A wood strip floor is made of long, narrow lengths of finely finished timber, and is considered a superior version of standards floorboards. Some makes of strip flooring are laminated with a decorative hardwood surface, others are solid timber. Laminated strips are usually pre-finished with a varnish or vinyl coating. Solid strips usually need a light sanding and varnished after they have been laid. Solid wood strip is durable and suitable for just about any room in the home, including high traffic areas.
Wood strip must be laid with a gap around the walls to allow for expansion of the wood in damp weather, and no expansion gap is needed for laminated strips. Wood strip is also made in various lengths, ranging from about 36 centimetres up to 180 centimetres, and most are made with tongue in groove. Strip flooring come in two thicknesses – the thinner one is used to overlay existing floor covering, while the thicker one, which is more expensive, can take the place of floorboards where an old suspended timber floor has to be replaced. Different makes of wood strip can vary slightly, so it is essential that the manufacturer’s instructions are followed carefully when laying.
Wood strip is sold in packs to cover a given area, and in order to calculate the amount of packs required, first get the total room area by multiplying the width by the length of the room, and then divide this number by the area given on the pack. Then round this off to the higher one.
As wood flooring absorbs moisture from the atmosphere, it is a good idea to buy the wood strip in advance, to open packs and to leave it to settle for a few days in the room for which it is intended. This should prevent sudden expansion due to differences in moisture content, which could also cause buckling.
In some cases it is advised to use a hardboard backing as a base on an existing floor, but if the floor is in good condition, backing is not required. If existing flooring is damaged or curves up at the edges, a hardboard covering will be needed.