to choose the right floor:
There are a number of different factors that will affect which floor is the right one for you:
- The Colour
- The Grading
- The Hardness
- The Style
- The Surface Finish
Timber offers a wonderful diversity of tones, adding richness and atmosphere to any room. By far the most popular choice of hardwood is oak, which is homely, extremely practical and hardwearing. Light woods like maple can create a cool, contemporary feel, cherry woods with their reddish colours add warmth and character, while dark timbers such as walnut with its swirling grain can look stunningly sophisticated.
The grade of timber is key to the overall look of your floor. Prime Grades are clean and straight grained with even colouration and no knots. Select Grades have some grain variation, with up to 10% sapwood allowed in some species and only small knots allowed. Rustic Grades may show a lot of variation in grain and colour. There may be large knots, some filled, dark streaks and filled cracks permitted. Aged and Distressed and Sawn Grades are rustic in appearance, each plank having been hand distressed, producing a roughened surface. They are then subjected to a series of caustic processes that include smoking and the application of oils and stains prior to finishing.
The various species of timber vary in their hardness, with pine, walnut and ash being softest, cherry middling, and jatoba, merbau and Canadian maple being at the harder end of the scale.
Planks are available in a variety of widths and lengths within ranges, and often come with or without bevels. Bevels are chamfered edges, which when on the two long sides of a plank, emphasise the length of the room. Bevels on all four sides of the plank will shorten the width of the room and emphasise its length. A floor without bevels gives an unbroken flat surface.
3 Strip is engineered from staves of wood with smaller lengths and widths than plank, however, each piece has it's own individual colour and character.
5. SURFACE FINISH
The surface of the board has been pre-treated, either in an acrylic, UV or ceramic lacquer. This is a relatively hardwearing, durable, smooth surface coating that can be dull matt sheen or shiny gloss in appearance.
Brush Matt Lacquered
The surface of the board has been brushed to remove the soft fibres from the grain leaving a textured surface. The matt lacquer gives the same impression as an oiled floor, but has the added benefits of the reduced maintenance required from a lacquered floor.
Natural Oiled Surface
Natural oil deepens the colour and brings out the beauty of the grain by soaking right into the wood. Once the floor has been laid it is advisable to treat the surface immediately with a topcoat of hardwax oil. The beauty of using natural oil is that if the floor becomes scratched or bruised, the damaged area can be easily touched in by applying another coat of hardwax.
This has the same characteristics as natural oil, but due to the greater viscosity of the wax, it doesn't sink so deep into the surface. The floor can be easily touched in and when buffed, restores itself to its original condition.
1. SECRET NAILING
A special floor-nailing machine drives a barbed steal cleat into the tongue of the new floorboard at 45 degrees, into either a sized kiln dried batten or a plywood / stirling board subfloor. Never use non- kiln dried battens as this can lead to cupping or warping of the floor due to excess moisture in the battens.
The new floor is fitted over an underlay without being fixed to the subfloor. This is ideal when there is a question as to excess moisture in the subfloor. A polythene damp proof membrane can be used to isolate the wood floor from any moisture beneath it. This method also provides a light cushioned feel to the floor.
3. STICK DOWN
Here the wooden floor is stuck directly to the subfloor. Special adhesives, which remain flexible, while still having immense bonding strength, have been formulated to expand and contract without damaging the structure of the timber.
The growing popularity in the use of under-floor heating presents considerable challenges when used with hardwood flooring. In general, we would always recommend that where under-floor heating is being used, Real Wood Engineered should be installed in preference to a Solid Wood floor due to the increased stability that a multi-layered construction provides. Under-floor heating should be kept at a steady temperature as quick changes can cause the wood to shrink and crack. You should NEVER install under-floor heating over a concrete subfloor that has moisture content of over 75% relative humidity.