Choosing New Hardwood Flooring For The Home.
Choosing New Hardwood Flooring For The Home.
One of the sure fire ways to improve the look and value of your home is to fit oak hardwood throughout As well as being beautiful and hard wearing, they are environmentally friendly as well.
Wood is a natural resource that is both renewable and recyclable. It is warm and resilient to walk on and easily cleaned too. Usually wood will never require replacement and can add thousands of pounds to the value of a home.
A variety of different styles of wood floor are available. Not just the design of the floor, but the shade and texture as wellInstalling hardwood flooring need not be daunting. With no previous experience and easily hired equipment, A complete novice can install a solid hardwood floor proficiently and with professional results.
Choosing the type of hardwood floor that best fits your home is an important step in planning the installation of your new floor. A solid wood floor can be purchased pre-finished which means it is ready to use and walk on as soon as it has been installed The finish is usually acrylic or polyurethane lacquer, which is durable and hard wearing. However oil finishes are becoming increasingly popular, as people have come to realise that the maintenance is easy and straightforward. Solid wood flooring is also available unfinished, which after installation usually requires a light sanding and then the application of an oil wax or lacquer finish.
The most straightforward way of installing a solid wood floor is by secret nailing (through the tongue) into a base of plywood, flooring grade chipboard, joists or battens. If you have an existing wooden floor, this should first be over boarded with a 6mm plywood sheet to ensure stability of your new flooring. Fitting solid hardwood flooring onto concrete sub-floors is best avoided despite the recent advantages in wood floor adhesive currently on the market.
The styles of solid wood floors available are: Strip- this is typically between 57mm and 90mm in width and is available in random lengths. This takes a little more time to fit than a wider width, but is ultimately more stable as there are more fixings across the width of the room.Plank- This is a traditional wider width floor. However, always bear in mind that the wider the width, the more the tendency for the floor to shrink and gap, or expand and buckle.
Parquet flooring – Parquet floors have a very different look from typical hardwoods. It is constructed from short staves of hardwood assembled by hand into tiles, which are then mounted, onto a backing board. Some of these can be installed in a similar fashion to the plank floors, but the majority is only suitable for glue down which requires a lot more skill and sub-floor preparation.
Engineered Wood Flooring -Engineered flooring is constructed by using a solid hardwood wear layer of between 2mm-6mm, which is laminated onto either a softwood or plywood core. The advantage of engineered hardwoods is their ease of installation and stability.
If you desire a very wide plank type look, an engineered plank floor will ensure far less movement than solid wood. However this may cost a little more than buying solid plank.
Engineered hardwoods although suitable for secret nailing, can also be installed ‘free floating’ over an underlay. Another advantage of engineered hardwoods is that most can be used over under floor heating. Some of the best known are brands of engineered hardwoods are Kahrs, Tarkett, Bruce, Boen Parkett and GrundorfWood Finishes The final finish (as opposed to staining) is what protects the wood from staining, wear and moisture.
The different types of finishes are as follows:- Oil-Finish – The most common surface finish, oil is applied in two or three coats. Oil soaks into the wood, and provides a good protection against wear and staining. This can be left as a mat finish or buffed to give a light sheen. The big advantage is that the finish is inherent in the wood- it wont’ scratch off, and can be easily repaired.
The best known brands of wood floor oil that are suitable for wood flooring are Floor Service, Overmat, Trip Trap, Osmo and Carls A polyurethane lacquer – A good option for the DIY-er, this finish dries quickly and cleans up easily with soap and water. This provides excellent wear protection for the floor and gives a professional finish.
Although floor fitted in high traffic areas may show scratching or marks. The major producers of water based lacquers are Bona Kemi, Granwax, Floor Service, and Dulux who make ‘Diamond Glaze’ PU Impregnator and Wax. A polyurethane sealer (impregnator) is applied to the wood, which acts as a waterproof barrier. A wax can then be applied by hand and buffed up to achieve a warm patina.
Wood or Laminate? With the popularity of laminate flooring growing everyday, many people often ask which they should choose, hardwoods or laminate. Laminate flooring is normally made with an HDF core, sandwiched between a melamine laminate backing, high quality photographic paper with an image of wood, stone or other natural flooring, and a melamine laminate top. While laminate floors are inexpensive and durable, they are also noisier to walk on, cold and not as attractive as the ‘real thing’
Some of the laminate brands available are Quick-Step, Pergo, Berry, Kaindl, Kronospan and Balterio. There are benefits and drawbacks to both hardwoods and laminate flooring. Hardwood floors can be scratched, but scratches are pretty easy to repair. If a laminate floor is scratched or dents, it is not very easily repaired. Where a hardwood floor can be sanded to remove imperfections, the same cannot be done.
Always try and dry clean the floor, as this is the safest and most efficient method. If you do have to wet clean your floor, bear in mind that leaving a layer of moisture to dry on your floor will leave it looking dull and will soon make it attract more dirt.
Maintaining sheen is important as this prevents dirt adhering to your floor. Always fit protective pads to the base of furniture and, install a good doormat at the entrance and you will find that this will eliminate most of the scratches on your new floor