Nowadays installing parquet at home is becoming an increasingly popular choice, also thanks to the new production techniques that have significantly reduced costs.
As with everything that revolves around a restructuring, however, the danger is always lurking: if you are not adequately prepared and you are not followed by those who are more expert than you, you could make decisions that will not lead you to having the result you dream of.
Just to help you not make mistakes I wrote this guide where you will find everything you need.
In the next few lines we will deal essentially with three aspects:
The types of wooden floors you can find on the market
The types of installation that can be carried out
The problems that may arise from a wrong choice or from a non-state-of-the-art installation
I never tire of stressing that practical renovation is not a do-it-yourself site, so I won’t tell you how you will have to lay your wooden floor : it is a job for professionals, so we let them do it in the best way possible. What you need to do is to understand the characteristics and problems related to a wooden floor.
THE TYPES OF WOOD FLOORING
A manual would be required to deal with all the types of existing wooden floors in detail . The choice is so vast that there is probably no person on earth who knows them all.
I do not pretend to write an encyclopedia of the wooden floor, rather I want to explain to you what are the three macro-categories in which wood floors (or doomed for those) are divided between which you will find yourself having to choose, and explain the advantages and defects , so you can make an informed choice.
The structure of the wooden floor
There are three types of wooden floors:
Solid Wood Floor
Prefinished Wood Floor
Each of these types has special features that make it more or less suitable for use in the flooring of your home.
Type 1: solid wood flooring
solid wood floorIn a solid wood floor, each individual strip is composed of a single block of wood throughout its thickness.
It is also called “traditional wooden floor” because until a few decades ago it was the only type of wooden floor used.
It is also certainly the most valuable and has a very important feature: it can be sanded over and over again maintaining its unaltered aesthetic characteristics.
The solid wood planks have a thickness ranging from 10 millimeters to 22 millimeters (from 1 cm to 2.2 cm). It can be made in all wood essences even if some are clearly more suitable than others for this purpose.
It is usually avoided to use “soft” wood essences as they are easily deformed and ruined (such as fir).
The most used is certainly the oak with its infinite variations and finishes.
If on the one hand the solid is the king of the wooden floor this type also has some defects:
It requires fairly long laying times : in fact, the boards that come to the building site once laid must be sanded and finished , greatly extending the time required to lay this wooden floor;
The installation is more expensive precisely for longer times;
It must be carefully dried : each element being formed from a single piece, the characteristics of the wood are totally preserved. In fact we are talking about a natural fiber that reacts to humidity , so if it is not pre-dried in a prefect way it risks moving after laying ;
It is not (always) suitable for underfloor heating and wet rooms (kitchen and bathrooms): the reason is the same, humidity. In particular, the bathroom can reach up to 70% humidity, a value often much higher than that which a solid wood floor can withstand without “moving”. It can naturally be compensated by choosing suitably dried woods in “hard” essences (such as iroko or teak).
A note before closing this paragraph: I told you that the solid wood floor must be smoothed and finished once laid. In reality, there are also pre-finished solid wood floors , that is already polished and painted. The problem with this solution is the fact that wood is solid. In a new environment surely the wood fibers will adapt to the characteristics of humidity moving in some way. This will cause the strips to deform (even slightly), but just enough to no longer be perfectly coplanar. Thus the practicality of having a pre-finished solid is lost with the natural movements of the wood.
Type 2: the pre-finished floor
prefinished wood floorIf we talked about the king with the solid wood floor, we are talking about the star of wooden floors with the pre-finished wooden floor.
In fact, for some decades pre-finished parquet has monopolized the market reaching 80% .