Warm and timeless, parquet also has the advantage of being able to go with all styles. An easy choice. On the surface… Because you just have to start inquiring to understand that this decision is not going to be so simple. Solid or laminated? Floating or glued installation? Oiled or varnished? The questions are linked. And no question of making a mistake, buying parquet is often a choice that engages for many years. It will have to withstand the weather, the fashions, the New Year’s parties and the youngest’s cars.
Solid or laminated?
One of the first choices when looking for parquet is the type of plank. The solid parquet consists of a single species. The laminate, it is composed of three layers: that of the top in noble wood (oak, walnut, cherry …), it is called wear layer or facing, then there is the central core in wood (softwood for example ) or wood derivatives then the backing, usually made of softwood, which ensures the stability of the blade. What makes the quality of a laminated parquet is, among other things, the thickness of its wear layer, the thicker it is, the longer the parquet will have a long service life.
Often, the budget guides the choice because the solid is generally more expensive than the laminated.
But it is above all the final destination and its use over time that determines the choice of parquet.
Solid parquet can be renovated several times and has a longer service life. As for the laminated parquet, it offers better stability. Protected by its two sub-layers, the wooden siding will not move if it encounters possible rising damp. This is why we strongly recommend it on the ground floor, especially if there is no crawl space. And for underfloor heating, nothing like a laminate for better thermal transmission. Glued only!
Oak, chestnut or bamboo?
If in France, oak is king when it comes to choosing a parquet, there are many different species, each with their specificities. Resistance, durability, technical properties, grain pattern, color, each wood has its own qualities. Merbau and bamboo are for example recommended for damp rooms. Douglas-fir, a softwood native to North America and present in Europe, is prized for its pink color and its resistance. We think to check that the parquet we choose has a label, PEFC or FSC, guaranteeing that it comes from eco-managed forests.
It is not only the color of the wood that comes into play. There are many treatments or finishes (stained, thermo-heated, painted, patinated, deformed, worn…) that allow a wide range of renderings ranging from the wood aspect raw or natural, with an aged look, passing through gray, white tones… It all depends on the style you want.
Floating or glued installation?
As its name suggests, glued parquet is simply … glued to the floor. In the case of floating installation, the planks are clipped together and there is air between the parquet and the floor.
Laying in point of Hungary, broken sticks or English?
The point of Hungary, or chevron, is emblematic of grand style homes or Haussmanians and gives style to modern interiors. The installation with a broken stick is not very different, but instead of being cut at 45 ° (sometimes a little more), the blades are assembled at right angles.
Finally, the most common is the English pose. It is the one that allows the least falls. We start laying in a corner of the room then we assemble them to the opposite wall. At the end of the row, the last blade is cut. Then we start again.
Oiled or varnished?
Purists who wish to keep a “living” wood will opt for an oiled finish. It allows the wood to age over time and give it a natural look. On the other hand, this requires more maintenance since it is advisable to apply a layer of oil once a year, and be careful, it is better to mop up quickly if you spill a glass. Varnished parquet floors are a little more resistant to stains and maintenance is less frequent. By being film-forming, the varnish allows the wood to retain its appearance over the years. Today there are matt varnishes that compete with the oiled appearance. On the other hand, when the surface is no longer protected or scratched, everything must be sanded and then varnished again. Oiled parquet has the advantage of being able to treat by zone.
Large widths or small slats?
To make it simple, we recommend rather wide blades in large spaces and small blades in small spaces. You can also choose long blade lengths, especially for lofts. Finally, you can also opt for parquet with planks of different widths.
First choice, end grain or wagon bottom?
What is called the first choice is a knotless parquet because the wood comes only from the heart of the tree. It’s simple, the more there are visible knots, the more the price drops … It is also a question of appearance and taste, depending on whether you prefer a smooth parquet, without any irregularity or on the contrary a floor with lively and authentic character, which assumes the defects of the wood (knots, shades of color…).
You can also choose an original type of parquet, but very resistant: end grain. The wood is then cut across its width to obtain cubes, which are placed like pavers. Finally, if you want a very vintage look, opt for recycled wood from old wagon bases.
Cork or polyurethane underlay?
Whether you opt for a glued or floating installation, an underlay is recommended to both isolate noise and cold. The difference is made on the decibels, and on its environmental convictions. There are polyurethane, rubber, wood fiber . Up to you.
Baseboards, what you need to know
Wood is a material that moves with temperature and humidity. To prevent it from curling (we say curling), we leave expansion spaces at the edge of the walls. To camouflage them, we put plinths. Some people leave the existing baseboards so as not to have to repaint the walls. In this case we put a plinth. An easy solution that we do not recommend, the rendering is always a bit tinkered. And changes When you change the floor you often want to repaint the walls in stride. On the look side, there are different heights of baseboards. The larger they are, the more opulent the room will look. A good tip in interiors that lack a bit of charm.