Parquet flooring is a type of hardwood floor that originates from 17th Century France. It is known for being original and eye catching – available in various types of hardwoods such as oak, walnut and maple. Because of the way parquet flooring is fitted, you can choose to have it arranged it different, decorative patterns such as herringbone or chequerboard. Parquet differs from ordinary wood flooring in its size and fitting technique – where ordinary wood flooring uses planks usually wider than 10cm and longer than 1cm, parquet flooring uses much smaller pieces of wood.
Before you Begin
If you are having other renovations done on your home, or have plastering or concreting to do, then you should do these prior to installing your flooring – skirting boards and decorating should be done after. Before laying your flooring, it is important that the blocks become acclimatised – this can take 2-3 weeks. To do this, carefully spread the blocks out in small piles in the room they are to be laid to allow as much air circulation as possible.
Laying the Flooring
The wooden blocks used in parquet flooring can be laid over a range of solid floors such as concrete or chipboard, but it cannot be laid directly onto floorboards. The solid under flooring must be structurally sound, smooth and dry. If you have to lay new concrete it will need to dry for at least a month per inch of new concrete. If you are using existing concrete – it should have its moisture levels checked as you may need to install a suitable damp-proof membrane.
Installing Parquet Flooring
If you are using reclaimed flooring you may need to clean the blocks of excess dirt and debris using a chisel, make sure the tongues and grooves are also clean so that they fit tightly when laid. Before laying the flooring, you want to decide on your pattern, as mentioned there are a few to choose from.
Then, you should establish a central point from which you will work from, laying the blocks. Then, dry lay a line of the pattern in the alternative direction to ensure there is an equal pattern laid. You can then begin gluing the blocks in place. Make sure to leave a 1.5cm gap around the edge for expansion – your skirting board will then cover this.
Fixing Parquet Flooring
Parquet flooring is fixed by gluing the blocks to a solid surface. With some flooring types you would need to use a flexible adhesive but because parquet flooring uses such small blocks, a rigid adhesive is recommended.
Sanding, Filing and Sealing
Sanding your flooring is important to ensure it is smooth and free of ridges. You can do this by using an orbital sander for the most part and an edge sander and then fill any blemishes with a wood filler. You can then seal the flooring using a hardwax oil or a water-based lacquer.