We love to sell a wooden floor, to anyone who enquirs after one of our quality products. It's our business, so no surprise there then.
But sometimes you have to say: no, sorry, in this situation we strongly advice against installing a wooden floor.
This week a lovely couple came to our showroom to look at our design parquet floors. Oak Rustic herringbone was firmly on their mind, which is of course a lovely choice. With them I discussed how we would install the wood blocks on their concrete underfloor: first a subfloor of Oak Industrial Grade mosaic on to which the individual wood blocks would be glued and pinned down in the required pattern. Sanding, filling and applying a natural HardWaxOil finish would follow the works.
The estimated measurements of the area (large hallway) were translated into a hand-written quote and an appointment for Ton to carry out a survey, to measure more precise and check the underfloor, was made for today (Friday 26.11.10).
After the survey Ton returned to our showroom, where normally all the details are turned into a specified quotation, mailed (or emailed) as soon as possible to the client. Except today it didn't go that way, Ton discovered the concrete floor was "too hot to handle"!
When winter exposes a "weak link"
The concrete was hot enough to bake an egg on it! Presumably, when installing the central heating many years ago, not enough insulation was used between the water pipes and the concrete surface, or the pipes were not laid deep enough. Makes you wonder sometimes where British Building Standards stand for or why some plumbers get away with this type of shoddy workmanship.
Installing a wooden floor which needs to be glued down in this situation would end in tears. The adhesive will sooner or later (sooner no doubt) fail and blocks will start to come loose and/or shrink and buckle. Ton advised them to consider tiles, which are better suited for these "hot" circumstances. The client were both disappointed and glad this issue had come to light.
If the survey had taken place in Summer this "too hot to handle" situation had not come to light. Central heating works completely different than water underfloor heating systems, where the temperature of the water in the pipes is set to a maximum in order not to cause problems to the floor covering and is switched on continuously. Central heating water pipes transport hot water to the radiators when the demand is there, getting really hot and then again cooling down, making any wood floor very, very nervous.
So, when your floor is installed in Summer and starts behaving strangely at some places when the central heating is switched on, check the surface temperature to see if hot water pipes are running beneath it before you call your fitter back to complain. Although all professional fitters try to for see all situations, some tricky situations come only to light when you least expect them. And if you know water pipes could be running close to the concrete surface: tell your installer, no matter what the season is.