Engineered Hardwood Flooring

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Hardwood flooring has become ever popular in many countries. In South Africa, home owners are opting for these in preference to the old style parquet and the laminated style of flooring. Hardwood floors go hand-in-hand with luxury, and offer timeless beauty and are low on maintenance. Home owners looking for a classic look might like to consider engineered hardwood flooring. These points should be taken into account, or kept in mind when weighing up the pros and cons of hardwood flooring.

Unlike conventional hardwood, which comes from its raw state and into your home, engineered hardwood is a more complex product which consists of layers. The outermost appearance layer is a hardwood veneer, a thin slice of wood of whatever wood type you prefer. The inner layers are made of plywood, high density fiberboard, or hardwood. These core layers give the product more stability than regular hardwood, while the outer veneer surface gives the floor its aesthetics, its beauty, and, of course, its authenticity.

Engineered hardwood is different to a hardwood laminated ‘wood’ because the surface is made of real wood. While laminated flooring has a core of high density fiberboard, its surface is basically a picture of wood. Laminate is less expensive than engineered and solid hardwood, but has a different look, feel and even sound when walking on it, due to its make up.

Pros:

  • Engineered hardwood flooring is designed to reduce moisture associated with conventional hardwood.
  • The layers block moisture and provide added stability to your floor.
  • This is a low maintenance option because of the fact that Engineered Flooring will not swell or warp.
  • Choosing engineered flooring is considered more environmentally-friendly than traditional hardwood for various reasons.
  • Veneer is sliced very carefully and precisely – it is not cut with a saw. This process produces no sawdust, which means that the entire tree can be used. The sawdust which we know amounts to a significant pile when making hardwood boards is wasted wood.
  • Hardwood trees grow a lot more slowly than the trees used to construct engineered flooring cores. More surface area is produced making veneer, therefore installing traditional hardwood uses many times the amount of slow-growing tree. This makes the replenishing time much longer.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring Cons

  • There are very few disadvantages to this type of hardwood flooring but it is neither a foolproof project and not necessarily the right floor for every application.

Comparable to solid hardwood in terms of cost: –

Engineered floors are still considerably more expensive than laminated floors, tile or carpet. They are, however much more hardy, are low maintenance and will wear a lot better.

That said, one should also take into account the biggest concern as a homeowner … that being avoiding shoddy or inferior engineered work and products, merely because of cost.

Veneers that are too thin will prevent sanding and refinishing opportunities that may double the lifetime of the floor.

Some veneers are so thin and poorly made that they can prematurely warp or fade.

Core layers should still be made from high-quality wood. Some manufacturers try to cut corners by using fiberboard or oriented strand board which might well compromise the stability of your floor and could result in an inferior flooring product.

Your Home is your Castle … quality surpasses cutting corners

It is, without exception, easier to install engineered flooring and the handy man homeowner is often encouraged to install his or her own engineered floors. It is never-the-less, a major project with big financial implications, therefore, I suggest you weigh up carefully, the virtue of employing an experienced craftsman to do the job (who will also guarantee his finished product, surely?) and doing the work yourself …and without wanting to reduce your skill-ability, don’t be too over zealous about your own home improvement skills just to get the job done cheaper! Even for the majority of homeowners who hire a flooring contractor for the job, you’ll save a hefty sum on installation, which is important given that most engineered flooring is more expensive than solid wood.

The cost of high-quality engineered floors (thick veneers) will depend on various issues, the obvious one being the type of wood you choose. In South Africa, imported Indonesian Balau is readily available, is solid, a hard wood and also hard-wearing, able to withstand much more than a softer local wood might be. It lands at quite a reasonable price and is of a superior quality. It is, for example largely used for outdoor decking. Solid wood flooring may be cheaper overall, however it will still take longer to install.

For a free no obligation quote on your solid hardwood engineered flooring please contact us on 031 – 762 1795 or use the contact us form below.

Furniture Restoration

Besides our timber construction activities we also attend to furniture restoration, both indoor and outdoor, refurbishment and techniquing.

We sand and seal a fair amount of outdoor furniture in various species of timber from balau to pine. The same rules apply here to oils vs. coatings. Oils are better in the long run as they can’t peel and flake and they soak into the wood nourishing it whilst sill retaining the natural wood look. Coatings should be avoided on outdoor furniture as they will in all likelihood receive as much direct sunlight as a wooden deck and if coated with a product that dries on the surface will peel and flake after the coating is degraded due to UV. It is also very time consuming to try and remove old coatings once they have been applied and it is often impossible to remove it all. There are various oils available in various tints for outdoor furniture.

We also technique furniture on behalf of clients and carry some stock of pieces we have bought, refurbished and techniqued. We only stock good quality solid wood pieces and steer clear of veneered pieces with chipboard innards.

From the off cuts of our balau deck building we manufacture small items such as side tables, chopping boards etc. in solid balau at very reasonable prices.

To view our Facebook page for current stock and update click here https://www.facebook.com/upcycledfurniturecompany/

For a quote to refurbish or technique your existing furniture or to see what stock we have on hand please call us on 031 – 762 1795 or use the contact us form below.

Wooden Floors and Laminates

Solid Wooden flooring Durban and Cape Town

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We specialise in Solid Wooden Flooring, Laminates, Parquet flooring, Dustless Floor sanding and Sealing and repairs to wooden floors.

Wooden floors exist in many different forms from Swiss Parquet, Parquet, Sprung or Suspended Floors or wooden floors that are adhered to the substrate. They come in many different types of wood and each one has its own unique characteristics and pro and cons. From the menu bar on the right you can navigate to the different types and read up and view pics of the different styles. Alternatively you can use the search bar above to the right to search for something more specific. There are articles on this site of jobs we have completed with pics and the various challenges we overcame in the installation.

Solid wooden floors were very popular in years gone by and in about the ‘70s were all covered up with carpets and other types of flooring. They are making a strong come back now and are very popular due to their warmth, charm and the ability to maintain them relatively easily and cost effectively. Take a look under your carpets and you may find some very nice teak flooring that can be restored back to its original beauty at a relatively low-cost.

For a free, no obligation quote, on all your wooden floor requirements please contact us on 031 – 762 1795 or use the contact us form below.

Parquet Flooring Installer Durban and Cape Town

Parquet flooring Installer Durban and Cape Town

Parquet flooring was very popular many years ago but a lot of it was covered up with carpets back in the 70’s. It seems crazy now that one could cover the parquet flooring with carpets, but that was the thing of the day and fashions come and go. I’ve recently refurbished several parquet floors by sanding them down and re-sealing them after old carpets have been lifted and they still hold their charm.

There are various types of parquet floor one can get using different wood that gives a slightly different grain, colour and texture. Of course you should always purchase your parquet flooring from a reputable supplier to ensure that you are getting top quality. Your floor will need to last many years and you don’t want to spend the money on installing it only to have to re-do the work later. Also as timber ages it naturally darkens so to try to match the colour of timber with new pieces is very difficult.

Parquet flooring comes in tiles which are made up of the small strips you see. So they are not all laid individually but rather as a sort of tile which is about 300mm x 300mm squares. It makes it much easier to lay and will result in a better finished product because of course there is less room for error in laying them. They are glued down to the floor using a suitable adhesive. Again the floor needs to be completely flat in order to achieve a good quality result. If the floor is not flat, screed it first to remove low and high spots first and then lay your floor.

The individual strips are normally laid perpendicular to each other to give it effect but some very interesting patterns can be found such as herringbone, triangles and inserts are also possible. Parquet flooring is very versatile and you can lay the tiles in just about any pattern you wish and the choices are limited only by your imagination.

For the budget concerned folk out there an alternative to buying new parquet flooring is to use second-hand parquet flooring. I have seen many houses have their old parquet flooring ripped out and discarded. This timber is still sound as most of the older houses used good quality teak in their floors. With a little cleaning and sanding those parquet floor tiles can be made to look like new. Don’t discount the value of second-hand tiles.

To finish the floor, you should sand it using the floor sander, fill any gaps with a suitable gap filler, sand again and then move up to finer grits remembering to sand into the corners with a smaller rotex style sander. A good quality polyurethane should be used either in mineral based or water based. Water based is of course more easily applied, less messy and one can apply multiple coats in the same day as it dries very quickly. Remember to sand lightly with a fine grit paper between coats to get rid of the hairs which stand up after applying coats. This will result in a smooth finish. The polyurethane comes in either high gloss, matt or satin. The choice is yours.

For a free no obligation quote or advice on your parquet flooring please complete the form below or call us on 031 – 762 1795.

Solid Wooden Flooring Installers Durban and Cape Town

Solid wood flooring installer Durban and Cape town

There are two ways one can install a solid wooden floor. One is to apply the boards directly to the concrete substructure using adhesive and the other is to suspend the floor with joists or batons. This is sometimes referred to as a sprung or suspended floor.

In the first method it is imperative that the substrate is completely flat. If the floor is not completely flat, the boards will lift because they will go down under stress and over time will pull themselves up. If the floor is not completely flat you MUST screed it and get it flat. Or you can opt to install a sprung floor. However installing a sprung floor will result in the surface being about 50mm higher than it was or 30mm higher than the other method. Reason being is that there will be a baton underneath the boards to accept the floor board. So double-check where your floor will end up before choosing the method.

I will go into more detail about each method in two separate articles which you can search for in the search bar on the right, but for the purposes of this article I will just touch on the types of timber one can choose and a broad outline of solid wood flooring.

There are various types of timber that can be used for solid wood flooring. Each one comes with its own characteristics and properties. Some are harder than others, some are less prone to marking because they are dark coloured. What I find most important is to choose a timber that will not move much after installation. All timber will move as it expands and contracts due to fluctuations in temperature, moisture in the atmosphere and other factors. These will all vary with the seasons and in different parts of the country the variation will be different. It is always a good idea to bring the timber to site where it will finally be laid and let it acclimatise for a few weeks before installing. If the timber for instance was kiln dried and then stored in Durban on the coast, then later moved to Gauteng it will move because of differing temperatures and moisture in the atmosphere. So it should be allowed to rest for a few weeks before installing. In fact it should be allowed to rest before machining so that any movement can be removed through the machining process resulting in a flat, square, stable board. There is nothing more frustrating than laying solid wood floor boards only to find that later they have cupped or bowed slightly and unsightly gaps appear between boards or worse still they start to lift. It is not always possible to let them rest before machining but at least allow them to rest before installing so that any movement can be seen before installation and corrected where possible.

One can try to match the colour of the timber to the rest of the room. Saligna for instance is slightly pinkish in colour whereas teak will be a much darker wood and sometimes with dark heartwood and lighter coloured sapwood. You can get creative in matching the colours and interspersed dark with light. If you feel like get really clever you can use different types of wood in your floor but be careful to try to match the timber in their density so that all the pieces will expand and contract at a similar rate.

Your floor should be finished with a good quality polyurethane either in mineral based or water based. Water based is normally preferred as it allows you to apply several coats in the same day. Also it is better for our environment.

For a free no obligation quote or advice on your solid wood flooring please complete the form below or you can contact us on 031 – 762 1795.

Solid Wooden Floors Installed in Saligna in Toti

Solid wood flooring Durban

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Here’s a solid wooden floor we installed using saligna in Toti, South of Durban. These solid wooden floors were done in saligna boards of about 22 x 72mm wide. The width of each board is always dependent on how wide the boards originally come in at. So these boards came in at about 25mm x 76mm ( a standard timber size in construction) and were machined down to 22 x 72mm.

They are normally machined as a tongue and groove (see picture alongside). This allows the installer to slot each piece into each other as he moves from one end of the room to the other. They are unlike the other boards we used in Hluhluwe (see a few articles before) where they were end matched.

Because the saligna is locally grown in South Africa (gum) they are available in much longer lengths. This is also due to the fact that a gum tree, grows relatively straight and one can obtain long lengths from the tree. The lengths of saligna we used here were all 3m lengths. So there is no need to end match the tongue and groove as one either cuts the end off to match it up to a bearer or you can install a bearer midway between the main bearers to accept the end of the floor board thus reducing waste.

We were installing a new floor here which had to match the existing floor as closely as possible. The existing floor boards were about 68mm wide, but we would have wasted too much timber planning them down that far. The difference between 68mm and 72mm is not that great (4mm in fact) and considering that they are being laid next to each other instead of matching them up on ends, the difference in width is not noticeable.  Once everything was sanded again it all matched the same colour.

The colour of new and old timber varies initially, but this very soon changes due to exposure to UV and within no time it matches almost perfectly the colour of the older timber.

Solid wood flooring Durban

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We sanded these floors with the floor drum sander to get rid of any ridges between floor boards and sealed the wooden floors with a water based polyurethane floor sealer in clear and sheen.

The difference between water based floor sealers, solvent based floor sealers and epoxy based floor sealers will be discussed in other articles on this blog, but for the purpose of this exercise I have gravitated between two of them, water based and solvent based for some years.

As water based products evolve in their technology, I am swaying more and more towards this technology as an alternative to solvent based products. They are for one a lot less harm full to the environment, and to a greater, or lesser, degree are at times better on the pocket as well as the time and effort taken to apply them.

For a free no obligation quote on your solid wooden floors, laminates or engineered flooring, please call us on 031 – 762 1795 or you can contact me via the contact form below.