What is Solid Wood Flooring?
Solid wood flooring is made from planks of milled timber. They don't use any additional layers or laminates. The boards are a single piece of wood that can be cut into a wide range of shapes and sizes, from parquet blocks and tiles to full-size floorboards. They have a thicker surface and can be sanded without damaging the pattern or grain. They're hard-wearing and highly desirable, although the most expensive option compared to other flooring types. Find out more about Timberworld’s solid wood flooring here, or check out the information on our blog.
What is Engineered Wood Flooring?
Engineered wood flooring is an alternative to hardwood flooring. It has a decorative top layer made of real wood, so you get the natural grain and beauty of a piece of natural timber. It's bonded to a core layer made from wood chips to give the flooring strength and thickness. The multi-layer construction makes it less reactive to moisture and temperature changes, so it's suitable for locations such as kitchens. Because it isn't affected by temperature changes as much as hardwood, it's also ideal for use with underfloor heating. Find out more about our engineered wood flooring here, or browse our blogs for in-depth information on a wide range of flooring.
What is Laminate Flooring?
Laminate flooring is a great budget option that gives you easy coverage and a beautiful finish. It’s made from a particleboard base covered by a specially created image using the latest 3D printing technology, which gives you a vast range of design options. A transparent wear layer on top protects the pattern. Easy to lay and cheaper than hardwood options, they're suitable for most locations except for high humidity/moisture areas such as bathrooms or laundry rooms. They're DIY-friendly too, with most using a click-and-lock tongue and groove system. Find out more about Timberworld's range of laminate flooring here, and browse our blogs for lots of helpful information on laminate flooring.
What is herringbone / Parquet flooring?
Parquet flooring is one of the most desirable types of wooden flooring. This gorgeous technique was invented in France in the 17th century. Using blocks of hardwood or engineered wood for more modern alternatives, patterns are created by laying the blocks in a specific order. Herringbone flooring is simply an alternative pattern to parquet that uses the same technique. It’s not as hard to do as you might think, so if you’d like to create your own version of the Versailles Palace in your living room, browse ourFlooring section or check out the information in our blogs.
How to level a floor
You'll need to make sure your sub-floor is level before laying your wooden, engineered wood or laminate flooring. If you're laying on top of a wooden floor, make sure any nails or screws are not sticking up above the surface. Replace any damaged or rotten boards. Prepare the surface if you are using adhesive, making sure it's sanded to remove old varnish or wax. Sand down any uneven areas until the surface is flat throughout.
If you are levelling a concrete floor, a levelling compound can be used up to a maximum thickness of 5-6mm. If you have cracks or holes deeper than that, they need to be filled using a concrete repair compound before pouring your levelling compound. Before pouring the levelling compound, seal the surface of the concrete with a PVA mix or acrylic primer. Start in the corner furthest from the door (not the other way round!) and pour the compound. Use a plastering trowel to spread the compound using sweeping strokes. You'll need to work quickly as it dries within 15 minutes.
Allow it to dry completely. Use a spirit level to check that the floor is level before laying your floor.
How much flooring do I need? How do I work this out?
It's easy to work out how much flooring you need. Multiply the length of the room by the width to get the square area. Then make sure you add an extra 10% for any mistakes. So, for example, if your room is 5m long by 6m wide, you multiply the two together to get 30m². Then add 10% (3m), and you have a total of 33m.
Remember, measure twice, cut once! And always add that extra – you don’t want to cut your flooring too small and leave ugly gaps. Use our handy floorboard estimator to work out how many boards you need.
Which flooring for which room?
Not all flooring works in every room. Bear in mind that wood reacts to moisture and humidity and can shrink, warp or twist over time. We recommend the following:
- Hallways – Hardwood or engineered wood for its strength and longevity
- Living rooms – Hardwood, engineered wood or laminates
- Bedrooms – Hardwood, engineered wood or laminates
- Bathrooms – Vinyl flooring for its waterproof qualities
- Laundry rooms – Vinyl flooring – moisture resistant
- Kitchens – Laminate flooring or vinyl flooring – moisture-resistant (Top tip: ensure you have an extractor fan fitted to cut down on humidity and moisture)
How to fix creaky floors
Most creaky floors are caused by the wooden floorboards rubbing against one another or another wooden element such as a joist or sub-frame beam. You’ll need to identify the problem area and fix the floorboards either by replacing them or ensuring that they are securely fixed in place. You can do this with adhesive or by nailing the board back into position if it’s sitting on a wooden joist sub-floor. The quickest way to stop a laminate floor from squeaking is to install underlay. This will cushion the boards and prevent them from moving around.
How do I let my floor acclimatise?
When you're working with wooden flooring, it needs to 'acclimatise' to the temperature and humidity of the room. If there is a high level of humidity or moisture content in the room, it can cause wood flooring to warp and buckle.
You need to place the flooring in the room when the surroundings are at their normal heat and humidity. Wet plaster or screes need to be completely cured and dried with a maximum moisture content of 4%. You’ll also need to make sure the room is weather-sealed. We recommend that you allow your flooring to acclimatise for three weeks. Remember to unpack it and let it ‘breathe’ on a level surface.
Can any type of flooring be used on underfloor heating?
Not all flooring can be used in conjunction with underfloor heating. We don’t recommend the use of solid hardwood. Engineered wood flooring boards tend to be more stable and suitable for use with underfloor heating systems. However, check with your heating manufacturer first, or contact us for more information from one of our team.
Why can’t some types of flooring be used with underfloor heating?
Natural wood is 'hygroscopic', which means it absorbs and reacts to moisture. It can shrink, crack, or warp if you dry it out too much. We recommend you use a more stable alternative such as engineered wood flooring, which doesn't react as much to moisture.
Are there any guidelines that I need to follow?
We can help you with information on installing flooring on top of underfloor heating systems. Please contact us by phone, email, or call one of our branches, and one of our friendly team will be happy to give you no-nonsense expert advice and guidance.