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What is Hardwood Flooring?
Hardwood flooring is manufactured using a single piece of hardwood veneer in a variety of wood species such as oak, mahogany and teak. The thickness and width can range from 18-19mm and 100-150mm, respectively.
Why Hardwood Flooring?
Authentic hardwood is exceptionally hard-wearing and durable. Areas that experience high traffic, such as hallways, stairs and living areas most suitable for this type of flooring.Depending on the thickness of the wood above the groove, hardwood flooring can be sanded and refinished numerous times to restore its classic appearance. As such, hardwood flooring is more forgiving to scuffs and scratches. In terms of cost, hardwood flooring can start from £15 per square meter and has a lifespan of 30 to 100 years. The longevity of this flooring makes it a worthwhile investment.
Although hardwood floors are robust, they have a limited resilience to heat and water fluctuations. Significant variations in the humidity and heat conditions can result in expansion or shrinkage of the hardwood, enabling it to become warped and disfigured. Moreover, installation of the boards using nails may be problematic, often requiring a professional.
The first step to successfully installing hardwood flooring is ensuring the site conditions are appropriate. Ideally, the relative air humidity levels should fall within the range of 45-65% – this can be measured using a hygrometer. Following this, the floorboards must be acclimated to the conditions of the room. A minimum of 7 days is recommended to ensure the moisture in the hardwood boards is balanced with the environment. This step is essential to prevent shrinkage or expansion of the wood after installation. It is also important to consider the condition of the sub-floor. If uneven, it must be levelled using plywood or self-levelling compound.
Once the site is ready, installation can begin! Traditionally, hardwood is milled with tongue and grooves on all four sides to ensure the boards interlink seamlessly. The boards can be fixed onto the sub-floor using nails or glue. When installing hardwood onto a concrete sub-layer, a concrete adhesive is required. For installation on plywood, a floor overlay nailer can be used. Once installed, the hardwood flooring can be varnish and finished with an oil or lacquer-based coating.
Damaged hardwood floorboards are replaced before the restoration can begin.
The top layer of the hardwood is sanded down to remove scuffs and scratches.
An oil-based finish is used give the oak hardwood a glossy, high-quality appearance.
Maintenance and Cleaning
A maintenance regime is essential to uphold the beauty and integrity of your solid wood floors. In general, potent cleaning agents such as bleach must be avoided to prevent removal of the finish coating. A detergent specifically formulated for oiled, lacquered and unfinished flooring is recommended.
Given that solid wood flooring is incompatible with moisture, a dry microfibre mop is advisable. Moreover, it is essential to avoid use of abrasive materials e.g., scouring pads, to prevent the floor from becoming scratched. A brilliant way of protecting hardwood flooring from damage is to add a wax coating. This can be reapplied if and when needed.