Do you really need to treat your wooden floors with kid gloves?

Two perceptions of durability: Our Technical Manager Richard Aylen discusses the case for NOT treating your hardwood floor with too much care.

Some people can afford to be a bit meaner to their hardwood floors.

We are all interested in what customers think of our floors, but when I found out for the first time how the same floor type can be perceived so differently when laid in different types of building, I was surprised.

Same floor, different uses

Take for example two different sites; one, a sports hall and the other a shopping centre, both fitted with similar solid hardwood floors. From daily conversations with clients and architects I can say that the shopping centre floor will be perceived as durable, hard wearing, long lasting, repairable – a beautiful but dependable “workhorse” of a floor that can also be refurbished many times over. The client knows that it will take any number of tables and chairs, any amount of foot traffic and stand up to the variety of footwear that the public choose…. all the things we like to hear. A good example is the food court at the Trafford Centre Retail complex in Manchester, a Junckers 20mm solid oak floor over 20 years old and still going strong.

Junckers solid Oak flooring installed at Aeroville Shopping Centre outside Paris. Floors specified and installed in shopping centres will generally be perceived as hard-wearing, durable and able to withstand heavy foot traffic. Hardwood floors are an excellent choice for high traffic areas.

Can I put tables and chairs on my sports hall floor?

The sports floor will also be seen as long lasting and durable, but this will ONLY be so when it is used specifically for sports, and the client may become quite nervous at the prospect of using it for anything else. The floor is often a lot more versatile than they assume it is. School premises managers will often ask if their sports hall can have tables and chairs put on it. They are going to fill the hall with chairs – will it bear the load? Can they use the floor for an open-day or fill the hall with diners? Often they assume it will need protection for all activities apart from sports, and will ask us what the manufacturer recommends for protection. Some clients are keen to allow roller skaters and tap dancers on their hardwood sports floor, but fear that the surface will be damaged. Both activities are usually fine on solid hardwood floors and manufacturers will often have some simple guidelines for users to follow. It’s always good to be able to reassure them that the floor will be OK for all those activities without using protection – so avoiding the cost of buying a temporary covering and finding somewhere to store it.

Junckers solid Beech sports flooring installed at Oriam, Scotland. Photo: broad daylight. With a technically advanced sport flooring system, clients can express worry when it comes to non-sport use, seeing their high performance floor as ‘fragile’, which is not the case at all.

The village hall – a true multi-purpose floor

Community halls are a very good example of the best of both worlds because they can cross over into sports use but are often used for social functions as well. Community hall committees often depend upon a full booking schedule to keep revenue flowing. They tend to give their floors a hard time by getting as much use from the floor as it will give – and still a solid hardwood floor will last them for decades given proper care and maintenance. They really make their floors work hard, but that’s what a solid hardwood floor is designed to do. Of course, the floor will show signs of use, the surface finish will wear, dents and scratches will appear, but solid hardwood floors are actually quite hard to destroy and can be refurbished many times over.

Junckers Oak Golden Pear flooring installed at Warwick Hall community hall. A solid hardwood floor installed in a community hall makes perfect sense. It’s a true multi-purpose surface that can be used for anything from large functions, kids’ parties and sports activities.

Putting your floor to good use

So why do we see the “kid gloves” approach in the sports hall market? Could sports floor manufacturers and the way they sell their products be partly responsible?

Sports floors are usually heavily promoted on their technical performance. If we, as manufacturers, talk about critical surface friction levels, special “sprung” batten systems that have scientifically proven performance and the like, then we are perhaps inviting clients to think that a thoroughbred floor may not be suitable for the knockabout treatment that can happen with everyday multi-purpose use.

The limitations of other types of floor covering may also lead customers to think that hardwood has similar shortcomings; e.g. if a thick cushion vinyl floor needs to be covered up for some types of “non-sports” use, then they may assume that the same will apply to all types of sports floor.

The fact is that a solid hardwood floor has a lot more to offer the client than simply being a technically advanced sports surface, and the life span will often be many times longer than say a synthetic or engineered wood floor. A case in point is a 22mm Junckers Beech floor that we supplied in 1964 to a secondary school dance studio not far from our offices in Essex. It is still giving good service, and we are told it is hired out annually for a local beer festival, so no kid gloves here!

You don’t have to treat a solid hardwood floor like a fragile or delicate surface. Just enjoy it, make it work for you. Be sensible, but don’t be over-sensitive. It will take some hard treatment, it is designed to, and when the battle scars appear you can refurbish it… time and time again.

This article first appeared in Contract Flooring Journal magazine

Richard Aylen, Technical Manager, Junckers Ltd

Have a technical question? Contact Richard on ria@junckers.com

Strong + durable wooden floors for Jaguar Land Rover

Arranged around several courtyards and atria, Jaguar Land Rover’s new Advanced Product Creation Centre by Bennetts Associates is a series of inspirational, creative spaces designed to foster interaction and collaboration. As part of a refined materials palette, over 5,000m2 of Junckers solid Nordic Oak Classic plank flooring has been installed to define zones and provide a warm, natural surface.

High levels of natural light fill new offices, restaurant and a 400-seat multipurpose hall, all linked by generous internal streets. The company’s latest vehicle models are proudly displayed on the ground floor, where the flooring had to be able to accommodate both the cars and a Stringo, a specialist vehicle moving truck. Working with AC Flooring Ltd, Junckers provided a solid hardwood floor able to take the weight of a five-tonne load. Richard Aylen, Junckers’ Technical Manager worked with AC Flooring and the architects to find the best solution for the floor to withstand heavy loads:

“The wooden floor at Jaguar Land Rover’s new Advanced Production Creation Centre was glued to the subfloor using our Parquet Glue. Given a suitable subfloor, this is usually the method that will bear the highest loads.

Worryingly, there is a trend towards substituting proprietary adhesive products for cheaper brands. A cheaper adhesive generally contains more filler, which will bulk out the product but do nothing for its adhesive properties. The high amount of filler in in the cheaper adhesives has reduced the bonding ability and projects where such products have been used are beginning to fail with large claims being fought in parts of Europe. This is an issue many flooring contractors may be unaware of. By choosing Junckers Parquet Glue the client can be confident that they have the best long-term result.”

Junckers Nordic Oak Classic at Jaguar Land Rover by Bennetts Associates. Photo: Hufton + Crow
Junckers Nordic Oak Classic at Jaguar Land Rover by Bennetts Associates. Photo: Hufton + Crow
Junckers Nordic Oak Classic at Jaguar Land Rover by Bennetts Associates. Photo: Hufton + Crow
Junckers Nordic Oak Classic at Jaguar Land Rover by Bennetts Associates. Photo: Hufton + Crow

For more information, please contact us at sales@junckers.co.uk

Another masterpiece by BIG

World-renowned Danish architects Bjarke Ingles Group (BIG) designed Glasir Education Centre, the largest building on the Faroe Islands to date. The new centre merges three educational institutions with the aim to combine age groups and disciplines, sharing knowledge to the benefit of students, teachers and staff.

Inspired by the dramatic landscape of Tórshavn, the building’s spectacular glass façade and glazed roof invite the surrounding environment to become part of the interior design. Every room has natural light, with a central courtyard connecting learning spaces, sports facilities, metal and wood workshops, music rooms, a FabLab, a canteen and a library over five levels.

The building features 3,200m2 Junckers Ash Premium, a solid hardwood floor, in walkways, the wood workshop as well as in the large sports hall, where the wood flooring was fitted over Junckers’ UnoBat 45 undercarriage system, providing a safe, responsive surface for a busy multi-purpose hall. A stunning project.

Junckers solid Ash Premium floor fitted over UnoBat 45 undercarriage system at Glasir Education Centre by BIG
Junckers solid Ash Premium floor at Glasir Education Centre by BIG
Junckers solid Ash Premium floor at Glasir Education Centre by BIG
Junckers solid Ash Premium floor at Glasir Education Centre by BIG

Support our Floor Finishers!

Floor Finishers and clients can help each other at SupportFloorFinishers.nu

SupportFloorFinishers.nu aims to bridge the gap between professional Floor Finishers and companies, local authorities, schools and others who are in a position to refurbish their floors earlier than planned as many buildings stand closed and empty. This allows renovation projects to take place outside working hours and Floor Finishers have an opportunity to keep their businesses running during the crisis.

Covid-19 has paralysed most of the country, and SMEs in particular are struggling to keep the wheels rolling. Some of these companies are professional Floor Finishers, usually hard at work renovating floors in everything from sports halls and hotels, to council buildings and corporate offices. Along with many other businesses, Floor Finishers will find it increasingly difficult to get jobs in the situation we are all in, although as many rooms are empty, it can be a good time to tackle such a project.

Accelerate planned renovations

In support of industry colleagues, Junckers, the country’s largest manufacturer of wood flooring has launched the initiative and microsite SupportFloorFinishers.nu, with the aim to mediate contact between Floor Finishers and any clients seeking to accelerate their plans for renovation work.

“The initiative is meant as a helping hand for the many individuals and small floor sanding businesses who are having difficulty finding jobs at the moment. We can help bridge the gap between them and those customers who still have a floor renovation job planned in the near future. The site should make it easy for both parties to find each other quickly so projects can get started right away, while the closure lasts and the premises are empty,” says Richard Geddes, National Sales Manager at Junckers.

A free service

Contact is completely free and non-binding, and Junckers Ltd has no stake in the individual projects. Through its extensive industry network, it has become clear to Junckers that many local authorities, in particular, are keen to accelerate their renovation projects.

“We want to help our business partners, the floor finishers, get through this crisis as much as we can. They don’t need to use our products, but we’re here to help if they need us,” says Richard Geddes.

If carrying out maintenance work during this closure period is viable and reduces downtime when open, then fill in the contact form here

If you’re a flooring contractor, let us know if you’re looking for work here

Read more on supportfloorfinishers.nu

For more information, contact Richard Geddes, tel 07977 239 429 email RIG@junckers.com

http://www.supportfloorfinishers.nu/

Old becomes new

When Hoskins Architects were commissioned to design new headquarters for the National Theatre of Scotland in Glasgow, an ingenious bit of re-using, re-purposing and recycling took place. The new office space and social areas were fitted with a previously used Junckers sports floor, complete with the old line marking paint.

Named Rockvilla, the new facility brings together departments previously spread across several sites – rehearsal rooms, a learning and community suite, wardrobe department, production workshop, technical store as well as office space and social areas. The building, housed in a redevelopment of a disused warehouse, retains an industrial aesthetic in a nod to the history of the site.

The interior features a limited use of materials, of which the reclaimed Beech sports flooring becomes a focal point. For this project, our Approved Contractor McKay Flooring had a sizeable amount of lifted SylvaSport Beech salvaged from a previous project. The worn look of the reused floor with its randomly placed line markings in various colours worked perfectly with the rest of the interior and the client decided to leave it as it was.

As it’s made in solid hardwood, an old Junckers sports floor can also be sanded and refinished up to ten times without losing its good looks and performance.

Reclaimed Junckers sports flooring is not for sale through Junckers but can occasionally be sourced through our network of Approved Contractors.

Photography: Gillian Hayes, Dapple Photography

Junckers reclaimed sports floor at Rockvilla, National Theatre of Scotland Photo: Gillian Hayes, Dapple Photography
Junckers reclaimed sports floor at Rockvilla, National Theatre of Scotland Photo: Gillian Hayes, Dapple Photography
Junckers reclaimed sports floor at Rockvilla, National Theatre of Scotland Photo: Gillian Hayes, Dapple Photography

MOD St George’s Barracks – a new sports hall floor

Our Approved Contractor Courtcraft was selected by Amey, a facilities management services company to the Ministry of Defence, to replace an old and worn out sports hall floor at the MOD base St George’s Barracks.

The old floor had been badly damaged through heavy and incorrect use. Following rip up and removal of the old floor, Courtcraft installers laid 458m2 of Junckers Ash Club 22mm solid board on 57mm BluBAT battens to achieve an area elastic floor according to EN 14904 class A3.

Our Ash Club floor has a silvery light colour with a characteristic darker grain pattern. The Club grade offers a rustic, lively look with substantial colour and graining variation. Our solid wood sports floor can be sanded back and re-sealed 8-10 times, giving it a very long lifecycle. The floor installation was completed without having to remove all the PT gym equipment. The line marking was completed by Courtcraft’s partners at MJ Courtmarkers.

Find out more about our sports flooring options here

Junckers Ash Club UnoBAT flooring at MOD St George’s Barracks installed by Courtcraft
Junckers Ash Club UnoBAT flooring at MOD St George’s Barracks installed by Courtcraft
Junckers Ash Club UnoBAT flooring at MOD St George’s Barracks installed by Courtcraft
Junckers Ash Club UnoBAT flooring at MOD St George’s Barracks installed by Courtcraft
Junckers Ash Club UnoBAT flooring at MOD St George’s Barracks installed by Courtcraft

Junckers New Era Levelling System just got slimmer!

Our New Era Ultraslim System can be laid with a build-up of only 60mm from the base to the finished floor level. This is achieved with a specially designed low-level cradle and 22mm thick battens. The new system is ideal for replacement floors and refurbishment projects where the subfloor may be uneven and the floor finish height is restricted.

For uneven subfloors, a height range from 60mm to 72mm is achievable. Our New Era Ultraslim system provides a “sprung” floor when used in combination with Junckers 22mm solid hardwood floor boards. It’s been fully tested and certified to EN 14904 category A4 for area elastic multi purpose sports floors.
The new cradle is called the “S Zero”. System data:
 
For 411mm Batten Centres:

– Batten size: 22mm x 45mm x 2400mm; Junckers Laminated spruce battens, 2.7m of batten required per sqm of flooring.
– Cradle centres: 300mm, which equates to 10No cradles per sqm of flooring
– Maximum thickness of packing in cradle; 12mm
– Uses standard range of New Era plastic packing pieces for levelling; 1.5mm, 3mmm, 6mm and 12mm sizes.
For further information, have a look at our updated Junckers New Era system brochure, which includes the Ultraslim System.

For further advice, please contact our Technical Department, tel 01376 534 729 or email RIA@junckers.com

Flooring for student accommodation and other residential multi occupancy buildings

Cottrell + Vermeulen Architecture has designed new, bright and airy postgraduate accommodation for Churchill College, Cambridge with interiors featuring Junckers’ solid maple flooring. Cottrell + Vermeulen won a competition to design the new buildings, 16 years after the studio completed a housing scheme on a neighbouring site.

The 35 new units of accommodation comprise five studio flats and 30 en suite rooms with spacious communal areas on each floor, spread across three buildings. The design builds on the original architectural scheme, designed as an extension to CVA’s previous work on the site. The architects sought to recreate the warmth and brightness of the original college rooms from the 1960s and found our maple flooring a good match.

The choice of two-strip boards, where two staves of wood make up one floorboard, was also a reference to the narrow boards used in the original rooms. The naturally pale tone of the maple floor is matched by joinery in birch faced plywood to form a comfortable and welcoming space, ready for students to move into at the start of the new academic year. The floor was installed by our Approved Contractor VA Hutchison Flooring.

Quiet floors in multiple occupancy buildings

An important consideration for student accommodation is how impact sound travels through floors from one dwelling into another. Building regulations set out minimum standards for impact and airborne sound through floors which apply to residential buildings and buildings converted to new uses, including hotels and care homes.

The floor finish will usually act in combination with other elements of the building to achieve the target levels of sound insulation. The design of the subfloor and ceiling beneath play an important role, as does the way the floor finish may need to be isolated from the walls that surround it, but there is no question that the right acoustic floor will control the transmission of impact sound.

We have a range of acoustics systems available which comply with building regulations. The newly updated New Era acoustic system is a height adjustable system for use on structural concrete slabs, block and beam floors and almost any other type of sound, dry load-bearing base.

The New Era system uses acoustic cradles with 10mm thick recycled rubber pads, factory-fitted to the underside. The cradles are height adjustable using purpose-made packers, supporting laminated timber battens. 50mm thick mineral wool insulation is placed between the battens and Junckers 20.5mm or 22mm thick solid wood floorboards are fixed to the battens to complete the installation. The use of 36mm thick battens achieves an impact sound reduction of 27dB; and a 48mm thick batten achieves an impact sound reduction of 28dB, thus complying with building regulations.

For Junckers 14mm thick sold wood flooring installed with Junckers’ Clip System, an impact sound reduction of 19dB can be achieved with Junckers’ 5mm thick CA2 Acoustic Underlay, loose laid with the floorboards installed on top as a floating layer, no fixings required.

All our floor system specifications are available on NBS Plus and draft NBS clauses are available on request. We also provide BIM Objects for all systems. Junckers solid hardwood floor systems are guaranteed for 25 years when installed by a Junckers Approved Contractor. Junckers Approved Maintenance Contractors offer a care scheme where the client’s floor is periodically inspected and maintained so as to keep the floor in good condition and to maximise its life.

Junckers solid Maple flooring, post graduate accommodation at Churchill College, Cambridge by Cottrell + Vermeulen. Photo: Anthony Coleman
Junckers solid Maple flooring, post graduate accommodation at Churchill College, Cambridge by Cottrell + Vermeulen. Photo: Anthony Coleman
Junckers solid Maple flooring, post graduate accommodation at Churchill College, Cambridge by Cottrell + Vermeulen. Photo: Anthony Coleman
Junckers solid Maple flooring, post graduate accommodation at Churchill College, Cambridge by Cottrell + Vermeulen. Photo: Anthony Coleman
Junckers solid Maple flooring, post graduate accommodation at Churchill College, Cambridge by Cottrell + Vermeulen. Photo: Anthony Coleman

Nordic Beech floor for historic music hall

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.

The flooring contractor was West End Flooring.

Junckers Nordic Beech flooring at Aberdeen Music Hall. Photo: David Barber Photography
Junckers Nordic Beech flooring at Aberdeen Music Hall. Photo: David Barber Photography
Junckers Nordic Beech flooring at Aberdeen Music Hall. Photo: David Barber Photography
Junckers Nordic Beech flooring at Aberdeen Music Hall. Photo: David Barber Photography
Junckers Nordic Beech flooring at Aberdeen Music Hall. Photo: David Barber Photography

Add a bit of colour

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

Junckers Rustic Oil in Anthracite Grey adds a deep, dark finish to the wide board flooring in a Danish furniture store

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.

Junckers Prelak White primer adds a white wash to a solid hardwood floor

Coloured Primers

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.

Wood Dyes

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.

Available in several shades, Junckers Rustic Oils can be applied to any unfinished wooden floor and over coated with a lacquer for durability

Coloured Oils

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.

Junckers Black Oak is a solid wood floor that can be sanded and refinished without losing its dark colour. The black stain is drawn deep into the floor board by a specially developed process mimicking nature’s way of darkening timber which has been left in a bog. The floor arrives fully sealed and factory-finished, ready to walk on as soon as it’s installed.

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!