The moisture content of timber is the percentage weight of water present in the timber compared to the weight of timber with all water removed. Moisture content varies with changes in the humidity and temperature in the surrounding air. To minimise the movement of a floor (swelling on moisture uptake, shrinkage on moisture loss) due to changes in moisture content, it is important to lay and fix timber floors close to the average moisture content of timber in the environment in which it is to be laid. In coastal areas – where higher humidity can be expected – moisture content ranges from 9% to 14%. Timber flooring is usually supplied with an average moisture content of between 10% and 12.5%; most boards can be expected to be within a few percentage points of the average.
Impact Sound Acoustic underlays provide minimal disruption to living and working environments and ensure that the neighbours won’t be complaining. Correct treatment becomes very important in applications such as apartments and offices. The Timber Flooring Pros mainly use underlays by “Vibramat”
Timber Flooring changes its colour when exposed to natural light. You may find areas that receive greater exposure to light becoming lighter or darker than other areas. A classic example is when you move furniture or rugs the floor is usually different to the surrounding area. In most cases, the colour will “catch up” over time.
Wood is a natural product, dependent on soil, climate, local environment and other natural factors for its colour and character. As a result, colour variation should be expected and is part of the natural beauty of your timber floor. The final colour or extremes of colour are often not discernible until after the timber has been sanded and polished.
Most timber floors will make creaking noises from time to time. This usually happens after extreme weather changes or if a floor has not been walked on for some time. A new floor will make a creaking sound until it has “settled”. If the floor has a creaking sound in a particular area which does not go away, it may need attention.
Cupping is a “ripple like” effect. It is the result of the top of the boards being drier than the bottom. When timber loses moisture it shrinks and when it picks up moisture it expands. Possible causes are: dampness under the floor causing the bottom of the boards to pick up moisture faster than it can be expelled, air conditioners or heaters drying out the timber from the top, or sunlight through a window, which will also dry out the top of boards. The wider the board, the more exaggerated cupping can appear. To minimise the visual effect of cupping, it is a good idea to run timber in the direction of the main light sources. Note: do not automatically sand a floor flat to remove cupping. It is preferable to address the cause first. If the problem cannot be fixed, wait for 12 –18 months to see if cupping dissipates. If it doesn’t, you may wish to sand the floor flat. However, if you sand too early and the cause is later resolved, you may experience reverse cupping.
Most species are available in two grades; however some are available in three grades which relate to the appearance of natural characteristics such as gum vein, insect holes and other natural marks. Select Grade is generally clearer than Standard Grade. However, gum vein and natural markings may still be evident. Standard Grade appearance is accentuated by a larger number of gum veins, spirals, shakes, and marks left by forest insects, further ensuring no two floors (or pieces) are the same. Both Select and Standard Grades are extremely durable grades of timber and offer long lasting quality. Select Grade gives a more contemporary and Standard Grade a more natural, rustic look. Feature Grade: Feature Grade is for those wanting a very rugged look on their floor.
Expansion gaps of 10 mm should be provided at all walls and other fixed obstacles which are parallel to the run of floor boards. Intermediate expansion joints should also be provided in larger floors (width at right angles to boards exceeding 6 metres), to give an equivalent gap of 10 mm every 6 metres (approx. 1.5 mm every 800 mm).
The Timber Flooring Professionals use and recommends the use of oil-based finishes, waxes, and water-based finishes. As timber flooring will continue to move throughout its life due to changes in atmospheric conditions, we recommend the use of products that allow the boards to move independently of one another.
Timber flooring should be supplied between 9 and 14% moisture content. In most instances for use in New Zealand, it is recommended that the timber be between 10 and 12%. On delivery to our site we check every pack of timber to ensure that it has the right moisture content.
As timber flooring is a hygroscopic product (i.e., it has a variable moisture content), it will move with changes of moisture to its local atmosphere. In spells of low humidity, your boards will expel moisture and shrink, which may cause gaps to appear in the floor; however in periods of high humidity, the floor will expand and gaps may close. The wider the board, the more likely it is to show cupping and movement. If your site is particularly dry (usually due to air conditioning) or damp, it would be advisable to opt for a narrower board. This won’t stop movement or cupping, but the effect may be minimised.
Prior to installation, it is necessary to ensure that concrete is sufficiently level to accept the system. Where the slab is greater than ± 3 mm.