Hardwood Flooring

  • Know Your Wood Flooring

    We hope that this blog will be useful in understanding the differences between Solid Wood Flooring, Engineered Wood Flooring and Laminate Flooring. We really just want to make sure that if you are considering installing wooden floors but unsure what to choose, that this will help guide you through to make a more informed decision.

    Solid Wood Flooring

    As suggested in the name, solid wood flooring is made from a strip of solid wood milled directly from the tree. The thickness will range from 15mm to 20mm, with the benefit of sanding and refinishing the floorboards over several generations of use. The floorboards can be finished with oil or lacquer that varies in durability depending on the traffic you receive on the boards. Solid wood flooring can also be used to form steps and other features where the edge is displayed.

    Character Oak Solid Wood Flooring Solid Oak Hardwood Flooring finished with Osmo Polyx (Hardwax) Oil

    As timber is a natural product, solid wood floors will expand and contract with changes to the relative humidity of where it’s installed. To accommodate for the floors’ seasonal changes, an expansion gap between the floor and the wall is required. This is usually covered by the skirting board or matching bead.

    Solid wood flooring can be nailed or screwed down onto existing floorboards, joists, battens and chipboard/plywood. If you have a solid subfloor such as concrete, you can glue your floorboards down or ‘float’ your floor by using a suitable wood flooring underlay.

    Solid wood is arguably the most durable choice when it comes to installing wood flooring, although care must be taken when fitting your floors as the timber will absorb any moisture present in the subfloors. So with the correct preparation and professional advice, you will be able to achieve and enjoy the warmth and charm of installing solid wood flooring in your home or office.

    We manufacture our own solid wood flooring in a beautiful range of hardwood species from European Oak, Ash, Maple, Black Walnut and Cherry. We know the choice can be overwhelming, so that’s why we offer a sample service on all of our flooring range.

    Profile of Solid Hardwood Flooring Profile close up of Solid Wood Flooring

    Engineered Wood Flooring

    Engineered wood flooring has the same aesthetic benefits as solid wood, although it is designed with structural integrity in mind. Our engineered flooring is made of a top layer of solid hardwood 3mm or 5mm thick, bonded with high quality moisture-resistant D4 adhesive (in line with British and European standards) onto a base layer of plywood or medium-high density fibreboard. This construction results in a moisture-resistant hybrid wood flooring that is more tolerant to changes in temperature and relative humidity, displaying very little to no expansion/contraction due to the cross bonding of layers..

    Engineered Oak Wood Flooring Engineered Oak Flooring finished with Osmo Polyx (Hardwax) Oil

    You can fit engineered wood flooring just the same way you would fit a solid wood floor, but one of the most popular fitting methods on smaller domestic areas (no more than 30m2) is to ‘float’ the floors using an appropriate flooring underlay (see ‘Solid Wood Flooring’ section above regarding the fitting methods).

    Again, as the top layer of engineered flooring boards share the same properties as solid wood, you can apply an oil or lacquer finish of your choice.

    Not only will you achieve the same look and feel of solid wood flooring with an engineered floor, but you also get the benefit of strength and stability throughout the floorboards. Also, due to its structural properties, engineered wood flooring is suitable to lay on top of under-floor heating systems, which is a more common trend consumers are now turning to.

    We are one of the very few, if only a handful, who manufacture engineered wood flooring in the UK. Our engineered flooring range launched in February 2012 with such a success, which we feel is due to the methodical process of hand selecting each board whilst using only the best quality of timber materials for construction. We can manufacture any type of engineered floor in the timber of your choice within reason.

    We welcome you to order free samples of our engineered oak flooring in wide boards of 185mm in either 15mm or 20mm thick.

    Profile close up of Engineered Wood Flooring Profile close up of Engineered Oak Flooring 20mm thick

    Laminate Flooring

    The cheapest of the lot, and by no means should it be classified as ‘wood’ flooring. Laminate flooring is basically a piece of plastic with a photographic image of a wood grain section, which is then repeated throughout the entire floor and stuck on top of MDF. It’s known to be scratch resistant, but non-repairable once damaged. It can be fitted on to wood or chipboard subfloors or floated.

    So the appearance of the wood grain is achieved in laminate but is repeated throughout the floor, making it look very unnatural and very cheap. As we are a timber merchant who manufactures wood flooring, trying to be as unbiased in our view of this choice can be a little difficult, so we do apologise!

    Laminate Flooring Laminate Flooring Construction

    We hope this blog will help you make that decision in choosing the most suitable flooring in your next project. Feel free to drop us comments or questions you might have on this blog or email, telephone, tweet, facebook, Google Plus, Skype, fax, Royal Mail or come in and see us!

  • Fitting Hardwood Floors Over Solid Subfloors

    If you've been charmed by the appeal of wood flooring but have discovered your subfloor to be concrete, tiles or asphalt, don't be dismayed by this as you can still lay beautiful hardwood floors on top.

    Classic Oak Hardwood Flooring Classic Oak Hardwood Flooring

    Before going into the fitting options over your solid subfloor, we always recommend that you need to firstly consider the relative humidity of the air in the room where the floor is to be installed - ideally this should be 50-65%. You can find more information under the 'Preparation' section (page 4) in our Hardwood Floor Fitting & Maintenance Guide.

    Floor Fitting Options

    There are 3 ways of fitting wood flooring onto solid subfloors:

    1. Glueing (not applicable to asphalt)
      • Ensure that the solid subfloor is fully dry. If concrete, screed or render has recently been laid; we advise a minimum drying time will take 1" per month. So if you have laid concrete that’s 6" thick, you will need to wait at least 6 months before fitting your hardwood floor. We cannot stress the drying time enough, as we've seen floors pop and buckle.
      • If you’re satisfied that your solid subfloor is dry, apply a continuous damp proof membrane (DPM), such as OSMOUK Moisture Barrier and Encapsulator.
      • Proceed with applying your glue, we recommend OSMOUK MS Advance Wood Flooring Adhesive, as it has a high bond strength but remains permanently flexible. This glue will allow the flooring to move as the seasons change but it will not crack and the floor will stay adhered to the subfloor.
    2. Floating Floating a floor means that it is not fastened down to the subfloor below, giving you the advantage of gaining access to your subfloor if required.

      • Lay a full layer of visqueen over the whole subfloor. This is a 300mu (1200 gauge) polythene damp proof membrane.
      • Apply floor fitting foam underlay, which has a strong adhesive coating on one side with a peelable protective film. A very popular method of fitting as it vastly reduces installation time compared to traditional mechanical fixing and glueing techniques.
    3. Mechanical Fixing (with additional subfloor) A more traditional way of fitting hardwood flooring, through the methods of nailing or screwing the floor down. The advantages of mechanical fixing is that you have extra damp proofing, added height and the ability to lift floor boards up if access to subfloor is required.

      • Lay a full layer of visqueen over the whole subfloor. This is a 300mu (1200 gauge) damp proof membrane.
      • Lay down your additional subfloor, i.e., chipboard, plywood, OSB board or battens.
      • Pin a layer of building paper over the subfloor (chipboard, plywood, OSB board or battens). This is a belt and braces approach to further damp proof and protect your hardwood flooring.
      • Now that your subfloor is prepared, you can either face nail, secret nail or secret screw your floor boards down.

        Secret Nailing Hardwood Flooring Secret Nailing

    For more information, download our Hardwood Floor Fitting & Maintenance Guide. You will find techniques and tips to the various fixing methods mentioned along with preparing and maintaining your floors.

    If you have any questions, feel free to comment on this blog, call or email us. We know fitting hardwood flooring can be a daunting task, especially if you are a novice. So we're always on hand to give you the best possible advice to make sure your installation project goes smoothly and that you enjoy the feeling that hardwood flooring brings to your home or office.

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