Recommendations for hardwood floor

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Hi,

I'm in the process of redoing all the floors upstairs in our late Victorian house. We have reasonably nice pine boards under the carpet in most of the rooms except one, where they've taken a real beating. I've decided to lift the floor in there and use the good boards to patch up the few other areas that need attention elsewhere.

That leaves me in need of a floor for the room. I'd like to do things properly and lay a solid oak secret nailed T&G floor. Looking around, there's a *huge* range of different products available at radically different prices. From reading here, it seems like these price differences often reflect substantial discrepancies in the quality of the material, precision of sizing and proportion of decent length boards in each pack. It all seems to be a bit of a minefield. Does anyone have any recommendations for a supplier that isn't funding a chain of middlemen/milking those willing to pay for polished marketing, but still committed to producing a quality product? I can probably afford to pay up to £30-35/m2 if I have to, but obviously I'd have a preference for paying less if there are quality products available for the money!

Many thanks,

Lucian
 
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For the amount per sq meter you have in mind there are only rubbish products available, so either forget about an Oak floor or increase you budget
 
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For the amount per sq meter you have in mind there are only rubbish products available, so either forget about an Oak floor or increase you budget

I have to say, that seems odd to me. Over the last few years my father laid beautiful solid oak floors throughout his house in France at less than 25 euros a square metre. I've seen the material up close and there's nothing rubbish about it; in fact it's actually rather too "prime" for my taste, I'd rather have more character. The boards were fairly narrow (130mm) but decent lengths and many of the floors have been down for 5 years now without problems.

Even building in an allowance for Rip Off Britain, it's bonkers that I should need to pay nearly double that! What would you say is a sensible minimum price then?

Do you think my budget should get me decent structural engineered boards? I see that e.g. http://www.oakfloorsonline.co.uk/ do a 21mm x 189mm board with a 6mm wear layer that comes with tight tolerances and long lengths for less than £30....
 
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In your easrlier post ypu said
solid oak

which is solid oak

now you say

board with a 6mm wear layer

which is veneered product, not solid oak.

You also gave the impression you want to nail it to the joists, so you will need long pieces, not carry-home bits.

The product you want to buy will determine the price you have to pay.
 
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In your easrlier post ypu said

which is veneered product, not solid oak.

You also gave the impression you want to nail it to the joists, so you will need long pieces, not carry-home bits.

The product you want to buy will determine the price you have to pay.

Indeed. I was originally looking at solid oak, but I'm open to using a good quality engineered if necessary. I was told that £35/m2 was unrealistic for solid oak, so I asked what a reasonable price was; I also then asked about whether I could get quality engineered for my budget if solid was not an option.

You are right, I do need long pieces; nothing I've said implied otherwise. 21 x 189 are the thickness and width dimensions, not length.
 
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the website you linked to describes the product as sold in "packs"

these are usually carry-home and contain bits of max length about 1200mm and min length about 300mm, and sold for fitting to an old (usually chipboard) floor, rather than onto joists. Sometimes each piece is made of smaller bits glued together.

However, if they do offer proper lengths, it would be interesting to see the price.
 
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the website you linked to describes the product as sold in "packs"

From the site:

21mm Overall Thickness
189mm Wide
Single Strip Oak Face
Grade Mix of ABCD (explained below)
15mm (9-Ply) Eucalyptus Plywood Backed
Full 6mm Wear Layer of European Oak
75% Lengths of 1830mm
25% Lengths of 610mm, 915mm or 1220mm
Moisture Content 8 – 10%
Micro Bevelled Sides & Ends
TG4 End Matched
2.08m2 Per Carton
72.8m2 Per Pallet
Extra Important Detail;
Sealed Underside for Improved Moisture Protection (reduces risk of ‘cupping’ after installation)
Extra Stabilising Veneer to Underside (extra stability after installation)
Very Accurate Machining Tolerances for Fast & Simple Fitting (saves on fitting costs)
Angled T&G Joint for Excess Adhesive (reduces risk of excess adhesive reaching the surface)
All our flooring products are machined to very accurate machining tolerances for fast and simple fitting.
Length Tolerance: +/- 1.0mm
Width tolerance: +/- 0.2mm
Thickness Tolerance: +/- 0.15mm

"European oak", boards made in China. On paper, that looks like a pretty good spec for £28.95 + VAT. What's the catch when others are asking nearly £60 + VAT for a very similar spec?
 
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The catch: the quality of the bonding between top layer and backing, the position of the T&G, plus since beginning this month: will it comply with the EU Timber Regulation?

You get what you pay for
 
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The catch: the quality of the bonding between top layer and backing, the position of the T&G, plus since beginning this month: will it comply with the EU Timber Regulation?

Ok, that's useful information, thank you. The latter point doesn't really concern me - that's for the merchant to worry about; I'm guessing no-one from the EU is going to be round to inspect my floors and pull them up in the event that the flooring didn't have all its paperwork in order. So essentially my extra £30/m2 is paying for moving the tongue by ~1.5mm and improved bonding? I'm struggling to see that small a difference in tongue position having a significant effect on a 21mm board, but I could see the bonding being a factor. You seem to know a lot about this, could you explain what is done differently on the high quality materials to give a stronger bond?

You get what you pay for

People always say that as a general truth, but it's enormously misleading in a free market economy. The price of a good is determined not by its quality but by the relationship between supply and demand. If someone finds a massively efficient and/or very cheap way to produce an extremely high quality good, it will be cheap and none the worse for it. Your statement holds true only where all labour of equivalent quality costs the same, everyone has access to the same manufacturing techniques at the same costs, and a majority of consumers are well informed about a meaningful cross-section of the products on the market. Where that is not true (i.e. almost always) price is actually a very poor proxy for quality.

The wise consumer will therefore ask for information about the fundamental qualities of the product that translate into different prices, make a judgement about what other factors might also be involved (such as the cost of labour in different markets), and come to his own conclusions about whether the prices being asked reflect underlying quality or merely a willingness of enough people to pay a certain price at a certain time. I have regretted paying too much for a well-marketed and overpriced product at least as often as paying too little for a cheap knock-off that isn't fit for purpose.

That's why I'm spending time trying to work out what qualities make a difference in these products, what price it takes to get these qualities, and at what point I'm straying into "you pay these prices because enough people in Kensington and Chelsea have the money to pay them without a second thought".
 
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The catch: the quality of the bonding between top layer and backing, the position of the T&G, plus since beginning this month: will it comply with the EU Timber Regulation?

Ok, that's useful information, thank you. The latter point doesn't really concern me - that's for the merchant to worry about; I'm guessing no-one from the EU is going to be round to inspect my floors and pull them up in the event that the flooring didn't have all its paperwork in order. So essentially my extra £30/m2 is paying for moving the tongue by ~1.5mm and improved bonding? I'm struggling to see that small a difference in tongue position having a significant effect on a 21mm board, but I could see the bonding being a factor. You seem to know a lot about this, could you explain what is done differently on the high quality materials to give a stronger bond?

You get what you pay for

People always say that as a general truth, but it's enormously misleading in a free market economy. The price of a good is determined not by its quality but by the relationship between supply and demand. If someone finds a massively efficient and/or very cheap way to produce an extremely high quality good, it will be cheap and none the worse for it. Your statement holds true only where all labour of equivalent quality costs the same, everyone has access to the same manufacturing techniques at the same costs, and a majority of consumers are well informed about a meaningful cross-section of the products on the market. Where that is not true (i.e. almost always) price is actually a very poor proxy for quality.

The wise consumer will therefore ask for information about the fundamental qualities of the product that translate into different prices, make a judgement about what other factors might also be involved (such as the cost of labour in different markets), and come to his own conclusions about whether the prices being asked reflect underlying quality or merely a willingness of enough people to pay a certain price at a certain time. I have regretted paying too much for a well-marketed and overpriced product at least as often as paying too little for a cheap knock-off that isn't fit for purpose.

That's why I'm spending time trying to work out what qualities make a difference in these products, what price it takes to get these qualities, and at what point I'm straying into "you pay these prices because enough people in Kensington and Chelsea have the money to pay them without a second thought".

Sounds like despite WoodyouLike pointing you in the direction of just some of the reasons to consider using reputable, known key brands, your pretty confident that you know better.

Instead of caning that keyboard to death, go to some wood flooring specialist retailers and have a look and handle of the product itself, that should give you an excellent idea as to exactly how the cheap and quality market product differs?
 
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Sounds like despite WoodyouLike pointing you in the direction of just some of the reasons to consider using reputable, known key brands, your pretty confident that you know better.

Not at all. I'm very grateful for being given concrete information about what to look for and where to look for it. I freely admit I know very little about flooring, that's why I'm asking. But the assertion "paying more is always better" is not useful.

Who are these "reputable, known key brands"? No one has told me that yet?
I guess WoodyYouLike represents one of them?

How do I identify a quality product? So far I know that I need to be looking for long lengths, consistent dimensions, tongue position, and somehow I need to determine the bonding quality, but it's not clear how I do that without just taking it on trust, in which case I'm back to square one since everyone obviously claims that their own products are great!

Sorry, I don't mean to offend anyone or start an argument, but I'm looking for some concrete information beyond "buy my stuff, it's great", if at all possible!

Cheers,

Lucian
 
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I feel that you are easily within reason for what you want and especially under your budget.For Solid wood I would make sure you get a good length spec product generally 300 - 1500mm lengths is good anything better than that is a bonus. Engineered will be a mixture of full length or random lengths again well within budget.
It will show a good quality product and good milling.

You will find it no problem
 
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The catch: the quality of the bonding between top layer and backing, the position of the T&G, plus since beginning this month: will it comply with the EU Timber Regulation?

Ok, that's useful information, thank you. The latter point doesn't really concern me - that's for the merchant to worry about; I'm guessing no-one from the EU is going to be round to inspect my floors and pull them up in the event that the flooring didn't have all its paperwork in order.

Right, and this is where so many regulations go wrong, the end punter not interested in products/materials from sustainable sources - how on earth do you want us - respectable retailers demanding from their suppliers products that conform with this regulation - to ever compete with those ignoring the regulation (at their own peril) and dumping rubbish and cheap products onto the market.

It's your - the end consumer - job to make sure your supplier - who ever that is and where ever he got his products from - is supplying you with products that comply with the EU Timber Regulation. And no, no one will come and get your floor out but it should be a principle issue you make sure the product you buy complies with regulations. Or does your wallet dictate your principles?
 
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It's your - the end consumer - job to make sure your supplier - who ever that is and where ever he got his products from - is supplying you with products that comply with the EU Timber Regulation. And no, no one will come and get your floor out but it should be a principle issue you make sure the product you buy complies with regulations. Or does your wallet dictate your principles?

Not at all. I would never buy from a supplier that doesn't have a commitment to sustainable timber, and I would ask how that commitment is upheld. That is certainly my responsibility as a consumer. But I have no interest in whether the measures conform to a Brussels-mandated scheme or not - that's a regulatory matter between the company and the government. I have little faith in such schemes I'm afraid, having seen a number of them from the inside.

I'm sorry, I really didn't want this to turn into a big argument; I respect the fact that you have a commitment to quality materials, and I'd like to learn more about the subject so I can make some tolerably informed decisions. Would you be happy to provide some more detail on how I might tell whether a material has been well bonded/what questions to ask about its manufacturing that would give me some clue on this? That seems to be one of the critical issues with quality that has been brought up here.

Lucian
 

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