DIY: Floating floors
Floating floors can be a relatively cheap, quick and easy update for your floors.
The trick to getting a great floor is, as usual, all in the preparation.
Floating Floors can really enhance a room if they are installed carefully.
Through all the fickle trends of the last century, one style of flooring has
consistently triumphed: floorboards.
They come in so many different types, shades and widths of timber,
that you'll never be hard up finding a timber floor that suits.
However, they can be expensive.
A much cheaper and often more practical alternative is an engineered timber floating floor.
It's literally a floor that "floats" on top of your existing one
Floating floors come in a huge range.
Floating flooring are manufactured (man-made) timber boards,
often made with an MDF or a plywood substrate with either a solid timber,
timber veneer or manufactured laminate surface.
They are also known as laminate flooring and can be made of bamboo as well.
Boards come in a huge variety of timber varieties (colour, grain etc), widths and quality.
Fastlock Michigan pine laminate flooring.
They are relatively easy to install as you literally clip and tap them into place.
Once you're on a roll, laying a floating floor is not that difficult, but success lies in fastidious preparation
and attention to detail. Oh, and it can be taxing on the knees.
Floating floors can be installed over just about any existing floor, just get your prep right.
Timber Impressions river birch laminate flooring.
Boards are normally sold in pre-bundled packs, so you will probably
end up with more than you need.
This excess may come in handy for repairs down the track.
Be very careful with newly poured concrete floors, they take months
to fully dry out and you can't lay your floor until they have.
Floating floorboards come in bundles and may need to be acclimatised
to your home before being laid. (Image: Tarkett installation instructions.)
Measure up your floor and purchase enough foam underlay and panels
to allow for 10% wastage.
Your floorboards must not extend from one room to another.
Different rooms will have different temperature and humidity conditions,
which means the boards will expand and shrink at different rates in each room.
That expansion and shrinkage is managed by laying the floor with expansion
joints between the flooring and walls.
Gaps in Exposed Timber Floors
Gaps in Exposed Timber Floors
Historically gaps in timber strip flooring probably causes the most number of complaints within the timber industry.
I believe the reason for this is because a floor is in the house owner’s face, particularly the lady of house, virtually every day.
Many within the timber industry also do not help the situation by displaying flooring,
whether by displays or literature, as a perfect scenario, that is, not a gap to be seen.
We have displays at our Croydon and Rowville stores where gaps that have appeared post installation, are left as they are.
The fact is timber flooring is wood based which is hygroscopic, meaning it is subject
to moisture content changes which often lead to dimensional changes.
This is not to say measures cannot be taken to minimise post installation gaps appearing.
Space does not allow to go into to detail now, but one I would highlight is protection
from sunlight coming through windows, particularly those with a north/west orientation.
Builders should also take action during and after installation.
A simple thing is to place newspaper on the window or use an old light
coloured sheet or drape. When an order is placed we will issue our normal
flooring advice literature which will go into more detail.
It would be prudent for builders to pass some of this information
(particularly regarding ongoing care) on to the homeowner.
Notwithstanding the above, I believe builders should be aware of how the Building
Commission handle this subject and I refer to their "Guide to Standards and Tolerances"
12.1 Gaps in Exposed Timber Flooring, and I quote;
“The effect of sunlight, heating or other heat generating appliances are to be
taken into consideration and if determined that they have contributed to the higher
rate of shrinkage then it is not considered a defect.
A gap of more than 2mm between adjacent boards will be considered a defect.
A total measurement of gaps between four consecutive boards in timber strip flooring
of more than 5mm is a defect in areas other than those which may be effected
by direct sunlight, heating or other heat generating appliances.
The builder shall not be liable for gaps considered as defects where the builder
has made the owners aware, as acknowledged by them in writing, that the flooring
system installed could suffer significant shrinkage leading to visually obvious
movement resulting in gaps well in excess of the tolerance listed above.
If only one gap exists that is defective within the meaning of this section,
and it extends over 1 metre in length, it is considered a defect”. Unquote.
I believe the fourth paragraph, if builders used, could avoid situations of dispute.
(whereby the owner acknowledges in writing the possibility of gaps)
Even if the owner refuses to sign off on this, at least the matter of gaps has been raised
and if gapping does occur (within legal tolerances) it should not be a matter of dispute.
I hasten to say none of the above covers poor workmanship.
My final comment on this subject comes from experience when a dispute arises
and even after resolution, no one is happy and there are never any winners.
By Jeff Harvey http://www.bowens.com.au/trade/news/energy/gaps-in-exposed-timber-floors
MANUAL FLOORING CALCULATIONS
Follow the examples below to work out your flooring area manually.
Note: Add an additional 10% material waste to allow for off-cuts.
For a Rectangular Floor Area:
Measure your area to be paved to determine quantity of paver required.
This area is simply calculated by:
Length (m) X Width (m) = Area (m²) for basic square or rectangular spaces.
( m = metres)
eg. 10m X 5m = 50m²
For an Odd Shaped Floor Area:
For odd shapes, break your area into rectangular sections.
|eg.||A) 3m X 5m = 15m²|
|B) 2m X 4m = 8m²|
|C) 5m X 2m = 10m²|
For a Triangular Floor Area:
For triangular areas, use the formula:
Treat your timber decking
If you have a timber deck, you need to treat it to protect it from the ravages of weather and infestation. It's worth the effort, though, because there's nothing quite like the appearance of timber decking. If you do the job right the first time, it will make subsequent treatments much easier.
Treating Your Deck
Before you begin, wait for a 2 or 3 day window of opportunity of good weather to complete the process of treating your deck. You will achieve better results and not run the risk of having to perform any steps twice.
If you are starting with bare timber that has a smooth finish, you may not need to sand it first, but you will need to clean it thoroughly. Your local hardware supplier or paint store will have a deck cleaner that will remove oily residues as well as dirt. Deck cleaners are powerful solutions. Wear protective gloves and eye wear when using them and keep children and animals away from the area. After you have applied the deck cleaner, you will need to wash it off thoroughly using a high pressure cleaner. You can find one of these at a local hire shop.
If you are re-treating a previously treated deck, you will need to sand it down to bare timber before you begin. This can be made much easier if you rent a drum sander from a hire shop . It's better to use 2 grades of sandpaper (rough or medium and fine) rather than just one and you will also want to have some sheets of sandpaper on hand for hand-sanding detail areas. After you have sanded the deck, clean it thoroughly.
Now that the surface is prepared, it's time to seal your deck. There are many decking oils and other sealers to choose from today. An easy way to compare products and prices is to use our Get Quotes service and get quotes from 3 decking oil suppliers in your area at the same time. If you want to stain and seal the deck, all-in-one stain/sealers are available or you can choose a transparent finish to bring out the natural colour of the timber. Traditional decking oils have withstood the test of time or for ease of application and clean-up, you can use a modern water-based sealer. The number of coats the deck will need will depend on the porosity of the timber. Treated pine, for example, will require more sealer than a hardwood.
Work in one direction only, covering 2 or 3 boards at a time. Be sure to finish a full length before taking a break. If you leave a length of timber to dry, "lap lines" will appear after you resume work. A roller or pad applicator will make the job easier, but keep a brush handy for detail work and to get into those awkward spaces. Depending on the treatment you use and the porosity of the timber, you will need to apply 2 or 3 coats. Drying times vary, but usually it's best to apply one coat per day.
Your guide to Laminate Flooring
There was a time when it was easy to decide what type of timber flooring to use in your home.
You had only two options: solid timber or timber parquet floors.
Then some other options came on the scene and things weren't as simple any more.
Terms like "engineered timber floors" and "laminate timber flooring" began making their appearance.
What is laminate timber flooring and how is it different?
What is Laminate Timber Flooring?
A laminate is a thin layer of material laminated to a thicker material.
In the case of laminate timber flooring,the laminate is a timber look-alike layer of paper.
In all laminate timber flooring consists of four layers:
The base layer is a thin, water-proof film that stabilises the board and adds an extra layer of waterproofing.
The core layer is made of either water-resistant Medium Density Fibre board (MDF) or High Density Fibre board (HDF).
The third layer is the paper image of the design. In laminate timber flooring, this is a highly realistic four colour photograph of actual timber.
The top layer is composed of a mixture of melamine and aluminium oxide.
The four layers are heat sealed together under pressure.
The melamine layer impregnates the paper and produces a solid bond with the core layer.
At the same time, it gives the surface of the board its polished appearance.
The microscopic particles of aluminium oxide within the melamine make the surface of the laminate timber flooring highly scratch and scuff resistant. The end result is a realistic looking "laminate timber" floor that is extremely durable.
Benefits of Laminate Timber Flooring
Why would you choose laminate timber flooring instead of traditional solid timber or engineered timber flooring? There are several good reasons why:
- Laminate timber flooring is less expensive per square metre than solid or engineered timber. When installation costs are factored in, it is cheaper still and far less expensive than solid timber flooring, which has to be sanded and polished after it is laid.
- Interlocking laminate timber flooring tiles never shrink, warp or crack.
- Choose between timber replica or designer colours not available in solid timber or veneer.
- Extremely durable, you never have to strip and re-polish laminate timber flooring.
- No precious natural timber resources are used in manufacturing laminate timber flooring.
The quality and price of laminate timber flooring differs, depending the thickness of the core board, whether the core is MDF or HDF, the quality of the top layer and other factors.
When you get your quote, ask these questions:
- How thick is the core?
- 'What type of core material is used?
- How scratch and wear-resistant is your product?
- How long does the product warranty last and what does it cover?
Even if you're a die-hard lover of natural timber, find a laminate flooring supplier in your area and take a look at what they have to offer before you make your final flooring decision.
Economical, stylish and beautiful, you may discover that laminate timber flooring is just what you were looking for, but didn't know it.
Flooring trends - Timber
Timber flooring will always be popular as it adds value to the home and suits any style of décor, from contemporary to traditional. While the timber flooring you get is a personal choice – you could opt for laminate or tongue and groove for example – there are some new trends that are working their way through
The Lighter the Better
The hottest colours in timber floors at the moment are the lighter coloured floors.
These are low maintenance and look great in any style of home. The cooler hues and wide range of colours available in the lighter floors means that any décor can be accommodated.
Other Flooring Trends
Another trend that is emerging in timber flooring is making a feature of the floor.
No longer are floors so minimalistic, with patterned flooring along with parquetry, inlaid borders, using two or more species in the one floor, and feature panels making up part of the new style.
Designers are paying attention to detailing and finishes, as it is the perfect way to contrast with “colder” elements in the home such as concrete and steel.
Exotic species of timber are becoming popular, especially those from Africa, Asia and South America. Hand-distressed flooring, using wood that has been scraped, gouged, beaten, dyed, over-stained or sanded using steel wool, is also another type of flooring that is gaining in popularity.
Bamboo is a relative newcomer to the world of timber flooring and it is becoming increasingly popular due to its style and environmental sustainability. Bamboo flooring is easy to install as it is a pre-finished system. It is also very hard wearing and creates a clean, modern finish.
About Engineered Flooring
If you are looking for a timber floor that is beautiful, stable, easy to install and that will last the test of time, you really can’t go past engineered timber flooring. You might know it better as timber floating floors but we’ve put together this guide to get you started in any case.
Everything you need should be here but if you need to know more, speak to your local timber flooring specialist – they’ll be happy to help!
WHAT IS ENGINEERED TIMBER FLOORING?
An engineered timber floor is made up of timber veneers or strips that are glued together often at 90 degree angles for extra stability and strength. The top layer is the “face” or “finishing” layer and it is up to 4mm thick and made from real timber such as MERBAU, BALCK BUTT, BRUSH BOX, SPOTTED GUM, and so on.
Alternatively, the flooring can be made from a core of hardwood, plywood or HDF, with a finishing layer of real timber on the top. In both cases, the face or finishing layer of real, decorative timber is glued to the core material.