In this section we would like to deal with the ten or so questions we get asked the most. Some are technical, some are on aesthetics and some are about maintenance. But the one question that absolutely everybody asks is “how much? and why?”. We will deal with this question first.
1. Is good quality hardwood flooring expensive and what makes one more expensive than the other?
There are many contributing factors that affect the cost of any hardwood floor, but always keep in mind that it is very much a long term investment. Even a semi-solid wood floor will deliver 25 years or more of good use. As for solids, well they simply last generations. However, the real value is the beauty, elegance and natural warmth that hardwood flooring brings to your home. That said, let’s look at the contributing elements:
Species: Some species are rare and expensive such as Wenge or Old Growth Walnut. Other hardwoods are more often used in flooring and are less expensive such as Oak and Ash. There are plenty of softwoods, such as Douglas Fir and Eastern White Pine, and softwoods are generally less expensive.
Grade: The grade of wood used in your floor is also very relative. The rule of thumb here is the cleaner the grade of wood, the more expensive it will be.
Width and Length: Anything that affects the yield (that is the amount of quality product the manufacturer gets from the log) affects the price. So the wider and longer you go, the more expensive it tends to get.
Dimensional cut: This means how the log was cut and this also affects the yield.
Origin of product: High quality manufacturers based in the EEC will always be slightly more expensive than low quality flooring manufacturers in China.
Surface finishes: There are now many different types of surface finish and many combinations of the same. Brushing, smoking, thermal treating, distressing, lacquering and oiling. Many of these finishes are done by the hand of the artisan and takes patience and time.
Certification: By certification we mean tests carried out by independent assessors such as DIN Standard or CE. This ensures that the product you purchase has been tested and passed as fit for use to the highest European standards.
2. Which species should I consider?
There are really two questions here. The first is aesthetics and the second is technical. At the Hardwood Floor Company there are really so many options it is difficult to discuss in a short paragraph. However, here are a few tips.
Consider the look, feel and design you want to have for your home. Is it traditional, contemporary or classic country cottage, and then choose a species and finish that will add to this look.
Always think long term. Remember, wall and fabric colours come and go but a beautiful hardwood floor will last a lifetime.
Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone when choosing a finish. The brave are usually rewarded with a hardwood floor that is as individual as you are and will always add a touch of ‘wow’.
Look at many samples in your own home as the natural light will differ to that of our showrooms.
Take your time, seek good advice and make sure you are happy with your choice.
3. Which finish should I choose?
Here again, there are many options. Lacquer, UV Oil, Natural Oil and Hardwax Oil to name a few. Before choosing a finish consider the following and discuss with one of our professionals.
Is it for domestic or commercial use. If it is domestic, will it be a very active home? What areas of the house to you intend to floor? Is it a third floor apartment or a garden level four bed house?
What individual look are you trying to achieve. Would you prefer matt, satin or Gloss finish?
4. Which hardwood is more durable?
All hardwoods are not the same, some are technically harder than others. For example, Cherry would be considered one of the softer of the hardwoods while Oak is tough and robust and by their very nature Jatoba and Merbau are very hard. There are two recognised tests to determine the physical density and hardness of woods. The JENKA and the BRINNELL.
5. Which type of floor construction is best?
This is a hard one. The true wood lover would tell you Solid. The wood technologist would probably tell you Engineered yet the vast majority of floors sold in Europe are semi-solid .The fact is, they are all good choices. The main contributing factor here is the job site or the environment it is being installed in. For example, if your subf-loor is plywood, or your existing sub-floor is in good condition, there is no reason why you should not choose solid. However, if you have a concrete sub-floor and you do not wish to batten or sheet ply the job site out, well engineered or semi-solid is the choice for you. Remember, there is a hardwood floor solution for all sub-floors.
6. I intend to use an Under Floor Heating System. Can you please take the confusion out of this for me as I am getting conflicting information everywhere I go?
Yes we can. The majority of products at the Hardwood Floor Company have been tested and approved for use with UFHS’s. We will gladly send you the Dos and Don’ts and give you a detailed method statement for installation of hardwood flooring on under floor heating systems. Just contact us to discuss your needs.
7. What is meant by floating floor, secret nail, Bonding down and clip system?
These are simply descriptions of how the floor is installed or the method of installation. For example, a floating floor is normally of engineered construction and has been designed to float. This means that it is not fixed to the sub floor but quite literally floats on a 3mm acoustic DPM. They can be a lock or a click system but most normally it’s a tongue and groove floor where the long and short sides of the floor are glued together using a 3D PVA.
8. Can you float a solid hardwood floor?
This is a trick question because you can go to many carpet shops, tile shops and, believe it or not, builder’s merchants and they will tell you that you can. The fact is you can not. In our many years in business we have not come across any reputable manufacturer of solid wood flooring that states in their installation manual that you can float their product. Don’t take our word for it, check it out and see for yourself. You take a huge risk floating a solid hardwood floor, regardless of what underlay you use.