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Guide To Wooden Floors

Aug 17, 2007
Wooden floors have long been prized for their beauty. Parquetry is a mosaic of wooden strips used to create a wooden floor surface. The strips are fitted with grooves to hold together laterally. There are three basic types of parquetry. One is solid wood. This is the highest quality, and involves wooden strips made from unitary pieces of wood. Veneers have a thin layer of good quality wood laid over a cheaper back, such as plywood. Laminates are the cheapest, with a fake wooden surface laid over a cheap background material, such as particleboard.

Wooden floors are uneven in terms of quality. The type of wood and the type of parquetry chosen has great effects on the lifespan and beauty of the floor. Even the best will suffer from use and normal wear and tear. Treatments include sanding and use of oils, but this is not possible with laminates and can only be done to limited levels on veneers. Solid wood parquet can be renewed for long periods, however.

A well-crafted parquet floor will have a variety of woods with different but cohesively chosen colors and grains. Some parquet floors are laid over an under layer, which is intended to provide insulation but which also leads to more cracks than floors that are permanently attached to the floor. Usually the parquet is nailed, screwed or glued to the surface under the parquet floor. Woods chosen include oak, walnut, cherry, pine, lime, maple and up to mahogany, and even bamboo, technically not a wood at all. The color combination can be chosen to match the intended decor of the room or building, though at times it can also influence said decor.

This combination of normal wear and tear, uneven expansion due to humidity and water and other factors creates distressed wood. There are companies that offer services to restore such distressed wood. This includes careful sanding to remove the top layers of wood such as around a gouge, and use of oils and other substances to restore the natural shine to the wood. Varnishes and waxes are used to protect the finish by creating a protective coating over the wood, which can be stripped and replaced without ever damaging the actual wood. In severe cases, specific strips of wood are replaced with new pieces. In this manner a parquet floor can be essentially immortal.

The parquet floor of the Boston Arena, where the Celtics played, was removed and replaced in Boston Gardens, used for more decades and then was broken up, with parts sold and parts used in the Fleetcenter. The Celtics still play on that parquet floor, which has lasted through several stadiums.

There are others who desire this distressed wood finish, and who use sandpaper, multitools, bags of bolts and even trucks to create a properly aged and distressed wood floor. Much like the old fad for acid washed jeans, or the old companies that would age a family mansion in England to appear older than it really was, some treasure the appearance of long use in creating a homey and lived in impression.
About the Author
The Wood Floor Gallery specialise in the supply and installation of the finest wood floors from around the world.
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