Hardwood flooring is an investment in style and practicality; bringing an air of simple refinement to a room, whilst being considerably easier to clean and maintain than carpet. This makes hardwood flooring a particularly smart selection in regards to the hospitality industry; it’s able to handle whatever a business’ clientele throw at it, while maintaining its simple and elegant style. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that installing a hardwood floor does necessitate a degree of planning and preparation if you intend to have a challenge free installation, and enjoy a problem free experience for the duration of the floor’s life.
So, if you’re the owner of a business in the hospitality sector, and you’re looking to enhance your premises with a hardwood floor, this article will take you through some of the most important and often neglected steps in the selection of hardwood flooring, to ensure that you get the maximum return on your investment.
First things first, you’ll want to select the perfect hardwood flooring material for your business, ensuring that it provides the level of performance and aesthetic style that your bar, restaurant or café require to truly justify the expenditure.
In terms of practical performance, you have comparatively few factors to consider; the width of each plank dictates the ease with which a floor can be cleaned and maintained, while the specific finishing of the flooring that you choose decides the level of care that will be required to preserve the look and feel of said flooring.
In most cases, the greater the degree of varnishing or finishing featured on a particular variety of wood, the easier it will be to maintain, with varnished surfaces being smooth enough to make it extremely difficult for dirt and detritus to get a good purchase on your flooring. The only real caveat to this simplicity of maintenance is that certain cleaning techniques can damage certain finishes of hardwood flooring, particularly those with wax finishes; which can be damaged by exposure to excessive levels of moisture. Ultimately as long as the manufacturer’s instructions are followed diligently by yourself and your staff, there’s no reason that any particular hardwood floor finish should cause any difficulties in terms of maintenance.
This is obviously a far more subjective area than with maintenance; a variety of different designs may appeal to you that wouldn’t to another business owner, or may better suit the existing interior design of your establishment. Due to the variety of staining and colouring that is available, your choice of wood is best made based on grain and texture, as opposed to specific colouration. Smoother, more uniform looking woods, such as maple, are better for delivering a more contemporary feeling, while wood with a less regular grain, or an increased propensity for knotting, suit establishments with more traditional designs.
It’s very important when laying hardwood floors to acclimatise the hardwood to the environmental conditions that they will be exposed to when installed. One of the worst situations that can arise, if this step is neglected, is that improperly acclimatised wood will expand or contract after installation, depending on the conditions that they encounter. This will at the very least prevent your hardwood floor from looking its best; but at worst can necessitate the full replacement of the flooring, as it will be too damaged or structurally compromised to continue being used.
You’ve selected the variety of hardwood floor that best suits your establishment in aesthetic and practical terms, and you’ve ensured that your chosen hardwood has acclimatised to the environmental conditions found within the space in which it will be laid; now all that remains is for the installation itself! There are two main types of hardwood floor installation that are commonly utilised today, and the usage of either is largely dependent on the variety of sub-floor that has been installed on your premises.
The first widespread method of hardwood floor installation utilises nails to fix the individual boards in place while laying, either through ‘tongues’ that have been specifically carved or cut into the boards, or directly through the surface of the board. This method is utilised in situations where there is an existing suspended wooden subfloor, into which the hardwood floor can be easily affixed. There are a number of different nailing techniques that can be used, from the use of nail guns to simply utilising hammers. Regardless, nails are commonly driven below the surface, and then covered with wood putty that matches the colour of the chosen hardwood, making the surface appear untouched.
In cases where concrete or other hard surfaces form the subfloor, it’s possible to bond hardwood floors directly to the subfloor, utilising a variety of flexible adhesives. The most important aspect of this installation technique is the removal of any imperfection or lumps in the subfloor; as these bumps and ridges are more than likely to be carried through to the hardwood floor itself, if not corrected early on.
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