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August 2009

Why not to use DPM over existing floorboards.

We recently received the following question


I'm planning on laying a wooden floor throughout the ground floor of my house (a 1930's terrace), on top of the existing suspended floor boards. I've read your guide and now feel much better prepared!

That said, I do have one question. You state (quite clearly) that when laying a new wooden floor on top of existing floorboards, you should not use a DPM because it might cause condensation between it and the underfloor. But if I don't use a DPM then surely this moisture would just pass into the base of the new wooden floor, potentially causing problems there instead? I'm a little confused on this point! Any chance you could clear this up for me?

Many thanks


Non-concrete/screed Floors

Thank you for your question.

The reason for not using a DPM when installing onto existing floorboards is that this would block the normal ventilation that should exist underneath the existing floorboards (the void which should have air gaps in the walls). Any moisture that normally evaporates harmlessly through the boards into the air will be trapped against the DPM and might cause rotting of the existing floorboards and even your joists.
Using a normal foam underlayment in these cases makes sure the moisture - every home has more or less moisture during the seasons - will now still be able to evaporate through the whole construction.

When your underfloor is level a 2-3mm foam is sufficient. If you need more sound-insulation it's best to use a thicker underlay (brown roll in picture, also available with DPM attached to it for concrete floors).

Whatever kind of underlayment you need, don't cheapskate with the materials you use: it'll cost you in the end (inferior materials = more time correcting plus the end result of your natural real wooden floor could sound like a 'plastic' Melamine Laminated floor).

Constantly updating our guides


It is thanks to serous DIY'ers like Richard we are able to constantly update our guides when they feel/think information is missing or we could have explain items better. Being professional installers of wooden flooring does sometimes mean we overlook the fact that some terms or methods are daily tasks for us but not for our clients.

We love your input on these matters, so feel free to help us help you.

Why Wooden Flooring: FSC certification is a long term commitment for companies

FSC certification is a long term commitment for companies


FSC and creating sustainable forests is on ongoing business. Life is "give and take". This rule applies more than ever in the 30,000 hectare FSC forest owned and managed by Inpa in Bolivia.

"Put everything back into the forest what you have taken out. Call upon the services of the local inhabitants, but give them their due. Show respect for all forms of life in and around the forest."

This is the philosophy which J. Roosenboom, founder of the Dutch company, believed in 20 years ago and implemented his philosophy with reforestation projects in Paraguay.

In 2001 the company bought its own forest in Bolivia, South America. Sustainable management of the forest by the company is also the key to long-term operational management - in and around the forest. A fully self-supporting micro-economy has been created: the forest has its own road infrastructure, its own water and energy suppliers, not only benefiting the company and the forest but also the local residents, who are closely involved in the project.

Managing a forest of 30,000 hectare is no sinecure. The surface area is roughly the same amount as 60,000 football pitches.

Why Wooden Flooring: ease the life of the "grey-generation"

Ease the life of the "grey-generation"


Property managers: the "grey-generation" will live independently longer and longer. When 'down-grading' in property, because their own house is becoming too large to handle easily, an increasing number will be looking for luxurious, comfortable living accommodation.

Making their daily living circumstances easier by installing wooden floors to your property adds to their comfort, allowing them to stay independent for even more years and hence renting your property for a longer time.

Why Wooden Flooring: the best way to grow a forest is to use it

The best way to grow a forest is to use it


Trees are nature's way of absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and producing the oxygen we breathe. Planting trees can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and using wood products can help slow the growth of Global Warming.
The more wood we use, the more our forests grow: thanks to sustainable forest management more trees are planted than are harvested - every year European forests grow by an area the size of Cyprus!
The more the forests grow, the more carbon dioxide is sucked out of the atmosphere, the more oxygen is produced and the more wood is available to use; the more wood is used, the more trees are planted, the more the forests grow, the more.........

Basic Wood-Engineered Oak 2-strip pre-oiled

Welcome to our new addition of our Basic Wood-Engineered Range: Oak in 3 grades, pre-oiled.

The 2 and 3 strip Wood-Engineered Oak flooring normally comes standard pre-lacquered, we can now offer you the beauty of oiled floors in this range too.

Ecoline Oiled Oak 2-strip, 15 x 139 x 2200mm with standard T&G construction for easy installation in three Oak grades:

  1. Oak Nature 2-strip ecoline oiled Rustic: with knots, sapwood and colour variations between the strips and boards for a lively never boring floor
  2. Nature: with sapwood and firm knots for a more 'sedated' appearance
  3. Select: without sapwood but with small knots for that particular minimalistic look you might be after to complete the rest of your design

All three grades are packed per 3.06 sq m. 

Oak 2-strip Select Ecoline Oiled

Did you know that oiled floors when regular maintained (which is quite easy to do) become more beautiful over time?

Why Wooden Flooring: ideal options for tenants

Ideal options for tenants


Property managers: how many potential tenants might suffer from allergies, eczema or Asthma? By offering them your property with the most anti-allergic floor covering around you improve the chance of renting it tenfold.

Why Wooden Flooring: damage 'control'

Damage 'control'

Accidents and incidents happen to the best of us. Spilling food, drinks on the floor - especially during parties - is nothing out of the ordinary.

Stains however are a completely different matter - especially when you notice the stain the morning after a really good party. Can the carpet stained in red wine or worse curry be saved? Even with a chemical cleaning product - applied by a professional - removing it as if the carpet is still brand new is not guaranteed.

Wooden flooring come complete with a dirt and stain repellent character. A slightly damp cloth followed with some maintenance product applied takes away the stain for good. 5 - 10 minutes work.
And even in the event the stain has gone unnoticed for weeks and the floor needs a light sanding (rubbing with Steel wool 000 mostly does the trick) and the application of a maintenance product - it still keeps its unspoiled appearance and elegance.

The very same applies to heavier damage of your floor covering. A rip in the carpet - double sided tape might keep it down for a bit longer.
A scratch in a wooden floor adds character, shows your home is truly lived in. And otherwise a light sanding and re-applying a coat of finish (like oil) will restore the wooden floor without it losing any of its value or elegance.

Imagine putting your house up for sale: can you clean the carpet stains and repair damages well enough so buyers won't notice? Or do you need to 'splatter' little rugs around to hide them? Wooden floors will show off their value and elegance 'naked'.

Why Wooden Flooring: dust and mites cannot hide

Dust and mites cannot hide

A speck of dust may contain fabric fibers, human skin, bacteria, animal danders, pollen, grains, moulds spores, food particles, mites and mites-droppings. Mites cannot be seen without a microscope. They thrive in warm and humid conditions. Because they feed on skin scales, they love bedding, carpets, upholstered furniture, clothing, closets and car seats. They usually survive ordinary vacuuming because they burrow deep and are equipped with sucking pads on their feet.

Dust cannot hide on wooden flooring, mites can not hold on to wooden flooring, and ordinary vacuum cleaning will remove it all.