One of the most important parts of interior designing or redecorating a home is fitting the right flooring. The right decision can ensure your house transforms into a beautiful and cosy place in which to live. However, it can often be difficult to decide on the flooring that is right for your home.
Wood is currently the most popular home flooring material for various reasons. It enhances the decor of any room, is ecologically friendly and provides warmth and a timeless beauty that increases in value as the years move on. If you decide to fit wood flooring, consider each of the three types of wood flooring available to you.
1. Solid wood flooring
These are wood planks or blocks (parquet) that are cut from logs and dried in a kiln to a moisture level of between 8% and 12%. They are then machine cut into various lengths, widths and grades and are later processed at the factory with wax or lacquer. Solid wood flooring is usually left unfinished for the installer to finish when fitting on site.
2. Engineered flooring
This type of wood flooring is a hardwood veneer placed atop a cross plywood base. Engineered flooring comes in various thicknesses ranging from 10mm to 21mm. They have several benefits over solid wood, including ease of installation.
3. Laminate flooring
This flooring is a photograph of a wood grain that is then laminated atop a wooden composite base. It is not real wood; however it does have many advantages over the other floor types. Laminate floor is durable, not sensitive to moisture and the easiest to install. The photo grain is also so good that you would not easily know it is not real wood.
Whichever flooring you choose, it is important to familiarize yourself with the methods used to fit them.
Floating is where the flooring is not fastened to the sub floor. This method is usually only ever used where a solid sub floor (such as concrete) is already in place. It is recommended to only use adhesive floor fitting foam to fit floating floors. It is never recommended to glue together floorboards and float them.
Mechanical fitting. This is a popular method for fitting hardwood flooring. It involves using hand tools such as tape measure, carpenter’s square and hammer to nail or screw the floor onto existing floorboards, sub floor, joints or battens. There are different ways of completing the task with this method, including secret nailing where a nail gun is used to drive nails through the side of the tongue at angles of between 33 degrees and 45 degrees.
Solid wood flooring
Gluing. This method is suitable for fitting flooring on a solid sub floor. Always ensure that the sub floor is completely dry and free of dirt and solid particles. Install a continuous Damp Proof Membrane when using this method to ensure the floor remains dry.
The key to successful installation is proper planning, preparation and execution. Ensure the relative humidity in the room where the floor is to be installed or even stored is between 50% and 65%. Too much humidity can damage the flooring and give poor results.
Also, check that the floor you get is kiln dried to the appropriate moisture content level: ideally 10%. The floor should also have been stored in temperature controlled conditions prior to your collection. This ensures the floor will require little if any acclimatisation before lying.