Manufacturing and innovation in wood flooring
By Martyn Ryder Managing Director The Solid Wood Flooring Company
WE’RE all familiar with engineered wood flooring which can be found in every application, from homes to offices, museums, restaurants and commercial premises.
Like haute couture, fashions in wood flooring are continually changing, influenced by architects and interior designers. The Solid Wood Flooring Company works closely with these professionals to create new products and bespoke designs.
We’re continually developing new designs and finishes in wood flooring, some of which are illustrated in this article. Being innovative and creative means we believe ourselves to be the leading company chosen by top architects and designers.
Continuous weave wood floors
The continuous weave pattern we call ‘mansion weave’ was developed for a hotel that doesn’t have conventionally shaped rooms. It’s now being used in Grade I-listed houses where large bay windows and circular rooms wouldn’t look quite right with straight planks or standard herringbone or chevron parquet.
The images here show the cobble grey mansion weave but we can create any colour finish in this design.
There are only three different pieces required to make this continuous weave pattern. The two centrepieces are the same and you then have a left- and right-handed border section. Installation is easy and always fully bonded to a subfloor.
The design brief to create the continuous weave in our ‘cobble grey’ colour was influenced
by the internal décor requirements and also the room shapes. The size of each piece was
determined by the raw material and machine capability.
The accuracy of the machining is crucial; we use lasers to get the exact angle on each piece because of the sharp edges. Timber has its restrictions when designing new products because of its structure and grain.
Chevron has now become fashionable and can enhance any room. There are two main types of chevron – those with a 45deg angle that can look similar to herringbone and the more aesthetically pleasing 60deg angle chevrons.
Howard De Walden Estates has been using The Solid Wood Flooring Company for more than 10 years on their new developments and also refurbishments of their property portfolio in Mayfair.
Their in-house designers had a very specific requirement for a refurbishment in Wimpole Street and we designed an American black walnut chevron which can be seen below. We helped with the layout of the floor and made a plank border to allow for discrepancies in the walls so the chevron pieces could fit neatly.
The walnut chevron enhances the internal décor of the room, complementing the traditional bay windows and wall panelling. With a Satin Hard Wax oil finish, the beauty and lustre of walnut is brought out of the wood and gives that luxurious look of palaces of old.
These chevron blocks have a tongue and groove all round and are 15mm thick. Being engineered in construction, they can be used with underfloor heating as well. There are left- and right-handed pieces and the most important thing when designing the layout is to determine the crown line.
The chevron blocks need to ‘point’ somewhere so the eye naturally follows the centre lines to a focal point which in this case was the fireplaces. If you look carefully you can see there is a border around the perimeter to allow for discrepancies in walls.
A very traditional floor which 100 years ago was laid on bitumen as small solid oak blocks 22mm thick. The normal size would be 70mm x 350mm because aesthetically the length of a herringbone block should always be five times its width.
These dimensions mean they can be laid in many different ways. The diagram below shows a double herringbone pattern. The diagrams below show other types of patterns from a brick pattern to normal and square blocks. These can again be separated by using a plank to create borders around whatever layout you choose.
For door thresholds and borders you can use a matching plank or the herringbone blocks as shown left.
There are many ways to clad stairs using engineered wood flooring to create a clean, aesthetically pleasing staircase. Get rid of those old carpets which collect dirt and dust and can be dangerous.
The image above shows how a stair can be clad using the standard engineered herringbone blocks we supply.
This is an extremely skilled job so be careful when selecting the professional fitters to carry this out.
Parquet handmade wood panels
These are now engineered so they can be used over underfloor heating. We can manufacture to any size from 450mm squares upwards.
Designs: any design is possible and the most important aspect of any room layout is to ensure the panels are never cut to fit a room. The room measurements must be taken accurately and an example is shown below where the hallway opened up from the front door as a ‘T’ shape.
A dark border was used as a contrast as the walls were not exactly square. The hallway at the front-door end was 2,490mm so the panels were made 610mm square which meant exactly four panels were fitted across the hallway expanding to more when it opened out.
As the hallway opened to another two panel were included so that across the large part of the hallway we had eight panels. By using a Walnut border, we were able to take up the discrepancies in the sizes without have to cut any panel.
Room layout designs
When using straight planks in open-plan homes or moving from room-to-room with wood flooring throughout you should never use thresholds.
With modern engineered wood floors, it’s better to change the direction of the floorboards.
The most aesthetically pleasing layout is to run the boards lengthways along the longest wall.
With tongue and grooves all around and matched ends it’s easy to change the direction of the boards so the end tongues go into the groove of the board running in the opposite direct.
In this way you don’t need expansion gaps or thresholds.
The room was nearly 25m at the longest length and 8m at the widest end where the fireplace is. By changing the direction of the boards, it meant there were no horrible expansion gaps or trims.
There’s an underfloor heating system in a 70mm sand and cement screed and no movement happens between the depths of winter when the room reached 23deg to the summer months when there isn’t heating.
Here you can see the dining area which is narrow where the boards run in the direction of the longest wall. And the direction changes where the room opens out.
Jorvik Viking Museum
RMA Themed Attractions chose The Solid Wood Flooring Company to supply and install a floor in the newly refurbished Jorvik Viking Museum in the centre of York. The theme was to have a ‘river’ that flows through the exhibits taking visitors to each different section of the Viking’s history in the UK. RMA completed the layout and design and then The Solid Wood Flooring Company supplied sample boards so RMA could choose the colour of the river and display area. The board installed was E157 select grade 260mm wide engineered unfinished oak. Being unfinished and ABC Select Grade, it allowed for the river to be created using a router and stainless steel insert and different coloured oils.