Arbor Flooring

Many old houses were designed with suspended wooden floors. 

These were designed to keep them dry, the joists & floorboards vented at the front & back of the house, allowing a draught to remove any moisture arising from the subfloor. 

For a lot of houses constructed before 1950 it was commonplace to have exposed wooden floorboards. 

Generally a black tar would be painted around the perimeter of the room & a rug placed in the centre, providing a warm, fashionable floor covering. With the advent of improved manufacturing techniques it soon became possible to manufacture products which could be fitted wall to wall, Ie fitted carpets. 

Carpets provide good thermal insulation & provide a comfortable surface. They also provide a warmer feel to the room, so it’s clear why they became so popular. 

However, with the advent of modern efficient heating systems, ie Central heating. 

Also double glazing & better draught proofing, it soon became possible to maintain a house at a comfortable temperature, without carpets. 

Also combined with the knowledge that carpets can be quite unhygienic, it is unsurprising that the current trend has moved more towards floor sanding existing floorboards, hard floor coverings or new wood flooring. 

Sanding wood floors provide a uniform practical surface, they are low maintenance, also easy to keep clean. 

They are strong/durable, long lasting & are very cost effective. Aesthetically they are pleasing & will add value to any home 

Parquet floor sanding Welwyn Garden City 

A considerable number of buildings in Welwyn Garden City were built during the era of parquet. Subsequently, being parquet specialists, we spend a reasonable amount of time, working in this area. 

We recently completed a project on Knightsfield where the parquet floor had been covered with carpet for a number of years. In addition to this, there were some carpet residues on the surface of the floor. The carpet gripper rods were still in place and had to be taken up carefully. As one of the fireplaces had been previously removed, there was an unsightly area of concrete that had to be replaced. 

Using one of our contacts for reclaimed parquet flooring based near Welwyn Garden City, we managed to source a very good match with the mahogany floor and set upon filling the area with parquet. 

The glue was allowed to set overnight and we commenced sanding the following day. 

After removing the residues from the previous finish, it was apparent the floor had a lovely grain to it which was previously unnoticed. After mass gap filling, the floor was then ready to coat. After discussions with the customer, a maintenance-free Bona Mega finish was chosen. After the initial Bona Classic Prime, two further coats of Bona Mega were applied in a silk finish. This brought out the natural grain of the wood and lightened the room considerably. With the correct maintenace procedures and floor aftercare, this parquet will last for many years to come. 

If you are based in Welwyn Garden City and have a similar floor that needs attention, do not hesitate to contact us and we would be more than willing to provide any advice and a quotation at no cost. 

School floor sanding 

One of our recent flooring projects was flooring Harpenden Roundwood Park School. We received an invitation to Quote for the floor by way of recommendation from Nowerhill School, Harrow (where we had previously restored parquet floors). By coincidence, we had also undertaken work for the Business Development Manager at Roundwood School and, being satisfied with our floor sanding credentials, we were duly appointed to undertake the work. 

The flooring Harpenden project in question was 250m2 of Herringbone Teak flooring which was much in need of restoration. 

After completing the necessary safety assessments and clearing the area, we commenced sanding with a fairly coarse grit to remove a substantial buildup of previous finishes. 

We used progressively finer sanding grits and finished sanding with an 80 grit on the rotating Trio finishing machine. Following this we then proceeded to apply a coat of Junckers Prelak, the purpose of which is to promote the adhesion of subsequent coats; it also helps avoid side-bonding of the floor. Further to the Prelak, we applied three coats of Junckers Hp Commercial. This is a two-part water based polyurethane lacquer designed to stand up to the rigours of heavy use. 

Once completed, the floor was restored to its former self and all expectations were exceeded. (We have recently completed further work for our point of contact at the school.) 

Wooden flooring Hemel Hempstead 

We were recently asked to quote on flooring in Hemel Hempstead, which again came by way of recommendation. The house in question was a rather unconventional layout with the living space and kitchen upstairs, and a bedroom and large converted garage downstairs. 

The previous floorcovering was the original cork flooring. Unfortunately, this was rather well stuck down and proved quite difficult to lift. After utilising a floor-stripper we managed to remove the cork. The floor then required two further applications of floor-levelling/smoothing compound to get it to the correct state to start fitting. 

The chosen floor was supplied by Bausen and was a 125mm wide, 18mm thick Oak floor in Rustic Grade. This product is supplied pre-finished which negates any need to apply further finishes, although it is recommended to apply a finish after a year if the floor looks to be wearing. This type of flooring is installed as a floating floor by gluing the tongue and groove joints together. 

Following this we then supplied and fitted Torus skirting boards, matching thresholds and put in a coir mat at the entrance to protect the floor. 

If you require any flooring in Hemel Hempstead, please do not hesitate to contact us. 

Floor installation North London 

Although not based in North London, we are willing to undertake most flooring projects in this area and many of our suppliers are based in the area. 

One recent installation in a private residence in West Hampstead involved the installation of 115m2 of Kahrs Oak flooring. 

The property in question was being renovated to a high standard. Initially the floors had to be insulated by installing Cellotex insulation between the joists, this also has the benefit of reducing noise travelling through the building. 

Further sub floor work was required by levelling the floor boards with the belt sander to ensure a level surface to fit on top of. Kahrs 4mm cush ‘n’ wood underlay was used throughout. Areas specified included the lounge, dining room and study, and the floor was to run seamlessly from area to area. Overall the effect was very pleasing and we have subsequently been asked to do more installations for the main contractor. 

If you are based in North London, we would be happy to discuss your flooring requirements. 

Floor installation Watford 

We regularly work in and around Watford. One recent assignment involved a small town house that had recently been purchased and was in the procees of being refurbished. 

There was an existing laminate flooring covering the downstairs floor, and upstairs was carpeted. 

After taking up the floor coverings it was evident that the floorboards were not in too bad a state of repair and it was decided to sand and seal these. Reclaimed pine floor boards were sourced from our Watford-based supplier for the few repairs that were required. For the ground floor it was decided to mass fill the floor with a mixture of pine slivers and wood floor filler. 

The floors were then sanded back with progressively finer sand paper to achieve a smooth finish. To achieve a high-end look, the floors were then stained with a Georgian medium Oak stain. Once sealed with Junckers Strong, the stain enhances the grain of the wood and leaves a pleasant and durable finish. 

Should you have any flooring requirements in Watford or even just require some friendly advice, do not hesitate to contact us. 

Parquet flooring St Albans 

On of our recent installations in St Albans, off Bernards Heath, involved installing a parquet floor over water-based underfloor heating (UFH). At the request of the main contractor (for whom we had not worked previously) we specified a 280mm Oak multi-layered parquet block. On top of the UFH it is imperative that an engineered parquet block is used, as this has much greater structural stability and is not so affected by the heat coming through the floor. 

After taking moisture readings it was still deemed necessary to facilitate the use of a liquid, surface damp-proof membrane (DPM). This was so as to prevent any residual moisture from getting into the blocks. A DPM is applied by roller and has the beneficial effect of improving the adhesion of any glue used for the blocks. Being based in St Albans allowed us to make good progress on the floor and the fitting aspect was completed in less than three days. 

After the wood was allowed to acclimatise, we proceeded to fit the first three rows before allowing the glue to go off. The bulk of the floor was subsequently filled out, prior to cutting the border back. 

Once the two-strip border had been fitted, the floor was then allowed a few days grace to fully settle in prior to sanding. 

As the engineering of the blocks was to a good standard, only a light sand was required and only minor gap filling required. 

The floor finish was the Osmo floor oil. One coat of colour oil (amber) to darken the floor gave it a goldenbrown glow. This was followed by a single coat of Osmo Polyx Oil in a matt finish. In all the floor has been a great success and is a major feature of the house. 

If you are in or near St Albans do not hesitate to contact us for your flooring needs, we are locally based and more than happy to provide advice on any flooring-related matters, whether that be an old or new installation. 

Flooring Products 

For both the wood flooring and floor sanding sides of our business, we use a number of reputable suppliers of Flooring Products, for all our material requirements. 

Over the years we have grown familiar with the flooring products we deem most suitable for any one particular application. On the sanding side, we use up-to-date dust-free floor sanders, namely Laegler Floor Sanders. The floor sanding abrasives are also of high quality, generally Bona. The floor finishes we use are generally water-based and low odour- the two main products being Junckers and Bona, which are two of the most widely used floor lacquers available on the continent. The other finishes available are oil-based; we use the latest Osmo and Treatex products, each with their slightly differing characteristics and performance. 

On the laminate flooring side, we use predominantly Quickstep flooring for its wide range of attractive designs. It also has the best locking mechanism of all the laminates, ensuring a perfect fit every time and for ease of installation. The designs are available for a number of years and additional flooring readily sourced should a floor need extending. Pergo Flooring is another major player in the laminate flooring market. With modern European designs, it is a particularly hard-wearing product. Other laminate products we use include Balterio and Kronospan. 

For the engineered flooring, we use a number of suppliers from Xylo to Boen, Kahrs, Tarkett, Bausen and V4 Flooring, all of which are readily sourced and have their own characteristics. Each have their own strong points in terms of appearance, practicality, and suitability to specific locations. 

Generally, our suppliers hold good stock levels of all the main lines. For Parquet flooring (which is generally not branded), our supplier is based in the North West, using wood sourced from sustainable forests in Eastern Europe, and manufactures using the latest mill technology. 

We source bamboo and cork flooring from a number of different suppliers. Should you do some research on sustainable flooring, both bamboo flooring and cork flooring feature heavily. Bamboo is very fast growing, in addition to this it has good anti-bacterial qualities, is extremely hard-wearing and is also water-resistant. 

Cork flooring is equally sustainable and is manufactured from cork bark, which is harmlessly removed from the tree. Cork also has good microbial properties. It also has excellent insulation and sound reduction properties and has the added benefit of being warm underfoot. It is quite a hardy product, although it does absorb moisture so is not as suitable for bathroom or kitchen floors. 

Irrespective of your installation conditions, we will have products suitable for your requirements. 

Floor sanding: which finish? 

One of the main attractions of wood flooring is the fact that after a number of years of heavy use & wear, if looking tired, it is possible to re sand the floor, going back to bare wood & start afresh. Now is the ideal time to reassess the type of finish required & the options are numerous. 

Initially there are many things to consider, such as any existing floor coverings, levels of natural light, existing furniture & fittings. A primary consideration is the desired colour of the finished floor. Dark floors can absorb light so generally are not good for small rooms. Also some houses that have been extended lack natural light in the centre of the house & going for a dark floor can swallow a lot of light, making this area darker still. It is also possible to use white primers which can lighten up the floor, or a coloured wax oil. 

In terms of finish, the main 2 options are Hard Wax Oil or Waterbased Lacquer. For the former, these are a more natural product, generally the oil is absorbed by the wood offering protection from spills, stains & wear. They are easy to apply & are a more ecofriendly option being based on vegetable oils. 

If scratched, to undertake a repair, it is possible to sand the affected area lightly & reapply more oil. One of the downsides of using oils however is the fact that over time the oil can dry out & needs replenishing every year or so, to give the floor protection. 

This in reality sounds like a relatively straightforward process, but unfortunately it seldom gets done. The result of this, being that the floors wear in high traffick areas. Losing the protection of the oil, floors quickly get soiled & lose their appearance. The only option then, is before time, to re sand the floor completely & reapply a further finish. 

On the flip side if well maintained, oils generally bring out the natural grain of the wood & provide a more aesthetically pleasing appearance. With The lacquers, these are a water based polyurethane. The purpose of the water is to transport the polyurethane during the application process in a uniform & even manner. The water then evaporates over a period of time leaving a thin film of Polyurethane over the surface of the floor. Lacquers provide a practical hard wearing surface for the rigours of a normal household, for heavy use there also 2 part Commercial products which offer a higher level of protection. 


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