Cleaning and maintaining a lacquered wood floor

To keep your lacquered floor looking its best, regular cleaning and maintenance is highly advisable. Not only that, but using the correct products is a must. Lacquered floors have specific needs compared to other types of finish.

One golden rule is to never use steam cleaners or scrubber dryers on a lacquered floor.

Follow these simple steps to keep your floor at its best

Dry cleaning

We suggest that you use a vacuum, scissor mop, or soft bristled broom daily, to ensure that abrasive particles of grit and dirt are removed. This will help avoid scratching the floor seal. One useful tip is to wipe along the grain of your floor, as this will most effectively remove any trapped dust.

Damp cleaning

Try to do this weekly at the least. Using a floor cleaning product like Bona Parquet Cleaner and an applicator pad, or with an all in one spray mop this is quick and easy and keeps your floor looking brand new as well as protecting it against scratches and dullness. Be sure to wipe off any excess moisture after cleaning!

Intensive cleaning and refreshing

When there are noticeable signs of wear, you’ll need to occasionally use a more intensive product such as Bona Freshen Up. This is easy to do with an applicator pad or suitable mop and will revive a scratched and dull surface and provide continued protection against wear. Your floor will need approximately 2 hours to dry after this kind of treatment.

Topping up a gloss finish

How often this needs to be done depends on the amount of traffic your floor gets. You’ll need a gloss polish such as Bona Parquet Polish Gloss and will have to dry clean your floor first, then more thoroughly with Bona Cleaner. Finally, you can apply the polish with a Bona Applicator Pad. We advise that you apply this to an initial test section of the floor. Then, leave the floor to dry for at least an hour.

 

View the entire range of maintenance products here.

 

Cleaning and maintaining an oiled wood floor

Regular cleaning of your oiled floor will keep it looking its best. Maintaining your floor in the correct way is essential, as the oil it has been treated with has specific needs compared to other finishes.

One of our most important rules is to never use steam cleaners or scrubber dryers.

Follow these simple steps to keep your floor looking its best

Dry cleaning

You’ll need a vacuum, scissor mop, or soft bristled brush for this, and we recommend that you do this daily. This is important, as it removes any abrasive particles of grit or dirt which can scratch the floor when trafficked under footwear, furniture legs, or other items moved across the floor. A useful tip is to clean along the grain of the floor to remove any trapped dust.

Damp cleaning

We recommend that you do this weekly at least. Use Osmo Wash and Care, just slightly dampening the mop. Then mop dry any excess moisture, as this will avoid penetration into joints of floor boards. Regular use will enhance your floor’s resistance to dirt and signs of wear.

Intensive cleaning and refreshing

When there are noticeable signs of signs of wear, use a more concentrated cleaner. Osmo Liquid Wax Cleaner, thinly applied with a pad or cloth, is perfect for the job, as it cleans and refreshes all in one due to its natural oils and hard waxes.

View our range of maintenance products here.

Can wood flooring be installed with under floor heating?

Yes! Our engineered floors are expertly constructed to be stable enough and have a low enough moisture content for under floor heating.

Solid flooring, on the other hand, is not suitable for under floor heating.

The most important issue to remember is that wooden floors over under floor heating should never exceed a surface temperature of 27 degrees Celsius.

Engineered floors compatible with under floor heating

View our entire range of engineered floors here.

Do I need underlay for my floor?

Underlay is the term for a thin material laid between the subfloor and the floor. Underlays are useful for stability, insulation, sound reduction, and moisture protection.

Underlay is commonly used for floating wood floors. Fixed floors are fixed directly to the subfloor, so do not usually incorporate an underlay.

Choosing the right underlay for your wood floor

There are various different types of underlay, and your choice depends on the needs of your flooring project as well as your budget.

You’ll need to assess the environment where your floor is being laid and consider the following requirements:

Are you installing Underfloor Heating?

We suggest Heatflow Wood Underlay. This underlay has a low tog value, allowing heat to come through.

Do you require extra sound reduction?

Our recommendation is Technics 5 Underlay, which has 28dB sound insulation from its 5mm sponge rubber layer.

Do you need a moisture proof barrier?

Timbermate Excel Underlay and Blu All in One Underlay both incorporate a moisture barrier on their undersides.

In other circumstances, such as when fitting a fixed floor, underlay is not usually used. There are exceptions:

Wakol Slatted Underlay has many of the above general properties and can be fitted under a fixed floor. This is sometimes referred to as a liquid batten system.

Wakol TS 102 is a double stick underlay where adhesive is applied to both sides, commonly used when sound reduction is required under a parquet wood block floor.

View our entire range of underlay & floor protection products here.

Sound reduction and wood flooring

When buying your wood floor, sound reduction is an important factor to consider. Depending on the type of property you’re fitting a floor in, you might want to reduce the noise that you hear when walking around, or if you live above the ground floor in an apartment you might want to reduce the noise going into the floors below.

Sound reducing underlays available at the Natural Wood Floor Company

Sound reduction is achieved by using underlay. With the range of underlays that we supply, you can have between 17dB and 28dB sound reduction.

Our highest sound reducing underlay is Technics 5 Underlay, which has a 5mm sponge rubber layer giving it 28dB sound insulation.

What are flooring grades?

Grading is a way of separating different qualities of timber from each other. These differences may arise from natural differences between, for example, different parts of a tree. Or there may be different manufacturing processes that produce different grades.

Using Oak, our primarily available species, here is a rundown of the grades available:

Oak Flooring Grades

Premier GradePremier Grade Engineered Oak

Premier grade is also known as Prime, Select, or A B grade. It is the highest grade of flooring that we provide. Premier grade is considered a cleaner, more contemporary look with minimal knots and variations. Premier grade Oak will usually cost more than other flooring grades.

 

 

 

 

Natural GradeNatural Grade Engineered Oak

Natural grade flooring will have larger and more frequent knot content than Premier, and allows for some colour variation, mineral streaking, and a more variable grain pattern. Because of this, it has more character than Premier and looks less uniform.

 

 

 

 

Millrun GradeMillrun Grade Engineered Oak

Millrun is a mixed grade with qualities from both Natural and Premier grades and is primarily used for factory finished products.

 

 

 

 

 

Looking for a particular grade?

The above detailed grades of flooring all share the same structural quality and our floors of any grade are made to last. Have a look at our Oak floors in our Flooring section.

Note that the above pictures are all just examples. All floors are different and there is always variation within each grade.

What are Floor Moulding Trims?

Floor Moulding Trims are used to complete the finish of your floor. The type of moulding trim used depends on the structures they are used with, such as other flooring surfaces, fireplaces, doorways, stair cases, steps, or fitted structures such as wardrobes and cupboards.

Mouldings are generally available in Oak, Merbau, or Walnut.

The different types of Floor Moulding Trims

The type of Moulding Trim used will depend on the features it is used with:

L-Sections are used where a wooden floor meets a structure such as a fireplace hearth, or against patio doors.

A Stair Nose moulding is used to provide a neat finish on the edge of a wooden floor, transitioning down to a staircase or step. It may also be used when cladding a staircase or step. These are also available in 15mm or 20mm thicknesses or as Bull Noses.

While a T-bar provides an attractive finish between two different surfaces that are on the same level, a Threshold or Reducer moulding can neatly bring two different surfaces that are on different levels together.

You can view all of the Moulding Trims available at The Natural Wood Floor Company here.

 

What are the differences between solid and engineered floors?

The defining difference between solid and engineered flooring is that a solid board is a single piece of solid timber, whereas an engineered floor is made up of several layers of timber.

Solid wood floor end profileEngineered wood floor end profile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why are engineered boards made up of layers?

An engineered board has up to 11 layers of plywood backing, with each layer glued at a 90-degree angle to the adjoining layer. The surface layer of a precious hardwood is then glued on top.

Not only is this a much more efficient use of precious hardwoods than in a solid board, but this results in a much more stable floor with a robust construction, resistant to environmental changes.

Why engineered boards are the preferred choice

The construction of an engineered board results in a lower moisture level in the wood, meaning that engineered floors are suitable for environments with large changes in temperature and humidity, such as bathrooms, utility rooms or kitchens. One key difference is that an engineered board is suitable for installation over under floor heating, while solid boards are not.

Where and how can I install an engineered or solid floor?

While solid flooring has in the past been the primary choice, solid boards are not suitable in environments with high humidity or with under floor heating. They also must be fixed to the sub floor with nails or screws.

Compared to this, engineered boards can be fitted in most rooms in the house. They can also be floated or fixed to most types of subfloor together with an underlay. This means that an acoustic underlay can be used to significantly reduce sound if the floor is fitted in apartments and upper floors.

Engineered flooring is the prevailing choice

Over the last 10 to 15 years, flooring sales have been trending towards engineered flooring in general, far exceeding solid wood flooring. Technological advances have enabled wood flooring to now be installed in environments that were previously out of bounds for wood. Not only that, but there is greater variety in engineered flooring products than in solid. We are at the forefront of manufacturing advancement, and strive to offer a product that is of the highest possible quality standard and is made to last.

 

Overlay flooring explained

‘Overlay’ is an industry term referring to the thickness of the floor.

Any floor that is less than 18mm thick is a non-structural product, and falls under the ‘overlay’ category. A structural product is one that can be laid directly over beams, not requiring a subfloor. You should never lay an overlay floor like this!

Overlay products must be laid over an existing subfloor, for example floor boards already in place, concrete, plywood, or chip board.

Our range of overlay floors

We have an extensive range of overlay floors, which are predominantly 15mm thick. The majority of our engineered overlay floors are pre-finished with a lacquer or an oil.

Why go for a baked wood floor?

Baked Oak flooring is a wood floor that we love. A baked oak floor is a rich dark brown colour with a more uniform appearance. Production is baked flooring took off in response to the demand for darker, more exotic looking floors. Because these species are often sourced from unsustainable origins or produced in an environmentally negligent way, a baked oak floor is a sustainable alternative to exotic species that provides the same luscious appeal of a dark wood floor.

How is baked wood flooring produced?

In the manufacturing of a baked wood floor, the lumber is placed in a special industrial kiln. The kiln is heated to a high temperature and sealed, transforming the pale coloured oak into a uniform dark chocolate-brown colour similar to the look of Walnut, Wenge, Panga Panga, or other dark exotic species.

This treatment process transforms the wood throughout, meaning that the floor can be re-sanded many times without losing its colour. This is unlike a stained floor, where the colouring will only affect the top layer and will fade over time or be removed after sanding.

Advantages of a baked oak floor

Opting for a baked floor carries a number of advantages:

  • The uniform dark colouring is throughout the timber
  • The process is chemical free, unlike fumed or smoked floors, which are treated with ammonia
  • There is no need for usage of a stain on the top layer for colouring the floor
  • The colour of the wood survives normal wear and tear, unlike stained floors which need re-staining after long term use.

What is a bevelled edge?

A bevel is a manufacturing feature of a floor board, where the long sides of the board has a tapered edge. The ends of the boards have no bevel so are referred to as ‘square edged’. Bevelled edges are used on both solid and engineered floors.

The size of the bevel varies depending on the manufacturer. We use a precision engineered micro bevel on the flooring that we manufacture. When laid, our flooring therefore has a very small v shape on the long sides of the boards, while the ends have no bevel.

Why have a bevelled edge?

The bevel serves both as an appearance feature and for a very practical reason. If the surface on which an unbevelled floor is laid has any slight differences in its level, this would result in the edges of a floor board being slightly exposed. These exposed edges would need additional sanding, so the bevelled edge helps to compensate for slight differences in the floor level.

All of our bevelled floors have a helpful fitting icon to identify them, which is in the Technical description box.

What is a floating floor?

A floating floor is a floor of engineered boards (excluding parquet woodblocks) that is put on top of an underlay and not physically fixed to an existing substrate.

Reasons for fitting a floating floor

Usually, a floor will be floated because of the following reasons:

  • To accommodate underfloor heating
  • To incorporate sound reduction material
  • To add a damp course or moisture resistant barrier
  • To add a minor insulation material

 

Which floors are suitable for floating?

We recommend not to float a solid floor or parquet due to movement problems. Most engineered floors, except for parquet woodblocks, are suitable for floating.

Visit our Engineered Flooring section to see the full range of products suitable for floating.

Or, have a look at the Underlay and Floor Protection products that we offer.

Fitting Wood floor directly to concrete

When installing a floor over a concrete or screed subfloor, you have a few options:

The most common method is to bond directly to the sub floor with a suitable flooring adhesive. However, not all flooring types are suitable for this method.

The next method, and probably the easiest, is to float an engineered floor on an underlay. However, not all floors can be floated.

The third method is to create a wooden subfloor, with either plywood or with battens bonded to the concrete or screed.

If you’re looking to glue to floor directly to the concrete, have a look at our range of adhesives.

Or if you’re floating your floor, view our range of underlay products here.

Why acclimatise wood flooring?

When preparing wood floors for laying, the wood must be acclimatised to the environment it will be laid in. Wood is a hygroscopic material, meaning it takes on moisture when the air has high humidity relative to the wood, and loses moisture when the air has low humidity relative to the wood.

Taking on moisture, the wood expands, and losing moisture will cause the wood to contract.

To minimise the effects of this expansion and contraction, it is good practice to acclimatise all wood floors for two weeks prior to fitting. This is much more critical with solid flooring compared to engineered boards, as the latter are dried to a lower moisture content and have a more stable construction.

How do I acclimatise wood flooring?

To prepare your newly bought wood floor for installation, the timber has to be acclimatised to the environment it will be laid in. For proper acclimatisation to occur, the temperature and humidity of the wood flooring should match the conditions of the room in which it will be laid.

The type of flooring purchased and the season in which you will be laying the floor will affect the duration of acclimatisation.

How to acclimatise a solid wood floor

We strongly recommend that solid wood should be left to acclimatise at room temperature for a minimum of 10 days prior to fitting. It should be stacked with spaces every 5-8 boards to help air flow.

Acclimatising engineered wood flooring

For engineered flooring, we advise that it is kept in its original packaging throughout the process. This is because the product is dried to a lower moisture content to allow its used with under floor heating. The correct acclimatisation can be achieved by only opening the ends of the packs.

 

In both cases, the wood must be laid flat and not stood on its ends. Plastering and other wet work should be completed and thoroughly dry prior to bringing the wood on site.

Recommended wood flooring coverage

We recommend that in all projects, after calculating the area of space to be covered, an additional amount of wood should be ordered. This may be for wastage from cutting, or to enable selection of individual boards according to taste.

The first step is to measure the space the floor is being laid in. Have a look at our measuring guide to calculate the area of flooring required.

Then, we use a general rule of thumb for additional coverage: You should allow 7-10% extra area for board or strip floors, and 15% extra for parquet woodblocks.

Calculate the area of flooring required with our Flooring Calculator!

Wood flooring is a natural product. Because of this, it is packed in varying pack sizes or may be available in square metre quantities. To assist with calculating the flooring required (including the additional quantity to cover wastage!) we have provided a Flooring Calculator, present on all of our flooring product pages.

Simply enter the length and width of a room, and the calculator will tell you the area of the room and the total price for that product.

What causes gaps or cracks in wooden floors?

Wood is a natural product, so is sensitive to the environment it is kept. Because of this, almost every wood floor will endure some expansion and contraction as seasons and humidity levels change. When homes are heated, humidity levels plummet, causing boards to shrink and spaces to appear between the boards. In very dry months, cracks can easily develop to the thickness of a thumbnail, for example.

With lighter coloured woods, the gaps and cracks may appear larger because of the contrast between the gap and the colour of the wood. Square edge boards will also show cracks more. These spaces are to be expected and will usually close up as the season changes and moisture returns to the air.

To reduce the degree of change, home owners can add moisture to the air during the dry months, ideally by installing humidifier or by buying some potted plants!

What if I want a floor that looks more worn and weathered?

Some flooring products come with a worn appearance. While gaps and cracks are undesirable, these floors are as structurally sound as all other flooring products but have a more lived-in, authentic appearance.

Why does wood change colour over time?

Wood is a natural product, and as such is sensitive to environmental changes. Direct sunlight will cause the floor’s colour to fade over time.

The extent to which a floor changes colour depends on the species, the type of finish, and the amount of contact with direct sunlight. Most floors will fade in colour, so obvious differences in colour at an early stage of the floor’s life become less obvious as the colour becomes more uniform. Also you should consider that flooring will not look the same as when you buy it forever!

How to prevent your floor fading in colour

The most important thing to do to protect your investment is to regularly maintain your floor, as this is the best way of keeping your floor looking its best. Read our other FAQs on how to maintain your wood floor.