Questions

Answered Here

Frequently Asked Questions


How suitable is hardwood flooring for a tropical country like India?
Wooden floors have been used in India for centuries, in palaces and places of worship. Since timber has very low thermal conductivity, it is ideal for cold as well as warm climates.
How durable are wooden floors?
A well-installed wooden floor is one of the most durable types of flooring you can have. This might sound counterintuitive when stacked against granite or vitrified tiles. But consider this: a hardwood floor gets its strength from the fibrous nature of the wood. Thanks to this, it can take a good knocking and never cracks or breaks. Moreover, renovating a hardwood floor is comparatively simple and can be done several times. Sand the floor back to the bare wood, apply a coat of finish and presto, you have a new floor! How many types of floors offer you that option?
I have seen wooden floors with scratches, cracks at the joints, dirt in between the joints, and even loose pieces here are there. Will my floor be like that after some time?

Some wooden floors do look like that. And they look terrible. This is where the experience of an expert comes into play. When we supply and install a wooden floor for you, we make sure that the timber is suitable for wooden flooring as well as for the climate.

Firstly, timber species used for flooring in other parts of the world may not suit the Indian climate. They tend to move quite a bit, resulting in cracks in the floor (in technical jargon, a timber with a very high co-efficient of expansion for every per cent of change in humidity). This applies to certain temperate timber species and also some tropical species. So the wood needs to be selected wisely.

The second point is the installation of the floor. Was the subfloor assessed properly for strength and moisture? Was the right adhesive used? Several such factors can be the cause of that horrible looking floor. Having expertise and accurate product knowledge is a key factor in getting a good floor, which Westwood has.

I have young children at home and they are full of mischief. They walk around in shoes, play with toys on the floor, spill food and so on. Will that damage the floor?

Small children running around the house playing is a wonderful memory that most parents will cherish when the kids move out. A wooden floor, in fact, is a perfect one for growing children. They can crawl on the floor, take their baby steps on it and fall a few times—the wood’s shock absorbing nature will ensure they do not get hurt.

As for damages, hardwood floors now come with excellent finishes that can take care of most of the spills and some abuse. In any case, these floors can be completely renovated for a brand new look by a simple sand and re-coat after the children grow up. That way, you will have the best of both worlds.

Do I need to hire the services of an expert for installing a wooden floor? Why cannot a general service carpenter or the guy doing our interiors do the installation?

Yes, you need an expert. Read on to understand why.

It is often said that the success of the installation of a wooden floor is determined even before the first piece of wood is laid. The nature of the sub floor, moisture content of the sub floor, the suitability of adhesive for the species of timber selected, need for a moisture barrier, need for a levelling compound, sources of potential moisture migration and preventive measures—these are some of the factors that decide the quality of your floors.

Further, a wooden floor, being an arrangement of many strips of small width, is a complex joinery. These individual strips are prone to moving a little bit, resulting in the floor expanding. This movement will depend on factors like species of timber, width of individual strips and climatic conditions. Based on these factors, one needs to decide how much expansion gap is needed along the edges. Or in the case of a very large room, you probably need to put a slip tongue and start laying the floor in two directions from the centre of the room.

All these calls can only be made by an expert on wooden floors. Do not leave these to the chance of half-baked knowledge of a general purpose contractor.

I would like to have wooden floors in my house. At what stage should I get your company involved? In other words, at what point should I take a decision?
The earlier the better. If we get involved at an early stage, we can help you decide on the levels of the adjacent floors, some inexpensive ways to prevent the chances of moisture migration, help in the preparation of the sub floor and so on. Our technical team has years of experience in wooden flooring installation and we work at hundreds of wooden flooring sites every year. That kind of knowledge can be invaluable in preparing the site for wooden floor.
Why do you glue down the wooden floor? We have seen some wooden floors being installed over plastic foam. I never saw them gluing it down.
There is a big difference qualitatively between a glued down wooden floor and a floor floating over foam. A glued down wooden floor will give a very solid effect to the entire floor where as a floating installation will give you a spongy effect. Further, a glued down wooden floor will also arrest the movement of the individual strips of wood whereas a floating installation has a higher chance of popping up in case of any movement due to moisture in the floor.
How do I know which method of installation is best for me? Glued down on levelling compound? Or glued and nailed to frame? Or even glued and nailed down to plywood?

There are several factorsthat decide what method of installation to adopt for your wooden floor.

  • The width, thickness and length of the strip of floor you have selected. Normally we limit the length when we suggest a glue-down-only installation.
  • How good is your subfloor? If we are planning a glue down installation and the subfloor quality is poor (both in terms of level and smoothness), then we might suggest a self-levelling compound application. Also, if we are installing a tongue and groove floor with a ‘glue down to concrete floor’ method, it might be useful to do a self-levelling compound application.
  • How much allowance you have when compared to the adjacent floor is another thing we consider when we recommend a method of application. If you have very little allowance, then it might be a good idea to glue down the floor.
  • Whatkind ofsubfloor you have now is another point to consider. If it is a tile or marble floor, then removing the tile will be messy, time consuming and expensive. Then a glue down to tile/marble will be the ideal solution.

As you can see from the above examples, deciding the method of installation is based on various factors and we will recommend the best method based on your site conditions.

I see lot of adhesive options mentioned on your website and also on www.bona.com. What is the difference between these adhesives and which one is suitable for my floor?

An excellent question that normally very few people bother to ask when they select a wooden floor or when they compare quotes from different suppliers. Selecting the right adhesive is a very critical factor for the successful installation of a wooden floor. If you make a mistake here, it could turn out to be a very expensive one in the long run.

At Westwood,we follow a very strict procedure when selecting the adhesive for a particular site. It depends on multiple factors: the species of timber, subfloor, suggested method of installation, moisture conditions at site, time factor and so on. Normally, the decision on the adhesive is taken by the most experienced people in our company; it is never a task left to the juniors in the team.

How will I know that the subfloor prepared by me /my contractor/builder is suitable for wooden floor?

We provide assistance to our customers when the subfloor is being prepared. This is especially true when we are involved in the project at an early stage. We send our technical staff to the site to discuss our requirement as to the level and smoothness, cement to sand mix ratio and other particulars to the contractor who is preparing the subfloor.

If Westwood is not involved while the subfloor is being prepared, we will still inspect the subfloor and let you know the acceptability of it. If the subfloor is not acceptable, then we recommend the suitable remedial measures for the floor.

I see various species of timber mentioned on your website. How do I select the one right for me?

There are multiple reasons why somebody selects a particular species of timber, the following being the most common:

  • The colour and grain structure of the timber: Perhaps this is the number one reason that influences the choice of wood. Depending on your personal preference of colour and grain, you can select the timber species for the flooring.
  • Density/Hardness: You may like to consider these factors also while selecting. While having the highest density or hardness may not be the best option always, for certain applications, having a high density timber will be useful. But please keep in mind that as a general rule, the denser the timber, more the chances for movement of the timber according to imbalances in atmospheric humidity. But dense timber can be useful in an area where you are expecting heavy traffic, like a restaurant or bar.
  • Durability: Certain timbers like teak are an all-time favourite with Indians. We have been using this for generations. In fact, the word teak came from the Malayalam word "thekku”. But then, every country, especially the tropical ones, has its own favourites. Merabu is a very popular timber from South East Asia, Padauk is an excellent timber from Africa, Brazilian Cherry (Jatoba) is another popular one from Brazil. For all practical purposes, the timber floor species we supply and install will outlive a generation if all the normal precautions are taken while installing and maintaining the floor.
I see that you have various sizes (width, thickness and length) for each species. Why is this? You also have different sizes for different species of timber. I am a bit confused.

We agree that it is a bit confusing. When selecting a timber species, most customers are only concerned about two dimensions—the width and length of the individual strips. But we would say that the third one, namely the thickness of the strip, is the most important. The width is directly connected to the thickness of the strip. If you want a wider floor, you then need a thicker floor. No two ways about it. If we just increase the width without increasing the thickness (which is tempting to many suppliers), you then have a problem with dimensional stability of the floor.

Length of the floor: Everybody would like to have a longer floor. Generally, the longer and wider the floor is, the more expensive it is.

What do you mean by Random Length Flooring? Why cannot it be all of same length?

When you select tongue and groove flooring, it is an industry practice that the flooring will be of random length. The floors are mostly done in a random pattern (unless it is a herringbone pattern or similar) and this means that the floor should have varying lengths.

When we quote for the flooring, we normally specify the length range of the flooring (this again varies from species to species). The flooring strips that will be supplied will be a fair spread between the shortest and the longest length specified.

Some of your floor sizes have tongue and grooves and others are just square blocks. Why is it so? I was under the impression that tongue and grooves are required to hold the floor to gether.
We would slightly disagree with that. While you are correct that tongues and grooves are required for holding the strips together, this is true only in the case of longer strips of wood. The adhesion of the floor is on the bottom of the strip and never on the tongue. As a general rule, we go with a tongue and groove system for all flooring where the maximum length is above 400mm.
Why do flooring strips have colour variation? Is it a defect?
Wooden floors are made out of natural wood and as the name implies, it is made by nature. Even different trees of the same species of timber will have a slightly different colour and grain pattern. So this variation in colour is not a defect but a unique character of wooden flooring.
How difficult (or easy) is it to maintain a wooden floor?

Wooden floors are one of the easiest to maintain. Here are some reasons why:

  • Due to the very nature of the wood, it is easy to remove dust and small particles like human hair from wooden floors. Think of how easy it is to clean your wooden table when compared to a tiled or marble surface.
  • Our wooden floors are always coated with finishes from Bona AB (www.bona.com). These finishes are extremely durable and very easy to maintain. You just need to damp mop on a regular basis and perhaps use a pH neutral floor cleaner once a week (we recommend Bona Wood Floor Cleaner).
  • A dry swish using a good micro-fibre mop will do an excellent job in cleaning dust off your floor.
Can I wet mop the floor?
We would request you to avoid wet mopping. But you can use a damp mop, after wringing out the water well. If you feel that your floor has become dirty, use the Bona Wood Floor Cleaner along with a damp mop and your floor will be spotlessly clean again.
Will I have scratches on the floor from moving chairs?
We would strongly recommend that you use a high quality furniture felt pad under all chairs and other moveable furniture. This will easily protect your floors even if somebody drags the chair or similar furniture.
How often do I need to repolish the floor?
Westwood has been in the business of wooden floors for about 20 years now and so far we would have done over 7,000 houses. Out of all these, we have refinished only less than 50 houses. Under normal circumstances, you need to refinish a wooden floor only after a long time, perhaps 10-12 years.( 7000 here and 4000 somewhere else ).
Will my floor look faded and worn out if I do not repolish it for 10-12 years?
If your floor is looking a bit dull, you can avail a Deep Clean Service + Refresher Application from us, which will cost you only a negligible amount (less than Rs. 4,000 for a 500 sqft floor at the current rates). The best part of having a wooden floor is, once you refinish the wooden floor with a full sanding and recoating after perhaps 15 years from installation, you have a brand new floor. This is a luxury that not many other flooring options can provide.
Is re-sanding the wooden floora messy job? Will there be a lot of dust?
We at Westwood employ a completely dust-free sanding system, where the sanding is almost 98 per cent dust free. You do not even have to remove the wall curtains or other soft furnishings.
Even if your sanding is dust-free, what about the fumes and odour from the product you use for refinishing the wooden floor? Are the fumes dangerous for children and the elderly?
The entire finishing system we use is Green Guard Certified. This is the highest certification for indoor air quality. Our products are safe even for very young children.( We can give green guard certificate here for Bona products )