Hardwood that works for you
By Richard Aylen Technical Services Manager Junckers
JUNCKERS is Europe’s leading manufacturer of solid hardwood flooring and provides systems for residential, commercial, sports and community buildings.
Junckers was established in Denmark in the ‘30s where its range of hardwood floors is still manufactured to this day. The extensive range of high quality floors draws on a long heritage of Danish wood working technology and expertise.
The company was founded by Flemming Juncker, a master of forestry, who wanted to make best use of the beech forests while preserving them for the benefit of future generations.
In the ‘30s no one talked about sustainability or environmental issues and in that respect, Juncker was ahead of his time. Nowadays, these issues are part of our everyday conversation and are integral to the way Junckers operates and to the business decisions the company makes.
Today, Junckers holds several internationally recognised environmental accreditations and is closely linked with the sustainable management of the forests from which its timber is obtained.
This philosophy extends to the way the factory is run, including electricity generation, which comes from an onsite power station fuelled by wood waste from the flooring factory. This provides electricity for the factory plus a surplus which is sold to the local grid.
Environmental accreditations and corporate responsibility
As part of its commitment to ensuring the company uses the most sustainable and carbon neutral materials and manufacturing processes Junckers has several accreditations, which are independently audited on a regular basis.
All Junckers timber is obtained from properly managed sources and a significant amount is supplied under FSC or PEFC chain of custody rules.
Junckers ISO 14001 accreditation examines the manufacturing processes for flooring, lacquer and oil products and sets out the framework for the company’s environmental management system.
EMAS 111 The Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) is the EU’s voluntary scheme and allows companies to evaluate, manage and improve their environmental performance.
Junckers floor systems are rated A+ in the BRE Green Guide and so make a valuable contribution when the building is being designed to achieve an overall good BREEAM rating and low carbon status.
Indoor Climate Labelling Scheme
Junckers has obtained certification under this scheme for its flooring systems, lacquers and oils. The scheme measures emissions of certain hazardous substances, including formaldehyde and looks at how the emission levels change over time.
This is often very useful information for allergy sufferers and where buildings are being designed with a high priority on ‘clean’ materials and finishes.
Junckers solid hardwood floors are guaranteed for use with underfloor heating, and this has been done successfully for nearly 30 years.
Junckers now offers its own Leveldek UFH system so specifiers have the benefit of designing with a fully integrated hardwood floor and heating system from one supplier.
Why use Junckers solid hardwood flooring?
Junckers solid hardwood floors offer an extremely long lifespan and unparalleled lifecycle cost benefits.
Carpets, synthetic floors, ceramic tiles and engineered wood typically have a lifespan of 10-15 years.
A Junckers solid hardwood floor may be sanded between eight and 10 times during its life; engineered wood floors which typically have 3.6mm top layer may also be sanded but they’ll usually only bear sanding twice, and so will have a lifespan of about one quarter of that of a solid board.
Many engineered floors will weaken with age as the structure of the core deteriorates, and this will happen all the faster if the board has been sanded.
Conversely, a solid hardwood floor board will not weaken in this way and so retains its strength for life.
Junckers solid hardwood floors have excellent dimensional stability. In the UK, there are Junckers floors up to 50m wide and there is effectively no limit as to how large a floor can be. This is achieved by stringent quality control during the re-drying process, and by machining the boards to very fine tolerances.
When seasonal expansion and shrinkage occurs the floorboards move very uniformly and only by a small amount.
Product and technical support
Junckers has always placed a high priority on providing excellent service to its Customers, with service levels that sets the company apart from others.
Product selection and how to specify a solid hardwood floor
There are few interior styles that cannot be enhanced by natural timber and a hardwood floor will never become dated. Solid hardwood floors have been used as decorative and structural floors from the earliest days of building to the present time.
They feature as a key design element in a vast range of interior styles from minimalist contemporary buildings to period properties and heritage restorations.
Junckers offers a vast range of colours, textures and surface finishes, including brushed textures, grain fillers, coloured oils and lacquers in a choice of sheen levels. In addition, there’s the choice between different natural timbers – oak, beech, ash, maple, and the extent to which you want natural colour variation, grain patterns and knots.
There are thinner boards (14mm and 15mm thick) for ‘overlay’ and renovation projects, and 22mm and 20.5mm thick boards which may be used as structural suspended floors.
Selection of timber
The choice of timber will often be made on aesthetic grounds. For most commercial and residential projects the technical performance of one timber compared to another will be broadly similar, and so they will have comparable strength, durability, lifespan and aftercare requirements.
Only where the floor will have unusually high loading such as for sports will the choice of timber become important and guidance from Junckers technical department should be sought.
Thickness and board type
The choice depends upon if the floorboards will need to span between battens or joists, of if the floor is an ‘overlay’ to an existing load bearing base. It also depends on the anticipated traffic levels and how long the floor is required to last.
Junckers range of 22mm 2 strip and 20.5mm plank floors are suitable for overlay and structural applications. 14mm and 15mm floors are for use as ‘overlay’ finishes only.
Owing to the greater number of sandings which is possible with the thicker boards, in areas of very high foot traffic and higher than normal exposure to grit and dirt being walked on to the floor, a thicker board may be the most economical solution as it can be sanded between eight to 10 times.
These boards will last longer than the 14mm or 15mm boards, which may be sanded on average four times. For ‘light duty commercial’ and certainly for residential applications, the thinner boards will last for decades with proper care.
Junckers range of floor boards fall into three broad categories:
2 strip flooring
Strips of solid hardwood about 64mm wide are formed into larger planks, edge jointed and then factory finished. These floors are true ‘strip’ floors rather than a plank or block and this style of board is Junckers’ original, and most enduringly popular range, having been in production right from the start. Available in 14mm thick boards for ‘overlay’ and refurbishment projects, and 22mm thickness for higher loads and structural use.
Larger planks each formed from one piece of wood, oak or ash, factory finished with lacquer or oil. These have the appearance of a traditional floorboard and are widely used in design styles from the most modern to ‘retro’ interiors as well as heritage work. 15mm boards are for ‘overlay’ and refurbishment projects, and 20.5mm thickness for higher loads and structural use.
Known best for being installed as traditional herringbone pattern (although other laying styles can be done). Junckers has updated the look of the older types of herringbone floors by offering a slightly longer block, and there’s also large format ‘whalebone’ block floor to choose from, where individual blocks measure 140mm x 700mm.
Junckers offers factory finished boards so the floor will be ready for use as soon as it’s laid. The quality of Junckers factory finish, and the finishing products Junckers offers for maintenance and aftercare, have excellent toughness and durability, to suit commercial levels of use.
A high level of abrasion resistance, but unlike most other wood floor manufacturer’s lacquers, the Junckers full polyurethane finish has a great deal of flexibility. Some other ‘diamond hard’ finishes have remarkable abrasion resistance but fail too soon because they are brittle and so they crack, allowing dirt and moisture to cause the wood below to blacken and deteriorate.
The substantial thickness of the Junckers lacquer coating and with its unrivalled durability will ensure ease of maintenance and the maximum timespan before the floor has to be resealed.
Junckers Oil treated boards are finished with durable Junckers Rustic Oil. This has none of the durability problems so often associated with ‘UV Oil’ treatments which some companies offer. During manufacture, the boards are warmed to allow the oil to penetrate the wood to the maximum depth possible.
Oiled floors have a beautiful and natural appearance. They’re very suitable for high-traffic areas because re-oiling is a simple and quick process which can be carried out by the cleaning staff and it’s possible to treat only the worn parts of the floor.
All this makes the oiled finish a very versatile and simple option. The only thing the client has to commit to is to ensure a regular cleaning and oiling programme is in place. Junckers oiled finishes are, we believe, unique in that they can be over-coated with Junckers HP Commercial water-based lacquer.
On one level this means clients can switch to a lacquer finish if this should suit them at a later date, but it also means the oil may be used as a colour-rich primer with a hardwearing lacquer finish applied on top.
Textured and coloured boards
Many oiled and lacquered ranges are available in coloured boards and with surface textures including brushing, which provides a beautiful ‘weathered’ look. Junckers offers an extensive range of pre-finished coloured lacquered boards an increasing choice of coloured oiled boards, plus a range of coloured Rustic Oil for renovation and onsite treatment of unsealed floors.
Junckers offers various installation solutions for newbuild and renovation, and to suit flat, well-prepared bases or those which require levelling. The range also includes acoustic systems.
For overlay and renovation projects where the base is to flatness tolerance SR1 under BS 8204 Junckers boards may be laid using the floating Clip system method, or by direct gluing to the sub floor. Either option ensures the new finish has minimal impact on the finished floor level.
Where a structural or suspended floor is needed Junckers has a range of batten systems, many of which were developed specially for use in sports and activity halls.
The Junckers New Era levelling system is often the preferred choice where the floor finish is to be laid to a structural slab, block and beam or similar base, and there’s insufficient time to allow a screed to dry.
New Era’s height range extends from 75mm to over 400mm and is also available in an acoustic version, which makes it a very versatile choice.