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

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

Junckers solid oak floor for award-winning school

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.

Dixon Jones

Junckers solid oak flooring at Marlborough Primary School by Dixon Jones. Photo: Paul Riddle
Junckers solid oak flooring at Marlborough Primary School by Dixon Jones. Photo: Paul Riddle
Junckers solid oak flooring at Marlborough Primary School by Dixon Jones. Photo: Paul Riddle
Junckers solid oak flooring at Marlborough Primary School by Dixon Jones. Photo: Paul Riddle
Junckers solid oak flooring at Marlborough Primary School by Dixon Jones. Photo: Paul Riddle
Junckers solid oak flooring at Marlborough Primary School by Dixon Jones. Photo: Paul Riddle
Junckers solid oak flooring at Marlborough Primary School by Dixon Jones. Photo: Paul Riddle

Junckers & Stenhouse Flooring win industry award

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.

Stenhouse Flooring

Junckers Black Oak flooring installed by Stenhouse Flooring at Spanish City. Photo: Andrew Heptinstall
Junckers Black Oak flooring installed by Stenhouse Flooring at Spanish City. Photo: Andrew Heptinstall
Junckers Black Oak flooring installed by Stenhouse Flooring at Spanish City. Photo: Andrew Heptinstall
Junckers Black Oak flooring installed by Stenhouse Flooring at Spanish City. Photo: Andrew Heptinstall
Junckers Black Oak flooring installed by Stenhouse Flooring at Spanish City. Photo: Andrew Heptinstall

Elegant floor for elegant interior

When 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.

By 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.

Our 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.

Photography: Cathrine Holst / Metropolis

Metropolis

Junckers solid Black Oak Herringbone flooring at the Oslo offices of Metropolis
Junckers solid Black Oak Herringbone flooring at the Oslo offices of Metropolis
Junckers solid Black Oak Herringbone flooring at the Oslo offices of Metropolis
Junckers solid Black Oak Herringbone flooring at the Oslo offices of Metropolis
Junckers solid Black Oak Herringbone flooring at the Oslo offices of Metropolis
Junckers solid Black Oak Herringbone flooring at the Oslo offices of Metropolis
Junckers solid Black Oak Herringbone flooring at the Oslo offices of Metropolis
Junckers solid Black Oak Herringbone flooring at the Oslo offices of Metropolis

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

Junckers hardwood flooring for multi award-winning building

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.

The flooring contractor was Capital Floors Ltd.

Junckers 22mm Oak Classic at Storey's Field Centre by MUMA 3 low res
Junckers 22mm Oak Classic at Storey’s Field Centre and Nursery by MUMA Photo: Alan Williams

Junckers 22mm Oak Classic at Storey's Field Centre by MUMA 1 low res
Junckers 22mm Oak Classic at Storey’s Field Centre and Nursery by MUMA Photo: Alan Williams

Junckers 22mm Oak Classic at Storey's Field Centre by MUMA 4 low res
Junckers 22mm Oak Classic at Storey’s Field Centre and Nursery by MUMA Photo: Alan Williams

Junckers 22mm Oak Classic at Storey's Field Centre by MUMA 2 small
Junckers 22mm Oak Classic at Storey’s Field Centre by MUMA Photo: Alan Williams a caption

Junckers solid wood flooring at Storey's Field Centre 5 low res
Junckers 22mm Oak Classic at Storey’s Field Centre and Nursery by MUMA Photo: Alan Williams

Storey's Field Centre and Nursery (exterior) low res
Storey’s Field Centre and Nursery by MUMA Photo: Alan Williams

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 RIS@junckers.com

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