Oct 2012

FBE Annual Awards Ceromony

by walters

I was invited to the ‘Federation for the Built Environment’s’ annual award ceremony last night at the City Rooms in Leicester by our suppliers M-EC consulting engineers. It was a great night and I learnt a little bit more about their existing and new services. Thanks for the invite guys. Check out there service for yourself –

How to Chose a Wooden Floor.

by walters

Choosing wood flooring for your commercial or residential property could seem overwhelming if you are new to the world wood flooring. This is due to the sheer amount of combinations and of course the natural limitations of wood that one has to take into account. Your safest option to avoid fitting an incorrect type is to consult with a property professional as there are several key aspects that interior designers and architects will know to look for. An addition, you will find these key aspects in this a to z guide to choosing wood flooring.

Wood Flooring Suitability

Wood flooring can suit most properties and most areas with the exclusion of the outdoors (in which hardwood decking can be used). However, suitability depends on fitting the correct board construction in your particular case. When we say ‘case’ we mean type of property and area within the property in which the floor will be fitted. There are two types of wood flooring, the traditional type called solid wood and an alternative called engineered wood.

Solid Wood Flooring – In the UK solid wood flooring is by far the more common type of wood flooring and can be seen in commercial, residential and even in period homes. Each board is made from complete hardwood such as Oak, Walnut and other hardwood species.

When Is Solid Wood Recommended?

The complete hardwood construction means that the boards are extremely strong and can withstand years of heavy foot traffic so commercial properties will often look for solid wood flooring as their first choice. In addition, this construction will allow you to sand and recoat the boards when required (normally every few years) thereby removing a 1mm layer of ‘old’ wood to expose new wood. It means that you can achieve the look of a new floor for a small investment (when compared to fitting an entirely new floor).

When Is Solid Wood Not Recommended?

Natural wood and therefore solid wood reacts to changes in temperature. In cold conditions the wood will contract and in warm conditions the wood will expand. Furthermore, natural wood will damage from wet and humid conditions making solid wood unsuitable in the kitchen, basement, certain extensions, bathroom and as a wood flooring solution fitted over underfloor heating.

Engineered Wood Flooring – These boards have been around for a matter of years and were introduced as an alternative to solid due to the natural limitations of wood (and therefore natural limitations of solid wood flooring). Each board is made from solid wood as the top layer supported by MDF, Plywood and Softwood. The result is a type of wood flooring board that looks identical to solid, but varies in its construction ‘under the hood’.

When Is Engineered Wood Flooring Recommended?

Engineered wood flooring will suit any property and any room within the property with the exclusion of the outdoors. Because they are manmade, the boards are bigger and therefore easier to cover a large area. Furthermore, if the property has underfloor heating fitted, these are the sole option as wood flooring solution. It is also possible to sand and recoat the boards, though fewer times as it will depend on the thickness of the solid layer.

When Is Engineered Wood Flooring Not Recommended?

The varied construction of the boards means that durability takes a slight hit. If solid wood flooring is estimated to exceed 100 years of service life, an engineered board is estimated to reach half that. Because sanding and recoating is limited in the amount of times the process can be performed, commercial properties will often perfect the solid alternative.

Wood Flooring Grade

Both solid and engineered wood flooring come in varied degrees of grade. Grade will not influence the durability of the wood, merely a visual aspect. It revolves around colour variation between the boards, sapwood and knots of various sizes. The higher the grade is, the more refine the board will be and naturally dearer in terms of cost. There are four common grades, which are:

Prime grade – Prime grade wood flooring are cut from the middle of the tree which means that the floorboard will have the least amount of colour variations between the planks and knots are very few in between.

Select grade – Select grade wood flooring are cut from the second ring from within the core of the tree which means that the floorboards will show some colour variations between the plank and some knots can be expected.

Natural grade – Natural grade will feature sapwood and black knots of up to 30cm in size. Compared to the previous two grades, price difference will become more substantial making this grade very popular when fitting wood floors on a tight budget.

Rustic grade – Floorboards will feature sapwood and black knots of 35mm. There might be unlimited colour variation between the floorboards. Rustic is the most affordable option.

The decision to choose one grade over the other will depend on your taste in décor and budget. Once you have decided on the grade, you need to choose the finish.

Wood Flooring Finish

Each plank whether it is solid or engineered type requires a coating that will protect the wood from expedited wear and tear. There are many different options. Some will make the boards glossy, other matt and some will play an important part in protecting the wood from wet conditions such as UV lacquered used over an engineered boards for use in the bathroom and kitchen area.

Wood flooring can work well in your propjet provided you fit the correct type. Contact walters architects with any question you might have.

Written for walters architects by Wood and Beyond. London based timber products seller offering wood flooring, decking and solid wood worktops for the trade and consumers.

by walters

I went to an open lecture by Roy Heyes of Caruso St John Architects at De Montfort University last night where he discussed their award winning Cafe at Chiswick House. it was a good lecture about a stunning little building. I really do enjoy DMU’s open lecture series.

Open Lecture

by walters

I’m going to an open lecture by Caruso St. John Architects this evening. I love their work, especially the small domestic projects. This home is called ‘The Brick House’, stunning.