Solid wood flooring in Durban, and for that matter throughout the world, has risen again in popularity over the last few years. Many years ago solid wood floors were quite popular and in the 1970’s these were replaced with carpets. Many old houses are no finding top quality solid wood floors beneath their carpets and renovating them by pulling up the carpets and sanding and sealing them. Solid wood floors add an air of class to any house and of course add tremendous value.
There are various different types of wood that one can use, all of which vary in price, durability, hardness etc. I’ll list a few of the most popular in order of cost with the most expensive at the top. This list is by no means exhaustive but will give you an idea of what you can choose from. I won’t list current prices as these can change from time to time. For a costing please contact me below or through the contact us page.
- American White Oak
Being solid wood floors they can be sanded many times, unlike laminates which can only be sanded a few times if at all. They are of course more expensive so one needs to carefully budget to ensure that the right choice will be made.
They can be installed in two methods. One is to glue them down to the substrate, normally the concrete floor using a suitable good quality adhesive. The other is to suspend then on batons about 30mm off the floor. Each method has its own pro and cons and at times one can only use the one method. For instance if the finished surface needs to be raised 50mm or so then a suspended or sprung floor will be required. If the reverse is true then they will need to be glued down. Also if the substrate is not completely flat, then it is better to suspend the boards. Gluing boards to a substrate that is not 100% flat it asking for trouble as the boards will eventually lift and the floor will need to be re-done.
Boards are normally purchased from a manufacturer and can either come straight-edged or with a tongue and groove on them. Normally those that are glued down come with a straight edge and those that will be suspended will come with a tongue and groove so that a nail can be inserted at a 45 degree angle to secure the board through the tongue so as not to be visible from the top.
Once the floor is down the gaps need to be filled and then sanded to get all boards flat to each other. Sanding will proceed until a smooth finish is obtained and then it will be sealed using a good quality polyurethane. Nowadays there are many water based polyurethane sealers which behave in a similar fashion to the old tried and tested two pack sealers which contain an activator to harden them. Normally three coats are put down with a light sand between coats to ensure a smooth finish. After the first coat, especially with water based sealers, the fibres in the wood will be raised and need to be sanded off before the second coat is applied. This is sometimes not necessary between coats 2 and 3 unless there is dust in the air that settles on the surface before it dries. The best test is to feel the surface between coats to establish if a light sand is required.
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