Recommendations for Your Floor

Pine Floors

Most UK housing stock was fitted with pine floorboards of some description, these may be Pitch Pine (if you are lucky), Douglas Fir, Red Deal, White Deal or anyone one of several other softwoods. These floors will never have the durability or desirability of a hardwood floor but providing they have not been butchered by electricians or plumbers during re wiring or central heating installation, they can be made to look stunning and a well restored original floor adds value to your house.

Very often there are large gaps between these boards and our customers want to fill these, whilst we do sell excellent gap fillers we do not recommend using them on pine for several reasons.

  • Resin based fillers work on gaps up to about 3mm, most times gaps in pine flooring are wider than this.
  • Pine floors expand and contract substantially summer to winter due to natural changes in air humidity, resin based fillers cannot cope with this degree of expansion and contraction.
  • Pine floor boards are normally laid on floor joists This called a suspended floor), the amount of flex on this type of flooring, particularly in old houses, means that once again resin based fillers are not suitable.

BUT YOU REALLY WANT THE GAPS FILLED!

Okay so you cannot live with those gaps, so there are two options.

  • You can use Pallmann Gap Filler that comes in a tube and is applied with a mastic gun. This can be a bit pricey if you have large gaps but it is much more flexible than resin based fillers. Also please remember that even if this is a good colour match on the day you apply it, it will not change colour like wood.
  • You can buy wooden fillets than can be glued into the gaps, these will not necessarily match you floor colour (even if you specify the species) and again if you are doing a large area it can work out expensive. These fillets do rely on a full gap between the boards so if you boards are tongue and groove you will need to remover the tongue. It is also possible that by filling the gaps using this method you can cause it to rise during periods of high humidity.

 

Best Machines for Pine Flooring

We recommend the Pallmann Viper and Gecko Edger as a basic set up for you pine floor. If you have a really good quality floor you may want to consider the Festool Extractor and Rotex and also the Cleanfix Mini Buff to give you the Ultimate smooth finish.

 

Solid Hardwood Floors

Plank Floors

These are obviously very desirable floors and come in three basic types, plank, individual staves and parquet or woodblock. The first two are laid in a linear fashion and are suitable for sanding with either the Pallmann Viper or the Pallmann Spider. In the case of parquet or woodblock floors these are normally laid in a non-linear fashion which means that sanding them to a good standard with belt or drum machines requires a good deal of skill, this is where the Pallmann Spider is ideal as any competent DIY-er can achieve an excellent result with this machine on these beautiful floors.

Plank flooring consists of long boards usually at least 2 metres in length, the most common timber for this type of flooring is oak but it could be elm, ash, chestnut or any one of many other timbers. If you have gaps in this type of floor it is possible to fill them however there are a few considerations.

  • The wider the boards the more seasonal movement there will be, as discussed in the pine section it is unlikely it is for the filler to stay put if the board width is over 100mm and the gaps are more than a couple of millimetres.
  • If it is a suspended floor (ie fitted to joists) it is possible that the amount of flex in the whole structure makes filling ill advised. However, a hardwood floor fitted over joists is a much stronger structure than a softwood floor so it may be possible to fill.

Individual Staves

Hardwood can floors made up of random length individual staves of some of which may only be about 200mm long. The most common of these floors are made of maple, beech and oak, but again there are many others such as cherry, ash and birch. As these boards are normally only 30mm to 80mm in width they are generally suitable for a resin type filler such as Pallmann Allkitt or Pall-X Kitt providing there is no flex in the floor or excessive gaps.

Parquet or Woodblock

These come in many types, they can be a variety of timbers (even softwoods) and laid in many different patterns and you are truly blessed if you have one! The most common type is probably 5 finger parquet which consist of 5 small staves or ‘fingers’ laid in one direction with its neighbours on it four edges all laid in the opposite direction. The most desirable floors are woodblock floors, these are made up of equal length staves normally around 200mm long by 30mm wide. The most common pattern these are laid in is the herringbone pattern, but there are also other patterns such as basket weave and brick bond.

I REALLY WANT YOU TO FILL THESE FLOORS!

Why? Well unlike plank pine these floors will always be laid on a solid foundation (if they aren’t you have serious problems), the staves are small so seasonal movement isn’t a big factor, they are generally hardwood (not always) but mainly because THEY LOOK A MILLION DOLLARS WHEN FILLED!! So unless the gaps are consistently above 4mm you should always use either Alkitt or Pall-X kitt on these floors.

Best Machines for Parquets and Woodblock Floors

The Pallmann Spider is simply the best machine on the market for sanding this type of floor the planetary system means that you will not see the ‘drum marks’ that most DIY-ers (and unfortunately many ‘professionals’) leave in their floor. This machine will give you the opportunity, with just a little patience, to sand your floor to perfection! You will also need the Gecko and for total perfection the Festool Rotex.

Engineered or Semi-Solid Floors

Many people think that engineered floors cannot be sanded but providing you follow a few basic rules before you start this simply isn’t true in the vast majority of cases. Here are those rules.

  • This may sound stupid but please make sure the wear layer on your floor is real wood and not plastic laminate!
  • Make sure the wear layer is at least 3mm thick, this is done by looking at the exposed end of a board or some other place the board is cut and exposed (around a radiator pipe for example)
  • Make sure the floor has not been sanded previously (telltale signs are the corners may well be slightly higher or have a crescent shape to them caused by an edger). If it has been sanded before it may not rule out another sanding but you need to be very careful.
  • Ensure there are no signs of blistering or de lamination of the wear layer.

This type of floor should not, by its nature, need filling. It is not suitable for resin type fillers due to only being 14mm thick in most instances and therefore flexes considerably.

Best Machines for Engineered or Semi-Solid Floors

It would take a very brave DIY-er to use any type of drum or belt machine on this type of floor, it is way too easy to sand through the wear layer particularly if the sub floor is not 100% flat (whose is?). The Pallmann Spider is absolutely ideal for engineered and semi solid floors as it has the power and aggression to remove old finish and damage but will not (used sensibly) cut through the wear layer to the plywood base.