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.
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.
Traditionally, timber floor finishes and heating systems are specified separately and supplied and installed by different companies. Junckers Leveldek offers a versatile levelling system, underfloor heating and a solid hardwood floor finish from a single point of supply.
We have teamed up with one of the main heating component manufacturers to offer a combined solid hardwood floor and heating system which achieves the best fit in terms of ease of installation and efficiency.
The Junckers Leveldek system is a fully integrated solid hardwood floor and heating system. Any of the 22mm or 20.5mm thick floor boards from our full range of finishes may be used, so there is a floor to suit any taste and style of interior.
Junckers hardwood floors have for many years been recognised as the only solid hardwood floors which are so stable that they are guaranteed for use with underfloor heating. This is something that architects, the flooring and heating industries have known for the last 30 years or so. It is fair to say that almost any type of underfloor heating may be used with Junckers floors. However, heating designs vary enormously with different ways of supporting the pipes and insulating the floor, and careful planning is needed when coordinating heating and flooring trades on site. There can also be some significant efficiency and running cost differences between one system and another.
Energy Efficiency and Fast Warm Up
A Junckers Leveldek floor system is able to achieve the greatest energy efficiency and fastest warm-up time because of the unique way the heating pipes are supported directly beneath the floor boards. The heating panels are insulated and reinforced, and have aluminium heat diffusion plates. They are pushed upwards against the underside of the floor boards by the support saddles and this close contact gives the best heat output possible. This also means that the Leveldek heating pipes cannot sag or move, so the heating will give the same reliable efficiency for its whole life. The design of the Leveldek system means that the response time and heat output can be calculated accurately, so the heating engineer can be sure that the predicted performance will be what the client will actually get.
The heating panels and battens are supported above the subfloor, therefore it is very easy to include other services beneath the floor prior to installation of the hardwood floor boards. Junckers Leveldek works perfectly when a sprung floor is needed because the heating panels will flex along with the whole floor system.
Leveldek – Many Solutions in One
There are many ways the Junckers Leveldek system can be used. It is based upon one of Junckers’ established levelling systems, so the subfloor can be a screed, concrete slab, block and beam or other type of base; flat or not. This makes it perfect for residential and non-residential new build as well as refurbishment projects. When used with solid SylvaSport beech flooring, the system provides a sprung floor to EN 14904, which means that it is suitable for sports, dance and activity halls and meets the requirements or Sport England and Sport Scotland.
Environment and Sustainability Considered
As well as providing an energy efficient heating system the materials which are used for Junckers floors are from sustainable certified sources, are fully recyclable and manufactured to the highest environmental standards. Even the energy which is used to power the flooring factory is produced from waste wood from flooring manufacture.
Our long experience and unique reputation means we are able to offer a full guarantee for the system under the Junckers Lifetime Warranty Scheme with a 25-year guarantee for the flooring and installation, 10 years for the heating pipes and insulated panels and 2 years for all electronic components.
A listed church hall in Burford, Oxfordshire, extended and restored in a £3.2 million upgrade by Acanthus Clews Architects, has won Retrofit of the Year 2017 in The Architects Journal Retrofit Awards. Environmental and financial sustainability were of paramount importance to the church with traditional materials used throughout the building. To fully meet the sustainability criteria, our FSC and PEFC accredited solid wood floor were specified for the two hall spaces. The choice fell on grey-tinted Oak Boulevard Golden Pearl floors with a plank width of 185mm to complement the new interior spaces.
Our solid oak floors are durable and hardwearing enough to meet the demands of a busy community and church hall. With a typical 60-year lifespan, a Junckers floor has incredibly low lifecycle costs and will serve this new community space for many years to come. The flooring contractor was MK Flooring.
Riverside Campus at City of Glasgow College has won a multitude of architectural awards for its outstanding design. Home to the world-leading Maritime College, the new building features a grand atrium where Junckers 22mm Oak Harmony finished in Ultramatt lacquer was specified for the expansive staircase and walkway.
Designed in a joint venture between Reiach and Hall Architects and Michael Laird Architects, the building is BREEAM ‘Excellent’ with many innovative on-site energy generation measures. Junckers solid hardwood flooring is made from renewable, sustainable forests and the entire manufacturing process is powered by Junckers’ own on-site power plant, which uses the residual wood of the forested timber. The Oak Harmony floor adds natural warmth to the large, open space and provides a hardwearing surface for a busy college environment. The flooring contractor was McKay Flooring.
Hexparket by CarpEnter CPH & Hartmann is a new parquet floor from Junckers. Hexagonal staves made in solid oak are laid to form an intricate design mimicking nature’s own geometric pattern based on equilateral triangles. Made in 100% solid hardwood oak, the staves measure 370mm on all sides by 20.5mm thick. The staves have a groove on each side and an accompanying loose tongue is used in the installation process.
Hexparket is delivered with an untreated surface to be finished on site with either a lacquer or oil. Made in Junckers’ most popular timber grade, Harmony, the floor has a natural appearance, few knots and some colour and structural graining variation between the individual tiles. Oak is a hardwood species characterised by being hardwearing and is therefore very suitable for flooring. The wood has a warm and golden glow, an interesting grain structure and over time the natural ageing gives the wood an authentic appearance. The graphic look and clean, sharp lines of the new Hexparket is perfectly counter balanced by natural beauty and texture of the timber, resulting in a lively, elegant floor.
Our Technical Service Manager Richard Aylen’s expertise when it comes to combining our solid hardwood floors with retractable seating systems is second to none. Find out what to bear in mind and how installing one can be a lucrative investment.
Retractable seating offers schools and universities more flexible use of their halls and significantly increases opportunities for lettings and generation of income. The benefits of installing a retractable seating system are numerous: schools are able to stage their own performing arts productions in a more professional way with the audience having a better view that sitting on chairs “on the flat”; retractable seating can transform a sports hall into a lecture theatre or more flexible teaching space, both for school/university use and as a hire facility. The potential to generate income by letting the space to outside organisations for arts, sports and other events is usually a lucrative prospect and schools and universities usually see a quick return on investment.
Increasing numbers of clients who are fitting new flooring are opting to install retractable seating systems in their multi-purpose and activity halls. Therefore, the choice of flooring is very important so as to ensure that the surface will not be damaged and the floor is sufficiently loadbearing. Junckers floors have been proven over several decades to be very suitable for this type of use and we use our extensive experience to give the client valuable and well place advice on how to partner the floor system with their choice of retractable seating.
Types of Seating Systems
There are two main types of retractable seating system – fixed and mobile. Fixed systems, which are by far the most popular, are attached to the wall and extended out from the wall when needed. The seating is folded back against the wall when not in use. Fully mobile systems may be stored in a separate area, if full and unrestricted use of the hall is needed. Mobile systems offer the most versatility as they can be located anywhere in the hall, which means that the client can place the seats in one location e.g. for a drama production, and a different one for a basketball tournament for example.
A third option, but only rarely used because of the cost, are so-called air castors. These are used with fully mobile systems and use a cushion of air to move the seating unit around. They spread the seating load very evenly across the floor.
Benefits of Using Junckers Solid Hardwood Flooring
There are thousands of square metres of Junckers solid hardwood flooring in daily use with retractable seating, in buildings ranging from community centres, schools and colleges, through to Olympic venues.
Junckers offers a huge range of solid hardwood flooring, the majority of which may be used together with retractable seating. This versatility stems from the fact that there are a number of Junckers sub floor systems and installation methods to choose from, and so it is usually possible to find a great match between the hardwood flooring, the seating system, and what the client is looking for.
With a Junckers flooring system, there is no need to worry that the “sprung” quality of the sports, dance or performance floor will be disabled by adding strengthening which makes the floor completely rigid under foot. Junckers has extensive technical expertise in this area and, although the sprung batten system may need to be strengthened, it is possible to do this and to leave the sprung quality of the floor unaffected. It is not unusual for under floor heating to be needed as well, and it is possible also to include this beneath the floor boards, again leaving the “sprung” quality of the floor intact.
The surface of a Junckers sealed hardwood floor is very resistant to the type of wear and tear which may occur with retractable seating systems. Seating wheels will not mark or indent the Junckers floor whereas vinyl and other synthetic floors are often impossible to use because the wheels cause permanent “tracking” marks and scuffs. Some types of engineered hardwood floors may initially be OK if a retractable seating system is built upon them, but in the longer term the high loads may cause the core material of the engineered board to deteriorate and the boards will fail.
At Junckers we are able to assess the loads the seating unit will impose on the floor and from this we can offer a suitable design for the complete hardwood floor system- and we will guarantee the results. Many of the sports and performance floor suppliers in the UK are unable to offer equivalent guarantees and technical service, and in fact many do not have direct manufacturer representation in the UK.
Junckers solid hardwood flooring installed with retractable seating at BBC Auditorium, Wales. Images courtesy of Capita Architecture
Danish design house Republic of Fritz Hansen has chosen Junckers Oak Boulevard for its HQ showroom. The company’s classic designs are now displayed against a backdrop of Junckers’ widest dimension floorboard, measuring 185mm wide made in solid oak.
The many world famous classic pieces and contemporary designs made in collaboration with leading international designers sit perfectly on Junckers’ signature long-length planks, which add a further architectural dimension to the space. Finished with our newly reformulated UltraMatt Lacquer, the floor has a completely natural, matt appearance which looks just like an oiled finish. Developed in response to the growing trend for natural, ‘unfinished’ looking floors, Junckers UltraMatt Lacquer protects the solid wood floor, making it durable, hardwearing and easy to care for. Even though it looks just like an oiled finish with no surface sheen, the new lacquer gives the floor superior protection against spills and scuffs. The natural, matt appearance combined with a highly durable, easy to clean surface has made UltraMatt Lacquer Junckers’ best selling finishing product – over 80% of all pre-finished floors are sealed with it.
All Junckers pre-finished floorboards are now available with UltraMatt Lacquer, ready for immediate use once installed. The new formula enhances the natural beauty of the various timbers Junckers offers, including oak, ash, black oak and beech. Junckers specialises in long-length planks – the true mark of a high quality floor, and its floors are suitable for use over under floor heating. UltraMatt Lacquer can also be bought as a finishing treatment for all types of timber.
Junckers’ sports floors are made in solid hardwood, one of the most durable surfaces available and virtually unbeatable in terms of lifecycle costs. All our sports floors comply with Sports England and Sport Scotland’s guidance for Affordable Sports Floors and are the ideal choice for schools, colleges and universities.
Junckers sports floor systems comply with EN 14904. Within the Affordable Sports Floor price range we can offer both Category A3 and A4 systems, exceeding Sport England’s minimum performance requirement.
Maintenance and Life Span
Every floor finish, including synthetics, will become damaged over time. The difference with a Junckers solid hardwood sports floor is that it can be sanded and re-finished eight to ten times during its life. 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.
Contractors in our Approved Contractors network scheme can offer an inspection service including periodic inspections of the floor and advise on care and cleaning. Junckers offer a comprehensive range of high quality, professional maintenance and finishing products to keep the floor in optimum condition throughout its lifespan.
The installed cost of our floors falls comfortably within the range for Sport England’s Affordable Sports Floors.
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. Our floors are BREEAM A+ rated in the BRE Green Guide and we have EMAS 111 and ISO 14001 Environmental Management Certification. In addition, our products have low (E1) formaldehyde emissions under EN 14342. Out 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.
Retractable Seating Systems
Junckers’ flooring systems are perfectly suited for use with retractable seating, hundreds of examples in the UK alone are testament to this fact. Our floors may be strengthened in a simple way to cope perfectly with load bearing, which leaves the sprung quality of the floor unaffected. A solid hardwood floor will not be marked or damaged by wheels, and surface tracking, rucking or scuffing is non-existent with a Junckers floor.
A safe, high performing sports floor with the right environmental accreditations and unbeatable lifecycle costs which falls within the guidelines for Affordable Sports Floors set by Sport England – a Junckers sports floor is hard to beat.
A prestigious residential development in the fashionable Clapham Old Town area of London features over 700m2 of Junckers’ Black Oak flooring. Designed by Assael Architecture, the development combines converted 19th century warehouse buildings with contemporary architecture.
The high quality, modern interiors combine a palette of rich, natural materials where Junckers’ solid hardwood floors add warmth and texture to the inviting spaces with the matt, oiled surface the perfect backdrop to the stylish decorating schemes. Black Oak Oiled has the appearance of an aged floor, with a rich patina and surface texture, highly sought after in the design industry.
Junckers wide board floors come in long-length planks, a true mark of a high quality solid hardwood floor. In addition, our floors are ideal for use over underfloor heating. Thanks to a unique drying process developed over many years, Junckers floors are very stable and have a low moisture content. Tried, tested and approved by all major underfloor heating manufacturers, Junckers’ solid wood floors have been successfully used together with underfloor heating for decades.