Saturday, 27 January 2018

Hardwood floors ? But which one ?

Happy New Year to all my faithful blogworms, I'm afraid I've not been blogging much lately as I've been under the influence of this nasty bug that's going around since before Xmas, it's put me in bed for the best part of 3 weeks !!

However, back up and running now and busy, busy, busy !

We've been having a resurgence in interest lately on hardwood floors as part of kitchen projects so I just thought that a few pointers based on our experience may be useful if you're thinking about this type of flooring.

 Essentially there are 2 types of hardwood floors: Solid or Engineered.

Solid is self explanitory in various thicknesses and timbers, Engineered is a thickness of the hardwood of your choice bonded to a ply sub base.
When you look at your choices you need to think about where in your home it's going. 

 Solid is the most popular choice but there are areas in your home classed as "hostile environments" for solid wood due to conditions in the room. 
For example: Solid is happy in a kitchen, bedroom, lounge or dining room where a bathroom, conservatory or any other area subject to large differences in heat or humidity are better suited to an engineered.

These distinctions are based on expansion and contraction of the timber. Solid will move a little seasonally due to minor changes in temperature and humidity where engineered, because it's bonded to a ply backing moves hardly at all. A conservatory, for example, can be subject to being really cold in the winter and very hot in the summer, this adversely affects solid timber as the movement can be really quite dramatic. This is classed as a hostile environment.

You can see now how your choice of flooring has to be made carefully to ensure long term success of your floors.

Another, we feel, very important factor, is whether or not to buy what is classed as "prefinished". This is typically sprayed with several coats of a very hard lacquer and is shiny in appearance when you buy it. This is typically a product we avoid like the plague!!

If you are laying your floor and only intend staying in your current home a few more years before moving then prefinished may well be ok when you come to sell but if you are staying longer term then re-finishing of your floors may need to be considered !

Re-finishing a pre lacquered floor is an absolute nightmare as you have to literally grind the coating off before before you can get to the actual wood to sand it up. However, if you buy an unfinished natural floor and finish it, once laid, with a waterborne lacquer such as the Bonakemi product shown here, then re-finishing is so much easier long term and can easily be re-finished "ad infinitum"

We've had extremely good results with these lacquers, my own floors at home are solid timber throughout our ground floor and have been down for 20 + tears now and so far I've re-finished them easily and quickly twice now using Bonakemi Mega.

We hear, there seem to be a lot of over zealous salesmen out there who want you to have the product they make most money on without considering what's best for your room, so I felt it was worth of few top tips of how to buy your hardwood well !

For those of you who know us and know about our continuing quest for environmentall sound products, we, of course, strongly recommend buying a sustainably sourced timber floor. There are a lot of timbers coming now from countries not known for good hardwood growing conditions and with unknown timber management policies so staying with FCS or PEFC countries actually makes a lot of sense anyway as the pedigree of the timbers is much, much better.

I hope this will at least make those of you considering timber as a flooring material a lot better informed and able to ask the right questions of whoever you choose to buy your flooring from.

Looking after your homes.


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