Solid strip timber flooring
Solid strip timber flooring can be fixed direct to joists, to sheet subfloors of particleboard or plywood over joists, plywood or battens over concrete slabs and in some locations, direct fixing to the concrete slab is common. The traditional timber floor is renowned for its strength, durability and character. Throughout its life, solid strip timber floors can be rejuvenated to near new condition by sanding and refinishing. It is ideal for new houses or to match existing floors in renovations and they can be top (face) nailed, or secretly fixed in combination with adhesives.
Engineered flooring is manufactured with a decorative layer of timber (called a veneer or lamella) bonded over layers beneath which is often timber. This not only provides some additional stability but also maintains the appearance of solid timber flooring. Various factory coating systems are now used that can highlight colour and grain together with other techniques to texture the surface for a stunning appearance. Most engineered flooring is pre-finished although some are designed to be sanded and finished after installation. Engineered floors may be laid as floating floors, glued to a subfloor as an overlay and in some cases fixed as a structural floor on battens. Products are available with both glueless jointing systems and tongue and groove joints. Pre-finished engineered floors are ready to walk on once installed.
Various types of parquetry is available including, soild block parquetry, pre-finished and raw engineered parquetry, engineered chevron parquetry and as a Versailles panel. Parquetry provides many options of combining block orientation, size and species to transform floors into an outstanding feature. They can be laid to various subfloors and, similar to solid strip timber floors, they can easily be rejuvenated throughout their life.
Fixed and floating floors
A fixed floor has fixings such as nails or staples and/or adhesive to fix each floorboard individually to the subfloor (such as particleboard or a concrete slab). A floating floor has each board fixed to each adjacent board but no fixing of the floorboards to the subfloor. With floating floors, most products have an interlocking, glueless jointing system while some, with a tongue and groove profile, use adhesive placed in the board joints to hold boards one to another. The boards are sequentially installed over a foam underlay to create a floor ‘platform’ or ‘raft’ that is able to ‘float’ on the underlay. Solid timber flooring, prefinished solid, parquetry and cork must be fixed to the subfloor, laminate
flooring must be floated, while engineered and bamboo flooring can be either floated or fixed. Bamboo, however, is mainly floated.
Structural and overlay flooring
A structural floor can support people walking on it when fixed directly to joists or battens. Most floors today are overlay floors whereby the flooring is laid on a structural subfloor such as particleboard or concrete. Solid timber flooring with a minimum thickness of 19mm is a structural product but is also commonly used as an overlay