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

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 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, 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


For more information, contact Richard Geddes, tel 07977 239 429 email

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

New partnership with England Squash

We’re delighted to announce we’ve become an England Squash Approved Supplier. Our SylvaSquash solid beech floors and undercarriage systems have featured strongly in the UK squash market for many years, in both new build courts and refurbishments, it seems only natural to have a formal partnership with England Squash.

England Squash offers squash court related technical and design advice and its clients are directed towards the sport’s governing body Approved Suppliers to help choose products and installers.

England Squash AJ Bell National Squash Championships 2020

Junckers is partner to this year’s British Squash Championships. Through our links with England Squash the Junckers name and logo will appear on the main show court at the A J Bell British Squash Championships which takes place at Nottingham University 13-16 February. The Junckers name will have high profile exposure not only to audiences at the venue but to wider audiences via TV and online coverage.

To find out more about our SylvaSquash Beech floors & undercarriage systems , please click here

What goes underneath?

Richard Aylen, Our Technical Manager explains why a good quality floor is paramount in a squash court.

There’s no question – the floor in a squash court has to be top notch. In fast paced games like squash and racquetball, the floor should give the player freedom of movement, optimal ball bounce and protection against injuries. A solid beech floor has proved itself to be the best option in preference to all the other types of floor that might be used for squash.

The case for a solid beech squash court floor in preference to laminated wood floors was made decades ago, offering the best surface for players at all levels.  By far the majority of new squash court floors being fitted in the UK are made from solid press dried beech. The UK’s specialist squash court contractors will predominantly recommend 22mm thick solid Beech SylvaSquash from Junckers to their clients as the “go-to” floor.

Unlike and engineered floor, a solid hardwood squash floor from Junckers has no layers of low grade materials that can delaminate, and at 22mm thick it is extremely durable.  Junckers unique press drying process makes the wood very strong and results in a floor that is inherently stable throughout the natural cycle of humidity changes during the year.

A squash court floor must have a high level of ”grip”. Junckers Beech SylvaSquash floorboards are unsealed and have a slightly roughened surface, which provides the right level of friction whether the surface is wet or dry, and so keeps risk of injury to an absolute minimum.

While the surface of the floor is important, what is also vital to a squash floor is what goes underneath. The undercarriage system has a direct bearing on the performance of the floor. All Junckers’ sports flooring systems have unique area elastic properties to ensure optimal shock absorption in accordance with the European EN 14904 standard. This means Junckers’ floors are proven as suitable for squash at the highest level.

A floor that complies with EN 14904 cat A3 or A4, as well as the technical requirements of England Squash and the World Squash Federation, will have defined limits for shock absorption and surface deflection. The standards relate both to safety and technical properties including friction, rolling load, vertical deformation, shock absorption and ball bounce.

In addition to the European standard, Junckers has added two further internal tests to demonstrate the strength and longevity of their floors. A fatigue test where the floor is exposed to a series of controlled, dynamic point impacts of 300kg no less than 100,000 times, which simulates the equivalent of 25 years of normal use; and a point load test.

Not only is a squash floor from Junckers one of the safest and best performing floors on the market, they can be sanded between eight and ten times during their lives. In terms of life cycle cost and investment value this makes them unbeatable. A typical laminated squash court floor can normally be sanded only twice.

Installing a Junckers squash floor gives clients the benefit of full technical backup throughout the life of the floor as well as the option of a maintenance and aftercare scheme through one of Junckers’ Approved Contractors.

Junckers SylvaSquash Beech flooring at University of Birmingham installed by Courtcare. Photo: Hufton+Crow

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

Professional Portable Sports Flooring for Lima 2019 Pan & Parapan American Games

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.

More information:…/portable-sports-flooring-solut…

Image credit, action shots: @prodisadominicana

Junckers Portable Sports Flooring at Lima 2019 Pan & Parapan American Games image credit: @prodisadominicana
Junckers Portable Sports Flooring at Lima 2019 Pan & Parapan American Games
Junckers Portable Sports Flooring at Lima 2019 Pan & Parapan American Games image credit: @prodisadominicana
Junckers Portable Sports Flooring at Lima 2019 Pan & Parapan American Games image credit: @prodisadominicana
Junckers Portable Sports Flooring at Lima 2019 Pan & Parapan American Games

Courtcraft installs professional sports flooring system in new sports hall at University of Hull

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.

All images courtesy of Courtcraft

A note about the environment:

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.

University of Hull – Junckers SylvaSport Premium sports flooring fitted over New Era battens by Courtcraft
University of Hull – Junckers SylvaSport Premium sports flooring fitted over New Era battens by Courtcraft
University of Hull – Junckers SylvaSport Premium sports flooring fitted over New Era battens by Courtcraft
University of Hull – Junckers SylvaSport Premium sports flooring fitted over New Era battens by Courtcraft
University of Hull – Junckers SylvaSport Premium sports flooring fitted over New Era battens by Courtcraft
University of Hull – Junckers SylvaSport Premium sports flooring fitted over New Era battens by Courtcraft
University of Hull – Junckers SylvaSport Premium sports flooring fitted over New Era battens by Courtcraft
University of Hull – Junckers SylvaSport Premium sports flooring fitted over New Era battens by Courtcraft

New ESFA specification guidelines – are you up to date?


small Richard Aylen, Technical Services Manager, Junckers

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.

Junckers Sports Flooring at Kirkmichael Primary School photo Andrew Lee
Junckers solid wood sports flooring at Kirkmichael Primary School Photo: Andrew Lee

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.

For more information please contact Richard

Junckers solid hardwood floor at Harraby Community Campus mid cropped
Junckers solid wood flooring at Harraby Community Campus