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Choosing the right parquet floor

When choosing a wood-based flooring, known as parquet, there are a few things to keep in mind. You’ll first need to decide between solid or engineered parquet, then select the type of finish you want. We have a few extra tips to offer depending on which room of the house you plan on laying the parquet in as well as proper care for parquet and the latest decorating trends.

It can be considered the ultimate high-end flooring—noble, warm, timeless—and it is still fashionable, both in old and contemporary homes.

In this guide, we distinguish between solid wood flooring and engineered flooring.

View our parquet floors

  • What are the types of parquet?

    On Archiexpo, parquet is divided into two large families: solid and engineered. Although solid parquet is the oldest and most traditional, it is also more expensive compared to engineered flooring. Here are some points to consider for each.

    • Solid parquet: The boards of this flooring are 100% solid wood and fit into each other through a system of grooves and tongues; the pose can be glued or nailed but never floating. Solid parquet is available in many types of wood such as oak, ash, birch, beech, walnut, maple, teak, wenge and more. The thickness of the wood varies between 12 and 23 mm. Although they are considered the most expensive, they’re also the most durable—simply sand them and apply a new top coat and they’re like new. Some solid floors last 100 years or more!

      Castro Wood Floors solid parquet floor

    • Engineered parquet: Engineered parquet is a three-layer flooring with a thickness from 10 to 15 mm. The three layers are already pressed together to form one by the manufacturer and are ready to be set. The base board is made from a high-density wood fiber; the center board, usually made from wood fiber or a blockboard, contributes to the stability and is economical; the wear, the top layer, also known as the cladding layer, needs to reach at least 2.5 mm and be made from oak or solid wood—not imitation. The thicker the cladding, the more durable, as sanding down this type of parquet will remove 1 mm of material.

      Castro Wood Floors engineered parquet

    The aesthetics of engineered flooring is similar to that of solid parquet because we see only the top layer: the noble wood. Both solid and engineered flooring can be renovated, but engineered can only be renovated once if the wear layer is 2.5 mm. Engineered flooring was developed in the 80s and has made it possible to democratize parquet: It is no longer reserved for the elite.

    Engineered parquet should not be confused with laminated flooring, the top layer of which has been varnished or made from imitation wood. On Archiexpo there are other flooring types that imitate parquet that we deliberately separated and called “laminated flooring”.

  • Which finish to choose for parquet?

    Solid or engineered parquet is available in many finishes ranging from traditional to trendy varnish. Hardwood planks come in two ways: raw or prefinished. With raw planks, or boards, they are installed in the designated room by a professional; the finishing is done after the flooring is set. Prefinished planks have already been stained or topcoated, which is nice because you can already see what you’ll be getting. If you decide to go raw, you have to rely on the skills of the flooring contractor, but on-site finishing provides an interesting level of customization, with more control over the stain and sheen. The contractor usually sands the unfinished flooring after it’s set, then applies the finish to the planks as one entity, producing smoother results.

    • Waxed: The polished finish is generally rough solid parquet. It is about waxing the wood after having sanded it, which will give a nice patina to the parquet over the years. This type of finish requires a lot of maintenance and the wax does not protect against stains or water. However, it remains the favorite finish of purists.

      LEMMA PAVIMENTI ARTIGIANALI waxed parquet floor

    • Oiled: The oiled finish consists of treating the floorboards in the factory by applying two or more layers of oil. This type of finish is recommended for damp and high-traffic rooms.
    • Varnished: The varnished finish consists of applying several coats of varnish or glazing, forming a thin film preventing moisture and stains from penetrating the floor. This finish greatly facilitates maintenance. On an aesthetic level, the varnish can be slightly colored, matt, gloss or satin. This finish is economical and offers very good resistance. It brings a modern and contemporary style to the floor.

      CORA’DOMENICO & FIGLI varnished parquet floor

    • Bleached: Bleached flooring is when the manufacturer bleaches the wood which lightens the color of it, giving it more of a white hue. Bleaching accentuates and highlights the veining of the boards. Bleached parquet lights up a contemporary interior.
    • Tinted: The tinted finish gives a different shade to the parquet. You can, for example, give it a gray or even black tint. This process is particularly used in renovation.
    • Brushed: For this technique, the artisan brushes the floor and then applies a paint in the vein, set with two layers of varnish, which will highlight the wood grain. This finish is known for its decorative appearance.
    • Chamfered boards: Chamfered boards are a particularly common finish for engineered flooring, giving it a more natural look. The boards are beveled on all sides; the top of their slice has an oblique angle. It is a very popular finish, only workable in the factory.
    • The boat deck look: Finally, one of the most fashionable finishes right now for bathrooms and kitchens is a wooden boat deck look. The artisan adds a mastic between the boards, which will give it this authentic “boat deck” appearance.
  • Which parquet for which room of the house?

    Wood flooring belongs in any room, but there are certainly points to keep in mind. High-traffic areas such as the living room and kitchen will require a stronger wood or more frequent maintenance.

    The kitchen is a delicate space subject to increased traffic, the movement of stools, heavy utensils falling and greasy droppings that require frequent cleaning. This shouldn’t prevent you from putting in a solid or engineered parquet, but be sure to clean frequently. In case of stains, without immediate intervention, a wooden floor may remain stained and require you to repair or replace it.

    The bathroom is a low-traffic wet room where only small objects are placed. Bathroom flooring requires routine maintenance with household products. If you really want wooden flooring in the bathroom, opt for exotic species with glued laying.

  • How to properly care for parquet?

    For solid or engineered parquet, routine maintenance is the same. You’ll want to use a vacuum cleaner or mop first and keep water to a minimum. Water and wood are not friends! The mop shouldn’t be extremely wet, rather lightly damp, so as not to damage your floor. Wooden flooring can be oiled or waxed. A special soap is used for oiled parquet floors, but black soap is perfectly suitable for all floors.

  • What are the decorative trends for parquet?

    There is a return to the authentic: flooring with singularities such as knots or asperities, once considered defects, have come back in fashion. Bleached, gray or very dark wood flooring is trendy. Consumers are turning more and more to large longboards. Oiled flooring offers more color options and is becoming more popular than in the past. Patterned flooring remains popular, so nothing has changed there.

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