The Green Debate
- Is it right to cut down trees for use as flooring ? See the FSC's website. It is a common misconception that there are gangs of rogue loggers roaming the country side chopping down broad oaks that were once the home of Robin Hood. Today forestry is a managed industry where trees are replanted to be harvested at a later date like any other crop.
Unlike in the UK and other Northern European countries that grow more Spruce and Pine, where species such as oak take a while to establish themselves, in the warmer climes of Europe and the USA they grow like weeds, and without some sort of management they would take over in a few years.
Fast growing saplings absorb more carbon than established trees, and that carbon is captured and stored within the wood itself. When it arrives into your home it has caused very little if any damage to the environment other than the use of electricity to power the machinery. It is not burned or destroyed and will last a lifetime on your floor. Its OK you're not doing a bad thing.. its just nature.
Wood Floor Grades
People often ask about the different grades of wood flooring and who decides what is what. The terms below are industry accepted standards and the price of the boards is reflected by the grade:
- Prime (AB Grade)
Highest grade of wood flooring. This material is highly uniform in colour with only minor variation and is cut from the centre of the log. It contains minimum sap content and any knots present will be small and unobtrusive.
- Natural or Select (ABC Grade)
Slightly less uniform, will contain some variation in colour and interest. Will contain some very small filled knots. Overall a smooth and consistent look.
- Character Grade (ABCD grade)
This will have more "character" to it with knots and colour variation
- Rustic (BCD Grade)
Generally the most popular grade of wood flooring. It provides a more traditional look especially in species such as oak. Will contain some colour variation and heavy grain, but brings out the natural character of the wood. Will contain knots and burrs and character markings.
What are the Different Finishes
What is the advantage of one finish over another ? Should i buy unfinished boards ?:
- Unfinished :
Floortique supplies a broad range of unfinished boards. This enables you to hand finish the product to your requirements after the floor has been laid. The beauty of this is that you can tailor the finish to meet the necessary wear criteria for the job, or to create a bespoke finish that suits you such as a form of antiquing or staining.
Nature oil reinforces the natural look. It brings out the texture and grain of the wood, and enhances the tone.
Floors treated with Nature oil are easy to maintain, but they need a little more care than our lacquered floors and should be treated regularly with a top up Oil.
A satin lacquer complements the character of the wood by accentuating its natural structure.
It also makes the floor more durable and easier to clean.
In addition, our lacquer is one of the thinnest available, so it doesn’t conceal the wood’s natural lustre.
The matt lacquer gives the impression of untreated bare boards. The velvety surface is incredibly tactile and pleasing underfoot, yet matt lacquer is as hardwearing and easy to maintain as silk matt lacquer.
Brushing the surface highlights the natural structure of the grain and accentuates the texture.
Brushing is usually accompanied by other surface treatments, such as a bevelled finish and a colour stain or glaze.
Stains are used to further enhance the natural colour tones of the wood – from palest white and whisper greys to shades of rich mocha and charcoal.
Bevelled edges add a touch of drama to a floor.
Bevelled styles vary from a micro-bevel – a slight accentuation of the edge using sandpaper – to a more dramatic, stronger bevel.
In each style, both long and short edges are bevelled..
The tree grows from the heart which is at the centre. Each ring represents a years growth. (in fact if you look closely there is spring growth and summer growth)
The growth at the outer edge known as the sapwood has a lighter colour
All wood varies in tonality. It is a natural product.
The lower grade material will vary more and so it is important to shuffle it as it is laid to blend the shades and create a more homogeneous appearance overall.
Fuming/smoking can also affect the colour as the tanins in the oak react differently on each plank. Sapwood contains less tanin and therefore reacts less in the fuming process.
Solid Wood Floor versus Engineered
- Can be applied directly to the joists/noggins or fixed to batons with serious thermal insulation underneath.
- Boards will move andf shrink over time which is a more authentic look and fee for an old wood floor.
- Will contain knots and burrs and character markings adding to the country feel.
- genuine underfoot feel you only get from solid boards that have cupped and moved
- Cross lamination of the hardwood boards creates more stability and according to building regs, can be classed as a structural board, and applied directly to joists / batons etc.
- Engineered boards are far less likely to be affected by humidity or heat and therefore are compatable with under floor heating systems.
- Is considered as more eco friendly as thwe whole tree is used. The less attractive parts make the build up of structural layers of the board.
- It enables the construcion of very wide boards which are not viable from a solid plank.
- Easy to fit with click systems and no bending or warping of the board.