Solid wood flooring is an extremely attractive, good quality; classic flooring that can transform a room. With the right maintenance this type of wood floor will give many years of pleasure. It is an impressive, beautiful covering with great durability, warmth and sturdiness.
The flooring consists of solid wood, taken from the tree and shaped into tongue and groove planks, which are then laid to create your floor.
The biggest benefit of solid wood flooring is that it is the real thing, with characteristics that an artificial floor simply cannot match. It is timeless with distinctive patterns that only occur in nature. Whether you choose beech, ash, cherry, walnut flooring or an oak flooring you are guaranteed to have a wooden floor that is as individual as you are.
The rings and knots present throughout the floor give it an organic feel with no two pieces the same.
How Thick is Solid Wood Flooring?
The planks are normally anywhere between 15mm and 20mm in thickness, providing a sturdy, hard-wearing surface that can be enjoyed for many years.
Can Solid Wood Floors be Refinished?
This type of wood floor is available in a huge variety of finishes to suit any application, including an unfinished option. The very nature of solid wood means that should you wish to change or update the look, it can be sanded back and a new finish applied, but due to the hard wearing nature of this type of floor, it is not a job you would need to consider often.
Unfortunately, solid construction flooring is not suited to under floor heating. If you require a real wood floor that is suitable, it is well worth considering an engineered wood floor.
Underlay for Solid Floors
Floors of this nature are often fixed using nails, screws or glue, but in most applications a special wood flooring underlay can be used such as Elastalon. This allows solid floors to be laid on areas with slight unevenness, where a moisture barrier is required, also provides sound proofing.
What Types of Solid Wood Flooring is Stocked?
Image Flooring have a huge selection of solid wood flooring to choose from. Distressed solid oak flooring, if you are after a rustic look. Oiled oak flooring for a matt, easy to repair flooring. Lacquered oak flooring for a hard wearing finish.
There is a finish to suit everyone.
A very important thing to consider when choosing your solid or engineered wood flooring is the finish. The finish will dictate the overall look of your floor and the right finish can really make a floor, the floor of your dreams. The finishes that are generally available are either lacquered or oiled. Both have massive benefits and Green Apple have a large collection of both, guaranteeing that we will have the perfect floor for you.
Lacquered Wood Flooring
Modern lacquered wood flooring is extremely tough and hard wearing, with most floors benefiting from at least 4 layers of lacquer, making this finish ideal for use in the modern home. Lacquered wooden floors are now available in a variety of styles, so you can choose from a glossy, or matt appearance. With UV lacquers now readily available, you can even choose to have an oiled effect lacquer or a textured lacquer, giving a very natural, beautiful look.
Lacquered wood benefits from being low maintenance. A quick sweep with a soft broom and a wipe over with a wood flooring cleaner is all it needs to keep it looking good.
Over time your wood floor may develop some damage with hard use. This can add to the over all character of the floor, and can be quite appealing as the floor ages and develops a unique pattern.
Lacquered wood flooring can be sanded back and re-finished if you wish to revitalise it and give the room a new look or new lease of life. Due to the hard wearing nature of this type of floor, this rarely needs to be done, but is a job that should be undertaken by a professional to achieve the perfect finish.
Oiled Wood Flooring
Oiled wood flooring is extremely versatile and has many benefits. The oils penetrate deeply into the wood, protecting it and giving it moisture resistance whilst allowing the wood to breathe. There are many finishes, with matt or satin oils available, as well as coloured oils to totally change the colouring.
Oiled wood floors require periodic oiling to keep them fresh and vibrant, but a massive advantage of re-applying the oil is that any scratches and scuff marks are instantly removed, resulting in a perfect finish once again.
This finish has great resistance to abrasive damage and any small areas that become scuffed may be re-oiled without having to attend to the whole floor, making it very forgiving and easy to maintain.
Solid wood flooring and engineered wood flooring are often referred to as being a certain grade. Timber is a natural product and so there is a tremendous variation in appearance, texture and colour available, even across just once species of tree. Floors are graded to allow for accurate sorting of the flooring to achieve a satisfactory result depending on the look required.
Prime grade wood flooring is the most uniform of the grades with very few knots and less natural variation. Expect to pay a premium, as only 15% of the timber from a tree would be categorised in this way. This grade is perfect if you want a clean, crisp, uniform look for your room.
Sometimes referred to as character grade flooring, Natural grade wood flooring, is a “middle ground” flooring in terms of quality and appearance and will contain a scatter of knots throughout. The rest of the board will be relatively clear with some grain patterns and colour variation. This is a perfect look for people who would like some natural variation and interesting features in their wooden flooring without being overly rustic.
Rustic grade wooden flooring has lots of natural details throughout. The abundance of heavy gaining and knots means this type of floor really does bring across the character of the tree. This style of board is full of interest and personality and is ideal for creating a traditional look. Rustic grade wood flooring is normally the best value and most popular due to the high yield from the tree.
Please add 5% wastage to your calculations.
The majority of floor manufacturers as well as fitters recommend a minimum of 5% wastage when ordering a wood floor, this will hopefully allow for those small mistakes and complicated cuts. Sometimes on occasions there are small pieces that cannot be used anywhere without spoiling the look of the floor.
The reasons behind allowing a solid or engineered wood floor to acclimatise in the area it is to be fitted are because of the nature of the wood that is used. Wood flooring is a natural product and has many properties that should be taken into account during storage and preparation.
When a floor is laid, it will react to the environment it is being fitted in, so by acclimatising the wood beforehand, you are reducing the chances that the wood will react in a way that may affect the look of the finished project. Such as buckling or gaps between boards.
The two main things that could affect the flooring are temperature and humidity. Both temperature and humidity could cause the wood to expand or contract as the wood takes on or releases moisture, or reacts to heat and cold.
To avoid these extreme changes in the wood after laying it is best to make sure that the room the floor is to be laid in is totally enclosed, with any plastering or painting projects well and truly finished and dried.
Make sure any air conditioning or heating that will be used in the room is operating normally.
Set the flooring out in the area to be fitted and leave it for as long as possible to get used to the normal conditions of the room.
This should ensure that the wood is matched in temperature and moisture content to the room it is being laid in and therefore should not expand or contract more than necessary.
Once the flooring has become acclimatised to the environment that it will be laid in, it can then be laid, which you can read more information about in our wood flooring installation section.
Allowing for waste is a very important part of the planning process of buying a wooden floor. Too few packs can mean
a wait for extra supplies to arrive; too many may result in wasted packs that are never used.
There will always be a certain amount of wastage when fitting wood flooring, awkward shapes, mistakes, pattern and
fitting guidelines will all result in parts that are unusable and so end up being disposed of.
A good amount to allow for waste is around 5%. This should give you enough leeway to get the finish you require,
without too much left over at the end of the job.
Once you have chosen the direction you want the wood floor to run you need to decide where to start.
Setting out from the angled wall will mean the floor looks out of square with the rest of the room and will not look straight as you enter the room.
It is important to pick a wall that is at right angles to the rooms’ enterance. This will ensure you see a nice straight floor as you enter the room.
Make sure your wood flooring is laid in a random fashion. Your floor should look as natural as possible. Ensure your header joints are not to close together and are randomly spaced.
The header joints should be nice and random, not too close together. This gives a very natural even look.
Don’t fit your header joints to close together. Placing your header joints too close together doesn’t look good and can weaken your floor.
The floor will look random and has maximum strength, make sure there is at least 150mm (6 inches) between each header joint.
It often makes sense to lay the floor following the longest wall, this is nearly always the best choice in a narrow hall.
In general if it looks and feels right for you, that’s the way to lay your floor. Lay several boards out on the floor first, one way then the other. Look at the floor from where you enter the room, or where you will be sitting in the room.
It is important to decide which direction to lay your new wood flooring. There is no fixed rule, but you should consider the following points before making your decision.
Laying the boards long ways away from you as you enter the room. In general this layout looks the most appealing.
Laying the boards across as you enter the room. In general narrows the appearance of the rooms depth.
Due to the natural movement characteristics of wood, slight cupping is sometimes unavoidable with wood flooring, especially in wider boards.
At 12% moisture content the board in general should retain its Original flat sawn board appearance.
The same board is dried out to 6% moisture content causes the board to shrink and cup upwards.
The same board absorbing moisture to around 18% causes the board to expand and cup in the opposite direction (downwards).
When fitting an engineered or solid wood floor always work from several packs at once. This will ensure your floor has an even shading across the whole area.
Remember each pack may be slightly darker or lighter than another as real wood is a natural product with shade variation.
There are three main methods used to fix Hard wood flooring. Which method you choose may depend on the sub floor you are fixing to, and the wood flooring you are fixing.
View our range of wood flooring tools and wood flooring adhesives.
Prepare the existing stairs to receive the new stair profiles. Most stair nosings are suitable for right angled stairs only.
For stairs that have a rounded profile, please follow either instruction 1a, or alternatively follow instruction 1b, prior to laying your chosen wooden floor.
1a. Before laying your chosen flooring. Remove the rounded profile from the top of the stairs using a jigsaw, making it flush with the vertical face.
1b. Alternatively before laying your chosen flooring. Pack out the vertical face of the stairs, using ply wood to the reduced thickness, to make the surface flush with the top of the stairs.
2. Cut to the correct height and width then glue on all your stair risers first.
3. Measure width of stairs, cut stair nosing to length.
4. Securely fix stair nosing in place using glue and or screws, and allow to dry.
5. Cut to the correct length and width then glue on all your treads. Allow stairs to fully dry before use.
Choosing the correct cleaner for your wooden floor is very important. The wrong cleaner can leave your floor looking dull and smeared or even cause damage! Be wary of “all in one” cleaners as these are not tailored to your floors needs, and may leave wax and polish residues on the floor surface. Your flooring may look good in the short term, but over time, this build up will dull your floor.
Cleaning Laminate Floors
Laminate flooring is remarkably easy to clean. First sweep or vacuum up any dust, then dampen a floor cloth or microfibre mop with an appropriate cleaner. The key is to make your mop damp, but not wet, as too much moisture over time can cause swelling. A good mopping method is to run the mop in the direction the laminate is laid. The cleaner should evaporate quickly, leaving a clean, streak free finish.
The Quick Step Flooring Cleaning Kit is absolutely ideal for this job as it contains a mop specifically designed with laminate floor in mind and a spray bottle of cleaning fluid. The spray bottle means that you can deliver the correct amount of liquid without saturating your floor delivering perfect results.
Lacquered Wood Flooring Cleaners
Lacquered wood flooring is cleaned in a very similar way to Laminate flooring. Any dust should be swept up with a soft broom or carefully Vacuumed up first. Then the floor should be damp mopped using a suitable cleaner. Wood flooring is a natural product, so a cleaner containing natural soap is ideal, such as Osmo Wash and Care.
Osmo Wash and Care does not contain harsh chemicals, and doesn’t leave streaks or residues. Simply mix one capful in a litre of water, and use to moisten your cloth or mop before wiping over the area to be cleaned.
Oiled Wood Flooring Cleaners
Oiled wood flooring can be cleaned in much the same way as lacquered wood, but care should be taken to ensure that the cleaner you choose is suited to an oiled floor. Some cleaners that are suitable for other wood flooring finishes may not be right for an oiled finish. Osmo Wash and Care is ideal for this type of cleaning, as it is a gentle natural cleaning fluid. Mix one capful in a litre of water, and use to moisten your cloth or mop before wiping over the area tobe cleaned. Oiled wood floors should only be damp mopped to ensure there is no swelling of the wood.
Once your wooden floor has been laid, you will want to make sure you look after it correctly so you can enjoy its beauty and warmth for many years to come. There are products designed to do just that, keeping your new floor in the very best condition.
The best way to start looking after your laminate flooring or solid / engineered wood flooring is to prevent damage occurring in the first place. Mats at external doors are essential as these will help to remove small stones and grit from shoes that could cause scratching. All of our floors have hard wearing coatings to assist in preventing this kind of damage, but making sure mats are in place will really help keep your floor in perfect condition.
Felt pads and caster cups on furniture will also reduce the chances of damage by covering up any imperfections that may scratch or damage the floor surface.
Making sure that any spillages are cleaned up quickly will also help extend the life of your floor as if left to sit, a spill could work it’s way into the joints and cause swelling. You can use a moisture protection product called Clicseal when fitting the floor in any areas that might cause concern such as around sinks. This is a clear sealant that is squeezed into the joints during installation. It provides moisture resistance, but does not glue the joints, allowing boards to be taken back up without damage if needed.
When cleaning laminate flooring it is important to use the correct product. Cleaners with waxes and polishes in, may be ideal for other areas of the home, but may cause damage to laminate flooring or leave residues that will make the floor appear dull. A soft broom and a mop or cloth dampened with a laminate flooring cleaner should be all you need to maintain your floor. For heavier marks such as pen or shoe scuffs Quick-step Force can be used to effortlessly wipe them away.
Oiled Wood Floors
Oiled wood floors require periodic oiling to keep the floor in good condition. The oil penetrates deep into the wood surface creating a tough barrier that will repel dirt, moisture and dust. The Osmo Polyx Oils we have available at Green Apple Flooring are very simple to use, and all you need do is apply a thin coating on a clean, dust free floor. This will re-vitalise it and top up the oil’s natural defences. If there is any staining or marks, these can be removed during the maintenance by lightly sanding them out before applying the fresh coat of oil.
Lacquered Wood Floors
As lacquered wood floors do not require periodic treating, maintenance is relatively simple. A soft broom and a suitable everyday cleaner are essential. Dried stains on a lacquered floor may require sanding if they have soaked right in, but this takes time, so it is best to work on stains and spills as quickly as possible.
If you maintain your floor well, you should not find yourself in a situation where you need to perform repairs. Mats placed at external doors and felt pads on your furniture will protect your floor and extend the life of it. But accidents do happen. If you do need to do any repairs, there are often simple solutions to make your floor look as good as new again.
Laminate flooring has a very tough top layer that should prevent most scratches and staining. If you wish to repair a scratch on a laminate floor, Green Apple sells an ingenious repair kit from Quick-step Flooring called Quick Step Mix & Fix. This kit contains repair paste, a spatula and two bottles of pigment to allow you to get the perfect colour to match your floor.
Sometimes damage can be more severe. If, for example, a heavy item of furniture has been dragged across the floor and left deeper scratches. Because laminate flooring is so simple to lay, it would be very easy to take part of the floor up and replace damaged boards if required.
Lacquered Wood Flooring
A small amount of wear can really add to the character of a lacquered floor, giving it an aged look that can be beautiful in itself, but if you wish to disguise small scratches, this can be achieved using wood coloured putty. For larger areas of damage the floor surface can be sanded back and re-finished giving the whole area a new lease of life. This should only need to be done rarely, but should be undertaken by a professional to get a perfect finish.
Small dents can sometimes be taken care of by covering with a dampened cloth and pressing with an electric iron to draw the fibres up, but this should be done with caution.
Oiled Wood Flooring
Oiled wood flooring is very easy to repair as day-to-day damage is normally taken care of during the periodic oiling with a product such as Osmo Polyx Oil. However, if an area is particularly worn or stained, it can be lightly sanded back to remove the damage before re-oiling to refresh the board. The repaired board will blend in nicely with the surrounding floor.
In order to have years of satisfaction from your chosen laminate or wooden floor please take time to read the information below.
Read the manufacturer’s fitting and cleaning instructions
Failure to comply with manufacturers instructions may invalidate your guarantee.
Seek professional advice regarding your flooring
Green Apple Flooring provides the information shown below only as a guide. We are knowledgeable about the product and its basic installation. If you have any concerns or need reassurance it is important that you seek the advice of a qualified professional (please note a carpenter does not necessarily know how to install wood floors).
Ensure you order the correct amount of wood flooring
Under ordering may result in shade difference when you order your shortfall. For more information, view our How to Measure Your Floor Guide.
All wood floors (inc. laminates) can mark
It is important to remember that all floors mark dependant on use and situation. Laminate flooring offer the most resistance to scratching having a special top layer protecting the wood effect paper.
Real wood flooring including all veneers are much easier to mark; different types of wood are stronger than others. Scratches will occur, denting or bruising of real wood floors is much easier than a laminate.
Treat your real wood floor, as a piece of furniture and it will give you years of good service.
With all floors fit coasters, felt pads etc. to all furniture. Do not drag any furniture. Take care to ensure footwear is clean and free from grit. In the case of a real wood floor avoid high heels as these may pit the surface. The use of indoor and outdoor matting is recommended.
Regular sweeping and vacuuming will remove potentially abrasive grit.
All flooring can vary in shade
Laminates are a photograph of wood and may shade from batch to batch. Real woods (inc. veneers) are a natural product and will shade.
The sample does not guarantee the final shade and appearance of your product.
If you require guaranteed consistence of shade, knotting (including the colour of knot filler) and texture do not pick a natural product. Every tree is different.
All natural products will change colour with age and exposure to ultra violet rays. Depending on wood species this can be lighter or darker.
Gapping occurs with wood floors according to the season
Expansion occurs as real wood gains moisture and shrinkage as it loses moisture, gaps will open and close with the cycle of seasons. Knots in the timber may lose their filler, this is normal. Real wood is a natural product and is affected by its surroundings.
Acclimatisation is required for wooden floors
Make sure your wooden floor has time to acclimatise to the room temperature, consult manufacturers literature for recommended time.
Cold floors will expand when heated.
Room humidity needs to be checked
Make sure all walls and sub floor are completely dry.
Moisture in the air will be absorbed by your floor, causing excessive expansion. If in doubt use a Damp Meter to check for excessive moisture, as this may affect your guarantee. Keep note of any readings as these may be needed should any problems arise.
Outside / Inside inspection is recommended
Inspections before installing a new wood floor are advised to ensure air bricks are free from blockage and damp courses are in good order. Ensure all plastering, tiling, painting and screeding has had time to dry out. In the case of kitchens all appliances should be checked for leaks.
The subfloor must be completely flat
It is very, very important that your floor is completely flat (+/- 5mm over 2m)
A bumpy floor will still remain a bumpy floor. Do not rely on underlay to iron out bumps; this is not its purpose. You may feel that immediately after your installation you have successfully hidden the bump or hollow. However once the floor starts to settle the bump or hollow will reappear.
Use the correct tools fitting your floor
Please use the correct tools.
Most laminate floors are installed with the click system method, which do not require glue. They are installed by either tapping together or clicking together.
It is very easy to damage your floor by not using appropriate knocking blocks, pulling bars and in the case of glue systems, the correct clamps.
A damp proof membrane maybe required
It is important that no moisture can rise up from the subfloor.
All concrete screeded floors should have a damp proof membrane, use a vapour barrier to seal joins in underlay.
Please remember even if you have vinyl tiles or something similar covering your concrete floor be 100%certain and fit a damp proof membrane. Real wood nailed to an existing wooden floor should also have a moisture vapour barrier such as ‘building paper’.
The correct underlays and floor adhesives need to be used
It is very important the correct wood flooring underlay or wood flooring adhesive is used. The wrong adhesive could cause the floor to fail, not following the adhesives guidelines for floor preparation and priming may also cause a failure.
All floors require an expansion joint
All floors expand. Leave expansion joint as per manufacturers instructions.
Remember make sure you leave expansion everywhere including doorways, radiator pipes etc.
Underfloor heating can only be used with certain products
Is only recommended with certain products, guidelines and instructions must be followed. When heating is switched off over long periods expect a wider range of seasonal movement.
Ensure you don’t install a faulty product
Please take care that you do not fit chipped, scratched or faulty material.
Once installed the manufacturer does not have to replace the product.
In all cases the manufacturer limits his liability to the replacement of product and does not include any labour costs.
Oiled floors require regular re-oiling
Flooring sold as an oiled product must be re-oiled once installed before the floor receives any use, such as Osmo Polyx Oil. This may be between 1 and 3 coats dependent on the manufacturers guidelines.
Regular re-oiling will be required to ensure the longevity and performance of your floor, again please refer to the manufacturers guidelines.
Take care when cleaning your floor
All real wood and laminate products need great care when cleaning. In all cases consult the manufacturers cleaning guidelines before cleaning your new floor.
Too much water is not a good thing
No wood floors (with exception of some laminates) like water. The less the better.
A floor’s weak point is the joints. Water penetration will cause bubbling to the edges and could ultimately lead to floor failure. Any spillage should be mopped up immediately.
Please note: The above is offered as information and guidance only. It is not intended to replace in any way the manufactures instructions for use or installation. We do not accept any liability for failure to follow the manufacturers instructions.