An exotic choice
These are the questions we get asked most often about our floors and their features.
Solid Wood Flooring
Nothing beats solid wood for a timeless natural texture, and a robust feel beneath the feet. It suits both contemporary and traditional interior design, and is long-lasting with each board precision machined from a single section of timber. Tongue and groove joints make for a tight and strong installation.
Engineered Wood Flooring
Here each board is made from multiple layers of wood pressed together. The solid top layer is what matters as it displays the colour and pattern you’ll see and feel. In the middle of each board is a central core and below that there’s a backing board for stability. Engineered board is available in a wide range of wood types, finishes and thicknesses.
Simulating the appearance of real wood, laminate floors have a printed foil surface showing a wood grain pattern, covered in a tough, transparent layer of melamine. Essentially a man-made solution, laminate flooring has a high-density fibreboard (HDF) core making it strong and flexible. It’s backed with cellulose paper for stability.
Though bamboo is actually a type of grass, when made into flooring its characteristics are similar to hardwood. Bamboo takes just five years to grow before it can be harvested, and is 100% sustainable. It comes in two styles – traditional, and the more durable strand woven version, which is extremely tough.
This grade looks natural yet consistent, with few knots. Up to 10% sapwood can be found in Select boards, along with considerable grain and colour variation, but only small knots.
More of the wood’s character shines through in rustic floors – including large knots, dark streaks, filled knots and colour variation. Again, up to 10% sapwood is likely in this grade.
Very little is graded out in the extra rustic category. Large knots, splits, cracks and any amount of sapwood make this a fun choice, and mean that the floor will be all that more distinctive.
A Note About Knots
Knots occur naturally in wood where a branch grows out of the main trunk. They can go deep into the timber’s core. In terms of flooring, there are two types of knot. A dead knot is where the core of the knot has fallen out or been removed, and then filled. With a live knot, the core remains in the board. The rustic and extra rustic grades contain both types of knots.
Any large knots that are not desired can be cut out and filled during the floor fit. Note that it’s not always possible to find an exact colour match when filling a knot.
The natural beauty of the wood grain is brought to the fore when an oil penetrates its surface. Each board is coated between five and seven times, and cured with a UV lamp between coats to produce a protective, muted appearance. If an oiled floor is scratched, it can be retouched with oil to diminish the mark.
Extremely smooth, glossy and exciting, a lacquered floor is also hardwearing, easy to clean and maintain. Five to seven coats of lacquer go onto each board, which is UV cured at each stage of the process. After curing, it’s sanded again before another layer of lacquer is applied.
UV Matt Lacquered
If an oiled finish is desired but your client is concerned about its upkeep, a Matt Lacquered finish is the answer. With a dull satin sheen, the surface is smooth and hardwearing, as is true to a lacquer, but has the appearance of an oiled floor.
Could anything feel more natural and authentic? An unfinished floor also allows for a bespoke finish by painting, oiling or varnishing exactly as required. Unfinished boards are supplied with the knots pre-filled, and are pre-sanded for convenience.
A great option if your client loves the natural feel of timber, these boards are lightly brushed to remove the softer fibres between the harder grains. The finish subtly highlights the wood’s texture both to the eye and to the touch, for a wonderful feel that instantly evokes woodland charm in spaces.
A Sawn finish celebrates nature in its rawest, roughest form. Kerfs from the saw marks are left on the boards to see and feel, as though the wood has been freshly cut. The surface captures a wonderfully rough texture and rustic appeal.
This finish sees each plank painstakingly scraped by hand, bringing a whole new dimension to natural flooring. The irregular ridges and grooves that result add depth and definition to the wood’s surface, creating an aged look that’s distinctive by eye yet smooth to the touch.
Each plank is hand distressed on its edges to produce small grooves and undulations that are reminiscent of a naturally aged floor. The subtle yet interesting effect captures the charming timeworn appeal of a floor that’s been loved by thousands of feet.
A bevelled edge on the boards creates a defined pattern across the floor when it’s fitted. The finish gives a traditional and ordered feel to a space and the depth of the slight groove between planks will depend on the type and grade of wood chosen.
Planed boards are finely sanded using up to six careful processes in order to create a delightfully smooth finish across the boards. Small and subtle ribbing marks are still visible from the planer for an authentic yet contemporary look.
Fitting seamlessly together, square edged planks result in smooth, clean overall finish to the floor, and can help a room to feel bigger than it is. This finish suits modern décor very well, while the wood’s clean finish captures the sense of a relaxing natural setting.
Choosing a floor
Just like a natural wooden floor, underfloor heating helps make a room feel comfortable and cosy. However, where underfloor heating is present, it’s important to choose the right wooden floor to go with it. We always recommend an engineered board rather than solid wood. It will provide increased stability and strength to withstand changes in temperature thanks to its multi-layered construction.
Not all timbers react well to underfloor heating, but the good news is that every type of flooring in our range carries a recommendation with it so you’ll easily be able to tell which ones are suitable, and which aren’t.
Checking the Subfloor
Never install underfloor heating over a concrete subfloor that has a moisture content over 75% Relative Humidity (RH). Ideally it should be below 70% RH to give a margin of error.
If there is a timber subfloor, make sure the moisture content is below 11% Wood Moisture Equivalent (WME). These readings must be checked before fitting. If the moisture levels in the subfloor are too high, install a Woodpecker damp proof preparation product before the underfloor heating is fitted.
Choosing a System
If you are installing an underfloor heating system before fitting a natural wood floor, there are two types available – water heated, and electrically heated.
In general, water heated systems are used in new builds and in renovation projects, while electrically heated systems are used when installation needs to be relatively quick and easy.
Whichever system you choose, the maximum temperature of the water or the electrical element must never rise above 50°C, and the temperature to the underside of the wood floor must never reach more than 27°C.
Testing the Heating
Once the underfloor heating is in place it should be switched on and thoroughly tested before the wood floor is fitted. A water-heated system needs to be pressurised, checked for leaks, and left to run for two weeks. It will dry out much of the moisture in the screed or timber subfloor.
Plastering and any other wet trade in the room must also be dried out and the Atmospheric Humidity in the room should be between 40 and 60%.
Fitting the Floor
Turn off the underfloor heating for at least 48 hours prior to fitting the floor – the regular central heating or electrical heating can be left on during installation.
If a screed or wood-based subfloor has been laid above the underfloor heating system, you can glue an engineered tongue and groove floor to it. Make sure the boards are fully adhered to the subfloor using Woodpecker MS Parquet Adhesive.
An engineered floor with glueless locking joints can be floated over underfloor heating in most cases, but be certain to use an underlay that’s suitable for an underfloor heating system.
If only part of the subfloor has underfloor heating, you will need to separate the wood flooring above the heated and unheated areas using a dilation joint. Flooring above the underfloor heating will expand and contract more than the flooring that isn’t, but the joint will accommodate that.
Once fitted, the floor should be left to acclimatise for two to three days before the underfloor heating is turned on. This will allow it to settle and any adhesives used can dry out. When the heating is switched on it should be set at 1°C above the ambient temperature and then raised by a further 1°C per day until the desired temperature is reached. Do not turn it on full straight away. Raising and lowering the temperature too quickly can cause the wood to shrink, expand or even crack.
This method of gradually changing room temperatures should be continued, with the underfloor heating left running from the thermostat at all times and only raised or lowered by 1°C per day to accommodate the changing seasons.
These guidelines are here to help make sure our natural wood floors are protected but they don’t replace the recommended fitting procedures for the underfloor heating system, which vary by manufacturer.
Once a Woodpecker floor has been installed you’ll be able to feel its delightful texture underfoot and enjoy the warm sense of nature a wood finish brings to the space. However, like all natural substances, wood is susceptible to wear and tear. To ensure it always looks its best and lasts longer, here are some guidelines…
1 – Floor mats
The natural place to start is at the door, and a good quality floor mat will catch dirt and grit, preventing damage further into the space. Grit underfoot is like sandpaper, scratching the floor’s finish, so consider fitting Woodpecker Coir Matting which provides a barrier to wet and dirty feet.
2 – Rugs or carpet runners
We know that the last thing you want to do is cover up the beautiful texture of a natural wood floor, but sometimes prevention is better than the cure. Consider rugs or carpet runners for high footfall areas such as doorways, halls and stairs.
3 – Be careful with furniture
Never drag furniture or other objects across a wood floor – it can easily result in unsightly dents or scratches. Woodpecker offers a variety of felt protectors and castor cups that enable furniture to be moved easily without marking the floor.
4 – Shoe rules
Wearing heavy shoes or work boots should be avoided when stepping onto a natural wood floor. High heels, and stilettos in particular, should be avoided too. They exert a huge amount of pressure that easily dents or marks even the toughest of wood floors.
5 – Clean up spills
Liquid is the enemy, so spilled drinks should be mopped up with water or other liquids never allowed to sit for any length of time. The odd drop may not hurt, but excessive amounts of water will cause lasting damage.
6 – Pet patrol
Pet claws should be kept trimmed to prevent scratches and if there are any ‘accidents’ make sure they’re cleaned up fast.
7 – Sunshine
It’s thrilling to see the sun illuminating a wood floor, filling the room with natural light and warmth. Sunlight will naturally help the wood’s colour to mellow, so be aware of this and move rugs, mats and furniture regularly to ensure an even maturing of colour. Dark woods like Walnut are more susceptible to fading, which is worth considering when the flooring is chosen.
8 – Light cleaning
Regular sweeping with a soft bristled broom will get rid of dust and rogue bits of grit on the floor. A natural wood floor can also be vacuumed – ideally with a soft brush attachment to minimise scratching.
9 – Mopping
As per point five, wetness can damage a hardwood floor so a well-wrung mop should be used when cleaning and any excess liquid removed immediately. Woodpecker supplies specially formulated cleaning kits that include an antistatic mop, cleaning fluid and trigger head spray bottle for easy application. They are available for both lacquered and oiled finishes, with refills available as necessary.
Long Term Care
Even though the most advanced wood treatments and finishes are used to create our nature inspired flooring, hardwood floors need to be looked after to stay in tip-top condition. This involves cleaning and sometimes re-finishing the flooring at suitable intervals to ensure it continues to delight throughout its lifetime.
Cleaning Oiled Floors
To protect the beautiful look and feel of an oiled floor, we recommend removing grit and dust regularly with a brush or vacuum cleaner. The Woodpecker Cleaning Kit for Oiled Floors or a well wrung damp cloth mop can be used.
For a deeper clean now and again, there’s Woodpecker One Coat Soap. This clever product will clean the floor and form a protective film, helping to build its surface resistance over time and making the floor even easier to maintain.
Cleaning Lacquered Floors
To ensure a lacquered floor stays clean and keeps its stunning shine, the Woodpecker Cleaning Kit for Lacquered & Laminate Floors or a well wrung damp mop can be used.
Restoration Treatments for Wood Flooring
How often a floor is recoated or repaired will depend on several factors including the type of floor it is, its finish and the wear its experienced. However, as a basic preventative, a client might consider re-coating the floor every two or three years. If the protective coat to is allowed to wear away, it becomes susceptible to dirt and water penetration, and harder to clean and repair.
A Quick Test
A good way to check whether a floor needs treatment is to pour a few drops of water onto its surface. If the finish is in good order, the water will bead on the floor and can easily be wiped way. No maintenance is needed. If the water slowly soaks into the timber, leaving behind a light saturation mark, the finish is starting to wear thin. A new coat of lacquer or oil should be applied. However, if the water is immediately absorbed and leaves a dark stain, the finish has been completely worn away and the floor may need sanding and recoating.
NB: Before any treatment is carried out, we recommend testing in an inconspicuous area of the floor to check compatibility.
Laminate Floor Repairs
Because of its construction and finish, a laminate floor cannot be treated in the same way that a hardwood or engineered floor can. However, small chips and scratches can be concealed using the Colourfill Repair Paste. This comes with a solvent which can be used to clean the damaged area before the filler is applied, and to remove excess filler afterwards.
Re-lacquering and Repairs
If a lacquered floor gets any isolated scratches or dents, these can be sealed using Woodpecker Touch-Up Lacquer. First, make sure the area is clean and dry then lightly sand the surface with a fine grit sanding paper. Using the brush supplied in the lid, paint the lacquer onto the affected area and leave it to cure.
Deeper scratches or gouges might call for professional wood filler. These are available in a variety of colours from most hardware and flooring retailers. They come as a paste, which is applied to the damaged area, left to cure, then sanded. Afterwards, apply some Woodpecker Touch-Up Lacquer to give the repair a protective finish.
Extra care is needed when sanding stained floors to ensure that the process doesn’t break through the complete layer of stain. In this instance, the floor would require a patch-repair before the lacquer is applied.
If the floor is badly worn in some places, it may be necessary to sand the flooring back to its unfinished surface before re-coating all over. Unlike oil, lacquer doesn’t penetrate the wood’s surface, instead it sticks to it. Therefore, the entire floor must be covered to prevent the formation of ridges and overlap marks. For best results, a roller should be used. A single coat of lacquer will be enough to protect against moisture, though several coats should be applied if the floor faces lots of foot traffic.
If you are lacquering unfinished timber, you will need to cover it with three coats. Between each coat, the floor must be sanded, vacuumed and wiped thoroughly with a damp cloth. Lacquer takes one to two hours to dry between applications. After the final coat, leave the floor for 24 hours before allowing traffic. Curing will continue for a week, after which rugs can be placed on
Re-oiling and Repairs
Unlike lacquered floors, isolated areas of an oiled floor can be treated without having to re-oil the entire floor. Yet, oiled surfaces aren’t as tough as lacquered surfaces and need to be maintained more often.
Before re-oiling a floor, it’s essential that any dust or dirt is cleaned away. Contamination will hinder adhesion and could affect how the floor looks. Apply a small amount of One Coat Cleaner to a dry cloth and wipe the affected area thoroughly. Dust will be collected electro-statically. It takes 15 minutes to an hour to dry depending on the saturation. If the floor remains soiled, consider sanding the surface and clean again with One Coat Cleaner.
Make sure the floor is completely dry before applying Woodpecker One Coat Oil. This should be applied sparely and evenly, along the wood’s grain, using a cotton cloth, brush or squeegee. The oil will react with the floor within a minute and any excess should be wiped away within 15 or 20 minutes making sure the surface is nearly dry. Because the oil reacts so quickly, it’s a good idea to treat relatively small areas each time. Oil doesn’t leave tide or overlap marks and should be left for 24 to 36 hours before the floor can receive traffic again or it’s cleaned.