Laying Wood Block Flooring
Laying wood blocks and strip flooring
Modern types of parquet and wood strip flooring are easier to lay and much cheaper than the traditional thickblocks. There are a number of different patterns and methods of fixing, with timber thicknesses of 2.5-9 mm (1/10 – 3/8 in). All have a long life: 50 years or more is claimed by the manufacturers.
Thinner types of flooring need a completely smooth, level sub-floor. Slight unevennss is acceptable with some of the thicker types, particularly when a cork underlay is used. Manufacturers’ instructions specify the quality of sub-floor needed.
The simplest wood flooring is made up ofsquares, which can be laid diagonally or with the grain forming a chequer-board pattern. An extension of this idea is the mosaic block, in, which several parallel strips of hardwood are mounted on a single backing sheet. There are also mosaics in which fingers of hardwood make up a basket-weave pattern in a panel 457 x 457 mm (18 x 18 in).
Individual fingers are available for simulating traditional herringbone and brick-bond parquet patterns; also longer strips, about 75 mm (3 in) wide, for laying as wood strip flooring.
There are three main methods of fastening parquet panels and strip flooring:
1. Panel pins can be used on strip flooring, when there is a wooden sub-floor. The pins are driven diagonally through the tongued face on each strip or through interlocking ears which protrude from the side of the strip.
2. Adhesives can be used for fixing blocks and strips of all types on solid floors. The type ofthat is most effective is recommended by the manufacturer in leaflets which come with the flooring. Several manufacturers supply bitumen-based ; others recommend contact , which must be applied to both the floor and the underside of the tiles. Some parquet blocks are supplied ready-coated with contact , so that only the sub-floor needs treating.
3. Interlocking panels can be laid without fastenings of any kind, except for the last few panels, which must be glued to those already laid, and cut to size if need be.
Some parquets are given a gloss finish by the manufacturers; others are supplied sanded but unsealed. Though the former entail less work, it is essential to lay the components absolutely level, as further sanding will spoil the finish. Untreated blocks can be given a final sanding after laying to ensure a perfectly smooth surface, then given two coats of floor sealer, such as Ronseal, before polishing. Alternatively, they can be treated with transparent lacquer, supplied by the parquet manufacturers.