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UNDERSTANDING A WOODEN FLOOR!

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SOLID AND ENGINEERED WOOD FLOORING?

When it comes to buying a wooden floor, the question always comes up is…“what is the difference between solid and engineered wood flooring?”.  In this blog, I will  help you make an educated choice between the two.

Facts about solid wood flooring

Solid wood floor boards are made of 100% wood cut from single pieces of timber. This makes them the simplest of all our floors in terms of construction.

Solid wood provides authenticity of a classic wooden floor.

Due to the nature of solid wood, these floors could become damaged by moisture from above and below. A hot room could make them dry out and shrink, whereas a cold room could cause them to absorb moisture and expand. This means solid wood floors are not recommended to be laid in conservatories, basements, bathrooms and rooms with underfloor heating.

If they gather too many dents or scratches over the years, solid wood floors can be sanded down and refinished many times. This means they can last a lifetime, why become a treasured family inheritance and one of the reasons why adds value to your property.

Facts about engineered wood flooring

Engineered floors are made from several layers of wood pressed together. The top layer is always a veneer of solid wood – exactly like regular solid wood flooring. However, under this top layer is the core which can be made from HDF, plywood or a softwood(which varies in thickness from 2mm-6mm).

The layers are bonded together in different directions with extreme pressure and glue, reinforcing the wood and adding extra stability, which makes engineered floors very stable, with a high resistance to changes in moisture. This means you can lay engineered flooring in rooms where solid wood flooring could be damaged, such as conservatories, basements, kitchens, bathrooms and rooms with underfloor heating.

As wood is a natural product it can be affected by humidity and temperature, naturally expanding and contracting throughout the year. The construction of engineered wood makes it less reactive to these changes, reducing these fluctuations – making it structurally solid and much less likely to damage or warp.

Can be used with underfloor heating.

If they gather too many dents or scratches over the years, most engineered floors can be sanded down and refinished the same amount of times as a solid floor board. However, the process is usually required more often with solid floors.

Can be installed as a floating floor, meaning the floor isn’t stuck to the subfloor, so if you moved home, you could take the flooring with you!

If you are trying to choose between solid and engineered wood flooring, there are a couple of things to think about:

How do you want to lay your wood floor and what is your subfloor made of? Are you laying your wood floor in a kitchen, conservatory or bathroom? Would you like to lay underfloor heating under your wood flooring?

And,  if there is nothing tying you to one type of wood flooring, find your favourite and go with that, as it is simply a matter of personal preference.

At Timbered and Holme, both solid and engineered wood flooring are available in a number of different shades, grades, woods and finishes, so whatever you decide on, there is plenty of choice to choose from. We don’t compromised quality or beauty, we like to see our customers happy!

WHAT IS FSC?


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FSC stands for ‘Forest Stewardship Council’.  An international non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting responsible forestry. FSC certifies forests all over the world to ensure they meet the highest environmental and social standards.

Products made with wood and paper from FSC forests are marked with our ‘tick tree’ logo. When you see this logo, you can be confident that buying it won’t mean harming the world’s forests.

How does the FSC system work?

Forests are inspected and certified against strict standards based on FSC’s 10 Principles of Forest Stewardship. These inspections are undertaken by independent organisations, such as the Soil Association, that are accredited by the FSC. In order to be given FSC certification a forest must be managed in an environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable manner. This is what makes the FSC system unique and ensures that a forest is well-managed from the protection of indigenous people’s rights to the methods of felling trees. Forests that meet these strict standards are given FSC certification and the timber allowed to carry the FSC label.

In addition to forest certification, the FSC system includes a certified chain of custody that tracks the timber through every stage in the supply chain from the forest to the final user. This is monitored through the invoicing process and the final label on the product has a code that confirms that the item is genuinely FSC.

What does the FSC label mean?

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo on a wood or wood based product is your assurance that it is made with, or contains, wood that comes from FSC certified forests or from post-consumer waste.

Which products carry the label?

The FSC label is currently found on over 10,000 product lines in the UK alone. You’ll find it on garden furniture, decking, sheds, conservatories, tools, bird boxes and bird tables, kitchen, bathroom and general housewares, brushes, wall paper, flooring, doors, shelves, furniture, toilet tissue, paper, pencils – in fact most things made from wood. It can also be found on less obvious items such as charcoal, and there are now also coffins available. The FSC logo can also be found on non-timber forest products such as footballs and trainers containing latex as well as products such as venison and maple syrup.

How does FSC differ from other forest certification schemes?

There are a number of other forest certification schemes around but they do not have the same strict environmental, social and economic standards or such a rigorous chain of custody; tracking timber from the forest to the final user. FSC is therefore the only forest certification scheme endorsed by the major environment charities including WWF, Greenpeace and the Woodland Trust.  You can see a more detailed analysis of how FSC compares with other forest certification schemes here.

Timbered bespoke floors are made to order and hand finished. All products are created by our Specialist Team in our own workshop in Tunbridge Wells using high quality European Engineered Oak Flooring. Every Floor we create is different, having it’s own unique look, colour and finish. 100% FSC Certified Wood!

Timbered Guide to Wood Flooring Finishes

You are embarking yourself on a new project, with the idea of transforming your home into something more stylish, with that timeless elegance, quality and beautiful character that only a wooden floor can achieved. Whether you are considering an engineered or solid wood floor, do you realise wood flooring is available in a variety of different finishes?

This guide explores a number of different finishes and techniques used and should ultimately help you to decide which one is best for you and your home.

Brushing

Brushing usually takes place as part of the manufacturing process, the surface of the planks are roller brushed to remove some of the softer growth rings from the grain. Depending on the level of brushing, this gives a textured surface that gently highlights the natural grain structure.

An additional benefit of purchasing a ‘brushed’ product is that the brushed design makes it near impossible for any scratches to become noticeable given the fact that their surface area is already textured; just the thing for households with young children and/or pets with claws.  

Distressing/Tumbled

Distressing is typically achieved by hand or by tumbling the planks in large tanks, giving a used and random appearance. Another distressing method includes machines that scrape and punch the planks as they go through a conveyor belt system although this method will usually show a repeating pattern of distresses which may look unnatural.

Hand-Scraping

Before modern machinery has taken over, floors were hand scraped on-site to make sure they were flat and smooth. In practice although this method removed the rough grain, it left the floor feel somewhat wavy and uneven. Nowadays the hand-scraping effect is created with special machines.

Lacquer

Lacquer is a clear or coloured varnish that dries by solvent evaporation to produce a hard, durable, protective finish or film in any sheen level from matt to gloss and is primarily used in wood finishing.  A lacquer effectively sits on the top of the timber and does not seep into the material like oil would.  

One of the main advantages of lacquered solid or engineered wood flooring is that spillages, if mopped up as quickly as possible, will not seep into the material.  The one disadvantage of a lacquered wood floor is that it has a tendency to show scuffs and scratches more easily as opposed to an oiled finish, which offers a matt finish. Because of this, when the floor eventually ends up looking tired and worn, the best course of action is to sand down the timber and re-apply a lacquer.  

Natural Oil & Hard Wax-oils

In the domestic market, hard wax-oils and UV oils have become more widespread. They are transparent penetrating substances, usually based on vegetable oils and natural waxes. They penetrates into the core of the wood for long-lasting protection, while preserving the wood’s natural beauty and elasticity.

Oiled wood flooring has a truly natural look and enables the colour of the material to deepen over the years. The best thing about an oiled finish is that the floor looks as if it has no protection whatsoever, increasing the overall natural look and feel.

The final floor will need occasional maintenance and depending on traffic will require replenishing of the oils every year or so.

Satin Finish

When applied to oak boards, a Satin finish will give your floor a warm, honey colour with a slight sheen, which will reflect light. Satin finish is a popular choice for creating a more homely atmosphere.

Matt Finish

Increasing in popularity, matt finishes offer a more natural, understated feel to your oak flooring. Matt is often chosen for more contemporary spaces with the Natural Matt finish providing little or no sheen to your oak boards.

Smoked (Fuming)

Ammonia fuming is a traditional process for darkening and enriching the colour of oak by oxidation. The physical change in appearance is subject to the tannin and other natural content held within the structure of the timber and its interaction with the treatment. It forms an envelope around the surface of the board and depth of penetration will vary subject to the timber structure and exposure, however the outward appearance of the edges could suggest the boards are treated to the core.

Thermo-Treated (Carbonising)

In thermo-treated, the boards are heated to a high temperature which causes the colour to darken. This method of darkening wood is environmentally friendly as there are no chemicals used during this process, simply heat and steam. The process brings out and accentuates the best grain characteristics of the flooring, and unlike a stain, thermo-treatment changes the colour, creating a deep rich hue running through the entire core of the wood.

Air-Dried Oils, this 8-12-hour process will not only create beautiful results, but will also protect the board for a longer time. This process produces a more organic and natural colour result and helps to maintain the overall health of the wood. The first coating creates the first bond and seal to the timber, then the second coat is applied to sit on top of the first coat for extra protection.

Reclaimed

Reclaimed wood is a sustainable and environmentally friendly material to use in new construction or remodeling. Is wood that was previously used in the building of another structure which, when disassembled, is recycled and used in a new building. The wood is recycled and reused to meet today’s ever-growing need for sustainable and eco-friendly homes and businesses.

There are many important benefits to be gained from the use of reclaimed timber. We live in a world of diminishing natural resources, over-forestation and environmental concerns. Using reclaimed wood helps to preserve our forests by reducing the need for virgin timber. Generally, processing this wood has less impact on the environment than felling, transporting and processing new lumber and the varieties recovered can include those not available naturally.

The benefits are not just confined to helping the environment. Reclaimed timber is often from very old structures and vessels which were formed of wood from mature trees. Today, the demand for virgin timber means that trees grown commercially are rarely matured long enough to reach their full potential size. The wood from mature trees is stronger and less prone to splitting, as is timber that has been exposed to the elements over a period of time. The wood in old buildings has expanded and contracted constantly over the years and has fully dried out, making it more durable and less prone to warping and splitting. Old wood also tends to have a dense grain making it more stable. One of the most important aspects of reclaimed timber is its character. Every section has a story and no two pieces are identical, giving depth and unique character to anything fashioned from the wood. Reclaimed wood provides a valuable source of characterful material for producing furniture, flooring and architectural features.

Engineered

Engineered flooring means a multi-layered floorboard, constructed of solid oak for the top layer and Plywood, softwood or hardwood strips for the ‘engineered section’ with a softwood/hardwood base. Engineered floors are made from severals layers of wood pressed together. The toplayer is always veneer of solid wood, exactly like regular solid wood flooring. However, under this top layer is the core which can be made from HDF, plywood or softwood. The layers are bonded together in different directions with extreme pressure and glue, reinforcing the wood and adding extra stability. You can lay engineered flooring in rooms where solid wood floor could be damaged, such conservatories, kitchens, bathrooms and rooms with underfloor heating.

Solid

Solid wood floor boards are made 100% wood cut from single pieces of timber. Solid wood floors have a thicker wear surface and can be sanded and finished more times than an engineered wood floor. There are some characteristics that are common with solid wood; solid wood is more frequently site-finished, is always a plank format, is generally thicker than engineered wood and usually installed by nailing. Because it’s a natural product, each plank of our solid wood, which is 100% Oak wood, has its unique characteristics and variations, from small knots to variations in colour and texture.

Parquet

Parquet is a geometric mosaic of wood pieces used for decorative effect. There is no greater statement floor than the design and craftsmanship of Parquet. Parquet patterns are entirely geometrical and angular, squares, triangles, lozenges. The most popular parquet flooring pattern are Herringbone and Chevron.

We can offer Parquet in a variety of patterns using either engineered or solid oak. Engineered parquet has the advantage of to be compatible with underfloor heating. Both engineered and solid parquet can be made in several different sizes and colours, with the possibility of each batch having slightly different colour and texture.