3 Installation

Problems with your floor?

One frequent occurring matter landing in our inbox or phoned about seems to be encountering a quality problem with the wood flooring bought.

Product of nature

Some online retailers pride themselves on sending out free samples of wooden flooring. We on the other hand know a tiny sample can and will never show you the rich natural variety any wooden floor has. The tiny sample sent out to you by others could be pre-selected on appearance - for instance one tiny knot when you select a rustic grade.
Basing your purchase decision on just such a tiny sample is asking for problems......

Read more


Did you know there are three main types of Design Parquet Patterns?

One of the most valuable and grand natural wooden flooring is still an original Design Parquet floor. Installed block by block or tile by tile in your own home.

If it's good enough for Kings and Queens, is it good enough for you!

Design Parquet flooring, one of the most valuable natural wooden flooring you can have in your own home

Design tiles often consists of 10 up to 23! individual wood pieces, ..... Read more 


The ease of applying Saicos Premium HardWaxOil

Now more and more original floors are being rediscovered and restored, the question of what should be applied as new finish to really bring out the authentic character of the floor is popping up (in?) regularly in our inbox.

Natural oil for natural look

Since long we are "oil" people, the natural finish which brings out the true character of your wooden floor., is easy to maintain and if needed easily repaired locally without having to resand your whole floor all over again.

Plus, as the short video below will show you, is very easy to apply:

Read more.....


Installation Manual as training manual

Receiving feedback on our Wooden Floor Installation Manual always gives us a buzz, the feedback we received this week from a professional colleague certainly did:

From Ron Bacon / RC Bacon Ltd

I am a flooring contractor with over 40 years experience in all types of carpet and flooring.

I have an improver (Steve Glen) who is excellent at laying certain types of wood floors, but who lacks confidence.

So I decided to increase his knowledge to handle this, on the premise that knowledge (when gained) = willingness to be cause, thus responsibility which brings about increased ability to control. Then I noticed your book and decided to get it for him to save time in providing him with data for his training. It didn’t matter that the data was not necessarily relevant to his current work for it was helping to clear up misunderstoods and false data he had accumulated from verbal technology given to him by others, who also had obviously suffered from dissemination of false data by others in the past.

Recently he completed a splendid herringbone parquet installation with a tramline inset border, of which he is rightly very proud and so am I. Pictures attached.

So thank you for providing the data in your book, it is of tremendous value.

Kind regards

Ron Bacon

RC Bacon Ltd
T/as RC Bacon Carpets & Flooring

Excellent work by RC Bacon's improver - with a little help from Wood You Like's Installation Manual

This result definitively deserves its rightful place in our "Hall of Fame"!

Double Wenge strip - tramline - exactly following the contour of the doorposts - top result Oak herringbone floor installed by improver for RC Bacon
 

 
All images provided by RC Bacon Ltd

Latest trend in Summer activities: Eco-cation

Home improvements of the green variety are set to be the big thing this summer, according to Homebuilding & Renovating.

Green is this Summer's colour

With the (still) long evenings, an Eco-cation appears to be an increasing Summer activity in the whole of the UK. And with no sign of an tropical heat-wave around the corner, spending your holiday days improving your home (and the climate) can be a pleasurable and rewarding pastime. (Plus it beats hours long queuing for a flight time after time.)

Besides insulating your home, installing energy efficient appliances and lightning fixtures, have you though about adding green credentials to your floor covering?

Restore instead of renew

Wood You Like restoration of original parquet floors

Many homes already have wooden flooring as floor covering, be is pine floorboards, original parquet or even "new" wood-engineered boards. Don't forget that adding wood flooring is no longer a new trend, since the beginning of this century it's right up there among the main choices and increasingly the first option people consider when moving or improving.

What has been renewed however, are the finishing materials. Stricter VOC regulations has seen an increase of eco-friendly - and durable - products you can safely use to repair/restore your existing wooden floor.

From parquet adhesive to glue back loose blocks (or individual fingers of a mosaic floor), to easy to apply and quick drying floor oils. Most after care products are 100% VOC free and will keep your repaired/restored floor in healthy shape for a very long time. Then of course, there is our famous eco-friendly cast-iron buffing block to assist you both with the application of the new finish as well as with the half-yearly maintenance.

(If you are otherwise engaged during the long Summer, Wood You Like's professional team is at hand to repair/restore or maintain your wooden floor.)

Opt for FSC/PEFC when replacing/renewing

FSC and PEFC certified products come from sustainable sources, where not just trees are planted back but whole local communities receive assistance and support to build a sustainable and long lasting income from the forests (as in: a forest that pays, stays). These small, medium and large projects are increasingly found/started all over the world, not just in tropical areas.

SolidFloor Alaska Vintage Oak wood-engineered floorboards, handscrapedIf your heart is set on installing a new wooden floor to replace carpet - or the old floor is beyond restoration - you have an increasing choice in FSC and PEFC certified wooden flooring products.

Keeping in style with the character (time-period) of your home: FSC Vintage wood-engineered boards (SolidFloor - TM)

Hand-scraped or distressed Oak Rustic in natural colours. The floor in this image (Alaska: hand-scraped, smoked & oiled white) complements the original style of the home in such a way it looks as if the floor has been there since the house was built.

(You can find all FSC Vintage products here)

The advantage of installing new FSC wood-engineered floorboards over existing drafty floorboards: it will stop the draft (without blocking the needed ventilation underneath) and reduce your heating bills.

(If you are otherwise engaged during the long Summer, Wood You Like's professional team is at hand to install your new wooden floor.)


Porch: solid or wood-engineered?

DIY conversation in our email inbox: (do you have a question yourself - use this form to ask us)

Last stage of flooring project

Wood You Like's famous buffing block - eco-friendly and effectiveNow that I have finished restoring all five of my parquet floors following your sound advice and fitted new oak skirting, architraves and doors(I have many photographs which I am going to send to you) AND after using your polish and buffer (bumper in RAF parlance) the floors are really looking terrific.

Last stage is to fit an oak floor in my small entry porch which measures only 2.5m x 1.5m (less than 4sqm) and is currently tiled and quite level.For this I would like some advice.Is it better to fit a solid oak timber floor or an engineered wood one?I would like to fit something like 18mm thick by 90-105mm wide by varied lengths.

Thank you for previous great service and courteous understanding,

Sincerely Yours, David H - Sussex

Wood-engineered for areas with rapid changes in temperature

Hi David

Looking forward to you pictures!

In a porch you normally have rapid changes in temperature (no heating I guess) and even lots of moist when people are coming in from the rain.
Wood-Engineered would be better there, is more stable than solid. Although narrow Solid Oak could be an option too, but with the widths you suggest you do need to fully bond the floor to a suitable underfloor. You can't really easily glue over tiles, so they have to come up or have plywood screwed down first.

Is that something that can be done in your situation?

Thanks for reply to my query. If I just fit an engineered floor can it be just laid straight over the tiles(glued) or do I need to put down the plywood as well? Seems like engineered flooring is good quality these days.

The oak strips you sent to me arrived safely in the long tube-no damage and are just the thing I needed.

Thanks

Floating installation - simplest solutions

Hi David

When you use Wood-Engineered boards you can install them floating on a combi-underlayment (contains a DPM to prevent any sweat and condensation of the tiles reaching the wood) by glueing the T&G's correctly.

Glad to hear the strips arrived safely.

Kind Regards and have a very nice weekend
Karin H - Wood You Like Ltd

(This very week, David kindly sent the following feedback:

As usual your answer was succint, well ventilated and appropriate. In addition the speed of your replies were quite brilliant. Your service overall can hardly be bettered in my opinion. However, the fact that you are always trying to improve is reflective of your business and great credit to your whole team and the philosphy that drives you. You deserve to succeed (as you appear to be) in your chosen field.
 
David H

Wood-engineered highly recommended for

SolidFloor TM Vintage Range 15/4 wood-engineered Oak floor highly suitable for kitchens

all areas where there is more chance of moist and/or high humidity, for instance in:

  • kitchens
  • kitchen/dining area (open plan living)
  • bathrooms
  • hallways
  • porches

Floor show in above image is SolidFloor (TM) Vintage - Jura - Oak rustic - scrubed knots - edge distressed - hand scraped - smoked - natural oiled - 15/4 range (15mm total thickness with 4mm Solid Oak top layer)

More hand-on tips for DIY installation

160 pages Wooden Floor Installation Manual by Wood You Like

Thinking of installing your own wooden floor? The "Wooden Floor Installation Manual", written and published by Wood You Like Ltd, contains 160 pages of hands-on practical tips.


All the way to California

DIY conversation in our email inbox: (do you have a question yourself - use this form to ask us)

Would love to use Elastilon, but am advised against it.

Our "reach" online goes a long way.

I am planning to install 5/8" x 5 & 1/8" T&G Maple engineered hardwood flooring. I will be installing over concrete in a 20 year old home. An installer friend said I need to either glue down plywood and then nail the floor to this or glue directly to the concrete. I would like to use Elastilon as it sounds easier and would add some sound barrier and cushion. He said this will ultimately not work as you can not float a T&G Engineered Wood floor. It will buckle or gap after a few years.

In researching Elastilon, I am having trouble finding any good reviews, most say they like the concept but no one seems to have used it. I am stuck as to which way to go. Can you help? I am located in the US - California.
Mark W.

International Reviews on Elastilon

Elastilon self-ashesive underlayment for wooden flooring, available from Wood You Like - Kent

Thank you for your question. Your fitter friend is mistaken (but this can be down to regional difference in installation methods and experience of course). !5 x 130mm Wood-engineered can be installed using the floating method, if the boards are longer than 400mm average.
With Elastilon you do not really "float" the floor, the boards are truly stuck down - on the underlayment, not on the concrete floor.

You can find reviews here - even some from "your neighbourhood" in Northern America
(Elastilon has its own US based website here)

Decision made - Elastilon it is

Based on your answers and some comments I received from others, I have decided to use Elastilon. My friend is not sure it was the right decision but since I will be doing most of the work, I am comfortable with it. I do not yet have the wood so have not started to install. I will let you know how it goes in about a month.

One concern I have is the largest room is 20 feet wide. Will this be OK? On one of your pages (I think, I have looked at a lot of information) I saw that the limit is 5-6 meters wide which puts me right there. Any thoughts?

Thanks
Mark

Rules of Thumbs

The "rule of thumb" on that particular page is for Solid (Oak) flooring, with wood-engineered boards you're good up to 11 meters wide.
(Side-note, do keep in mind these rules ar on width of the actual wooden floor, not just on the width of the room. See also our article "Keeping your wits about widhts!"

Results:

Thanks for your help. I will let you know the outcome next week.
Mark W - California

Karin,
Here are a couple of pictures of the first room in the works. I think it turned out rather well considering it was our first try. I particularly like the way the floor has a slight “spring” to it so it does not feel so hard when you walk on it.

Rolls of Elastilon rolled out to start the installation of Maple Wood-Engineered flooring
Progress on the installation of Maple Wood-Engineered flooring over Elastilon self-adhesive underlayment
The finished result of the Maple Wood-Engineered by Mark W from California

Nice work, Mark. You deserve a place in our DIY Showcase Gallery

Looking for suitable underlayment, you will find various types of underlayment in our secure webshop, including Elastilon Basic


Stunning unique convex and concave pattern - one year in the making!

As far as we know, this must have been the absolute ultimate DIY project: one whole year from "thought to fruition" and not without a set-back once in a while. But determination has paid off and we can only congratulate our persistent DIY-er Cyril and have the deepest respect for the task he had set himself.

Idea

Cyril's first idea for a design parquet pattern

Early May 2010 (06.05.10) we received Cyril's first email about the above pattern: would this be feasible in wood strips glued down to a concrete base? Once we discussed the options there were (making sure the strips would be as long as needed to avoid joints in places not wanted) Cyril visited our showroom (driving down from the south coast on his bike) where Maple (his preferred wood species) grades were further discussed.

Back on the south coast Cyril had a rethink and thought, why keep things simple:

When straight lines are not simple enough

Now, I'm not a mathematician but that does look very complex, but nice. A bit like a 2 dimensional "Wovin wall".

I guessed (correctly, see Cyril's reply) the amount of saw-waste for this pattern would be tremendous:

I have worked out the saw waste. In fact a did this very early on. Your phrasing 'an over average percentage of "saw-waste"' made me laugh. When I worked out the percentage of the wood that is wasted by this design I almost cried. There will be an most as much saw dust as pattern wood.

Even when it turned out our Design Parquet manufacturer can do many shapes and patterns, as long as the lines are straight, Cyril pressed on.
It not ready-made, then hand-made is the way forward. He "simply" made his own jig to cut the desired pattern out of specified on width solid Maple tapis parquet.

The making of this bespoke jig turned into a project of its own.
As Cyril explained to me it he turned it into a complete "factory line":

The principle of Cyril's factory line with jig number 3The Jig is design to take a plank. When making the first cut of a plank, it is inserted into the jig (as shown by the dotted line) and the three sides of the piece is cut. I then slide the plank into the jig until it hits a stop (as shown by the dashed line). At this point I can cut the last side of the first piece and the first three sides of the second piece. With the first piece cut I can remove it and slide the plank to the stop. With the plank once more against the stop I can then cut the last side of the second piece and the first three side of the third piece. I continue in this manner until I am left with a off cut that is between 40 - 138 mm long. This off cut will be used for the soldier.

The plan the cut three planks at a time. I will stack three planks and place then in the jig. This way I speed up the cutting process by a factor of 3 (every little help when you have 2584 piece to make). So having three plank the same length will help keep the factory line going for longer.

2 "prototypes" further down the line the jig was ready:

The third jig for the Convex and Concave maple design parquet floor The plate was made by a design engineering company called Safire, based in Southampton. I mounted the plate on a wooden base and added two quick release clamps, to allow me to quickly release and secure the wood between cuts.

The first test of this clamp revealed a few teething problems. At first I was not getting a consistent shape tile. I worked out the wood must be moving very slightly dew to the force of the router cutting bit. This problem was fixed by gluing sand paper to the bottom of the Jig plate and to the jaw of the clamps. The next problem was that the wood would not sit flat against the jig plate. I believed this was caused by the clamps not applying even pressure to the wood when locked. I managed to get a more even pressure by applying tension between the two clamps (see the red string put under tension by a piece of wood under the jig).

In the process of getting to this point I found that using the router created a lot of dust. So I looked at how I could attach a dust extractor to my router. I found the simplest way was to attach the hose of the dyson to the router. I was surprised at just how well this worked. You can see wood chips on the floor of each picture so it did not capture everything. But it did capture all the small Particles of dust. So when I finish the test the wood was on the floor and not in the air.

So with all of this done the jig is ready to go. It still has one problem but I think once I start using the real wood it will not be an issue."

He hoped. But as it turned out (being September 2010 by now) the router bearings he used were not up to the tasks at hand. After waiting for what seemed like ages new bearings finally arrived only for him to discover there was a problem with the collar - holding the bearings in place. Off to order a new collar only to find out that had a defect and off to order a replacement.
All the while the "factory" stood still.

"So the saga continues. I am takeing bets on whether I will get it done by Christmas...... I am not saying which year"

Subfloor down - November 2010

We always recommend to install an Industrial Grade Oak 7-finger mosaic subfloor first when you plan to install a Design Parquet floor onto a level and dry concrete floor. This subfloor will enhance the stability of the complete floor, plus provides the smoothest surface you can have - sanding the subfloor smooth will save you time and effort sanding the design parquet floor, illuminating many height differences before you start the installation of the (valuable) top floor.

And besides, it's a simple job:

I have laid the wooden sub floor and plan to sand it this weekend. Can you thank your suppliers for me? Having the fingers lay out on the string latis make laying it very simple.

Christmas came and went

The bearing kept breaking, no matter what. Even the manufacturer couldn't find faults and a second cutter - different brand this time - broke down too.

So once more I am looking at the jig to try to determine what is causing the router cutter bearing to break. I have an idea about what is causing the bearing to brake on the jig. I will be making some minor adjustments to the jig. When I get some new bearings I will give it another go.

I may take you up on your offer at a later date. But for now I will wait to see what effect the change to the jig makes.

By the way I was able to cut 32 pieces before the bearing broke. I have laid the pieces out and I am very pleased with what I see. The light is reflecting off the pieces just as I imagined. Using the jig gives a very accurate cut so the pieces fit together very well. Keeping them in place when gluing will be a problem but I will cross that bridge once I have cut out all the pieces.

So when I said "I just wanted to update you on my progress over the holiday" may be I should have said "I just wanted to update you on my lack of progress over the holiday".

Two weeks later: hooray!

The first result of the Convex and Concave Maple Design Parquet FloorWell..... The revision I had made to the jig seem to have worked. I used the jig for over 8 hours and the router cutter bearing did not brake. I used a jig saw to cut the piece to a rough size before using the router to cut the finished piece. I am glad to say that about 95% of the pieces are as I expect. Hopefully this will be good enough.

I was hoping to cut 60 pieces an hour but because I have to cut each piece to a rough size first, I am making 27 pieces and hour. Therefore, it will take me a while to cut the 2584 pieces I need. At least now I seem to have worked out all the problems and can start the production line.

It was a minor change to the jig that make all the difference. The outside corners of the jig were pointed. I notice sparks flying off the corner with a double circle, in particular. So I got these corner rounded off.
If I am not careful it will still spark. But it looks like this simple change has made a big difference. Here is a picture of the pieces I have cut so far.

Cutter not cut out for the works:

Factory line standing still on the Maple floor project Luck run out again for Cyril, once again caused by the bearings. Different make of cutter, while both brands using the same bearings, meant they broke after 6 pieces. The first brand cutter was out of stock, hence the switch to brand two. With the result of having to shut down the factory line again until the "old" cutter was available again.

"So just when you think the end is in sight the plot takes an unexpected twist"

A hundred working hours later

Then, end of April:

Well I am pleased to say that I have cut all the pieces for the central section. It has taken over 100 hours of work ( my fingers are feeling a bit stiff from the work out of holding a router trigger for so long). In fact I have finished gluing them down too.

Before sanding

Hiring a decent sander to finish the works came with its own problems Cyril discovered:

The unsanded Convex and Concave Maple Design Parquet floor When I spoke to you on Friday the floor had been laid and glued. All I had to do was sand and polish. With a extra long weekend it looked like I would get it finished. What can I say, nothing ever seems to go as you would expect with me.

On Saturday I went round a few hire shops to hire a re-finishing sander. Only one shop had one available so I took it with some sand paper. I could not start on Saturday because I had an appointment but I thought I would set up the sander and test it ready to start work Sunday morning. Just as well I did. Would you believe the sand paper would not stick to the bottom of the sander!? I contacted the hire shop. They had given me the sand paper from a new batch they had just opened. They checked the remaining sand paper in the batch and sure enough the batch was faulty. They found 3 sheets of 60 grit sand paper. But this was no way near enough paper for me. So the floor is still unfinished. I hope to finish it this weekend. In the mean time here are some pictures of the floor in its un-sanded state.

One year and three days after initial email:

09.05.11 Ta-da!

It has been a long while coming but it is here. I have now laid to main section of the floor and here are the pictures.
I just have to do the transitions and I am finished.
A friend came round and had a look at it. He suggested I rebuild the house and the floor, as the floor was too good for the house!

Thanks for all your help and advice. Your book was very helpful and I would recommend it is anyone.

Cyril, it has been an absolute pleasure to help you any which way we could (unfortunately we're wood people, and know absolutely nothing about bearings, cutters and collars I'm afraid). Don't think many would have continued a huge project like this with all the problems thrown your way, but you kept on going regardless and you have every right to be absolutely proud of the results: it looks stunning!
You've earned your place in our "Hall of Fame" more than anyone else as far as we are concerned.

THe Convex and Concave Maple Design Parquet floor in its full glory! The finished result in detail: Convex and Concave Maple Design Parquet Pattern

 




5-finger mosaic small packs

Oak 5-finger mosaic rediscovered in lounger Frequently used in bungalows - and of course other types of homes - during the 50's upto the early 90's, the 5-finger solid wood mosaic floors are a common sight.

And nowadays very often a common and pleasant discovery by the new owners of the house when ripping out the wall-to-wall carpet or vinyl that had been installed over it - perhaps even many years ago.

Restoring or adding mosaic floors

A design parquet floor, and a mosaic floor is definitely a design parquet floor, is a valuable floor covering to have/to discover you have. Sturdy, beautiful and most often than not, adding value to your home. Plus of course, very easy to keep clean.

Read more


Down the drain?

Installing a wooden floor is not rocket science - as our Wooden Floor Installation Manual can tell you all about - but the correct preparations can save you a lot of time, money and problems.

One of the main things to prepare before you - or your professional fitter - start installing a wooden floor on a concrete underfloor it is good practice to check the moist content of the concrete.

Moment in time

More often than not this check for moisture gives you either the green or right light to start the actual installation. But never forget, the result only tells you the moist content of the concrete floor at that moment in time! So if you suspect moist problems, or had had problems before, even if the moist check now tells you to "go ahead" with the installation, make sure the cause of your former problem has been solved properly.

And on the other hand, a dry concrete floor now does not always mean it will stay dry for ever. Think of leaks, rising damp etc.

Drain problems

If, in the event there is a moist problem later on and the moist check carried out straight before the installation gave the "all clear" it pays dividend to investigate all possible causes, as we ourselves discovered recently.

A solid Oak mosaic floor was installed a few months ago, concrete floor checked for moisture conditions and readings showed the concrete was below 2% moist content. However, the floor did come up after a while. We suspected a moist problem and investigated. Not just inside the house, but we also had a good look around the house. Often patios are build incorrectly where (rain) water runs towards the house due to the slope of the patio, leaking or damaged gutters can have an effect on the in house situation too. And, as we thought could be the reason here, large plants, trees or shrubs planted or gowning too close to the walls.

When plants are more than beautiful

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To cut a long story short, a Drain Doctor confirmed our suspicion the old Wisteria planted very close to the wall outside the effected room had managed to grow its roots right through the drain and was causing a blockage - causing moist to enter the concrete floor from below.

From the Wisteria Website by Francesco Vignoli we have to following information on these very strong roots of this beautiful shrub/plant:

The roots: The wisteria roots spread so strongly and abundantly that if planted near walls or pavements they can easily grow into them causing serious damage . To prevent this from happening it is advised, whilst planting, to insert a corrugated plastic panel which will force the roots to take other directions, as they are unable to pass through it. Place the plastic panel (at least 2m long) 80cm deep, between the plant and the wall or pavement (or the surface to be protected). In the case of walls and pavements made with cement this problem does not exist.

The clients are now waiting for "the Doctor" to repair the drain and then the wait begins for the concrete to dry out completely before the mosaic floor can be reinstalled again.

So, be warned: moist checks only give you a result of that specific moment and be careful when planting large, beautiful shrubs. They can turn around and bite you! (Well, they can bite their way through your drains.)


Conservatories can provide extra space

Homeowners who are looking for extra space in their properties could consider constructing a conservatory.

Andrew Leech, spokesman for the National Home Improvement Council, explained that the organisation feels many people are looking to make more space at home in the most economical way possible due to the current financial climate.

As a result of this, he said that the possibility of have a conservatory built on to their house is appealing to many residents.

"They can provide an extra 'room' at a relatively cheaper price, but should not be compared with benefits to be gained from a more substantial and well-insulated extension," Mr Leech stated.

People considering larger projects were recently advised by Jaclyn Thorburn, spokeswoman for BuildStore, that building a property could be the easiest way to get the house of their dreams.

Best floorcovering in conservatories: wood-engineered

10mm wood-engineered flooring highly suitable for conservatories

Conservatories have their own climate, sometimes with rapid changing temperatures. A Solid wooden floor would be reacting constantly to these changes and therefore gives a too high risk of cupping, expanding and causing all sorts of problems.

Installing a wood-engineered floor has many more advantages - for one it is way more stable than any solid floorboard, due to the construction of the cross-layered backing. Once installed, the floor will look absolutely no different than a solid board.

If the underfloor is even (do remember that a new concrete floor takes 30 days per inch to dry sufficiently for any floorcovering to be installed safely) you can install a 10mm wood-engineered Oak board, which has a 3mm Solid top layer. Very economical real wood product giving you both the practicality of a stable floor as well as a luxurious floor covering (easy to maintain and no worries about cupping).

Plenty of finishes and wood-species to choose from: Oak, American Oak, Walnut and even Aged (distressed and hand-scraped options)


Large Double Plait for homely dance room

Design Parquet is (always has been and always will be) Wood You Like's speciality. The number of patterns to chose from, be it a simple herringbone or basket weave to the most elaborate tiles, are tremendous! And then there's the choice of wood-species too!

No wonder one of our clients selected a Design Pattern for their home dance/entertainment area which would bring even more allure to the room by itself: the Large Double Plait

Wood block/strip by wood block/strip

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Painstakingly every individual block/strip in this "ongoing" pattern is put in place by hand. The clients opted for Prime Oak grade - hardly any knots but many quarterly sawn pieces showing the characteristic medullary rays only Oak visibly has.

The 10mm wood blocks (71mm wide and in two lengths: small for the "block" and long for the "interlocking" piece) were all one by one glued and pinned down onto plywood (on top of an underfloor heating system, Design Parquet is one of the few Solid wood floors that can be used in combination with UFH).

Columns and bay windows

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A challenge for the our two fitters Ton and Barry: why end the pattern with a straight edge when you have the chance to show off your skills in continuing the pattern is such a way in the bay window the two block border fits snugly (and round) to complete the picture?
The black line separating pattern and border is not a marker stain, it's a 10 by 10mm tropical Wenge inlay strip.

Bring in the work horse

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After the whole floor, inlay strip and border is installed, our work horse - the Viper continuous beltsander - sands off any slight height differences between the individual wood blocks. After the second sanding round the sand-dust is collected and mixed with special wood-filler and then "plastered" over the whole floor to fill any (tiny) gap.

Finished, ready for the ball to start

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The clients opted for a natural HardWaxOil, bringing out the true character of Oak (and other blond wood-species). After this is fully cured (second coat is dry after 8 hours, but before the finish becomes moist and dirt repellent it takes 10 days) the room is ready for its first ball - let the music start and the dancers glide over the beautiful (none-slippery) original parquet floor.

Looking for something different than the "standard" herringbone parquet floor - request the Full Colour Online Wooden Floor Range Brochures where you will find, among all our other real wooden floors we can supply/install, over 30 different Design Parquet Patterns. Just fill in your details below.

Or alternatively, give us a call now on 01233 - 713725 to discuss your options and wishes - or drop by in our showroom in the lovely village of Charing (Kent).

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Installing Design Parquet, a short guide (very short)

DIY conversation in our email inbox: (do you have a question yourself - use this form to ask us)

Bought your book, but..

Wood You Like's first manual on installing wooden floorboards Hello, I have just received your book (wooden floor installation manual) and on the face of it, it looks very informative. however I seem to be having trouble finding the information on laying parquet flooring. Do you have information on best order when laying parquet blocks in a herringbone pattern with a two block boarder. The books seems to be how I renovate the floor rather than installation. Thank you

Peter J - Scotland

In short (very short):

Thank you for your question. This (first) manual is focusing on installing floorboards, the next manual will be more on installing design parquet floors. This is in the pipe-line, but finding enough time to dot all the i's and cross all the t's is proving to be a problem at the moment.

For your project, in the most simple order:

  • make sure you have a flat, dry and level underfloor. Depending on the wood blocks (thickness, with or without T&G) you should install a plywood or industrial grade subfloor on a concrete floor first. Do note you cannot glue anything down on chipboard that has a moist repellent surface
  • determine the middle line of the room (take into account no room has straight walls at perfect 90 degree angels) and install your first two rows (one pointing left, one pointing right) and let this row fully bond to the underfloor so it does not move from its pattern when continuing with the next rows.
  • continue the rows as far as possible, even over the "border line" 
  • let the whole pattern bond fully to the underfloor 
  • using a plunge saw to remove excess wood so you are left with a straight edge for the border to be installed next to
  • let the border bond fully with the underfloor 
  • if your blocks are unfinished, use a belt sander and edge sander with grit 40 to remove most -if not all - height differences between the blocks 
  • empty the dust bag and start the second sanding round with grit 80. Collect this clean dust to mix with the wood-filler
  • apply the mix of wood-filler and sand dust to any gaps you can find and let the filler dry
  • using grit 120 on the belt sander and edge sander, remove excess filler from the wood. This third sanding round prepares the surface for the finish you plan to apply. If you want to apply varnish/lacquer you'll have to sand a 4th time with grit 150 
  • apply the finish of your choice according to the instructions of use

Hope this helps
Wood You Like Ltd

Results

Thank you for your prompt reply, yes it does help thank you. There doesn't seem to be many books on the subject.

Peter also kindly enough emailed us pictures of the great result he managed to achieve:

Oak herringbone after sanding

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Oak herringbone after finishing coat

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We hope to extend on this very, very short guide this year and have our Design Parquet Floor Installation Manual available (paperback and as E-version, just like our first Manual on installing wooden floorboards).


Say No to Bob the Builders

From an independent inspector of failed floor installations we received the following "rant":

"As independent inspector of failed wooden floors, I receive a variety of complaints, mostly about installer error; only occasionally there is a product issue. I am undertaking a survey to get more exact percentages of individual complaints and, specifically, who installed the "problem" flooring.

The results, although not totally surprising, are very worrying for the wood industry: installation was way ahead at number 1 for types of complaints received - 94%. Consumer causes (6%) were at number 2 on issues not related to installation.

The installation of these "problem" floors were carried out by:

  • Builders - 51%
  • Carpenters/joiners - 35%
  • Carpet retailers - 7%
  • Specialist wood flooring shops - 7%

These results are taken from cases I have handled over the last 10 months, but I bet other consultants/inspectors have a similar experience. I'm continuing to update the results.

What does this tell us? Simple, it shows why specialist wood contractors/installers are struggling to get the work they ought to have. There are many reasons for this, but it is mainly down to price.

"Bob promises he will do it better and cheaper".

And when the floor fails, Bob blames the product.
I can tell you for a fact that most manufacturers, distributors and retailers (and I know a few, having done training for them) agree that wood flooring becomes a nightmare if it is installed by Bob the Builder type outfits. As sure as edges is edges, Bob comes back the following week telling them that their product is faulty!!

This is typical of what I come across far too often."

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Through Wood You Like's Trade Program - launched end of last year - you will have access to more and more professional fitters/restorers whose application for the program has been approved by us (and only those wooden flooring businesses with the highest standards will see their application approved, that's our promise to you - no Bob the Builders).

At the moment the following areas are covered:

  • Kent & Kent/Sussex/Surrey border
  • Stockport/Manchester
  • Blackpool/Lancashire
  • Stoke-on-Trent
  • Stroud/Glouchester
  • added end of Jan 2011:
  • South East Wales
  • Bangor - Northern Ireland
  • Hampshire

If you are looking for a trusted fitter/restorer in/near these areas, just let us know and - depending on your needs - we will bring you in contact with each other so you are ensured of quality materials supplied by us and quality installation/restoration by our trusted fellow professionals.

We're also happy to inform you "e francis architects" have joint our trade program and we know more architects, interior designers, project developers will follow in their footsteps to benefit from our program (which of course gives them and their clients access to our growing "team" of professional installers/restorers all over the UK). All the benefits of joining our Trade Program for this group of businesses are spelt out here

Trade Program News will be a regular feature in our newsletter. Not only can you read about new areas covered but also about joined projects successfully executed, plus actions undertaken to stop the "Bob the Builder" outfits ruining your floor (and the wooden flooring trade).
So, stay tuned - or if you are in the trade yourself: join now!


Flat beading, a neat finish

Frequently we're been asked: I can't/don't want to remove my skirtingboards and I don't like the look of scotias or quadrants. What can I use to cover the needed expansion gap around the floor that does look good?

Our answer is quite simple: Solid Oak flat beading. A simple strip - 6mm thick, 25mm wide, with a rounded edge on the front and tapered edge on the back - that's pinned down on your wood floor to give you a very neat finish. A very unobtrusive finish, like a "picture frame", covering the expansion gap.

Blends in

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As you can see, or rather not see, the flat beading is often hardly visible.

Does the job, neatly

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Here's another example - also note how the door post is undercut to allow expansion of the floor there too.

Around fireplaces

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It also works very well around a fire place - if the tiles etc are higher than the floor. Remember, a wooden floor has to have expansion gaps all around its perimeter, so also in front and beside a fire place.

Angles

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Because the beading is not very wide or thick, it can be cut (sawn) in the angle you need to fit it neatly whatever the shape of the wall "forces" you to have.

The little details

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Picture above shows a build-in cupboard where a little piece of beading right in the corner takes care of those little finishing details.

Also note the Solid Oak radiator pipe cover, it does not just sit on the beading. No, the beading is cut round to allow the round shape of the cover to fit neatly around the pipe.

It's those little details that make your floor look professionally finished.

The beading comes unfinished, so you can stain, varnish, oil it with the same colour/product as you floor (or if needed, colour match it with a tropical wood-species by using an appropriate stain).


Solid Problem

DIY conversation in our email inbox: (do you have a question yourself - use this form to ask us)

Ash lifting, despite screws

We received the following details on a flooring project giving the owners a few headaches:

Hello, we found your website this morning and are very impressed with all the content! We have been searching for a few days for some info regards our recent purchase of ash flooring so wondering if you could help?

We bought 110 sq m of 18mm solid ash, lacquered, 135mm wide with lengths 600-1800mm to do the whole house that we are rebuilding. They have been acclimatising inside the house since april (although without heating), when we opening the packs the long top planks almost sprung out and were bowed by about 5cm at each end which has settled down over the summer.

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In July we laid two rooms (3mx2.5m and 2.5m by 2.5m) with expansion gap of 10mm around all edges using tongue tite screws on every board, 3mm foam underlay onto the floorboards. Last month the last few planks started to lift at the end length edges and it had appeared to use up the gap at one small section, so we lifted and relayed again using screws but this time leaving a 3mm spacer every third board (as advised by our joiner friend) as well as an increased gap at the edges of 15mm. We also didn't screw down the first and last rows of boards.

Within a few days it has started to lift at a similar place to before but not as badly (about 3mm up). These sections appeared to have used up the spacer gap on each side of them but not the edge one. As it is happening at the ends does this mean that we should try to seal the cut ends to try to stop the moisture getting in? As I believe Ash moves more than oak is a 3mm spacer every 3 boards sufficient for it?

The biggest room to lay is the lounge which is 7.5m x 6m, would the same plan work for here? And lastly as the floorboards are level does it really matter if we lay the floor at 90 degrees (if we do this in the lounge it will mean that the width will be the longer dimension.)

I know from your site that you PVA glue the tongue and groove so it may be hard for you to comment on this technique, but any general pointers relating to ash would be most gratefully received.

Kind regards, Gregor and Miranda.

Know your nervous wood-species

Hi Gregor

Thank you for your question. You are right, we have no experience with those screws for the simple - perhaps too simple - reason we don't believe you can screw a floor down.
(One of our purchasers of the Installation Manual gave us feedback on the tongue-tite screws here)

It is indeed worrying the boards jumped out the pack the way they did. It could indicate a problem with the wood it self. When a floor keeps expanding after having acclimatised for that long it can also indicate a moist problem in your home.
Ash can expand and shrink much more than Oak - it's therefore one of the wood-species not recommended to use on UFH.

With Oak the rule of thumb is 3mm gaps per meter width of the room with a minimum of 10mm. For Beech - another "nervous" wood this is 7mm per meter width. 10mm in a room 2.5 meter wide is not enough for this species but reading that even creating a gap of 15mm AND using spacers between every third boards did not help does look like a moist problem in the home.

Not sure what to suggest really. For the larger room you should consider a divider in the middle (with Oak 6 meter wide is the maximum you can go with a solid floor - knowing Ash works more I would be reluctant to say it can easily be done without a divider in the middle - where you "turn direction" of the T&G so that the Tongue faces the other wall in one half than in the other half of the room).

Are you able to take moist readings? Both of the floor already down, floor still in packs and the air humidity?

Feedback and update

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Thank you for your prompt response, it probably helped confirm what we were thinking.

Just to give you more information, we ended up relaying the 2 small rooms where it lifted - lifting by shearing the screws having expanded and touched a wall. Though as the first row were fixed it must have snapped some screws in order to move far enough to touch the wall. Possibly not enough screws used? Maybe, but I have used similar style screws before with no problem.

I am more inclined to believe that the quality of wood is more to blame. It was purchased as a cheaper grade but I think it was either not dried properly or was dried to such an extent that sitting (for weeks) in a house in the UK it absorbed so much moisture that many of the planks had bent up by 10-15mm at the end of a 1.8m length. Now the heating is on there seems to be no problem (earlier the house was weather tight but unheated) we shall await summer to see what happens then as humidity inside rises.

Using a 2mm spacer every third plank was recommended by colleagues who are joiners and is supposedly common practice when the floor is fixed with screws or nails. Obviously leaves small gaps but it is a safer installation, especially over a large width and if the planks are dark it is not very noticeable.

Hope this helps if others come to you with a similar situation.

Gregor

Further thoughts

6a00d8341c660f53ef013488946bef970c-piAs mentioned before and here again, we're not in favour of using screws to install wooden floors - especially not with nervous wood-species like Ash and Beech. These wood-species require more expansion room and correct acclimatising preferably in the room where it is going to be installed.

Acclimatise always to normal circumstances no matter what wood species or floor type you have: leaving them in a room without glass in windows or unheated during colder periods does not work. Not even for wood-engineered flooring.

Installing a wooden floor isn't rocket science - all it needs is some common sense, patience, the right preparations at the right time and of course quality materials and the right tools.


How to treat that little bit of concrete?

In our Installation Manual we explain it is always best to create one type of underfloor in order to have to same conditions between underfloor and new floor everywhere. Often this needs to be done when two old rooms are knocked into one and where one has a concrete floor and the other existing floorboards.
See here for more details on this.

But how about having just a little bit of concrete?

We received the following questions from a "reluctant" DIY-er set to work on a new wooden floor by his better half.

Thanks for your email, the installation is coming along nicely, your book has been a great help.
It is proving a little more difficult with still trying to "live" in one half of the room.
I do have a question that maybe you could be of some help with.

I am laying on wooden floors, so using a foam type underlay, but where the fireplace was, there is a concrete subfloor measuring about 3 foot by 18 inches (sorry old school).
Am I ok to carry on with this type of underlay, or should it have a damp proof bit?
John C

If small, keep it simple

Hi John

Thank you for your email.
Such a small area of concrete will not cause any moist problems (presumably the concrete it also "laid" on the original floorboards and not a complete thick block of concrete going way down into the void?) so you don't really need to use a DPM there.

Hope this helps. When your finished, any chance of pictures of the end result?

Not as nice as building steam engines

Thanks for your speedy reply, very much appreciated.
I have now fitted out one room, skirts to put on and then wallpaper. Boy do I hate wall papering.
But I suppose it will keep her indoors happy so that I can get back in my workshop and spend time on my real passion of building steam traction engines.
The flooring I bought does seem very good quality, and quiet therapeutic to lay. But not as nice as building steam engines.
Thanks once again

John

A true reflection of work well done in pictures

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ps:
As requested a couple of pics.
The pics look like two different colours, but the lighter one is a true reflection. Even managed to work it so I can still get under the floor in the far corner, without it being too noticeable.
Just got the other half of the room to do now DOH.
Hope they are to your liking, and thanks once again for all your help.

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If you have your own project in mind and are wondering how to tackle certain problems, feel free to ask our help too.

Call us on 01233 - 713725 to discuss your options, prices of recommended products and lead times.


Mahogany Parquet Floor - with some persistence a beautiful result

DIY conversation in our email inbox: (do you have a question yourself - use this form to ask us)

Installing a tropical parquet floor in your home can seem like a daunting task, specially when you discover not all blocks are of the same level.

But when you persist, the rewards are bountiful as one of our DIY-ers experienced.

How to tackle lower blocks?

I am just about finished laying a mahogany parquet floor. Am a little concerned that one or 2 blocks are a bit low and will require surrounding area to be sanded down a lot. What would you recommend and which sander to use? Floor is 16 m2

Two options:

Specially reclaimed blocks can have height differences: not all could come from the same original source, some could have been sanded and others not or, when having removed bitumen from the back with a saw or chisel more or less wood could have been removed too.

Noticing this height difference before your install the actual block can prevent extra work, but once you're in the rhythm of spreading adhesive with the correct notch trowel and sticking down block after block, keeping a constant eye on the pattern being tight together it is not a wonder you sometimes only realise this difference later on.

Option 1: carefully remove the offending block and replace it with a better fitting one, especially if the height difference is more than 3 - 4 mm

Option 2: let the belt sander (not a drum-sander!) tackle the height difference as much as possible with the first sanding round (grit 40). When the difference is only 1 or 2mm, it should not take away much wood from the surrounding blocks. Don't try to tackle the difference with a hand held sander first, the movement of the sander on only the surrounding area produces a different "pattern" than the belt sander and could show up once the finish layer is applied to the floor - and then it is too late to correct this without having to resand.

Result:

Thanks a lot for your reply to my query.
Laying this T/G parquet has tested my DIY skills/patience to its limit as the room is unsquare, unlevel and has very fiddly edges everywhere. However I have prevailed and have only 10 or so awkward xxxx's left.
Have decided to sand right down with the machine you recommend and hope all goes well. Then varnish I think.

Thanks a lot for your interest and assistance.

Feedback

We frequently receive questions like to above and always want to know if the advice, tips given has been useful and to the point. Mark gave us 10/10

The answer that I got from you was concise, accurate and was above my expectations.

I am now confident that my progress with this project will proceed without the doubt that often nags when one is doing DIY not attempted before.
As far as rating is concerned the 10/10 - 5 star.

Will recommend anyone I come across to check with you if they need services, products or advice

The (almost) finished product:

Mahogany parquet floor, sanded to perfection

As promised a picture of new floor with half of the varnish coats applied.
All in all very pleased with the result. Its not perfect as the sander was a bitch to control in such a small room but compared with what was there before real luxury.
Thanks for your help and interest.

Mark J

At your service.
If you have your own project in mind and are wondering how to tackle certain problems, feel free to ask our help too.

Call us on 01233 - 713725 to discuss your options, prices of recommended products and lead times.


DIY client featured in Selfbuild & Design

Wood You Like seems to attract a rather large number of self-builders/renovators from all over the UK (and further afield: skilled diy-ers from France, Germany and even from the USA have found their way to our inbox and online shop).

One of these very skilled diy-ers (or should we even call them semi-professionals) emailed us the following:

Our house to be featured in Selfbuild & Design

"Dear Karin
I hope you and Ton are well.

Just a brief line to let you know that our house is to featured in 'Selfbuild & Design' magazine - as far as I know in the October issue which goes on sale towards the end of August.

Both the externals and internals feature and since we've got a lot of your oak engineered board downstairs, that should feature reasonably prominently as well. The link came via Potton who had been trying to get our house featured in a self-build magazine for a while.

The photographer was here all day taking shots - I attach one of the hall with your engineered boards in it. I have no control over what exactly they publish or which of the many photos, but I was asked to provide a list of about ten key suppliers to us. It is my understanding that they will list these in the article with phone numbers/email addresses. Naturally Wood-You-Like was one of those I mentioned."

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Many thanks John. The image above not only shows the Duoplank Oak Rustic, oiled natural looking its best, but the eye for detail in every single aspect of the self-build John and July created almost from scratch. It shines through in the image below too:

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Checking the Selfbuild & Design website we discovered the whole feature is published in the September issue, see here.

John emailed us again after receiving his copy of the magazine:

"We've seen a copy of the magazine that goes on sale later this month and we hope it does justice to the service and products that you provided us. 

There are plenty of downstairs shots (4) of rooms that include the engineered boards and the text includes the words "The supplier of the engineered oak boards was particularly helpful - offering technical advice about how best to lay the product over underfloor heating.

Then there's your website listed under Useful Contacts at the back of the article - which, mercifully, has been correctly written."

In July 2007 John and July also very kindly wrote a case study installing the wooden floor over the UFH system for which we and many of our clients using UFH are still very grateful.


Solid wood floors and UFH: take care

DIY conversation in our email inbox: (do you have a question yourself - use this form to ask us)

When installing Underfloor heating systems and deciding on the floor covering on top, many recommend to use Wood-Engineered flooring. These types of boards are more stable and can handle the changes in both temperature and air humidity better than solid wood floorboards (solid design parquet is a different matter all together).

When we received the following question we advised to take care - it is not impossible to install solid wooden floorboards on UFH systems but there's a but....

Random width boards

"This is a new build & we plan to lay solid oak floorboards (random widths) onto a self-levelled screed. There is underfloor heating & the screed is well dried out now. We've been told that gluing is the way to go, but reading thru some comments on your site I'm getting questions ... can we put the glue just into the groove thereby effectively having a floating floor? or do the boards need to be glued underneath? do we need floorboard crampers or could we use some softwood and rubber mallet?"

Words of caution

Thank you for your question. With wooden floors and UFH it is recommended to fully bond the floor to the concrete underfloor to avoid air gaps. For this you should use flexible adhesive that is suitable to be used on UFH.

Word of caution: UFH and solid wood floors are only agreeable when the solid floorboards are narrow. Otherwise there is a great chance the floor will shrink too much during the heating season.
Wood-Engineered floors are better suited in this situation due to their construction, see our Duoplank range page for more details.

"Many thanks for this Karin. Yes of course, very silly of me, couldn't do 'floating' as it would compromise the UFH!
We've had the boards for over 12 months indoors, they look pretty good ie not bendy.
Max width 160mm - would you say?"

160mm is rather wide, it depends on the other sizes and the number of 160mm boards. Try to keep away from installing two wide boards next to each other and leave a wide enough expansion gap all around.

"The widths are 100; 120; 140;160 up to 200mm. The wider ones we'll keep for upstairs to nail.
My other question tho is do we need the crampers or could we knock them 'home' with a long piece of soft wood & rubber mallet? "

100, 120 and 140mm should be ok, as said before, try to avoid placing 2 x 160 or even 1 x 140 next 1 x 160mm and you should be alright.

If the quality of the T&G is good you won't need crampers, just "knock" them home indeed.

I take the liberty to also email you - separate email through our automated system - our special leaflet with how to treat your UFH before, during and after installing a wooden floor.

"Thanks very much for your comments. We have had the solid oak flooring for a few months now. It's getting the time to do it."

Further info - because it's summer

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When you install a wooden floor over an Underfloor Heating System in the summer months you often don't have the system switched on (if it is a new system, it will have had its pressure test to check for leaks no doubt). Our special leaflet - see link above - tells you how to start up the system gradually before installing the wood floor.
Doing this before installation when the temperature outside has reach Mediterranean level would be a bit OTT indeed.

Instead, raise the temperature of your UFH system gradually once the Autumn arrives, so your wooden floor (all wooden floors) can adjust gradually to the changes in "climate".


Creative with herringbone blocks

Standard wood blocks are 9 times out of 10 used to create a herringbone pattern in a room. Why? Because that's what we know from the olden time and it is therefore one of the best known design parquet patterns.

Solid wood blocks in herringbone pattern, one of Wood You Like's specialities

As you can see in the above image, this pattern really suits a square or rectangular room, making it even more spacier and lively with all the individual small blocks (10 x 71 x 284mm).

Not a rule set in stone: be creative

There's almost no limit to the designs you can create with Wood You Like's standard wood blocks

The beauty of having individual blocks is that you can easily create a design that suits an awkward space better than a herringbone would. One of our DIY design parquet clients tackled his hallway in a creative way shown here. The specific measurements of the standard blocks enabled him to design a large mosaic (284/71 = 4) creating a playful and impressive result most suited to the shape of the hallway.

Standard wood blocks from our Design Parquet manufacturer always come in specific measurements which allow you to be as creative as need be. Besides the 71 x 284 there are the
71 x 355 (5 x 71)
90 x 360 (4 x 90) and
90 x 450 (5 x 90)

Running comments from our proud client during and after the installation, sanding and finishing of his "bespoke" design floor:

"I glued the final pieces in place this morning and I’m very pleased with the results. It took longer than I expected because of the cutting around the 5 doorways and the stairs but I have an excellent mitre saw which proved invaluable. I have the sanding machines arriving on Saturday and will be finished sometime over the weekend.

Had a busy Bank Holiday and I didn’t manage to waxoil the floor until Tuesday and I’m very pleased with the colour.
I found the Trio sander very nice to work with.
I just have to finish fixing skirtings, carpets and thresholds.

Thanks for your help and advice."

Richard O - London

At your service.
If you have your own project in mind and are wondering how to tackle a not so square and rectangular room, why not design your own "bespoke" wood blocks pattern? Let your creativity flow.

Call us on 01233 - 713725 to discuss your options, prices and lead times.


VOC regulations means introducing new fitting and finishing materials

Rules and regulations, we all encounter them, if we like it or not. The VOC regulations to reduce the amount of Volatile Organic Compounds in products is there for a very good reason: reducing negative effects some compounds have on the environment and some times even our own health.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) refers to organic chemical compounds which have significant vapor pressures and which can affect the environment and human health. VOCs are numerous, varied, and ubiquitous. Although VOCs include both man-made and naturally occurring chemical compounds, it is the anthropogenic VOCs that are regulated, especially for indoors where concentrations can be highest. VOCs are typically not acutely toxic but have chronic effects. Because the concentrations are usually low and the symptoms slow to develop, analysis of VOCs and their effects is a demanding area. (source - wikipidea)

These regulations take their time to be passed on to the public, manufacturers have to be allowed to find suitable alternatives for some compounds in order for the product to still do "what it says on the tin".
That's why - like now - a whole bunch of well-known products are disappearing from the shelves and are replaced with other, more "greener" products.

Lecol

F.Ball B91 parquet adhesive

Only one month remains for two Lecol products frequently used with design parquet (new installation or restoring): from the end of June 2010 Lecol5500 (parquet adhesive) and Lecol7500 (wood-filler) will no longer be produced or even shipped from the manufacturer. We have a limited stock left at the moment, when that's gone it's gone!

(Update 01.06.10: Please note, as we've been told by Lecol UK, these specific EU VOC regulations are ratified for The Dutch and Belgium market. In/for the UK market both products will still be available. Only not through Wood You Like Ltd once our stock is gone.)

We are replacing this with:
F.Ball B91 and Basicol PU-650SE for parquet adhesive 
Blanchon Resin Filler (1ltr and 5 ltr cans)

Euku Oil1

Also, introducing a brand new product in our range of oils which replaces, for starters, the Euku Oil1 as best finish for tropical wood floors (finished on site that is). Again, due to changes in VOC regulations the "old" Euku Oil1 had to go, but in our opinion the replacement Euku Oil 1 HS did not do the same job as well.

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Saicos Coating Systems introduced us to their Color Wax Clear Extra Thin, which is especially suited to treat tropical wood. Only 1 coat needed, to be finished with only 1 coat of Premium HardWaxOil natural. Both products are available in small tins, so could come in very handy for those restoring existing tropical design parquet floors.
You will no doubt hear more about Saicos product range in future newsletters and/or FAQ & News items. All products from Saicos are of course eco friendly EU VOC 2010 compliant

For more information and up to date prices see our online shop or give us a call on 01233 - 713725 to discuss your requirements


Solving 3 problems in one go: simple floors

One of the questions that landed in our inbox concerned that "old problem" of trying to find a budget solution where the existing type of underfloor threatened to put the whole project on hold.

Chipboard and short length solid oak flooring - a no no

Budget range (below £35.00 ex VAT) in Solid Oak floorboards 9 times out of 10 comes in a box with random length boards. Random between 300 or 400 - 1200mm long. On its own nothing wrong with this, however most of these budget boxes contain over 50% short - very short - lengths and only one or two long ones (if you're lucky). These types of floors should not be installed floating because you will have too many joints in the whole floor, working like hinges and making your floor unstable, prone to move. Fully bonding with flexible adhesive or secret nailing is the solution.

Only, when you then discover your underfloor is cheap and cheerful chipboard you find yourself between a rock and a hard place. Modern adhesive does not bond with the moist repellent surface layer of the chipboard and nailing into this "wood-pulp" will not give you the strong fixing you need.

Budget alternatives in real wood

The person asking for advice really wants to replace his carpet with an easy to clean and anti-allergic floor covering mainly because to the number of animals they care for. Wooden floors are then indeed the best solutions: easy to clean, anti-allergic and simply beautiful.

When you find yourself between this rock and a hard-place due to the chipboard underfloor, why not opt for simple 2 or 3-strip wood-engineered flooring? All long boards, so can be installed floating without any problem, and most times within the same price range as these "cheap offers" in Solid Oak floorboards. Quality 3-strip floors have a total thickness of 14 - 15mm with a Solid top layer of 3.6 - 4mm

3 strip wood-engineered floor, simple real wood for every budget

2 or 3 strip flooring is available in many wood-species but like with most other wooden floor types, Oak is still the most popular (and therefore often the lowest in price).

Alternative 2: pre-oiled 10mm boards

Quality wood-veneer Oak flooring, real wood for any budget

Another budget alternative, especially for areas with low "traffic" such as bedrooms, for you would be the Basic 10/3: Oak top layer (3mm) on a high quality ply backing. Total thickness 10mm and available in many modern Oak finishes, from natural to white oiled or smoked for warm dark tones.
Again, long lengths for simple "Floating installation" without problems on chipboard - and of course other types of underfloors.

Basic wooden flooring gives you:

a real wood floor, easy maintenance and within your budget. Simples.

Call us on 01233 - 713725 to discuss your own budget requirements and we'll find the perfect wooden floor for you in our Basic Range.


Renovating and extending an original parquet floor

We received the following question through our "Ask Personal Advice on Wood" form.

1950's house renovation and new extension

We are renovating the parquet in our 1950's house. We have parquet blocks in our lounge (not T&G) that are stuck with bitumen (3 fingers per square approx 11x11cm per square). We have extended the lounge and I have reclaimed the parquet from another room and would like to lay it in the lounge extension to complete the floor. Then sand and redo the whole floor as one. The new floor will be concrete screed.

My questions are: Can I glue the blocks directly to the screed or should it be sealed or leveled out first? If so with what? The screed is pretty flat but is quite sandy/gritty. Is there a product I can use to glue the parquet which will bond even with the residual bitumen on the old parquet so I don't have to remove it? It's only a thin layer of 1-3mm? I was intending on leaving the existing floor alone as it is sound.
Thank you.

Primer and bitumen advice (again)

Thank you for your question. Starting with the dusty concrete floor, this needs a primer to prevent any adhesive only bonding with the dust and not the concrete. 

If the concrete floor is very new, you have to be aware it takes time - 30 days per inch of new concrete - for it to dry out sufficiently before you can install any floor covering on it.

As for the bitumen, remove as much as possible (leaving just the "stain" of bitumen on the blocks, not actual bits of bitumen) because any residue will have a negative effect on the bonding time of the adhesive.

Have you had a look at our "7 easy steps to repair/restore your original parquet"?

Hope this helps

Kind Regards
Wood You Like Ltd


Feedback and Tongue-Tite story

Feedback received from (DIY & Professional) floor fitters on Wood You Like's Wooden Floor Installation Manual

From John - Hampshire

Hi Wood You Like!

Floor is now complete, just the beading around the hearth to finish. I read the book from start to finish before starting. Most of the information I had found from your web site before hand but I did refer to it during the installation and for the finishing.

Tongue-Tite screws

Just an observation that you may want to share, I used Tongue-Tite screws to secure through the tongue (I always like my work to be reversible!). Although they claim the screws are 'anti-jacking' I found they did occasionally lift the boards by a millimetre or so. Usually found the next day when walking across the floor and hearing a creak. I lifted sections of floor 5 times to rectify, no joke!
Also the heads of the screws are T10 Torx feature and both heads and bits wear quickly. I found the bit supplied with each box barely did the 200 screws supplied. I found pilot drilling made the bits last longer, but more time consuming.

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(Features and Advantages from Elka's own website)

Finished the floor with Osmo HardWaxOil which looks beautiful. Just the hall to do next. The box instructions for the flooring said to allow 10% for waste but I found virtually no waste, all off cuts were used to stagger rows, so I have 5 spare boxes.

Regards - John (Hampshire)

Hi John

Thank you for your feedback and we will definitely use your experience of the Tongue-Tite screws for the benefit of others (as you know we are not very much in favour of screwing floors, but then again have no own experience therefore with these "special" screws).

As far saw-waste: it indeed depends per room/rooms and the length plus width of the board you are using (plus the quality of the product) how much saw-waste you end up with.

Kind Regards and once again thank you for your feedback, much appreciated

Wood You Like Ltd
Karin Hermans / Ton Slooven

Wooden Floor Installation Manual available now!

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Buy the 160 page Wood Floor Installation Manual created by Wood You Like. Filled with tricks of the trade to install your own floor like a professional!

Paperback £ 17.97 (plus £3.97 p&p) (secure Paypal payment)

E-version available too! See here for more information and other purchase options


Feedback and case study received

Feedback received from (professional) floor fitters on Wood You Like's Wooden Floor Installation Manual

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Hi Karin & Ton

Well done on the ‘Installation Manual’, very informative and to the point.

Most manuals are very general and vague about the details, which are the most important bits if you’re going to be able to understand the reasons for doing or not doing certain things. It’s always essential to understand why you’re doing something so that you know why it’s correct and therefore you can then apply that method of thinking in general.

With regards to my flooring project(s). I had just completed a 55 sq.mt area in a new extension for a client before receiving the manual.

The back of the house had been knocked through and the extension was built across the whole width of the house. One third was the kitchen,

Continue reading "Feedback and case study received" »


The 18 x 120mm Solid Floor question

Wooden floors come in many types, wood-species, constructions, sizes, quality and prices. One of the more "common" ones is the 18mm thick Solid Oak floorboard, 120mm wide and with random lengths. Popular priced too at many DIY-sheds like B&Q, Wickes or even Floors2Go, but in our opinion the boxes in which they come should carry a big red exclamation mark on it: random lengths, nice but.... know what you are buying can restrict your choice in installation methods.

The problem is, the boxes do not come with that warning. So if you are in the same position as the person who asked the following question in regards of the "infamous" 18 x 120mm you might like to hear this too:

Question received:

Hello , Hope you can help me ? Ive just bought a new solid 120mm wide 18mm thick wooden floor to be fitted in the kitchen/dining room and the sub floor is concrete what would be the best way to fit the wooden floor?

Answer - includes warning

Thank you for your question. Question for you in return: does your floor come in so-called random length, for instance the known 300 - 1200mm? If so, you first have to check how many very short lengths are in a box.

If too many then it is not advisable to install such a floor using the floating method and it would be better to fully bond the floor with flexible adhesive to the level and dry concrete floor. See this article about the short end of the stick/board. Solid Floors - what to note

Hope this helps
Wood You Like Ltd

And flexible adhesive is - compared with combi-underlayment and a few bottles of PVAC-wood glue - higher in price, turning your "cheap" or cheaper wood floor into a more expensive (but not necessary better quality) floor.
See example of what's on "offer" here:

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Would you care to count the number of long boards in the image above? Many short boards mean many joints = many hinges when you install this type of flooring floating, making your floor rather unstable and prone to movement.


New narrow boards on existing floorboards: nail or float?

DIY conversation in our email inbox: (do you have a question yourself - use this form to ask us)

90mm x 18mm pre lacquered pine boards

At 17:56 20/03/2010, you wrote:

Question:
I am laying 90mm x 18mm pre lacquered pine boards over existing floorboards in my hall and wanted to lay in the opposite direction to existing boards. I am a bit confused over the best method of laying, secret nailing or glueing tongue and groove. If I nail as I am going in opposite direction to existing boards I will not be able to nail into joists but understand that the new boards may be too narrow to for gluing. Also can you assist in advising if I should lay an underlay and which type and thickness is best.

Secret nail in existing boards not only on joists

At 12:07 21/03/2010, Wood You Like Ltd wrote:

You are right, the width of your new boards are too narrow to use the standard floating method.
Secret nailing straight onto the existing floorboards (specially in the opposite direction) would work well - you nail the new boards every 20 - 25 cm into the existing floorboards, no real need to end up on a joist, presuming the existing floorboards are in good nick.
If you opt for this method then no underlayment is needed.

Alternatively you could use the self-adhesive underlayment Elastilon onto which the narrow new boards are stuck down.

Elastilon self-adhesive underlayment for wooden floors: the original product

When nailing - which underlayment?

At 14:19 26/03/2010, you wrote:
Hello

This has been extremely helpful. Had not considered self adhesive underlayment will do now.

If I do nail can I use an underlayment. I was considering a 3mm, this to help with noise and eliminating any small imperfections in existing floor.

When nailing - no underlayment!

At 15:42 26/03/2010, Wood You Like Ltd wrote:

Nailing and using underlayment is not really practical: the force and angle of the nail will compress the underlayment and render any effect of sound-insulation useless.
If there are only small imperfections in the floor, the 3mm Elastilon can tackle them - but don't regard it as a "filler".

More of these tips and standard practices etc can be found in our Wooden Floor Installation Manual

Hope this helps

Wooden Floor Installation Manual - everything you need to know about DIY wooden floors

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Official launch of the comprehensive manual which contains everything you need to know about DIY wooden floors is second half of March 2010.

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Wood You Like's Wooden Floor Installation Manuul - everything you need to know about DIY wooden floor installation


Do you like the taste of a bargain?

This week we had the following conversation (by email, through our "Ask Personal Advice" system).

Question: I am a DIY-er who has laid a solid wood floor onto timber batons successfully (secret nailing 15 years ago and no problems). I have also laid a couple of floating laminated floors successfully.

However, I have been asked to lay a solid oak floor onto a concrete base. The boards are of variable lengths from 400mm to 1000mm. I have only seen one pack opened and it contained 17 @ 400mm, 4 @ 500, 4 @ 800, 4 @ 900 and 6 @ 1000mm. What would be the best method of laying the floor. Would Elastilon self adhesive underlay be OK.

I am concerned that there are a lot of small pieces. What is the minimum overlap of the boards? Thank you.

Our answer:

You are absolutely right, this type of product (cheap offer?) should not be installed floating. Due to the many short lengths it will have many too close together joints (300mm apart is the minimum when dealing with a "normal floor that has all long length, but a lot of 400mm long boards does not make it better)
You're best bet is indeed Elastilon, giving it the best support. You have to install a DPM first (sheet) because the Elastilon does not contain one.

On which we received the following reply:

Hi Karin,
 
Thanks for the advice you gave. The floor is for my brother-in-law and I have told him that I am not happy doing the job, because of all the small pieces. I don't think it would look very good, even if Elastilon solves the problem of it being unstable.

I would prefer him to take it back and buy engineered wood with a real oak surface and all of the same length. His problem is buying this for the same bargain price he paid for the oak.

Thanks again.

We know it is the best advice he can give his brother-in-law and these stories always remind us of one of our favourite quotes:

“The bitter taste of poor quality remains much longer than the sweet taste of a low price.”

Buyer beware, cheap offers are often just that: cheap with 9 times out of 10 an awful end-result.
Good quality wooden floors will give you value for money for a very long time and will be your trusted assistant during the installation.


From underlayment, to direction and thresholds

An 'live' example of "asking personal advice on wood", a conversation by email - see our form here

At 21:41 13/01/2010, you wrote:

Question: Hi I hope you can help me. This is a really stupid question and one that you'll be telling your mates down the pub for weeks to come!!! I'm about to lay an oak finished engineered floor in my hallway and I've bought some Timbermate Silentfloor Gold underlay. But I'm standing here scratching my head because I can't work out whether the gold side should face up or down!!!! Please could you help??? Thanks Ian

14.01.10
Hi Ian

Stupid questions don't exist, only stupid answers and even worse: not asking when you're in doubt

Rest assured, we scratch our heads too once in a while when thinking the manufacturer would make life easier for a fitter and produce the roll in such a way it is being rolled out with the bottom side down (and not as happens with some products you have to roll out the length you need and then turn it over because the roll is produced with the topside under!).

In your case the gold side should face down (according to the image of the manufacturer itself in their catalogue).

Hope this helps and here's hoping they rolled it up to make your life easy, because Timbermate can be quite heavy to handle.

At 13:24 14/01/2010, you wrote:

Hi Karin

Thank you very much for your advice and your very prompt reply. You’re right this stuff is very heavy! I had enough trouble carrying it from the car into the house, so laying it probably isn’t going to be much fun!!

Thanks again for your help.

17.01.10
Hi Ian

How are you getting on with the installation for your floor? Any problems or queries?

At 11:07 18/01/2010, you wrote:

Hi Karin

I intended to make a start this weekend but I’m afraid my ‘better half’ had other ideas and we ended up entertaining her family instead – ah well, maybe next weekend!!

But, since you ask, I’m wondering if I could perhaps ask your advice once more?
The hallway I am intending to install the timber flooring in is L-shaped. Obviously, the timber boards will fun lengthways along the longer branch of the ‘L’ and widthways along the shorter branch. At the end of the shorter branch is a small cloakroom in which I am also intending to install the new flooring. Do I stop at the flooring at doorway to the cloakroom install a threshold and run the boards in the cloakroom lengthways or do I keep the boards running width-ways in the cloakroom to match the part of the hallway immediately outside???

I’d be very interested in your opinion.
Very many thanks once again.

At 11:16 18/01/2010, Wood You Like Ltd wrote:

Hi Ian

The best plans to tend to go haywire during weekends

We always recommend to install a thresholds especially in small areas and cloakrooms (different temperature and humidity). Because of this you can decide for your self how to run the boards in the cloakroom, what looks most aesthetically in you (your wife's) eyes. The door of the cloakroom will be closed most of the time no doubt, so no 'clashing' with how the floor looks in connection areas.

Hope this helps

Have you had a look at our Installation manual?

31.01.10
Hi Ian

Any progress on the decisions about directions or have you completely finished the job already? If so, are you happy with the result, any problems encountered and tackled?

At 14:41 03/02/2010, you wrote:

Hi Karin

At last the job’s all done!!

I think it’s turned out OK and I’m really pleased with the results – it seems a shame to walk on it!!
The main problem I had was getting the individual boards really tightly together. I’d bought some ratchet clamps made for the purpose, so that when I had glued the tongue and put the boards together I could tighten everything up and let it set. Although the clamps were really tight, some of the boards were still not as tightly together as they could be. In the end, I found the best way was to knock the boards together using a hammer and an offcut of flooring. This seemed to get everything really tightly together. The problem here is that when you get close to the wall of the room you don’t have enough room to use a hammer. I tried using a ‘pull bar’ without much success – it just seemed to damage the boards too much. But all in all I’m pleased with the job and wouldn’t hesitate to put timber flooring in the other rooms of the house.

With regard to the direction of the boards in the cloakroom, I decided to keep them running in the same direction as the hallway and to use a threshold too. Having laid the flooring in the hall, it looked a bit odd when you opened the cloakroom door to see the boards going the other way. The chances are nobody else would ever have noticed, but I know it would really have got to me after a while.

Many thanks for all your advice – I couldn’t have done the job without you.

Ian R


New: Planning to Install a Wooden Floor?

Planning to install a wooden floor?

"How do I install the last row?"..... "My room is part chipboard, part concrete. What do I do?".... "Can I install a wood floor in a kitchen?".... “I've got underfloor heating, can I have wood flooring?".... "Do I glue or float my wood floor?".... . "The pack says to glue it, the supplier says nail it. Now what?".... "I've got two dogs and four kids, my wife likes wood flooring, what do you suggest?".... "How do I know how much wood to buy?".... "There are Marley tiles, can I glue a wood floor on them?”....

Wood You Like's Wooden Floor Installation Manual - everything you need to know about DIY wooden floor installation Just a small collection of questions that has found its way to Wood You Like's inbox over the last 5 years. After answering all questions individually the owners/directors have now created a comprehensive manual on installing natural wooden floorboards for diy-ers based on these frequently asked questions. The manual covers all basics from what to note when selecting your own natural wooden flooring, the schedule of works, three different installation methods to the easy maintenance principles that will keep your floor healthy and beautiful and much, much more.

Installing a wood floor isn't rocket science - all it needs is some common sense, patience, the right preparations at the right time and of course quality materials and the right tools. Wood You Like's Installation Manual for Wooden Flooring covers it all: including tricks of the trade to install your own floor like a professional!

Read on.....
and order your copy today!


Keeping your wits about widths

When you need to determine the size of the expansion gap you have to keep around the whole perimeter of the floor, there are a few "rules of thumb". Specially with Solid Oak flooring: 3 - 4 mm gap per meter width of the room. Why? Because that is how much per meter wide Solid Oak can expand during the seasonal changes in air humidity.
 
It does sound like a simple and easy to follow "rule". Until we received a phone call last week from a desperate DIY-er. He had kept himself to the rule, his room was 4 meters wide and had kept an expansion gaps all around of 18mm but the Solid Oak boards (secretly nailed directly on to joists) had started to lift up in two areas. What could be the reason for this, he had checked for leaks and hadn't found anything suspicious.
 
When we asked some further questions it turned out that indeed his room was only 4 meters wide, but the joists run parallel the long wall - a massive 21 meter long wall (spread over 3 connecting "rooms") Meaning that over 21 meter "long" the new Solid Oak floorboards run row next to row next to row (perpendicular to the direction of the joists), creating in fact a 21 meter wide area of flooring.
 
In this case the length of the room had effectively turned into the width of the room and another set of "Rules of Thumb" should have been followed:
never install Solid Oak floorboards in a room wider than 6 meter without adding extra expansion gaps (by ways of installing thresholds or flat dividers in the most logical places, for instances where two rooms have been knocked into one and still have "pillars" or small parts of the old wall)
So, keep your wits about widths and realise that with installing wooden floors the actual width of the room sometimes has to be measured along the length of the room, it all depends on how you are installing your floorboards: lengthways or widthways!


"If it's good enough for Kings and Queens, is it good enough for you?"

Design Parquet: engineering one of the most stable solid floors

A bit of history about sizes and methods.

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Still one of the most admired types of wood flooring is the "Design Parquet", available in many patterns. From single of double herringbone, two or three strips basket weave to the most elaborate "Versailles" tiles. A feature in many restored castles, old manor houses and nowadays more and more to be found in modern homes.

There are various types of blocks used for Design Parquet. In older, and still some times in modern, days the wood blocks originally used (produced) in the UK were around 20mm thick and came with Tongue & Grooves. These blocks were installed on a thick bed of bitumen where the T&G's kept the pattern together (and when now the old bitumen becomes brittle these same &T&G's makes it rather difficult to only lift up loose blocks without loosening neighbouring blocks).

If you look at main land Europe, a completely different size and method has been used for ages and is still in practice - because of the stability such a floor is able to provide, the simplicity of the method and the "ease" - with professional tools and some experience - of installing any pattern.

"Tapis" floors - carpet thickness, two historical view-points

It was quite common in manor houses to show off your richness. Not by changing the whole decorative style of the "reception rooms" but by changing the oriental rugs (tapis - tapijt) in these rooms when seasons changed....... Read more and see how to create a stable solid floor

Design Parquet built up with mosaic

Fit for a King, fit for you!
In our online brochures you can view a very wide range in Design Parquet patterns, available in a wide range of wood species and Oak grades to select your own "fit for a King" solid floor.

Call us for more information or if you want us to calculate all needed materials for you (we can install the floor for you too of course, but this depends on where you are based).
Tel 01233 - 713725


Difference between HardWaxOil and Oil and Wax

Last week we received an interesting question, of which the answer is long overdue to be turned into a new article. This, we hope, will make amends to it.

Question:
What is the difference between single oil and Hardwax oil? I am particularly interested in finding a very 'natural' non-chemical product. Thanks.

Answer
HardwaxoilBlanchon HardWaxOil is a two-in-one product: oil - which penetrates the wood - for long term protection, wax for the wear and tear layer to protect the wood from dirt and drips

Eukuoil1-1 Single Oil: oil for long term protection, which needs a second product - like one coat Premium HardWaxOil or StepStop wax-polish - to create the wear and tear layer to protect the wood from dirt and drips.

Like HardWaxOil the single oils contains natural ingredients.

In earlier days it was quite normal to finish a floor with a deep sealer and then to apply two coats of carnabaux wax. Because of changing VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) regulations this sealer is no longer allowed.
Manufacturers, like Osmo, Blanchon and Saicos, have created HardWaxOil with natural ingredients to replace the old method, to save the environment and time for installers.

HardWaxOil on tropical wood species can very easily give a patchy result due to the fact the wood itself is 'oily'. Although HardWaxOil manufacturers used to mention that their product was not very suitable on tropical woods, this statement disappeared from most of the instructions in recent years - simply because every company wants to sell as much as possible of their own products for as many as possible applications.

Our experience with both finish types on tropical wood species shows that Single and StepStop or one coat Premium HardWaxOil does tend to give a better result than two coats of HardWaxOil.

It is for that reason we recommend to use HardWaxOil natural or any of the available colours in this range on Oak and other non-tropical wood-species and Single Oil = "Tropical Combo" for tropical wood species to get the best results.

Although Single Oils are also available with colour pigments, why would you want to colour a tropical wood? Tropical wood is often chosen for its own rich and warm in colour appearance, and in our eyes changing this would be a shame. But that just our opinion of course.


More pointers in installing wooden flooring on underfloor heating

Today we received a interesting story about a wood flooring project that involves underfloor heating. The story and questions can be found here, we've copied and pasted the most relevant ones in this new article.

Woodchip asks:

I am in the process of procuring wood for our new house.

New, as in long term project (4yrs now).

We have piped in under floor heating upstairs and downstairs

The downstairs floor is 4" concrete and not perfectly level, so before we lay any wood, we would require to level it with a self leveling compound of some sort. Something I have no working knowledge of. Can someone suggest a good self leveling compound/screed mix that we could use for a fairly large area.  

I did see something in B&Q, but have no idea how good it is, or the brand name.

Acrylic level compounds are always much better - stronger - than latex self-levelling compounds. Especially when underfloor heating in concerned. See here for more information on preparing your underfloor and using levelling compounds.

 

Our downstairs rooms are (approx.)7.2m x 5m, 5m x4m, 5m x 3.5m & 7.2m x 4m.

The upstairs floor has 2 different types of floors. One room with concrete layed on Lewis plates 7.2m x 4m.

The rest is a biscuit system, with 22m moisture resistant chip board, with 2" x 1" strips nailed to the joists through the chip board, with underfloor heating pipes layed between the 2" x 1" strips & covered with a sand cement mix. These room sizes are (approx.) 6m x 5m, 5m x 3m + a landing 7.2m x 1.2m.

The floors as they are, have all been down for well over a year now, and finally we are at the stage where we want to lay solid wood on all these floors.

I'd rather not put down chipboard upstairs and then lay the wood on top, as I think there is enough weight on the joists already. Obviously we can nail the floor that uses the biscuit system, if need be.

As long as every room is treated as a separate area you don't really have to worry about creating one type of underfloor.
However, we are not in favour of installing solid wood flooring on Underfloor Heating Systems, there is a larger risk in shrinkage and cupping than with wood-engineered flooring. Our Duoplank Oak range for instance has wide boards AND is guaranteed on underfloor heating systems.

We have looked at OAK some at 120mm x 18mm, and 140mm x 22mm. We have been told by some to avoid a wide plank, with underfloor heating but this minimum width seems to have grown wider over time.

The only thing that doesn't seem to have changed is the minimum moisture level of 8% in the wood.

If your heart is set on installing solid Oak floors your best bet is indeed narrower width, we wouldn't recommend wider boards than 120mm. And it is good to read that the minimum moist content for Oak solid flooring is mentioned everywhere correctly. Do note this should be the absolute minimum moist content when your wood arrives in your home. If your home climate is even dryer there is a risk the wood will loose even more moist.
We also hope they also mention the maximum moist content solid Oak wood flooring should have: 11%.

Advice on the floors has varied some saying glue it, some saying float it.

With regard to putting down a 2mm underlay, we have been advised against it "as it tends to stop heat coming through, more than if the floor was first covered with 18mm chipboard and then had the wood layed on top of that". Wood being a poor insulator

I did notice a comment on this site, not to lay a solid floor on underlay if the room was longer than 5m.

With all that I've been told so far, the method I would prefer, is just glueing the floor straight on to the leveled floor.

Most manufacturers recommend to fully bond a wooden floor to the level subfloor where underfloor heating is concerned., specially solid wood flooring. Always use flexible adhesive and a correct notched trowel. The subfloor needs to be as level as possible to avoid air-gaps - adhesive isn't a 'filler', as some may think.
As said above, if you treat every room separate we don't see a need for installing chipboard first (chipboard wouldn't be our first choice for creating one type of subfloor: plywood is much better suited).

You are correct in stating solid wood floors in rooms wider than 5m shouldn't be installed floating on underlayment, much better is to fully bind them.

Do note the rule of thumb in regards of expansion gaps with Solid Oak flooring: for every meter width of the room add 3 - 4 mm gap with a minimum of 10mm. Based on your details this means a gap - everywhere! - of around 18 - 20mm.

We would like to direct you to two of our guides:
Wooden flooring and Underfloor Heating
and our Wooden Floor Installation Manual

 


Alternative for Teak and Merbau mosaic - Mogno (Cambara) 5-fingers

If you are wondering we've turned colour-blind, no - not at all. But how can one wood species be an alternative for two rather different wood species: Teak is brown to grey - if untreated, not maintained for a long period of time - and Merbau is reddish brown with sometimes yellow streaks?

Both Teak and Merbau are among the more suspicious forest-deforestation sources (although when Wood You Like lists one or both types in our catalogue you can rest assured it comes from a sustainable source) and so the demand for especially Teak from sustainable sources is much higher than the supply.

Teak and Merbau have been used frequently in the 50's to 80's in mosaic floors (the so-called 5 finger mosaic or 5 finger basket weave) and many such floors are now rediscovered underneath carpets. Finding replacement blocks or additional blocks to extend the floor is rather difficult.

Wood You Like Mogno Cambara mosaic as alternative for Teak and Merbau. click on image for enlargement Now, tropical Mogno (Cambara) 5 finger mosaic is warm brown in colour - less reddish than Merbau but more reddish than Teak. It depends on how old your original Teak or Merbau floor is and if you have to sand it to bring it back to its original luster. Every wood type matures over time, and sanding will remove its aquired patina, almost starting the mature a new.

Some of our DIY floor restorers have used Mogno to add to existing Teak mosaic floors successfully and some have used it to repair/restore Merbau mosaic floors successfully. All fingers have their own character, old blocks and new blocks alike - which means the Mogno new addition can blend in, not completely perfect, but still.

In our webshop you can find many different wood species in the 7 and 5 finger mosaic catalogue.

Or..... how about a complete new floor in Mogno? Warm brown and full of individual character? And rather economicly packed too: 0.67 sq m per pack.

UPDATE JAN 2011: Mogno (Cambara) is no longer readily available (due to high demand). In it's place you could try Mahogany 5-finger mosaic to see if it matches your original parquet?


Finish a tropical floor in the best and easiest way possible

Kambala/Iroco mosaic floor will love Euku Oil finish: done in half a day! The most popular wood type in the UK is still Oak, however there is plenty of choice in warm tropical species to create an unique interior design in your home. Existing rediscovered wooden floors like mosaic and design parquet are mostly made from tropical wood-species.

On unfinished Oak floors HardWaxOil is a great finishing product, combining two essential products: oil for long term protection and wax for your wear and tear layer, in one product.

Tropical species are more 'oily' on their own than Oak and frequently we hear stories about 'patchy' results when these floors are treated with HardWaxOil. This occurs when the HardWaxOil is not absorbed completely or evenly everywhere because of the 'oily' character of the wood itself.  

Wood You Like introduces the solution for this problem:
Saicos Colour Wax Clear Extra thin combined with a simple maintenance product or Saicos Premiumd HrdWaxOil.
In fact, with the maintenance product, it's going 'back' to the old principle of first sealing the floor and then applying a separate wear and tear layer. With one big difference: the old sealers contained too many VOC's - Volatile Organic Compounds, toxic.  

Colour Wax Clear doesn't and neither does the maintenance product. You only have to apply 1 coat of oil, wait 2 -3 hours - way quicker too than with HardWaxOil on tropical floors - and apply the maintenance product. Where in the old days hard wax had to be applied and buffed in, with Colour Wax Clear you can use a liquid wax-polish.

A great finish to any tropical hardwood floor!

Order on-line or call us for more information: 01233 - 713725


Design Parquet patterns hand-assembled with care

We recently toured our Design Parquet manufacturer's factory in the Eastern part of The Netherlands. Lieverdink prides itself as one of the best quality suppliers of standard wood blocks for herringbone and other 'simple' parquet designs like basketweave or Chevron. These designs are block by block installed in your home to create an unique, durable and valuable authentic parquet floor.

Parketfabriek Lieverdink's main feat however is to hand-assemble 'standard' Design Parquet patterns - most of them carry the name of a Dutch castle or manor houses so might be a bit difficult to pronounce for the English public. How about "Cruysvoorde" or "Avegoor" and "Beerenclauw"? However, no matter how hard you find it to pronounce the name, it is a fact that all patterns come hand-assembled out of the factory, in emaculate quality and ready for us (or you) to install in your home.

The hand assembling of one Oak prime tile in the pattern Dordt The carefully hand assembled and taped Design Parquet tile Dordt

Wood You Like Design Parquet Pattern Dordt in Oak Prime

Once in your home the individual tiles will create this unique pattern, a truly "one of its kind" valuable parquet floor.

Besides hand-assembling the many Design Parquet patterns we have seen much more products and manufacturing processes, but that's for another article.


Don't use cork strips to fill your expansion gaps!

Some issues keep recurring: cork strips among them.

A few days ago we received the following email:

"I realise the importance of leaving an expansion gap around a wooden floor (oak parquet in my case) but can you tell me why we are told to insert cork strips around the edge? Surely the cork is only taking up valuable expansion room. Is it ok to  just leave a 10mm gap all around?"

This was our (recurring) answer on this subject:.... Read more


Wood Guide turns Ebooklet

New Ebooklet (wood-guide): “7 Easy Steps to Repair/Restore your Design Parquet Floor”

Filled with tips and advice from the professionals on preparations, re installing loose blocks or installing replacement blocks, finding out what wood-species was used in your original floors, how to sand and apply a new finish and much, much more. With ‘work-in-progress’ photos.

"Wow, thanks for that -- certainly the best how-to guide I have seen to this. It's always helpful, especially, when something says "Ideally, do ABC, but if you can't, then X Y or Z can happen", instead of just "Do ABC." -- i.e. I know I should remove the bitumen from the floor, but it isn't possible to remove all of it, so it is just good to know what happens if I don't."
V.F.
Northamptonshire

Extras included:

  • Wood You Like’s maintenance leaflet and

Buy now for only £ 8.97 and restore your newly rediscovered design parquet floor to its original glory and lustre. A labour of love result that will keep its value for many years to come!

Don’t move – improve the hidden treasures your home already has. Increase the value of your home in the most simple and cost effective way! Read this fact sheet on how and why wooden flooring adds long-term value to your home - 95% of estate agents agree.

Ecover7steps

Only £ 8.97


Gaps everywhere!

Lately we’ve seen (DIY) forum posts, questions in our own inbox and even results by diy-ers and builders alike, about (and in the results missing): not leaving enough expansion gaps when installing wooden floors

Most know about gaps and leaving them around the perimeter of the floor – using the simple rule of thumb: 3-4mm per meter width of the room with a minimum of 10mm – but then go wrong at certain points in rooms or hallways...... Read more


Heatflow: float wood on underfloor heating systems

More and more underfloor heating systems use the so-called 'floating-system' where the water pipes are placed in thick insulation "blocks". These blocks on their own are load-bearing and don't need screeding over or floor-cover supporting battens in between.
Most wood-engineered boards are suitable to be installed on underfloor heating systems (our own Oak Duoplank range is even guaranteed!) but need something between the water pipes and the backing. Most manufacturers recommend the boards are glued down on the screed layer or sheet material placed over the pipes.
So what to do with the newer underfloor heating systems?

Heatflow Duralay (the Timbermate underlayment makers) now have a special underlayment that solves this problem: the Heatflow Wood Underlay.

This underlay is specially formulated for use with electric or water based underfloor heating, provides a very low thermal resistance level allowing heat to pass through it easily and a high reduction of transmitted noise of 21db. It has lower 'tog' ratings which allow the warmth generated by underfloor heating to pass quickly into the room. They conduct more heat than other underlays, making them the ideal choice for installations with underfloor heating, bringing greater heating efficiency and the potential of reducing heating bills.

Available in rolls of 15 sq m in our webshop: wood flooring accessories


Mind the gaps

This week we received the following question in regards of repairing/restoring a parquet floor (see our 7 easy steps wood-guide for more tips and practical advice).

"Hi!

We have laid reclaimed parquet flooring in our lounge and dining room (which is currently one big room), and now we are starting to look at sanding and finishing it. Thanks - your website was very helpful! The sanding advice is nice and clear.

One thing though - because it is reclaimed, the blocks didn't always fit perfectly together; there are some small gaps. I know that after sanding, the sand-dust can be used to fill in these gaps, but is there a specific filler product to use as well? Bearing in mind that the area is very large (at least 9m x 4m), what would be the easiest way to fill all the gaps?

And another question - is it necessary to sand the floor lightly between each coat of HardWaxOil or varnish?

Thank you!

Our answer was as follows:

Thank you for your question and your compliments.

You can indeed fill all gaps, even in a large area like yours, but it really depends on how thick your blocks - or in other words how deep the gaps are.
We recommend Bona Kemi Mix & Fill. If you have many deep gaps it would be best to mix a small amount of the product and fill the gaps one by one with a spatel.
If you have many small and not too deep gaps (like with 10mm parquet flooring without T&G) you could mix a larger amount of product and 'plaster' this over the whole floor.

Sanding with grit 120 will remove all excess filler from your floor. If you plan to finish the floor with varnish or lacquer another sanding with grit 150 is needed.
HardWaxOil doesn't need sanding in between, if you apply the second coat within 36 hours - sanding between applying varnish layers depends on the brand, so always read the instructions on the tin and follow them!

Hope this helps
Kind Regards
Wood You Like Ltd


Q and A's on how to lay a wooden floor 5 - problem solving

Our most popular article: "How to lay a wooden floor, keep it simple" has a total of 3 pages of further Q and A's, in our opinion becoming too laborious for everyone to have to go through. We all know every home, every situation, every interior design style and/or wishes are different so no article on its own will ever answer all questions, but we can but try.

In this (and other) article we have grouped Q and A's from the original article per, we think, related subjects.

Problem Solving
Q:
We had 90 sq m 18mm Oak T&G floating floor laid on screed this April. The wood planks are of various lengths, same width. The flooring was stored in its original packing in a heated room from December 2006 until April 2007. The carpenter stated it was fine to lay it straight out of the boxes as they had been in a heated room long enough. The carpenter used extra strong glue at the joints. We went for a floating floor because we wanted to lay underlay.

Unfortunately, gaps have appeared at the joints in some areas. In some cases these are up to 8mm wide, basically the joints have come apart. They seem worse, near the radiators. Same gaps appeared soon after the floor was laid. However, some large ones have appeared in the last few weeks since the heating has been on more constantly.

What can we do to remedy this?
Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Gugs

A: Dear Cugs
For a whole discussion and proper advice form various professional please see your own question from 31 October at the DIY-not Forum (with a popular flooring forum)
A rather good forum in our opinion.

Q: I am about to fit a solid oak floor in a room approx 4.25m x 4.25m. I had the concrete floor levelled a couple of weeks ago and I have already taken delivery of 18mm thick solid oak boards each 150mm wide. I was planning on gluing the floor straight down onto the levelled floor assuming that there was no moisture problem as the concrete had been in place for nearly 30 years with a natural floor covering which always appeared dry.

However, the levelling compound has now dried with a crazy-paving like cracking pattern all over it and I am now concerned about the suitability of the floor for direct gluing. I can't really raise the level any further with anything as thick as ply or battens so I was considering using a self-adhesive underlay. Is this kind of underlay suitable for a solid rather than engineered floor or can you recommend another solution?
Thanks, Chris.

A: Hi Chris T.
Can I ask a question first: before applying the leveling compound did you prime the concrete floor? I think the concrete floor absorbed too much moisture from the compound which resulted in the crazy-paving cracked effect.

The self-adhesive underlay is one option, but since your underfloor is now level and your floorboards are wide enough you could also opt for floating installation on 3mm Combi-underlayment.
Hope this helps

Q: Thanks for the reply.
The old floor covering was glued down with some kind of flexible adhesive and they removed as much of it as possible before covering the floor in PVA. After this was dry (a week or so), the compound went down.
Perhaps the PVA and the compound didn't get on with each other?

Anyway, the compound appears to be stuck to the floor OK, just cracked. I was considering a liquid DPM and then glue but having seen this self-adhesive underlay it seems like a much easier option and with no risk of the sub-floor breaking up when the wood moves.

Using underlay, whether self-adhesive or not I was just trying to picture what happens as the wood moves as there doesn't seem to be anything to stop the boards from cupping or bowing other than their connection to the neighbouring board. At least with glue, I imagine it offers a little encouragement to stay flat.

I must say, if I do go down the underlay route, the self-adhesive stuff sounds easier to use as long as it's as good. At least it removes the danger of getting glue on the surface and you don't need to clamp the floor as you go. It's just hard to find a first-hand review of the stuff as most advice on the web seems to stop at secret nail or glue.

Thanks again for your advice. Chris.

A: Hi Chris
The weight of the wood itself will normally 'keep it in place' without creating extra movement. All wood works, no matter how installed. If you humidity reaches a too high level even glued down boards will buckle and if the humidity gets too low the boards will shrink, that's nature for you.

Self-adhesive underlayment (the right brand - watch out for inferior 'copy-cats') is a good product, but rather expensive and the first time round tricky to use.

Glueing the board fully to a crumbling concrete/screed floor is definitely asking for trouble.
Hope this helps


Q and A's on how to lay a wooden floor 4 - finishing touches

Our most popular article: "How to lay a wooden floor, keep it simple" has a total of 3 pages of further Q and A's, in our opinion becoming too laborious for everyone to have to go through. We all know every home, every situation, every interior design style and/or wishes are different so no article on its own will ever answer all questions, but we can but try.

In this (and following) article we have grouped Q and A's from the original article per, we think, related subjects.

Finishing touches
Q: Hi we are going to lay solid wood flooring from the hall into the kitchen, then put new skirting boards on so we don't have to use any trimming around the edges but I'm wondering what do we do when it comes the door ways? How do we do the edging in the frame of the doors, as we obviously can not put skirting there!

Please Help! Jenny

A: Hi Jenny
The simplest and neatest way is to undercut the door-posts and architraves to slide the floor under. Makes sure you also allow for expansion gap underneath the doorpost, so don't cut it to shallow.

Hope this helps

Q: am planning to install an oak floor in my bedroom. What I am worried about is the doorway. Will I, with the underlay, end up:

  1. having a step between the bedroom floor and hallway floor - how can this be overcome?
  2. having to saw off bottom of the door or get a new door ?

Many thanks John F

A: Hi John F
You could use a solid ramp threshold to protect the edge of the floorboard in the doorway which also creates a gradual step from the hallway to the bedroom.

As for your bedroom door, both options are feasible , it's down to personal preferences (or skills). A proper jig-saw and proper measuring how much should be cut off the door is not really difficult, removing old layers of paint from the hinges to remove the door out of it is mostly the biggest 'pain'.


Q and A's on how to lay a wooden floor 1 - methods

Our most popular article: "How to lay a wooden floor, keep it simple" has a total of 3 pages of further Q and A's, in our opinion becoming too laborious for everyone to have to go through. We all know every home, every situation, every interior design style and/or wishes are different so no article on its own will ever answer all questions, but we can but try.

In this (and following) article we have grouped Q and A's from the original article per, we think, related subjects.

Methods:
Q: Hi there,
I have got to lay flooring through out the entire ground floor of a house, is there a sequence to laying the solid flooring with four different lengths.
Thanks Terry

A: Hi Terry
Not specifically. It's even better to avoid a repeating sequence for the following reasons:
a) will look odd in the end (artificial)
b) might create a pattern every two three rows making the whole floor unstable (i.e. prone to more movement).

Q: hi there , just bought parquet flooring,and I'm laying it (brick affect), plus my room is an odd shape, just wondering is there a certain place to start.
thanks chris

A: Hi Chris

Depends in fact on how odd the shape of the room is (not straight walls, octangle?). Best is to try to imagine how the pattern would look near the walls if you would start in the exact middle of the room.

Best 'direction' would be where you enter the room to have a 'normal' focus point for the eyes.

Q: Hi, Silly question but I've been reading loads about how to install a wooden floor onto an existing wooden floor and I'm probably going to try the secret nailing method. (Here comes the silly question)...Do I have to nail all the floorboards? I only ask because I was wondering, how will the floor be able to expand and contract if it's nailed to the floor underneath?? Sorry if this sounds really daft but just want to clarify the situation.
Many thanks Chris J

A: Hi Chris
First of all, silly questions don't exist (only silly answers ;-))

Yes, you do have to nail all boards (every 40 - 50 cm but at least two nails per board) otherwise when the floor expands or shrinks the 'loose' boards can buckle or cup more easier.
Wood expands/shrinks due to changes in air-humidity during the various seasons, no matter what method you use for installation. The nails will hold them in place better to prevent gaps (when shrinking) or cupping (when expanding).
Hope this clarifies it for you

Q: I'm going to lay a real wood floor on concrete in hallway & joists in other 2 rooms any tips most appreciated as I've only laid laminate in the past. Andy

A: Hi Andy
Can I first redirect you to three other articles? If you still have further questions by all means ask them here again.

Installing floors onto joists
Type of underfloor is type of underlayment
and
One type of underfloor

Q: Hi,

really good information on your site...
We plan to put a solid wood floor (140mm wide oak planks) onto a concrete floor. House is 8 years old. Planning to do 3 adjoining rooms total of 42 m square. We've been given different advice - some fitters say glue straight to concrete, some say use underlay and glue planks together. Could you give us any advice on this, any help much appreciated.
Hels

A: Hi Hels
Both methods are suitable. Glueing the solid floor down depends on the condition and quality of the concrete underfloor (the 'weakest link')

We ourselves prefer the floating method (when the room isn't wider than 5 meters wide), installing a combi-underlayment and glueing (with PVAC wood-glue) all Tongues and Grooves.
Leave sufficient expansion gaps around the perimeter of the floor.
Hope this helps

Q: I will be installing a 3/4" X 21/2" walnut floor in 5 rooms and a hallway. My wife (ball and chain) wants me to lay the flooring without any t-moldings. Any tips for doing so? Steve

A: Hi Steve
All depends on how long your strip flooring is. If blocks up to 50cm long and presuming you will glue the floor down this can be done safely from one room into another without the use of thresholds. As 'feature', if you are installing a specific pattern like herringbone you could install the blocks straight - as 'soldiers' - in the doorway.

If longer and/or random length we definitely recommend treating every room separately and installing thresholds in the door ways, specially in the hallway where there is a different climate than in your other rooms.

Q: Hello,
We recently purchased a 1958 ranch home that has wood floors in the bedrooms. The previous owners had everything carpeted and didn't even know that the wood floors existed. We are going to install wood floors in the remainder of the house (entry, living room, dining room, sun room, kitchen & hallway.

My question is what way do we lay the hardwoods we are going to install? The wood in the bedrooms runs parallel when you walk through the door. My understanding is you lay floors perpendicular to the joists and in this case the floors are parallel with the joists.

Should we try to match the direction of the wood to the bedrooms in the rest of the house or should we follow the advice and have the wood go perpendicular to the joists when you walk in the front door.

Also, what direction is wood installed down a hallway? Should it go the length of the hallway or is it okay to have it going right to left?

We are just having such a hard time knowing if there is a standard process around this and we are getting mixed messages from a contractor. Thanks!! Tamiko

A: Dear Tamiko
It's always best to install the boards with 'the light' if possible. When existing floorboards you want to install over already go the same way as you want your new boards to go you'll have to install hardboard or plywood first to prevent movement - rocking etc.

As for hallways, go length ways, that's easiest on the eye when you enter your house, specially when you have a narrow hall.

Q: I am about to lay solid oak T&G floor onto oak joists in an old house (loft conversion). Each board is 13cm wide and 2.5cm thick, varying lengths.
There is no existing flooring (it seems to have been removed a long time ago and replaced with plasterboard... very safe!) but the top surface of the joists seems flat and level.
There is no ceiling below (i.e. exposed joists and board can be seem from below)

Should i float the T&G over the joists, or hidden nail into them, or even drill and screw through the top (plugging the sink with dowel and sanding flat)?

Should i contrive to have all the boards (i.e. including the odd short one) crossing a joist at some point in its length, or is it OK to have the odd short board suspended by only its T&G?
Giles

A: Hi Giles
If the joists are not further apart than 35 - 40 cm you can safely install the boards straight onto them, secretly nailing (in angle through the Tongue).

There is no need to have all boards end up a joist, as long as every board connects with at least 3 joists it's fine to haven them 'meet in the middle'
Hope this helps

Q: Hi, i am going to lay an engineered click oak floor in my lounge which is 6mtrs square.There are windows on the north and south walls and the door is on the east side. Which way do you recommend laying the boards,should it be from north to south to catch the light on the boards?
Thank you, Malcolm.

A: Hi Malcolm
You're spot on!
Always try to go 'with the light' especially when you have bevelled floorboards. This to prevent false shades when the sun in shining, plus the grain of the wood will show its best character this way.

Q: we are laying an oak floor in ur hallway, in one of your previous question you advised that you could use the floating method if the area was only small would this be suitable for a small hallway?
Tracey

Q: We are about to fit an oak floor into our small hallway, do we have to glue the whole of the floor down to the concrete or can we use the floating method in this small space ?
Angus J

A: Welcome Tracey and Angus
Answering both questions at once: wooden floors with T&G's can be installed floating in small areas like hallways. Although you have to make sure you stagger the boards even if the length of the area is one or even shorter than a whole board otherwise the floor could be unstable.
Hope this helps

Q: When fitting boards in a hallway is it best to fit the boards across a samll hallway or along it, as we have a large number of doorways we are wondering how to get around these without it looking a complete mess
Angus J

A: Hi again Angus J.
Not knowing the exact situation I would opt for installing the boards in the longest way to avoid it looking strange so you 'walk' along the rows instead of creating a kind hop-scotch area.

Doors can be tackled more easily if you undercut the doorposts and architraves first to slide the boards under (something quicker done with normal T&G boards than with the 'click-system' types.
Hope this helps


How to restore a Parquet floor - what to be aware of

This week we received another question on the subject of a rediscovered parquet floor:

Good Afternoon,

Mosaiclieverdink I wonder if I could pick your brains a little.  We have just uncovered a parquet floor - 6 bricks @ 4.5"x7/8" in blocks at 90 degree angles to one another. Floor area is 14'x11' & rectangular - no cupboards or inaccessible areas.  Mahogany wood or so I'm told - the wood is certainly very dark all the way through.  The floor has had some previous repairs after two rooms were knocked together & plumbing works (around 6 years ago).  We are planning on restoring the floor to leave it exposed now.

To do so we need to sand the floor & then seal & varnish it (need a pretty heavy duty finish as the only back door to our garden is through the living room & we have a dog with a number of very scratchy nails on each corner).

I wondered if you could answer the following questions:

  1. Assuming that the floor is prepared & suitably coloured already would it be correct to say that I would need to seal the floor first (~4 hours to dry) then varnish 2-3 times (~ 8 hours to dry between each coating).  Is this about right (depending on the specific instructions on any manufacturers products of course)?
  2. I am planning on having some quotes for professionals to do this work as well as costing it to do ourselves but I wondered could you give me some sort of 'ball park' idea of the cost of such a renovation?
  3. What sort of time frame would you expect such renovations to take?
  4. I cannot seem to find anyone registered with the BWFA in or near Wiltshire.  Are you able to recommend (or warn me to avoid) any companies local to me?

Hope you can help me - I'm trying to educate myself sufficiently as I have invited a couple of companies to quote to me.

Thank you so much,

Kind Regards

Mrs S N

Our tips on what any company quoting for a particular job like this should do/use and products we recommend:

Thank you for your question. Nice find a floor like that!

Who ever is going to restore this floor should note the following: any loose blocks? If so with what material were they glued to the floor - presumably bitumen. Any loose blocks should be cleaned off this black stuff as best as possible, likewise with the any visual residue on the underfloor. Then the blocks can be glued back to the underfloor with modern adhesive, but bitumen residue will have an effect on the bonding time (normally 4 - 8 hours, with bitumen involved it could take upto 24 - 36 hours!).

Reclaim_sand1 Also, when sanding the floor use a belt-sander not a drum-sander (ask any company who's quoting for this work what type of sander they're plannig to use and insist on a belt-sander).
A hard wearing finish could indeed be varnish - modern varnish sometimes include this so-called sealer - but we ourselves prefer HardWaxOil natural which brings out the natural character of the wood better than varnish, is hard wearing and small damages can be easier repaid than when varnish is used.

It's hard for us to give you a 'ball-park' figure without having seen the floor in situ - i.e. not knowing exactly the amount of work it would involve - but between low-end and high-end of work needed: between £ 35.00 and £ 50.00 per sq m ex VAT including the finishing materials.

Hope this helps

Kind Regards
Wood You Like Ltd

Hi Karin,

Just a quick note to thank you so much for you immediate reply which was much appreciated & which very definitely does help.  I also would like to compliment you on your extensive website which I have found fabulously useful & informative.

Kind Regards

Mrs S N

See also our Wood Floor Guide: "7 Easy Steps to Repair/Restore Your Parquet Floor"

"if and how your parquet/mosaic floor can be restored without sanding" - new guide


The ongoing battle of the floor installation methods: which is best?

Like "which is the best finish type for a wooden floor", this is a question that 'pops-up' frequently in our inbox:
Why does one professional (camp of professionals even) says:

"NEVER try to float a t/g glued solid plank floor. Whether you use slip membranes etc and gaps at edges there is a good chance it will eventually split in a zig-zag fashion following the line of least resistance of a board or a joint. Stresses within the floor do this and makes no difference that the whole thing can move. Apparently called "rafting"

Quiz1

and the other professional (again a whole camp of professionals) says: no problem.

Mr Ray Turner ends his questions with:

"I have 4 months to wait for concrete to dry so hopefully will they have this sorted out by then?"

Afraid not Ray - this is one of those 'battle of the methods' - which one is best? One camp will always follow one method - through own personal experiences with the method that gives them and their clients the least problems and/or the way they have been taught by their mentors during their apprenticeship - and the other camp will keep following their preferred other method of installing solid floorboards.

The best method? As long as the chosen method is done the correct way any method is fine, depending of course on the circumstances, the product and the preference of both fitter and client.

The example above on floorboards splitting when using the floating method is mostly down to incorrect glueing of the T&G's. Wood works and will indeed find the 'weakest' link in the whole construction. T&G's should be glued completely, not just with drips and drops. (See our own article on "The correct way of glueing T&G's").

We have seen fully bonded to the underfloor (concrete or sheet material) wooden floors come away because the adhesive was applied incorrectly - spread out flat instead of using a notched trowel - and we have seen whole floors 'rattle' on their battens when not thick enough battens (installed on concrete) were used with the secretly nail (50mm nails) method.

Will there ever be the one method that is followed by all camps - don't hold your breath I'm afraid. Manufacturers of solid floorboards have their own preferences too, but more and more they give various options in their instructions (fully bonded, floating, secret nailed) as suitable methods of installation, depending on the specific circumstances in your home.

Again, as long as your situation allows it any method is fine ONLY when done the correct way.

All modern installation methods are explained - including tricks of the trade - in the "Wooden Floor Installation Manual"

Wood You Like's Wooden Floor Installation Manual - everything you need to know about DIY wooden floors



Q: Should I sand down a cupped floor?

Wood works, always. It adjusts itself to the moist-content in your home: expands when there is an increase and shrinks when there is an decrease. That's the reason why we recommend to leave a sufficiently wide expansion gap around the whole perimeter of your wooden floor - it gives your floor 'room' to move - and it will, no matter which installation method you use.

Cupping of a floor happens when the floor absorbs so much moist it fills its expansion gap completely - or is 'stuck' in one spot due to very heavy furniture, faulty installation method - and has to go somewhere - up.
Excessive circumstances can happen to everyone: a leak, a flood etc, but those are temporary circumstances. 9 times out of 10 it's a case of 'removing' the cause and the cupped floor will settle again to its normal state.

However, we frequently get the question: "Should I sand down a cupped floor?"

The picture underneath explains what will happen then (click on the picture to see its full size).

Cuppedfloor

It will 'look' fine temporarily, but as soon as the normal house climate is restored the floor will 'crown' - forever!

Best solution to resolve cupped floors: find the cause first e.g. leak, heavy downpour causing more moist than normal in the void beneath the wood floor, new appliance in the room or connecting area that causes more moist than normal - think of a tumble dryer, dish-washer etc - sudden and hefty increase in air humidity outside due to the seasons.
Some of the causes you can resolve, some you can't - or not easy or quickly. But if you don't know what causes the cupping then you can keep having the same problem over and over again.

To reduce the strain in your wood floor that is causing the cupping-effect: remove beading or skirting along one side of the room that runs parallel with the direction the floorboards are installed - wood hardly expands lengthways - and saw or chisel off a small strip of the last row. You'll be amazed how little you need to cut off this way for the floor to 'settle into place again - so start 'tiny', you can always redo the procedure.
A circular plunge-saw comes in very handy in these cases - quick and simple.