Parquetry

From Academic Kids

Parquetry is a mosaic of wood used for ornamental flooring. (French parqueterie, from parquet, flooring, originally a small compartment.)

Materials contrasting in colour and grain, such as oak, walnut, cherry, lime, pine, etc. are employed; and in the more expensive kinds the richly coloured tropical woods are also used. The patterns of parquet flooring are entirely geometrical and angular (for instance squares, triangles, lozenges), curved and irregular forms being avoided on account of the expense and difficulty of fitting.

There are three main classes of parquetry in use: solid parquet, veneers and laminiates. Solid parquet as the name suggests, is solid wood, the standard thickness of each board is 2 cm or more, this enables the wooden floor to be heavily sanded numerous times over its lifetime. Veneers are a layer of solid wood (normally 5mm (referred to as the 'wear' layed) in thickness attached to a base of cheaper wood, this enables a floor to be sanded and finished using conventional techniques, and can be repaired by light re-sanding. Laminates are the cheapest form, consisting of a faux-wood image applied to a cheap base and a clear protective layer applied on top, laminates are prone to chipping and are unable to be repaired.

Boards generally fit together with a tongue and groove, having consequently the pattern alike on both sides.

Wooden floors can be installed in a number of configurations. In a floating floor configuration, a layer of underlay is placed on top of the existing floor (for noise and heat insulation), the boards are then placed on top, locking together using the tongues and grooves, the weight of the combined boards holds them in place. Over time as the wood reacts to moisture in the environment, cracks are more prone to appear compared to permanently fixing the floor to the subfloor.

To attach the floor more permanently boards can be either fixed using nails (driven through the tongue at an angle of roughly 35 degrees), or attached using a waterbased or solvent glue if the subfloor is unsuitable for nails.

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