FREQUENTY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT ENGINEERED TIMBER FLOORS
“A dynamic forest is a benefit to the atmosphere. A growing tree absorbs carbon dioxide from our air and returns oxygen to the atmosphere in very fast rates. The older the tree is, the slower this process becomes.” “The key component in preserving and keeping a tropical forest is to make sure that these resources maintain an economic value.” “Wood is the only renewable resource to be used as an environmentally correct building material, both during its use and after.”
Dr Thomas Lovejoy – Assistant Secretary
For External Smithsonian Institution – Washington D.C
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS REGARDING TIMBER FLOORING
Saving timber & the environment
Better surface coatings last much longer
Better looking coatings
Easy to install DIY
Look like solid Timber Flooring
Can be glued down or can be floated
Much better stability
Will not warp, twist or cup
Small damaged sections can be easily replaced or repaired
You can walk on the floor after installation
Engineered Timber Floors do not harbor dust mites or molds, creating a better air quality for all inhabitants. Better for environment as no toxic chemicals are used for coating.
Yes- subject to the following conditions. – moisture content of less than 4%, to check the humidity moisture hygrometer is used, if this is not available then you can do the following check yourself. Place a clear plastic sheet firmly over the floor, you can check an area of 1 square meter, tape the ends well and create a firm seal, leave this for two days, if moisture has formed underneath the plastic then the floor is too moist and a suitable moisture barrier is required. The recommended moisture barrier is a minimum of 200micron builders plastic, this is placed on the floor, allowing for the ends to go up the wall, which can be later trimmed, the overlap must be at least 300mm and be well taped, ensuring no moisture will escape onto the floor area.
Most slabs fall within this range, as all slabs requires a 200micron damp plastic is placed before the concrete slab is poured, therefore after about three months your new slab would have had time to dry out, where you do need to be carefull is if you have had alterations, and have a join in the slabs, this join is not sealed and will have to have a waterproof membrane similar to bathrooms applied as the slabs will move due to climatic changes in weather.
You can lay good quality engineered timber flooring on most surfaces, as long as they are clean, level and dry; the following are good examples: Such as old concrete, old timber floorboards, old tiles, as long as they are structurally fixed and not loose.
Most timber floors can be laid on floors that are not perfect, you can get away with a sub floor that has a hollow or high spot of no greater than 3mm over a Three square meter radius, example, if you place a straight edge on the sub floor, and there are slight variations, such as hollows, then you should be able to get away with it, as underlay will take up most of the fill, but if you have a situation where the floor is level and say a nail or stone is sticking out the floor by 3mm, then this has to be removed, the variation must be spread over an area of at least two square meters.
There are good leveling compounds that are cement based available at most hardware outlets, these are mixed with water and spread over the low points and are self leveling, meaning that they find a straight level and fill that area, its worth going to the small expense of using a leveling compound on a poor sub floor to bring it up to standard.
Yes, under floor heating will not affect the qualities of these brands.
Yes, remember to place a rug in front of the sink be careful when replacing the appliances, such as dishwasher, that they fit, as most floors are 15/18mm higher with the under felt, after installation.
We firmly believe that a timber floor with a 1.2mm timber top is quite adequate and will never ever wear through in 25 years even in commercial circumstances, you do not walk on the timber, you actually walk on the coating of the floors.
Yes, it can be repaired by either removing the damaged floorboards and replaced with new, or in some cases with minor scratches, these can be touched up with a special marker pen.
Question: What happens in the following situation, I have half tiled areas and the other half, carpets, I want my floors to look all even & level, what do I do?
You have a couple of options? You can remove all the tiles, clean & prep the floor so that the entire floor is now level, this could be quite a big job, as well as being costly & don’t forget you will have dust everywhere, forever!!
If it were me & you had enough roof clearance, I would go over the tiles, remove the carpets and build up where the carpets were, I would suggest a 7mm-9mm Ply-wood , glue this down with a flexible adhesive and pin down to the sub-floor, you then have an even floor to work with, if tiles are drummy, then I would suggest you have no choice , but to remove them.
Timber is only as strong as the species itself. The JANKA test (determines how hard a surface is) it refers to Oak as approximately 1360 hardness with very high durability, this makes for a durable floor, however, as with all species of timber floors, it can be indented or scratched. It is our subjective view that a real timber floor ages with beauty in time, no matter how many scars it bears.
You also need to understand that you walk on the coating , not the timber, todays coatings which have been applied in a factory are extremely hard & durable and should last at least 25 years.
Yes, but do not open boxes, with good quality ENGINEERED ply-backed timber floors such as TIMBERWALK the floor is far more stable due to the ply backing which is less likely to move, if the timber has been shipped in from another area, we suggest that two days will be sufficient, by leaving the sealed boxes on the site, it is not necessary to open the boxes.
Yes Timber oxides from the sunlight as it matures, this occurs naturally & should be of no concern as the variation is slight, never expose your timber floors to prolonged period of sunlight as this can cause fading, cupping, warping & twisting, to extreme climatic conditions, window protection, shades, tinting or blinds are required.
It is very important to understand that all timber oxides as it ages once exposed to the elements such as air/light, so be very careful when selecting your new floors, if you view a sample board in a shop, the board may be two/five years old, so this would have had a lot of time to oxides and get darker, when you get your new floor , you will be shocked, if fact you may even believe that it is the wrong timber, therefore make sure that you ask your supplier for a current swatch of what you are getting to make sure it is the color you want.
Yes, Underlay is very important & is used to take out the unevenness in the sub floor; there are always slight highs & lows in a sub floor. It will also reduce the drumming sound or noise effect made by foot traffic, it must also be present to validate the manufactures warranty, if the direct glue-down method was applied, then it would not be necessary to use an underlayment, as the polyurethane adhesive is a pliable drying glue and will take up most areas of unevenness
Timber is a natural product made by nature, variations occur differently in different species of timber, this is why timber is so beautiful, because each piece is an individual, and the overall effect tells the story of why timber is today becoming so popular. The floors are made up from how the tree has been cut; to sort colors would be a difficult task, however. There are a few species of timber that do not have as extreme color changes, such as Spotted Gum.
MORE EXPANTION IS BETTER THAN LESS, NEVER UNDERESTIMATE, ALWAYS ALLOW MORE
Timber like all materials expands and contracts, however Engineered Timber, constructed on a cross-ply base, do not absorb as much moisture as a solid timber floor would, therefore is more stable in its movement, it is required that at least 10mm expansion joint is left on the perimeter of the floor, which is covered either with a Scotia or skirting (wall trim), for greater areas we suggest you use a 20mm Scotia as well.
Timber also expands more in the width, rather than the length, this is why solid timber sometimes leaves evidence of grooves where they have been joined, these appear as if they have slightly cupped if you look down the length of the floor. For larger floors of over 8 meters we recommend 1.4mm per meter gap, example 8x 1.4 = 13.6 or house with timber floors would fetch a higher price timber floors are a true investment, which will be enjoyed for many generations 14mm. Refer to instructions. Or you can also look at the option of wider skirtings 20mm.
The recommended method of maintaining & cleaning your timber floors, irrespective if they are traditional solid, bamboo, laminate or Engineered Timber Floors, use only the “Mist Spray Method” in combination of a Micro Fiber Mop and a recommended cleaner, don’t use vinegar, the cleaner must be PH Neutral, too much cleaner can make your floors slippery and patchy.
Yes! A survey taken in the USA, and we quote the following:
According to the ‘NATIONAL WOOD FLOORING ASSOCIATION (NWFA) and residential REAL ESTATE AGENTS’, say that: Homes, with real timber floors hold their value better, they sell faster and they fetch higher prices, 58% of real estate agents said that a Timber Floors-Kitchen& bathrooms is what client remember most when buying a Home.
Firstly, keep them clean and free of dust, protect furniture feet with good quality felt pads or silicone rubber cups especially chairs, do not drag furniture, wipe up spills as soon as possible, in humid areas you need to maintain a relative humidity, again this applies to all timber floors Solid Timber, Bamboo & laminate floors are more vulnerable to climatic changes as they do not have a ply-wood substructure(this makes the floor more stable as the cross-plywood expands and contracts more evenly).
Remember Physically everything Expands & Contracts, Timber is more prone to expansion, as it also absorbs moisture from the atmosphere, especially in wet humid times, such as extended periods of wet weather, dry times, the opposite will happen and your floors will shrink, this is a natural process, you can help and must help your floors, maintaining a RELATIVE HUMIDITY IS MOST IMPORTANT HARMONY RECOMMENDS A HUMIDITY LEVEL OF BETWEEN 40-65%, in extreme areas, close to the Beach, or in areas that are very damp, you may even need to use a Humidifier running your air-conditioner during extreme times will also help, you can also purchase a humidifier meter, these are inexpensive, but important. IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THAT TIMBER IS A NATURAL PRODUCT AND CONTINUES TO LIVE EVEN AFTER IT HAS BEEN CUT DOWN -FROM A TREE TO FURNITURE OR FLOORING IT NEEDS MAINTENANCE, JUST LIKE YOUR CAR , IT NEEDS TO BE SERVICED.
The Environmental Protection agency, has said that “Indoor Air Quality is one of the top health threats in the world today.” Timber floors installed in a home help contribute to a cleaner healthy living environment; timber floors.
Plywood is proven to be, more stable, stronger & structurally better than solid timber Plywood is used in the manufacture of Aircraft, Marine and in the building industry.
In terms of quality not differences, as mentioned you walk on the coatings, but there is a difference in the overall look of a veneer floor (Thinner Floor) to say a 2/3mm Sawn Timber Top, but if your budget can only stretch to a veneer then you are still getting a real timber floor that nobody will know the difference, the main difference is , is that you can have a few re-sands from a thicker top, but frankly, you need to ask yourself , will you need to re-sand in twenty five years, I don’t think so & you would still get a light sand from a 1.2mm as your floor will not be trashed with big gouges, all it will need is a freshen-up,, there are many companies that sell a 0.6mm & these look amazing, personally we prefer 1.2, that has enough timber on the top, even suitable for restaurants.
Well, Pine is one of the softest of timbers, you will find many old farm houses around the world that are more than 100 years old with pine floors which have withstood the test of time, you can rest assured that it will take several lifetimes to wear through an engineered timber floor with a 2mm, 3mm or 4mm top wear surface.
As timber ages it develops its own identity and uniqueness, this is why we love true timber floors.
The most important thing that you can do for your floor is to regularly dust and clean the floor, never expose any timber floor to excessive water, as timber will swell, when cleaning use the “Mist Spray Method” and you will
Have a floor that will last many, many years.
There are timber floor polishes available, which are not waxed, based two coats applied will add to protecting your floor
Remember: Wipe spills promptly, before they seep into the floor
Dry dust mop and vacuum (ensure that your vacuum has a setting that will not scratch your floors,
Use only approved hardwood cleaners
Put protective felt under all the legs of furniture
Maintain a relative humidity of between 35-60 percent; this is the most comfortable for humans as well.
Place mats at all entry points of the house, remember timber floors are an investment, and you have a responsibly, you have to maintain them if you want them to last, like most things in life.
NEVER STEAM MOP A TIMBER FLOOR. Or clean with hot water
No, a laminate is not a timber floor, a laminate floor is a product which is made to look like timber, a foil paper image is laminated to a reconstructed timber (MDF), the product is a lot cheaper than a genuine timber engineered floor, the laminate top is in most cases very strong and resistant to burns, but its very difficult to replicate “real wood”, most laminates have a click system of fitting and do not use glue as a fixing agent, this can cause problems as moisture will expand the joints after time, engineered floors that are laid the floating method use a D3 water resistant adhesive, which creates a water resistant top floor barrier protecting your floor from damage after a spill Laminate are a cheap alternative, with today’s options, with a little more money you can get a real timber floor.
Real Timber Floors are floors for a lifetime.
Yes most engineered timber floors can be sanded, how many times depends really on the timber top thickness, but the facts are that the only time a timber floor needs re-sanding is when it has been abused and not properly looked after, or in 99% of the time, when a renovation is taking place and you discover that there is quality timber under the old carpet, this of course has to be sanded because of all the old nails that have been driven in to hold the carpet, we suggest you call in a professional.
Wood/Timber flooring is made up as a sandwich of alternating wood layers, commonly known as ply wood, which is designed to provide stability and strength, it’s basically a solid-wood top “wear layer” that is permanently bonded to ply-wood, therefore allowing it to be installed directly over most sub floors such as concrete and timber. An engineered plywood floor has approximately one sixth the seasonal movement of a solid timber floor, of the same species and size.
Engineered timber makes good use of the timber resources by applying the best grade of timber on the surface layer. Engineered floors in most cases are a more expensive product than solid timber, that is before laying, wood for wood, due to the manufacturing process, however the benefits are far greater than that of a solid timber floor, as the floor does not absorb excess moisture and then contracts when the moisture in the air is lost due to climatic conditions, all timber solid or engineered reacts to climatic changes, the benefit of the engineered is that it is more stable during these changes in the atmosphere. Engineered timber floors can be laid as a floating floor, a solid cannot/or should not be laid as a floating floor, because it will move too much creating problem.
Timber comes from a natural resource, which is sustainable: the days have gone when timber was cut down with little thought for the long term consequences on Nature’s Forest’s.
Today Timber is cut from forests that are carefully managed, to ensure continued resources for future generations.
A fact from the USA Forest Services Figures show that: “Almost twice as much timber is added each year through new growth as it is harvested, additionally there is more timber standing today than there was 50 years ago.”
Using timber floors actually improves the environment, because we are encouraged to grow more trees, these trees pump out more oxygen for a better and healthier lifestyle.
Pre-finished Engineered Timber Flooring is a floor that has been made using natural timber to reconstruct the floor. Pre-finished floors are made in a factory production line, and mostly are coated with superior Ultra Violet quick drying lacquers, good quality floors will have seven or more coats of lacquer applied, most companies are today using the latest technology in coatings by applying “aluminum Oxide with Ceramic” as a final coating to give additional wear protection to the floor, the aluminum and ceramic, make the floor much stronger and wear less under normal traffic, that’s why quality floor companies can offer from 15 to 25 years wear surface guarantees. See Pamphlet for more info. A pre-finished floor is also “ready to lay” and ready to walk on, making it a much quicker option in today’s sophisticated market Wood species relative hardness table –JANKA TEST.
Below are numerous timbers used in flooring, the ratings are rated using the Janka Test, this test is an international test that is recognized world wide. The test measures the force needed to embed a .444 inch steel ball to half its diameter in a piece of timber. The higher the number the harder the wood. This is used as a guide for the performance of the timber top. The overall construction of the floor is as important, particularly the center core as a ply core is far better constructed for better overall performance of the floor if compared with a soft timber core, which is used as filler
ENGINEERED TIMBER / VERSUS SOLID TIMBER, THE TRUTH!
A floating floor is a floor that is placed by either clicking or gluing the boards together on an underlay foam cushion, generally 2mm to 3mm thick. The whole floor floats as one floor allowing for less distortion from movement such as expansion & contraction, today Floating is becoming the preferred way, however because of cheaper laminates, a portion of the public think that floating floors means a laminate floor, this of coarse is not true, if a quality floor has been laid well using the floating method, then you have a good product.
A floating floor is none structural. Floating has been used in Europe since 1947 and soon will be the preferred way of installing. To lay a quality floating Floor: –Use a quality engineered timber floor–Prepare the sub floor, clean and make sure its dry–Use a quality underlay material–Use a quality D3 Adhesive in the joints–always leave sufficient expansion gaps against the walls and perimeter of the floor.
A floating floor is installed on a membrane also known as an underlay, the floor is laid on top of this underlay and is not fixed to the sub-floors, it is allowed to Float this method is Known as Floating Floors and is not structural.
A Structural floors is traditional a solid timber floor that has been fixed to the subfloor, this can be done in many ways, such as gluing to the slab, or on battens or on ply-wood, this is known as a Structural Floor, as it now becomes part of the structure because of the fixing method.
Answer: Engineered Boards are made up with Plywood construction with a top layer of the real timber, Plywood Offers Dimensional stability: Due to Cross lamination of the timber veneer layers which restricts the veneer movement across the grain from climatic changes, this makes the dimensional stability far more stable than solid hardwood
Thermal expansion: wood and plywood expand upon heating, as do all solids. The thermal expansion of plywood is quite minimal, whereas the thermal expansion of solid timber is far greater.
Moisture Expansion: wood and plywood are hydroscopic; they absorb moisture from the atmosphere, as do all timbers. The expansion of plywood is very small, whereas the expansion of solid timber is far greater.