+  What different species do you have in your flooring collection?

Solid Floor sells over 30 different species of timber. But when you combine that with the range of different finishes we offer in oak and other popular timbers this means we have over 200 different flooring options. We draw the line at selling rare species such as mahogany or rosewood or timbers that do not come from reputable sources and properly managed forests.

+  What are the benefits of engineered timber over solid flooring?

We sell most of our timber floors in solid and engineered versions so we have no axe to grind. However, in almost every case an engineered floor will be a better product because it is much more dimensionally stable than a solid timber floor. This dimensional stability allows us to create wider plank floors which can then be used in more challenging environments such as humid basements, on top of under floor heating systems or in conjunction with acoustic underlays.

+  Do engineered timber floors look different from solid timber floors?

Our well-made engineered floors look no different to their solid timber equivalent once they have been installed. The most common misconception is that solid floors will last longer. But often, the wearing layer on a solid timber floor is the same thickness as a wearing layer on an engineered floor and so there is no difference.

+  Are timber floors suitable for any kind of room?

Yes they are; unless a room is damp or subject to extremes of heat and cold. We sell floors for kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms, hallways, staircases, basements, lofts etc. We can even recommend some timbers for bathrooms. We may suggest particular species for a bathroom and recommend certain types of finishes for kitchens and bathrooms.

+  How can I request a sample?

Samples are available to order online which are sent out on Monday and Wednesday. Due to the cost of postage, the number of hand samples we can post for any one request is limited to two. We also loan out our large sample panels from the showrooms. This is the best way to appreciate the beauty of our timber floors. Hand samples, by virtue of their small size can only give a hint of the colour of a floor.

+  What is a site survey and why is it necessary?

As part of the process for generating a quote, we offer a free site survey. We do this not simply to give you a confirmed price to supply and install your new timber floor, but also to inspect site conditions and spot any potential details that would involve the flooring. Generally, the survey is carried out after your showroom visit and any initial estimate we work out, based on your flooring choice and plans or drawings you have sent us. We do not need to survey your property if you are only buying the materials from us. In that case, we would advise you to have your installer confirm the quantities of materials required.

+  Do you have a showroom?

We have two showrooms in West and East London. Our West Showroom in Marylebone is open Monday - Friday 10.30am-6pm and Saturdays between 10.30am -5pm. Our East Showroom, just off Columbia Road, is open Monday - Friday 10.30am - 6pm and 10am - 2pm on Sundays. We can be open in the early evenings too by appointment.

+  How long will my timber floor last?

Our timber floors, properly looked after, will last a lifetime. We offer a 25 year guarantee. Floors with at least a 3mm wear layer can be sanded once or twice. Floors with a 5-6mm wear layer can be sanded at least 3 or 4 times. When our floors are properly maintained they may never need sanding at all, so you can see why we are confident of the longevity of our floors.

+  Can we have a timber floor and underfloor heating?

Yes, most of our engineered timber floors are suitable for installation in conjunction with under floor heating. A few timber species are not recommended and we will want to know more specific information about your project so we can advise you more fully.

+  What is the difference between a prime, select, natural and rustic grade?

Timber is graded according to certain international definitions and standards. This will vary from species to species. With European oak this is what you can expect; Prime grade – the timber surface will be free from knots except the smallest pinhole knots. The timber will also be free of sapwood and have the greatest colour uniformity. Although some variation of colour is acceptable. Prime grade is easier to achieve when specifying narrower and shorter planks. Select grade – knots up to 20mm diameter are acceptable. Overall there will be fewer knots in the floor than in a natural or rustic grade. A select grade will give a sophisticated look and the natural characteristics of the timber such as colour and grain pattern variation will be evident. Natural grade – knots up to 40mm in size are acceptable. Sap wood is also allowed. Some knots will be resin filled. The natural characteristics of a timber floor shine through. This is the most popular grade of oak used for timber floors. Rustic grade – knots up to 60mm are acceptable. Large, unsound knots will be resin filled. Other natural flaws in the timber may also be evident such as small end splits and shakes. This grade of oak is often specified when creating a reclaimed-look floor or if a floor with lots of character is required.

Read more in our Journal: What is grading in timber flooring?

+  What is a bevel and what choice of bevel do I have?

Timber planks can come with a squared edge or a bevelled edge – bevelled implies a slight rounding off of the plank edge on the long sides. Generally planks with a squared edge are used when we are sanding the floor after installation. Pre-finished floors tend to come with a bevelled edge – the standard option is micro bevelled which equates to 0.5mm-1mm rounded off each long plank edge. The effect creates a visible – 'v' groove between each plank when the floor is installed. A more defined larger bevel is an option for some of our ranges.

+  What does 'reclaimed look' mean?

Most of our floors can be ordered with a 'reclaimed look'. This means the timber is new rather than genuinely reclaimed from an existing property however, using hand finishing techniques we can scrape the edges of the planks, distress the surface and create an aged-looking patina which combines to create an authentic, reclaimed look floor. We have installed reclaimed look floors in Georgian townhouses, listed period properties and stately homes as well as modernist apartments and glass box extensions.

Read more in our Journal: Reclaimed look floors - what are they?

+  What finish do you recommend?

We can supply you with a floor finished with oil, lacquer or wax. If you want a timber surface that is easy to maintain, has a natural look with a deep lustre and avoids the nasty, plastic look and feel of a cheap wooden floor, then we would recommend a hard wax oiled finish.

+  How do I keep my timber floor clean?

At Solid Floor we prefer low maintenance, hard wax oiled finishes which are easy to keep clean. We recommend that you follow our 'Care and Maintenance' instructions which we supply with every floor we sell. Timber floors should be vacuumed or swept to remove the daily dirt and grit. We also suggested you use barrier matting at the front door. Coir mats look great alongside a timber floor. When washing a timber floor you should avoid sloshing too much water on the surface. Best to use a damp mop, tightly wrung out, in conjunction with the recommended cleaning products. Our after-sales care is top notch. We are always happy to help with any questions you may have.

+  Do you sand and refurbish timber floors?

If your existing timber floor is looking tired and needs refreshing we can quote to sand it for you. Or if you lift a carpet and want to sand the original pine floorboards underneath we can help with this too.

+  Do you install timber floors, and how long will it take?

We install any of the floors we sell. We recommend you use us to install the floor as we understand the product better than anyone else and can ensure the floor is laid to the highest standard. General builders will often install floors but they can never do as good a job as a professional, specialist floor fitter. Solid Floor will manage the whole process for you, our experienced eye and commitment to quality craftsmanship will ensure an excellent job. When we quote for the fitting we will give you an estimate of how long a job will take. We can install a timber floor in a typical 3-40m² living room within 3-4 days.

+  Should I acclimatise my timber floor boards before installation?

All timber floors are moisture and humidity sensitive. It is important to check that the moisture content of the timber planks is in equilibrium with the environment in which they will be installed. If they are not there is a risk that the new floor will shrink or expand beyond the norm. To help protect against this most solid timber planks should be acclimatised for about 7 days ahead of installation. Most engineered planks need less time around 2-3 days. However, there is little point in acclimatising the timber if the heating in the house is not working or the rooms are being plastered. To avoid costly mistakes its best to consult a professional about how to deal with site conditions and acclimatisation of timber. If Solid Floor installs the floor for you we will check all of these details.

+  What are the various timber floor installation options?
Glue bonding, floating and secret nailing are the main methods to install a timber floor. Solid Floor will advise you of the best method for your project after having carried out a survey of your property.
+  Will my timber floor colour change?

All materials exposed to UV light will change colour over time. This natural process happens not only to your timber floor but also to painted surfaces and fabrics. The timber surface will also gradually change as it wears and acquires a patina from use and cleaning. As we have been selling timber floors for nearly 20 years we can give you good advice about the impact of time on your treasured investment.

+  Do I need sound insulation?

Please check your lease or discuss this with the managing agents if you live in a flat or an apartment. Most people living in houses converted into flats and in blocks of apartments will require some form of acoustic insulation. We can help guide you through the maze of complex acoustic products and noise reduction regulations. If we install your timber floor we can also install the acoustic products you need to satisfy the authorities.

+  How can I measure the humidity in my home?

All timber products are moisture and heat sensitive. We recommend that everyone with a timber floor should measure humidity within the home using a hygrometer. This is a discrete, digital device that gives readings of relative air humidity (RAH). Maintaining a RAH of 50-65% will minimise the shrinkage and expansion of your timber floor. It will also protect any other wooden furniture, antiques, paintings and keep you feeling healthy too! Low humidity affects timber and also causes human skin to dry, flake and crack. If measured it can be avoided!

+  Where does your timber come from?

Our oak is European and the floors are manufactured and finished in Europe too. We source other timber species from across the globe but all from reputable and well managed sources. Where possible we use timbers certificated by the FSC and PEFC competency schemes. If you have any particular questions about our timber sourcing, please get in touch.

+  What is FSC and PEFC?

FSC (Forest Stewardship Council)® and PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) are international organisations promoting responsible forest management. To carry the FSC and PEFC labels, timber and wood fibre products have to be recognisable as coming from a certified source at all points in the supply chain from raw material to the consumer. Chain of Custody (CoC) certification connects responsible forest management practices with consumers. It provides a consistent, international basis for claims about the sourcing of wood and wood fibre products. Solid Floor's FSC CoC certification code is: CU-COC-828136 Solid Floor's PEFC CoC certification code is: CU-PEFC-828136. By selecting timber from responsibly managed forests we are using natural resources without destroying the ecological balance.

+  Do you hold stock?

Most of our timber floors are made to order to give you the freedom to choose the plank size, timber colour, grade and finish that best suits your project. Occasionally we hold some floors in stock and they may be part of a special promotion so do call the showrooms and ask.

+  What is the lead-time on your timber floors?

If a floor is being made to order our lead time is usually 8-9 weeks from the payment of the deposit. However, if you need a floor quicker, then please contact us by phone or email, with your requirements and we will see what we can do.

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