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Cladding walls or ceilings with tongue-and-groove wood or wood panels is becoming very popular for contemporary looks in homes and offices. Wood provides a warm look and complements laminate and wood floors perfectly.

Using cladding panels can make it even quicker to fit interior wood cladding in any room. What's more, wall cladding can be painted quickly and given a number of finishes and paint effects, to add a look reminiscent of traditional, country or seaside styling.

The experts at ESB Flooring have put this brief guide to internal wall cladding together to help you make decisions about the right cladding and wood effects to complement your interior.

Benefits of interior wall cladding

Just about any kind of interior benefits from internal cladding, as it adds warmth, depth and character. Cladding works well in contemporary interiors, including apartment homes and newbuild properties.

An additional benefit of interior wall cladding is that it's extremely easy and quick to fit, whether you opt to do it yourself or call in professionals. Cladding can be retrofitted to any interior, and once it's in place can be left in its natural state or painted to achieve the required finish. Some typical paint techniques utilised for wood cladding include:

  • Staining
  • Painting with standard paints to achieve a number of different finishes
  • Whitewashing

Cladding is ideal for creating feature walls in any room and one major advantage of adding wood to rooms is that it offers unique elements which cannot be matched by other internal finishes. Any kind of wood has stand-out features, like knots and graining, which gives character to every single panel or piece and means no piece of wood will ever look exactly the same.

And, finally, cladding is a cost-efficient solution for decorating interior walls and complements natural flooring and furnishing perfectly.

How do I choose the right timber?

Choosing the right wood wall cladding is often dictated by affordability and available budget. You can opt for timbers from DIY merchants or choose customised panels to meet your needs more exactly. This means you can achieve just about any type of effect with your internal wall cladding, depending on the look you want to achieve.

If you plan to paint the cladding, choosing MDF or softwood panels can be the most affordable solution. Painted cladding is often found in traditional homes and buildings and gives a classic appearance that is sure to stand the test of time.

Modern trends in wall cladding are moving more towards natural timbers, however. So, if you are planning to add natural wood cladding to rooms, you will need to look at just what timbers are available. Achieving a look that's reminiscent of an American seaside home may entail the use of wood such as American Black Walnut. Other popular woods include oak, walnut, cherry, maple and teak. Sourcing grained, knotted wood cladding for a warmer, cosy appearance may mean opting for traditional hardwoods or soft wood like pine.

You can generally opt for any kind of wood cladding, although moisture in rooms can cause some timbers to crack or swell. For this reason, green oak is not a recommended option.

Pine is a popular cladding solution for homes or offices, however, it will need some kind of finishing treatment after it has been fitted. Another benefit of using pine cladding is that it's lightweight and can be cut to size and fitted very easily. If you are environmentally conscious, you will also be pleased to note that pine is a sustainable solution.

About different types of cladding

Although most cladding is available in board format, it is also possible to source wood cladding panels and this can be far quicker to fit.Wood flooring boards are also ideal for fitting on internal walls or ceilings.

Many tongue and groove boards have a V-edging which may not be the look you're seeking. However, you can also opt for straight edges if you want a cleaner finish. Alternatively, wood cladding panels butt up to each other to provide a seamless look, which is often used nowadays for contemporary wood walls.

If you plan to fit your own cladding, you can opt for timber cut to exactly the sizes required. This will be a more expensive option, however. Where affordability is a major factor, buying pre-cut timber packs which can be trimmed to suit your needs will probably be the way to go. The most typical lengths tend to be 3000mm, 2400mm, and 1800mm and you should easily be able to source softwood tongue and groove timbers of this nature in any large DIY outlet.

You can also source panels with a tongue and groove appearance in either MDF or timber. These sheets are far easier to fit and just require priming and painting to achieve your required finish. Panels with genuine wood veneers or solid timber panels are also available, to provide more traditional finishes. If you decide to opt for MDF panels, these will need to be painted. Hardwood panels can simply be varnished or even left in their natural state to achieve any contemporary design finish.

Softwood boards or panels require treating with primer and painting or staining. This is due to the fact they will move, particularly if fitted in kitchens or bathrooms.

Another decorative panelling solution to consider is open-backed. These MDF sheets have cutouts and can be fitted directly to any flat wall or surface with glue. They are ideal for creating a traditional panelled appearance in rooms and are a cost-effective solution if this is the look you want to achieve.

ESB Flooring provides specialist wood floors to suit contemporary or traditional room layouts. We truly understand wood and how it can be used to enhance homes and office interiors. If you would like to speak with one of our professionals about your internal wall cladding needs, we'll be happy to provide advice and support. Get in touch today to find out more.

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When designing or renovating your business space, you need to give careful consideration to your flooring material. The type of flooring you use can be the difference between a successful business and an expensive failure. Nowadays, restaurant hardwood floors have captured the attention of many business owners due to their beauty and durability.

Choosing the right wood flooring for your business shouldn't be determined by price and appearance alone. It would help if you considered other factors such as the wood's ability to withstand the daily wear and tear and overall safety concerns. It's also important to consider ease of installation.

In this article, we'll talk about how you can choose the right hardwood flooring for your restaurant. We'll also look at some challenges of having wood flooring on your restaurant and how to overcome them. 

Functionality and performance of the hardwood floor

Wood is mostly preferred for commercial flooring due to its ability to withstand wear and tear. When choosing the right hardwood for your restaurant floor, you have a choice between commercial engineered hardwood and commercial solid hardwood. Understanding the pros and cons of each type helps you make the right choice for different areas of your restaurant.

Engineered hardwood is stronger than solid hardwood and can, therefore, withstand heavy foot traffic and scratches. It effectively resists temperature fluctuations and moisture, making it suitable for use in the bars and refreshment areas of your restaurant. Engineered oak flooring is a perfect choice in this case.

Solid hardwood floors can withstand high foot traffic. This feature makes it suitable for use in the hallways and dining area of your restaurant. Some of the most suitable hardwoods include oak, cumaru, and wenge. 

Solid hardwood is susceptible to temperature fluctuations and high humidity and moisture. It gets stained by food and drinks spills easily, making it unsuitable for use in the kitchen or bar area. 

Whether you choose engineered hardwood or solid hardwood, it's important to laminate your flooring to increase durability. The type of lamination selected depends on the usage class. Use laminate AC-6 rating is the most suitable in areas of your restaurant with high commercial use.

For high operations areas such as the dance floor, your wood flooring is likely to experience high wear and tear. Reclaimed wood is a suitable choice for such areas in your restaurant. Its worn out appearance will help hide any distress caused by heavy usage. 

Hardwood flooring care and maintenance

One of the main reasons hardwood flooring is favoured for use in a restaurant setting is its ability to withstand heavy usage. However, it requires proper care and maintenance to ensure it maintains its strength, beauty and splendour. Applying finish gives the wood flooring additional properties which increase its durability and its ability to resists water and stains.

Different types of hardwood floor finishes available differ in terms of glossiness and durability. Which type of finish you choose depends on the hardwood flooring you have in your restaurants. You have plenty of options when selecting the best finish for your restaurant hardwood floors, ranging from matte to shiny, high-gloss. 

Lacquers wood finish adds an extra layer of protection to your wood flooring. Scratching from walking shoes and falling objects makes the finish wear away slowly, leaving the hardwood intact. This finish offers you long services before it shows signs of scratching in which case you should re-sand and re-finish.

Oil-based finishes are most durable since they soak into the wood flooring, sealing it from inside. In this category, linseed and tungsten oils are the best. These two depict the natural look of the hardwood without giving it a shiny look. 

Ensure that you retreat your hardwood flooring yearly to maintain its immaculate look. The choice of products used in the care and maintenance of your wood flooring matters a lot. Always choose the best quality products to minimise chances of damaging your flooring, hence calling for expensive repairs.

Desired design of your hardwood flooring

Oak flooring offers a mood of warmth and sophistication if you compare it with laminate flooring and LTV flooring. Wood flooring also offers several design options which can be used to enhance the theme of your restaurant. For this reason, many restaurant owners opt for wood flooring over the other two.

Commercial grade hardwood flooring comes in a variety of deep rich colours. This gives you the option to choose the one that adds elegance if you run a high-end restaurant. The right wood flooring for your restaurant should give a sense of intimacy and sophistication to your customers.

For a casual dining restaurant, choose lighter wood flooring in the dining and bar areas since it's more inviting. If you have used a rustic theme in your hotel establishment, then reclaimed wood flooring is the most suitable.

Other than wood grain and colour of your flooring, you also need to consider your customer demographic. Are you targeting families, couples or teenagers? Your target clientele will determine the best commercial grade hardwood flooring for your restaurant. 

Ease of installation and safety levels

When choosing the best hardwood flooring for your restaurant, you need to put health and safety requirements into consideration. The right hardwood flooring offers a high trip and slip resistance and inhibits mould. The seams of your hardwood flooring should easy to clean and shouldn't allow dirt or moisture to pass through the pranks.

How you install your hardwood flooring plays a big role in determining the safety of your floor. You can either have it stapled, nailed or glued. Nailing your wood flooring is desirable but you need to ensure that the nails or staples aren't loose to prevent tripping customers or employees. 

Also, ensure that you choose wood flooring that offers proper feet traction to minimise slipping incidences. Improper finish application can make the floor slippery. You should, therefore, use experts when applying the finish. 

Look at your restaurant flooring as an investment. With this type of mentality, you will focus on choosing the best hardwood flooring. Also, you will be keen on giving proper care and maintenance to your commercial grade hardwood floors.

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Wood flooring is elegant, eye-catching and hard-wearing, and brings the ‘wow’ factor to any room. But where do you start? Vintage oak flooring? Distressed wood flooring? Herringbone wood flooring?

A little inspiration can take you a long way. So, with that in mind, here are five fantastic wood flooring ideas from Pinterest.

1: Bold and modern

This dark, distressed wood adds instant impact to a hallway, and then some.

The clever use of neutral wall colours and monochrome photographs really make this floor the focus of the hall, and the wood texture contrasts with the plain walls and clean skirting beautifully.

It really is OK to make your floor the centre of attention, particularly in a hallway, a space which is often overlooked when it comes to our interior design dreams.

Look for vintage oak flooring for a pre-loved look, or choose new wood and stain it to match your own tastes, as in this Pinterest picture.

You don’t need to buy rugs – in fact, a rug would detract from the deceptive simplicity of this hallway decor.

Do you want to hear ‘Oh, I love your floor’ from visitors? Hit them with something this bold and confident the moment they walk through your front door.

And, of course, there’s the bonus that you won’t have to hire a carpet doctor every time muddy boots tramp into your home.

2: The authentic feel

The texture of a surface such as antique oak flooring can, quite literally, add another dimension to your floor.

We tend to think of flooring in two dimensions, but natural roughness or wear and tear introduce unique indentations and ridges.

This delicious French oak offering has a glorious rustic feel to it. Pair it with a sheepskin rug for a welcoming bedroom, or leave it naked in a kitchen, where it will shrug off the wear and tear and get even better looking as the years pass.

You can specify rustic grade when you are sourcing wood flooring, and your supplier will know just what you are looking for.

One of the great things about a rustic finish is that any marks you or your guests make will simply add to the floor’s charm.

While other floor coverings wear out, wood floor coverings wear in.

3: Elegant angles

Herringbone wood flooring and its sibling, chevron flooring, has continued to grow in popularity in recent years.

A herringbone floor is made from rectangular planks – as in the photograph – which meet in a zig-zag pattern. The planks in a chevron pattern are cut at an angle, to form long straight lines where they join, rather than zig-zags.

Whether you go for a light oak finish or something darker and more distressed, for an oiled and smoked wood or a matt lacquer, a herringbone wood floor will add a touch of class to any room. And, because our eyes are drawn to the wide part of the herringbone pattern, these floors can make a room look bigger.

That means they are worth considering for a bathroom or a study, where they can completely change the feel of an otherwise modest room.

The pattern has been used in wood flooring since the 16th century, but the design dates back to the Romans, who laid road bricks in a herringbone pattern because it made for a more stable surface.

Herringbone flooring doesn’t even have to be a uniform colour – it lends itself to two-tone schemes, and more, if you are confident enough. It really does offer an opportunity to create something that is unique to you and your home.

4: Black beauties

It may be dark but there’s nothing anonymous about black wood flooring.

Dark laminate coverings are widely available, but for something with real impact, consider using black oiled oak, complete with saw marks. Not only does this look imposing, it also allows you to be as bold or conservative as you want with wall colours.

Careful use of lighting to pick out highlights in the room can create a stunning sense of contrast, and you’ll be a million miles away from your friends with their ubiquitous beige carpets.

If an all-black floor is too much for you, think about introducing a statement rug, which you’ll find is beautifully framed by your black wooden floor – it can be classy and colourful at the same time.

Echo the black flooring by using black picture frames, hung on an off-white wall. Alternatively, go for a subdued feel with a classic dark blue, such as Farrow & Ball’s Stiffkey Blue, and standard lamps.

Partner that with black cast-iron door furniture to complete the look. You’ll know you’re in a special room the moment you walk through the door.

5: The natural feel

If you order your flooring in unfinished wood, you can decide just how raw you want the finished article to look. Saw marks and a light finish give wood flooring a very different personality to dark, shiny lacquer finishes.

Your flooring supplier should be able to help you get the finish you want, guaranteeing that your flooring is unique as well as fabulous.

A more ‘natural’ feel can work well in kitchens and bathrooms. In your kitchen, for example, you may want flooring that doesn’t distract from units and worktops. And it’s easy to match kitchen and bathroom furniture with such floors, whether your style is classical, bohemian or shabby chic.

Again, remember that a more natural look is likely to be more forgiving of bumps and scrapes. This is particularly important if you have cats or dogs, which will inevitably find a way of leaving scratches on your beautiful distressed wood flooring.

Natural products such as wood, leather and stone become more attractive as they weather and wear, so don’t be afraid to embrace the idea of your wood flooring getting some rough treatment.

The joy of unfinished wood is that you get to decide exactly how the floor looks at the start of its life! It is never wrong to let wood’s natural beauty shine through, but it’s ok to bend it a little to your own tastes.

To find out more about our herringbone, distressed, antique and vintage oak flooring options, get in touch with us at ESB Flooring today.

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Keeping your chevron laminate flooring, herringbone laminate flooring and similar floor covering looking its best means fully understanding “what is laminate” and “how can it be cleaned with care?”
Laminate is increasingly used in family homes, so having these insights will help you to enjoy a flawless floor for many years.
Modern manufacturing techniques have found a way to fuse together quality synthetic materials to create a tough, multi-layered floor covering.

The top layer is protective and strong and generally treated with UV oil. UV oil is impregnated into the surface then dries quickly under ultraviolet light to create a distinctive lustre and resilience.
Laminated flooring generally contains wood fibres, providing a similar appearance to wood floor patterns. However, you can also get stone effect versions too.
That is the quickest answer to what is laminate. Let’s look more closely at some of its features and advantages for interior design.

The advantages of laminate flooring
Referred to in the USA as a “floating wood tile”, a laminate sits on a layer of underlay. This helps boost its comfort and insulation benefits.
It is manufactured using a highly specialist process, under strict European standards for its components and testing.
If you’re installing laminate for a refurbishment project, you will find it sold as “planks”. These are generally in a tongue and groove design, so they can be clicked into place seamlessly.
Laminate flooring is available in many creative designs and colour shades, to match any interior design or refurbishment project. Beware of inferior versions though, as not all laminates are created equal!

If you do buy it from flooring companies London homeowners can trust, there is one universal fact. Laminate flooring can look just as classy and attractive as wooden floors. It will also stand the test of time.

One of the main advantages – and one of the reasons products like chevron laminate flooring and herringbone laminate flooring are so popular – is that it’s stain and scratch resistant. This doesn’t make it bullet-proof! However, it can withstand a lot of normal activity in your house.
Laminate flooring is also quicker to lay than light or dark hard wood floors, and highly affordable. Making it a great choice if you’re planning to decorate a room on a budget.
A well-made version offers warmth underfoot, which is another reason it’s sometimes preferred to wood floor patterns for a family house.

Why care with cleaning is crucial
Buying quality versions is just the start of the story. Flooring companies London and beyond will also tell you that long-lasting good looks for laminate come from cleaning it properly.
Just like light or dark hard wood floors, laminates are relatively low maintenance and can last you for many years. That only applies though if you don’t inadvertently damage the surface.
Fortunately, some design choices – such as chevron laminate flooring and herringbone laminate flooring – don’t show up small dents and scratches. However, it’s far preferable to keep your surface flawless.

Cleaning solutions for laminates
This includes only using appropriate cleaning solutions.
Just as you wouldn’t use abrasive or harsh chemicals on wood floor patterns, you need to select cleaning products specially formulated to be effective but “kind”.
These are available on many supermarket shelves. Look out for eco-friendly floor cleaners that mention laminates on their labels.

The best tools for cleaning laminates
Having invested in a wooden floor during your house refurbishment, you must then avoid dragging or dropping sharp or heavy objects on it. The same rules apply to laminate floors.
Also, if you clean them with scratchy or uneven tools, you risk permanent abrasions and other damage. Wire-wool or abrasive sponges should not be used on either laminate or wood floor patterns. Never use steam cleaners either. Applying hot moisture under pressure can damage your laminate flooring. If it’s a small spill or mark, then using a damp cloth may be enough.
For larger areas - and regular all-over cleaning - a simple micro fibre mop would do a great job. This is a great reusable mop that delivers the right balance of liquid to get the job done ().

Technique for cleaning laminate floor
Using the correct cleaning solution, pass a microfibre spray mop gently backwards and forwards over your floor.
If using a normal microfibre mop and a bucket, don’t leave the mop head too wet adding unnecessary liquid to the surface. Refresh your water frequently, to ensure that you’re not simply passing the dirt, grit and other foreign materials back to the floor. Then, do a final rinse of your laminate floor with just water and a clean damp micro fibre mop, before wiping it dry.
If it’s a particularly resistant mark, stain or spill, please don’t scrub or rub too hard. Remove as much as possible using a gentle dabbing motion with a clean cloth or mop.

More tips on keeping laminate clean and flawless
Light or dark hard wood floors can stand up to a lot of wear and tear, and so can laminates. However, as well as cleaning them with care, there are other things you can do to prolong their life and good looks. Firstly, don’t let moisture sit too long on their surface. This can cause the boards to swell and warp, just as with wood floors.

Also, if you find your family drag in a lot of sand or dirt on their shoes, gently brush or vacuum it off immediately. Leaving it too long creates the risk of it being trodden in or dragged across the laminate surface. When you decorate, completely cover your laminate floor to avoid paint spills, which can be tough to tackle on any surface.
Are you wondering how to clean candle wax off a floor, or how to deal with chewing gum on laminate or wooden floors?  The best method is to use ice to harden the material, then gently apply a plastic scraper across the surface. A credit card is handy for this. Don’t push too hard though. Once the worst is off, tackle any residue with a clean white cloth.

Check out our other interior design blogs, for more tips on maintaining wood floor patterns and products such as chevron laminate flooring and herringbone laminate flooring. For example, this one looks at glue stains.

Lastly, add pads to furniture legs and keep pet claws clipped! Both reduce the chance of damage to your lovely laminate floor.

Get specialist advice
Having answered what is laminate (and provided cleaning tips) you can see it’s a great choice when you decorate. Especially if it’s a major refurbishment of your home, and you need a quick, cost-effective floor option.

It is possible to get specialist help to restore the appearance of your wooden floor or laminate flooring – including using UV oil to create a polished appearance.

Contact ESB Flooring, one of the flooring companies London homeowners can depend on, for products that last a lifetime. Or chat to us about wood floor maintenance and restoration.

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Having invested in a beautiful and character-rich wooden floor in your home, you’re possibly wondering how best to look after it; especially after-care for antique wood flooring.

There’s good news; it is tough and relatively low maintenance! That’s true whether you choose light or dark wood floors for your interior design. If you buy wood floor patterns from a reliable supplier of quality wood and laminate, you’re already guaranteed durability and a great finish. Of course, proper installation is also crucial. That's true for all types of wooden flooring and more inexpensive options such as herringbone laminate flooring.

If your floor is laid correctly, without gaps or loose boards that can shift, it creates a resilient surface. This can withstand most perils of modern-day living. It’s still a good idea to give your antique wood flooring some “tender loving care” though. 

Here are some tips on keeping hardwood floors looking great, particularly those made from old or recycled timber.

 

Insights on antique wood floor characteristics

A good basis to start is to appreciate the engineering and manufacturing techniques used to create your wooden flooring.

Antique wood floor is generally made from aged wood that has been reclaimed from other purposes. It can be various types of hardwood, from many sources. For example, quality oak beams sawn into shape for chevron flooring. 

One of the benefits of antique solid wood flooring is that you know the timber is well seasoned and has stood the test of time. It has already provided strong support as beams in barns, railway sleepers or old factory joists, for instance. In the right hands, reclaimed timber can be engineered to make the most of its timeless characteristics and charm. However, it’s inherent quality and durability also make it perfect for family homes.

Oils – particularly UV oils – are used to give the timber its aesthetic appeal and build layers of additional pliability and strength. The wood flooring is then waxed, for shine and to bring out the characteristics of the antique wood. The oil and wax seal the flooring surface.

All of this creates a finish that tends to expel many foreign materials (the sort of things that get soaked up or trapped by carpet fibres). Which means that for many situations, all you will need to do is gently wipe your antique flooring with a dry clean cloth or soft brush.

 

Brush away risks

When you choose any wood floor, flooring companies London and elsewhere in the UK will tell you that a soft brush is your greatest ally. You must keep a close eye on the debris and dust that gets trampled into your house. Grit, sand and even everyday dirt can easily get trodden down or dragged across the surface of your antique wood flooring. 

This means regular brushing or vacuum cleaning – with soft-bristled equipment – is important.

It’s also recommended that you use mats near doorways in your home, to trap debris.

 

Mopping wood floor patterns

If you have spills on your antique wood floor, dab or gently mop away the liquid immediately.

Letting moisture linger on any wood or laminate flooring can create warped or swollen planks.

For bathroom or kitchen floors, you could take extra steps to waterproof the surface. This article is by one of the flooring companies London homeowners trust to provide good after sales support. It explores this topic in detail.

 

When mopping, don’t use excessive amounts of water. Instead, pass a clean damp cloth or mop head over the surface. Always use cleaning products specially formulated for wooden floor or laminates. Using harsh or abrasive chemicals is very unwise.  There are various eco-friendly floor cleaning solutions available that are excellent for hardwood and laminate flooring.

Never use a steam cleaner! Hot moisture under pressure can damage joints and affect the integrity of your antique wood floor.

After mopping or wiping your hardwood flooring, dry it off with a clean white cloth.

 

More tips on antique flooring care

What else would London flooring companies suggest that you do to take care of your hardwood flooring or alternatives such as herringbone laminate flooring? There are small steps you can take, especially in family homes.

This includes putting cushion pads on furniture legs to avoid indentations. If furniture is moved, lift it rather than dragging it across your reclaimed wood floor. 

When you decorate the room, be sure to cover your floor extremely well. Paint is one of the toughest substances to tackle on any type of floor covering! The same applies to protecting your floor from any other messy refurbishment or home improvement projects.

It’s also great advice for hardwood floor maintenance to limit access to high heeled shoes, scratchy kids’ toys and over-long pet claws!

There is a great blog here on removing glues stains from wood flooring and this one covers more tips on wood floor protection (https://www.esbflooring.com/blog/how-properly-protect-floor-wear-and-tear).

A lot of these flooring tips apply equally well whether it's a reclaimed wood floor, new hardwood floor or laminate. 

 

Refinishing wood flooring

Wood floor patterns – and quality flooring laminates – do sometimes start to show signs of “hard labour”. Heavy footfall or normal family accidents can take some of the shine off or leave small abrasions that you can’t cover.

Chevron flooring and other more elaborate patterns tend to hide such normal wear and tear longer than single-colour light or dark hardwood floors.

Also, using any type of antique solid wood flooring brings with it a degree of “character”, with all its knots and timber patterns on proud display. Some degree of normal damage can be easily overlooked.

If the time comes when you prefer to restore a flawless finish to your wood floor – including antique wood flooring – it’s straightforward. Though you may want to bring in specialist help.

Whoever carries out this home improvement project is likely to use UV oil. This substance – dried under UV light – can quickly restore antique wood flooring to its natural character and glow.

 

More advice for wood floors

Just like reclaimed wood, ESB Flooring has stood the test of time in terms of flooring companies London homeowners can trust. 

Contact us to discus antique wood flooring for your house renovation or refurbishment, or to chat about aftercare tips.

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Big Energy Saving Week will throw the spotlight on the role interior design plays in environmental issues, including how to build green credentials from the “floor” upwards! The campaign (1st to 27th January 2019) will provide millions of people with a better understanding of how to cut their bills.

 We thought it would be a great time to explore the more gradual and long-term steps you can take, to benefit from energy efficiency and reduced costs!

Nest building instincts

It’s human nature to want a warm, comfortable and pleasing environment. That’s why home improvement is a multi-billion-pound industry. Even in hard times, we find the money to make a“house” more of a home. So much so, that you’re currently five times more likely to be planning a home refurbishment or renovation project than you were four years ago! (source: The Independet)

 Though of course, these days the emphasis could well have shifted from purely decorative changes to home improvements that help you to control your bills. Or ones that show your environmental awareness. In the rush to get insulation, lighting, windows, doors and other items sorted, it’s vitally important that you don't overlook “what lies beneath”.

Cutting bills starts on the ground

Your flooring is not simply a surface to walk on that matches your interior design preferences. It has two key elements that you simply can’t ignore.  One is that flooring plays an important role in managing your heating bills. Secondly, it’s significant to your wider environmental footprint! More on that later.

Mother Nature provides homeowners with an invaluable insulation material to use for floors – wood. Your wooden floor, with the correct underlay, could make a big difference to how well you retain heat in your rooms. Whether you choose high-quality oak flooring or more affordable engineered wood flooring, the boards will trap warm air. The underlay then stops that heat from being lost into the substructure of your floor.

There are various types of underlay available, including ones with specific damp or sound proofing properties. There's lots more great information on this topic here.

One with the right thickness and construction will insulate your wooden floor superbly. It means walking across that herringbone flooring will feel wonderful even with bare feet, with all the durability and resilience of other flooring options including tiles.

Underfloor heating

Are you considering installation of underfloor heating, to add to the warm and cosy nature of your home? If you use the correct wood above your underfloor heating, it makes even better use of this material’s inherent energy efficiency.

Remember though, quality materials and proper installation are important. Only a seamless finish excludes drafts and insulates your home. This care extends to getting the correct tog rating for your underfloor heating.

Dont miss the little details

Little changes help too. If there are cracks in floors and skirting boards, seal them. Also, line your letterbox and close off unused chimneys. That could save you £25 a year!

(source: Money Supermarket)

Sustainable manufacturing

Choosing the right materials for your flooring can be a conscious contribution to protecting the planet too. If you buy materials from a responsible company the wood is from sustainable sources. These are timber companies who plant as many trees as they harvest. They usually carry the internationally recognised Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) standard.

Incidentally, engineered wood flooring offers further carbon reduction benefits. The manufacturing techniques used are highly energy efficient and minimise on waste. This can make them even more attractive as eco-friendly floors. 

Save money and make your mark

Switching energy suppliers and other short-term measures can go a long way to managing your household bills. But long term, the decisions you make during home improvement projects are key to how energy efficient your property is. According to the Energy Saving Trust, installing a wooden floor with proper insulation beneath (and creating a flawless finish) can save you at least £40 per year on your heating bills. (source: Energy Saving Trust) That could also warm the cockles of your heart!

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As it’s potentially the busiest room of the house, let’s explore living room refurbishment, including furniture, wood floor designs and other advice from one of the leading flooring companies London homeowners turn to.

Sometimes referred to as a lounge, your living room could serve a multitude of purposes. It is often the hub of a house. The family congregate here to watch TV, listen to music or socialise while playing with electronic devices.

Possibly your living room doubles as a kids' playroom. For other homeowners, their lounge is the centrepiece of their home. They keep it tidy and clean at all times.

This all means that choosing interior designs for living rooms is highly personal. Does the finished result need to be a soothing oasis of calm or a bold, colourful and vibrant environment?

Some great tips on how to decorate your lounge are outlined below. Some interior design values are universal for house refurbishment, starting at ground level!

Firm foundations for your lovely living room

Flooring can be a focal point for your room’s decor. It needs to be chosen with care if lots of foot traffic and moving furniture are possible!

How would flooring companies approach this topic for family rooms?

Certainly, creative wooden floors such as chevron flooring would be advisable. It is versatile, heat efficient and durable.

Wood floor designs can be developed to match your colour scheme. Or you could plan the rest of the room to complement your wood floor patterns!

There are great alternatives to having a wooden floor though, including herringbone laminate flooring. Using herringbone laminate flooring gives the same perception of warmth and character as you would achieve with wood floor designs.

The difference is that herringbone laminate flooring can be much quicker to lay and cost effective if wood floor patterns are out of your budget.

Do you need more information about floors for your home refurbishment?




Wonderful walls

These days, products to decorate your home are diverse and creative. This includes a vast range of paint shades, as well as textured and patterned wallpaper.

At one time, the trend was for living rooms to be minimalist and super cool. White and grey were popular for walls and even wooden floors.

To complement your wood floor designs – or herringbone laminate flooring – you may want to introduce earthy colours to your living room decor. Reds, oranges, yellows and even deeper greens are now popular for walls. Paler neutral colours are also “in”.

There are great ideas on creating feature walls in this article to help you to decorate with style.

If you prefer a single unifying colour for your walls when you decorate, then you can add interest to your living rooms with chevron flooring, for example. Chevron flooring has that distinctive and calming geometric flow pattern.

To create a comfortable, warm environment in your house, from your wooden floor to the finishing touches, the right furniture is central.

Living room furniture tips

Complementing your wood floor designs with similar wood effects and shades within your furniture can look amazing.

There are also bold statement pieces available to suit any theme – from rustic to contemporary and industrial to Victorian.

The best tip on selecting living room furniture, as many flooring companies London and beyond will tell you, is to go for comfort!

Having a living room that looks like a glossy magazine cover takes a lot of work. And furniture that is “art” has its place within interior design.

However, this is a room that is meant to be “lived” in, so items of furniture should be a joy to use as well as good to look at. This article could provide great inspiration.

Little touches and room for living

Space to breathe and move around should feature in any living room interior design. It’s recommended that you don’t pack too much in, with over-abundant ornaments and decorative pieces. This is especially true if you have chosen bold-coloured walls or chevron flooring, for example.

After saying that, the finishing touches can really make your living room interior design special.

This could include a statement piece of wall art - front and central - or a cluster of wonderful family photographs in wood frames.

This is where you can refresh a living room if you don’t have the cash for refurbishment too. Making small changes and improvements can lift the space – and your spirits. This could include, for example, bringing new life to existing wood floor designs by restoring the surface.

ESB Flooring stands out amongst flooring companies London homeowners use for inspiration and not just wood floor patterns! Get in contact to find out more.

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When you decide you need to floor or re-floor your home, you can either be very well-organised and know precisely what you want, or you can feel lost in the jungle of all the available options, choices and possibilities. If you fall in the first category, then you don't need to do anything apart from visiting our website or showroom and placing an order. However, if you belong to the second group, then this article has been written for you. We’ve created it in the form of a step-by-step guide in order to help you make up your mind and order the right wood flooring.

Engineered vs. solid wood flooring

The choice between engineered and solid wood is one of the first and most crucial questions you’ll face when making decisions related to your flooring project. As regards the difference between the two, you presumably are already aware that solid wood flooring is manufactured from a single piece of timber and one species of wood. When it comes to engineered floors, go to our previous articles where you can find a comprehensive guide to engineered wood flooring and its characteristics. When choosing between these two options, you should first of all think about whether or not you've got under-floor heating (UFH) and consider temperature and moisture fluctuations that you expect in the room covered by the flooring project. If your room has under-floor heating, then solid wood flooring isn’t usually a recommended option, as installing UFH means in such a case a risk of cupping and bowing because of temperature fluctuations. When thinking about re-flooring such rooms as bathrooms or kitchens, you should rather opt for engineered flooring, as solid wood isn’t usually advisable. To sum up, if you've got UFH or you’re going to floor or re-floor a bathroom or kitchen, then engineered wood flooring is the best choice (but always make sure before placing an order that the floor you've selected can be fitted over under-floor heating). If these cases don't apply to your flooring project, then you can plump either for solid or for engineered wood flooring – both options should be equally good.

Wood species

The choice of wood species will highly depend on the budget you've got and, to some extent, also on the colour of the floor you expect. Oak is among of the most popular species of wood when taking into account quality wood flooring. This wood species is not only very strong and lasts long, but is also available at quite affordable prices and usually is within the reach of all those who are in search of good quality wood flooring. On the other hand, walnut flooring and the likes are in most cases less affordable. And that's the primary factor you need to bear in mind when making a decision about wood species. Even though there are significant differences in wood colour between individual species and also within a single species, there are a lot of smart colouring techniques available nowadays which will allow you to achieve the colour of wood you dream about without the need to spend a fortune.

Grade

Wood is graded according to four different categories when it is lumbered. These categories include: prime, select, natural and rustic. The grade that a wood gets is determined on the basis of the size and number of knots it contains, but also on the basis of its colour consistency as well as the amount of sap it has. Prime grade wood is the highest on the grading scale and it has only a really small number of little knots, it is distinguished by highly consistent colouring and has a very small amount of sap. Rustic grade wood, in turn, is at the other end of the grading scale – it often has chunky knots, visible colour variations and quite a lot of sap. The choice of the right grade for you highly depends on the budget (obviously prime grade wood is much more expensive as compared to rustic grade) as well as the look you want to achieve.

Flooring finish

Nowadays, you can purchase wood flooring which is already finished and ready to install in a one-step process, but you can also choose to buy unfinished wood flooring. Browse our previous articles to find information and helpful tips concerning hardwood flooring finishes. This will help you make up your mind as regards the finish which will be best for you. However, you may also want to delay the choice of finish and pick it only after you see the floor in situ. In such a case an unfinished floor is definitely the best choice.

Board width

Wood flooring boards are available both online and in traditional stores in a variety of sizes, and the answer about what board width will work best for you depends on your individual taste. There is a rule in interior design, saying that the best option is the one that pleases you most, and it is definitely worth following it in this case. Don’t blindly follow the advice of interior designers who have a strong opinion. You can achieve stunning results with board widths that might shock. For instance a broad board in a tiny room can look great. The same applies to a narrow board in a huge interior. Please go to our previous articles to find more information on choosing the right board width for your flooring project.

Online vs. a traditional store

The UK wood flooring market is vast and so finding a trusted partner can be a daunting task. Sadly, there are some unreliable suppliers on the wood flooring market, both online and off, but you can also find some really good deals available if you are careful. We’ve drawn up a guide to buying online, which is full of handy advice. This guide outlines the aspects you will need to focus on if you want to entrust your flooring project to an online supplier. In many respects, the best option is to plump for a supplier who either offers free samples of the flooring you find interesting or has both a traditional showroom and an online store. We are of the opinion that having a traditional store is crucial, and that's why we have a showroom you are always invited to visit as well as a website. By operating in this way, we can meet the needs of all of our customers and enable them to touch and feel the products we've got in our product range, and at the same time offer affordable online prices.

How much to order

If you’re placing your order online, it’s crucial to know how much flooring to get. A trusted supplier will assist you with this, also at a distance. Browse our collection of articles to find a step-by-step guide to measuring a room.

 

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ESB Flooring, as one of the major official resellers of Parador products, offers a wide range of engineered and laminated floors.

When designing its broad product range, ESB focuses mostly on top-quality engineered floors, and Parador is a company that guarantees top quality, the highest production standards and the best technical parameters.

Thanks to many years of experience in the flooring industry, Parador has gained expertise and extensive know-how about different characteristics of various kinds of wood. Therefore, the company can offer its customers a very interesting and broad range of flooring solutions made of wood with different formats, grades and surface treatments. 

The kind of wood is crucial, as it determines the looks of the floor. It is used only in a 3-layer product composition of Parador engineered wood flooring, which guarantees high dimensional stability. Moreover, the floors Parador has on offer are equipped with special intelligent click mechanisms, which enable fast and easy installation, without the need to use any tools or additional equipment.

Parador floors owe their high quality to 4 crucial factors:

1. Solid top layer

High quality solid wood, which is up to 4 mm thick, has high solids or natural oil finish. The lamellar and top layer impregnation guarantees protection against damp and provides enhanced swell protection, ensuring long-lasting and perfect final effect. To avoid cracks, the wood is gently dried.

2. Quality middle layer

Even if installed in high or heavy traffic areas, Parador engineered floors offer high stability and withstand heavy wear with minimal maintenance required. All that is possible thanks to the solid spruce-fir wood core with raised growth rings. Additionally, a patented click system allows seamless installation without the need to use any tools or adhesives.

3. Balancing veneer

All Parador floors are manufactured in compliance with top production standards and in a sustainable way. The boards have enhanced stability thanks to balancing the veneer made of solid spruce.

4. Patented click system

The click mechanism applied in Parador floors make the installation process convenient, easy and really fast, guaranteeing high pull-out resistance and durability. Thanks to that interlocking system, your floor will always look great and the individual planks will be tightly connected, preventing any undesirable movement or warping. The planks are aligned easily, which allows for easy fitting, by floating or gluing the planks over the entire area. Additionally, a huge advantage that is worth mentioning at this point is that the floor is ready to use right after you’re done with the installation.

This installation method is also very useful for another reason. If you want to install a dark floor, which does not have a high-quality connection system, you can often face problems, such as small cracks occurring between individual planks, through which you can see the internal layers of the floor, which are the colour of natural wood. Therefore, the installed floor loses all its charm and beauty – it makes an impression that the fitter didn’t do his job the right way.

Floor with a weak click system

 

Floor with Parador Click System

Parador's Automatic Click System makes the installation process fast and easy, delivering the best results, with minimal maintenance required. It eliminates the problem of gaps between the boards once and for all, ensuring that the floor, such as our Engeneered Fumed Oak Flooring, has perfectly uniform colour.

 

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Engineered Wood Flooring (also called Engineered 3-Ply) is a popular alternative to solid wood flooring thanks to it's superior stability and suitability to various environments.

How is Engineered Wood Flooring made?

There’s more to Engineered Wood Flooring than meets the eye. Engineered Wood flooring comprises of three layers of real wood pressed together with adhesive under extremely high pressure. The base layer provides the stable foundation of the floor and is typically made of pinewood. The middle layer is typically made from a softer material such as birch plywood. The top layer is the solid wood veneer, and is the only visible layer once the floor is laid.

 

 

This method of construction and installation makes the floor stronger and more durable than other types of wood flooring, including solid wood and multilayer.

But how? ...Imagine one plank is 140mm wide by 1860cm long. The pinewood base is one single strip that is 140mm wide by 1860cm long. The birch plywood strips are then placed on the pinewood from top to bottom, fixed to the base with adhesive under high pressure. The strips also form the locking system that is used to fix one board to another; the two different locking systems are Tongue & Groove or Click. Finally the top layer is placed over the plywood strips. The top layer or veneer is usually between 2mm to 4mm thick. This can have any number of finishes to achieve a desired look.

Together, this creates a floor that is extremely stable and able to keep its shape in sudden or extreme temperature changes, making it perfect for rooms with varying conditions.

The methods of constructing wood flooring are always advancing to make it even stronger and more affordable. For example, some floors will have a High Density Fibreboard (HDF) core with a veneer top layer.

Advantages of Engineered Wood Flooring for consumer’s are:

·    Engineered Wood is more suitable for basements, conservatories or rooms that may be humid or damp

·    Engineered Wood is suitable for under floor heating

·    Engineered Wood comes in a larger variety of textures, looks and finishes to suit more tastes and needs

·    IInstallation of Engineered Wood is easier and cheaper than Solid Wood

·    Engineered Wood Flooring is real wood. Often Solid Wood Flooring is referred to as Real Wood Flooring giving the incorrect impression that Engineered Flooring is not real wood; Engineered Wood Flooring is 100% real wood flooring and it looks just as good as Solid Wood Flooring

·    Engineered Wood will also last a lifetime; when needed, it can be sanded down and re-treated to look as good as new or have a new look altogether

Another type of wood flooring is Engineered Multilayer floor.

Unlike Engineered Wood Flooring, Multilayer flooring is constructed using multiple layers of plywood. The main advantage of Multilayer flooring is that the top layer of veneer is typically thicker than with Engineered Wood Flooring – it ranges from 4mm to 6mm.  This means you can sand the floor three or four times in its lifetime.

However, it is not as strong or stable as Engineered Wood Flooring and when installed over under-floor heating more care and attention is required. For example, the heating should be turned on more gradually.

 

Below are two pictures demonstrating the layers in multilayer flooring. Imagine sheets of plywood and birch wood placed one on top of the other bonded together with adhesive under high pressure, and then the solid surface veneer on top.

For advice about the best wood flooring for your home feel free to contact the ESB sales team. Contact us now to request your no hassle no obligation free samples or come down to our North London showroom for a closer look.

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