Top 4 Wooden Flooring Trends to look out for in 2018

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If 2017 was the year parquet floors really came to the party then what developments can we expect over the next 12 months? 

1. Grey hardwood flooring 

The trend towards darker wood floors is one that has grown and grown, but in 2018, we expect to see a reversal of that as cooler tones, particularly greys, start to become more popular. The move away from warmer tones is one that’s already starting to emerge, with cool tones (lighter browns such as oak and greys) increasingly being preferred to reds, red/browns and even floors with yellow undertones. 

Grey wood floors provide a clean, contemporary look that fits perfectly in modern houses which need a little brightening up. Although they lack the warmth of darker coloured flooring, they are easier to maintain. Grey is also becoming an increasingly popular choice for people’s walls.    

2. Longer length floorboards 

Wider plank flooring has seen a dramatic rise in popularity in the last decade or more, but now it is the turn of longer length hardwood floorboards, which can add a real elegance and charm to a room. Many people looking for wood floors for the first time consider the width and grade of their flooring but do not think about the length of the floorboards. However, this has a big impact on the overall look of the wood floor.   

If you have a large room then longer floorboards can help to make the most of the proportions and can even make the room look bigger. However, they do tend to cost more, so as well as stretching the room, they may do the same to your budget.  

3. More natural looking finishes 

Satin finishes, matte finishes and flatter sheens are very much in for 2018, while glossier finishes are out. The trouble with glossier finishes is that they not only look dated, but they can also be very difficult to maintain as they show every scratch and speck of dust. Flatter finishes, on the other hand, are both stylish and practical and complement the matt paint finishes many homeowners are choosing for their walls.     

4. A cleaner look 

In recent years, there has been a movement towards layouts such as herringbone, chevrons, borders, diagonals and multiple widths, but in 2018, all that looks set to change as homeowners revert back to clean, simple lines. This produces fewer distractions and complements the rest of the room rather than drawing the eye away. It also reduces clutter and allows homeowners to be more adventurous with their choice of patterned rugs and throw pillows.  

Hardwood flooring to suit your taste 

Those are our top hardwood flooring trends for 2018. As a simple rule, we think cooler tones, a lower lustre and more subtle colours and textures is the way flooring is going, but here at UK Wood Floors, we’re happy to create stunning hardwood flooring for you, whatever your taste.  

Take a look at our gallery for inspiration and if you have any questions, please get in touch with our team.

The Essential Guide to Wood Floor Grades and Finishes

The Essential Guide to Wood Floor Grades and Finishes

Choosing solid wood flooring is not simply a question of popping into the showroom, picking the type of wood you like best and deciding how many floorboards you need. There a number of extra considerations to take into account which we can help you with.  

The grading and finish of your floor can make a huge difference to the way it will look in your home, so it’s important to spend some time learning about the various options that exist and the impact they will have.  

Wood floor grading 

All woods have natural features such as knots, holes, sapwood and colour variations, and it is these features that give the wood its charm and make every floorboard unique. The number of natural features present in each type of floorboard depends on the grade of the wood. The higher the grade, the greater the consistency of colour and the fewer sapwood and knots there will be. Lower grades will have more natural features and greater colour variation. 

Some people think of the grade of the wood as its quality, but that’s a misnomer. It actually tells you how close the wood was to the centre of the log, with higher grades sourced from the centre of the log and lower grades coming from further out.  

Wood flooring grades include:  

  1. Prime grade or AB grade – This is the highest grade of wood flooring available. Colour variation is minimal, as is the presence of knots or sapwood, but it is the most expensive. 
  2. Select or ABC grade – This is another high-grade wood floor, although they will be some sapwood and knots present up to 20mm in size.  
  3. Natural or ABCD grade – Colour variations will be present in this grade of wood, as will sapwood and knots of up to 30mm in size and black resin will be used to fill holes in the wood. 
  4. Rustic or C grade – This type of flooring will have significant colour variations and knots up to 35mm as well as sapwood and black spots from the resin filler.   

Choosing the right grade of wood for your floor will depend on your budget and the look you want to achieve. But as long as you purchase your flooring from a reputable company, any grade of wood will be equally durable in your home.  

Wood floor finishes 

One of the final things you’ll need to think about when buying a wood floor is the finish. This is the semi-translucent layer that’s applied to the floorboards to provide protection from wear and tear and help you achieve a particular look. Wood flooring may come unfinished so you can apply your finish of choice, or pre-finished and ready to install.   

There are three main options when it comes to your finish. That includes: 

  • Lacquer finish – Lacquer sits on the top of the wood, so even matt lacquers will give the appearance that a coating has been applied. However, this does mean that lacquer provides more protection to the floor, although it can become worn in high traffic areas.
  • Oil finish – Oil sinks into the wood grain and accentuates the natural appeal of the floor. As it doesn’t create a protective surface over the wood like lacquer, it is more prone to scratching. However, simply adding more oil to the floor will help to mask the imperfections caused by wear and tear.
  • UV oil finish – UV oil creates a low gloss finish which can do a better job of covering imperfections than oil. It also protects the floor from damage caused by the sun, which can be invaluable in bright rooms.    

Would you like a little help? 

There’s no wrong or right decision when it comes to choosing the grade and finish of your floor. It’s all down to personal preference and the look and level of protection you want to achieve. If you’d like to discuss your options with an expert, please get in touch for some friendly advice. We also sell a quality range of flooring finishes to suit every taste.    

So, you’re thinking about buying a real wood floor…

Buying a Real Wood Floor

There are lots of things to think about before buying a real wood floor. Just like any big purchase, jumping in before you have taken all the considerations into account can lead to mistakes. For example, if the floor is sealed properly it shouldn’t mark, but you should still put felt stoppers under furniture legs and avoid high heeled shoes to protect your investment.  

If you haven’t got the chance to do the research yourself, our experts will be happy to discuss every aspect of your decision with you and suggest more suitable products if a real wood floor is not necessarily the best fit. Here are a few tips to help you make the right choice… 

1. Achieving the right look 

Before ordering a real wood floor, you should request a floor sample so you can see how the floor will fit with the rest of the room. You should also bear in mind that all timbers darken with age, particularly those which are lighter to start with. 

If you have a modern home then avoid heavy grained wood with lots of knots, which will only date the space. Instead, keep a similar tone throughout with a light oak or similar. To achieve the best effect, you should also lay the boards in the direction of the light entering the room, as this will help to accentuate the beauty of the wood.  

2. How much flooring do you need? 

The beauty of real wood floors is just how little wastage there needs to be. Your fitters should be able to keep wastage down to as little as 2 percent. Just measure your room and round up to the nearest square metre and we can provide the planks (all at 2000mm lengths) or parquet in whatever specification and species you need. 

If you’re laying the flooring yourself, it makes sense to order an extra couple of square metres to account for the additional wastage there’s likely to be.   

3. The underlay and damp proof membrane 

You’re laying the flooring over a sand and cement or concrete floor then you will need a damp proof membrane and an excellent underlay to protect the floor. In terms of the underlay, thicker foams or felt are best. We offer a range of quality underlays and can provide any advice you need. You should also check whether the flooring manufacturer recommends a particular underlay as it could affect the guarantee.   

4. What finish should you go for? 

There are three things to consider when deciding on the right finish for you. That includes: 

  • Personal taste – how you want the floor to look; 
  • Traffic – how much footfall the floor will be subject to; 
  • Maintenance – how easy it is to clean the floor and repair any damage.   

Wood floors can be oiled or lacquered and both of these options will have a different impact on your floor.  

  • Lacquered – Using a lacquer makes it obvious that a coating has been applied as it sits on top of the wood rather than sinking in like an oil. Lacquered floors are hard-wearing, less prone to scratches and scrapes and can be easily wiped clean. However, lacquer can become worn in high traffic areas which can lead to scratches on the surface. The only way to repair the damage would be to sand the floor and reapply the lacquer.
  • Oil – Oil sinks into the wood grain to achieve a more natural look than lacquer. It is also very easy to apply and scratches can be repaired simply by adding more oil. The downside is that the floor will stain and be damaged more easily and have to be re-oiled from time to time, which does add to the maintenance.  

At UK Wood Floors, we stock a number of floor finishes as well as our beautiful real wood floors. If you‘d like to know more about any of our flooring options, please get in touch with our team.   

Is a Solid Oak Floor Right for your Home? 5 Things to Consider

Solid Oak Floor Right for your Home?

Nothing compares to the natural beauty of a solid oak floor. The distinctive grain and gorgeous honeyed tones give this type of flooring a unique charm that is impossible to beat. The stunning aesthetics are just one of the reasons solid oak remains such a popular choice for so many homeowners. With fantastic thermal insulation properties and its incredibly hardwearing nature, solid oak really is an excellent long-term option for your home.  

But a solid oak floor is not necessarily the right choice for every space. In this article, we’re going to take a look at five important factors to consider when deciding whether solid oak is the best option for you.  

1. There are high moisture levels in your sub-floor 

Before ordering your new wood floor, it’s essential you check the moisture levels of your sub-floor. Sub-floor moisture can wreak havoc with your flooring, causing complications and delays in the installation and leading to compatibility problems and even the formation of the dreaded mold and mildew – not what you want when you’ve just forked out for a beautiful oak floor. Here are some pointers to help you test the moisture levels of your sub-floor 

Ideally, you want a moisture level that doesn’t exceed 2-3 percent. If it exceeds this level, you’d probably be better off opting for an engineered wood flooring product rather than solid oak. Engineered wood, when installed with a suitable underlay or membrane, will help to assure the longevity of your floor. 

2. You’re choosing flooring for a kitchen or bathroom 

If you’re choosing flooring for a kitchen or bathroom then the fluctuations in moisture levels need to be taken into account. As well as moisture, the temperature changes in kitchens and bathrooms can cause problems with a solid oak floor, which will expand and contract considerably when exposed to environmental changes. Over time, this can cause damage to your floor. That’s not to say solid oak floors can’t be used in kitchens, particularly if your kitchen is large and airy, but you should seek advice before making your choice.   

3. There’s heavy footfall  

If you’re looking for flooring for a room that experiences heavy footfall and have your heart set on a solid oak floor, the good news, as long as your sub-floor is nice is dry, is that solid oak is ideal. Solid wood can be sanded up to five or six times before any damage is likely to be done to the floor, which means it can take all your busy family can throw at it and keep on looking its best. Hardwoods, like oak and walnut, will potentially last longer than softer options as they do not damage or scratch as easily.   

4. The room has underfloor heating 

Unfortunately, humidity and significant temperature changes mean that a solid oak floor is not always the best option if you have underfloor heating. If you want a natural wood product then an engineered wood floor will provide the stability you need.   

5. You’re on a budget 

Many homeowners tend to think that the cost of solid oak flooring puts it out of their reach, but that’s simply not the case. Whatever your budget, there are solid wood flooring options to meet your needs. There’s also very little difference between the cost of solid wood and engineered flooring, which means your budget shouldn’t really come into it. Solid oak floors also add value, appeal and a sense of luxury to your home, as well as producing a warm, rich sound.   

Want to know more about solid oak flooring? 

Find out more about our solid oak flooring options or get in touch with our team to discuss the suitability of this stunning flooring type for your home.  

Engineered vs. Solid Oak Flooring: What’s the Difference?

Engineered vs. Solid Oak Flooring

If you’re refurbishing a room in your home then you certainly won’t be the first person to need a little help understanding whether an engineered or solid oak wood floor would be a better choice for your space. But before we start discussing the characteristics of each of these different floor types, let’s get a clear view of what both are. 

What is engineered wood flooring? 

Once it has been laid, an engineered wooden floor will look almost identical to solid oak, but while it might look very similar, it is actually made very differently. 

Engineered wood floors are made from several layers of wood that have been pressed together. The top layer will be a veneer of solid wood, but under this layer, the core of the floor can be made from wood such as birch, plywood, poplar and HDF. These multiple layers of wood are glued together using a strong adhesive, with a 4mm to 6mm layer of solid oak, maple or whatever wood you choose glued on top. 

What is solid oak flooring? 

Solid oak floor boards are cut from single pieces of timber, which makes them incredibly simple in terms of their construction. They are also a completely natural product. The finished oak boards are usually around 18mm thick. 

How do they differ? 

1. Life expectancy 

The thickness of a solid oak floor means it can be re-sanded and re-finished as much as five or six times during its lifetime to remove any damage and make it look as good as the day it was installed. Although an engineered floor with a relatively thick top layer could be sanded two or perhaps even three times during its lifetime, it will eventually need to be replaced. 

2. Durability  

A well-maintained solid oak floor can last for decades even in active households where there’s heavy footfall. Because the surface of an engineered floor is a lot thinner, it can become chipped or de-laminated under stressed conditions, which can reduce the aesthetic appeal of the floor.   

3. Scratches and stains 

All floors will become scratched and stained over the years. Both solid oak and engineered floors can be re-sanded and re-finished to remove the damage. However, as solid oak floors can be sanded time and time again, they will look their best longer. Solid wood floors also encompass a greater range of wood hardness than engineered floors, which makes them better at withstanding surface damage in the first instance.  

4. Moisture resistance 

As solid oak flooring is an entirely natural, organic product, it is affected by moisture. A hot, humid room could make the flooring dry out and shrink, while a cold, wet room could cause it to expand. This means solid oak floors are not best suited to bathrooms, basements or conservatories. The layers of wood in an engineered wood floor run in different directions, which makes them stable and more resistant to changes in moisture.    

So what’s it to be? 

It has to be said that nothing looks as good as a solid oak floor and it will deliver unbeatable value over the longer term when installed in the right room. Engineered wood is more practical as it can be used in more rooms in your home, but it lacks the longevity of real wood.  

Take a look at our range of solid oak and engineered wood floors to find the perfect product for you.   

5 Reasons to Consider Parquet Flooring

Walnut Flooring

For those of you who are not familiar with parquet flooring, this is the name given to a type of flooring made from small blocks or strips of wood which are laid in a regular and geometric pattern. Dating back to the mid 17th century, parquet flooring is enjoying a resurgence of late due to its ease of installation and the fact that it’s such a cost effective flooring choice.  

Various species of wood can be used to make parquet flooring, such as oak, walnut, pine, cherry and maple, giving homeowners plenty of choice as to the look they want to achieve.  It can also be made from both solid and engineered wood. But is parquet flooring be the perfect choice for your home? Let’s have a look at a few of the key benefits of this versatile flooring type.  

1. It’s unique 

No two parquet flooring installations have to look the same, with each floor having its own wood types, colour and grains. That can be extremely appealing for homeowners who want to create a unique and appealing floor. While squares, triangles and lozenge shapes feature strongly in parquet flooring designs, stars, suns and chevron patterns are also possible. The herringbone design is also an extremely popular choice.  

2. It’s budget-friendly 

Whatever your budget, there is sure to be a parquet flooring for you. That’s because the wide range of wood types and choice of solid wood or engineered flooring allows you to choose a solution that meets your requirements. That includes the type of finish you want, the pattern and the cost.  

3. It’s durable 

Parquet floors are durable and can easily handle the demands of everyday use, even in busy areas. Take care of it properly and the strength of parquet flooring means it could last for up to 50 years in a single space. This does rely on it being properly sealed in the first instance and cleaned and cared for properly. It’s also important to avoid excessive moisture or humidity.  

4. It’s easy to maintain 

One of the biggest benefits of parquet flooring for busy homeowners is the fact that it’s so easy to clean and maintain. A simple routine of sweeping and mopping will do the job. Any spillages can be easily wiped up and it does not hold stains easily or absorb odours. One thing to remember is that rough materials and abrasive cleaners are not to be used on parquet surfaces, but all that does is simplify the maintenance regime.   

5. It’s allergen-free 

Parquet flooring doesn’t trap dust, dirt and allergens the way other flooring types can. This makes it an excellent choice for those with allergies or families with young children who could develop allergies. It’s also an excellent option for those with pets as it’s so easy to keep clean.  

Could parquet flooring be the perfect floor solution for your home? Take a look at our range of parquet floors and or get in touch to discuss your requirements with our team.  

4 Top Tips for Maintaining your Real Wood Floor

4 Top Tips for Maintaining your Real Wood Floor

When you’ve invested in a brand new real wood floor, you’re understandably going to want to protect your investment and keep your floor looking just as good as the day it was laid for years to come.  

Real wood floors can be damaged if proper care is not taken to protect them from environmental threats and daily wear and tear. For this reason, it’s essential you take a few steps to maintain your floor. Simply following these four tips will help to keep your floor in the very best condition. 

1. Protection from furniture 

One threat to real wood flooring that’s often overlooked is the potential damage caused by furniture. Children jumping onto chairs and settees or simply moving the furniture can cause scuffs and scratches to the floor.  

One simple way to protect your real wood floors from this damage is to buy the felt furniture tips available at most home improvement stores. These tips have a built-in, non-damaging adhesive so they can be easily stuck to the furniture legs to create a cushion between them and the floor.    

2. Avoiding direct sunlight 

Another threat to the condition of real wood floors is the potential damage caused by direct sunlight. Exposure to sunlight will be unavoidable in some parts of the house, but care should be taken to make sure no area of the floor receives too much direct sunlight as it can cause fading and discolouration.  

The simplest way to protect against this threat is to make sure curtains and blinds are closed whenever you leave the house for an extended period of time or on particularly sunny days. Alternatively, mats and rugs could be used to protect exposed areas of flooring. A UV coating could also be applied to the windows to provide additional protection.  

3. Apply maintenance oils 

In areas of heavy use, it’s inevitable that your real wood floor will start to show some signs of wear over time. However, even at this stage, it is still possible to breathe new life into your flooring. Maintenance oils are designed for the quick and easy regeneration and refreshment of oiled wood floors. Once applied, they soak into the wood to provide long lasting protection.  

Applying the maintenance oil is simple: 

  • Firstly, clean the floor thoroughly to make sure any dirt or dust is removed. You should also allow the floor to dry before applying the oil. 
  • Next, shake the oil well before use and make sure the area is well ventilated before it’s applied.  
  • Depending on the brand of oil you buy, it can be applied with a microfiber brush, applicator brush or just a cotton cloth.  
  • The oil should be applied in a fine coat in the direction of the grain of the wood. You should not apply the oil too thickly as you will be left with an uneven looking floor.  
  • If you are left with an uneven sheen, the oil can be polished during application with a cotton cloth or a polishing machine until the desired finish is achieved.

4. Clean stains quickly and remove standing water 

Spillages are a fact of life. However, if dealt with quickly, even dreaded red wine stains can be easily removed. The key is not to use too much water, as the wood will soak up the water and swell. For the same reason, any standing water should be mopped up quickly. If you have a stain that has dried then you may need to sand the floor, although this video could provide a less time-consuming alternative.   

Want to know more about the suitability of real wood floors for your home? Please get in touch to discuss your requirements with our team.  


Case Study: Industrial Parquet flooring at the Hoxton Hotel

Industrial Parquet flooring at the Hoxton Hotel

At UK Wood Floors we have over 30 years’ experience in manufacturing and installing high-quality floors for a variety of industries, including the hotel and leisure sector. One example is London’s Hoxton Hotel, situated in the heart of Shoreditch, one of the trendiest places in the country. Combining innovative, forward-thinking designs throughout their 210 rooms, the hotel is perfect for guests of all ages and interests, particularly those who want to stay in and around the Shoreditch metropolis.

As well as the eclectic rooms, guests are greeted by the beautiful reception area when they walk through the doors of the hotel. For those who fancy a bite to eat or a nightcap after a long day, the bar and restaurant area is an ideal place to relax and unwind in impeccable surroundings. Part of those surroundings is the delightful Industrial Parquet flooring, created and installed by UK Wood Floors.

Industrial Parquet flooring is a style which is unique to our company, and it was its elegance that convinced architects Bell Slater to incorporate it into the interior of their latest development. Constructed from upright, rowed mosaic parquet pieces, the floor is laid quickly thanks to a synthetic resin glue, poured directly onto the sub-floor. The flooring is available in various species of wood, including oak, walnut, hard maple, beech, birch and black cherry, meaning it can be used in harmony with a range of interior designs.

Industrial Parquet Flooring Hoxton Hotel

The floor itself is very hard-wearing, which makes it perfect to withstand the heavy footfall that the Hoxton Hotel experiences on a daily (and nightly) basis. The resilience of the wood means that even under constant footfall, it will be several years until it will need to be significantly refurbished – team this with the relatively low price, and it’s easy to see why Bell Slater opted for Industrial Parquet flooring.

The process of laying the floor takes the following shape:

Step 1: The sub-floor is prepared. Doing this correctly is essential if the floor is to be laid perfectly, and as such the sub-floor must be dry, clean and unbroken.

Step 2: The crown line is set, and the resin glue is applied to the sub-floor. The parquet flooring is then laid directly onto the adhesive, working outwards to the skirting. It is ensured that the pieces interlock correctly, using one additional finger of parquet flooring every one metre to ensure full compaction.

Step 3: The floor is sanded using 40 grit abrasive, then re-sanded in stages using 60, 80 and 100 grit abrasive respectively. 80-100 grain wood standing dust is then mixed with a jointing compound to be used as a paste, applied by spatula. This paste covers the entire area, filling all joints, and the process is then repeated after 45 minutes. After an hour, the floor is then re-sanded to remove the jointing compound.

Industrial Parquet floor

Step 4: Using 150 grit sandpaper, the surface is sanded and then checks are made to ensure it is clean and dry, and all filler has been removed. A coat of primer is then applied, using a brush or a roller.

Step 5: The floor is then lacquered or varnished, but only after the primer is completely dry. After the finish has dried, it is then sanded with 150 grit paper, and then resealed with a further two coats of lacquer or varnish.

The finished product is flooring that perfectly compliments the design of the property, offering a beautiful surface that is able to endure and withstand busy environments for years on end.