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.
The subfloor surface must be:
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.
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.
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.
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:
|ENTRANCE HALL||KITCHEN||LIVING ROOM||BEDROOM||PLAYROOM|
Heat Treated Beech
|Beech – not recommended
Steamed/heat treated beech – Suitable
|Heat treated beech - Suitable||Suitable||Suitable||Suitable|
Heat Treated Birch
|Not Suitable||Heat treated birch - Suitable||Not recommended||Suitable||Not recommended|
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|
|Irokko (Kambala)||Not recommended||Suitable||Suitable||Suitable||Suitable|
|European Walnut||Not recommended||Not recommended||Suitable||Suitable||Suitable|
You can choose either method but seek professional advice first, as one might be more suitable for your specific installation. The main options are:
The table below compares each method:
|Modern - Glueless joint||Traditional - Glued system (tongue and groove)|
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.
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|
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.