Some expert advice on wooden flooring
After years in the wood flooring business we know all the ins and outs so we thought we'd share them with you! If you are thinking about buying or fitting a wooden floor then look no further.....read our article first and you'll get a leg up...a jargon free...fact rich gem of an article which will ensure you set off in the the right direction. Thanks for looking!!!!
Trust us....we've done it.... a hundred times or more!
We've been in the wood flooring business for years, selling and fitting...so there eally aren't many problems which we haven't come across before. We supply and fit solid wood flooring, engineered wood flooring and laminate flooring....and from time to time correct, repair or relay the floors which other people have installed...and we've seen some shockers! Sometimes a poor finish is just the result of someone going a bad job...which we really can't do anything about but the single, most important thing is to buy wood flooring which is appropriate to your environment.
So lets start with some questions you might want to think about
What sort of environment do yo have?? Do you have high fluctuations in humidity??
What attitude do you have to how your floor looks..how do you feel about scratches??
Do you want it to look perfect all the time or are you happy with a more 'lived in' feel???
Do you have pets or kids (personally I see them as pretty much the same with regard to flooring wear...and eating habits!!)??
Do you have an underfloor heating system??
Lets take a look at solid wood flooring
Doesn't really need an explanation...its a solid lump of wood...from a tree! Solid wood flooring looks and feel great but it's not for everyone.
It's a natural product and hence has a few characteristics which need pointing out. All timber once felled will continue to react to it's environment with respect to moisture levels. Higher humidity = expansion, lower humidity = contraction so if you have an environment in which the humidity fluctuates significantly you should think seriously before installing solid wood flooring. Older properties with less effective damp proofing, kitchens and bathrooms can all potentially cause problems as can newly built houses with residual moisture in concrete floors. If you are in any doubt we would recommentd getting a local flooring specialist to do a quick moisture test. Underfloor heating can also pose significant problems to solid wood flooring and as a general rule of thumb, we would discourage our customers from installing soild wood over underfloor heating.
So...lets get on to wear and tear. Solid wood will mark. Period. If you're going to get stressed about dings and scratches forget it. Unless you want to put socks on your dogs and make your house guests wear slippers! It's a natural product and will produce a 'patina' over time. Personally I love rustic grade soild wood...as it's starts out a little less than perfect and has a great, warm, lived in feel to it and you won't get stressed when the dog skids in chasing the cat or your child drops a metal toy...life's to short to get stressed!!
What about Parquet Flooring?
This seems like a good point to talk about parquet flooring. Parquet...or block flooring is generally installed by sticking oak blocks in a regular pattern...typically herringbone to a soild floor. The installation of block flooring should only be attempted by full competent individuals who have access to specialist tools. We do not recommend the DIY approach!
Lets take a look at engineered wood flooring
Engineered...what???..Don't worry, nobody has ever heard of engineered wood flooring. So here goes...prepare to be enlightened. It's basically a layer of 'real wood' bonded to a softwood base....that's it...easy wasn't it? Why? well it's all about dimensional stability...we're no longer dealing with a fully natural product here so the manufacturers build in greater stability. The bottom line is it will look and feel like solid wood but you can use it over underfloor heating and in areas that are not suitable for solid wood installations. It comes in a traditional tongue and groove..(think nailed down floorboards) and floating or click system..akin to laminate flooring. So it really is incredibly versatile...it uses far less of the raw natural resource..which is no bad thing and it can be as easy to lay as a click system laminate. We recommend the use of engineered flooring to all of our customers.
So it's perfect, right?? Well don't forget the top layer is still real wood so you will need to bear in mind the wear and tear points raised in the soild wood section.
Lets take a look at laminate flooring
OK this is easy..most people know about laminates. They are made by bonding an image...basically a photograph onto a softwood base. An ultra hard wearing surface is then appied. They come in endless sytles and coulours and can be fitted by anyone with reasonable skill level. Some laminates come with a 50 year domestic use guarantee...which give you some idea how hard wearing they are. So if you've got a busy house or you want some of the slightly more 'out there' desings they really are a great choice.
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