Rioni Wood Products gets its name from a river, “Rioni”, located in the Colchian rain forests of Turkey and Georgia. The Colchian rain forests are mixed with hornbeam, oriental beech, sweet chestnut, and other hardwoods, which we use to produce our solid hardwood flooring products.
Rioni Wood Products designs and manufactures inexpensive, high quality hardwood flooring products for the hardwood floor industry. Our specialty is solid 3/4" thick hardwood flooring parquet, marquetry, ornamental floors, panels, borders and medallions.
We are proud of our experience for more than 25 years.
We use many different species of hardwoods: African Mahogany, Mahogany, Sappelle, Brazilian Cherry, Cherry, Maple, Hornbeam, European Beech, Walnut, Peruvian Walnut, American Walnut, American Cherry, White Oak, Red Oak, Oak, Santos Mahogany, Beech, Blood Wood, Merbau, Tiger Wood, Kempas and that is just to name a few.
Our products have passed through a special drying process and are fabricated with our new technology which has two patents pending. We use specially invented locks for easy installation of our hardwood floor panels, medallion and borders. During the installation of our hardwood floor panels you can utilize our techniques of joining previously prefabricated boards with each other. For this purpose we can offer you special joint locks that we have created to make your installation of our hardwood flooring easy. All of this demonstrates our dedication to our work.
Use of our prefabricated hardwood floor panels results in less installation time. It also means less dust and noise, since, by the larger part, most of the work was already done by our specialists. Thickness of the wood panels meets American standards, 3/4" thick solid wood. Our hardwood flooring panels are glued, pressed and joined tightly together. Therefore there is less finishing work.
OUR DEDICATION TO CUSTOMERS
Whenever necessary, we can provide help with taking measurements of your premises as well as creation of the draft in Auto Cad by our professionals, so you can see for yourself the way the floor pattern that you have chosen would look with one design or another.
Our company is a member of National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA), which gives us an opportunity to be a part of one of the most focused and dedicated professional trade organizations within the flooring industry.
We have a production workshop and manufacturing facilities in USA and Georgia, which provides you with assurance that in case of necessity the finishing touches can be applied to the prefabricated materials or changes can be made to meet your needs. You will not be left alone with any problem that may arise. Rest assured that any questions with your floors will be resolved with the help of our professionals.
It is all done by us so you can experience the comfort and delight of our high quality hardwood flooring.
The Acclimation of Wood for Flooring Wood Products
The purpose of acclimating wood prior to its use is to allow for the adjustment of the moisture content to normal living conditions. If acclimation is not completed properly, the wood can warp, split, and crack once it has been installed. The temperature and humidity differences between the jobsite and the warehouse can be significant. One of the most susceptible products to these changes is hardwood flooring.
Wood Flooring at the Warehouse
Once the flooring has been milled, it should be stored in a well-ventilated, dry warehouse prior to shipping to job sites. There are some guidelines for the handling and storage of wood flooring at a warehouse that will help prevent many problems later on. These include:
Unloading- Never unload flooring wood products in the rain. It should only be done in dry weather.
Storage - Only store flooring wood in a well-ventilated, enclosed building. It can be stored in the same area of fine millwork. The storage must be dry and clean. There should be no water drainage near where the flooring is stored and there should be good air circulation.
Prevent Condensation- The humidity outside the storage facility can affect the products inside, unless there is enough insulation to prevent condensation.
Protect the Top Pallets - When stacked, the top pallets should be covered with a waterproof covering, such as polyurethane.
Ideal Conditions - The ideal condition for storing flooring wood products is to have a humidity controlled facility. If the humidity is too high, the flooring wood may crack once installed. If the humidity is too low, the flooring may buckle after installation.
Wood Flooring at the Jobsite
Before a delivery of wood arrives at the jobsite, the site should be checked to determine if there is excessive moisture. The flooring wood will absorb moisture if there is high humidity. If the moisture levels at the jobsite are high, the wood should not be delivered. Here are some other tips for the storage of wood flooring at a job site:
Before the Flooring Arrives - The building should be completely enclosed, with all the doors and windows installed. The climate controls should be operating for at least 48 hours. This will allow the humidity inside to be controlled. Moisture content should be checked before installation. All painting and plastering should be done, as this will add more moisture to the environment.
Acclimating the Flooring - Spread the boxes of flooring over the sub floor. It should sit for a minimum of four days before installation begins. If delivery occurred when it was raining, it may take a few more days before the flooring can be installed.
After Installation - Once the flooring is installed, another week should pass before the floor is finished or sanded.
This is one of the most useful pieces of paper to determine if flooring wood is acclimated and ready to install. It provides an evaluation of the jobsite. The general contractor should be notified of any problems that are found during the completion of this Builder’s Checklist.
Humidity Test Prior to Hard Wood Floors Installation
The wood used in the manufacturing of hard wood floors now comes from all over the world. Just fifty years or so ago, most of the trees used for flooring can from the forests surrounding the manufacturing plant. The wood was rather acclimated to the area and the necessity of moisture testing was not a great as it is today. The various climates throughout the United States can cause problems with hard wood floors if moisture testing is not completed prior to installation.
In drier climates, the moisture content should be lower in the hardwood flooring before installation. It should be higher in wetter climates. The wood in real hardwood floors can expand, shrink, warp, or split if there is no acclimation of the wood before installation. You might have seen wood work or painting that has shrunk because the moisture content was too low in the home.
Types of Moisture Testing
There are many different types of handheld moisture testing meters available. The local home improvement store should carry quite a selection, but you can also find several different models online, too. Some moisture meters can test a variety of building materials, but there are meters specifically for testing wood. The meter should have different calibrations for different wood species. Specific gravity or the denseness of the wood will also play a part in determining what the actual moisture content is.
If you don’t have access to one of these moisture meters, then you can do one very simple test on a concrete sub floor to determine if there is too much moisture. This test will cost you less than ten dollars. Cut out six pieces of poly film in two foot squares. Tape the edges securely to the concrete slab. Make sure there is a good seal. Leave the poly film sit for 24-48 hours and then remove it. If you can see a color change or there is any condensation, there are moisture issues that will have to be addressed before hard wood floors can be installed. A vapor barrier may be one answer to this problem, but it will be determined by the actual moisture level.
Proper moisture testing before, during, and after installation is as important as acclimating the hard wood floors to the jobsite. Most flooring manufacturers recommended that the relative humidity of the home should be about 40-55%. Humidity at higher percentages can cause swelling, shrinkage, buckling, or a host of other problems. Before you begin testing, you should discover what the normal moisture content is for the area. What is terrific for Texas may not be so good for Maine.
Radiant Heating for Hardwood Floors
Radiant heating is become more common in homes and businesses across North American. Because of this, it’s important that contractors understand how radiant heat will affect hardwood flooring before, during, and after installation. There are a number of benefits to radiant heating, including:
Comfort - Heat is distributed evenly and noisily. You don’t have to hear a furnace come on every little bit and blow hot air.
Custom Designed - It can be used for a single room or the whole home. Radiant heat may be supplemental heat source or provide all heat for the home. There are no unsightly heating ducts or large control panels.
Safe- A nail, water, or even your hand will cause no damage to the radiant heating elements. Parents can relax knowing that their home is heated by low voltage electricity, instead of gas or wood fires.
Reliable- All radiant heat products are backed by a 25 year warranty. There is no need for yearly maintenance or service calls, either.
Efficient- Radiant heat is the most efficient type of heat source available today. These systems operate at an efficiency rate of 98-100%.
Installing Hardwood Floors over Radiant Heat
Radiant heat is different because it does not heat the air directly. Unlike conventional heating sources, such as forced air, radiant heat is “all-directional.” Warm air rises, but radiant heat travels in all directions. A slightly warm floor can transfer as much heat a hot steam radiator.
Radiant heat, when located beneath hardwood floors, uses tubing encased in concrete or tubing underneath plywood sub floors. Before installing, however, the contractor must ensure that the slab and the sub floor are dry. The only way to do so is to turn on the radiant heat before installation. If this isn’t done, there will be moisture left in the slab. The moisture will creep into the wood flooring as soon as you turn the heat on. The floor will contract, expand, crack, shrink, cup, and bow.
Some experts believe that the heat should be turned on for five to six days before installation begins. Others recommend thirty to sixty days if the slab is new. As the radiant heat is turned on, the wood flooring begins to dry out. Once the heat is turned off, moisture will once again start seeping into the sub floor and slab.
Best Wood Flooring Choices over Radiant Heat
Not all types of wood are a good choice for a floor installed over radiant heating. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. If the wood flooring is not recommended for installation over radiant heat, then do not use it. Here are some other tips for choosing the best hardwood flooring for installation above radiant heat:
Choose a species of wood that is known for stability.
Rift-sawn or quartersawn flooring is much more stable than plainsawn.
Strip flooring is best, as wider boards will contract and expand more than narrow boards.
When possible, install a set of thermostat controls. One should be for the room temperature, one for the water supply in the tubing, and one for outside. This moderates the floor temperature and is much easier on hardwood flooring.
Floating floors are a good choice, as this type of flooring moves as a unit, rather than as individual pieces.
Good wood choices include Walnut and Cherry, teak, and mesquite. Avoid Brazilian cherry and maple.
Testing for Moisture on a Wood Subfloor before Installing Hardwood Flooring
In order to prevent the need for expensive hardwood floor repair, an essential part of quality control when installing hardwood flooring is determining the level of moisture. This is not just for the wood flooring, but also for the concrete slab and the sub floor. There are several models of moisture meters available and one should be included in the toolbox of all flooring contractors.
The Basics of Moisture Meters
A moisture meter is really one of the most critical of tools for flooring installers. All it takes is one problem related to moisture on the jobsite and the cost of the meter becomes minimal when compared to hardwood floor repair or replacement costs. These meters have a number of different uses. These include:
Determining if the floor boards are dry enough
Checking the moisture level of sub floors and concrete
Assessing water damage
Deciding if a second coat of finish may be applied
There are two basic types of meters. The first is a probe meter, which is one of the older models. This is used to measure the electrical resistance between two sets of pins that are inserted into the wood. Unless the pins are inserted in an area that is not visible, you may need to perform a small hardwood floor repair. The higher the moisture content is in the wood, the lower the resistance. This type of meter is easy to use. Some have LED lights that will light up for different levels of moisture in the wood. The higher priced models have a digital display that allows for readings of different species of wood.
The second type of moisture meter is a pinless meter. Also referred to as a dielectric or non-destructive meter, there is no damage to the wood from the insertion of the pins. This type of meter works very differently from the probe meter, as there will be no need for hardwood floor repair from the holes. It sends out a signal that penetrates the wood. It can easily identify pockets of moisture and it is not as susceptible to temperature changes as a probe meter is. This meter can be used on all types of wood, including those that have paint or varnish on the surface.
Features to Look for in a Handheld Moisture Tester
Probe meters have a distinct advantage over pinless meters in one specific feature. It can tell whether the moisture is at the top or bottom of the board. While each contractor will look for the meter that best meets their needs, here are four features that every moisture meter should offer:
A wide range of moisture content readings - from six to thirty percent.
A clear digital or analog dial and screen
Adjustments for the various species of wood.
A probe meter should have differently pin sizes available depending on the type of wood tested.
Testing Wood Subfloors
This is actually relatively simple. Just use the moisture meter at several different areas in the room. For the majority of areas in North America, a dry wood sub floor will have a reading of 12 percent or less. If the readings are higher than this, it is highly recommended that the installation of the hardwood flooring does not proceed. For the best results, the moisture content of the sub floor should be within four percent of the hardwood flooring to be installed.
If hardwood floor repair is needed, the moisture content should be checked once again. Hardwood floor repair should not be attempted without acclimating the wood flooring in the home, either. All new materials need to be present at the home for three to four days minimum before attempting a hardwood floor repair.
Wood Flooring Cracks and Separation
Even the most comfortable homes experience variations in humidity throughout the seasons. Wood flooring contracts and expands in response to these variations. In many cases, the changes are noticeable; however, there are times when cracks and visible separations appear.
One way to avoid this is to install humidity controls in the home. Wood flooring is an investment that can last for over forty years. The humidity controls will help ensure the long life of the wood flooring. Unfortunately, this is not always feasible for some homeowners, but there are some other things that can be done to help limit the cracking and separation of wood flooring.
When Cracks and Separations Are Most Likely
During the winter months, homes are heated and the air dries out. Wood flooring will lose some of its moisture and the wood will start to shrink. Thin cracks will begin to show between the planks. It is normal, but not all homeowners have been advised that this will happen. It is acceptable and should not require a call to the installation company.
The cracks that appear on the wood flooring may be as wide as a dime’s thickness or up to 1/32 of an inch. Light colored stained wood and lighter natural woods have a tendency to show cracks a lot more than the darker colored floors.
The Cure for Cracks
There are a number of ways that a homeowner can add moisture to the air during the dry seasons, besides installing a humidity control system. These include:
Opening the dishwasher after a hot rinse cycle
Hanging wet laundry to dry near the furnace
Switching off the bathroom fan during a shower
Opening the bathroom door right after a shower
Boiling a pot of water on the stove
Using a humidifier in the home
Installing a humidifier in the furnace
If cracks or separation will be a problem with wood flooring, consider installing laminated flooring. It does not dry out as much or as quickly as real wood flooring does.
Cupping and Crowning of Wood Floor
High humidity and hardwood floors are not idea companions. Unfortunately, some of the regions in North America have high humidity levels and for some homeowners, it can cause significant problems with their wood floor. Cupping and crowning are both common complaints. Each problem is normally due to moisture and humidity, but can also be caused by water that is introduced on the top of the wood floor.
Cupping of Hardwoods
Cupping is when the center of the board is low and the edges are high. Humidity is the most common cause, but it can also happen when water is spilled on and absorbed by the hardwoods. The wood begins to expand. This can cause crushing damage to the edges of the hardwoods.
There is a moisture imbalance in the wood. The bottoms of the hardwoods are wetter than the tops. One way to tell if this is the problem with a wood floor is to use a moisture meter, especially the probe type. This way, pins of varying lengths can be put into the wood. Once the presence of moisture has been determined, there are a few steps that you should take.
Identify the source of the moisture. For example, if the cupping is in the kitchen, there could be a leak from the refrigerator or the dishwasher. If the source of the moisture is from outside, it could be that the rain is not draining away from the foundation. Once the source is identified, the moisture will need to be eliminated.
Let the hardwoods dry completely. Once the source of the moisture has been eliminated, the floor will need to be dried. The cupping may improve on its own or you may need to use fans to speed up the process.
Verify the floor is dry. Repeated moisture testing may be necessary to accurately determine when the wood floor is dry.
Sand and recoat the floor. If the floor does not improve on its own, sanding and recoating may be required. Sanding should not be done until the hardwoods are completely dry, though.
Crowning of Hardwoods
The opposite of a cupping wood floor is crowning. The edges of the board are lower than the middle of the board. This is sometimes caused by water spilled onto of the flooring, such as from a plumbing leak. The most common cause, however, is that the floor was sanded to correct cupping before it was actually dry.
In many cases, crowning will correct itself. This problem will usually require a replacement of the boards that are affected. There will be some cupping and crowning that occur naturally in a wood floor. This is common in hardwoods made from larger planks. A beveled edge instead of a square edge can help minimize the appearance of crowning and cupping.
Moisture and Humidity Control in a Home’s Interior
Excessive moisture and humidity can really wreck havoc on a home’s interior. There are many different sources of moisture, such as leaks, ground water collection, and even just taking a shower. When it comes to hardwood flooring, high humidity and moisture can end up causing significant problems. The everyday sources of moisture in a home are often responsible for cracks, cupping, and crowning in hardwoods. To avoid these, it is important to learn how to clean hardwood floors.
If the proper precautions are taken, there is no room in the home that cannot accept a hardwood floor; however, it may take some extra work during the installation process or the homeowner may need to install a humidity control system in the home. Even basements can have a wood floor, but there are few tips to ensure the hardwoods remain beautiful.
Tips for Installing Flooring in a Basement
Before a wood floor is installed in a basement, moisture testing should be done to ensure that the concrete slab is dry enough. This testing can be done with a moisture meter. As long as the moisture level is within the recommendations set by the flooring manufacturer, it is okay to proceed with the installation. If the levels are too high, the source of the moisture must be isolated and corrected. This may also mean that a vapor barrier needs to be installed on top of the concrete slab, such as one of the following:
15 pound roofing felt
6 to 8 mil polyethylene sheets
PVC with a multipurpose adhesive
The 15 pound roofing felt and the 6 to 8 mil polyethylene sheets must be embedded in asphalt mastic. Once completely dry, moisture testing should be done again in order to ensure the right moisture level before installation of the flooring begins.
Humidity and Temperature Charts
One of the best resources for determining the normal humidity and moisture for your area is with a US Moisture Map and EMC Chart. You can see what the normal levels are, which is a big help when you are selecting the right type of hardwood flooring for your home. It can also help in hardwood flooring refinishing, as you will want to get the right finish and sealant for your floors. These charts are available on the internet and should be consulted before you buy any wood flooring product.
How to Clean Hardwood Floors
While most hardwood flooring doesn’t require much maintenance, there are some routine tips that can help you learn how to clean hardwood floors and keep them looking beautiful for many years.
Sweep your floors daily.
Vacuum your floors when you vacuum your carpets.
Clean your floors according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Do not damp mop your floors, as this will deteriorate the finish and the wood.
Purchase a floor care kit that is recommended by the manufacturer.
Never let a spill dry on a wood floor.
Use a humidifier or a dehumidifier to control the humidity levels in your home.
Refinish as soon as wear begins to show.
Clean soiled areas without a water based product and only clean when necessary.
It’s easy to learn how to clean hardwood floors when you follow the manufacturer’s directions. There are also books on how to clean hardwood floors and how to perform minor repairs.
The controlled reduction of moisture in hardwood timber is called seasoning. This process helps make the wood suitable for its intended use. There are a number benefits to seasoned lumber, including:
Reduces the amount of shrinkage of the lumber
Less tendency to warp or split
Lumber will be lighter, but also stronger
Removes sap, which makes lumber less attractive to fungi and parasites
Makes the lumber easier to work with
Makes the lumber safer for machine working
Easier for the wood to accept paint or varnish
Two Main Ways of Seasoning Lumber
Seasoning lumber usually happens in one of two ways, which are natural and artificial. Natural seasoning uses the air to remove the moisture from the wood. Artificial seasoning uses a kiln to dry the wood. Both of these methods require that the hardwood timber is stacked and separated. This will allow for the full circulation of air throughout the wood.
Natural or Air Seasoning
Lumber is stacked in the open air. The stacks of lumber must be safe and secure, with a horizontal spacing of a minimum of 25 mm. Vertical spacing can be accomplished with piling sticks, which are also known as timber battens. These sticks should be of the same wood type. Many lumberyards are now using plastic piling sticks. These piling sticks must be vertically aligned. They also need to be close enough to each other to prevent bowing.
The ends of the boards are sealed or covered. This helps prevent the wood from drying out too quickly. Hardwood timber should never be stored directly on the ground and it should be covered on the top in case of inclement weather. Lumber that is seasoned by the air method will not normally be lower than 16 to 17% moisture content. If the lumber needs to have less moisture, further seasoning can be done in a heated building.
Artificial or Kiln Seasoning
Artificial or kiln seasoning relies on a controlled environment to dry out the hardwood timber. There are three factors that must be met:
The forced circulation of air by blowers or large fans
Piped steam provides heat
Steam jets control humidity
A kiln is like a large oven, which has different settings for seasoning various species of wood. A compartmental kiln is one that is set up in a single building. The entire stack of wood is placed inside until it reaches the moisture content that is required.
A progressive kiln operates a bit differently. Trolleys move the stack through different chambers in the kiln. Each chamber changes the environmental conditions until the proper moisture content is reached.
Many lumberyards still rely on natural seasoning for hardwood timber, as it has a tendency to work a little more effectively. However, artificial seasoning does provide the results listed above.
Why Moisture Meters Should Be in Every Flooring Contractor’s Toolbox
Most of today’s industry experts agree that 75% of the problems with wood manufacturing and quality are due to moisture. The overall durability of real wood flooring can be affected by improper moisture content levels. A moisture meter is an inexpensive tool that can save a flooring contractor thousands of dollars in repairs, especially when the problem could have been prevented. Monitoring the moisture content of real wood flooring can help prevent:
Types of Moisture Meters
There are two types of moisture meters in use today. One is a probe meter; the other is a pinless meter. The probe meter measures the moisture content by measuring the resistance in the wood. The higher the moisture content is, the lower the resistance will be. This meter has two small probes that are inserted into the wood. This is an older style of meter, but it can effectively measure the difference in moisture content at various depths in the wood.
A pinless meter doesn’t have the probes, which is a requirement if you don’t want the pin holes to show in the wood product. This type of moisture meter uses an electromagnetic field to measure moisture content. It is a good choice for those that work with a variety of real wood flooring products.
Three Things to Look for in a Moisture Meter
There are three things that you should look for in a moisture meter in order to ensure it will fulfill the needs of a wood flooring contractor.
Versatility- The true moisture content of the wood should be accurate, no matter what the temperature or the humidity level is.
Functionality - Not every meter will measure the moisture content of all types of wood. Choose a moisture meter that will work on whatever types of real wood flooring products that you use on a regular basis.
High Quality - Choose a high quality meter so that it lasts. If you use a variety of woods in your everyday project, then consider a pinless meter. The meter should be easy to use and easy to read, with a clearly lit digital display.
This is one of the most important tools you’ll find in a wood flooring contractor’s toolbox. When used properly, it will stop many real wood flooring problems before they even begin.
Subfloors for Wood Flooring
There is generally some misunderstanding about what constitutes a subfloor. Many a layperson will refer to an underlayment as a subfloor; however, there are significant differences. Underlayments can be removed safely, whereas a subfloor should never be removed except if there is extensive damage. Even then, a subfloor should not be removed unless it is by a knowledgeable and licensed contractor. Underlayments always go on top of a subfloor and can be attached with screws, nails, glue, or other types of fasteners.
Approved Wood Subfloors for Wood Floors
The National Wood Flooring Association has very strict guidelines as to which types of wood subfloors are best for the installation of wood floors. Here are the top three:
Good – ¾” Orientated Strand Board (OSB) T&G subflooring that is installed 90° to Joists, 16” on center.
Better – ¾” T&G Sturdi Floor plywood subflooring, installed at 90° to joists 16” on center.
Best – 1” x 6” solid Douglas fir or frame grade pine boards. These should be installed across the floor joists, 16” on center.
If an older subfloor is found, it shouldn’t be removed, but instead, it should be overlaid with ½” CDX plywood.
Always Follow the Flooring Manufacturer’s Recommendation
When deciding which types of wood floors are best for your home, make sure you understand the manufacturer’s recommendations for wood subfloors. In addition, any subfloor squeaks should be addressed before the wood flooring is installed, with either ring shank nails or screws. The subfloor should also have an available area for expansion between the boards or sheets of plywood. This will ensure that the subfloor doesn’t cup or crown, causing problems with the wood floors.
Different Types of Subfloors for Wood Flooring
Depending on the type of wood flooring to be installed, there are a number of options available for the subfloor material. For example, for glue down laminated flooring, a concrete subfloor is acceptable, but the concrete slab should be allowed to cure for sixty days. For ¾” hardwood installation, never use particleboard or pressboard. Wood floors installed over ceramic tile should have the tile removed first. This is because the height of the tile and the wood flooring combined will make it difficult to find transition pieces that are tall enough. Wood floors installed over vinyl is usually not a bad combination, as the vinyl is a great moisture barrier.
A Final Thought
Many of today’s subfloor materials aren’t usually replaceable. It’s best to find out what type of subfloor is in place before you purchase your wood floors. You may need to make a change in order for the flooring to match the subfloor.
Tree Fibers and Wood Floors
Oak is the most common wood used for flooring products in North American. However, there are a number of other species of wood that have similar properties to oak. Below, you’ll find some information on tree fibers and how these fibers affect the quality and appearance of wood flooring products.
Tree Growth and Tree Fibers
As a tree grows, the roots collect nutrients and moisture from the soil. These vital components are shipped throughout the tree by fibers or vessels in the trunk and branches. Similar to the strings in a celery stalk, these fibers end at the leaves, where the moisture, carbon dioxide, and nutrients helps with the photosynthesis process of the sun. Once completed and oxygen is released into the air, the fibers carry the “food” throughout the tree again back through the trunk and to the roots.
It’s easy to understand why these fibers are vertically aligned within a standing tree. These fibers are full of moisture and once the tree is cut down, the fibers will begin to dry out. While the fibers don’t shrink lengthwise, they do shrink in diameter. This is a characteristic of all woods and it’s of utmost importance to the understanding of wood flooring.
Shrinkage and Moisture
As the tree is sawed into boards, these pieces of wood are placed in stacks to keep the boards from warping. It normally takes four to six months to remove much of the moisture from the fibers. The boards may be taken to an artificial seasoner, such as a kiln, to reduce the moisture content to about eight percent. It’s important that the temperature is kept at 105° at the very least to rid the wood of any Lyctus eggs. This is a wood parasite.
Wood laminate flooring is not as susceptible to shrinkage and moisture. This is due to the way that wood laminate flooring is manufactured. The process involves using different sheets of wood that are pressed together at different angles. This means that wood laminate flooring is not only stronger, but will request any movement, including shrinkage.
Types of Grains in Wood Flooring
The way a tree is cut into boards will determine the grain in wood flooring. Plain or flat sawn boards will show the grain running across the width of the board. Quarter sawn boards are those with the grain at right angles to the width of the board. The same log can yield both types of boards.
There are differences in how the wood laminate flooring will behave based upon the way the boards are cut. A quarter sawn board has a higher dimensional stability than a plain sawn board. It will not respond to moisture changes as much as a plain sawn board will. Homeowners in very humid climates should keep this in mind when choosing wood laminate flooring.
Facts about the Wood in Wood Flooring
There are a number of options when it comes to selecting the type of wood flooring you want in your home or office. Not only do you have to make a choice on the species of wood, you’ll also need to consider whether you want quarter sawn or plain sawn boards, the environment where the flooring will be installed, and even things such as the dimensional stability of the wood. Don’t be intimidated, though. Below, you’ll find all the information about the characteristics of wood and then you can make an informed decision about the wood flooring product and the hardwood furniture that is best for your home.
What Are Wood/Tree Fibers?
You can think of wood or tree fibers as you the strings in a piece of celery. These fibers carry the nutrients and water to various parts of the tree. Once photosynthesis takes place in the leaves, the fibers transport the food back through the tree to the roots. These vertical fibers are what are called the “grain” of wood once the tree is cut down. You can see this grain in virtually any type of wood product, including hardwood furniture.
What Is Dimensional Stability?
The dimensional stability of wood is how well a wood floor or the hardwood furniture will stand up to changes in humidity and moisture. The higher the dimensional stability of a wood product, the less likely there will be problems after installation, such as cupping, crowning, or cracking. Wood species with high dimensional stability include:
American Black Walnut
Woods with average or below average dimensional stability include:
What Are Hygroscopic Qualities?
Hygroscopic means giving off water vapor. Wood is considered hygroscopic and different species of wood are more hygroscopic than others. This means that these species of wood will dry out much faster than other species of wood. A wood floor will react to temperature and humidity changes and will lose or gain moisture until it is at an equilibrium with its environment. Hardwood furniture will react the same way, but it’s less noticeable than on a wood floor.
Movement in Wood Flooring Boards
All types of hardwood flooring will move, even if it is almost unnoticeable. It is most common with real wood flooring, as the laminated wood flooring products are designed in such a way to minimize expansion due to moisture and humidity. During the winter months, most cracks between the boards become more evident, as the air is much drier due to home heating. As the weather changes and moisture is once again present, these cracks may not be noticeable any longer. The boards expand with the increase humidity and moisture.
What Is Oven-Dry Weight?
This is the weight of wood after all moisture has been “baked” or “microwaved” out of the wood. This weight will be much less than that of “green wood.” This weight is used to calculate the moisture content of wood that is not completely dried.
Quarter Sawn vs. Plain Sawn Boards
Quarter sawn boards refer to boards cut at a right angle to the fibers. This type of board has a higher dimensional stability than plain sawn boards, which are cut with the fibers crossing the width of the board. Both types of boards can be cut from the same tree. Quarter sawn boards are often used to create beautiful hardwood furniture, such as tables, chairs, and desks.
The History of Parquet Floors
Parquet floors first made an appearance in 1684 in Versailles, France. Only available to very wealthy aristocrats or royal families, these floors became very popular as a way to show off one’s inherent financial good fortune. These floors were glued to concrete and then scraped, sanded, and polished by hand. This was a replacement for marble floors, which required constant cleaning and often caused rotting to the joints under the floor.
The Art of Parquet Floors
Parquet floors are mosaics of wood pieces that require a great deal of effort and skill to install. Today, a true Parquet floor is still a unbelievable thing of beauty. There are laminated versions of Parquet floors that have a mosaic design, but true Parquet floors are made from small pieces of wood. The most common patterns still are squares, triangles, and lozenges; however, the herringbone pattern can be seen throughout the world.
The Return of Parquet Floors
Parquet floors enjoyed a long period of popularity, but once carpet came into the picture in the 1930’s, their popularity faded out. Many carpets were laid over these beautiful floors and you can still find these them under carpets in older homes. In the 1980s and 1990s, the return to hardwood floors came about and once again, Parquet floors were considered some of the best that money could buy. The rich textures and colors created a warm, inviting feel to any home and the advances in the manufacturing process made maintenance easy.
Wood Species Used in Parquet Floors
Many different species of wood can be used to create Parquet floors, although the most popular include oak, cherry, walnut, pine, and maple. Mahogany and bamboo are used in exotic Parquet floors and are quite expensive. A cold adhesive is used during installation to lay each piece of the wood.
There really is nothing quite like a beautiful Parquet floor. No longer just for royalty, these floors are still majestic, though, and can increase the overall value of a home very quickly.
Design Considerations for Parquet Floors
Virtually any room of a home can benefit from Parquet floors simply because of the inherent beauty of these wood floors. However, there are some rooms that are better suited to this type of floors. For example, entryways and foyers are good choices, as these floors can highlight the small spaces very well. Inlaid designs, such as medallions, can provide a focal point for a foyer and will certainly make an impression on guests who enter your home.
A formal dining room is another perfect place for Parquet floors; however, there are some design considerations to think about. Look for designs that mimic the placement of furniture and that compliment the rest of the room’s décor. For example, if you own a beautiful dark cherry dining set, you wouldn’t want to use a light pine Parquet floor. The design assistants at the wood floors shop will be able to advise you on colors and patterns of Parquet floors for this important room in your home.
One of the latest trends in home design is that of open space. Lofts and condos are perfect for Parquet floors throughout the entire home. As the flooring flows from one room to another, the detail helps create an image of a larger living area. If you’re not sure of the pattern that you want, spend some time at your local wood floors store. You can mix and match the Parquet pieces until you find a design that is perfect for your home.
Famous Parquet Designs
You will also find many famous designs that may appeal to you. For example, the Monticello pattern is based upon the gorgeous wood floors found in President Thomas Jefferson’s home. The Louvre Museum in Paris, France is the inspiration for the Louvre pattern. In all honesty, the only limit for designs and patterns in Parquet floors is your imagination.
Calculating Material Required for Parquet Floors
Determining the amount of materials required for a flooring installation is one of the most important steps towards your new floor. A slight miscalculation can leave you in a bind, either with way too much or too little flooring. There are tips to help you measure your floors correctly and ensure that the materials you have will be a perfect fit! Consider the following:
Measure in squares or rectangles. If a room is not square or rectangular, then break the room down into two separate measurements.
Measure from baseboard to baseboard.
Round up to the next highest number. For example, if the width of a room is 12’ 7”, then mark down 13’.
Include the closets’ measurements.
Take each measurement twice.
To get the total area of a room multiply the width times the length. Add in any extra spaces that are not included in the original measurement, such as a closet.
Add an additional ten percent of the total to allow for waste.
When you place your order for your wood flooring product, check to see how many square feet each box covers. Each product is different, so don’t assume that even products from the same manufacturer will cover the same amount of area. You will also need transition pieces for each doorway into the room. This includes the doorway into a closet.
You may also need other materials, such as a vapor block, glue or adhesive, or nails. If you are installing hardwood decking to a subfloor before installing Parquet floors, this will be another material consideration. In many cases, hardwood decking will provide the perfect subfloor for these types of wood floors.
You should check with the manufacturer of the Parquet floors to see if hardwood decking is recommended. Each product will list how much area it will cover. It’s always better to purchase just a bit too much than to run short during the installation. This is especially true if you will be handling the hardwood flooring installation yourself.
One of the most beautiful additions to any wood flooring design plan is that of a floor border. It may be a simple design, such as nothing more than a lighter or darker colored border. It could be a much more intricate design, which can be perfect for more formal areas of the home, such as entryways, foyers, and dining rooms.
You can purchase ornamental wood flooring products that have a border included or you can have such a beautiful addition created just for the room. Many of the designs that don’t use engineered hardwood flooring and solid hardwood floor borders products are created from a narrow, one board border. Contrasting hardwoods work well to create both simple and intricate designs. For large, open homes, a border can help define rooms and spaces.
Installing Hardwood Floor Borders
Borders are easiest to install when the floor is installed. Most contactors will loose lay the flooring first, so the dimensions are correct. A preset layout is a good example for the installers to follow. They will use chalk lines to show where the main part of the wood flooring will start and stop, with lines showing where the border must be laid.
Many of the engineered hardwood flooring border and solid hardwood floor borders designs are engineered with grooves on all four sides. This does make the installation process much easier. Usually these pieces are sold in lengths of about three feet. The borders are generally about 3/4” thick. Anything less that is often damaged during the shipping process. The widths will vary depending on the design. The pieces may be two to twelve inches wide.
It should be noted that all engineered hardwood flooring borders or solid hardwood floor borders are designed to be glued down and not nailed down. This will require the right type of underlayment, which may not be in place if the rest of the flooring is nailed down. If you are installing the border yourself, remove all the old flooring first. Square off one corner of the room and install the border. Use this area to ensure that rest of the border is square. Don’t assume that the room is square because most are not.
Sanding and finishing are often required on your finished floor and it can take quite a bit of time. If you are not an advanced do-it-yourselfer, thisis one job that you need to leave to the experts.
Hardwood floor medallions were once only found in the homes of the elite and wealthy. Industrial barons had hardwood medallions created by hand and the cost was substantial. However, today, times have changed. When you install hardwood floor medallion, it quickly becomes the focal point of a room and it can also increase the value of the home.
Specifications for Medallions
Most of the underlying wood in a hardwood floor medallion is high grade birch plywood. The design is glued to the top of the plywood at a very high pressure. The design pieces can range from just a couple pieces of wood to hundreds of different sizes and varying species of wood. Custom designs are also available. Most of the prefabricated medallions will arrive unfinished.
Rioni Wood Products produces parquet floors, hardwood floor borders and hardwood floor medallions that are solid hardwood glued and compressed together without the use of plywood. Plywood takes away the thickness of the actual wood used and therefore reduces the value of the product.
Install Hardwood Floor Medallions
These beautiful focal points are usually installed in an entryway or foyer, but they are also found in the center of a living area or an office. Depending on the size of the medallion, prices can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. Many are available in colors, such as reds, blues, and greens. For businesses, the logo or other design is often created in the medallion and many companies install hardwood floor medallions in the main floor of the business.
Installation should be completed before the rest of the flooring is done; however, if you are adding a medallion to an existing wood floor, you may want to consult a professional. Choose someone with a great deal of experience on how to install hardwood floor medallions and borders. Once small mistake can be quite costly to repair or replace. The area of the floor where the medallion will be installed will be carefully cut out. A vapor barrier may be installed, such as roofing felt or polyethylene. The adhesive is applied to the floor and the medallion is put into place.
Beautiful Medallion Options
Custom designs, while expensive, are very popular today. Choose a company that specializes in creating unique wood floor medallions and make sure the design is exactly as you want before it gets your approval. Once you install hardwood floor medallions, they is not something that you will change frequently! There are also floor medallions made from stone, tile, and glass, just to a name a few materials, which may be of interest to you in other areas of your home.
What Is the Apron/Frame/Skirting on Ornamental Flooring?
The area of a wood floor between the border and the wall is called the apron, frame, or skirting. It’s a very important part of the floor, as this is what will keep the border straight and beautiful. Without this part of the floor, the border would back up to the wall. Unfortunately, very few rooms are square, which means the border would not be straight in many areas.
The apron is usually the last part of the floor that is installed. This is because each piece of the apron will need to be cut to ensure a perfect fit. Since the walls are not normally square, each piece of the apron will need to be cut individually. You may get lucky and have a section of the apron that is the same, but it’s not likely.
How to Install the Apron
Since this is the last part of the floor to be installed, the rest of the floor and border will already be in place. Measure for each piece of the apron individually. You will use a hardwood flooring nailer to secure each piece. In almost all cases, a hardwood flooring nailer is used for the main floor and the border, too; however, some main floors only require a high quality glue or adhesive. A hardwood flooring nailer can be rented from any equipment rental company. It will make your entire installation go much easier.
As you lay each piece of the apron, you will start to see the beauty of your new floor come to life. The apron of the room is just as important as the rest of the floor, as it pulls the look together. Consider it as a finishing touch. Many of these floors and borders will have to be sanded and finished before the installation is done.
Basic Layout of Ornamental Flooring
The basic layout of ornamental flooring is usually one of two types. These include:
If you’ve read anything about how to install hardwood flooring, especially ornamental flooring, you’re probably aware that a dry layout is essential to success. This allows you to see the floor before it is installed and correct any issues that may arise, such as inaccurate measurements, insufficient materials, or a need for leveling in some areas. While these problems can be avoided with the properly planning, shortfalls do happen.
Parallel or Diagonal Layout
With a parallel or diagonal layout, the installation of the flooring must begin in the center of the room and work outward. A parallel working line will establish where to begin a parallel layout. A diagonal working line will establish where to begin a parallel layout. You will need to install the first three or four rows against a straightedge to ensure that these vital pieces of the floor are installed correctly, without any deviation to the parallel or diagonal working line.
How to Find the Parallel Working Line
Here are the steps for finding a parallel working line for a parallel layout:
Snap a chalk line through the center of the room.
This is line Y.
Snap a chalk line at a 90° angle to line Y.
This is line X.
These two lines will form a perfect square corner where you can begin your parallel layout.
How to Find the Diagonal Working Line
Here are the steps for finding a diagonal working line for a diagonal layout:
Follow the above steps for a parallel working line.
Snap a line at exactly 45° to the angle created from line Y and line X.
This 45° angle is where the diagonal working line is.
These lines can be confirmed with a large compass or protractor.
This is one of the most important steps when learning how to install hardwood flooring. If these lines are off even just a little bit, the appearance of the floor will be greatly altered, especially as the floor is installed farther away from the center.
A herringbone layout is another type of layout, but it is far from basic. It requires a great deal of practice and experience. It is best to see an article that can lay out all of the intricacies in such an installation. As more and more homeowners learn how to install hardwood flooring, the popularity of herringbone layouts are sure to rise. This means that there will at least be more qualified and experience professionals to handle this tricky installation.
Building Up a Subfloor for Ornamental Flooring
If you are using different thicknesses for the border and the main field of hardwood floors, then you will need to build up the subfloor. Many of the borders are available in very thin strips. In order for the floor to look fantastic, you have to ensure that the border does not lay lower than the rest of the hardwood floors. This can be accomplished with a number of different subfloor materials, including
OSB (Oriented Stand Board)
Other Approved Subfloor Material
You will need to use high quality construction adhesive and screws to attach the additional subfloor materials. However, it’s important to remember that there must be enough space for expansion. These subfloor materials can and will absorb moisture, which will result in the expansion of the wood.
Be sure that you do not install the subfloor material tightly to the adjoining material. If you do, the subfloor may cup or crown, causing problems with the ornamental flooring installed above. It could also cause problems with the subfloor itself if there is a lot of humidity or moisture in the home.
One way to avoid any problems with the installation is to use a moisture meter on the subfloor where the additional materials will be installed. This will give you a decent idea of the moisture content of the subfloor and can provide a basis for how much room you may need to leave between the adjoining materials. It is so important to take every precaution when installing hardwood floors. If not, all of the expensive materials you bought for your ornamental floors may all be in vain.
Continuous Corners in Ornamental Floors
A continuous corner is also called a continual flow corner or an integrated corner. It is a part of an ornamental floor or border and is often used when installing hardwood floors. The feature that sets it apart from a corner block is that this corner is designed to allow the pattern to continue through the corner and not be interrupted. A corner block is a border element that compliments the border, but it interrupts the flow of the pattern.
The choice of a continuous corner or a corner block is dependant on the border design. The only difference is that a continuous corner is more difficult to install, as the pattern must continue uninterrupted. Some of the more elaborate patterns will normally use a corner block, as this adds another dimension to the design.
Continuous corners should only be attempted by those with a great deal of experience in ornamental floors. If someone with minimal experience tries installing hardwood floors with continuous corners, they will likely have a border that is uneven or they may just get frustrated and quit!
Before you begin installing hardwood floors with continuous corners, the entire border and flooring should be dry laid around the room. Take notice of how the border looks as it approaches the corner blocks. If there are no corner blocks, but a continuous corner instead, then pay close attention to make sure the pattern connects correctly. The edges of the border must be perfect or the pattern will look uneven. This can ruin the entire look of a room.
Design Consideration Tips for Ornamental Floors
The most impressive trait of ornamental floors is that they can be as intricate or as simple as you want. A contrasting wood strip can add so much to a room, but so can an intricate design with hundreds of pieces of wood. The field and border patterns can include pieces of stone, metal, tile, and wood, as well as many others. Borders can go around an entire room or simply highlight the hearth of a fireplace. These beautiful additions to a hardwood floor can surround a table in the dining room or only be used at an entrance point to the room.
Choosing the right border and main field can be quite challenging, simply due to all the different designs available. There are a few tips that can make this decision process a bit easier,
Define the style of the room.Is it traditional, contemporary, or rustic? You can eliminate a number of designs that don’t fall into the overall feel of the room. For example, a border with pine cones probably won’t fit into a room style is Gothic in nature; however, it would work wonderfully in a log cabin home with hardwood doors.
Define the budget.The cost of the borders can vary significantly and most people may want to only see designs that will fit their budget.
See the dry lay of the floor.This is the best way to understand what the installed floor will look like. If you don’t like, now is the time to speak up. It’s your decision and you don’t want to have a floor worth several thousand dollars that you’re not particularly fond of.
Request drawings of the design.Many times, there are several people that will be involved in the design decision, not just the homeowner. For example, the architect and interior designer may want to have a say in what will look good with the rest of the home and the style inside. Oak hardwood doors may not look their best if a contrasting floor and border is laid.
The width of the border is very important.A border that is 12 inches wide would not look very good in a hallway that is only four foot wide. However, it might look fantastic in a large living or dining room. You must consider the other aspects of the room, too, such as hardwood doors. You want all of these aspects to compliment one another.
Choose the color carefully.When a border is installed in a room, it normally cannot be changed out as easily as a sofa can. The border should compliment the room, but it should also compliment the main field of the wood flooring.
Beautiful Parquet Patterns
For many people, there is nothing more beautiful than large scale parquet patterns. When installed and finished properly, the larger patterns can be quite stunning, especially in larger rooms. While most of the large 12 inch patterns are not suitable for smaller rooms, the impact that the room has is simply amazing.
Famous People and Places Lend Names to Patterns
Some of the most popular parquet patterns today are named after famous places or people. Thomas Jefferson’s home is the influence behind the Monticello pattern. The Jeffersonian pattern, named after Thomas Jefferson, is a variation of the Monticello pattern. The Marie Antoinette pattern is believed to have been created by this famous French queen, while the Louvre pattern can be found on the floors of the French National Museum of Art. Others, such as the Canterbury pattern, Bordeaux pattern, Fontainebleau pattern, Brittany pattern, and Saxony pattern are named for locations where it’s thought these patterns originated.
There are also geometric patterns that have much more generic names. These include the herringbone pattern, fingerblock pattern, and rhombs pattern. The fingerblock pattern or standard pattern is rather a “catchall” name for any parquet pattern that is made from small fillets or strips of wood that are assembled into a repeating pattern.
Even the most intricate parquet patterns can be accented with the right border or even a medallion. You will need to use a bit of caution, though, as some of the borders are just as intricate as the patterns themselves. When you use a simple border with a complex pattern, the two will balance out quite nicely and vice versa. A medallion can add so much to a formal room, such as a foyer or main living room. These ornamental flooring additions are certainly worth a look.
Dry Laying Ornamental Flooring
One of the most difficult flooring projects is an ornamental floor. If the pattern is just slightly off, the entire floor can be affected. Installation of this type of hard wood flooring should only be done by professionals. There are several steps to this installation and one of the most important is the dry lay.
What Is Dry Laying?
This is the process of laying out all of the necessary pieces of the ornamental floor without gluing or attaching the floor in any way. The entire floor is laid out and any necessary changes are made. The homeowner should approve of this dry layout of the floor before the installation process goes any farther.
Why Is It Important?
Each piece of the ornamental floor will be cut correctly and laid out, including any borders or medallions. These are the pieces of the hard wood flooring that should be laid first, as it is the hardest to get correct. This includes the spacing, the continuous flow of the pattern, and the corners. The medallions are generally installed before the rest of the floor, as well, but may be added at a later time.
Parquet floors take experience to lay properly. This is especially true if there are hundreds of different pieces of wood. Some of the true hard wood flooring patterns may require several days to ensure that installation is completed properly. If using prefabricated pattern squares, it is a much easier installation, but it still requires knowledge and experience. This is not the same as laying a tradition hard wood flooring product.
Dry laying of hard wood flooring allows for any problems to be corrected before costly errors are made. If there is a shortage of materials, more can be ordered before the installation begins. Many contactors think of this process as a “dry run” and crucial step in the installation process.
Inserting a Spline or Slip Tongue
A spline or slip tongue is a small strip of wood that is used to change or reverse direction during the installation of a tongue and groove floor. It is also used when assembling Parquet flooring. Not all manufacturers of wood flooring products use the same type of tongue and groove placement. For example, if the installation requires the use of wood from different mills, the proper fit of the must be ensured. This can be accomplished by re-cutting the grooves and using a spline or slip-tongue.
Other Uses for Splines and Slip Tongues
Splines or slip tongues are glued down during the installation; however, in some cases cleats or staples may be needed, as well. Many times, splines are used when linking a border to the field or the apron, too. This is the easiest way to ensure a good fit between these different pieces of wood flooring. If splines and slip tongues weren’t used, then there would be no connection between the main field of the floor, the border, and the apron.
In main fields that run perpendicular to the border, you’ll need to route the ends of the boards and place a slip tongue or spline. This will is necessary to make sure the border is connected to the main field, other border pieces, and the apron.
You will need to purchase splines and slip tongues separately, in most cases, because these pieces are not normally included with prefabricated ornamental wood flooring. Transition pieces, which even out the flooring from one room to another, may also require splines or slip tongues in some cases.
As if Parquet floors are simply stunning enough, the use of decorative borders can make any room exquisite. However, there is an art to the installation of Parquet floors and borders. It’s certainly not a job for an inexperienced installer; knowing at least the basics of how to install hardwood flooring can be very useful.
For those that want to know how to install hardwood floors that are exceptionally beautiful, here are the steps for installing a beautiful border with a Parquet field.
Outline or chalk line the border on the subfloor. You will need to measure the distance from the wall, which will include all of the following:
Width of the Border
Width of the planks used to frame the border
Width of the apron
Width of any strips used on the sides of the border
Install the main field first. Apply the adhesive only to the parameter line. Trim away all but 20 mm of the excess wood with a jig saw before the floor is glued down.
Pre-sand the edges of the installed field. You will need to retrace the border parameter line to create the exact time line.
Nail a straight edge down to use a guide to trim away the excess field with a skill saw.
Cut off the tongue on the feature strip. Install the feature strips to be used on the sides of the border. Use wood glue in the groove, then fasten it with a pin gun and do the entire parameter of the main field.
Install the corners of the border first. Mark the position between the corners. Then work from the corners towards the center. Dry fit the last two pieces on each side to ensure they are cut correctly.
Once the border is installed, the apron, or the wood from the border to the wall is installed. The floor will need to be sanded and finished. For those who know how to install hardwood floors, the results will never cease to be amazing. For the homeowners, the results are beautiful and it also will increase the value of the home.
Installing Inlays and Medallions into Existing Floors
Some of the most beautiful floors are those with inlays and medallions. Even with the most basic of designs, these are rather impressive hardwood flooring pieces. Borders, inlays, and medallions do not come cheap, but installing such pieces in a home will quickly raise the value. One of the hardest decisions is choosing which border, inlay, or medallion will fit the style of the room and the homeowner’s budget.
Choosing an Installation Contractor
Installing these hardwood flooring pieces is not easy. It requires experience, not only with installing hardwood or Parquet floors, but also working with inlays, borders, and medallions. While many do-it-yourselfers think that this is a weekend job, in most cases, you should leave this project to the professionals.
Installing an Inlay into a New Floor
Mark a chalk line on the subfloor where you want the border or inlay. Measure from the wall to the part of the border closest to the center of the room. This measurement will need to include:
Width of the inlay or border
Width of the apron
Width of the planks used to frame the border
Width of any framing strips used on the sides of the border
Install the main field of the floor first. Only apply flooring adhesive up to the parameter line where the inlay will be. Remove the excess that hangs over the parameter line, but leave 20 mm of the excess wood before gluing down the floor.
Pre-sand to the edges of the main field. Retrace the border inlay parameter line to create the exact line that was on the subfloor.
Nail down or otherwise secure a straight edge as a guide to trim away the excess field hardwood flooring pieces.
Remove the tongue on the feature strip. Install the feature strips on the sides of the border. Put wood glue into the groove, and then use a pin gun to fasten the feature strip down. Complete the entire parameter of the main field.
Install all the corners of the inlay or border first. Mark the center spot between the corners. Then work from the corners towards that center spot. Dry fit the last two pieces to ensure the measurements are right and then install.
Installing an Inlay into an Existing Floor
Since the field is already installed, the only real decision that will need to be made is whether the hardwood flooring pieces will be surrounded by a frame. If there will a frame on the sides of the border, then the field will have to be trimmed. Once this part of the process is done, the installation into an existing floor will continue just as it would with a new field.
If there will be no field add, then two channels will need to be cut to accept the border. Two guides will need to be nailed down that are the exact width of the border. These guides will be used to run the saw down on each side of where the border will be laid. Remove the existing flooring and then install the border.
Medallions can be quite similar to inlays when it comes to the installation. However, there can be some significant differences if there are mixed media involved. Medallions are generally installed in a new floor, but if these hardwood flooring pieces are installed in an existing floor, the most important thing is to complete the dry lay. Every measurement must be exact.
Installing Mixed Media in a Parquet Floor
While most of the attention to detail on a hardwood floor is in the design, the type of wood, and whether or not to install a border, there also needs to be some thought given to mixed media floors, too. While usually limited to very high end homes, these mixed media floors can be a wonderful addition to any home. The mixed media grants a unique look and feel to a floor, but the installation will require knowledge and experience.
Types of Mixed Media
There are some types of mixed media that are more common than others are, but your imagination is really the limit when it comes to adding something special to your Parquet floor. Some of the most popular types of mixed media include:
Exotic Wood Species
Mixed Media and Hardwood
Some of the most unique designs are a result of mixed media and hardwood floors. Often found in government offices, shopping malls, and banks. Stone is the most common types of media installed with wood floors and the results are quite stunning. Virtually any type of stone or wood can be used. The key to a successful mixed media floor is strict planning and attention to the layout. It’s best to use the same contractor for both the installation of the hardwood and the stone.
Water and wood do not mix very well. However, for a successful installation of a mixed media floor, water is needed, especially for stone and tile. Attention to detail is such an important factor, as well. Hardwood pieces should really be the last pieces installed, but there is a bit of disagreement among experts on that point. If the grid pattern is off just a small bit, the entire design will be compromised. In addition, the difference in vertical height between the different media will need to be addressed or the entire project can end up looking like a messed up amateur job. This type of installation must focus on the same finished vertical height for all the flooring pieces.
There many types of mixed media flooring that are preassembled. These pieces don’t require water for installation. Normally, they are glued in during or after the hardwood floor. If it’s afterwards, the design area is simply cut out of the hardwood floor; however, the key to any successful mixed media floor is careful planning.
Installing the Apron
The apron of a hardwood or Parquet floor is the area between the border and the wall. It is often called the frame or the skirting and it’s an important part of any design. This area is generally made from pieces of hard wood flooring and there are a number of benefits of using an apron in a hard wood flooring or Parquet floor, including:
The apron can help hide walls that aren’t straight.
It will reduce the number of floor squares that will have to be cut.
It is a great way to transition the floor going into another room.
Often allows the border or the main field to become the focal point of the room.
Ensures the border is far enough away from the wall to be seen.
The apron is generally installed after the border and any framing pieces for the border. All pieces should have been pre-cut during the dry lay and it shouldn’t be difficult if measurements were taken correctly. If the pieces do not fit just like a jigsaw puzzle, you will need to trim or re-cut the apron flooring pieces.
Apron pieces are generally glued and nailed into place, but it will depend on the type of flooring material the apron is made from and the type of subfloor that is installed. As long as the main field, the border, and the frame have been installed correctly, this should be a simple step of the installation. The next part of the installation will be to sand and finish the wood flooring.
Installing the Border
A wood floor border is generally installed about one foot or so from the wall. It may be installed in an existing or new floor. The border may be finished or unfinished; however, most contractors prefer an unfinished hardwood floor border installation. There are a number of reasons for this including:
Offers a better fit of the border and for the remainder of the hardwood floor.
Gaps are easily patched with wood patty.
Sanding after installation ensures that the inlay and floor area all the same height.
Heavy grit lines can be avoided by rough sanding the main field before the border is installed.
Prefinished borders are also available, but they must be the same vertical height as the main field. If the subfloor is not completely level, it must be built up to ensure that border and the main fields are not uneven.
How to Install the Border
Here are nine steps for installing a border in a hardwood floor.
Draw out the position of the border on the subfloor.
Lay the main field of the floor and allow the planks to extend beyond this line and into the border area.
Pre-sand the main field edges to ensure that it is even and flat. You will need to retrace the line of the border onto the main field piece and ensure that it matches the line on the subfloor.
Using a skill saw with a fine cut blade, cut the ends off the main field pieces. A guide that is nailed to the floor is quite useful and ensure an even cut. Match the thickness of the floor by lowering the blade.
Clean and vacuum the flooring in the areas of the cuts.
Lay the border against the main field flooring.
Using staples, secure the border.
Install the apron of the floor between the border and main field.
The most difficult part of installing a border is ensuring that the edge of the main field of the hardwood floor is straight. This will provide the perfect edge to install the border against.
Herringbone Layout and the Method of Installation
A herringbone hardwood floor layout is really a thing of symmetry and beauty. This distinctive pattern of short rows of slanted lines that form a dense pattern of chevrons is quite breathtaking when installed correctly. However, there really are only a small percentage of contractors that have the knowledge and experience to layout and install these stunning hardwoods. It is recommended that you choose a contractor with extensive herringbone floor experience and knowledge.
The key to a successful installation of a herringbone floor is accurate measurements. As installation progress, additional measurements and adjustments will be needed. Here are the steps necessary for installing herringbone pattern hardwoods.
Step 1 Determine the Pattern Direction
There are several factors to consider before deciding which direction the pattern should go. The two most important considerations are the room’s longest direction and any major room landmarks. The landmarks might include a wall with a fireplace or window or the main entrance hall.
Step 2 Mark the Guidelines
One helpful tip for installing herringbone pattern hardwoods is to use different colors of chalk for different guidelines. Begin by marking the center of the rom. Next, trace two lines, one on either side of the center line. These lines should 15/16” of an inch from the center line. You will use these guidelines to align the top corners of each strip.
Step 3 Mark Additional Guidelines
Mark additional parallel guidelines across the entire surface of the floor to allow for easier installation of the remaining rows.
Step 4 Backer Board
Using a piece of plywood, create a backer board that will be used to start the first row. Its size should be 15” x 15” or 20” x 20” depending on the size of the flooring strips to be installed. Align one corner of this board with the guideline and nail it to the subfloor. On each side of the board, place one strip just to make sure the measurements are correct. Remove the strips, but leave the backer board.
Step 5 Applying Adhesive
Work the trowel in a circular motion. The right amount of adhesive will be what is left by the teeth of the trowel. Only place enough adhesive for about two hours worth of installation. Otherwise, the adhesive may dry out and the strips will not adhere properly. The relative humidity and room temperature will affect how quickly the adhesive will dry.
Step 6 Laying Strips
Installation must begin square and straight. Cut out reversing tongue sections (2 ¼”) so you have them ready as needed. Select the strips you want to use in the center of the room. If there are strips that are imperfect or have variations in color, use them in hidden areas of the room.
Align the right and left corners of the strip with the guidelines. Be sure to place the tongue side of the strip against the backer board. Press the strip down into the adhesive. You will need to nail down this first row of strips in order to have a great installation. Cut the last strip near the wall as needed. Be sure to leave a ¼” gap between the end of the last strip of hardwoods and the wall.
Step 7 Check Your Work
Every four or five rows, check to ensure the strips of hardwoods are square and on track. Address any problems immediately.
A lapped corner is often referred to as a log cabin corner. It is a specific corner pattern that is the opposite of a mitered corner. In a mitered corner, the ends of two perpendicular boards are cut at an angle. In a lapped corner, the ends of the two perpendicular boards overlap, with the ends butting up against each other.
Lapped corners are a bit easier to install, as the mitered corners must be cut at a perfect angle to ensure the perfect fit. Lapped corner pieces simply fit together, without the need for additional cutting, except if the pieces are too long. There area number of hardwood floor designs that use a lapped corner and a lapped corner may also be reversed to add another element to the design.
Lapped corners can be an asset when laying flooring in down an L-shaped hallway or for open spaces in a home that twist and turn. These corners do not need to be basic in design, although many are and the results are beautiful. Some lapped and mitered corners may include pieces of other species of hardwoods or specially designed inlays.
When installing a lapped corner, it is best to complete this part of the floor before the remainder of the border is installed. A lapped corner can also be used in the apron, or in the corner areas between the border and the wall. Some of the hardwood floor designs use this type of corner design throughout the entire floor.
One of the most striking additions to a hardwood floor is a medallion. You have probably seen one of these beautiful creations in a government office, a bank, or a law firm. For many years, medallions were only for businesses and for elite, expensive homes. Today, though, many homeowners have hardwood floors with gorgeous medallions. Some are in new floors and others have been added to existing floors.
No matter what type of design you can imagine, it can become a medallion in a hardwood floor. Some medallions are created completely out of different species of wood, while others are created from mixed media. This type of media might include
Most homeowners choose a design that compliments the style of the home, but others want something a bit more original. Everything from a quite country scene to their favorite sports team logo can be easily created in a flooring medallion. The only limitation is your imagination.
The installation process is exact and time consuming. Only those contractors with extensive experience and knowledge should install these stunning pieces. Medallions are generally glued down, as tools such as a hardwood floor nailer simply would not work with all the small pieces. In addition, a hardwood floor nailer could damage the wood pieces and the nails would show.
Some are prefabricated, meaning that they are in one piece, which makes installation easier. Others medallions are created from hundreds of small pieces of wood and other media. Each piece must be installed at the home and it can take several days to see the finished results.
No matter what type of design you choose, be sure that it is exactly what you want before the installation process begins. Medallions are not a cheap to create and changing the design after the installation is underway will be costly. Once completed, though, and reflective of what you want, you will be surprised at the beauty it has for your home.
While a simple hardwood floor is quite beautiful, the addition of a border or inlay can make it stunning. There are many different kinds of borders and inlays. Some are narrow strips of a complimentary wood, while others feature an elaborate pattern. One of the most difficult decisions you’ll face is choosing which design you like the most.
Borders and inlays can turn an ordinary wood floor into something exceptional. These borders can be created from a mix of media, too, such as exotic woods, natural stones, and even stained glass. These borders can even be installed into an existing floor, although it is a bit easier for the contractor to install a border with a new floor.
Designs can be virtually anything you can imagine and adding a colored border can bring so much to a room. Most borders are prefabricated and are ready for installation. They may be finished or unfinished. If a border will be placed into an existing floor, then you may want to consider hardwood floor refinishing to ensure that all pieces have the same finish. Many times, sanding will need to eliminate any vertical height differences before the hardwood floor refinishing is completed.
For an existing floor, a strip is removed and the border or inlay is installed. This requires the use of guides to ensure a perfect installation. For new floors, the main field of the floor is installed first, then the border, and the apron. The apron is the area between the border and the wall. This is where many adjustments are taken care of, such as for uneven walls. Once completed, you will be surprised at the difference these borders and inlays make.
Only highly qualified and experienced contractors should be used for this type of installation. Even the smallest mistake in hardwood floor refinishing can have disastrous and expensive results. Successful installation depends on accurate measurements and attention to detail.
Parquet Wood Flooring Maintenance Tips
Any kind of hardwood floor adds beauty and charm to any room; however, in order to keep these floors looking beautiful, regular care and maintenance is important. In order to keep Parquet wood flooring looking fantastic, there are some maintenance tips you should keep in mind.
First, remember that all Parquet floors have a wood base, even if they are finished. This type of flooring can last for twenty to thirty years and it resists damage quite well. The different layouts of the wood pieces, and in some cases other mixed media, can make refinishing difficult; therefore, protecting the finish is important.
Types of Finishes for Parquet Wood Flooring
It’s important to figure out what kind of finish is on your Parquet wood flooring. Most of the older Parquet floors will have a lacquer, shellac, or varnish finish. The newer Parquet floors will likely have a polyurethane finish. If you’re not sure which type of finish your floor has, here’s a simple test.
Soak a cotton ball in acetone fingernail polish remover.
Find a spot on the floor that is out of the way and not visible.
Gently rub the cotton ball on the floor.
If the cotton ball has a stain on it and the floor is somewhat tacky, the finish will be lacquer, shellac, or varnish.
If there is nothing on the cotton ball and there is no tacky spot on the floor, then the finish is polyurethane.
Daily Care Tips
Regular sweeping and mopping is recommended for all types of floors. However, wood and water do not mix well, though. You will want to keep any moisture to a minimum on Parquet wood flooring. Do not damp mop a waxed floor, either.
Using rugs to protect heavy traffic areas, such as entryways and hallways. Boots and high heel shoes can easily damage a wood flood, as wood dents easily under excessive pressure.
Spills must be cleaned up immediately. Do not use any type of abrasive cleaner. In fact, you should only use a soft cloth when possible. If possible, purchase a wood floor cleaning kit from the flooring manufacturer. All products in this kit are designed to effectively clean your floor with damaging it.
Lacquered, shellacked, or varnished floors use a paste wax to remove scuff or marks. This paste can be buffed off after cleaning to bring back the original shine and beauty.
Add a new coat of wax every three to four months, depending on how much traffic is on your Parquet wood flooring. Only use a wax that is designed for Parquet floors and don’t walk on the floor until the wax is completely dry. If it’s not dry, the wax will show the imprints very easily.
These tips will help you keep your floors beautiful, even those that are subject to heavy traffic. Daily cleaning, even just sweeping, is one of the most important steps in maintaining your Parquet wood flooring.
Preparing a Parquet Floor for Sanding
The most important aspect of sanding a parquet floor is proper planning. A normal sized room will usually take about three days to sand and finish properly. If you will do this task yourself, ensure that all equipment is available and rented ahead of time. You don’t want to plan this project only to find out that the sander is not available.
Here are the steps to prepare a Parquet floor for sanding:
Remove all furniture and window treatments.
Tape up doors to seal the rest of the home away from the dust.
Remove any floor coverings, such as rugs.
Check the floor carefully for exposed nails, staples, or screws.
Punch down any of the exposed nails below the surface of the floor.
Replace any pieces of the floor that are damaged beyond repair.
Sweep the floor and ensure that there are no foreign objects on the floor.
Ensure that you have the proper equipment before you begin.
Once the parquet floor is sanded, you will need to inspect it carefully. If there are uneven areas, additional sanding will be necessary. You should also ensure that all scratches and marks are gone. If you finish the floor over these damaged areas, it will mar the beauty of the parquet floor. Be sure to utilize the proper safety equipment when sanding, including safety glasses and a dusk mask. This will keep the dust from getting into your lungs and eyes during the sanding process.
Sanding and Finishing Parquet Floor
Sanding a Parquet floor will remove any scuffs and scrapes that may be visible on the surface. This process will remove the many surface damages and give your floor a brand new look. While many of the marks and scuffs on a parquet floor can be removed with the proper hardwood floor cleaner, sanding helps eliminate those spots with deeper damage.
If you don’t know how to refinish hardwood floors, you may want to enlist the help of someone who does. It can be a rather time consuming process and an additional set of hands can be a big help.
How to Sand Your Parquet Floor
Below, you will find the steps necessary to sand your Parquet floor. If the hardwood floor cleaner did not remove the spots and marks from your floor, don’t worry. This process will take care of that problem.
Step 1 Safety Considerations
Sanding creates an incredible amount of dust. Keep the doors shut to the room, so the dust does not get into other rooms in the home. Use a dusk mask and safety glasses to keep the dust out of your lungs and eyes. Always take the proper safety precautions. In addition, the floor must be completely dry before you begin.
Step 2 Medium Sanding
Attach the medium sandpaper to the orbit sander. Start at the edge of the floor and work towards the center. Go slowing and work evenly. If there are any scratches or marks that were not removed, you can go over these areas again; however you will want to make sure the floor is level throughout the room.
Step 3 Fine Sanding
Attach the fine sandpaper to the orbit sander. Start sanding in the same area as you did with the medium sandpaper. Use the same technique. You will need to replace the sandpaper quite frequently to keep the results similar across the entire floor. When you are finished, use a slightly damp mop to remove all of the dust off the floor. You may also use a vacuum cleaner to get along the walls.
How to Refinish a Parquet Floor
One of the most important factors in learning how to refinish hardwood floors, especially Parquet floors, is to ensure that you have ample time to complete the job correctly. After all your hard work is done, the floor must not be disturbed until the finish is completely set and dry. Getting an early start on the day can help give you enough time to complete the project.
Step 2 Prepare the Floor for Finishing
Vacuum several times before you start to ensure you have all the dust up before you begin. You should also use a damp cloth to remove any dust residue from the floor. Keep the doors and windows shut in order to minimize dust entering in from outside or from other rooms.
Step 2 Inspect the Floor Carefully
You will need to fill any cracks or holes you find in the floor. Give the filler the appropriate time to dry and then hand sand the floor in those areas. Remove all dust from sanding.
Step 3 Follow Finish Application Instructions
When you start to apply the finish to the floor, do so in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions. This means applying subsequent coats within the required time frame and using the proper application method. Each type of finish can have different application directions. Don’t forget to plan your exit out of the room accordingly. You don’t want to be stuck in the middle of the room when you’re almost done.
Work at a steady pace and use as few strokes as possible. This will avoid brush marks in the finish. Once the room is completed, it will need to set for at least twelve hours and maybe more before you can begin moving furniture back into the room. If you have any questions on how to refinish hardwood floors, it’s best to ask those questions ahead of time. Many of the flooring and finishing manufacturers have help lines that you may call to learn more about how to refinish hardwood floors.
Domestic Wood Species Used in Hardwood Floors
Each species of wood has its own character. The way that it changes over time and how it will respond to the environment are different with each species of wood. Knowing the properties of each species is important when considering what type of wood is best for both consumers and contractors alike.
Wood is a natural material that is subject to color, grain, hardness, and dimensional stability variations. While no one description can complete encompass all of these variations, below you will find the top domestic wood species used in hardwood flooring. Hopefully, this information will help you determine which species of wood is best for your flooring project.
Red and White Oak
Oak hardwood flooring is the most popular of all types of flooring wood. Red oak hardwood flooring offers pink undertones and white oak hardwood flooring has yellow or light brown undertones. Red oak has moderate to heavy graining, while white oak has harder graining. White oak hardwood flooring, therefore, takes stains more easily and is a good choice for rooms where no reds are wanted.
The rich brown color of walnut wood flooring is one of the reasons why this is a popular choice for hardwood flooring. It is softer than both oak and maple, but the fine, straight graining is very beautiful. Because of the decreased hardness, many people choose Brazilian walnut, which is over three times as hard.
The warm, natural color of American cherry is a wonderful addition to almost any room. However, this wood will darken with age. It is softer than other species, but there is no mistaking its beauty. The unique graining and color of this wood make it a fantastic choice for wider plank floors.
This is without a doubt the hardest of the domestic species of wood. It has unusual graining in that it’s very “busy.” The colors vary from whites to browns and like American cherry, it is a great choice for wider planked hardwood flooring.
The soft, pale white to light brown color is beautiful. Ash is quite similar to white oak hardwood flooring in terms of color, but the graining is more diverse and exciting. There are a number of great ash flooring products available today and it’s a popular choice in many homes today.
The color of beech varies from medium to darker browns. The heartwood tends to have red undertones, while the sapwood has pan tan undertones. The grain is tight, closed, and straight. This is an impressive choice for wood floors, but the colors can vary quite a bit from board to board.
There are a couple of birch varieties, including yellow and red. The heartwood of the birch tree has the red undertones and the sapwood has yellow. The graining is very uniform and in some cases, there may appear to be no graining at all.
Maple hardwood flooring is very pale and creamy in color. It usually has white mineral streaks, but some of the grains can be darker. Maple has “birdseye” graining. These are small marks that look like eyes in the wood. Maple is a very hard wood, but the grains can vary between soft and hard. This makes it difficult to stain maple without extensive conditioning first. If you are using maple flooring, it’s best to choose one that is prefinished.
Tips for Choosing the Right Wood for Your Hardwood Floors
Not only are there many different types of wood to choose from for your hard wood floors, there are other things to consider, as well. For example, do you want a solid wood floor or one that is engineered? Is a prefinished floor what you desire or do you want one that you must finish yourself? Here is some information that will help you choose the right wood for your hard wood floors.
Categories of Wood
Each species of wood falls into one of three categories. These categories are:
Hardwoods are generally those found in North America and include oak, ash, cherry, maple, hickory, elm, walnut, and birch, as well as others. Softwoods include pine, cedar, fir, and other evergreens. These are much softer than the traditional hardwoods and when used in flooring applications, will dent more easily. Exotic woods refer to any wood that comes from outside of North America.
Look at the Wood Characteristics
One of the hardest decisions about choosing which type of wood floors you want is choosing what color you want. However, before you make a decision on which type of wood and color, there are other things to think about, as well. Consider the following:
Grain Pattern –the way the wood looks, with all its lines, knots, and other characteristics are not only affected by the species of wood, but also by how the hardwood logs are cut. A prominent grain is found in plainsawn hardwood logs, where as quartersawn hardwood logs have a more understated grain. Knowing which type of style you’ll want in a particular room, such as formal or country, will help you choose the right type of wood.
Hardness –The durability of wood floors will be determined by the hardness of the wood. If you want a floor that can withstand almost any abuse, then you should look at species of wood with a high level of hardness. Pine is rather soft and can dent easily, whereas Jatoba is very hard and will look beautiful longer.
Stability –this means how much a species of wood will shrink and expand due to moisture, humidity, and temperature changes. While this shouldn’t be the most important factor in choosing a wood species, it may be a consideration if you live in an area of frequently changing humidity.
Some of the most beautiful hardwood floors are crafted from exotic hardwoods. In general terms, an exotic species of wood is one that comes from somewhere other than North America. While the prices of these floors are generally more expensive than those of domestic hardwoods, the results of their use can be quite stunning.
One thing to keep in mind when you’re buying exotic wood is that other countries may not have the same standards as the United States. This means that you should only buy from a reputable source in order to ensure you’re getting a high quality product. Here are some of the most popular species of exotic woods:
Below, you’ll find information on some of the above species of exotic wood and how the wood’s characteristics can affect your hardwood floors.
The most popular of all are Brazilian cherry hardwood floors. The rich color and beauty, as well as the superior hardness are the characteristics of this wood that make it such a wonderful choice for flooring. As with American cherry, Brazilian cherry hardwood floors will change color over time.
Australian Cypress is a great choice for rooms where a rustic, warm country look is desired. It is unique in that it is a softwood, but actually harder than oak, which is considered a hardwood. As far as softwoods go, Cypress is the best choice in exotic softwoods for both commercial and residential applications.
With a rich, dark color, mahogany wood is strikingly beautiful. It can add so much warmth and depth to a room, especially those with a formal style. This hardwood is very durable and will withstand a lot of abuse. Santos mahogany is one of the most popular species, as it offers more color fastness and hardness.
This African hardwood is well known for its vibrant red/orange color. There are several color variations and changes color rapidly when milled. Water based finishes can slow this color change, while oil finishes speed it up.
Brazilian teak is the same species as Brazilian chestnut. It is a very dense hardwood that comes in several shades, depending on when the tree was harvested. While Brazilian cherry hardwood floors are the most popular, Brazilian teak floors are not far behind.
Other Exotic Species
There are hundreds of other exotic woods to choose from, but you may want to speak with a qualified contractor to see which ones will work best in your home. This will hopefully help you to avoid future problems with your hardwood floors.
Types of Hardwood Flooring Installation
While a hardwood floor can be one of the most beautiful features of a room, the installation process requires knowledge, experience, and attention to detail. There are four main types of hardwood flooring installation methods, which are:
One of the most important things to consider is what type of subfloor you have. In most cases, this is plywood or concrete. This will narrow down your options, as you can’t use the staple or nail down method for concrete floors unless you did an unimaginable amount of preparation.
Nail Down Hardwood Flooring Installation
This is normally the method used to install a solid wood floor. These floors are usually thicker and the nail down method helps hold the wood in place very well. Since solid wood floors tend to shrink and expand more than engineered flooring does, a glue down floor is not a good choice for solid wood floors. Many consumers are turning away from solid wood floors, as engineered floors are more stable. Nail down floors generally should be left to experienced contractors due to the required tools and knowledge.
Staple Down Hardwood Flooring Installation
This method has become more popular with the increased popularity of engineered wood flooring. It’s normally used with strip or plank with floors that are installed over a wood or plywood subfloor. There are certain staple sizes required for different wood species and the manufacturer will have recommendations about those staples. This type of installation is recommended only for flooring contractors or for those with experience with power tools. The stapler needed for this installation can often be rented.
Glue Down Hardwood Flooring Installation
This is the most commonly used with engineered planks or strips on a concrete subfloor. When done correctly, this method of installation is very stable. Another benefit is that this floor doesn’t creak and squeak as much as stapled down floor. The key to a successful glue down installation is following the manufacturer’s recommendations exactly. If not, the bond may break, causing loose planks or strips. This is not a difficult installation method for someone with some carpentry experience.
Free Floating Hardwood Flooring Installation
This is one of the most popular installation methods today. It’s very stable and it is the most forgiving of all the different methods of hardwood floor installation available. The floor is not attached to the subfloor in any way. The most common flooring products used with this type of installation are engineered long strip wood floors.
An underlayment is places, which is generally plastic or foam. The flooring pieces are attached through a tongue and groove system. A small amount of glue is placed on the tongue and the pieces are tapped together. The excess glue is removed and that is all there is to it. This allows the floor to move as one unit, instead of individual pieces. This makes it the most stable method of installation for your hardwood floors.
Cleaning Hardwood Floors
Hardwood floors add beauty and richness to a home that carpet cannot even begin to match. These floors are an investment that will last for twenty years or more, even with minimal care. The care of hardwood floors can be broken down into three distinct types:
Hardwood floors do not require cleaning every day. Since there are so many other tasks that must be completed during your day, creating a schedule for cleaning hardwood floors is important to your own sanity!
Each day, dust, dirt, sand, and grit are tracked into your home. Even the smallest piece of sand can scratch a hardwood floor, making the finish duller. The best way to remove this dust and dirt is to sweep your hardwood floor about three times a week. Sweeping each day is best, but may not be feasible in many homes. Vacuuming is also recommended, but you should only use a hose attachment with soft bristles. Even though many vacuums can be set specifically for cleaning hardwood floors, the spinning brush can damage the floor.
In addition to the above cleaning tasks, it’s also important that any spill is cleaned up as soon as possible. The worst enemy of a hardwood floor is water, as it can cause warping, cupping, or crowning of the floorboards. If the spill is from a sugary or sticky beverage, then you can clean it up with a damp cloth, but dry the area afterwards.
Every three months, you should perform a deeper cleaning of your hardwood floors to prevent the buildup of dirt or grease. The important thing to remember is that all cleaning products used on a hardwood floor should be specifically formulated just for hardwoods. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the specific flooring material you have. Apply the cleaner sparingly and be sure the floor is thoroughly dried. Regular cleaners can strip the floor’s finish and some can even damage the wood.
If the floor has a wax finish, you will need to reapply the wax and buff the floor once or twice a year. Use only waxing products specifically designed for your type of hardwood floor. Before waxing, you can use a very fine sandpaper to eliminate any stains. The wax will replace the finish and leave your floor looking beautiful.
Other Tips for Keeping Hardwood Floors Beautiful
Through a combination of daily and quarterly cleaning, as well as preventative maintenance, your floors will continue to look stunning. The most important things to remember are to limit the amount of water your floors come into contact with and to keep the grit off of the floors. In addition, high heels should not be worn on wood floors and rugs can help keep the dirt and dust under control. Always keep felt pads under furniture legs and never drag a piece of furniture across a hardwood floor.
Refinishing Hardwood Floors
If your hardwood floors are looking a bit dull and unattractive, it’s probably time to refinish them. Waxing and buffing can help, but wood floor refinishing is really the only way to regain the original beauty of the wood. It’s not an easy task and many people choose to hire a professional; however, the equipment necessary to refinish your floors is available at most rental stores.
Refinish or Replace?
If your floor is in overall good condition, then refinishing is likely all you will need to do. However, if your floor has soft spots, sags, or if you can see warped boards, then perhaps it’s time to replace the floor. In addition, some woods are hard to refinish, such as maple. These types of wood floors usually require a professional to get the best results.
Filling Cracks and Gaps
When the decision has been made for wood floor refinishing, the first step is to fill the cracks and gaps. Variations in humidity and temperature can cause a wood floor to contract and expand, leaving some gaps and cracks. These are normal and should not require filling. If there are gaps and cracks at the ends of the boards, it is advisable to fill them. Cracks and gaps between the boards, unless very large, should be left alone.
Gather the Necessary Equipment
Most hardware stores carry the equipment necessary for wood floor refinishing. Here is what you will need:
Putty knife and scraper
Ear and eye protection
Remove Furniture and Inspect the Floor
You should remove everything from the room, including all furniture and window treatments. Sweep the floors and vacuum along the edges. Carefully inspect the floor raise staples and exposed nails. These are a safety hazard when using the sanders and buffers. Pull out any staples and punch down any nails that you find.
Using the Drum Sander and Edger
Using coarse sandpaper, such as 20 to 36 grit, start sanding the floor with the drum sander. If you have never used one of these pieces of equipment, you should know that it is loud and sometimes difficult to control. It can gouge the floor, so work slowly until you can completely control it. Sand in the direction of the wood grain and work from side to side in the room.
A drum sander will not be able to reach all the edges and corners. This is where the edger comes in. Use it in a left to right motion and never leave it sitting in one place on the floor. Keep it moving.
Once you have finished the rough sanding, you’ll need to change sandpaper to a 50-60 grit and sand again. One more pass is required with a fine sandpaper of 80-100 grit. Use a palm sander around the edges to feather out the sanding marks.
Using the Buffer
Before you begin using the buffer, vacuum thoroughly to remove the dust from sanding. This machine is also hard to control at first, but it only takes a few minutes for most people to feel quite comfortable with it. Stick with the middle of the room until you are in control of this machine. Move the buffer with the grain of the wood.
Staining hardwood floors should only be done with good ventilation. Many of these stains have harmful vapors. Oil based stains are quite popular, but water based stains are growing in popularity. Follow the directions exactly for using the stain and pay close attention to the drying time. It’s often fastest to have one person applying the stain, while another wipes away all the excess.
Finishing the Floor
There are two general types of hardwood floor finishes. One is a surface finish and the other is a penetrating or wax finish. Both are water resistant, easy to maintain, and will provide a durable top coat. Use the recommended applicator and apply as evenly as possible. Let the finish dry for at least 24 hours before walking on it.
Is a Solid Hardwood Floor Best for Your Home?
Solid wood flooring is milled from a single piece of hardwood that is 3/4” thick. Because of this thickness, solid wood flooring can be refinished many times. It contracts and expands with temperature, humidity, and moisture changes in the home. There is generally a gap left between the wall and floor to compensate for this movement of the boards.
Solid wood flooring is quite different from engineered flooring. The latter is produced by bonding three to five layers of hardwood together with heat and pressure. This type of flooring isn’t as affected by the changes in temperature and humidity. It is suitable for all levels of a home.
Which Type of Flooring Is Best for Your Home?
Solid wood flooring is an ideal choice for rooms above the ground level. Engineered flooring is suitable for rooms below ground level. In addition, the type of subfloor of the home will also impact this decision. Engineered flooring can be used with concrete subfloors. A solid hardwood floor should only be installed on a wood or plywood subfloor. This is due to the moisture content of the subfloor. Most concrete floors have varying levels of moisture content. This can affect the overall beauty and longevity of a solid wood floor.
A solid wood floor is a good choice for areas of the home that have heavy traffic. Even if the floor is scratched or gouged, it can be sanded and refinished to its original beauty. In many cases, engineered floors with damage will need to be replaced, as refinishing is generally not an option.
One of the most naturally beautiful hardwoods is walnut. As the only dark hardwood found in North America and Georgian Republic, there is a great demand for this wood in hardwood flooring products. It’s a relatively soft hardwood, so it’s not normally recommended for high traffic areas of the home. Satin finishes are often used to make dents less noticeable.
Walnut wood has a really distinctive color. The sapwood is almost white, while the heartwood is a dark brown. There is a purple undertone to the heartwood. The higher grades of walnut wood are made more from heartwood than sapwood. In order to balance this color variation, many manufacturers will steam walnut wood during the drying process. Lower grades, though will still show this color variation.
The grain of walnut is straight, but there can be burly patterns if the wood is cut from an area of that is close to a limb. This burly pattern, however, is often what appeals to customers and gives walnut an almost exotic appearance.
In terms of stability, there are few woods that are less susceptible to temperature and humidity changes than walnut. It’s a great choice for flooring over radiant heating systems. It’s also very easy to work with in terms of machineability.
Probably the best loved feature of walnut wood is that when you’re installing hardwood floors, you don’t have to stain this wood species. The beautiful color of walnut only needs a polyurethane coat. For those familiar with installing hardwood floors, walnut means a lot less work than some of the other types of woods. For homeowners, walnut floors are beautiful and stunning, without worrying about a scratch that shows the true color below the stain.
Mahogany Hardwood Floors
Mahogany is one of the most beautiful woods to use in hardwood flooring projects. It is very durable and is one of the hardest of all the hardwoods used for floors, even harder than oak wood floors. This means that there will be less of a need for refinishing and it will not dent as easily as some other woods.
There are many kinds of mahogany wood, but the two most common for hardwood floors include Santos and red. Mahogany is found in South America and it becoming increasingly rare.
Characteristics of Mahogany
Besides its harness, there are many other positive characteristics to mahogany hardwood floors. It is readily available and reasonably prices. It’s a good alternative to many of the exotic woods. It is also fade-resistant, which makes it a good choice for a room with many windows.
Because mahogany is such an incredibly hard wood, it can be difficult to cut. If you are installing a mahogany hardwood floor yourself, it’s best to have the pieces cut before it is delivered. It’s not quite as simple to cut this wood as it is others, such as for oak wood floors.
Mahogany has a fine grain and a beautiful red tint. There are usually several variations of color and grain, though, which can make it hard to get an even result when finishing. Because of the dark color of mahogany, it shows pet hair, dust, and debris very easily. Dusting will usually need to be done daily in order to keep it look fantastic.
The European beech tree is larger than most other species, often reaching over 160 feet tall. The trunk of these trees can grow to a diameter of over ten feet. The sapwood of a European beech is light brown, but the heartwood is pale, with pink undertones. European Beech is generally coarser and darker than North American Beech, and this is one reason why it is popular for hardwood floors.
Characteristics of European Beech
This is a relatively hard exotic wood, with a Janka rating of 1300. The fine grain and light tan color make this a very popular choice for those who want a contemporary look to their hardwood floor. It is a very easy wood for an installer to work with. It is easy to glue and varnish. Because it is resistant to splitting or compression, it is often used in reclaimed wood floors, that is, when it can be found. European beech is durable and has good stability, so when this wood is replaced in a hardwood floor, it is often used in reclaimed wood floors elsewhere.
The texture of European beech is even and fine. As the wood ages, the color darkens. It will take on a reddish hue, which is quite beautiful and undeniably stunning. It’s often used in furniture and cabinetry, as well, with the understanding that eventually, this wood will turn darker.
If you have searched for a hardwood that offers a number of advantages, European beech is certainly one to consider. The beautiful color, along with its inherent stability and durability, make European beech a favorite for hardwood floors.
Maple hardwood flooring is beautiful and durable. One of the most common uses for maple hardwood flooring is on basketball courts. It has a gorgeous light color and there are several different patterns to choose from. Some of the most popular include birdseye, tiger, and hard rock.
Characteristics of Maple Hardwood Flooring
The color of maple hardwood floors can vary from a light brown to a light tan. These lighter colors can brighten a room, drawing attention to the decorations and style of the room. It also makes it easy to change the color of the décor, as maple flooring flows easily with just about any furnishings. The clear flowing grains with occasional swirls offer a clean and elegant look. The birdseye pattern is highly sought after. This pattern is full of little marks that resemble a bird’s eye.
Maple is a relatively hard wood species and it stands up to daily wear and tear quite well. This is one reason why it’s a superb choice for basketball courts. While maple is not cheap hardwood flooring, it is a wonderful investment in your home. You should only buy from reputable sources, though. Some of the companies that sell cheap hardwood flooring sell low grade maple that won’t last as long as the higher grades.
Maple hard wood floors are very stable, meaning that the wood isn’t as susceptible to changes in temperature and humidity as other wood species are. This means there are fewer cracks seen during the dry months, as the wood doesn’t contract as much. For those who want beautiful floors all year round, then maple is a fantastic choice.
Unfinished Hardwood Floors
Unfinished hardwood floors require more maintenance and care than floors that feature a polyurethane coating. For those that love the look of natural wood, though, these floors are quite beautiful. Unfinished hardwood floors are also cheaper than the finished hardwood flooring products. However, there are a few other factors to consider before choosing this type of floor.
Care and Maintenance
Regular sweeping is essential to the care of any hardwood floor. Before you use a cleaning product on a floor, even one that is specially formulated for unfinished hardwood floors, be sure to test it in an inconspicuous area of the floor. Trisodium phosphate (TSP) is generally the best for unfinished wood. Use a natural bristled brush and scrub the floor in small sections. Dry the floor with only white cotton towels or rags. Colored rags may leave dyes on the floor, actually staining the surface.
Mineral spirits will bring out the grain of the wood. Pour a small amount on a white rag or cloth and wipe the rag along the floor with the direction of the grain. If there are any deep stains in the floor, you may need to sand them out. Some people, while refinishing hardwood floors, decide that they want the natural look to a floor. However, the finish is what protects the floor and allows it to shine. It is a personal choice, though, and for homes with country style, it’s a beautiful one.
Water Easily Damages Unfinished Hardwoods
While water is certainly an enemy of a hardwood floor, it’s even more so with unfinished woods. A spill must be cleaned up immediately in order to prevent the liquid from soaking into the wood. Changes in moisture and temperature can also affect an unfinished floor more so than those that are finished. There are now some finishes available that don’t detract from the natural beauty of the floors as much as they once did. This may be an option to protect your investment.
Engineered Hardwood Flooring vs. Solid Hardwood Floors
Wood is one of the most popular choices in flooring products today; however, there are many possibilities for wood flooring. Oftentimes, the hardest decision that someone will make about wood floors is whether to install solid hardwood floor or engineered hardwood flooring. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but for most applications, solid wood flooring comes out on top.
Solid Wood Flooring
It’s very easy to see why a solid wood floor is one of the more popular choices. The natural look of the wood, coupled with an increase in the value of the home, are hard to miss. Different species of wood provide varying color and grain choices, and solid wood can be installed in planks, long strips, and parquet patterns. There are different thicknesses, lengths, and width to these boards, too.
The biggest advantage to solid hardwood flooring is that these floors can be refinished many times. This means that your floors will look beautiful longer. All it takes is sanding and applying the finish once a year or so. There are a variety of stains and finishes available, too, that eliminate the needs for frequent waxing and buffing.
Solid hardwood floors do react to temperature and moisture changes. It will contract and expand with humidity changes, but if it is installed properly, this should not affect the beauty of your floor. An expansion gap is used to prevent the distortion of the wood and acclimating the wood before installation will eliminate many of these problems.
Engineered wood flooring, often called laminated wood flooring, is different from solid wood floors. It combines laminate floor materials with real wood. There are generally three to five layers of wood that are laminated together with heat and pressure. This type of wood flooring has only been available in the past couple of decades, whereas solid wood floor has been around for hundreds of years.
Engineered wood flooring is pre-finished, while most of the solid wood flooring products are not. However, laminated wood flooring cannot be sanded down and refinished like solid wood flooring can. This means that any damage to the floor, such as scratches or grooves will require replacement. Engineered wood flooring can be used on the below grade levels of a home, such as in the basement, as it is not as susceptible to moisture as solid wood floors are.
Making the Decision
For those that want only the very best for their homes, solid wood flooring is the best answer. It last much longer than engineered wood floors will and the beauty is uncompromised. Engineered wood floors are generally cheap, but if only if the floor doesn’t become damaged enough to require replacement.
Marquetry is a very distinct art, combine curved cuts with beautiful patterns. Parquetry is quite similar, but it is made form straight cuts of timber. The word marquetry originates from a Middle French word that means “inlaid.” At one time, only the very rich could afford marquetry flooring. Today, most older marquetry is found in Italy, Russia, and France, and even then, only in the most elaborate homes and palaces.
Marquetry offers a unique style and personality to any floor. It is not used with engineered wood floors and really would not look very good with such. This art requires experience and knowledge. There are few contractors that add a marquetry medallion or inlay, so choose yours carefully.
The designs vary by consumer, but most are customized to reflect the home or business owner’s interests. Often seen today in government buildings and banks, marquetry inlays and medallions are stunning and add an incredible beauty to any room.
Many times, marquetry inlays and medallions are used as a focal in a room, such as a foyer or dining room. It also can accent an area of interest in the room, such as in front of an elegant fireplace. These designs can be as intricate or as simple as required, but most are truly wonderful works of art once the installation process is finished.
An Impressive Choice
There really is no substitute for marquetry inlays and medallions. Parquetry, while similar and beautiful, even cannot compare to this type of stunning addition to a floor. Choose your design and contractor carefully and watch as your room is transformed into something truly amazing.
Solid hardwood floors have been used for thousands of years because of their inherent beauty and durability. These floors are found in some of the world’s most impressive buildings, including palaces and castles. Today, laminate wood flooring has become quite popular over the last couple of decades, as it’s often less expensive. Is one better than the other? Below, you will see the advantages and disadvantages of each to help you make the right choice for your flooring project.
The Location of the Installation
Laminate wood flooring is the best choice for below grade floors in the home. It is acceptable for basements due to its dimensional stability from temperature and weather changes. Solid hardwood floors can vary in terms of this stability, but should only be used on floors that are at or above the ground level of the home.
The Look of the Floor
Nothing compares to the look of a solid wood floor. The colors, textures, and grain is simply unmatched by laminate wood flooring. The various species of wood give the consumer many options and the exotic woods can be stunning.
One of the main disadvantages with laminate wood flooring is that it cannot be sanded and refinished as solid wood floors can. Solid wood floors that become scratched or gouged can easily be restored to their original beauty when refinished. This makes solid wood floors a great investment and their beauty can last for thirty or more years. Laminate floors will require replacement when damaged, which makes these floors less of a value.