Our new floor looks amazing! Thank you so much. We’ve found you all a delight to work with and the whole teams’ skill level and obvious knowledge about your products, has meant we’ve been able to select exactly the right floor for us.
What is the difference between laminate and parquet/wood flooring?
The term ‘parquet’ is used to describe all wood floor coverings where the wear layer (meaning the upper part of the strip that is made of wood) is at least 2.5millimetres thick. Laminate consists of, essentially, a photo of a floor board covered in plastic film and merely looks like wood. The terms ‘laminate parquet’ or ‘laminate wood’ or ‘wood laminate’ are therefore completely incorrect, as there is no such thing.
Should I choose a lacquered or oiled surface on my wood floor?
A lacquered floor is an easy maintenance, everyday floor. They are attractive and hard wearing, and over the years have been the most popular finish for wood floors. This is a relatively hard, smooth surface coating. A good quality wood floor will have several layers of hard lacquer applied to it which will be extremely resistant to fluids and scratches and will require minimal maintenance whilst looking fantastic. The lacquer applied will normally have either a matt sheen, or a more shiny, satin finish. The matt lacquer gives the same impression as an oiled floor but has the added benefits of the reduced maintenance required from a lacquered floor. We recommend that your lacquered floor be cleaned on a regular basis using a Bona Wood Floor Cleaning kit. When lacquer starts to lose its sheen, it is a very easy task to apply a coat of Bona Wood Floor Refresher – this revives a scratched and dull surface giving a newly finished look and continued protection against wear.
An oiled floor offers tactile, softer protection. Oils for wood floors are very fluid. They penetrate the wood and protect it against stains and marking, offering a non-filmogenic finish (meaning that it is not limited to the surface of the wood). In keeping with lacquered floors, good quality oiled floors will have several layers of oil applied. At least one coat of hardwax oil should be included during this procedure, either by the manufacturer, or by ourselves after we have fitted your floor. Superficial scratches can be removed by sanding the affected area and applying maintenance oil. To maintain the surface protection, oiled floors should be thoroughly cleaned and re-oiled every year or so with a good quality maintenance oil. It is not necessary to sand the surface before doing this, and it is a task that most people can do themselves. Both lacquered and oiled floors should be vacuumed regularly or swept with a soft broom, and we recommend that they be cleaned on a regular basis using a Bona Wood Floor Cleaning kit.
Which floors are the hardest?
The relative hardness of the various species of tree is measured in a number of ways. One of which is the Brinell test, where a metal ball bearing is dropped onto a piece of timber flooring from a given height, and the dent made is then measured in micro millimetres. The deeper or shallower the dent, the harder or softer the timber in question is deemed to be. We show below a ‘league table’ of popular wood floors, showing the hardest surfaces at the top:
- Bamboo (Strand Woven)
- Red Oak
- Bamboo (Engineered)
Why are some floors more expensive than others?
There are many things that affect the price of wood floors:
- The length of the boards – generally speaking, shorter boards cost less than longer boards, and again, generally speaking, boards that are supplied in packs where all the boards are the same length, will cost less than boards which are supplied in random lengths (up to 3m long or more!).
- The width of the boards – wider boards cost more than narrower boards, because you can get fewer wider boards out of a tree than you can narrow boards.
- The thickness of the boards.
- The thickness of the wear layer on an engineered board.
- The type of material used to support the wear layer on an engineered board.
- The overall quality of the manufacturing process, for example, the quality of the glue used to fix the layers together, the type and quality of any plywood that has been used, the type and quality of the filler used in knots etc.
- The style of the board – whether it be a plank, or a multi-strip board.
- The species of tree.
- Where the tree was grown.
- What manufacturing process it has gone through to make it look like it does, for example, some floors have been through an ageing process, some have been smoked to deepen the colour of them, whilst others have been scraped, brushed, distressed or had the bevels hand cut. The manufacturing process is most important, and is usually the biggest factor in the pricing of wood floors.
- The grade of the wood – prime grade costs more than a rustic grade.
- If it’s a lacquered floor – the quality of the lacquer used and the number of coats of lacquer that have been applied.
- If it’s an oiled floor – the quality of the oil and the number of coats of oil that have been applied.
- The volume of flooring that you wish to purchase.
What is the difference between one grade of floor and another?
There are very many different manufacturers of wood flooring throughout the world, and they all describe the grade of their floors in a different way, which can make it confusing for the customer.
There are a number of words used to describe the grade of a floor. ‘Rustic’ is probably the most common, and then we list here some, not all, of the others that we have come across. All of these are in current usage – Nature, Prime, Country, Exklusiv, Markant, Sauvage, Universal, Arizona, Alabama, Trend, Tundra, Terra, Favorit, Basixs, Family, Authentic, Select, Unica, Canyon, Zenitude, Salvagio, Origine, Tradition, Classic. Enough said!
It is also common to see letters used to grade the floor, for example, ABC or CD, but one company’s grade ‘C’ floor may be quite different from another’s in appearance.
What does this all mean? Well, we have done our best to simplify the system for you. We have introduced our own grading system, which is a mixture of terminology from all the companies that we deal with, and we are using the lettering system as this is the simplest to talk about. We have graded all the floors in our showroom to the best of our ability in an effort to bring in some continuity. We have tried to be as honest and informative as we can.
However, it must be remembered that all wood floors are sorted into grades by hand, specifically the hands of women, (it has been proven worldwide that men do not have the ‘multi-tasking capabilities’ required to do this task), and human error will sometimes occur which means that occasionally the odd board or two will find its way into the wrong category. Please do not blame us for this, but instead enjoy the odd rogue board in your floor just as nature intended.
So here goes, this is our interpretation of grades A to E as shown on our display panels.
Grade A – Very few knots, which should be no bigger than 15mm across. A large number of the boards will have no knots at all. No splits or sapwood. Shaker marks not allowed. Straight, oblique and wavy flame grain. Possible colour tone differences typical of the wood species. Generally a clean uniform grade.
Grade B – Knots will be common in at least half of the boards, but they should not be more than 45mm across. No splits but a small amount of sapwood allowed. Variations in grain and colours of individual boards. Shaker marks allowed.
Grade C – Any size knots common in the majority of the boards. Splits allowed up to around 200mm long but filled. Sapwood and shaker marks allowed. Full variation of grain and natural discoloration allowed. Worm holes possible.
Grade D – Any size knots common in most boards. Some very large knots allowed which will be mostly filled. Splits allowed up to the length of the boards, not all of which will be filled. Sapwood and shaker marks allowed. Full variation of grain and natural discoloration allowed – as nature intended. Worm holes possible.
Grade E – Anything goes, all characteristics and in any quantity, including some unfilled knots and splits of any size. Rough surface texture allowed.
Most of our floors will contain 2 or more letters to describe the grade. For example, a floor graded ‘BC’ would expect to include the features of a B grade over 50% of the surface and the features of a C grade over the other 50% of the surface, mixed together.
Care and Cleaning Tips
- It is a condition of all wood flooring manufacturers that the wood floor product is looked after properly, in order that their guarantee/warranty may apply.
- To ensure the best possible performance from your wood floor, the room temperature should be kept in the range of 16 – 25˚C, and the relative humidity in the room should be maintained in the range of 40 – 60%, using a dehumidifier or humidifier.
- In order to prevent sand and other abrasive materials damaging your wood floor, a good sized entrance door mat should be used.
- Use a soft broom and/or vacuum cleaner regularly with the appropriate head for your vacuum cleaner.
- To clean the floor more thoroughly we recommend the use of a Bona Spray Mop Cleaning Kit. The cleaning fluid used in this equipment is especially formulated for use over all wood floors. Extreme care should be observed when using any other cleaning product, some of which are capable of stripping off the surface protection.
- Mop up as soon as a spillage occurs and do not let liquid or food spillages dry on the floor.
- Only use a damp cloth/mop on your wood floor.
- Never use a wet mop or steam cleaner as this can cause damage to your wood floor.
- Furniture legs and feet can cause scratches, so we recommend the use of felt pads, castor cups etc.
- High heels/stiletto heels concentrate a person’s weight onto a small point and can dent a wood floor, fracture ceramic tiles, perforate vinyl and tear carpet.
- Metal heels, ‘Blakeys’, will damage and wear away the surface protection of a wood floor quickly and we therefore recommend that these are not used/worn.
- Dog and cat claws can scratch a wood floor so it is a good idea to have them trimmed regularly. Pet urine should not damage a wood floor if cleaned up immediately.
- Never place pot plants directly on a wood floor even if they are in a water proof saucer. Always use trivets or similar under the saucer so that air can circulate underneath. This will prevent condensation forming under the saucer and damaging the floor.
- Adopt a regular maintenance programme for your wood floor thus ensuring a lifetime of use and enjoyment. The timescale of this will depend on the type of floor you have and the amount of wear it receives. But as a general rule give the floor a thorough clean once every year and apply a maintenance oil / lacquer refresher as appropriate. Failure to do this will leave your floor susceptible to stains, and will affect our warranty. We will happily quote to do this for you.
- Commercial use, for example, schools, retail stores, offices, bars and restaurants, – in these situations you should adopt a more rigorous maintenance programme, on a more regular basis, dependent on usage. We would be happy to quote for and/or provide advice on this.
What style of floor would suit me best?
- Plank – This is a single strip of wood which can be selected from a wide variety of widths and lengths. They are available with and without bevelled edges depending on whether you want to emphasise the plank or to let it blend in more subtly. Bevels are chamfered edges, only available on planks. Bevels on the 2 long edges emphasise the length of the room, while bevels on all 4 sides will shorten the appearance of the room and emphasise its width. A floor without bevels gives an unbroken flat surface.
- 3 strip – This popular style are usually engineered floors made from staves of wood which have smaller widths and lengths than you would get with a plank. However, each piece of wood has its own individual colour, character and variety, depending on its grade, blending into a beautiful floor.
- Designer floors – There is a wide variety of special designer wood floors to choose from. These range from the old traditional finger parkett or mosaic floors, to hardwood block floors, often laid in a herringbone pattern, plus a myriad of different panel floors, sometimes known as Versailles or Marquetry panels. These add a whole new dimension to wood flooring, and can look quite stunning when professionally fitted in a wide choice of locations.
Will Antares supply only?
TERMS & CONDITIONS – SUPPLY ONLY
- To protect your investment, we strongly recommend that you employ an experienced hardwood floor fitter. Given the complexities of fitting hardwood floors and methods of installing used today, we cannot impress enough how important this is to ensure the longevity of your wood floor.
- There are three main methods of fitting a wood floor.
Fully Glued – when the flooring is fully glued to the sub floor, this is generally our preferred method of installation.
Nailed – when the boards are secret nailed through the tongue at an angle into the sub floor. We recommend that the joints are also held together with PVA.
Floating – when the flooring is laid over an underlay, and the side edges either click together or the tongue and grooves are held together with PVA.
A moisture barrier should be in place or put in place by the fitter in all situations.
The choice of method of fitting is the responsibility of your experienced floor fitter.
- It is impossible for us to list all site permutations, however, listed here are some of the most important factors a fitter must ensure before installation:
The building must be watertight and heating commissioned and working. All wet trades must be complete. The sub floor must be flat and dry. It is the fitter’s responsibility to take moisture readings of the sub floor, plus humidity readings, and note these down for future reference if required. Extreme caution must be used when fitting over under floor heating and this work should only be done by a fitter experienced in these matters.
Neither Antares nor the floor manufacturer will be held responsible for any product failure caused or associated with sub floor or on-site environmental conditions.
- The fitter assumes all responsibility for the final selection of each piece as to grade, colour, finish and suitability. Once fitted, a piece of wood flooring will be deemed acceptable. The purchaser assumes responsibility for quantities ordered.
- Any claims arising from badly laid or incorrectly supplied or fitted floors are the responsibility of the Customer or their agents. In such cases the Customer’s claim is subject to the floor fitter’s own guarantee, terms and conditions which are separate from these terms and conditions.
- It is important that the relative humidity of the room should be maintained between 40 – 60% and the room temperature between 15 – 25c at all times. As the home owner/occupier, this is your responsibility.
- It is the Customers responsibility to check quantity delivered and report any missing goods immediately, before installation commences.
- Any period, time or date of supply is quoted as an estimate only and Antares shall not be liable for any loss or damage arising directly or indirectly from delay in supply or delivery of the goods.
- Risk in the goods shall pass to the Customer when the Customer or its agent (builder for example) takes delivery of the goods.
- Title in the goods shall pass to the Customer only when payment in full has been received by Antares for all goods whatsoever supplied. The Customer shall permit the servants or agents of Antares to enter on to the Customer’s premises and repossess the goods at any time prior thereto.
- Antares cannot be held responsible for non-delivery caused by the existence or apprehension of war, acts of terrorism, riots or strikes.
- Antares reserves the right at any time prior to supply of the Goods to adjust the price to take account of any increase in the cost of raw materials, or any currency fluctuations affecting the cost of imported materials.
- Antares reserves the right to withdraw a quotation at any time before it has been accepted by payment of a deposit.
- Payment of a deposit or full payment implies acceptance of the Antares Terms & Conditions.
What about Under Floor Heating?
Under Floor Heating
Most engineered products supplied by Antares are suitable for installation over Under Floor Heating.
Engineered wood flooring works well with under floor heating, when particular attention is paid to ensuring that the maximum temperature of the sub floor/heating element/water pipes never exceeds 27˚C. Any increase in the temperature above this level will damage the wood flooring and render all warranties and guarantees void. A floor probe must be used within the installation which can monitor the temperature of the sub floor and ensure that no part of it ever exceeds 27˚C.
In all situations, it is essential that the sub floor temperature (NOT the air temperature) never exceeds 27˚C.
On acceptance of your order we will supply you with the thermostat(s). Power for these needs to be wired into the thermostat(s) by a “Part P” qualified electrician prior to the installation of the under floor heating by us and not left unconnected. We do not directly employ a Part P qualified electrician so cannot provide this service.
We have quoted to install the heating system and wire the heating system to the thermostat(s). If your thermostat(s) are mounted flush into the wall, a trunking and draw wire must be provided (by others) from the box to the floor. We will then use this to pull the wires from the heating system into the box for wiring into the thermostat(s).
We are happy to liaise with your electrician regarding the power output of your heating system and preferred positioning of the thermostat(s).
- Mr & Mrs C – East Grinstead
Thank you for the accuracy of the quotation, the accuracy of the fulfillment of the contract, the professionalism and experience of the fitter, and the pleasure of doing business with you. We’ll be back!Mr and Mrs C, Barcombe
Thanks for the floor, it looks absolutely great. I had excellent service in the shop with very helpful advice. I will recommend you to any of my friends or family if they needed a new floor. Once again many thanks for a terrific job.Mrs M – Hassocks
I would have no hesitation in using your company again or recommending it to others. Thank you all very much.Mrs S – Copthorne
From first entering the showroom, we were impressed with the knowledge, experience and patience in dealing with all of our flooring related queries. Now our new floor is in place and it really does bring the room to life. Thanks very much for a friendly and professional service.Mrs M, Lewes
Our new floor looks amazing! Thank you so much. We’ve found you all a delight to work with and the whole teams’ skill level and obvious knowledge about your products, has meant we’ve been able to select exactly the right floor for us.Mrs K – Haywards Heath
Many thanks for all of your hard work in sourcing everything required, we realise that this was no easy task at times and appreciate your tenacity and patience.Miss C – Haywards Heath
We just feel very pleased with the finished project and just wanted to say thank you for a job well done!Mr & Mrs W – Coulsdon
I would like to take this opportunity to say how delighted we are with the flooring and with the efficiency and friendliness of the fitters. We would have no hesitation in recommending your company to anyone.Mr B – Haywards Heath