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Havwoods

The Flooring Group has been retailing Havwoods for many years. Below, Havwoods further detail their wood products to our customers;

Havwoods, The Wood Flooring Company

Established in 1975, Havwoods’ commitment to quality, expertise and service has made us Britain’s foremost wood flooring company supplying architects, specifiers and individuals around the world, We concentrate almost exclusively on wood flooring: engineered and solid wood for floors, cladding and even joinery, in all situations, in a wide variety of species and with every conceivable finish. Indeed,Havwoods personnel personally select the very best products from the best manufacturers worldwide and the result is a superior portfolio of over one thousand different types of wood flooring.

Renowned as leaders in our field, both technologically and aesthetically, Havwoods are also continually researching new ideas and new trends. It was this quest for new ideas which led to the introduction of both Plusfloor – a product which combines the toughness of vinyl with the ease of fitting of an engineered board – and our composite decking products.

A large stockholding of many of the products shown on this site is held for immediate delivery, whilst bespoke orders may be fulfilled in as little as two weeks. A rapid delivery service is always available, alternatively stock can be reserved for up to three months (or longer by arrangement) in order to guarantee delivery as and when required. For larger projects warehouse space is available for storage to enable delivery  in manageable consignments to suit the schedule.

But it is expertise which truly sets Havwoods apart as a company. Not only knowledge of products and the ways in which they perform, but also of installation, for the correct installation, using the best fixing method and products for the sub-floor and the environment, has tremendous influence on the lifespan of the floor itself.

If you require any advice on the very best wood floor for your project, the best method of installation and the best team to do it, call us at Havwoods – we’re known for wood that works.

Our wood flooring is selected from the very best mills worldwide specifically for its quality and consistency. We offer a superior and ever-changing product portfolio of over one thousands different types of engineered and solid wood, suitable for all applications and in an enormous variety of species with every conceivable finish. Shown here are our most popular timbers, the majority of which are held in stock and are available for immediate delivery. Our wood flooring is selected from the very best mills worldwide specifically for its quality and consistency. We offer a superior and ever-changing product portfolio of over one thousands different types of engineered and solid wood, suitable for all applications and in an enormous variety of species with every conceivable finish. Shown here are our most popular timbers, the majority of which are held in stock and are available for immediate delivery.

40 Years of Wood That Works

Looking back at our heritage

1975

Havwoods is established by Henry Whiley, buying and selling lumber as an agent from an office in his back yard.

1980

Oliver Whiley, Henry’s son and the current Chairman, joins the family business.

1985

The company builds their first premises and begins to specialise in sourcing and stocking wood flooring.

1991

The first of the third generation of Whileys joins the rapidly expanding company.

1998

Having outgrown their original premises Havwoods also buys and extends the building next door.

2003

In order to focus on their respective markets the company splits into three separate limited companies: Havwoods Flooring, Havwoods Accessories and Havwoods Machinery.

2008

Envisaging the need to improve international distribution Havwoods Flooring invest in an established Australian timber company.

2010

Havwoods merge with Floorco to general approbation amongst specifiers: “Two of the guys I love using have merged; what could be better than that?” Late in the same year Havwoods Australia is launched.

2012

Havwoods acquire Walkers of Stokesley and The Wood Space, London, opens to provide the opportunity to view and compare the entire stock collection in one central location.

2013

A new purpose-built head office provides a showroom in the north of England and warehousing to service distribution thoughout the northern hemisphere. Havwoods showroom in Rome also opens.

2014

Major expansion In Australia results in a new, larger head office and distribution centre as well as showrooms in Melbourne and Sydney. In the UK the Midlands regional sales office and showroom is completed.

2015

Mobile presentations in the shape of the Havwoods Routemaster provide improved service for UK specifiers. As to the rest – for now it’s a secret!

Flooring Types Explained

HAVWOODS BESPOKE

At Havwoods we offer a comprehensive portfolio of over one thousand different products, but Havwoods’ Bespoke isn’t a collection, it’s a concept. More precisely , it’s your concept; but it’s your concept delivered in a way which makes it viable in a commercial situation.

For example, the unique diamond pattern designed by Darling Associates for Wessex House at One Tower Bridge would normally involve laying a plywood subfloor, cutting and gluing down individual pieces on site, allowing it to settle for a week then clearing the site to sand the floor and apply several coats of lacquer: time consuming, expensive and hardly practical on a busy site. The Havwoods solution was to product the panels off site, delivering essentially a pre-finished panel in an engineered construction: significantly quicker, far more practical, and ensuring an excellent lacquered finish since it was applied in a controlled, factory environment. 

If you would like to consider the services of Havwoods’ Bespoke, simply call+44(0)1524 737000. A senior, highly experienced member of staff will discuss your concept and the best ways in which to achieve it before providing an estimate; only on approval will a sample be prepared.

SOLID WOOD FLOORING

A solid wood floor is floor laid with planks or battens which have been milled from a single piece of timber, usually a hardwood. Since wood is hydroscopic (it acquires and loses moisture from the ambient conditions around it) this potential instability effectively limits the length and width of the boards. Solid hardwood flooring is usually cheaper than engineered timbers and damaged areas can be sanded down and refinished repeatedly, the number of timbers being limited only by the thickness of wood above the tongue. Solid hardwood floors were originally used for structural purposes, being installed perpendicular to the wooden support beams of a building (the joists or bearers) and solid construction timber is still often used for sports floors as well as most traditional wood blocks, mosaics and parquetry.

At Havwoods we carry two ranges of solid wood flooring: Junckers and our own Gold Leaf range. Gold Leaf products are sourced from a variety of mills, all of whom work to a very exact tolerance to ensure minimal on-site sanding; Junckers is a highly respected Danish flooring producer and is the only solid wood flooring which we are prepared to specify for use over underfloor heating.

ENGINEERED WOOD FLOORING

An engineered board is, quite simply, a timber board which consists of more than one layer. By placing each layer so that the grain runs perpendicularly it becomes virtually impossible for the timber to swell or shrink with changes in humidity and so it dramatically increases its stability. The top layer of an engineered board (the lamella) is solid wood, usually hardwood, and may be anything from 2 to 6mm thick; the thickest wear layers are equivalent to those on solid timber boards and obviously the thicker the surface layer the more times it can be sanded and refinished to remove the ravages of wear. The lamella is securely bonded to one or two further layers – this may be a multi-layered plywood or a sandwich with either a softwood or hardwood core.

Engineered boards should not be confused with laminate or veneer. Laminate uses an image of wood on its surface whilst veneer uses only a very thin layer of wood over a core of some type of composite wood product, usually fibreboard. 

Engineered timber is now the most common type of wood flooring used globally. Not only are they more stable than solid planks but they also offer alternative, easier methods of installation. Furthermore the technology has enabled the production of much wider boards as well as the application of an enormous variety of really interesting finishes, reducing the demand for exotic species since their rich colours can now be simulated with the use of oils, heat and pressure.

PARQUET WOOD FLOORING

Parquet encompasses all the geometrical pattern flooring types including herringbone, chevrons, mosaics as well as specific patterns litke Versailles. Many of these patterns are enjoying a revival, particularly herringbone patterns which use larger battens giving a contemporary twist to a traditional look. Whilst many parquetry blocks are of unfinished solid timber, modern mosaics and end grain blocks are now available as mesh or board backed panels, making a once complex installation remarkably simple. Furthermore, at Havwoods a huge number of engineered herringbone and chevron blocks are available, now adding the benefit of an enormous variety of choice in shade and finish.

RECLAIMED WOOD FLOORING

Reclaimed wood is currently generating immense interest, no doubt a combination of its intensely interesting appearance and ecologically sound credentials. But traditional sources of reclaimed timber can be a risky specification since supplies are often unreliable and the lack of uniformity makes installation a lengthier, and therefore costlier process, as well as contributing to high levels of wastage. 

Havwoods’ reclaimed timbers are sourced from a variety of specialist mills and include both solid and engineered products, none of which suffer such problems. The solid products fall into two categories: Graphic, which are planed, profiled and sanded to modern tolerances then painted using encaustic techniques; and the massive timbers from the Maramures region of Transylvania which are crafted into regular dimensions using generational skills and 21st century methods. The engineered products are, of course, milled to regular sizes (although planks are supplied in mixed widths as befits the reclaimed approach), furthermore they make better use of these finite resources and are so stable they may even be fitted over underfloor heating. 

RECLAIMED CLADDING

Virtually all of Havwoods’ products may be used to clad walls and ceilings, however just a few are designed specifically and solely for this purpose. Vertical is our interesting collection of timber for cladding purposes only: all of it is reclaimed and the solid timber planks are suitable for external as well as internal use.

WIDE PLANK WOOD FLOORING

It is rare to find a solid plank wider than 140mm since the bigger the plank the greater the propensity of movement caused by changes in humidity. The advent of engineered planks has made widths of 180mm quite normal, but at Havwoods we are only happy to offer exceptionally stable planks at widths in excess of 200mm. These now total around 100 products and may be found amongst our Hench, Henley, Venture Plank, Volunta and MiPlank collections, simply use your required width as the search criteria (and note that all Henley planks are also available to order in widths of 220mm and 260mm).

VINYL PLANK FLOORING

Vinyl flooring is tough, durable and highly resistant to damage, making it particularly suitable for areas such as kitchens, bathrooms and heavy-duty commercial applications, but traditional vinyl sheets and tiles are neither quick or easy to fit. Plusfloor is vinyl flooring in an easy-to-fit plank. It is tough: flexible yet stable, impact-resistant, scratch-resistant, stain-resistant, fire-resistant and virtually immune to the sun’s rays; it is easy to live with: warm, quiet, anti-slip and easy on the feet; and, best of all, it’s as easy as an engineered board to fit. 

LEATHER TILES

Leather floors and walls soften sound, warm the atmosphere, offer some resistance to fire, feel great underfoot and are stunning to look at; all very, very positive attributes. But hide also scuffs easily and is undeniably a luxury product. The majority of leather tiles on the market are produced from bonded leather, which is a mix of leather offcuts and polyurethane. The result is obviously much tougher, more abrasion resistant and far more affordable, it is also more consistent and more sustainable. Our bonded leather tiles are made from a high proportion of leather mixed with natural latex and finished with a UV lacquer which helps to preserve the leather and gives it a smooth, highly durable surface. Indeed, official tests have shown greater wear resistance than that achieved by Bona lacquer on wood and Havwoods’ in-house testing has confirmed extremely high resilience to the wear and tear of everyday foot traffic.

COMPOSITE CLADDING

Exterior cladding is becoming increasingly popular for finishing the outside of both domestic and commercial buildings and it can transform the appearance as well as being an effective method of increasing both sound and thermal insulation. Depending upon the material it may also provide some protection from the elements. Timber makes highly attractive cladding and some species such as oak, chestnut, western red cedar and larch are particularly suitable given their natural resistance to decay; it does, however, require a regular maintenance programme. Composite cladding provides an extremely low maintenance alternative, requiring nothing but an occasional was to remove grime. Trekker composite cladding from Havwoods is an excellent insulator, will not shrink or warp and is highly resistant to rot and insects.

COMPOSITE DECKING PLANKS

At Havwoods we are passionate about wood but we will also acknowledge its shortcomings and one area where wood simply doesn’t perform well is decking. Exposed to the elements wood can rot, splinter and warp and avoiding such problems requires a regular maintenance programme using lacquer or oil. Even worse is the growth of algae, which makes walking treacherous and creates real health and safety issues in public areas. On principal we will not sell wood decking, Instead we offer two different types of composite material decking boards. Both are extremely attractive, require no special tools for fitting, and are essentially maintenance-free. Furthermore, they do not promote algae growth which means that they are highly anti-slip, even in the wet, and so are ideal for commercial or public use.

SPORTS FLOORING

Indoor sports floors are all about shock absorbing qualities: ball bounce, resilience and friction are the key factors which determine both performance and safety. If the floor is too soft, the ball rebound will be too slow. If it is too hard those using the floor will be exposed to injury due to fatigue: indeed, around one third of all indoor sports injuries can be related to the properties of the floor.

Junckers are world-renowned experts in sports flooring, offering this highly specialized product for much of their 80-year history. Over the years they have gained unrivalled technical expertise in designing and supplying solutions to suit individual and multipurpose sports and dance floors at all levels and they have installed in excess of 20 million square metres of sports flooring throughout the world. Such is their knowledge and expertise that Junckers are represented on the European committee responsible for setting the recognized standards for sports flooring.

The performance of any sports floor is dependent upon both the construction of the sub structure and the flooring itself and as well as the interaction between the two. Solid hardwood is the choice of athletes because it provides area rather than point elasticity. All Junckers sports floors are of 20mm solid hardwood with timbers especially chosen for their tensile strength, straight grain structure and optimum area elasticity, ensuring the maximum freedom of movement. A choice of timber grades and sub-structures ensures the optimum flooring for everything from dance and general purpose sports floors to squash courts, and all at a choice of performance levels – all are designed to enable athletes to train longer and play harder without fear of injury. Furthermore, a Junckers sports floor provides a healthy indoor climate – they are certified to Danish Indoor Climate Certification rules and are the only solid hardwood floors to conform to the British Allergy Foundation specifications.

Bespoke Wood Flooring

HAVWOODS BESPOKE WOOD FLOORING

Havwoods Bespoke wood flooring is a concept, not a collection. It’s your concept delivered in a way which makes it viable in a commercial situation. Take, for example, the unique diamond patterned floor in solid oak designed by Darling Associates for the reception rooms in some of the apartments at Wessex House, One Tower Bridge. To achieve this floor conventionally would be massively labour intensive, involving laying a plywood subfloor, cutting and gluing down individual small pieces, allowing it to settle for a week, then clearing the site to sand the floor and apply several coats of lacquer. The Havwoods solution was to produce the panels off site, delivering essentially a pre-finished panel in an engineered construction; significantly quicker, far more practical on a busy site, and ensuring an excellent lacquered finish since it was applied in a controlled factory environment.

Decking and Cladding With Benefits

At Havwoods we are passionate about wood, we also acknowledge its shortcomings. One area where wood simply doesn’t perform well is decking. These extremely attractive decking boards look, feel and are fitted like wood, yet they do not rot, splinter, warp or host algae growth. This means that they are highly anti-slip, even in the wet, and so are ideal for commercial or public use. They are extremely fade- and stain-resistant and are essentially maintenance-free, requiring no sanding, staining or painting.

Trekker Decking & Cladding Boards

The Trekker range comprises of both decking and cladding boards which are suitable for external or internal use. Like Endura, Trekker’s composition means that it will not host algae growth, rot, splinter or warp. It is easy to install using fixing clips, and even easier to maintain, requiring nothing more than an occasional wash with plain water, Trekker is UV treated for fade resistance, so although it will mellow slightly once installed, the colour will stabilise after a few weeks. Scratches may be lightly sanded and the colour will rapidly blend into the surrounding boards.

Xscape Composite Decking Boards

Another wood fibre composite decking board, this one mixed with high-density polyethylene. In this American-made product the wood fibre is ground particularly finely, almost like flour, for a highly uniform appearance. This is coated with the polyethylene and Summit products are then finished with an extremely durable polymer technology.

Endura Decking Boards

Endura is a solid board with a ridged, traditional decking appearance. Made from high-grade, recycled polythene mixed with bamboo fibres they suffer none of the problems associated with either wood composites (water absorption can lead to rotting) or plastics (changes due to extremes in temperature). Endura decking boards do not require pre-drilling or special tools for fitting and require no maintenance other than an occasional wash. Surface scratches may be removed with sand paper and oil or grease stains with hot, soapy water. Endura is fully water-resistant with superior colour retention and carries a lifetime warranty against rotting, warping, splitting, fresh or saltwater damage and fungal decay.
 

Vinyl in a Plank

Easy to fit vinyl flooring: all the plus points and none of the problems

Why choose Plusfloor?

Vinyl flooring is tough, durable and highly resistant to damage, making it particularly suitable for areas such as kitchens, bathrooms and heavy-duty commercial applications, but traditional vinyl sheets and tiles are neither quick or easy to fit. Plusfloor is vinyl flooring in an easy-to-fit plank. It is tough: flexible yet stable, impact-resistant, scratch-resistant, stain-resistant, fire-resistant and virtually immune to the sun’s rays; it is easy to live with: warm, quiet, anti-slip and easy on the feet; and, best of all, it’s just like an engineered board to fit.

Easy-to-fit Vinyl Flooring

Plusfloor is a rigid plank made up of several layers including a decorated vinyl and a layer of HDF which incorporates a clic fixing system. The planks are designed to be laid floating over a subfloor, making them far quicker and easier to fit than glue-down vinyl since, whilst the subfloor must be level, it does not need to be perfect. It also requires virtually no preparation and no drying time once the floor is laid. Once down, the floor will remain perfectly flat and even, with tight, consistent joints between every board. Plusfloor Splash, a fully waterproof version, is also available. Visit the Plusfloor website.

Plusfloor Vinyl Flooring Technical Information and Textures

Impact resistant, scratch resistant, stain resistant, fire resistant and virtually immune to the sun’s rays; warm, quiet and easy on the feet; flexible, stable and really, really easy to fit: this floor has so much more to offer we had to call it Plusfloor!

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True Grain Finish
A wood grain texture which mirrors the grain pattern precisely.

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Wood Tex Finish
Subtle wood grain texturing reminiscent of an oiled wood floor.

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Honed Finish
A random rough texture reminiscent of rough stone or cement.

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Fine Steel Finish
A relatively smoothly textured finish which compliments the modern colour palette.

Plusfloor comprises of a top layer of transparent PVC which protects the decorated vinyl, adapting to its elasticity to provide a comfortable walking surface which is exceptionally tough and easy to maintain. The core of HDF incorporating a clic fixing system and gives stability, solidity and strength in the join; and finally a layer of cork ensures Plusfloor’s excellent thermal and noise insulation – as much as 18dB.

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Like Plusfloor, Plusfloor Splash comprises of a top layer of transparent PVC protecting a decorated vinyl, but this is bonded to a fully waterproof, extruded high density ridged PVC. As with the standard Plusfloor, this layer incorporates a clic fixing system. Plusfloor Splash may be contacted to Plusfloor HDF although a 2mm base is required to compensate for the difference in depth.

Making The Grade

What to expect from Prime, Select, Character and Rustic Grades in Wood

UNIVERSAL WOOD FLOORING GRADING CRITERIA

Havwoods source timber products from many different countries, each having different grading rules and industry standards. Unfortunately, there is no single definitive framework that can be used as an International Standard and the criteria can also vary between species.

Oak, however, is by far our most popular species so, in order to show our clients a typical spread of grain formation and the properties for each grading description, we have used this species as an example of what to expect. Since we deal with a number of suppliers who work to varying parameters, we have shown what is likely to be the “worst case” in terms of knot size; many individual planks will fall well within this. But please do remember, since they are usually selected by eye, there is always scope for an occasional board to fall outside of these parameters. For all these reasons Havwoods cannot accept rejection of an entire floor on the basis of a small number of boards. Part of the beauty of wood is that each and every plank is unique, so these parameters should be taken simply as an indication, given in good faith and to the best of our knowledge.

Havwoods strongly advise that our floors should only be fitted by a competent installer who will, as a matter of course, remove any defects within the normal cutting allowance, and we cannot accept rejection of any flooring once it has been laid.

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PRIME GRADE

Typically, prime grade has few, if any knots, and these will be of minimal size. There will also be a minimal amount of sapwood defects and filler, if any at all. Where filler is used its colour is carefully selected to complement the wood rather than to match it exactly, and the colour of the filler may vary from batch to batch. There will be a relatively small amount of colour variation in the timber itself.

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SELECT GRADE

Typically, select grade will have a mix of almost prime boards with other planks which have more knots. Slightly larger knots are allowed in this grade. Heartwood and colour variation in the timber should be expected and there may be some checks (cracks across the growth ring), sapwood and filler. The colour of the filler is carefully selected to complement the wood rather than to match it exactly and it may vary from batch to batch.

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CHARACTER / CLASSIC GRADE

Known as either character or classic grade, typically this allows a wider range of colour variation. Knots are larger and you should expect checks (cracks across the growth ring) and possibly some end shake (cracks between the rings). Filler will be used, the colour of which is carefully selected to complement the wood rather than to match it exactly, and it may vary from batch to batch.

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NATURAL/RUSTIC GRADE

Known as either natural or rustic grade this allows a virtually limitless size and number of knots. Heartwood will be used, there will be colour variation, sapwood and filler; you should also expect checks (cracks across the growth ring) and possibly some end shake (cracks between the rings). The colour of the filler is carefully selected to complement the wood rather than to match it exactly and it may vary from batch to batch.

Woods That Work

When it comes to floors, some wood species work harder than others.

TYPES OF WOOD

The more you know about the unique characteristics of wood and its source, the better equipped you are to choose a species which will fulfil your specific individual requirements. Floors, walls and ceilings made of wood are truly unique for, like fingerprints, every single tree features a unique grain pattern.
Strictly speaking, the classification hard wood does not actually mean that the wood is hard, it means that it comes from a leaf bearing tree; soft wood come from a cone bearing tree. In fact, some leaf bearing trees produce very soft wood, whilst some cone bearing trees have very hard woods. Hardness is actually measured by the Janka test, which was designed primarily to ascertain the suitability of a given wood for use in flooring. It measures the resistance of the wood to denting and wear by measuring the force, in pounds, required to embed an 11.28mm steel ball into the wood to a depth of half of the ball’s diameter

Ash

Ash is a member of the Fraxinus genus of which there are around 60 different species, including the olive and lilac families, growing throughout Europe, North America, north Africa and many parts of Asia. European Ash is a large, deciduous tree which grows freely throughout the continent. It is resilient and grows rapidly and, as such, was an important resource for smallholders and farmers who would often coppice the trees on a ten-year cycle to provide a sustainable source of timber for fuel, building and woodworking.

The colour of ash wood ranges from creamy white through light brown, whilst the heart wood may be a darker olive-brown. The timber is hard (white ash measures 1320 on the Janka scale), tough, highly flexible, shock-resistant and also resistant to splitting, all of which makes ash suitable for solid or engineered woods floors. Solid ash flooring is strong and flexible; engineered ash flooring benefits from the same attributes; both are prized for their colour and attractive, coarse, open, fairly straight grain which resembles that of oak.

Woods That Work

When it comes to floors, some wood species work harder than others.

TYPES OF WOOD

The more you know about the unique characteristics of wood and its source, the better equipped you are to choose a species which will fulfil your specific individual requirements. Floors, walls and ceilings made of wood are truly unique for, like fingerprints, every single tree features a unique grain pattern.

Strictly speaking, the classification hard wood does not actually mean that the wood is hard, it means that it comes from a leaf bearing tree; soft wood come from a cone bearing tree. In fact, some leaf bearing trees produce very soft wood, whilst some cone bearing trees have very hard woods. Hardness is actually measured by the Janka test, which was designed primarily to ascertain the suitability of a given wood for use in flooring. It measures the resistance of the wood to denting and wear by measuring the force, in pounds, required to embed an 11.28mm steel ball into the wood to a depth of half of the ball’s diameter

Ash

Ash is a member of the Fraxinus genus of which there are around 60 different species, including the olive and lilac families, growing throughout Europe, North America, north Africa and many parts of Asia. European Ash is a large, deciduous tree which grows freely throughout the continent. It is resilient and grows rapidly and, as such, was an important resource for smallholders and farmers who would often coppice the trees on a ten-year cycle to provide a sustainable source of timber for fuel, building and woodworking.

The colour of ash wood ranges from creamy white through light brown, whilst the heart wood may be a darker olive-brown. The timber is hard (white ash measures 1320 on the Janka scale), tough, highly flexible, shock-resistant and also resistant to splitting, all of which makes ash suitable for solid or engineered woods floors. Solid ash flooring is strong and flexible; engineered ash flooring benefits from the same attributes; both are prized for their colour and attractive, coarse, open, fairly straight grain which resembles that of oak.

Bamboo

Providing arguably the most ‘green’, eco-friendly flooring solution, bamboo is not really a timber at all, but a grass. As a self-generating, renewable resource which grows to full maturity within five years, sequesters up to 70% more carbon than a hardwood forest and incurs both minimal waste and minimal pollution in harvesting and production, products made from bamboo are now surging in popularity.

Bamboo is an attractive alternative for flooring because of its physical similarities to hardwoods. It is strong, durable and resistant to insects and moisture. Traditional bamboo flooring uses thin bamboo stems cut as flat as possible and in this state is of a similar hardness to oak; in the West, however, the terms solid bamboo flooring or engineered bamboo flooring are somewhat misleading since all the available flooring is made from processed bamboo.

The Janka hardness test measures resistance to denting and wear, primarily to determine the suitability of a species for use in flooring. The hardest processed bamboo is strand woven bamboo which shows a Janka hardness of 3000 pounds-force – greater than that exhibited by virtually all the common hardwoods and similar to that of ebony.

Beech

Beech, Latin name Fagus, is a genus of ten species of deciduous trees native to temperate Europe, Asia and North America. Beech logs burn extremely cleanly so they are used to dry the malts used in some German smoked beers as well as for smoking cheeses. Beech wood is tough, strong and heavy with tiny pores and large, conspicuous medullary rays, similar in appearance to maple; it is widely used for furniture framing, carcass construction, flooring and engineering purposes. Engineered and solid beech flooring is pale in colour with a warm tone and even texture. Beech measures 1300 on the Janka scale.

Black Walnut

Native to eastern North America the black walnut (Juglans nigra) is a large deciduous tree which is prized for both its high quality wood and its edible fruit (the nut). The nutmeat is similar to that of the milder-tasting English walnut although it is primarily used in more expensive baked goods since it is quite difficult to extract. The hard black walnut shell is also used commercially for cleansing and polishing in industries as diverse as cosmetics and oil well drilling. Black walnut plantings can be made to produce timber, nuts or both timber and nuts.

Black walnut wood is particularly valuable, indeed in some areas of the US it is the most valuable commercial timber species, and forestry officials are often called upon to track down walnut poachers! The wood itself is strong, hard and durable without being excessively heavy. It is easily split and worked and takes finishes well, but it is prized primarily for its grain and colour which ranges from creamy-white in the sapwood to the dark chocolate colour of its heartwood which, when air dried, takes on a rich, purplish hue. The grain in the trunk is straight, becoming wavy towards the roots; stumps are often dug out and used as a source of highly figured veneer. European walnut is lighter in colour and slightly finer in texture and was popular in all types of fine cabinet work, particularly during the eighteenth century.

Solid black walnut flooring is dense and hard (1010 on the Janka scale), grainy and well-marked with complex rings and knots which make it truly distinctive. Since it utilises a layer of the same hardwood bonded to other wood layers under high pressure, engineered black walnut flooring is equally as tough and attractive.

Cherry

A member of the Prunus genus, as are plums, peaches, apricots and almonds, cherry trees are probably better known for the cultivars which have been specifically developed for either their ornamental blossom or their fruit. Cherry wood is a specialized timber coming from the larger species, usually the wild cherry, and is often used for more traditional-style furniture. It is a moderately hard (950 on the Janka scale), strong, closed grain wood which resists warping and checking and is easy to carve and polish. Engineered and solid cherry flooring is noted for its colour, brown with a hint of pink or dark red; the colour will intensify with age.

Elm

The genus Ulmus in the plant family Ulmaceae originated in what is now central Asia about 20 million years ago, flourished and spread over most of the northern hemisphere. Elms are components of many kinds of natural forests and during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries they were also planted widely as ornamental street, lawn and park trees. In the past few decades many elms throughout Europe and North America have succumbed to Dutch elm disease, a beetle-dispersed fungus; horticulturists have now developed disease-resistant types and new plantings are taking place.

Elm wood has a fairly coarse, open, interlocking grain which allows it to bend quite easily without splitting, hence its historical popularity as ships’ keels. It is also resistant to decay when permanently wet so hollowed elm trunks were often used as water pipes in medieval Europe, native Americans used it to fashion canoes, and elm was used as piers in the construction of the original London Bridge.

Imbuya

Ocotea porosa is a species of the Lauraceae family and has several common names, including various spellings of imbuya and the simpler Brazilian walnut. In fact, imbuya is not related to the walnut family, nor does it produce nuts, but it is found in the subtropical rain forests of southern Brazil where it is an important commercial species for high-end furniture, veneers and as flooring.

Engineered imuya flooring is particularly handsome, the timber showing a medium to high lustre and striking variegated grain; colours range from yellow-olive to a dark, chocolate-brown.

The Climate Case for Choosing More Timber

Nature versus nurture

It is generally accepted that CO2 emissions are the principle cause of climate change, and so consideration of the ecological footprint of any product has become as fundamental to the decision-making process as quality, design and price. Wood is nature’s own carbon sink. Growing trees absorb CO2 : in fact, one cubic metre of living wood absorbs almost one tonne of CO2; then they break it down through photosynthesis, release oxygen into the atmosphere and store the carbon.

Left to nature, forests achieve a climax stage where the site is supporting its maximum fertility. At this stage new trees only grow as others fall from age or natural disaster; the dead and dying trees emit CO2 from the stored carbon and, since growth is only matched by decay, there is no net increase in carbon storage.

Harvesting trees as they mature allows the carbon to be stored throughout the life of the wood product, and the market for wood provides an economic incentive to preserve and replant. This is particularly important in tropical regions where deforestation is frequently seen as a solution to providing energy or land, rather than as a problem.
 

Growing the forests through the use of wood

Havwoods source many of their products from North America and Europe. European (excluding the Russian Federation) forests are the most intensively managed in the world: just 5% of the world’s total forest land account for 25% of all forest products. Even so, only 64% of the net annual increment is harvested. In fact, forest cover in this region is actually increasing by more than 660,000 hectares every single year. In the States the volume of hardwood growing stock more than doubled between 1953 and 2007, from 5210 million to 11326 million m3, with a further increase of 15-20% forecast through to 2030.

Of course, there are many policies and practices in place which back up the economic advantages of reforestation and both Europe and the United States enjoy particularly high levels of protection. In Europe, for example, 12% of its forest areas are set aside to conserve ecological and landscape diversity; more than 1.6m hectares are strict forest reserves, and large tracts of protected forests in northern and eastern Europe are actively managed for biodiversity which, in itself, benefits from harvesting. In essence, this is because different forms of wildlife prefer different habitats, so a mix of stand ages enhances the biodiversity of the region. Furthermore, since opening up the forest floor encourages a flush of grass and herbaceous growth, this increases the food supply for many species, itself increasing the likelihood of animal population growth.
 

Choose wood for the sake of the planet

Greater use of wood products will stimulate the expansion of the forests and so reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A 4% increase in Europe’s annual wood consumption would sequester an additional 150m tonnes of CO2 every year. Looked at another way, a 10% increase in the percentage of wooden houses in Europe alone would produce sufficient CO2 savings to account for around 25% of the reductions prescribed by the Kyoto Protocol! And Europe alone grows enough wood annually to build such a house every single second.

There’s more: the production and processing of wood is highly energy-efficient: every cubic metre of wood used as a substitute for other building materials reduces CO2 emissions by, on average, 1.1 tonnes; it is thermally efficient, and it stores carbon throughout its life – every cubic metre of wood flooring contains 5kg of it; and even at the end of its life a wood product remains ecologically useful since it can be reused, recycled or used as a carbon-neutral, biomass energy substitute for fossil fuels.
 

Ensure the wood you use is the right wood

A number of international, non-governmental organizations have been established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests, principally the PEFC® (Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) and the FSC® (the Forest Stewardship Council). Products may come from an FSC or PEFC source but they cannot carry the logo unless the chain of custody is approved by the relevant body throughout.

A European Union Timber Regulation (EU995/2010) is also now in place which actually makes it illegal to place illegally harvested timber and timber products on the European Union marketplace. All operators supplying timber or timber products must store information on the supplier, buyer and product for a minimum of five years. At Havwoods, of course, we already have our own, extremely stringent requirements as to the provenance and sustainability of any timber which bears our name. Over recent years we have also substantially reduced our offerings of exotic timbers, the species which are most likely to suffer from illegal harvesting, since we consider the demands for unusual colours and finishes can now be met more than adequately by manipulating readily available species like oak.

So opt for wood since this is undeniably good for the environment – just make sure that the wood you use is the right wood.
    

What is engineered wood flooring?

An engineered board is, quite simply, a timber board which consists of more than one layer. By placing each layer so that the grain runs perpendicularly it becomes virtually impossible for the timber to swell or shrink with changes in humidity and so it dramatically increases the stability. The top layer of an engineered board (the lamella) is solid wood, usually hardwood, and may be anything from 2 to 6mm thick; obviously the thicker the surface layer the more times it can be sanded and refinished to remove the ravages of wear; the thickest wear layers are equivalent to those on solid timber boards. The lamella is securely bonded to one or two further layers – this may be a multi-layered plywood or a sandwich with either a softwood or hardwood core.

Engineered boards should not be confused with laminate or veneer. Laminate uses an image of wood on its surface whilst veneer uses only a very thin layer of wood over a core of some type of composite wood product, usually fibreboard.

Engineered timber is now the most common type of wood flooring used globally and the technology has enabled the production of much wider boards as well as the application of an enormous variety of really interesting finishes.

What are the benefits of engineered wood flooring?

No matter how well seasoned, oiled, waxed or lacquered it may be, wood remains hydroscopic. This means that when the humidity is high it will absorb some of that moisture, swell and rise or ‘crown’ in the middle. If that same piece of timber is placed in a dry environment – as happens when using heating or air conditioning – it will release its moisture, dry out and shrink. Lay pieces of timber side by side in a confined space and those changes in humidity, over time, may well result in them bowing, warping, cupping or gapping – gaps between the planks. This is what can happen with a solid wood floor, wall or ceiling.

Engineered boards are like solid timber planks with lots of benefits:

* They are far more stable than solid wood planks so there is far less likelihood of eventual problems and much wider boards can be produced.
* Engineered boards are usually available pre-finished which means a reduced installation time and no surprises on site.
* Unlike the vast majority of solid timber planks, engineered boards can usually be fitted over underfloor heating.
* Engineered boards make far more efficient use of slow-growing, lamella layer timbers (oak, walnut, etc).
* Engineered boards offer alternative, easier methods of installation.

What is solid wood flooring?

A solid wood floor is floor laid with planks or boards which have been milled from a single piece of timber, usually a hardwood. Since wood is hydroscopic (it acquires and loses moisture from the ambient conditions around it) this potential instability effectively limits the length and width of the boards. Solid hardwood flooring is usually cheaper than engineered timbers and damaged areas can be sanded down and refinished repeatedly, the number of timbers being limited only by the thickness of wood above the tongue. Solid construction timber is often used for sports floors and most traditional wood blocks, mosaics and parquetry are also of solid construction.

Can I fit wood flooring over underfloor heating?

As a general rule, Havwoods do not recommend the use of solid wood over underfloor heating. The majority of engineered boards are, however, perfectly suited to use with underfloor heating; this is particularly true of those with an oak lamella and less likely to be so for ones using exotic timbers. Always check with Havwoods before specifying any wood floor for use with underfloor heating.

What is an oiled finish?

Oil penetrates deep into the wood and brings out the true beauty of both the colour and grain as well as providing protection for the floor. In addition to providing a natural look, oiled floors lend themselves to being spot repaired in the event of surface damage.

Most oiled floors require an additional coat of oil or Hardwax Oil, a mixture of sunflower, soybean and thistle oil, carnauba and candelilla wax after installation. This is micro-porous, water-repellent, dirt-, wear-, and stain-resistant against wine, beer, cola, coffee, tea, fruit juices and milk; it will not crack, flake, peel or blister.

What is a lacquered finish?

Lacquer is normally a polyurethane coating which is applied to the surface of a wooden floor by brush or roller. The polyurethane covers the pores of the wood and forms a hard, resilient coating which protects the wood from dirt and moisture ingress. A good quality lacquer will protect a wooden floor for anything from 12 months to 6 years, depending upon the amount of foot traffic.

How do I care for a lacquered wood floor?

Lacquered wood floors are very easy to care for. For everyday cleaning a broom, vacuum cleaner or micro-fibre mop may be used to remove dust and loose debris. For wet cleaning the floor should be misted from a pump spray bottle to avoid it becoming too wet and dried using a micro-fibre wet head. Do not use conditioner, cleanser or steam mop on a lacquered wooden floor.

What is a floating floor installation?

A floating floor installation is one where the planks are attached to each other instead of to the subfloor over which it is being laid. It is a fast, relatively easy method of fixing which allows some room for movement and expansion given changes in humidity; the floor can be removed easily too, making it ideal for commercial applications where the flooring is more likely to be changed within the foreseeable future. Floating installations are usually associated with the fitting of engineered wood floors but, in fact, solid wood boards can also be laid floating over a suitable subfloor providing a damp-proof membrane is laid and Elastilon employed.

What is FSC®?

FSC® stands for Forestry Stewardship Council. It is an independent, non-governmental, non-profit-making organization established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests. The FSC principles and criteria aim to ensure that forest can be managed to meet the social, economic, ecological and cultural needs of both present and future generations. Products may be from an FSC source but cannot carry the FSC label unless the chain of custody throughout is FSC approved.

What is PEFC?

The PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) is the world’s largest forest certification organization. It is international and non-governmental and tends to be the certification system of choice for small forest owners. It sets very high standards for certification including the maintenance of biodiversity, the protection of ecologically important areas, the prohibition of most hazardous chemicals and GMOs and the protection of workers’ rights and welfare.

What is FLEGT?

FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade) is Europe’s response to the problem of illegal logging, a practice which can have a devastating impact on the world’s most valuable forests. The FLEGT Action Plan provides a number of measures to exclude illegal timber from markets, as well as to improve the supply of legal timber and increase demand for responsible wood products. Foremost amongst these are Voluntary Partnership Agreements between the European Union and timber exporting countries in Africa, Asia and Central and Southern America which aim to guarantee that the wood exported to the EU is from legal sources and to help these partner countries in improving their own regulation and governance. At the centre of these VPAs is a Legality Assurance System which, whilst varying from country to country, in essence consists of the verification of forest operations and the control of its transport and processing through the different ownerships for harvesting to the point of export. From 3 March 2013 the EU Timber Regulation will prohibit the first placing of illegally produced wood products on the EU market. This means that timber imported into an EU port from a country which has a VPA will have to carry a valid FLEGT licence; from countries who do not have a VPA with the EU it will be the responsibility of the importer to ensure that their due diligence system is robust enough to prevent illegally harvested timber from entering its supply chain.