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1. When should real wood floors be installed, and under what conditions?

A real wood floor should be installed only after all other building and decoration work has been finished; it should be the final part of the decoration, just before furniture is returned to the room. All work relating to the installation of windows, doorframes, central heating systems, electrical wiring and painting should be completed, and the interior fully dry before the installation begins.

2. What preparations should be taken before installation?

The subfloor surface must be:

  • Clean and dry.
  • Level and uniform, without any cracks.
  • A wood floor underlay should be fitted, providing thermal, moisture and acoustic protection.
3. Which type of floor system is best for use with underfloor heating?

According to the Fraunhofger Institute for Wood Research, all types of parquet are suitable for floor heating. However, careful planning and professional installation of both the heating system and wood floor is essential. Plastic sheeting should always be used to protect the floor against moisture and certain temperature levels should also be adhered to. A temperature of between 20-22░c is ideal and it shouldn't exceed 27░c in any area, even under rugs.

Whilst most wood floors provide the perfect partner to underfloor heating systems, hard maple and beech should be avoided. These species expand and contract more than others, which increases the risk of gaps between the boards.

4. How do you look after a wood floor?

One of the most important things to do is to place entrance mats either side of your front door. Water and grit walked onto the floor will have an abrasive effect on its surface. Also, make sure that protective felt pads are fitted to chair legs and other furniture to avoid scratching the floor.

To ensure that your floor isn't exposed to excessive moisture, wipe up any accidental water spills straight away. Air humidity can also affect a floor; the ideal air relative humidity level in a room is between 40-50 % at 20░C. During the winter, when central heating is constantly used, relative moisture can drop so low that parquet can get excessively dry. To avoid this, consider investing in some air humidifiers; they'll be good for your floor and for your well-being too!

On a day-to-day basis, wood floors can be vacuumed and swept. They should also be cleaned, when necessary, with a well-wrung cloth or mop and a diluted 'wood floor' cleaning solution.

5. Is the hardness of a multi layer wood floor an important feature?

The hardness of wood used for the surface layer can be important, particularly if you're installing a floor in a high traffic area. Wood species with a higher Brinell rating will stand up to wear and tear better than those with a low rating. If you're unsure which species would be most suitable, seek expert advice from a wood flooring professional.

6. Is the colour of the wood important when you're choosing a floor?

As a general rule, light coloured woods such as European maple, birch, beech, or Canadian maple aren't normally recommended for very high traffic areas. They would require a lot more maintenance and every speck of dirt would be visible. A slightly darker floor, with more colour variation, is more forgiving. The table below includes our various applications and lists the most suitable species in each case:

Timber
(surface layer)
Application
ENTRANCE HALL KITCHEN LIVING ROOM BEDROOM PLAYROOM
Oak Suitable Suitable Suitable Suitable Suitable
Red Oak Suitable Suitable Suitable Suitable Suitable
Steamed/
Heat Treated Beech
Beech – not recommended
Steamed/heat treated beech – Suitable
Heat treated beech - Suitable Suitable Suitable Suitable
Birch
Heat Treated Birch
Not Suitable Heat treated birch - Suitable Not recommended Suitable Not recommended
Ash /
Heat Treated Ash
Suitable Heat treated ash - Suitable Suitable Suitable Suitable
Canadian Maple Not recommended Not recommended Suitable Suitable Suitable
European Maple Not recommended Not recommended Not recommended Suitable Suitable
American Cherry Not recommended Not recommended Suitable Suitable Suitable
Merbau Suitable Suitable Suitable Suitable Suitable
Jatoba Suitable Suitable Suitable Suitable Suitable
Irokko (Kambala) Not recommended Suitable Suitable Suitable Suitable
Doussie Suitable Suitable Suitable Suitable Suitable
Wenge Suitable Suitable Suitable Suitable Suitable
European Walnut Not recommended Not recommended Suitable Suitable Suitable
7. Which installation method is better - the traditional glue system or modern glueless joint?

You can choose either method but seek professional advice first, as one might be more suitable for your specific installation. The main options are:

  • Traditional - glue system
  • Modern - glueless joint

The table below compares each method:

Modern - Glueless joint Traditional - Glued system (tongue and groove)
  • Fast, simple installation
  • Maximum strength of the joints achieved straight after assembly
  • The floor is ready to use immediately
  • Installation errors can be corrected immediately
  • No need to use glue
  • Damaged boards can be easily replaced
  • Easy access to floor surface (allowing for possible repairs and maintenance works)
  • The floor adjusts easily to the temperature and humidity changes within the room
  • Quick and easy disassembly
  • The parquet can be reused in another room
  • Takes slightly longer to install - the adhesive needs to be applied to the groove and any excess glue has to be removed
  • The joint becomes fully resistant only after the adhesive is completely dry
  • The floor can be walked on after 12 hours (minimum) and is full bonded after 1-2 days
  • Installation errors can't easily be corrected
  • Use of an adhesive is essential
  • Easy replacement of a damaged boards isn't possible
  • The floor's surface isn't easily accessed
  • Correct temperature and humidity levels should be adhered to
  • Quick and easy disassembly isn't possible
  • The floor cannot be re-assembled
8. Is it possible to walk on a floor directly after installation?

In the case of the glueless method, yes. However, avoid any specific areas where glue may have been used, for example, in the installation of beading or 'wooden collars' around radiator pipes.

9. How can I remove stains from the floor?

All marks and stains should to be removed immediately, before they have chance to dry. Several useful stain removal methods are included below:

Stains and marks Method of removal
Fruit, milk, cream, beer, wine, coffee, tea, juice and other drinks Water with a mild detergent
Shoe polish, oil, tar, asphalt, scratches caused by shoe soles rubbing the floor White spirit
Ink, carbon, lipstick, dried up glue Methylated spirit
Blood Cold water
10. Is it possible to repair a wood floor?

Yes, small defects can be removed and repaired using wood filler in a matching colour. A single board from the middle of the floor, or even a stave, can be replaced but this type of repair should be carried out by a qualified professional.