Frequently Asked Questions

Generally Package Deal is designed to offer our customers great opprtunity to buy small (up to 20sqm) quntities of high quality wood flooring at a special price: £15.00 plus VAT per sqm.

These products are end of line  - most of them are not manufactured any more, therefore we have decided to sell them at discounted prices.

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Price displayed on the product page is per deal (not per sqm). All Special Offers items can be viewed in our London Showroom, Unit 2, Kingsbury Trading Estate, NW9 8AU London, Tel: 0208 204 8555 or email: sales@esbflooring.com

Here, at ESB you can order high quality wood flooring sample at no cost whatsoever. The sample will allow you to touch and feel the product you want to purchase, view it's colour, texture and finish.

Please note that a small sample will not always display knots or the natural colour variation found in wood flooring.

You can order more than one sample if you are not sure which flooring to go for. 

These are 3 simple steps showing how you can order free sample on our website.

1. Go to the product page.

 

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2. Click on "Order Sample" green icon.

 

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3. Fill up the form in pop-up window. Don't forget to sign up in to our newsletter.

 

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After your sample request has been sent, your order will be dispatched within 2 working days via Royal Mail 1st class service.

Choosing the right wood flooring can be very tricky. No matter where you end up buying your floor, these basic principles should help guide you. Buying a wood floor can be costly; but instead of it being an expense you regret, we aim to make it a valuable investment you cherish for years. We all have different tastes and we always tell our customers that although the technical details matter, it is important not to get carried away with them too much. Instead it is important to focus on the look and feel you really like; this is the most important aspect to remember. Here at ESB Flooring we are able to offer the following guide on how to make the best choice.


There are five main areas to consider:
1. Species and Colour
2. Finish
3. Grade
4. Width
5. Laying Direction

All these points are also visually explained in our amazing Roomplanner application.

Wood Flooring Species

The first decision you need to make is to decide on the species. Oak flooring is by far the most popular choice. This is mainly because Oak is also the biggest choice available. The reason for this is oak is one of the hardest woods available and offers great value as a surface for engineered wood flooring, solid wood flooring, worktops and furniture. Traditionally the choice of species would certainly be determined by the colour you are after but these days Oak flooring can be finished in almost any colour imaginable so this has made Oak flooring even more popular than before. But, other popular species like Walnut, Maple, Ash, Jatoba and Merbau to name a few will all have a different grain or texture thereby creating a different look and feel.


Wood Floor Finish

Now you must decide on the type finish you would like. This means the oil or lacquer that will be applied to the surface of the floor. Most products sold are pre-finished in the factory but people also purchase unfinished wood flooring and then apply the finish at home or wherever the floor is laid. We suggest that if you ever do take this option, make you sure you test on a sample board of floor or in an obscure area first. The last thing you want to do is make a mistake in the middle of the room after your wooden floor is laid! But as most customers do still buy pre-finished flooring, let us explain the differences to consider. A lacquered floor will have a shinier look than an oiled floor. This is the main difference between the two options. The lacquered floor will also have a smoother finish. Again, this is purely a personal preference; it is impossible to say one is better than the other. If you prefer that new shiny look after mopping your floor then lacquered is the way to go. But if you prefer perhaps a more natural look then oiled is a better option. A misconception is that oiled floors are not as protected. In fact they are. Some naturally oiled floors can however be oiled again for a further coat of protection. In fact all oiled floors can be oiled every so often (but not necessary) and the look will evolve over time.  Any floor can of course be sanded and then you have a clean fresh start. The decision of both the species and the finish should be made while considering your furniture and wall colour.

Wood Floor Grading

The grade is arguably the most confusing choice you need to make and really we wish to make it clear that the grade has nothing to do with the quality of the wood, it merely represents the look. A higher grade does not mean you get a better product. All grades are cut from the same logs; the selection of the grades is merely to create different looks. Of course if you have to select boards which do not have as many knots then this will take time and effort, and you will need to select more boards, which will increase the cost of that product. The level of grade is subject to the amount of knots and colour variation in the wood. Furthermore, wood flooring producers and suppliers often use different names and descriptions to describe the various grades.It is very important to be able to see a large sample in person or in a picture, or a picture of the flooring in a room; a small sample will just be a small representation of what the flooring will look like once laid. And further still, make sure you are satisfied with your floor before laying it. Once a floor is laid there is very little any supplier can do about it, but if you are unhappy with the grade or the look after opening a couple of boxes then it is much easier for us here at ESB Flooring to assess and deal with the problem.
The three grades we refer to at ESB Flooring are: Select (Also known as AB, Prime), Natural (Also known as ABC, Classic) and Rustic (also referred to as ABCD, Country). Now remember, you may find other words describing the same grade. For example, another common grade used is Millrun. Millrun just means the boards are boxed up as they come off the mill. So there is no selection process to create the grade and therefor a certain look. Since Millrun is a general look we place it in the Natural category

Width

Another important factor that you must consider when choosing your wood flooring is the width and the length of the boards. These two parameters will have a great influence on the overall look of the interior. Widths of boards range from roughly 127mm to 300mm wide. The most popular choices are the 189mm width in Engineered or 120mm in Solid. For an excellent visual example of the effect of the different widths please visit our Roomplanner. Generally speaking the wider boards say 220mm to 300mm will most certainly look better and be more appropriate for larger areas. The wider boards generally also cost.

Laying Direction

This final point should not be overlooked and underestimated. The laying direction and laying pattern will have a significant effect on the final look of your wooden floor. Once again you can see this demonstrated in our Roomplanner. It is important that you discuss with your professional floor fitter the best possible options both from an aesthetic point of view and the stability of the floor. As wood flooring is a natural product you can expect natural colour variation and knots. In fact there may even be the odd board that is really out of character from the other boards. A professional and experienced floor fitter would be aware of this and would not place this odd board in the middle of the room. Remember, any flooring supplier can easily assist you with exchanges or returns (based on their policies) before the floor is installed.

You may have noticed that we have not mentioned the option of Solid Wood Flooring or Engineered Wood Flooring. Although ESB Flooring also offers a wide range of solid wood flooring, the vast majority of wood flooring sold is in fact Engineered and Multilater Wood Flooring, 

Please note that once your wood flooring is installed you cannot simply change your mind. Installation implies acceptance. So before actually laying the floor we also recommend that you and/or your floor fitter open a few packs of flooring to make sure it is what you expected.

Please contact us if you still have any questions in regards to the above article and thank you for reading our 'How do I choose my perfect wood flooring' entry.

Engineered Wood Flooring is a popular alternative to Solid Wood Flooring thanks to it's superior stability and suitability to various environments. 

How is Engineered Wood Flooring made?
There’s more to Engineered Wood Flooring than meets the eye. Engineered Wood flooring comprises of three layers of real wood pressed together with adhesive under extremely high pressure. The base layer provides the stable foundation of the floor and is typically made of pinewood. The middle layer is typically made from a softer material such as birch plywood. The top layer is the solid wood veneer, and is the only visible layer once the floor is laid.
This method of construction and installation makes the floor stronger and more durable than other types of wood flooring, including solid wood and multilayer.

But how? ...Imagine one plank is 140cm wide by 1860cm long. The pinewood base is one single strip that is 140cm wide by 1860cm long. The birch plywood strips are then placed on the pinewood from top to bottom, fixed to the base with adhesive under high pressure. The strips also form the locking system that is used to fix one board to another; the two different locking systems are Tongue & Groove or Click. Finally the top layer is placed over the plywood strips. The top layer or veneer is usually between 2mm to 4mm thick. This can have any number of finishes to achieve a desired look. 


Together, this creates a floor that is extremely stable and able to keep its shape in sudden or extreme temperature changes, making it perfect for rooms with varying conditions.

The methods of constructing wood flooring are always advancing to make it even stronger and more affordable. For example, some floors will have a High Density Fibreboard (HDF) core with a veneer top layer.

Advantages of Engineered Wood Flooring for consumers ar

 Engineered Wood is more suitable for basements, conservatories or rooms that may be humid or damp

 Engineered Wood is suitable for under floor heating

 Engineered Wood comes in a larger variety of textures, looks and finishes to suit more tastes and needs

 Installation of Engineered Wood is easier and cheaper than Solid Wood

 Engineered Wood Flooring is real wood. Often Solid Wood Flooring is referred to as Real Wood Flooring giving the incorrect impression that Engineered Flooring is not real wood; Engineered Wood Flooring is 100% real wood flooring and it looks just as good as Solid Wood Flooring

 Engineered Wood will also last a lifetime; when needed, it can be sanded down and re-treated to look as good as new or have a new look altogether

 

Engineered C-Cross Section T&G                 Engineered Click                                                               

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Engineered T&G

 

Unlike Engineered Wood Flooring, Multilayer flooring is constructed using multiple layers of plywood. The main advantage of Multilayer flooring is that the top layer of veneer is typically thicker than with Engineered Wood Flooring – it ranges from 4mm to 6mm.  This means you can sand the floor three or four times in its lifetime.

However, it is not as strong or stable as Engineered Wood Flooring and when installed over under-floor heating more care and attention is requeired. For example, the heating should be turned on more gradually.

Below are two pictures demonstrating the layeers in multilayer flooring. Imagine sheets of plywood and birch wood placed one on top of the other bonded together with adhesive under high pressure, and then the solid surface veneer on top.

Multilayer                                                            Multilayer - Cross Section         

 

 

 

What is Laminate Flooring?

While it’s certainly not new to the flooring scene, Laminate flooring is an exciting alternative to Engineered Wood Flooring and Solid Wood Flooring and there are more finishes, colours and styles than ever before available for today’s residential and commercial spaces.

How is Laminate Flooring made?

Laminate flooring is made up of central core of HDF (High Density Fibre) applied to a supporting base layer. The exciting part is the decorative layer, which gives the appearance to the floor; this decorative layer is actually a photo of wood or other floor coverings, such as slate and tiles, which is placed on a HDF board. This high quality image gives laminate flooring a realistic look that resembles any finish, grade, species, colour or material! The photographic visible layer is then coated with a tough melamine layer, giving the flooring its superior resistance to daily wear and tear. 

All three layers are fused together by heat and pressure. The amount of pressure used depends on whether it is a High Pressure Laminate (HPL) or Direct Pressure Laminate. Every year new and improved manufacturing methods lead to stronger, more durable and more exciting ranges of laminate flooring. Laminate flooring is constructed to meet the requirements of a vast range of projects from light residential to heavy commercial environments and is graded accordingly. Please contact us for more advice. 

Advantages of Laminate Flooring

Many home renovators choose Laminate flooring as an affordable alternative to Solid Wood Flooring. When it comes to looks, advances in technology mean that you can choose a surface that looks just like real wood flooring. Manufacturers are able to create high quality replicas that have the depth and beauty of real timber, at a fraction of the price. Some Laminate flooring products also feature a textured finish so, as well as looking like timber, the floor feels more like timber too.

The beauty of Laminate flooring is that it’s incredibly durable. The strong HDF core and the top protective layer give laminate flooring a superior resistance to wear, scratches and stains. This makes it ideal for almost any commercial and residential environment. Unlike Solid Wood Flooring, Laminate flooring works well in environments prone to moisture, like bathrooms and kitchens. It is also very easy to install and maintain. 

 

What is the difference between lacquered and oiled finishes on wooden floors?

Oiled or lacquered? Both oil and lacquer finished floors have their advantages. Really all you should consider is the look you want, after all, you will see it and live on it every day. 

Lacquered finishes

 Lacquered / varnished floors have a smoother, shinier look and feel

Matt lacquered is less shiny but still has the same smooth feel

 Lacquered floors (including matt lacquered) need very little maintenance; you simply sweep or vacuum and then very slight damp mop with eco-friendly floor cleaner like Blanchon Lagoon or Blanchon Daily Cleaner. Satin Lacquered floors can be protected by using Blanchon Protector and you can protect a Matt Lacquered finish with Blanchon Protector Metatmat.

 This type of finish does scratch a little easier than oiled floors and scratches are also slightly more visible.

 You can considerably reduce scratching your lacquered or oiled floor by applying floor protectors to all your furniture; make use of area rugs, use doormats and if possible remove your shoes.

 You cannot fix scratches "locally" as you can with oiled floors. However, these days lacquered floors are getting tougher and tougher to scratch with ever stronger more advanced materials and application techniques.

Oiled finishes

The first question to ask if you are buying an oiled floor is if the floor is UV Oiled or Natural Oiled. 

The main difference between a UV Oiled and Natural Oiled floor is that the UV Oiled floor is dried in the factory with UV lights. This speeds up the drying process and also means the floor does not need another coat of oil once it is installed. A Natural Oiled floor must be treated again with another coat of oil as soon as it is installed.

Just like Lacquered floors you cannot apply another coat of oil to a UV Oiled floor as it will not bond together or penetrate the floor. It is a misconception that lacquered and matt lacquered floors protect floors better. The truth is oiled floors can offer an equally protective layer (in terms of wine spillages etc). 

Unlike lacquer finishes which only provide protection from above, oil finishes provide protection from both the inside and outside. The oil penetrates deeply into the wood providing long-term protection while also leaving a protective layer on the surface to protect the floor. Scratches on your floor tend to be less visible on oiled floors.The claining and maintenance is easy. For daily or regular cleaning use Blanchon Lagoon or Blanchon Natural Soap for Oiled Wood Floor. Blanchon Maintenance Oil is a great regenerator of oiled floors, penetrating the wood for long lasting protection.

Natural Oiled floors do require more maintenance; once installed it is recommended that another coat of oil is immediately applied. Heavy scratches and scuffs can be lightly sanded and a natural oil can be applied over the affected area. When it comes to maintenance, Natural Oiled wood floors do require oiling from time to time. Typically once a year will do. Depending on the condition of the floor and how it is cared for you may only need to apply the oil every 5 years! This process of reapplying the oil ensures that scratches and marks will fade or disappear, the floor looks fresher, newer and cleaner, and most importantly the oil penetrates the wood strengthening and enriching it, giving character and longevity. 

We offer a Bespoke Service if you can’t find your perfect pre-finished oiled or lacquered floor. We have an onsite workshop where our team of experts can match any colour or desired look using various finishing materials and techniques. 

 

Is your floor UV Oiled or Natural Oiled? In most cases pre-finished floors will be UV Oiled, however you should still not simply assume this; you must know what oiled finish your floor is in order to clean and maintain it correctly.

UV Oiled means the floor has dried in the factory under UV lights and the oil used has also been formulated to dry under UV lights. This process speeds up the drying time while also adding a much needed layer of protection to the surface of the floor. A UV Oiled floor does not need any special or additional treatment once installed; a normal cleaning and maintenance routine is sufficient.

A Natural Oiled finish means a natural oil is applied to the unfinished board usually by hand and left to dry on special drying racks. Natural Oiled floors can be treated again with another coat of oil immediately after installation. Please follow the manufacurers guidelines when avaialble.

Regular Cleaning and Maintenance

Sweep or vacuum your floor as often as you like. Be careful not to scratch the floor with the vacuum head and always ensure you are using the soft bristle setting on your vacuum cleaner or a sift bristle broom.

For quick and easy cleaning a UV Oiled floor use Blanchon Lagoon. It comes in a handy 500ml spray bottle. Simply spray a dust free area of the floor and then use a clean lightly damp mop to wipe the floor. Repeat this procedure until you have completed the whole area or room.

Blanchon Natural Soap for Oiled Wood Floor is another easy to use mild soap ideal for cleaning Natural and UV oiled floors. Simply dilute 125ml of soap with 5 litres of water and mop with a very lightly damp mop.

Both Natural and UV Oiled floors require regular maintenance, although more frequent maintenance is required for naturally oiled floors. Luckily we have another great product that makes it easy for you to maintain your oiled floor. Blanchon Maintenance Oil is easy to apply by either mopping or spraying on to your floor. The natural specially formulated ingredients quickly penetrate your floor to give it lasting protection. Remember that maintaining floor not only keeps it looking good, it actually improves and strengthens your floor.

 

Cleaning and maintenance products for Oiled floors

Regular Cleaning:

Sweep or vacuum your floor as often as you like. Be careful not to scratch the floor with the vacuum head and always ensure you are using the soft bristle setting on your vacuum cleaner.  

For quick and easy cleaning use Blanchon Lagoon. It comes in a handy 500ml spray bottle. Simply spray a dust free area of the floor and then use a clean lightly damp mop to wipe the floor. Repeat this procedure until you have completed the whole area or room.

Blanchon Daily Cleaner is another easy to use mild soap that revives lacquered wood floors. After sweeping or vacuuming all dust, dilute 50ml – 100ml of soap with 10 litres of water. Then use a clean mop (never too wet – only slightly damp) to wipe the floor clean.

ESB Flooring stock the Blanchon range of wood flooring cleaning and maintenance products. Although these products are specially designed for cleaning and maintaining wood and laminate flooring you could also use eco-friendly floor cleaners to clean your floor. Never use products with chemical ingredients. Most supermarkets carry their own environmentally friendly range of floor cleaners. Also never use a mop that is too wet; the mop should be very lightly damp.

Maintenance:

Matt lacquered floors will benefit from occasionally applying Blanchon Protector Métamat®. Simply apply Protector Métamat® to your floor with a cloth or very lightly damp mop. Coverage is approximately 40 – 60sqm per litre.

Lacquered and Satin Lacquered floors also need protection. Blanchon Protector Satin is specially developed for protecting lacquered floors and can also be used on laminate floors to protect and re-vitalise.

 

Cleaning and maintenance products for lacquered floors

How to clean laminate flooring?

The beauty of laminate flooring is in its outstanding durability. In fact, it is tougher than most solid timber floors. However, all flooring is an investment and it is important to maintain the floor to ensure it stands the test of time. Laminate flooring is easy to clean. A simple micro fibre mop is all you need to remove stains, dust and mites. However, there are some things worth remembering below:

 Choose cleaning products wisely. As with real wood we recommend you use an eco-friendly floor cleaner available in all supermarkets.

 Don’t use soap, iron-wool or other abrasive cloths on the flooring.

 Laminate floors are scratch resistant, but not scratch proof, so always lift heavy furniture or appliances rather than dragging. Use coasters or pads to protect your floors from furniture marks.

 Keep your floors dry – moisture can lead to long-term damage. Be sure to clean spills immediately.

 Beware the claws! Pets with long claws can scratch and damage a laminate floor surface. Be sure to cut and trim your pet’s claws regularly.

 

For more advice on cleaning and maintaining a laminate floor, speak to our ESB Flooring advisors.

Wood floors come in a range of species – each of them with their own colours, character and textures.
The species commonly used for flooring are classed as hardwood, because they are heavy, strong and stable. Before choosing your wood floor, it is important to know a little about the species you will be using. We reveal the unique characteristics of five of the most popular species to help you make the right choice.


Oak
A combination of excellent qualities and value for money make Oak the number one species for wood flooring. With hundreds of species worldwide, Oak continues to stay on trend. And it’s no wonder, given the beauty, strength and durability of the wood. Red Oak has a slightly pinkish tone, while White Oak has light brown tones that can turn more golden over time. Both are famous for their distinctive curly grain patterns and unique knotting. As a result, Oak is a wonderful choice for classic, elegant designs.

Walnut
Like Oak, Walnut is good value for money. However, when it comes to flooring, Walnut is slightly softer than Oak. An American hardwood, Walnut exudes luxury with its rich dark tones and characteristic knots. It features more open grain markings that can be both random and straight, and is typically only available in fairly narrow boards. Like Oak, it can turn more golden over time.

Beech
Native to Sweden, Denmark and Norway, Beech is a pale white and brown wood. It rarely has distinguishing features and has a relatively straight grain, which makes it ideal for when a uniform look is required. It boasts the same strength as Oak. Over time, you can expect Beech floors to turn slightly amber.

Cherry
Cherry flooring has the same strength as Walnut, but features warm reddish brown tones. The warm undertones make it perfect for creating a homely environment. Unlike Walnut, which lightens over time, Cherry tends to darken over time and in areas of direct sunlight.

Ash
For a strong and flexible flooring option, Ash is the perfect choice. It is very similar to Oak in appearance, but about 10% harder, which gives it superior durability for areas of heavy use. With pale to light brown tones, Ash flooring is ideal for light, bright and airy spaces. Its creamy tones can change to a sandy appearance over time. Ash features a bold, straight and attractive grain – which can differ depending on the grade.

Wood Flooring Cleaning and Maintenance Tips

Every wood floor is an investment, and you want do everything possible to ensure your investment lasts for decades. Luckily, to keep wood flooring looking its beautiful best for longer, you simply need to give it a little regular care and maintenance. Here are some tried and tested care tips from the experts at ESB Flooring: Buy doormats. They work wonders keeping away dirt and grit from the first step. Regular cleaning is essential. To remove surface dirt and grit, vacuum the floor using a soft bristle head or sweep with a soft bristle broom.

 Don’t let stubborn dirt get you down. We recommend damp-mopping the floor using a well-wrung mop.

 Do not over-wet the floor – this can change the moisture levels and, over time, cause a floor to expand, resulting in cupping.

 Go natural. Use eco-friendly floor cleaners available in any supermarket. ESB stock a floor cleaner called Blanchon which provides added benefits to simply cleaning. No chemicals. Never clean the floor with common household detergents, methylated spirits, Kerosene, polishes, steel wool pads, wax or similar products. These can be abrasive and may scratch the surface, or make it dangerously slippery. Some of these products can also leave behind a residue, which might make it difficult to stain the floor in the future.

 Avoid steam. Do not use a steam mop to clean timber floors. The steam is forced into the joints and any incisions or cracks, which can cause cupping. The heat from the steam can also damage the floor’s finish.

 Act fast to avoid stains. Wipe up spills and leaks immediately with a dry cloth or paper towel.

 Embrace natural changes. As a natural product, wood flooring will inevitably change colour, fade or darken over time – especially is exposed to direct sunlight. Rotate rugs periodically and use curtains or blinds to protect the floor from direct sunlight.

 Take off high-heeled shoes. This will not always be possible but please remember high-heeled shoes can and will damage a wood floor surface.

 Beware the claws! Pets with long claws can scratch and dull a wood floor surface. Be sure to cut and trim your pet’s claws regularly.

One of the major benefits of hardwood flooring is it can be re-stained or re-finished as needed. When looked after, wood floors should last at least five years before you need to re-coat them. However, it does depend on the amount of wear and tear the floor is subject to. Talk to our ESB Flooring experts for more advice.

WE RECOMMEND THAT YOU ALWAYS US A PROFESSIONAL FLOOR FITTER TO INSTALL YOUR FLOOR.

After all pre-installation conditions are met you can proceed with installing your new floor. Pre-installation conditions refer to the site conditions; the sub-floor must be smooth, level and sturdy, humidity levels must be correct and the floor must have acclimatized.

1.    Under cut the bottom of door frames, wardrobes, etc. to allow for the floor board to fit under it, plus always leave a full 15mm expansion gap around the full perimeter of the floor.
2.    Open 4 or 5 packs and “shuffle” the boards to ensure an even distribution of colour and character.
3.    The industry standard of 5% -10% waste shall apply for defects and cutting.
4.    If you discover a defective piece DO NOT INSTALL IT. You are the final judge of acceptance quality.  ESB Flooring will not be responsible for costs associated with installing, finishing and/or replacing of flooring installed with obvious defects.
5.    Ideally boards should be laid “end on” to the incoming day light. The first board should be laid groove to the wall allowing for expansion of minimum 15mm between the wall and first board and continue all round with minimum 15mm expansion gap. Do not butt up against any fixed construction such as wall, door frame, pipes, partition, etc.

There are two methods of installation for Engineered Floors. Floating and Glue Down.

FLOATING INSTALLATION - In almost all cases for engineered floors this is the preferred installation method over the glue down method. There are three reason for this: Underlay used for floating is cheaper than adhesive needed for glue down. Floating is quicker and easier to install making it cheaper per sq meter to install. Floating gives you the opportunity to use different underlays for different needs such as a moisture barrier or sound insulation.

1.    14mm and 15mm Engineered Wood Flooring when floated must be installed over a minimum 2mm foam underlay or Fibreboard underlay can also be used.
2.    If your floor has a Tongue and Groove joining system then you must use a specialist wood flooring PVA adhesive to be applied in both groove sides of each board; the head of the board, then along the edge of the board. Run the adhesive along the full length of both ends and not in patches.  Installation clamp & strap systems are recommended to hold rows in place whilst the glue sets.
3.    If your floor has a "Click" joining system then of course PVA glue is not needed. *
3.    Starter boards from the off cuts of the flooring should be used at the beginning of each row to ensure that a stagger is created between the header joints of a minimum 500mm. This also gives valuable added strength to the installation as well as improving the overall appearance.

GLUE DOWN INSTALLATION - It is of utmost importance that your sub floor is stable, smooth and level before you install your wood floor. However, the one advantage of the "Glue Down" installation method is that if your sub floor is not perfect then gluing your wood floor down is a better installation method than floating because the wood floor will not be able to move. Whereas on a slightly imperfect sub floor, if you have used the floating floor installation method you may feel and hear the wood floor move slightly in places.

1.    You must use a professionally formulated specialist wood flooring adhesive such as Rewmar MS Polymer that is either alcohol or polyurethane based, always ensuring the manufacturers guidelines are strictly followed on application. Both trowel and glue batten systems are acceptable.
2.    Always keep glue off the surface area of the boards and do not let any surplus glue dry on the finished flooring as this is very difficult to remove.

* A note about Click or Tongue and Groove - One is not better than the other. These are merely two different ways of joining. Some fitters prefer Click while others prefer Tongue and Groove. From an aesthetic point of view there is no difference at all.

 

Wood Flooring Installation

The internet has hundreds of articles on the subject of Wood Flooring, Relative Humidity (RH) and Under Floor Heating (UFH). With our experience here at ESB Flooring we would like to offer the following guide and recommendations.

It is important to understand that any wood in your home, including wood flooring will contract and expand depending on the amount of moisture in your home.  For instance in winter months, the central heating and under floor heating will create a less humid, dryer environment. This loss of moisture in the wood will mean the wood will contract. When wood flooring dries too much cracks and delamination can occur. Conversely, in summer months, wood flooring can expand when doors and windows are left open allowing more moisture and humidity in the air.

The British Standard says that for wood flooring to function properly RH in a home must be between 40%-60%. Luckily this is easily achieved by monitoring a Humidity Reader. Most UFH installations come with a digital Humidity Reader and Thermostat in each room. If not then these devices can be purchased separately and they are very affordable and easy to use. Of course only the home owner / occupant have the ability to maintain the correct humidity level so the responsibility lies with them.

Humidity Reader

Wood Flooring and Under Floor Heating (UFH): More and more homes these days are opting for UFH. There is more to consider and be aware of when installing wood flooring on UFH because the heat from UFH is much closer to the wood and there is a much higher risk of drying the wood too much.

Here are the keys factors...

1. Solid Wood Flooring: You cannot install solid wood flooring on UFH. Being solid wood it has not been constructed in a way to prevent its reaction to humidity. Even without UFH solid wood requires more consideration. For example we recommend that solid wood should not be installed in basements, conservatories or rooms that are prone to humidity or moisture.

2. Engineered Wood Flooring: If all site conditions are met and maintained and both the UFH and the Engineered Wood Flooring are installed correctly, then Engineered Wood Flooring is acceptable to install with UFH.

3. Laminate Flooring? Yes. Laminate Flooring is also suitable for UFH because of the construction and manufacturing process.

4. The engineered wood flooring that ESB supply has a moisture content of 8% (+/- 1%). This allows the wood to expand and contract normally in the UK environment. When wood flooring is installed on under floor heating and the UFH is turned on too high or too fast or left on for prolonged periods of time, then the wood floor can overheat and dry out. When this happens the top layer (visible layer) will crack and also delaminate from the core layer of flooring.

Although Engineered Wood Flooring and Laminate Flooring are suitable for use over under-floor heating we do recommend the following:

1.    The temperature should be evenly distributed
2.    The temperature should be regulated with a thermostat
3.    The surface temperature of the floor should not reach over 27 degrees Celsius
4.    RH of the home must be between 40% - 60% 
5.    Always use a professional to install both your UFH and your flooring - as a home owner or commercial business you need to be satisfied that the installation was done correctly.

 

ESB' s general guide on how to acclimatise your wood floor

While you’re walking on your new wood floor, it is difficult to believe it was once a living, breathing being. But it was, and because of this, it is crucial to give your floor time to adjust to its new environment. Temperature, moisture, and humidity are all factors that will impact the way your new wood floor responds to it's new environment. Wood flooring and any wood furniture for that matter will absorb moisture and expand in humid conditions and will therefore contract in a dryer environment.

Acclimatisation is a process that takes these factors into account and gives the wood a chance to settle in and achieve equilibrium. Your new wood flooring should be left to acclimatise in un-opened packs in the room in which they will be installed for at up to 48 hours for engineered wood flooring and laminate flooring, and up to 7 days for solid wood flooring.

We have put together some simple steps to help you acclimatize your flooring:

Introduce your new floor to your home at least 48 hours for engineered and laminate flooring and up to 7 days for solid wood flooring before installation. 

Leave the boards in un-opened boxes neatly stacked in the room one on top of the other. DO NOT open the packs and especially DO NOT remove the boards from the packs. Boards must only be removed for fitting.

 During this acclimatisation period, maintain normal living conditions. For example in the winter leave central or underfloor heating on as you would, and of course by this stage your home will be weather tight with all doors and windows already installed.

If your floor is delivered on a rainy day your floor will absorb more moisture and will need a few more days to acclimatise. Do not lay your floors on a damp day.

 Have you painted or plastered recently? Be sure the paint and plaster is completely dry before installing the floors, because moisture from damp walls will be absorbed by wood floors.

Remember, you can contact our experts for more information and advice on acclimatisation or any of your wood flooring needs. 

We recommend that builders include these conditions in their original estimates. This will help home owners and end users fully understand the implications and best practice for wood flooring and under floor heating at all stages of the process, from pre-installation and product selection, to installation and how to maintain the correct environment in the future.

1.    In all cases Solid Wood Flooring is not permitted on under floor heating (UFH) so this document refers to Engineered and Multilayer wood floors installed UFH.

2.    UFH when turned on too high or too quickly will dry the wood floor and this will cause the wood floor to crack and delaminate.

3.    The UFH system must be commissioned and working for at least 2 weeks prior to acclimatisation of the wood flooring.

4.    The wood flooring must then be allowed to acclimatise (stacked in un-opened boxes) on site for a at least one week with the UFH on at the desired working temperature and the site to be as close as possible to normal living conditions.

5.    During acclimatisation and in future the surface floor temperature must never exceed 27 degrees centigrade. 

6.    Best practise it to always glue the wood floor to the sub-floor. But if a floating installation is used then always use the correct underlay / barrier. However it is easy to understand that a floating floor leaves more possibilty for movement than the glue down option.

9.    The UFH system must be turned off prior to installation.

10.   After a glue down installation the UFH must be left off for a full 7 days to allow the adhesive to cure fully.

11.    After 7 days the UFH can be turned back on at 15 degrees centigrade and gradually brought up to the desired working temperature in steps of 1 degree per day.

12.    Do not run the UFH if the floor has been covered for protection during the building process, wait until all protective coverings have been removed.

13.    At no point should the surface temperature of the wooden floor exceed 27 degrees centigrade and the relative humidity should always be maintained between 40% and 60%.

14.    The responsibility of maintaining pre-installation conditions rests solely with the customer (builder or home owner). The installers’ responsibility is to check, record and verify the readings before starting the installation.

15.    Even when the supplied floor is suitable for under floor heating, if and when all or some of the above conditions are not met; the floor can get too dry and damaged with cracks, delamination and other defects.

Additional Notes:

Wood flooring standard terms for under floor heating (and why the Fidbox device is required)

In our experience, when under floor heating is installed, there is a risk that during cold months the occupants will turn the under floor heating up too high and too fast or leave the heating on for prolonged periods. This can create a dryer environment, overheat the wood floor, dry it out and will undoubtedly affect the wood flooring.

The British Standard and Trada Recommendation for Wood Flooring installed on UFH requires that the home owner / occupant maintain a Relative Humidity RH (in the room / home) between 40-60%. You can easily monitor the RH with Humidity Reader but there is only one way to monitor and record the RH and that is with the Fidbox device.

The reason why the RH is so important is because most engineered floors are supplied with 8% (+/- 1%) moisture content of the actual planks. If the RH drops in the house and the moisture in the wood floor goes below 7% then the wood floor will start to crack and delaminate.

Engineered wood flooring will react poorly to extreme change in moisture of almost 15% in total from 8% down to 6% or less. This level of explanation will not be found on a regular guarantee from most suppliers or manufacturers. They will simply state the RH requirement of 40-60%. Furthermore, most guarantees will only be valid with evidence of the RH. Therefore our proposal of installing the Fidbox protects all parties, the manufacturer, the seller, the builder and the home owner.

Fidbox Electronic Monitoring System for moisture and temperature:

Fidbox:

We recommend that you always us a professional floor fitter to install your wood floor. Solid Wood is also more complicated, timely and costly to install than Engineered and Multilayer wood floors.

After all pre-installation conditions are met you can proceed with installing your new floor. Pre-installation conditions refer to the site conditions; the sub-floor must be smooth, level and sturdy, humidity levels must be correct and the floor must have acclimatized.

1.    Undercut the bottom of door frames, wardrobes, etc. to allow for the floor board to fit under it, plus always leave a full 15mm expansion gap around the full perimeter of the floor.
2.    Open 4 or 5 packs and “shuffle” the boards to ensure an even distribution of colour and character.
3.    The industry standard of 5% -10% waste shall apply for defects and cutting.
4.    If you discover a defective piece DO NOT INSTALL IT. You are the final judge of acceptance quality.  ESB Flooring will not be responsible for costs associated with installing, finishing and/or replacing of flooring installed with obvious defects.
5.    Ideally boards should be laid “end on” to the incoming day light. The first board should be laid groove to the wall allowing for expansion of minimum 15mm between the wall and first board and continue all round with minimum 15mm expansion gap. Do not butt up against any fixed construction such as wall, door frame, pipes, partition, etc.

The most common methods of installation for solid wood floors (18mm – 22mm thick) is either Glue Down or Nail Down.

GLUE DOWN INSTALLATION - It is of utmost importance that your sub floor is stable, smooth and level before you install your wood floor. However, the one advantage of the "Glue Down" installation method is that if your sub floor is not 100% perfect then gluing your wood floor down is a better installation method than floating because the wood floor will not be able to move as much. Whereas on a slightly imperfect sub floor, if you have used the floating floor installation method you may feel and hear the wood floor move in places.

1.    You must use a professionally formulated specialist wood flooring adhesive such as Rewmar MS Polymer that is either alcohol or polyurethane based, always ensuring the manufacturers guidelines are strictly followed on application. Both trowel and glue batten systems are acceptable.
2.    Always keep glue off the surface area of the boards and do not let any surplus glue dry on the finished flooring as this is very difficult to remove.

NAIL DOWN INSTALLATION

1.    Solid flooring boards can be fixed directly onto joists or battens. The joists or battens should be sound, rigid and level with moisture content no greater than 12-14% at the time of fixing the solid floors. Where the solid flooring is to be fixed to ground floor joists, adequate under-floor ventilation and appropriate protections against damp must be provided.
2.    In the case of battens fixed to a concrete/screed base, the conditions described above should be met; i.e. the base must be dry. The battens should be not less than 36mm wide for a fixed floor and of sufficient depth to accommodate the length of the flooring fixings. End to end joists between battens should be staggered throughout the floor area to avoid creating a line of weakness. Battens are usually laid at 300 – 400mm centres and fixed with either nails or clips or appropriate adhesive to the sub-floor.

 

WE RECOMMEND THAT YOU ALWAYS US A PROFESSIONAL FLOOR FITTER TO INSTALL YOUR FLOOR.

After all pre-installation conditions are met you can proceed with installing your new floor. Pre-installation conditions refer to the site conditions; the sub-floor must be smooth, level and sturdy, humidity levels must be correct and the floor must have acclimatized.

1.    Undercut the bottom of door frames, wardrobes, etc. to allow for the floor board to fit under it, plus always leave a full 15mm expansion gap around the full perimeter of the floor.
2.    Open 4 or 5 packs and “shuffle” the boards to ensure an even distribution of colour and character.
3.    The industry standard of 5% -10% waste shall apply for defects and cutting.
4.    If you discover a defective piece DO NOT INSTALL IT. You are the final judge of acceptance quality.  ESB Flooring will not be responsible for costs associated with installing, finishing and/or replacing of flooring installed with obvious defects.
5.    Ideally boards should be laid “end on” to the incoming day light. The first board should be laid groove to the wall allowing for expansion of minimum 15mm between the wall and first board and continue all round with minimum 15mm expansion gap. Do not butt up against any fixed construction such as wall, door frame, pipes, partition, etc.

The most common methods of installation for multilayer floors (18mm – 22mm thick) is either Floating and Glue Down. However, ESB recommend that any floor which is 220mm wide or wider should be Glued Down.

FLOATING INSTALLATION – Floating is slightly quicker and easier to install, making it cheaper per sq meter to install. Floating also gives you the opportunity to use different underlays for different needs such as a moisture barrier or sound insulation.

1.    18mm to 22mm Multilayer Wood Flooring when floated must be installed over minimum 2mm foam or fibreboard underlay.
2.    The Tongue and Groove joining system must be glued together with wood flooring PVA adhesive, to be applied in both groove sides of each board; the head of the board, then along the edge of the board. Run the adhesive along the full length of both ends and not in patches.  Installation clamp & strap systems are recommended to hold rows in place whilst the glue sets.
3.    Starter boards from the off cuts of the flooring should be used at the beginning of each row to ensure that a stagger is created between the header joints of a minimum 500mm. This also gives valuable added strength to the installation as well as improving the overall appearance.

GLUE DOWN INSTALLATION - It is of utmost importance that your sub floor is stable, smooth and level before you install your wood floor. However, the one advantage of the "Glue Down" installation method is that if your sub floor is not 100% perfect then gluing your wood floor down is a better installation method than floating because the wood floor will not be able to move as much. Whereas on a slightly imperfect sub floor, if you have used the floating floor installation method you may feel and hear the wood floor move in places.

1.    You must use a professionally formulated specialist wood flooring adhesive such as Rewmar MS Polymer that is either alcohol or polyurethane based, always ensuring the manufacturers guidelines are strictly followed on application. Both trowel and glue batten systems are acceptable.
2.    Always keep glue off the surface area of the boards and do not let any surplus glue dry on the finished flooring as this is very difficult to remove.