Frequently Asked Questions - Answered
What is solid wood flooring?
A solid wood floor is floor laid with planks or boards which have been milled from a single piece of timber, usually a hardwood. Since wood is hydroscopic (it acquires and loses moisture from the ambient conditions around it) this potential instability effectively limits the length and width of the boards. Solid hardwood flooring is usually cheaper than engineered timbers and damaged areas can be sanded down and refinished repeatedly, the number of timbers being limited only by the thickness of wood above the tongue. Solid construction timber is often used for sports floors and most traditional wood blocks, mosaics and parquetry are also of solid construction.
What is engineered wood flooring?
An engineered board is, quite simply, a timber board which consists of more than one layer. By placing each layer so that the grain runs perpendicularly it becomes virtually impossible for the timber to swell or shrink with changes in humidity and so it dramatically increases the stability. The top layer of an engineered board (the lamella) is solid wood, usually hardwood, and may be anything from 2 to 6mm thick; obviously the thicker the surface layer the more times it can be sanded and refinished to remove the ravages of wear; the thickest wear layers are equivalent to those on solid timber boards. The lamella is securely bonded to one or two further layers – this may be a multi-layered plywood or a sandwich with either a softwood or hardwood core.
Engineered boards should not be confused with laminate or veneer. Laminate uses an image of wood on its surface whilst veneer uses only a very thin layer of wood over a core of some type of composite wood product, usually fibreboard.
Engineered timber is now the most common type of wood flooring used globally and the technology has enabled the production of much wider boards as well as the application of an enormous variety of really interesting finishes.
What are the benefits of engineered wood flooring?
No matter how well seasoned, oiled, waxed or lacquered it may be, wood remains hydroscopic. This means that when the humidity is high it will absorb some of that moisture, swell and rise or ‘crown’ in the middle. If that same piece of timber is placed in a dry environment – as happens when using heating or air conditioning – it will release its moisture, dry out and shrink. Lay pieces of timber side by side in a confined space and those changes in humidity, over time, may well result in them bowing, warping, cupping or gapping – gaps between the planks. This is what can happen with a solid wood floor, wall or ceiling.
Engineered boards are like solid timber planks with lots of benefits:
* They are far more stable than solid wood planks so there is far less likelihood of eventual problems and much wider boards can be produced.
* Engineered boards are usually available pre-finished which means a reduced installation time and no surprises on site.
* Unlike the vast majority of solid timber planks, engineered boards can usually be fitted over underfloor heating.
* Engineered boards make far more efficient use of slow-growing, lamella layer timbers (oak, walnut, etc).
* Engineered boards offer alternative, easier methods of installation.
Can I fit wood flooring over underfloor heating?
As a general rule, VidaSpace do not recommend the use of solid wood over underfloor heating. The majority of engineered boards are, however, perfectly suited to use with underfloor heating; this is particularly true of those with an oak lamella and less likely to be so for ones using exotic timbers. Always check with VidaSpace before specifying any wood floor for use with underfloor heating.
What is an oiled finish?
Oil penetrates deep into the wood and brings out the true beauty of both the colour and grain as well as providing protection for the product. In addition to providing a natural look, oiled products lend themselves to being spot repaired in the event of surface damage.
Most oiled products require an additional coat of oil or Hardwax Oil, a mixture of sunflower, soybean and thistle oil, carnauba and candelilla wax after installation. This is micro-porous, water-repellent, dirt-, wear-, and stain-resistant against wine, beer, cola, coffee, tea, fruit juices and milk; it will not crack, flake, peel or blister.
How do I care for an oiled wood floor?
Oiled wood floors are very easy to care for. For everyday cleaning to remove dust or loose debris a broom, vacuum cleaner or dry mop is all that is required. For more thorough cleaning, damp mop using a diluted oiled wood floor cleaner. In public places where the footfall is greater, oiled wood floors may be damp mopped on a daily basis and should be treated regularly with a maintenance wax. This may be applied to the most heavily used areas or to the whole floor, spreading it with an electric, single-disc buffing machine with a beige pad. Maintenance wax need only be applied to residential flooring when the wood begins to look a little lifeless.
What is a lacquered finish?
Lacquer is normally a polyurethane coating which is applied to the surface of a wooden floor by brush or roller. The polyurethane covers the pores of the wood and forms a hard, resilient coating which protects the wood from dirt and moisture ingress. A good quality lacquer will protect a wooden floor for anything from 12 months to 6 years, depending upon the amount of foot traffic.
How do I care for a lacquered wood floor?
Lacquered wood floors are very easy to care for. For everyday cleaning a broom, vacuum cleaner or micro-fibre mop may be used to remove dust and loose debris. For wet cleaning the floor should be misted from a pump spray bottle to avoid it becoming too wet and dried using a micro-fibre wet head. Do not use conditioner, cleanser or steam mop on a lacquered wooden floor.
What is a floating floor installation?
A floating floor installation is one where the planks are attached to each other instead of to the subfloor over which it is being laid. It is a fast, relatively easy method of fixing which allows some room for movement and expansion given changes in humidity; the floor can be removed easily too, making it ideal for commercial applications where the flooring is more likely to be changed within the foreseeable future. Floating installations are usually associated with the fitting of engineered wood floors but, in fact, solid wood boards can also be laid floating over a suitable subfloor providing a damp-proof membrane is laid and Elastilon employed.
What is FSC®?
FSC® stands for Forestry Stewardship Council. It is an independent, non-governmental, non-profit-making organization established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests. The FSC principles and criteria aim to ensure that forest can be managed to meet the social, economic, ecological and cultural needs of both present and future generations. Products may be from an FSC source but cannot carry the FSC label unless the chain of custody throughout is FSC approved.
What is PEFC?
The PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) is the world’s largest forest certification organization. It is international and non-governmental and tends to be the certification system of choice for small forest owners. It sets very high standards for certification including the maintenance of biodiversity, the protection of ecologically important areas, the prohibition of most hazardous chemicals and GMOs and the protection of workers’ rights and welfare.
What is the difference between Genuine Reclaimed and Reproduction Reclaimed?
Genuine Reclaimed wood is exactly that, simply old wood that has been used and have been salvaged and re-produced into T&G wood or other type of timber product … simply it’s the real deal!
Reproduction Reclaimed is wood that has been harvested under normal conditions and then produced in the mill to imitate old reclaimed wood. Quite often this is used with engineered backing rather than in a solid format.
What is a composite panel?
TrikBrik composite panels are a leading innovation to achieve a very realistic finish in brick and stone but manufactured in a very lightweight construction and are very simple to install. The 1m² panels have dovetail edges so they interlock on the wall. These panels are manufactured in two layers as follows:
1st Layer: It’s a layer of 3.5mm of concrete polymer in a base of stone called ‘STONE’
composed of a mix of 15% of resin with their appropriate catalyst and the 85% of
arids (calcium carbonate, dolomites, silicates, alumines, melanins and fire-resistant additives)
2nd Layer: The 2nd layer is composed of an injection of polyurethane foam with opened
cell that provides to the panel a very thermic and acoustic insulation. Called ‘Polyurethane’.
What are fire ratings?
The New Zealand the Building Code (NZBC) requirements for internal surface finishes are given in Clause 3.4(a). These are given as Group Numbers when tested is the performance determined under the conditions described in ISO 9705:1993 ‘Fire tests– The full scale room test for surface products. The Group Number is a numeric representation of the performance achieved during the test and is used as a standardised benchmark for the assessment of surface finish performance. The Group Number requirements are repeated within the Acceptable Solutions C/AS1-C/AS7 relevant to each risk group.
In Europe, the reaction to fire, of construction products and materials are classified using the criteria and test methods described in EN 13501-1. There are five classification levels A1, A2, B, C, D, E and F (from least to most combustible).
The co-relation of wall and ceiling surface finishes derived from Australian or European classifications to the Group Number requirements of NZBC Clause 3.4(a) can, without the need for further testing, be taken as described in the following table. http://www.building.govt.nz/achieving-nzbc-surface-finishes-overseas-standards#overview
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