Chiara Del Core 13 oct 2021 Articles 0 comments

The wooden floor: a practical guide to choosing

Elegant and timeless, parquet still represents one of the most used finishes in interiors today, thanks to its aesthetic beauty and the numerous advantages it entails. However, it is necessary to pay close attention to the choice of essence, type and installation, as these characters will determine the final result and future maintenance. Furthermore, it is important to entrust the installation to a qualified parquettist, as it is a delicate and multi-faceted material.

Below, a short guide will help you to learn more about this precious material and make more informed choices for the floors of your home.

Types of wood used in flooring

Depending on your tastes and personal needs, you can choose from many types of wood used for the construction of the floors.

Initially it is necessary to check the type of environment in which you want to insert the parquet; this can be internal or external and consequently, to make the best choice, it is necessary to know the resistance of the material with respect to atmospheric agents. Subsequently, it is good to analyze the intended use of the space that will host the wooden floor: the expected passage flows, the more or less consistent humidity, the presence of underfloor heating. All these factors can influence the final choice, as a parquet in the bathroom, in order to last over time, must have specific characteristics compared to that inserted in other spaces of the house.

The first major differentiation concerns two families of materials: solid wood and pre-finished wood. These are two very different solutions and both have some pros and cons.
The first type has represented for years the only choice for those who wanted to install a parquet inside their home. Resistant, valuable and with a high cost, it consists of a single wooden plank, able to be preserved over time. This product, over the years, can be sanded to maintain its initial value.
Pre-finished wood has found widespread use in recent decades, thanks to its lower cost and simpler and faster installation. In this case, the list consists of a first layer of chipboard and a more superficial layer of noble wood of varying thickness. It is therefore evident that this type cannot be subjected to multiple processes such as solid wood, since the layer of pure wood is much thinner. In fact, in the first case, it reaches thicknesses of 1 cm, while in pre-finished wood a maximum of 5 mm.

The second difference concerns the essence used; this choice depends a lot on the use of the environment and the type of wood family chosen. Oak is one of the most popular types, thanks to its resistance, excellent aesthetic performance and versatility of use. Equally elegant but more expensive is wenge, which is darker in color than oak. Ash follows, characterized by marked and evident veins compared to the color of the plank. Instead, for those who love a rustic effect, oak will be perfect, as it is rich in knots. Furthermore, it is one of the strongest and most durable types.

Parquet rich in knots and veins to obtain a rustic effect
Photo: Roger Wade

Teak and iroko are particularly suitable for humid environments such as bathrooms and kitchens, but also for outdoor spaces such as terraces and loggias. These are two types of wood with high performance in terms of resistance and durability; moreover, thanks to their properties, they can also be applied on surfaces with underfloor heating. Finally, for those who want to opt for a 100% sustainable choice, bamboo, an eco-friendly material with high performance in terms of solidity, will be perfect.

Types of laying and geometry for parquet

Once the essence has been defined, it is necessary to choose the type of installation and the geometry with which you intend to compose your wooden floor. As for the installation, there are three main techniques for fixing the wooden boards to the floor; the first is the oldest one which involves nailing each single plank with nails or screws. The second, on the other hand, uses glues to fix the wood to the surface of the floor. Finally, an intermediate technique is represented by the floating laying, in which the planks are anchored to each other and interlocked, so as to rest on the floor without definitive fixing systems. Traditional laying has always been nailed down, but with the advent of pre-finished parquet, that through gluing has become more widespread.

Another very important aspect when choosing to install a wooden floor concerns the geometry of the elements since it determines the aesthetic result of the whole. Depending on the size and shape of the wooden components, you can opt for a ship deck, regular formwork, herringbone, square and band and rib laying.
This choice also depends on the physical characteristics of the environment being finished.

The ship deck includes elements of the same size but placed in a random and parallel manner, while the regular formwork arrangement sees a third element arranged at the head between the two parallel elements.
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