The historic Aberdeen
Music Hall has been restored and redeveloped by architects BDP. The Category A
listed concert hall has been completely refurbished and now includes a
performance studio, creative learning space and a café/bar.
Nearly 1,500m2 of our solid Nordic Beech Classic flooring has been fitted as part of the transformation, including in the impressive 1,300 seat auditorium, which now has step-free access to all levels. Nordic Beech with its white pigmented finish offers a light and bright backdrop to the interior and makes the most of the new architectural lighting by reflecting an abundance of light.
By specifying the same floor for much of the building, the various spaces are seamlessly connected by a unifying element. At 140mm wide, Junckers’ signature wide board, long-length floor boards really come into their own in the open spaces and circulation routes, offering a clean and elegant look. Solid beech is amongst the most hard-wearing timbers used for flooring and our pre-finished floors are well-known for their durability.
In his series of articles highlighting technical issues to do with wood flooring and woodcare, our Technical Manager Richard Aylen explains how wood dyes and colouring processes work
One of the many reasons why beautiful timber floors have been around for so long is that they blend perfectly with many styles of interior. In common with other natural materials, timber may be used next to a wide variety of other colours and textures. The colours that nature provides are very familiar to most of us, but we can create even more choices by using stains, textures and colouring processes.
What options are there if you’re looking for a floor with a coloured finish? It might be a new floor or refurbishment of an old one – there are a few popular choices, each with its own pros and cons.
For refurbishments, a decision must be made if the products to be used will be from one manufacturer that are guaranteed to work together. Alternatively, there is the option to “mix and match” using wood dye from one supplier and lacquer from another. If the latter method is chosen, the flooring contractor needs to guarantee that the products offered are compatible. If in doubt, always do a test area and be aware of the risk that manufacturers sometimes alter formulations… so what works today may not necessarily work tomorrow. The timber species may also affect the result. Some water-based finishes may not perform well on naturally oily tropical hardwoods, but will be perfectly fine on traditional species such as oak and ash.
Let’s look at some of the choices that are available for customers who want to add colour their floors.
These will usually be water-based and used instead of a clear primer. As well as providing the desired colour, the primer will reduce the “gluing effect” that can occur with water-based finishes. A good, and very popular, example is Junckers Prelak White.
Primers provide an even, transparent “wash” effect and work well on wood that may have a patchy finish if a conventional wood dye is used e.g. maple or beech. Skill and care are needed during application to avoid overlaps, especially on darker, parquet style floors. The primer needs to be over-coated with clear lacquer and it is safest to use a lacquer recommended by the primer manufacturer.
Not strictly a coloured finish; “Invisible” primers and lacquers are fairly new to the UK market. They are used where the final colour of the floor needs to be as close as possible to bare sanded wood. Their “invisibility” works in two ways; one, that they have a very “flat” matt surface which gives the impression that the wood has no coating. Secondly, they change the colour of the wood very little. That said, these are often normal properties of many water-based primers whether marketed as “invisible or not. Best results are achieved on light coloured timbers as some colour change will be seen when applied to very dark woods.
These are low-solids, fast drying products, not to be confused with coloured varnishes or “wood stains”. They must be protected with lacquer. The “rule of thumb” is that if the wood dye is organic solvent-based, a water-based lacquer is most likely to be suitable for overcoating, and vice versa. This must not be fully relied upon though, and a test area should always be done prior to treating the whole floor. Often, the lacquer used to over-coat the dye will be from a different manufacturer.
Dyes are easy to apply using a cloth or pad and it is fairly easy to avoid overlap marks etc. They are fast drying, so the first coat of lacquer or primer can be applied soon after. Bear in mind that stained floors may be difficult to patch repair – especially if the colour has faded over time and may appear patchy on certain types of wood eg maple, beech.
Oils often produce a uniform colour on beech, maple etc. compared with wood dyes. They tend not to be prone to application issues such as roller stop marks and work well on herringbone and parquet floors. Oil can be used on its own or may be used as a primer and then over-coated with lacquer. Check that the oil is compatible with lacquer – some are not. Junckers Rustic Oils may be used either as a full treatment or over-coated with HP Commercial lacquer. Oils tend to have a longer drying time than a primer or wood dye.
The Effect of Sheen
Many customers will prefer matt finishes on textured and
coloured boards as this tends to look more natural, although this is largely a
matter of current taste.
Vacuum coloured floor boards
For a very consistent and permanent coloured finish, some types of timber lend themselves well to vacuum staining. Here, the colour of the wood itself is altered by using a chemical or staining process. This affects the board through the majority, if not all its thickness. So when the floor is sanded there is no need to re-apply the colour treatment. Fumed oak, or Black Oak, is perhaps one of the better-known examples of this. Junckers has also used this process on beech to make its Sylvaket boards, and has extended the process further by vacuum staining with water-based wood dyes.
The ever-increasing choice of finishes has led to an increased demand for ‘the perfect shade’, a perfect match to another design element of the interior. It’s always important to assess the use of the floor, estimated foot traffic and maintenance issues before recommending one choice or another – that’s where the expertise of a professional flooring contractor comes in. Our network of Approved Flooring Contractors and Approved Maintenance Contractors might be able to help!
Architects Dixon Jones specified 600m2 Junckers solid oak flooring for Marlborough Primary School, a multi award-winning building on a densely populated urban site in the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea in London.
The brief to create a primary school much larger than the original Victorian building on the existing
site challenged Dixon Jones to design a school where teaching accommodation is arranged
vertically around a series of cascading roof terraces. With nursery and reception classes on the
ground, children progress upwards through the building the older they get, with the junior years
arranged on the upper floors.
The interior forms an equally dynamic environment for students and staff with teaching spaces arranged around communal halls and generous circulation areas. A large main hall and multi-use space flooded with natural light from two central roof lights, features Junckers wide board oak flooring throughout, providing a natural, unifying backdrop. Junckers’ FSC and PEFC certified floors are a durable, long-lasting choice with low lifecycle costs. Made in solid wood, the floor can be sanded and re-finished multiple times without losing its good looks or performance, ideal for a thriving community school.
Main contractor: Mace; Joinery contractor: Swift Crafted; Photography: Paul Riddle.
Spanish City pleasure dome, a Grade II listed building which has been completely transformed and restored in 2018. It features an incredible domed ceiling in a rotunda, with a large open space and a circular balcony plus three restaurant areas elsewhere in the building – all fitted with Junckers’ Black Oak floor.
We’re absolutely delighted to announce that together with our Approved Contractor Stenhouse Flooring, we have won the 2019 Contract Flooring Journal / Contract Flooring Association Award for ‘Best use of flooring in a visitors attraction’ with our Spanish City pleasure dome project.
An extraordinary project with a complicated flooring installation featuring a concentric dodecagon pattern where the lines of the flooring on the balcony continues in the circular floor on the level below. On the balcony, the mitred boards run from column to column and downstairs from columns on the outer circle, where there is a step down, towards a centre point in the middle fitted with a small section of paler oak (just visible underneath the grand piano in the main image). There are 12 identical sections that form the circle, each segment overhung, angles adjusted to fit perfectly with the previous piece, mirrored in all sections. Every mitre was hand cut and hand routered, grooved with false tongue so the whole floor is connected. Over 2000 cuts in total. On completion a final coat of finishing oil was applied by hand.
The work to approximately nine weeks and required two highly skilled floor layers. The floor is finished with Junckers oil to allow for spot repairs without much downtime and minimal disruption.
The Lima 2019 Pan American Games are in full swing! After the Olympics, this is the second largest sporting event in the world. We’re proud to have supplied our A3 Portable Sports Flooring for the Games, already being put to good use as the basketball teams battle it out on court.
A total of 2800m2 our 22mm solid hardwood flooring complete with a fully sprung area elastic sub-construction has been installed on two basketball courts, and will be used again for one wheelchair basketball court and one wheelchair rugby court at the Parapan American Games which take place 23 August – 11 September.
Working with installation partner Recoma of Brazil, Junckers’ Technical Team were on site during the 12-hour overnight installation. During the Games, the floors will be taken up and moved twice, complete with line markings and customised with the Games’ logos each time.
Junckers A3 Portable Sports Floor made in solid beech offers a professional, flexible option for a wide variety of sporting events. The flooring system fully conforms to EN 14904 standard with good shock absorption and ball bounce and works perfectly when a low construction height is required. A portable, professional grade sports floor from Junckers can be used again and again; an ideal choice as many of the large arenas used for big sporting events are temporary structures.
Metropolis, one of Norway’s leading interior design and interior architecture
firms, designed their own offices in central Oslo, the design concept took them
on a journey around the world, bringing different cultures, colours, sounds and
smells under one roof to create an inspirational, creative working environment.
dividing the space into different zones, which each have a different feel and
purpose – flexible working stations both for teams and individuals; dedicated
project and meeting rooms and a more relaxed and informal section which serves
as a material library and social area, Metropolis created a workspace which in
itself is a ‘tool’ in their creative process.
solid Black Oak Herringbone flooring has been installed throughout, an elegant
floor for an elegantly designed space. We especially adore the confident
pairing of our dark floors with dark walls, continued in the furniture, wall
panelling, accessories and more.
Our Approved Contractor Courtcraft has installed a gigantic sports floor at University of Hull’s new sports facility, one of the largest in the country. Working in collaboration with Henry Boot Construction, Courtcraft supplied and installed 2600m2 of our SylvaSport Premium sports flooring system.
The multi-purpose hall has been fitted with an A4 rated, sprung solid timber floor, in accordance with the specification recommendations issued by Sport England and the ESFA, the Government’s Education & Skills Funding Agency. The solid wood floor boards were laid onto our New Era cradle and batten system, with double battening installed underneath the area where retractable seating was to be positioned in order to spread the loading weight. Courtcraft’s partners MJ Courtmarkers line-marked the floor for badminton, basketball, netball and volleyball use, sealed with a topcoat of Junckers HP Sport lacquer.
With the correct care and maintenance, this floor will last for a lifetime. Our floors are known for their exceptional longevity – they can be sanded and re-finished eight to ten times without losing their looks or performance. With 12-year intervals between sandings, a typical lifespan of 60 years will comfortably be exceeded. Compared with a typical 15-year life of a synthetic or “engineered” floor, there really is no comparison in terms of life cycle cost – the numbers speak for themselves.
Courtcraft will be back at University of Hull working with Henry Boot Construction in the summer to refurbish and existing maple hardwood sports floor as well as a multi-purpose studio floor. The job will involve replacing damaged boards, sanding both floors back to a smooth, open grain and sealing the floors with Junckers PreLak followed by Junckers HP Sport lacquer.
A hardwood floor is one of the most environmentally friendly sports floor finishes you could hope to find. All Junckers’ timber is from properly managed forests with FSC and PEFC chain of custody certification. Timber is harvested from old, established forest areas, which are constantly replanted. Junckers floors are BREEAM A+ rated in the BRE Green Guide and have EMAS 111 and ISO 14001 Environmental Management Certification. In addition, they have low (E1) formaldehyde emissions under EN 14342. Junckers timber floors are carbon neutral and at the end of their lives they are very easy to recycle, in contrast to materials made from fossil fuels.
A feat of architectural innovation, Storey’s Field Centre & Nursery by architects MUMA has won multiple awards, including RIBA East Building of the Year, the regional Sustainability Award, Architect’s Journal ‘Design of the Year’, a shortlisting for the Stirling Prize as well as top prize at the 2018 Wood Awards. Built with sustainable, high quality materials, the building features nearly 400m2 Junckers Oak Classic flooring.
The new facility serves the community on the North West Cambridge Development, with a nursery school for 100 children and a large community hall complete with acoustics that can be adjusted to cater for a multitude of events.
The large, triple-height space in the hall is realised in wood, where the tones of the timber gradually lighten from the floor upwards. A sprung floor utilising Junckers’ 22mm Oak Classic flooring was installed over underfloor heating, derived from the district’s own combined heat and power plant. Ideal for use in a large public space, Junckers’ solid wood flooring is durable and easy to maintain, as well as FSC and PEFC certified, contributing towards the building’s environmentally sustainable profile.
Meet Richard Aylen, our Technical Manager. In a new series of technical articles, Richard will be sharing his expertise and keeping us up to date with all things wood flooring. First up, he explains the new set of guidelines set by the ESFA, The Education and Skills Funding Agency, crucial knowledge for architects, specifiers and contractors involved in building and refurbishing schools.
For schools and education facilities, there are usually three overwhelmingly important factors to consider when it comes to flooring: performance, longevity and cost. This is true for sports floors as well as for floors throughout a school, and a balance between those three factors is of crucial consideration to specifiers. If a school or education facility is applying for funding to upgrade or build new facilities, there is a new set of guidelines to follow as part of the specification process. Familiarising yourself with these new guidelines means you are well equipped to advise clients in the education sector on how best to secure funding, and crucially, end up with a high quality, high performing floor.
The Education and Skills Funding Agency, (ESFA), is an executive agency sponsored by the Department for Education. It is responsible for £58m of funding for the education and training sector, a proportion of which is dedicated to improving sports and activity facilities. To ensure public funds are properly spent, deliver both value for money and safe, high performing sports flooring, the ESFA has recently changed its design standards and of particular interest here is how their changes relate to floors for sports and multi-purpose halls.
Prior to the current phase of education spending any activity or sports hall in a school had to have a point elastic “P3” rating under EN 14904. However, the ESFA now requires Area Elastic category A3 or A4 systems. Also, the types of school hall have been more clearly defined and there are new rules relating to retractable seating.
Point Elastic P3 floors, though of low initial cost, have been deemed to be lacking in performance and safety. The softer surface can tend to “lock” the foot in place, which may result in tendon strains. The harder surface of most area elastic floors offers a “controlled slide” which allows the user to stop, but not so abruptly that the body is over-stressed. There has also been some dissatisfaction from wheelchair athletes about the higher rolling resistance of point elastic floor surfaces compared with the harder top surface provided by area elastic floors.
Area Elastic systems offer the best in terms of safety, longevity, performance and cost. They will typically have a “sprung” undercarriage of some kind with either a synthetic, engineered wood or solid hardwood playing surface.
An area elastic floor has high levels of shock absorption and vertical deformation making it a safe surface for sports, PE, dance, performance and multi-use, allowing freedom of movement and protection from injury. Users of the floor can perform at their best as they will have good ball control and consistent ball bounce. The correct friction rating allows players to move rapidly over the floor and reduces the risk of falls and strains. A floor with a timber surface is able to withstand rolling loads such as trolleys and retractable seating or if the floor is to be used for performances or exhibitions.
The ESFA requires the main halls in all secondary schools with 900 or more students to have retractable seating. Solid hardwood floors are very suitable for this however careful choice may be needed with other surfaces in order to avoid permanent indentation, rucking, delamination and permanent wheel “tracking” marks. Retractable seating systems create the possibility to host revenue-generating events and functions.
For many clients a solid hardwood floor offers the best in terms of performance, longevity, exceptionally low life cycle costs and ease of maintenance. Solid hardwood is one of the most durable surfaces available and with a typical lifespan of 60 years, it is virtually unbeatable in terms of lifecycle costs.
Whilst not a stated ESFA requirement, this choice also offers the opportunity to have a floor that is very environmentally friendly, recyclable, low carbon and makes little use of resins, adhesives and plastics. Increasingly, the final choice will often be made with some consideration as to how easily the old floor can be recycled or disposed of at the end of its life.
When it comes to maintenance, every type of floor finish suffers wear and tear and occasional damage. The specifier is faced with the choice either to specify a floor which can be refurbished or one that must be replaced when it is worn. Solid hardwood floors will often need to be refurbished by sanding and sealing after 15 years or so, which is very similar to the service life of a synthetic or engineered floor. Manufacturers will often help designers with life cycle cost information and weighing up initial cost against the cost of maintaining the floor through its life. The differences between one type of product and another can be considerable.
This really isn’t something you see every day – a wooden floor installed in a circular pattern, a concentric dodecagon (yes, we had to look it up too!) to be precise. The famous Spanish City in Whitley Bay has undergone major refurbishment works, which includes new solid wood flooring from yours truly. Architects, ADP, brought the seaside pleasure building back to its former glory by carefully restoring the original decorative features in the Grade II listed building.
The works included revealing the magnificent dome in the rotunda by removing a mezzanine floor, restoring the triple height ceiling to create a large, circular space. The grand room required a complimentary floor and the choice fell on our Black Oak, fitted in the aforementioned pattern. Installed by Junckers’ Approved Contractor Stenhouse Flooring, the project features mitred joints which require a high level of skill and experience.
This is an extraordinary project with a very complicated flooring installation. The lines of the concentric dodecagon pattern on the balcony continues in the floor in the circle below (see images). On the balcony, the mitred boards run from column to column and downstairs from columns on the outer circle, where there is a step down, towards a centre point in the middle fitted with a small section of paler oak (just visible underneath the grand piano in the main image). There are 12 identical sections that form the circle, each segment overhung, angles adjusted to fit perfectly with the previous piece, mirrored in all sections. Every mitre was hand cut and hand routered, grooved with false tongue so the whole floor is connected. Over 2000 cuts in total.
The work to approximately nine weeks and required two highly skilled floor layers. The floor is finished with Junckers Oil to allow for spot repairs without much downtime and minimal disruption.
Junckers’ solid wood flooring was also installed in several other areas in the building, which now includes bars, shops, restaurants and a suite of rooms for events, conferences and weddings.
Our thanks to our Approved Contractor Stenhouse Flooring for the detailed information, and a for job well done!