Questions And Answers On Wood Flooring

Below is a selection of the questions we get asked most of the time. If you wish to add to this list, please let us know so we can continue to add content. 

It is not a definitive document as we will never be able to cover every eventuality on wood flooring because there will always be individual circumstance that we have yet to come across.

Wood flooring and sub floors:

There are many types of subfloors from those where Edwardian and Victorian houses have an airspace underneath joist to new concrete slabs and cement screeds.

Q1. I have a new sand and cement screed with no underfloor heating what should the moisture content be?

The moisture level must be less than 2% and any screed in a normal temperature of around 18 degrees will take one day per 1mm to dry out. A 70mm screed for example will take 70 days

Q2. I have underfloor heating

Any type of underfloor heating system must be tested and commissioned before you consider installing any timber floor. You then turn it off before installing any floor.

Q3. I have a cradle suspended floor system with underfloor heating

The slab under these types of systems must be fully sealed with a DPM sheet or high-quality liquid DPM to fully seal the area underneath and up to the top of the cradle system. This will prevent the moisture in the concrete slab affecting the timber in the cradle system and also the floor. Concrete slabs in new builds will take 10 years to dry out.

Q4. I have an Anhydrite Screed:

This type of screeds will have salts and other chemicals in their mix and are normally “poured” or “pumped” in. As they settle and dry a “laitance” will form on the top. This must be removed within 7 days so that the resulting screed can dry out. If left the laitance will seal in the moisture in the slab and eventually crack and then moisture will come out and affect any timber very badly. The timber is likely to twist and warp. Liken it too custard that has been left for a couple of days where a skin forms on the top and the bottom is “mushy”.

Q5. I have a void under my old floorboards and want to install new flooring above

The best way is to remove the old floorboards and then check the joist and the base floor and make sure that the bricks or other method of allowing air to circulate underneath as free form debris and other obstacles. You can then add insulation between the joists using “hangers” and then fix a 20mm structural board direct to the joists. An alternative method is to screw marine plywood to the joists and then fully bond a 15mm engineered board which can also be herringbone or chevron. Parquet herringbone and chevron cannot be fitted to joist as it needs a plywood or chipboard subfloor.

Q6. I have old stone tiles on my floor and do not want to take them up

It is possible to install a new wood floor on top of existing tiles; provided they are sound, level and free from dirt/grease/grime.  You may need to lay a ply over the top of the existing tiles to ensure a flat surface.  These specifics will need to be discussed with your fitter.

Q7. I have joists and want to install a floor directly to them

You will need to use a structural floorboard (i.e. 20mm thick with a multi-layer backing) with joists 300-350mm centres.  These boards can be secret screwed or nailed into place.  Please note, parquet is not suitable for fitting direct to joists.

Q8. I have an old concrete floor that is damaged and crumbling

This needs to be repaired and the best way is to use a Schonox product that contains strengthening fibres. You can see this in the case study on York house here

Q9. Is fully bonding or floating the best fitting method?

As a general rule, it is better to fully bond (glue) the wood floor to the subfloor.  However, there may be some rare instances where floating is required (i.e. you’re using a click-lock floor).  For more information please speak to our experts to discuss your project specifics.

Q10. I need a durable finish, which is best?

Ultimately this will depend on the usage the floor will get and what you are expecting from the floor.  We offer either UV Oiled, Lacquered or Hard Wax Oil finished to our products.  Some hardwoods work better with particular finishes (i.e. Walnut is best Hard Wax Oiled).  Oak is more versatile in terms of what it can be finished with, however, most of our clients are very happy with our UV Oiled range as it gives the benefits of ease-of-repair of an oiled floor with the added surface protection as a lacquered finish.

Q11. Can I put wood flooring in a kitchen/bathroom?

Yes, wood flooring can be fitted in any part of your home. Remember that wood flooring is a natural product and will react differently compared to man-made or stone tile options.  Discuss care and maintenance advise with our experts prior too fitting in high spillage areas.

Q12. What are the advantages of engineered wood in comparison to solid wood?

There are a number of advantages in choosing engineered boards instead of solid.  These are as follows:

  • It is significantly more sustainable and friendly to the environment as around five times the amount of hardwood (e.g. Oak, Walnut, Maple etc…) to produce a solid board compared with an engineered board.
  • Engineered wood flooring is suitable for use with under floor heating – see our UFH guide for more information.
  • Engineered wood floors are more stable than solid, are less likely to move and warp
  • Engineered wood floors can be made wider and longer than solid boards
  • Engineered wood floors can be fitted with no acclimatisation period providing there is no under floor heating where the boards are being fitted.

Q13. What is the difference between chevron and herringbone parquet?

The difference between herringbone and chevron parquet is how the boards join together.  A chevron parquet end in a point as the ends of the boards are cut at typically either 30, 45 or 60-degree angles.  A herringbone parquet on the other hand does not have an angled cut, rather the pieces are rectangular, and one lays across the top of another creating a stepped pattern.

Q14. What does ‘unfinished’ mean?

When you see a wood floor described as “Unfinished” that means we have not applied any protective coatings to the boards.  This gives you the opportunity to lay the floor and then apply whatever products you wish to protect the floor and give it any colouring desired.  Our team are able to assist in discussions about some of the options available in terms of on site finishing products.

Q15. What does Character mean?

The term character can be applied in two ways with wood flooring.  The first is referring to the aesthetic properties of the wood e.g. grain pattern, knots etc… the ‘character’ of the timber. The other meaning of this term is as a grade description, i.e. ‘Character Grade’ this denotes a way to visualise the grading specification. Character grade usually has a wider grain, with larger and more frequent knots permissible than a ‘select’ grade, but not as much as a ‘rustic’ grade.

Q16. Do we sell transitions, Scotia boards etc?

We do not stock transitions/trims; however, for large projects we may be able to craft an accompanying transition/stair nose/skirting etc… providing the specification is detailed and discussed prior to ordering.

In fact, with our engineered boards you would not normally need transitions thresholds or anything else and they are a trip hazard as well. It is easy to router out part of the board to fit carpet to and if it butts up to tiles there is normally no need for an expansion gap as long as you use our SW890 adhesive and have a gap around the perimeter where the boards are covered by skirting.

We can make matching stair noses and in some cases are able to supply solid oak matching stairs if you have a glass balustrade.

Q17. What does Grading mean?

Grading is a way of outlining the scope of visual characteristics of the wood floor in terms of grain pattern, knotting, splits etc… We use an alphabetical listing from A-F grade, combinations of these are used to show the range possible within a product.  From a description we also describe these with the terms: Prime, Select, Character, Mixed and Rustic.  For more information please see our Grading of Wood Flooring document

Q18. Can I fit this on my Wall?

It is possible to fit wood floor planks to your wall.  However, you should first double check for any relevant building regulations for the project you’re working on and the strength of the wall you’re fitting to.

Q19. How long before I have to sand it and re finish?

This will depend on a number of factors unique to where the flooring is fitted.  Typically, if the floor is well maintained and cleaned with the correct products, the finish should last for many years, possibly a lifetime depending on usage.

If a wood floor has not been properly maintained or is in a very heavy use environment, then you need to watch out for indicators that the finish is in need of maintenance.  These indicators are typically:

  • How quickly the wood floor is getting dirty/how easy it is to clean any soiling off?
  • Does the wood feel rough? (not application to band sawn flooring)
  • Does the floor look patchy?
  • Has a chemical cleaner been used or spilt on to the floor?

If the answers to these questions are that it is hard to clean and looks/feels rough/patchy then it might be time to consider re-oiling.  It is always best to get in touch with us first to discuss and sanding may not be required.

Q20. Is tongue and groove better than click-lock?

Generally speaking with wood flooring a tongue and groove system is better than click-lock.  This because a tongue and groove system allow more flexibility in how the floor is fitted.  A click-lock system is usually quicker to fit but if the click-lock mechanism is damaged during fitting it cannot be repaired unlike tongue and groove.

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