Solid wood flooring was used for structural purposes for centuries and there's no reason why that should stop now. In older buildings that are hundreds of years old, you will often typically find the original solid wood floor that has been laid over the beams or joists, as they're known. Effectively, the good wood flooring is laid perpendicular to the beams so as to create the floor of the space in question.The fact that solid wood may be used for this purpose hasn't changed through the years, but also for speed, ability and cost reasons, in most instances this style of construction is no more used. Contemporary day construction techniques tend to rely on concrete as the subfloor of selection, over that an engineered hardwood flooring will typically be laid.
All of that said, there's a tendency across the world at the moment for people to seek out traditional construction methods and to update them to make them even more efficient from a heating loss point of view prior to adopting them in the construction of their houses. This can be seen where houses have a cellar for example and it's feasible to lay solid wood planks directly over the beams which will make up the ceiling of the cellar and the room immediately over.
If you are planning to use solid wood flooring as structural boards, there are several things that you Want to bear in mind:
- You need to make sure that the joists aren't too far apart. Generally speaking the guideline is that to properly support a solid wood floor, joists should be no longer than 450mm apart. In case your joists are farther apart than that there are two potential options. The first is to pay your own joists with ply or chipboard (see point number 5. Beneath ); the second is to introduce noggins and, or dentures to back up your flooring. Put very simply, noggins are bits of timber and braces are bits of steel. Both noggins and braces can be put between joists to provide additional support, allowing hardwood flooring to be fitted straight to joists and ensuring a steady end result. Which option you decide on will depend completely on your situation and if you are in doubt, you should seek expert advice before laying your floor.
- You need to establish that there are venting points in the space between the ground and the ceiling below. This can be important from an insulation, comfort and economic perspective.
- It is important to ascertain a suitable method of insulation, particularly if your flooring is to be laid over an unheated space eg. A garage or a cellar. If your flooring is being laid within a heated space however, you might decide that it is best to not insulate the space to enable warm air to pass out of the area below.
- It's a good idea in certain circumstances to think about the introduction of a plywood or chipboard subfloor, which will make your final floor more secure in addition to removing any doubts regarding the design of your joists.
- You ought to pick a solid wood flooring plank that's at least 18mm thick if you're planning to use it as a structural plank, 20mm even better. Any thinner and you could face difficulties.
If you're thinking about buying a solid hardwood flooring and wish to fit it straight over joists, why not contact us for some advice? We've got many, many years of hardwood floors experience and will happily discuss that with you in order that will help you make the proper choices for your job.