TECHNICAL INFORMATION FOR OAK
Disclaimer: The correct installation of timber is as important to choosing the product itself. This following section provides some general information that may be helpful in understanding the installation of timber. The information in this section is of general application only and may not apply to the unique specifications of your site. We recommend that you always follow the advice of your architect, engineer or specialist installer.
- Before timber is delivered to site, all wet trades such as plastering, decorating and concreting/screeding should be complete and the working areas should be left to dry out. The site needs to be watertight and hospitable – ideally the relative humidity in the room should be between 40% and 60% and room temperatures should be maintained at a minimum of 18°C. The jobsite conditions need to match the conditions that will be in effect once the project is completed.
- Make sure that damp of any nature has been rectified, and if any doubt exists, consult an expert.
- Where moisture is still a concern, approved liquid damp proof systems or sheet-type moisture / vapours barriers should be used.
- All flooring should be acclimatised where it is to be installed. Di Legno timber is typically supplied at a moisture level of 9% to 10%, which means it will need to increase its moisture content to be installed in South Africa. It is dangerous and potentially harmful to store timber in uncontrolled environments such as a garage, basement or exterior patio. If air conditioning or heating is to be used on the site, this should be switched on prior to the installation commencing.
- Not properly acclimatising solid timber boards is to be seriously avoided as this can result in excessive expansion, shrinking, dimensional distortion or damage.
- Plastic packaging should be removed from the boards and timber should be pin stacked on the job site 3 to 4 weeks prior to installation for solid timber and about a week for engineered timber. Pin stacking involves leaving gaps between the boards so that air flow can reach the sides of the boards. Ensure that every level is stacked perpendicularly to the one above and the one below, for example, layer one should be stacked on the north-south axis, then layer two on the east west axis and so on, leaving gaps for sufficient lateral airflow.
- We recommend that you check all boards prior to installation to ensure that there aren't any knots or holes you find unattractive - there is nothing more frustrating than installing your floor to find a board with a knot you find visually unappealing in the middle of the floor. These boards should rather be used in edge or perimeter cuts.
- For a successful timber installation the screed should be smooth, even, free from contamination and strong enough to withstand lateral movement of the timber (the SA Wood Flooring Association recommends a minimum floor adhesion strength of 2.0N/mm2). It is advisable to have an independent expert test the screed and submit a report which will identify any weaknesses.
- Moisture-check any bases (floorcoverings and moisture are not good companions). New screeds must be left to adequately cure and dry. Typically new screeds take 1 day per mm of thickness to dry. For example, a 50mm screed under ideal conditions would take 50 days to dry. Curing is extremely important in the case of wooden flooring, since this is how (a correct screed mixture) will become stronger.
- Existing bases should be checked to ensure that damp is not present, a digital protimeter or surface mounted hygrometer should be used to ensure a relative humidity reading of 70% RH or less.
- Uneven concrete or screed floors should be prepared with a suitable latex-type smoothing compound, and timber bases made good with plywood and/or a suitable fibre re-enforced smoothing compound, to achieve a level within a tolerance 3mm over 2 metres.
- It is possible to install underfloor heating under solid flooring boards, however, engineered boards are more suitable for use with underfloor heating as the multi-layered construction offers more stability.
- All heating systems should be commissioned and operating for 2-3 weeks in advance.
- If underfloor heating is to be used, the surface temperature may not exceed 27°C. Cables should be cut into the screed and that at least 90% of each separate floor area is heated to avoid a situation where only some of the boards in an area are heated.
- It is advisable to install a floor probe next to every heating wire.
- When using underfloor heating, take care not to shock the floor. Underfloor heating should be turned on and off slowly, ie turn the heating up gradually by 2°C per day.
- Di Legno timber can be glued down or installed on battens. A good quality epoxy moisture barrier should be applied to the entire screed before the timber is glued down.
- The normal laying direction for timber is along the length of the room and, if possible, towards the direction of light.
- When glueing down timber it is important that all boards are to be individually and completely glued down to the subfloor or screed. Ensure that there is maximal adhesion of each plank: ideally use suitable parquet glue that is smeared onto the screed or work with glue stripes that are applied every 150mm - 200mm and at 180° on the length of the boards. The choice between full bond or glue stripes would depend on a number of factors such as site condition, board thickness and width etc.
- Solid timber boards should be fitted with enough space to allow for the lateral expansion of the timber during winter months when humidity levels increase. For example, when there is a 4% increase to the EMC of a 140mm wide board (humidity levels increase from 50% to 70%) the board will expand in its width by about 2.3mm. Engineered boards are far more stable in the width owing to the fact that the timber grain in the middle layer is at a perpendicular angle, thus they can be installed more closely together without running the risk of the timber 'peaking' in winter.
- Your installer should have information about the microclimate applicable in your area and will thus be able to calculate the amount of expansion to that should be accommodated.
- Ensure that there is sufficient room at the perimeters of the rooms to allow the timber to expand. The general principle would be that 10mm will be sufficient provided sufficient gaps are left between the boards.
- If you are installing a solid floor, the floor should be installed by a skilled tradesman who understands solid timber.
- After the timber has been installed, it should be buffed with a white pad. This will remove any splinters that are present on the sides of the board due to the ageing process.
- Di Legno timber is supplied pre-finished, therefore it is imperative that it is well protected after installation, since sanding it will remove the aged patina.
- Do not use a material like plastic to protect the floor after installation, as this will not allow sufficient airflow to the timber – use material that will permit moisture to flow like 5mm SFK sheeting with taped joints. Make sure that the floor is clean and well vacuumed before taping the sheeting over the floor.
- Prior to handover, the protective covering of the floor can be removed. If there has been any damage to the floor, this must be repaired by the installer using Di Legno's stains, oils and waxes made specifically for the colour of your floor.
- For certain colours ie those comprised of neutral or honey oils, it may be advisable for the installer to apply an additional coat of oil, alternatively, the correct maintenance product for the colour selected can be applied. In the case of a waxed floor, additional wax should be applied with a buffing pad.
- Timber performs best in the same climate conditions that people are comfortable in – humidity levels between 50% and 65% (15°C to 25°C). In Europe, that often means increasing moisture levels indoors in winter when heating is on, but in South Africa it may mean dehumidifying the air at times.
- Detailed care instructions for each range are available, and Di Legno produces a range of maintenance soaps, oils and cleaners that are made specifically for their colours. (Many off the shelf products will result in colour changes to the Di Legno range since many oils contain some yellow or red pigment.)
- Applying maintenance oil to your floor will keep it looking more beautiful in much the same way as applying polish to furniture. The oil and waxes protect the floor from absorbing liquids and will therefore protect your floor against stains.
- Since you don't want to sand the patina off your Di Legno floor, you should ensure that the floor is regularly vacuumed to remove dirt and that you have a good mats at the doors. You should also put felt pads (not rubber) under furniture to protect timber floors.
- If you spill liquid on a timber floor it is important that you dry it immediately and that you avoid the use of excessive water when cleaning your floor.
- 3 to 5 years after installation, your installer will re-oil or re-wax your floor with the Di Legno stain, oil or wax used in the production process at the factory.