This natural product exudes a warm ambiance, and it remains a perennial favourite when it comes to flooring. Hardwood floors come in a wonderful array of natural tones and hues, making it supremely suitable for use with any interior style. Since it is a natural product, it will inevitably show some beauty blemishes. Each hardwood floor is unique, and variations in striation are sure to appeal to the connoisseur.
The term hardwood is actually a collective term to describe various types of wood, each with its own specific colour and pattern, suitable for hardwood flooring. Not only is a particular hardwood floor chosen based on its aesthetic appeal, its use in a specific room is also a deciding factor. High traffic areas, like a living room, thus require a denser product compared to, for example, one used in a bedroom. The denser the variety of wood, the better it will withstand damage.
In order to prevent mould proliferation and buckling, kitchens and bathrooms require a hardwood floor, resistant to moisture and fluctuations in temperature. The way in which a floor is finished is also of the utmost importance. Wax, oil and varnish enhance the durability of the floor by providing a protective layer. The choice of finish is mainly a matter of individual taste, combined with the floor’s projected traffic. With the passage of time and use, floors will have to be refinished. Hardwood floors can be installed in a floating manner, as well as nailed down and glued in place. The method of installation is determined by the surface on which the floor is to be assembled.
A hardwood floor does require maintenance. Wood is a living natural product, making stains caused by wine, moisture, ketchup, paint …, difficult and sometimes impossible to remove. The degree of maintenance is mainly determined by finish. Newly installed hardwood, solid or multi-layered parquet floors, are sanded down. Sanding creates a smooth surface, which is then ready to be waxed, varnished or oiled. Waxing is done by applying a layer of wax to the floor, which is subsequently polished to a shine. Waxing brings out the beautiful wood grain. A wax layer has limited durability and will regularly (once or twice a year) have to be redone. It’s therefore advisable to use this kind of particular finish in little-used spaces.
Varnish has the advantage of putting a protective layer on the wood surface.
The specific kind of varnish used, is of importance. Certain types of varnish will dry quickly, enabling you to apply several coats over the course of a day. Before varnishing a floor, one should fill the wood pores. Varnish is highly resistant to bumps, but will wear down in high traffic areas in the long run. As time goes by, every 5 to 10 years, you’ll have to sand and varnish the floor anew.
When oiling a floor, the oil penetrates deeply into the wood. Small repairs can swiftly be taken care of, without having to re-oil the complete surface. Bear in mind that oiling will cause some discoloration. You should apply the oil in multiple layers, after which the floor can be maintained using a damp mop. Oiling floors is suitable for high traffic areas.
Hardwood floors in combination with radiant floor heating?
Hardwood floors can, contrary to popular belief, perfectly be combined with radiant floor heating. Certain conditions however, will have to met to do so. Temperature fluctuations can cause softer woods to warp, and even split. The thermo insulating property of wood will interfere with heat absorption, thus reducing the warmth output of radiant floor heating. Consult a professional to determine whether radiant floor heating is possible.
Are hardwood floors expensive?
People often consider hardwood floors, because of their luxurious look, to be expensive. This is however not always the case. Depending on the specific choice of wood and finish, prices can vary quite a bit. It’s equally important to consider wood’s durable character. When properly maintained, hardwood floors can definitely stand the test of time.