Asking is good - the most important questions to be posed to a specialist: What to take into consideration when choosing a floor?
Having to choose a floor from what is available on the market can be a difficult choice. A person renovating or decorating a flat needs to think about the aesthetics and properties of the wood, but they also need to consider the construction and installation of the floor. That’s why it is worth consulting a specialist before deciding on a purchase.
We posed a few crucial questions to assist with floor choice and installation planning to the Master of Floor Installing, wood specialist and legally appointed wood expert, Mr Czeslaw Bortnowski.”
Mr Czeslaw, we enter a shop and we can see layered floors on the right and laminated panels on the left. At first sight, there is no difference between them, perhaps apart from the price...
No - the difference between a laminate and a three-layer board is crucial. It’s as if you compared natural milk with milk powder.
In a nutshell, a panel is an artificial article made of processed shavings and a layer of paper pressed over it whereas a layered floorboard, such as the Barlinek floorboard, is a natural wood product.
Why are wooden floors so healthy?
As an experienced floor installer I could talk about the advantages of wood for hours. Wood breathes and regulates the microclimate of houses and flats. It absorbs humidity and gives it back when the air gets drier. Furthermore, it ionizes the air, does not pick up static and does not attract dust.
This is very important, especially for those susceptible to allergies. Finally, wooden floors guarantee thermal insulation of a room, which is felt as a warm floor, and acoustic insulation – deadened noises.
Exactly. The three layer natural wooden floors you mentioned – what makes them stand out?
Multilayer floors are great because of, among things, the high resistance to deformation. The special construction of Barlinek floorboards and the snap joint that is used allow wood to behave naturally (shrink and swell). This reduces the appearance of spoiling cracks, so typical in traditional parquets. Barlinek
floorboards, thanks to these properties and their optimal thickness, can be installed on under-floor heating. Easy, quick and clean installation is another advantage. You can install the floorboards on your own, saving time and money that you would pay if you hired a specialist. Barlinek floorboards are varnished during the manufacturing process, so you do not need to do it at home. Right after installation, the room can be furnished and the decorating is done.
So we have decided to take Barlinek floorboards. Now we need to choose a specific pattern and a type of finish. What is more important – the kind of wood or varnish?
Both are equally important. The choice of wood not only determines the aesthetic values, but also the durability. Each kind has specific technical parameters. In the case of floorboards, the most important is indent resistance and resistance to thermal and air humidity changes. This is why it is worth paying attention to the character of the room – for high traffic rooms, such as living rooms, floorboards made of harder wood are recommended; for example, beech, oak, ash or hornbeam. Exotic wood floorboard will do as well. Cheaper kinds with lower parameters, such as maple, birch or alder – are good enough to work as floors in bedrooms. Places and rooms that are used intensively, such as halls, corridors or stairs, are worth investing in some very hard exotic wood. The most recommended in this case are: tali, badi, jatobe and merbau.
What’s the function of varnish? What features does new generation varnish have?
Varnish does not make the floor harder but it protects it from dirt and wear and tear.
Recently, floorboards with a new generation varnish finish have become available on the market, with a higher scratch and even mechanical damage resistance. Owing to greater elasticity, the varnish layer does not crack (for example when we drop an object on it) and still protects the wood.
What to choose: a floorboard with an oil or varnish finish?
Well, it depends on our preference. The main difference between them is that oil gets into the structure of the wood, protecting it from wear and tear and damage, at the same time exposing the beauty and naturalness of this material.
Tiny microscratches, appearing especially in the initial period of use, are less visible in the case of an oiled floor. It is also easier to level these tiny damages on your own using Protektor Natura remedial oil, available in many outlets. When it comes to varnish, Barlinek floorboards are covered with as many as seven layers of UV hardened varnish, which forms a very good protection against wear and tear, scratches and other damage. For intensively used rooms,
I would recommend Barlinek Professional series with a special Anti-Scratch formula, that makes the Barlinek floorboard even more microscratch-resistant.
A few years ago we were installing a parquet floor at my mother’s. I can remember the specific smell of varnish still lingered even a week after varnishing. During this period, our mother stayed with us because her allergy to different paints and varnish meant she couldn’t stay at home. Is it the same with floorboards finished at manufacturing? Is it possible to smell varnish?
Both oil and varnish are completely safe.They do not contain harmful substances. No dust or smells rise into the air in the house. They can be safely installed in children’s and allergy sufferers’ rooms. Health safety is guaranteed by the PZH (National Institute of Hygiene) certificate.
So I already know what floorboard to choose. You said it is possible to install the Barlinek floorboards on my own. But how? How do I start? I’ve never done this before.
There’s always a first time (smile). Floating floor installation is always easy. First of all, carefully read the installation instructions attached to each floorboard pack. Then, after getting the floorboards home, you need to let them acclimatize for at least 48 hours. Just leave the unpacked floorboards in a horizontal position in the room where the floor is to be installed.
Ok, but what does the installation itself look like?
We start the installation by placing the underlay, for example the corrugated paper available in the product offer or cork mat We lay the first floorboard with the tongue pointing to the wall (pic. 3), and then we join the individual boards along the shorter edges, which are the fronts . We cut the last floorboard. We start laying another row with the leftover , providing it is not shorter than 50 cm. Remember to make sure the joint of the shorter edges should be a minimum distance of 50 cm from each other in the adjoining rows of the floorboards. We need to start laying the last row by measuring the space between the wall and the floor already installed . If it turns out the whole width of the floorboard cannot fit in, we need to cut off the correct amount. You need to leave a gap of about 1-1.5 cm between the wall and the floor.
Having installed the floorboards, we install the skirting board (pic. 10). To easily match the tint of our skirting board to the floor, choose it from the range offered by Barlinek.
Is installing the floorboard the same in the case of under-floor heating?
Not really. In the case of installation on under-floor heating, I would recommend gluing the floorboards to the ground. Barlinek floorboards have a bottom layer with the proper thickness, so it does not cause any problems. For heated floors I would recommend low shrinkage and relaxation factor wood, with a long period of reaching the absorption equilibrium. These are the properties of such exotic woods as merbau, iroko, doussie and jatobe; and when it comes to Polish woods – oak and acacia. Before starting the installation, remember to preheat the floor. When it comes to this, I recommend the services of a qualified installer.
Thanks for the talk. You’ve made it easier for me to choose a floorboard.