Love the idea of a wooden floor, but unable to decide between the cost and convenience of laminate and the quality and elegance of solid wood? The answer might lie in one of the oldest flooring methods around.
Today’s parquet flooring can trace its roots back to the 16th century homes of Versailles. The word derives from the French parqueterie, and the technique lays small strips or blocks of wood to create a geometric pattern. It was originally used as an innovative way to cover or replace tiles, providing a warmer and more cost-effective alternative.
Types and styles
One of the biggest benefits of a parquet floor is that there are so many options open to you. You can choose from a wide variety of woods, such as pine, oak, cherry, maple and many others, meaning the sky is the limit in terms of colours and textures.
And the choices do not stop there. Parquet flooring is sometimes referred to as mosaic, because of the many decorative effects you can achieve. Typical designs involve regular, angular shapes such as squares, diamonds or triangles, but in some designs you can even see sun and star affects.
But perhaps the most popular designs in a modern parquet floor are the classic chevron or herringbone patterns.
Originally, parquet flooring was made from 100 percent solid wood. While this is still an option, today’s popular choice is to go for engineered wood, which is made from several layers of different types of wood that are then topped off by the hardwood surface of your choice.
Both provide an identical looking finish, so given that engineered wood is by far the less expensive, there is little surprise that this is the option that most people decide upon.
In the days of Versailles, a parquet floor would have been laid using hot bitumen. These days, it is nothing quite so dramatic, and a cold adhesive is generally used. Having said that, it is still no easy DIY job unless you really know what you are doing, so to guarantee a beautiful result, it is generally best left to the professionals.
Cleaning and maintenance
There is no doubt that a good quality parquet floor provides a hard wearing and beautiful looking flooring solution to any home, and one that is far easier to keep clean than a carpet. Having said that, you still need to take good care of it to keep it looking at its best.
Clean it regularly, using a vacuum cleaner and a damp, but not wet, cloth. Unlike plastic laminate, parquet flooring is not suitable for slopping water around with a mop!
To give it a real, long lasting lustre, periodically use a specialist polish that is designed for wooden floors. Avoid using ordinary wood polish, as although this might leave your wooden floor looking great, it will also result in a smooth, glassy finish that will present a slip hazard to anyone walking across it.