Fitting Smoked Oak Solid Wood Floors
Fitting Smoked Oak Solid Wood Floors: smoked oak or fumed oak is obtained through ammonia fuming. This is wood finishing process that darkens wood and makes the grain pattern more visible. The wood is exposed to fumes from a strong chemical solution which reacts with the tannins in the wood. The best results are obtained with white oak as it contains a high level of tannins. Other species may also be fumed but usually not the the same darkness as white oak.
After the fuming process is completed the newly smoked oak solid boards will need to be sealed, finished with a few coats of oil either lacquer.
Smoked oak wooden floors have a unique natural character compared to a similar dark stained floor as the level of darkness may vary according to the wood grain structure and tannin content.
A brief description of the work involved: our smoked oak wood floor fitting service is designed to go above the industry standards and to produce exceptional results. Beside the common solutions, we developed our own special techniques. Bellow we provide a description of a comprehensive fitting service.
Furniture: many times we are asked to work having the bigger furniture items around. Indeed this requires extra care on our behalf so if possible we try to stack the lighter items over the heavier ones and move them in the safest area. Of course polyethylene dust sheets are used to cover the furniture, fireplaces, built-in cabinets and shelves etc.
Sub-floor types and checking: for a smoked oak wood floor the sub-floor, especially it's state, has the same critical importance are the foundation has for a building. Always a proper assessment is done before starting the the wok and after removing the existing covering (if it is the case). Mainly there are 2 types of sub-floors: wooden or mineral. The wooden sub-floors are made of pine boards, chipboard, plywood or osb and the mineral ones are usually screeds.
Existing covering removal: there are just a few floor coverings suitable to be considered sound sub-floors for fitting a new hardwood floor over. For this reason we have to remove them. Most encountered are carpet, laminate flooring, vinyl, ceramic tiles, old floating or glued wooden floors. For each one of these we choose the best suitable removal method to minimize the damages on the sub-floor.
Sub-floor checking and preparation: this stage is so neglected and underestimated by many yet it's failure means the failure of the new smoked oak wood floor. On each project we take enough time and insist in dealing properly with this stage. So, we have many dangers to cope with: damp in the floor and walls, rotten joists and/or boards, cracked or missing boards, loose areas of screed, uneven screed and many, many, many more.
If the desired surface to be covered with a hardwood floor is made of screed or concrete and is situated on the ground level or below we will strongly recommend to have a liquid DPM (damp proofing) rolled all over the surface. The chances to have a damp infiltration during the lifespan of your floor are very high so why not to be on the safe side. We apply this case also for recently done screeds which still contain residual humidity.
The screed sub-floors tend to present higher areas, "humps" which will be grinded. The cracked areas or lower ones as well as the loose ones will be repaired with epoxy mortar (water free).
For wooden floors all loose or squeaky boards will be secured. If we encounter a structural issue and if it's local we will deal with it otherwise this might generate an additional stage of work from a building company.
Sound proofing: at this stage when the sub-floor is totally accessible we can work the sound proofing or impact sound reduction. Soon a blog post will accompany this stage for more details.
Skirting removal or undercutting: after we have the sub-floor totally prepared the skirting will be undercut or carefully removed to avoid as much as possible damages to the upper part of the wall. The undercutting process is very accurate due to our dedicated equipment and for so many times it provided a much better joint with the new floor than replacing it with a new skirting.
Doors and doorframes: now the doorframes will be undercut too so the new hardwood boards will be neatly fitted under. Also the doors will need adjustment as the new floor height will stop them from moving. Thus they have to be taken off, trimmed only with the required height and hanged back.
Setting the alignment and the starting board: this is again a critical point for which we once again take the time to get all the measurements right. All the data is calculated, analysed and the best solution is chosen. Now we can cut the first board. If this one is right then all the floor will be right at the end. Usually the floor will be aligned according to the natural source of light.
The aim for this procedure is to obtain a symmetrical floor against all walls as well as parallel with all of them. Indeed, due to the walls layout, corner angles and walls curvature we can't achieve our aim on all sides. Because of this we measure from different perspectives so to ensure the most visible areas will look as you would like to.
Fitting the smoked oak wood floor: after so much preparation it's time to start fitting the floor. According to the agreed method of fitting we lay the underlay or start spreading the adhesive. We have the starting board prepared and from this we construct the floor. The boards which tend to slightly bounce up and down will be additionally secured. Still, if the floor is fitted floating, expect a degree of resilience. Thus we strongly recommend to opt for the glued down method (with flooring adhesive). Also when fitting the expansion gap will be considered all around the perimeter.
A signature of our crafted floors are the end joints. A lot of attention is paid to this particular detail to avoid having any 2 of them to close or to finish a row with a short piece of board. Because of this we get so many headaches with the poorly manufactured wood coming from south-east Asia in packs with a huge variety of lengths (the worst encountered case was with 14 different lengths)
Precision: by using different techniques we managed to reduce the number of additional mouldings used for a floor.
These are another mark of our floors:
- precision cuts along the patio doorframes
- seamless joint with tiled areas (when the ceramic tiles are cut in a straight line)
- special remaking of the exposed edges of a board (i.e. along the balustrade base rail)
- precision cutting around integrated elements (i.e. floor sockets)
Integrating a small step: many homes have had improvements over time like extensions added. Due to given conditions the added space may have a sub-floor which is lower than the main floor. This situation creates a breaking line in the continuity of the floor and by this the aim of creating a bigger space might not be achieved. We have created a solution to integrate the step in such a way that actually it becomes a discreet design feature.
Frames: seamless integrated frames are proofs of craftsmanship. You may choose to have them around the fireplace or to integrate an entrance doormat. The possibilities don't stop here and we would really enjoy to hear your ideas.
Fitting the skirting or beading: as the floor is now finished and if the skirting was removed earlier on, is the time to fit the new skirting. After the fitting is done the workmanship of a painter will be required to fill all the gaps against the walls and sometimes at corners which are to deviated from the correct angle.
Thresholds (door trims): are used to join the new floor with the adjacent floor coverings (carpets, tiles, vinyl etc). We will match them as much as possible with floor colour so to achieve seamless blending. A proper threshold has to be fitted under the closed door, yet so many times the adjacent floor covering ends to much inside or comes to much forward. When possible adjustments are done on all sides to ensure the best finish.
Furniture back and felts: now all is done, the equipment loaded and the new floor thoroughly vacuumed and cleaned. We will stick felt pads under the furniture and will rearrange it as it was initially.
As a few notes about fitting an smoked oak wood floor:
- Our state of the art cutting equipment will be connected to dust extractors. Despite all these a measure of chips and sawdust will result as they are blown away by the circular saw blades especially.
- Also it is noisy. This is due once again to the circular saw blades when cutting, and not only.
- It is best to be cautious, so according to the site conditions, wood type and source, the acclimatisation may be required which means to leave the wood inside the fitting area for about 2 days (engineered) or 7 days (solid). We recommend trustworthy suppliers which will deliver your floor with the moisture content according to agreed standards.
We hope that now you have a more in-depth information about how to opt for a smoked oak wood floor fitting.