Parquet vs. Laminated Flooring
Wood is a marvelous natural material. Comfort and warmth of wooden floorings are unique. They do not go out of fashion; moreover as time goes by they become more beautiful and create a special feeling of coziness. Their artificial imitations are quite good – at accessible prices that make their replacement easy if the flooring is old or simply because it bores you.
The Royal origin of the parquet
Here is some history. Wood has been used for floorings in India, Egypt and China for the first time in the Middle Ages but only the wealthy people could afford it. In the 16th century the French started to place small wooden tiles made of spruce in the Palaces of Versailles, Sanssouci and the Louvre. They called their creation “parquet” which means a “small park”. Frederick the Great named the parquet “Royal” flooring because almost by the 18th century parquet flooring was found only in the palaces. Nowadays, due to modern technologies parquet is very popular and everyone can afford it or at least a good imitation (laminated flooring)
Natural wood has enough strength, long life, good thermal and sound insulating properties as well as a specific wood grain. The most popular parquet here is usually made of solid deciduous trees such as oak, beech, ash-tree, maple, walnut-tree, cherry-tree, etc. The most important properties are: grain and wood’s wear stability that is related to the rigidness and to the extent of thickness of the material. Different kinds of oak have an extent of thickness between 820-850 kg/m3, beech is in the same range, walnut – around 789 while the coniferous trees’ thickness varies from 450 to 570 kg/m3.
Usually the parquet that can be found on our market is in the following variations: massive/solid parquet; layered parquet (two-, three- or multilayered); the new parquet “Selenio’ and finally the well known laminated flooring. Each kind of them has its advantages and disadvantages but the price, stability, labor-consumption of fitting and conditions for maintenance are the ones that are most important.
Massive parquet is number one of the kind due to its perfect heat insulation and its stability. It is comparatively easy to be maintained, also is has an ideal appearance and moreover it has a very long life if it is properly fitted and well maintained. No doubt fitting is the most difficult and risky part related to this kind of flooring. Most important here is the base – it has to be firm, very well leveled, smooth and dry. Wood is like a sponge – it takes and it gives dampness all the time which leads to swelling. For this reason before fitting it, the parquet needs time to adapt itself (it has to equal its dampness to that of the premise in which it will be fitted), and this process may take a week or two. Dampness should be no more than 50-60% in the premise during the fitting and should stay within these borders throughout the time of the exploitation in order to avoid the eventual deformation. Another advantage of the parquet is that depending on the way of its arranging different figural composition can be achieved. At present, the most popular way of arranging the parquet – the so called “fish bone” is replaced by placing big, rectilinearly arranged tiles with various shades of color and different patterns thus making the whole composition more attractive and unique. There are several techniques for fitting the parquet, each of them has advantages and disadvantages. The “sticking technique” is recommended because the parquet becomes steadier if it is incidentally waterеd but it can not be removed or pre-arranged later on. By using the “forging technique” pre-arrangement and the removal of the parquet is possible but the gaps are not tight so well, while by using the “floating technique” the elements are fastened to one another without sticking to the base. This last technique is mainly used when fitting laminated parquet and it is not recommended for massive parquet.
Another kind of massive parquet is the three-layered parquet that consists of layers of wood fastened to one another as every following layer is placed at 90º towards the previous one. Thus a peculiar three-ply is formed with a massive top layer about 6-8 mm thick. This three-layered parquet has one big advantage that it is being offered as prepared consolidated elements, which are polished so fitting becomes easier and more quickly. However if the base is not perfectly smooth then a difference in the height of the parquet elements may appear at some places which is hardly to be seen unless you step on. The quality of this parquet depends on the thickness of the top layer – if it is thicker it could be scraped much more times. Unfortunately the price of the three-layered parquet is not too low compared to the price of the massive parquet.
Celenio wood tiles
Celenio wood tiles offer the look or leather, stone or slate with the cool feel of wood flooring instead of the cold feel of tile. This is new and relatively unpopular system. It is made in the form of flexible, stable wood tiles cut broad wise instead of longitudinal as it is usually done with the ordinary parquet.
In a complex, patented process, this innovative wood-based product is moulded under high pressure into three-dimensional wood tiles It is fast and easy to install using an innovative peel and stick technology.
Celenio wood tiles are suitable for most rooms in your house, including the kitchen, dining room or living room, but are not suitable for wet areas like laundry or bathrooms. It won’t crack or break like stone.
This system allows arrangement of the tiles in various designs with appearance of wooden, stone or terracotta flooring or such that look like leather but still it keeps the pleasure, the comfort and the atmosphere that only natural wood can create. Fitting using “Celenio” system requires temperatures between 18-22º C and dampness between 40-60% in the premise and it is essential that they stay the same afterwards. Cleaning is always by wet cloth.
The cheapest and the most popular imitation of the massive parquet is the well known laminated parquet. It has several layers: the first one is very strong; the second one is decorative laminate – impregnated with melamine paper with wooden appearance, followed by water resistant layer made of firmly extruded wood fibres (MDF or HDF) and balancing layer that serves for the regulation of the internal tensions and removes the risk of hogging.
It is a disadvantage that laminated parquet can not be repaired if damaged but it is more stable to dampness and if watered incidentally it swells harder.
The laminated parquet can not create the same atmosphere and feeling especially by touch that only natural wood can bring but looked at from a distance it imitates and looks like real wood very much. Undoubtedly the most important advantage of the laminated parquet is its price and also the great variety in colors and patterns of laminates that are offered on the market.
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