This guide has been provided by WoodandBeyond, based in London.
Real wood flooring, not to be confused with artificial lookalikes such as vinyl, wood effect or laminate wood, is made from natural material and requires some degree of planning before installation can proceed. Should you decide to venture in the direction of wood flooring, you will need to pay attention to correct storage, types of floorboard construction and installation options. These will ultimately affect the lifespan of the floor.
Types Of Real Wood Flooring
There are two variants of wood flooring that you should evaluate. One is made from 100% natural wood, while a close variant is made from natural wood supplemented with manmade material. The two options may look similar and even cost similar, though in certain settings they react differently.
Solid Wood – The first and most widely recognisable variant is the solid type. Each floorboard is made from complete natural species of hardwood such as Walnut, Oak, Ash and others. Commercial property owners due to their ability to sand and recoat the floor many times (thereby removing signs of wear and tear by ‘exposing’ new floor) specially regard the solid type. They are also popular in domestic settings.
Engineered Wood – A close variant is the machine or engineered wood flooring type. Each floorboard is made from a top layer of natural species hardwood, but the core is made from MDF, Ply and Softwood. The result is a floor that looks similar to the solid type, but significantly can be fitted across the entire project. Natural wood expands when temperature rises, for example when fitted over under floor heating. Furthermore, it will then contract when temperature drops, commonly in high humidity areas such as the bathroom. While solid wood flooring shares this natural reaction, the engineered variant is almost immune and can be fitted across the entire interior. It can cope with under floor heating and even in wet or humid areas when thick waterproof coating is applied.
Acclimatise Period Prior To Installation:
Before fitting either of the two types, allow the temperature and humidity of the wood to match the temperature and humidity of the room they’re in. Expansion and contraction may cause the floorboard (in particular the solid type) to buckle, cup, or develop deep structural damage. Use either of the two practices below.
When the floorboards remain boxed – Keep the ends of the boxes opened and lay the boxes flat across the floor throughout the room for 5 to 10 days before installation.
When the floorboards are unboxed – Instead of laying the opened boxes flat across the floor, take the floorboards out of their boxes and lay them out as you’re going to install them for a minimum of 5 days prior to installation. Naturally, this method of acclimatising the wood requires more space.
Your choice of one installation method over the other will have a significant impact in the durability of the floor. Solid wood can exceed 50 years of service life and engineered wood 25 years. This service life potential often depends on your choice of fitting method together with correct care.
Nail and Glue Down – These methods are time consuming and therefore more expensive. If you have chosen the solid wood floorboard, nail or glue down are the only methods to ensure long service life. Due to the weight of each floorboard, these two are the only proven methods to secure the floorboard in place. You may also use this method to fit the engineered wood floorboard.
Floating and Click System – These methods depend on the weight of each floorboard to hold its counterpart in place. Floating and click system installation methods are the quickest of all the methods and even suitable for property owners with some degree of DIY skills. Manufacturers recommend that only the engineered wood floorboard is installed using one of the two methods, as the solid floorboards is simply too heavy and may be displaced from its location if not held more securely using nails or glue.
We hope these tips on wood flooring installation planning have helped. For more information on building and architectural services, contact CPA Planning Design.
Information by Jonathan Sapir of London based WoodandBeyond.
Tel: 0800 690 6864 (0208 209 2662 local number)
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