:: Why choose a wood floor? ::
:: Why go for oak instead of other woods? ::
:: What is the difference between solid oak and laminate? ::
:: What should I pay for my floor? ::
:: Why does the cost of oak vary? ::
:: What can go wrong with a wooden floor? ::
:: How much oak do I need? ::
:: How do I fix it? ::
:: What about joining the floor to wall skirting? ::
:: Can I use solid oak over underfloor heating? ::
:: Is there much floor finishing once the oak is down? ::
:: Is real oak flooring a nightmare to keep clean? ::


Why choose a wood floor?
Well you can probably answer this yourself having got this far! But if you need re assuring – wood is back in fashion in a big way and it’s for the following reasons: wood is warm, hygienic, timeless and adaptable. A wooden floor is for life and will add value to your house.
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Why go for oak instead of other woods?
There are of course many different timbers to make wooden floors, from Scandinavian soft woods to tropical and exotic hardwoods. We specialise in European oak because we feel it is the best material, as well as being indigenous to this country which is no doubt what makes it look and feel right for our styles of living, and that is why no doubt that oak is so popular in our homes.
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What is the difference between solid oak, laminate and engineered floor?
Our oak floors are solid natural oak all the way through and will last for generations and improve with age. A laminate floor has a manufactured wood effect surface or at worst just a printed image of oak laminated to the surface to make it look like wood. These floors are often described by large retailers as “Real Wood Floors!” - do not expect them to compare or last alongside the real thing. We do not sell laminate floors!

Engineered oak should not be confused with laminate floor. Our quality Engineered oak uses a single layer of solid oak bonded to a sandwich construction of cross hatched birch ply, giving an exceptionally stable and solid under foot wooden floor. With no expansion or contraction the boards do not move once laid. The best quality examples will have a 6mm layer of oak on the surface and once laid are indistinguishable from solid oak. If your floor level is below ground level (where it will be more prone to damp) or if you want to use a wide board over under floor heating choosing engineered oak would be the sensible option.
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What should I pay for my floor?
Whilst budget is important for most of us remember you generally get what you pay for! Cheap laminate is exactly that and it cannot be expected to keep its look for very long and will need frequent replacement. Expensive laminate will look better for longer but will still need replacement after a few years.

The best quality engineered oak boards are often more expensive than solid wood and this reflects the cost of its manufacture and its ability to remain stable in situations where you could not use real wood. Remember you are only going to floor your house once so get it right!
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Why does the cost of oak vary?
Oak can come from many places and is affected by exchange rate and transport and labour costs. American oak is a different wood to European. Whilst often a bit lighter in colour it grows more quickly and consequently has less grain and therefore character. It is often used for joinery as its lack of features is useful in window frames etc. but it can look quite plain when used for flooring although it will usually be much cheaper than European oak. Be wary of factory laquered floors that come in small bits, often stuck together and usually sold by large chain stores or on the internet. The short pieces makes the floor look very bitty and when the laquer gets scratched or worn by the passage of feet the whole floor will need sanding off for repair. 

In our view it is essential that your oak has been properly selected, milled, kilned and stored, and preferable that the forests from where it comes are managed sustainably for future generations. We get this assurance by buying our oak from France, whose timber industry is the envy of our own and where the grade of the oak is most closely matched to scarcer English oak.
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What can go wrong with a wooden floor?
Solid oak is a living product and this is what makes it so special. It only has one enemy and that is moisture. If allowed to oak will take up moisture and expand and, in the worst case, cup (bow upwards). Do not have solid oak fitted if you have a damp sub floor or atmosphere, or in a situation where flooding is likely. Engineered floor is more stable but you must still guard against moisture.
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How much oak do I need?
Most oak is sold in quantities of m2 so simply measure your room in metres and multiply the length by the width to get the area in m2. If your room is not square add up the area in rectangular sections as best you can and then total them.

Once you have your overall amount add 6% for wastage in the fitting process if you are using Homeoak products. Be warned that if you buy wood that is not end matched (tongue and grooved on all four sides your fitters wastage could be considerably higher and there will be much more sanding after fitting.
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How do I fix it?
The best way to fix your oak is to secret nail (a Portanailer drives a 2” nail at an angle into the tongue of each board) directly to joists, battens or strong chipboard or ply subfloor but not every situation allows this. If you have a smooth dry finished subfloor such as tile or concrete, gluing is very effective and easy, just make sure you use the corrct glues. We always prefer to use a primer over hard floors to ensure the glue will stick to the prepared surface.

Gluing is best used for narrower planks and is not advised for solid oak beyond 160mm wide. Any wide planks (190mm) should be face nailed or screwed and plugged for extra rigidity. Engineered oak can be glued or secret nailed in any width. A professional fitter will know what to do for most situations and will take advice from your supplier. If you have uneven concrete you can do a lot of hole filling and levelling with extra glue from the glue gun. 
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What about joining the floor to wall skirting?
A solid oak floor is an organic product and your floor will move and expand with the seasons, normally across the grain of the wood. So when it is fitted there should be a 15mm expansion gap left around the floor edge. In a renovation, the old skirting will ideally be removed before being replaced to cover the gap. If you don’t want to remove it you can cover the expansion gap with a decorative bead, such as scotia.  With a level subfloor you can sometimes cut the bottom edge of the skirting with a Feinmaster and slip the boards underneath
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Can I use solid oak over underfloor heating?
Some advise yes but it can be fraught with problems and we advise you use a purpose designed engineered oak board instead. It will remain stable and the lower density will allow better heat transfer. The oak top will still look the same! Ensure the subfloor is completely dry, that the UFH has been switched on and working for 2 weeks before fitting and try to maintain even and steady temperatures. The overall thickness of the floor covering above the heating should be less than 28mm and you should try and avoid hot spots.
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Is there much floor finishing once the oak is down?
The answer to this depends on the type of solid oak you have bought. You can buy pre-finished boards which are factory finished and coated with a polyurethane finish and these need no further work. However, they can look rather plastic by comparison with natural oiled wood, which kind of ruins the effect of going for real wood which you were looking for in the first place!

Also the finish usually does not last more than a couple of years and they will need to be sanded back completely before re-finishing - a major repair job. If you buy quality machined boards they will need minimal sanding (an orbital sander is ideal for open knots) and only a little knot filling according to taste. We think the nicest finish comes from using a natural oil finish like Treatex 'Traditional Hard Wax Oil', which is easy to brush roller on and quick to dry.

You can also easily apply a stain, such as Morells Woodstains to colour your floor, should you so wish. Sometimes a dark stain will add huge extra character to your floor and even a light stain will enhance the natural grain in the oak. A white oiled finish can also be achieved.
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Is real oak flooring a nightmare to keep clean?
Absolutely not! In fact it couldn’t be easier to maintain and keep looking warm and beautiful with minimum effort. So much more hygienic than carpet, a solid oak floor just needs a sweep or vacuum to pick up loose dirt, or a gentle damp mopping with Microfibre to restore shine (occasionally use Treatex Floorcare for extra cleaning).

When you need to you can just apply another coat of hard wax oil but your original coats should be good for 3-5 years before you might want to put another coat over the top. It’s also a good idea to put soft pads on any furniture to reduce scuffs and scratches. And when that full glass of deep red wine hits the deck, it won’t stain or even penetrate the wax! Just mop it up.
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