How To Level Sub-Floors Before Timber Flooring Installation

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Level off your sub-floor for perfect timber floor installation

In ideal environments, the sub-floor or foundation will be perfectly flat and level across both planes.

Typically most sub floors or concrete slabs have dips and hollows which need to be minimised as best as possible to achieve a high end finished floor product.

These can occur through many factors such as natural warping or installation errors.

Taking the time to get an even level sub floor or slab will make the timber floor board installation easier, and the finish will be pristine.

This also cuts down on the time required for the floor sanding process during floor board installation.

So this article we look at some options for getting that level sub floor.

Grinding Flat

These days homes are constructed using concrete slabs as the floor foundation. If your foundation has been properly set by timber flooring professionals, the finish concrete will be as close to level as possible.

There will inevitably be some areas requiring grinding and or filling to level off the surface.

Most cases grinding out the hills will be sufficient.

As concrete slabs are quite thick, taking down the hills with a concrete grinding machine won’t effect the overall strength and will provide a workable solution.

Where yellow tongue boards are installed, care must be taken to have the boards laid level and even, so as to minimise the requirement for grinding or sanding hills flat.

Although grinding down concrete floors sounds simple, this requires a great level of experience and skill.

There is specialised equipment used during the process.

A walk behind heavy duty grinder with diamond blades will give you the best results for large areas.

Self Levelling Liquid

Self levelling liquid can be used in areas of concrete slabs that have dropped over time and require building back up to achieve a height level with the rest of the room or area.

Whilst timber battens can be shimmed and levelled off to get an even height, there may be times where the concrete slab in older houses require additional repairs first with the use of a high quality self levelling compound.

Where self levelling compound is used on wood, make sure to prime the wood first.

The floor will be covered with a water saturated leveller, which will cause the wood structure to swell.

Once it dries, the wood will shrink back and could cause warping or twisting.

The primer prevents the wood structure from absorbing any water.

Timber Blocks & Plywood Shims

The typical method of achieving a level floor is by using timber blocks or plywood shims underneath the timber floor battens.

The most basic method of installation is to take plywood shims and slide them underneath the battens before fixing to the concrete slab.

To get away with using this method, the concrete slab will have to be very level and only require minor height adjustment.

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Timber Joists

For sub floors on timber joists, it is possible to achieve a level and even surface by jacking the floor joists and placing shims or timber blocks underneath.

Generally only required in older timber joist and bearer constructions where the floor structure has sunk over time.

Although it can be labour intensive, raising the height of the floor joists can give the best result for the overall space.

Where existing timber foundations have begun to sink over time, this may require an inspection by structural engineers to determine if there is further long term problems to consider.

So these are just some of the methods available for levelling off your sub floor structure prior to installing timber floor boards.

Spending the time in this early stage will yield the absolute best results for your finished polished timber flooring.

Now its over to you.

What methods do you think are best for your floor application?

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6 Unique Timber Floor Shapes & Designs

Unique Timber Floor Shapes & Designs For Your Inspiration

Sometimes bringing life to your home can be as simple as being a little bold with your flooring choice.

We scoured the internet to find some interesting timber flooring shapes & design layouts to inspire you to be creative with your next flooring project

Wood Puzzle Flooring

An ideal option for homeowners who prefer to retain the traditional look of hardwood flooring but also would like to add an element of character and personality, this wood puzzle type floor is made by laser cutting a floor tone into a puzzle shape. The floor would be a great addition to a playroom for the kids, games rooms, home theatres and much more.

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Biscuit Parquet

Creating this collection the designer has freely played with the lines and the shapes of the traditional parquet layout until the result was an elegant, somewhat minimalistic pattern with soft lines and playful spirit.

Rethinking traditional wood floors, where rounded, bevelled and curved boards along with a slight “bombé” effect of the surface create a new language. The smooth cut of the boards allow one to play with new designs and compositions, which although similar to the classic patterns of ancient wooden floors, give life to modern and original herringbone, diagonal or full length geometries.

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Cordwood Flooring

Having a strong design in your home can be born with the use of a unique design layout. Creating a design that attracts attention and turns the whole look of your interior into something new and original can be hard to find. We think however this design will be best described as head turning. It is a beautiful rustic cordwood flooring, made by Sunny Pettis Lutz in her own home.
She managed to create the flooring herself and the outcome is simply gorgeous. The cordwood used for the flooring comes from dead trees. She used 2 different types of Juniper wood and created an amazing decoration piece in her home that will surely stand the test of time and will inspire others to follow in her footsteps.

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Pallet Timber Floors

Ever thought about using pallet timber for your flooring choice. Well this example may persuade in this direction. The longevity of your floor really depends on how much foot traffic it will receive on a daily basis. However, this is nothing to be overly concerned about. Even with regular activity, provided you maintain your floors, you will only experience a very slight deterioration over time. Certainly giving large amounts of character to any space, with the choice of leaving it in its natural form or perhaps applying a stain & gloss finish.. However, wooden pallet flooring does have a unique advantage. If a section gets damaged, its super easy to replace that area with leftovers from when you built the floor! Even if you didn’t have any leftovers, you could easily find more and do a DIY replacement in a short time.

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Timber Mixed With Tiles

We think this is very creative! The design takes the use of the elements to another level of greatness. Taking such advantage of high end to create this stunning entrance. I love everything about this project!

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Geometrical Shapes

Mandi from ‘Vintage Revivals’ created this DIY geometric wood floor project for a trailer remodel, but there is no reason you can’t use it in your home. This project would be best for a small space, again more like a kids playroom or games room, as it is more intricate. The design would lift the feel of the room with its charm no doubt.

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How To Sand Timber Floors – Our Complete Process

Timber Floor Sanding

So you’ve decided to install timber flooring in your new home or perhaps are bringing back to life your existing…which is fantastic.

Timber is a wonderful product and when laid as a timber floor it feels and looks great.

Polished timber floors has a natural richness and beauty which will ad value to your home or property.

Polished timber floors have many advantages:

• Easy to clean – Unlike carpet timber floors do not stain. Attract allergen’s or dust mites, or retain odours.
• Compared to concrete or tiles, they’re soft under foot
• Excellent value for money as they will often last the life of the building and can be maintained cost effectively with a resurface if necessary
• Eco friendly when recycled timber is used.

The complete project of laying, sanding & polishing floorboards can be tricky and costly if you make mistakes.

Freedom Flooring has years of experience sanding floors in Newcastle and we following a tight process to ensure we produce a high quality polished timber flooring.

Our techniques and processes are explained in this step by step series with attached video from Hire Tech Australia, leading sanding equipment supplier.

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Knowing the size of the room or total floor area is important.
Simply split out the total flooring area into separate rooms, then multiply the width and the length. Add the together to get your total floor space in square metres.

For instance a room size of 4m wide x 3.6m long would equal 14.4m2.

This would require one 4 litre can.

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We take safety seriously with every project. Taking short cuts can lead to accidents or errors.

• Always follow safety instructions carefully.
• Wear dust masks, safety glasses and ear plugs.
• Un plug sanding equipment when not in use and when changing out sanding belts.
• Keep machinery away from children and un trained personnel.
• When sanding, keep all power leads out of the path of sanding equipment.
• After sanding, store all saw dust away from the property as its extremely combustible.
• During the coating process, always ensure the rooms are well ventilated.

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To have a professional looking timber floor, its vital the correct tools and machinery are used in the correct procedures.

Trying to sand and polish floor boards without the proper equipment can lead to poor finished or even destroying sections.

Equipment we will use on your flooring project are:
• Drum or belt sander
• Edging sander
• Orbital sander
• Hammer & punch set
• Putty knife and putty
• Pinch bars
• Scraper
• Sanding paper & belts
• Vacuum cleaner
• Dust masks, safety glasses & ear plugs
• Garbage bags

sanding-timber-floors-preparation

Preparation is key to achieving a high end finished product. Taking shortcuts here will result in a poor finish and most likely will require the entire process be redone.

• Remove all existing carpet or floor coverings.
• Carefully remove all edge staples and tacks, trying not to lever down too hard on the timber floor boards.
• Ensure the floor is free from wax, grease, silicons, oils and glues as these will clog up the sanding belts / paper and may cause imperfections in the coating.
• Punch all nails 3mm below the surface of the timber, but do not putty until later on.

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Before you begin sanding, it worth taking the time now to make sure everything is in order, and you have the right equipment.

• Now is the time to replace any boards that are damaged, spongy or warped.
• Go back through the equipment list to ensure you have everything required to finish the task.
• If your doing this yourself (we highly recommend calling in the professionals,) make sure you are familiar with the belt sander and understand how to operate it.
• If required, cover all surfaces, furniture and other belongings.

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• Begin sanding in a low visibility area.
• It’s not necessary to remove skirting boards. Just be very careful when sanding next to them.
• Stains may not be removed when sanding, and badly stained boards should be replaced.
• Some dark stains may leave a two toned effect on the finished boards.
• Do not leave out any of the sanding stages or sanding papers. Each stage and paper grit serves a progressive purpose If unsure we recommend using timber floor professionals.

The final appearance of your floor is greatly dependant on the evenness and smoothness once the sanding process is done.

So take great care with this.

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• Never start or stop the machine whilst the sanding belt is in contact with the floor.
• Always tilt the machine back on its rollers when starting, turning off, turning around or stopping at the end of a run.
• Change sandpaper regularly. Clogged or worn sand belts can lead to burn marks on the timber.

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Depending on your floor condition you may need to start with a 24 grit paper.

• Start sanding at 45* to the grain of the timber.
• Sand the room in both directions holding 45* to the grain.
• Once the room has been completely sanded in both directions, start sanding with the grain.
• Always sand the floor in longest possible lengths.

Once the entire room has been belt sanded with the grain, start to use the edging sander in a semi circular motion.
• Sand the boards with a 40 grit paper.
• Once edge sanding has been completed with 40 grit paper, change the belt sander over to 60 grit and further sand the entire room with the grain.
• Complete the edge sanding again, this time with 60 grit paper.

It’s a good time now to vacuum the floors thoroughly.

Minimising dust will ensure zero imperfections when coating.

Once vacuumed:

• Change over the belt sander to 120 grit paper.
• Finish off with the orbital sander using 120 -150 grit paper.

This is a very crucial stage as all sanding marks are removed and the edge sanding is blended in.

Vacuum floor again thoroughly, and wipe down all places where dust can settle.

coating-timber-floors-preparation

• Ensure floors are clean using a lint free cloth.
• Coatings are applied best when all surfaces are at the same optimal temperature.
• Always clean brushes and rollers to remove loose fibres which could end up in your finish.
• Don’t go over the same area too much as this could create air bubbles.
• Good ventilation and humidity are critical to the curing process of the coating.
• Coats applied to thick can cause curing problems.

The optimal temperature for application, drying and curing is in the range between 15*C – 30*C and 40%-75% humidity.

coating-timber-floors-process

• Begin applying the coating on the edges and hard to reach areas with a small brush.
• Apply the first coat of the finish with a roller working away from one edge of the room.
• Apply the finish in the direction of the grain and working the entire length.
• Apply each coat ensuring they’re not too thin or too thick, as this gives the best results and allow the coat to dry and cure properly.
• Avoid going over the same area too much.
• Always work towards the room exit.
• When the floor coating is dry, lightly sand with the orbital sander between coats.
• Apply the second and third coat in the same manner as the first.
• For a Satin finish, apply the first two coats with a gloss and then only the third with a Satin.

After 24 hours after finish coating, the timber floors should be right for light foot traffic.No shoes…Socks only.

Wait until a week later before walking with street shoes and using cleaning products.

And that is our process.

You can watch the video Hire Tech Australia Have presented for a full run down of the Floor Sanding Process.

Sanding and coating timber floors can be tricky at best for the un trained.

Freedom Flooring can provide you with expertise and information on your next timber flooring project.

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7 Creative Parquetry Timber Flooring Designs

Creative Flooring Designs for Character & Appeal

One of the many features of older homes is their beautiful timber floorboards that bring out character and style.

Trending now though is the use of timber flooring in new construction, and not so in the conventional way.

Parquetry timber flooring provides a unique and stylish option for those looking to be a little bold in their design choices.

It’s a great way to add personality to your home renovation or new home construction.

Of course you should consider factors such as cost, appearance and wear whilst ensuring your design fits in with the furnishings and your lifestyle.

For inspiration, we have compiled 7 beautiful parquetry-flooring designs for you to marvel.

7 Creative Parquetry Flooring Ideas

Contrasting Tones

We absolutely love the dark rich tones contrasting against the light furnishings and paint colour scheme. The flooring gives a rustic feel in a stylish and elegant setting.

Whatever its setting, parquetry flooring just refuses to look dated or out of place.

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Style & Elegance

This entrance would otherwise look plain & simple, however the use of herringbone parquetry flooring has lifted it’s appeal and style.

Although herringbone & chevron are the traditional types used, modern advancements in technology now allow for laser cut designs customized to your liking

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Contrasting Borders

A different take on the standard chevron style is this design incorporating a border or framed piece with contrasting tones.

It introduces a range of tones, adds depth and visual interest to this space.

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Open Plan Living

The classic chevron design style. Sometimes defining a space in open plan living is difficult. Add interest and appeal without being to bold.

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Contrasting Finishes

Combining contrasting finishing processes, Haze floors are subtle yet stunning, including metalised washes within the finish to achieve a floor of true class.

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True Elegance

This collection incorporates a mixture of gold and silver metal which is inlaid into the wood grain. The effect is a more subtle, softer metal colour than pure silver or gold. The ratio of silver and gold used in this collection can be adjusted to achieve the exact metal tone desired.

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Rustic Charm

Skinny but long spaces to work with are tricky to dress & impress. This hallway with only one colour scheme and minimal space for furnishings would look bland and perhaps uninviting.

The variation of chevron styled parquetry flooring with its old & rustic feel has personalised this space on so many levels.

There is a range of shades, depth and visual interest whilst bringing warmth & character.

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Tired of the boring, old, single-toned option that carpet provides?

Spice up your family home with parquetry flooring.

The stylish pattern timbered choice of parquetry flooring has been used for centuries on some of the world’s oldest and most famous buildings. The timeless presentation of this patterned timber flooring ensures your home will never go out of style.

We can meet you at your home to discuss flooring options, so contact us or view other flooring projects on our freedom flooring website.

Hardwood Flooring Colours | Light Vs Dark

With many different colour options available, let’s look at the pros and cons of dark hardwood flooring Vs light hardwood floors.

Whilst there are many advantages for having a specific type of colour (which we will touch on further into this article), there really is no one specific colour that’s suits all.

It really does come down to your own personal choice or preference.

Most likely the choice of timber floor colour will depend upon your furniture choices; however it’s important to remember there will be people who have similar colour tastes as some that don’t.

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To make life a little easier, we recommend asking yourself some of these following questions to factor what colour may be suitable for your property:

  1. What is your home and décor style?
  2. Are your room sizes large or small?
  3. How much light enters into the rooms?
  4. What are your wall colours or preferences?
  5. How often do you clean your floors?
  6. Do you have pets?
  7. What do you like and don’t like?

Other considerations to be made are new trends in timber floor board sizes.

The new trends are seeing wider, longer boards. Carlisle Wide Plank Floors makes mention that “The design trends today is to minimise the number of joins on the floor, which is only accomplished using wider, ,longer floor boards”.

When considering your colour choice, make sure to determine how it would look in the latest trends of wider, longer boards.

At this stage you may already have a particular type of colour in mind…light or dark.

There are many pros and cons to both, and it’s important to consider them all.

Advantage & Disadvantages with Light or Dark Coloured Hardwood Floors

 

Which shows up scratches more – Light or Dark?

Without proper care both light & dark flooring will scratch, however it is more common for dark hardwood flooring to show scratches more.

Where dark colours are present, they’re usually given that appearance through the use of timber stains.

When scratches occur, the underlying natural timber colour shows through and contrasts the darker top level stain.

When planning for a timber floor refurbish it’s important to make note of the high traffic areas and conclude how that may have an effect on wear & tear as well as unsightly scratches.

Pets in the house will almost certainly scratch a polished hardwood timber floor, so keep this in mind when deciding between light or dark colours.

 

What shades of colours are best suited to pets – particularly dogs?

As just previously mentioned, pets in the house will scratch hardwood flooring

…In particular large dogs.

Dogs typically like to claw into the ground surface for grip.

If you have family pets in the house, consider light coloured flooring, otherwise you may need to negotiate with your hardwood timber floor installer to apply additional layers of the clear polyurethane top coating.

 

Which costs more – dark or light hardwood floors?

The cost of the project will depend upon numerous circumstances; however there are two factors to consider when comparing prices against dark or light colours.

And they are:

Pre-finished or raw timber

Pre-finished hardwood floors (commonly called engineered flooring) will have similar costs between light or dark colours though they’re may be a slight difference between brands.

Raw timber hardwood species prices vary across the range.

In most cases natural light coloured timber species are less expensive than their darker counterparts. Typically the requirement of colour stain increases the value.

Other options include white-wash or grey stains. These will have a profound effect in the increase in price.

 

Conclusion

In 2017 dark floors are in trend.

They’re more stylish and can hide minor imperfections. White décor is very popular amongst interior designers, and the darker hardwood floors compliment them brilliantly to provide a fresh and open feel to any space.

Still having seconds thoughts on colour choice for your next flooring project?

Visit our official timber flooring website http://www.freedomflooring.com.au for more information.

Tips for Laying Hardwood Timber Flooring Over Concrete Slab

How To Prep Concrete Slab For Hardwood Flooring

Changing the floor of your home seems like an exciting idea. Not only will it give the house a new look, but it can also complement the home’s overall interior. Hardwood flooring is a good option for a lot of homes. Hardwood timber flooring is guaranteed durable and is low maintenance. However, without any knowledge of its installation, it can easily be a nightmare for you.

Installing hardwood flooring on top of a concrete slab shouldn’t be a complicated process. It can be done by contractors, or even yourself, as long as you have the right tools and a bit of knowledge on its installation. Many Newcastle home owners have taken on the projects themselves, and whilst we always recommend using professional timber flooring installers to complete the project, we have put together some tips for DIY projects.

Image via https://www.flickr.com/photos/dustyjackman/

image via https://www.flickr.com/photos/dustyjackman/

Here are some of our tips for preparing concrete before laying your hardwood timber floor:

Prepping the floor

If you are using an old floor, and it has previous paint, you’ll have no other option but to remove it. By eliminating the paint, it ensures that the adhesive is going to stick to your concrete. For this particular part of the job, you will need the right tools that can take the paint out.

Pay close attention to the moisture of concrete

If you are dealing with hardwood floor, keep in mind that it can expand once moisture gets involved. This is the reason why you don’t want it constantly exposed to wetness. You have to keep in mind that new concrete is filled with moisture.

It takes around a month before moisture testing could even begin if it is new concrete. If you decided to work in your home, it is important that you don’t hurry the installation of hardwood floor on new concrete. You can hasten the process of decreasing the moisture in new concrete by proper ventilation and drying.

Preventive moisture control

One measure that you can do to prevent moisture from getting to your hardwood floor is by installing a polyethylene sheet over the concrete. This step prevents migration of moisture that comes from the concrete into your floor.

Consider the height

If you are going to compare installing solid timber flooring on concrete slab relative to a wood subfloor, the former is more complicated. It is imperative that you make use of underlayment which can increase the height of the floor by around 40mm. It is important that the additional height won’t be a problem on your cabinet and your doors.

If the 40mm extra height for your floor is a bit too much for the door and cabinets, consider scrapping the idea of using hardwood floor. Instead, stick with a laminated wood floor instead. This option will most likely just give your floor an additional 20mm. This option is also easier to install, not to mention, cheaper.

Our team at Freedom Flooring can help you manage the tasks in preparing for a hardwood flooring over concrete. Click here to view our full service details.