Wooden flooring checklist for interior designers and architects
Aesthetically pleasing, wooden flooring is warm in appearance. They can make any space look luxurious and stylish. Often used in luxury hotel rooms, wooden floors are also sought after by those who want to make their home look glamorous.
As an interior designer, you definitely want to offer the best aesthetics to your client and wooden flooring could be on your list. Here’s a quick checklist of some crucial factors to consider before designing any space residential or commercial with wooden flooring:
- Choose the flooring material carefully
There are many types of hardwood flooring available in different grain patterns, species of wood, finishes and sizes. All of these factors are important when choosing a flooring material. Ensure the contractor is aware of the user experience of each of the wood flooring finishes based on the application area of the space.
It is important to understand whether to choose solid hardwood or engineered hardwood. The choice will depend on the location of the building, environmental factors such as dampness, humidity, heat etc. as well as the budget.
Another important factor would be to consider how busy the area will be. For a quieter room, a delicate wood like Walnut can be chosen whereas for a busy hallway a more durable option like Oak would be preferable.
2. Environmental conditions
Hardwood and engineered wood both will have a huge impact depending on the environment of the building. When the environment changes wood starts to change too. And moisture and humidity can weaken the floorboard, or it may get ballooned or chipped.
Since the most popular types of subfloors are concrete and therefore special attention must be paid to dampness issues especially rising damp which can not only damage the flooring but also cause mold formation due to seepage of water.
It is important to ensure a good damp proof course (DPC) is laid before the construction is done. Flexible DPC should be chosen over the conventional cementitious method as it will withstand the changes in climatic conditions while completely blocking out dampness.
Here’s a good comparison chart between conventional DPC, DPM and DampX which will help you decide on the kind of dampproofing you need to opt for.
- Acclimatise your wood floor
This is a key step to ensure the flooring adapts to its surroundings before actually installing it. This will allow your wood flooring to expand or contract depending on the climatic conditions of the property.
Here’s how you can acclimatise the wooden floor properly:
- Give enough time for acclimatisation and get the flooring delivered much ahead of time.
- Solid wood flooring will need 7 days to acclimatise
- Engineered wood flooring will need at least 72 hours
- Leave the hardwood flooring with its packaging in the room where it will be installed
- The room where the flooring is to be kept should be thoroughly dry. The floor should not be damp and the room must not have wet plaster on the walls
- Prepare your subfloor for installation
Before installation check, if the subfloor is flat, levelled, clean and dry.
You must also check the Moisture Content (MC) of your subfloor using a Moisture Meter
Wooden subfloor < 16% MC
Concrete subfloor < 6% MC
Allow your subfloor to dry out naturally before installation.
As the wooden flooring will be resting on the subfloor one must ensure no cracks develop over
the period of time, and no water rises through capillary action. Using a highly flexible elastomeric membrane which has the ability to bond with the substrate should be preferred. DampX would be an ideal choice to ensure the subfloor remains dry even after many years of installation.
- Leave some gap for expansion
As wood is a natural material whether it is hardwood or engineered wood, they have a tendency to expand with changing temperature and humidity. Therefore a gap of at least 10mm must be kept for expansion. Missing out on this crucial step can cause the flooring to get damaged and a complete reinstallation may be needed.