Q: We are extending the rear of a home for a more open plan layout. It is north facing and will provide much more natural light from full height glass windows and sliding doors. A new solid timber floor will be installed here also. Previous similar renovations resulted some flooring movement and fading, can you offer some advice before we proceed. Suzy Berger, Hampton
A: Floor to ceiling windows and doors do allow great natural light into your home and can provide great outdoor views.
Though for timber floorboards this can be a source of heat that can shrink the floorboards resulting in gapping. Prolonged UV light exposure can also alter the floor finish, dependent on the coating used it can bleach or darken the floor in this area.
Wider floorboards can show more natural timber movement and gapping can be more evident in these sizes.
Below are some points to consider for reducing flooring movement. These are mostly covered in our flooring guidelines which are available here.
- Ensure the flooring substrate is dry and similar moisture content to the flooring to be installed over it. Moisture barriers over concrete and sub-floor ventilation are very important.
- Acclimatising the flooring may not be necessary if the room conditions are similar to the expected lived in conditions. This can be difficult in new builds without heating and cooling appliances installed. Knowing the moisture content of the flooring is close to the home equilibrium moisture content allows you to install immediately.
- Consider external shade battens if blinds/curtains are not to be installed to minimise UV exposure. Deciduous trees that provide shade in summer months and light in winter months could be considered.
- Double glazing will minimise the heat that transfers into the home, though if allowed eventual heat build-up can also become trapped in the home in the same way. Ventilation here (including roof) is important to allow heat to escape.
- Don’t let the flooring dry out from being locked up for long periods over warm weather. A hygrometer can be used to check and monitor the humidity in the home. Alternatively, climate control measures in the home can be installed.
- Reducing the floorboard width also reduces its potential movement, 85×19 is more stable than 130×19. Wider flooring will show greater gapping.
- Advising clients and Architects that their particular design or choice of flooring may affect its performance and final appearance, ideally in writing, is recommended.
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