Wooden floors

The wooden floor

Do you think it's possible to feel love, or at least affection, for a wooden floor? It seems impossible, but I guarantee you: you will grow to love your parquet floor. Thousands of customers from Verona and Vicenza who have had their homes floored with parquet tell us about the feeling of safety, warmth and "home" and tell us that they are fond of it.  

A parquet floor continually transmits emotions to you because it is sincere, authentic, natural... and you fall in love with authentic things/people. 

But it's not easy to tell people about it, it's not easy to choose it, it's not easy to find a product "made with love". Moreover, to love someone or something you have to know it well. 

For this reason, on this page, we will try to collect a series of contents about wooden floors. 

We will talk about:

We will then try to clear up a few doubts and misgivings about wooden floors:

Wooden flooring in Novale di Valdagno (VI)

A clay-coloured oiled oak wood floor was laid in this house. Click here to scroll through all the photos of the house.

furnish house in novale di Valdagno

The (declining) wood flooring market

Up until a century ago, wooden floors were an almost obligatory choice as flooring in homes, especially on upper floors and in bedroom areas. The alternatives were few and far between and had completely different technical and aesthetic characteristics. The floors of our grandparents were almost all made of wood.

Wooden floors can also be found in the most important city buildings. Of course, Venetian floors or marble were preferred on the ground floor, but parquet, more or less worked, was the protagonist in bedrooms, libraries or studies.

Today, wood accounts for about 5% of the Italian flooring market, a slice that seems very marginal indeed. But be careful: all floors laid in Italy are taken into account, including those in offices, supermarkets, hospitals and garages. The percentage increases if we only consider floors in private homes.

The loss of market share is still significant compared to the past, but why? Why are other materials preferred to parquet?

 

Parquet and its... imitators

The main reason for the decline in the use of parquet in private homes is the spread of wood imitations which are stealing the thunder from real wood.

People looking for a very low price of less than 20 euros and do-it-yourself installation are choosing wood-effect laminate flooring.

Others, willing to spend a few euros, can find an alternative to parquet by purchasing PVC, LVT and SPC flooring (acronyms that identify mixtures of resins and powders with a "photographic" surface decoration that reproduces a wooden board).

Finally, the current "worst enemy" of parquet: wood-effect stoneware. These are tiles which, thanks to the digital decoration on the stoneware, imitate modern or rustic floorboards, wooden coffers or herringbone effects. The tiles also imitate parquet, offering lower prices and greater resistance to wear and scratching.

Of course, those who choose imitations accept that they will lose the naturalness, warmth and value of a real wooden floor.

Walnut parquet flooring in Vicenza

We laid this beautiful walnut parquet during the renovation of a penthouse in the centre of Vicenza:

Renovation in Vicenza

"Made in Italy" abroad, "Made in China" in Italy

The Italian parquet market has also been penalised by the speculative choice of many manufacturers to import planks from South-East Asia and to carry out only a small part of the processing in Italy, generally pigmentation and protective treatment.

A few operations, which in some cases are unfortunately sufficient to paradoxically brand the product as Made in Italy. 

Products from South-East Asia or Eastern Europe now dominate the Italian market and account for around 60% of the parquet currently laid. 

In short, the majority of parquet laid in Italy is of East European or South East Asian origin.

And yet there are still many manufacturers who have chosen to continue to operate 100% in Italy and to guarantee us very high quality parquet that is truly Made in Italy.
These floors, which inevitably cost more than imported products, end up being largely exported. 

How can you tell the difference between Italian-made and imported parquet? It is not easy to tell them apart, even though sometimes the differences in quality are so great that it is possible to recognise the differences even with the naked eye.

A lot depends on the shop you buy it from: if it is honest, it will declare the origin of the material. If it's an important purchase (i.e. if it's for your home and if it's a large number of metres), I recommend you go and see the production process: it will be fascinating to see how your wooden floor is made and you'll be sure that it really is Made in Italy.

Statistics on wooden floors

I will give you just one of the statistics on the wooden flooring market which shows that in Italy about 9 million wooden floors are produced and the same number are consumed. But of the 9 million products, the vast majority go abroad, and of the 9 million or so consumed, 60% come from abroad...

If you are interested in this topic and would like to know more, I suggest you read this article which describes the statistics and the market for wooden floors.

The consumption of wooden floors in Italy

Type 2017 2018
Solid wood (traditional) 1.533.000 mq. 1.564.000 mq.
Multilayer 7.487.000 mq. 7.636.000 mq.
of which:    
Prefinished in two layers 55% 50%
- Economiclal three-layers prefinished (2 o 3 strips) 5% 5%
- Three-layers single-strip prefinished 40% 45%
TOTAL CONSUMPTION 9.020.000 mq 9.200.000 mq
of which    
IMPORT 5.547.000 mq. 5.500.000 mq. 
equal to 61% 59%

Wood flooring in Vicenza: also in the kitchen and living room

Trees, wood and wooden floors

Man has always lived in forests, climbed trees for protection and built tools using branches and plants. Wood has been used to build houses and boats, cultivating forests specifically for these uses. Just think of the woods that the Serenissima cultivated to obtain wood for the oars and hulls that were processed at the Arsenal.  

Over time, other materials have replaced wood, whether for making tools, houses or boats, and much of the knowledge gained over thousands of years has been lost. 

Recently, however, new environmental awareness and concepts such as the renewability of resources have brought the focus back to wood in many areas and, as far as we are concerned, also in the home.
 

The environmental benefits of choosing a wooden floor

Producing wood means cultivating a forest and therefore already enjoying advantages: protecting the soil, avoiding landslides and landslips, but also allowing the continuous absorption of CO² and the simultaneous release of oxygen. 

Using wood to build a house or to make floors allows the CO² absorbed by the tree to be stored and not returned to the atmosphere. Wood processing also consumes very little CO² compared to materials used for similar purposes. 

To produce one cubic metre of wood, about one tonne of CO² is absorbed while releasing about 0.7 tonnes of oxygen. 

You can read more about the other environmental advantages of using wood here:

advantages of using wood

Modern wooden floors for a house in Arzignano

In this house, almond-coloured varnished oak flooring was chosen.

Discover all the flooring and wall coverings in this house.

floors and bathrooms in Arzignano

Characteristics of wood for flooring

We have devoted a long article to describing the various components of the tree, explaining why there are some that are more or less suitable for use in making wooden floors. This is the article: wood for flooring 

In the article we explain that not all parts of the trunk are the same and point out that

  • the bark is made up of dead and suberified cells,
  • the cambium is the layer just below the bark, it is the youngest layer that is created during the growing season and conducts the lymph
  • the wood is the innermost part of the plant, consisting mainly of dead cells and has the function of supporting the tree
  • the pith has the function of storing starch and is located in the centre of the trunk.

The portion that is used to make parquet flooring is therefore the "wood" inside which there is both heartwood and sapwood. The latter contains a lot of starch and is therefore "sought after" by xylophagous insects, so it is preferable to choose and process boards without sapwood.  

Oak wood flooring in Caldiero, Verona

In this house in Caldiero, Verona, a smoked oak wood floor was laid to give character to the rooms.

Click here to see the complete renovation of the house:

Renovate house in Caldiero 

Water, wood and parquet

When a tree is alive it is rich in water; it can hold more than 50% of its mass. At the time of felling, water starts to escape from the 'tubes' that carry the sap from the roots to the crown. The values drop to about 30%, at which point we speak of "cell wall saturation".
If up to this point the loss of water did not lead to changes in the volume of the wood, from this point onwards, any further loss of moisture also leads to a decrease in the volume of the wood (shrinkage). 

This is a very important characteristic that must be known and considered.

Wood is said to be hygroscopic, i.e. it can absorb or lose moisture by swelling or shrinking. This characteristic will remain constant and must be kept in mind when using wood to make a wooden floor. 

The Uni En 13489 standard, which regulates the production of multilayer wooden parquet (the most commonly used), states that the moisture content of the parquet when installed must be between 5 and 9%. 

However, it is essential that the moisture content remains within this range even after installation in order to avoid shrinkage or swelling of the floor. For the same reason, precautions and checks must be taken before and during laying.

We discuss this in this in-depth study:

wooden floors and humidity

Rustic oak flooring in Vicenza

Wood flooring in shades of hazelnut, grey and with some white veins.

To see the construction of this modern house click here:

Renovate house in cornedo vicentino

 

Moisture damage to parquet elements 

As we have already seen, damage to the parquet floor can occur if certain precautions are not taken when laying the screed or the wooden floor, or if the wooden floor is not taken care of during the subsequent construction or use phases. 

Some damage can be repaired, others cannot. 

The Uni En 13756 standard defines 4 types of deformation of the boards that make up a wooden floor.  If you want to know more, you can find everything here:

Damage on wooden floors

Parquet throughout the house, even in the bathroom?

When people talk about moisture damage and parquet, they certainly think that the most "at risk" place to use parquet is in the bathroom. The steam that fogs up the mirror after a shower is also deposited on the floor, or the wet footprints when we get out of the bath do not seem to fit in with a wooden floor.

Add to this the fact that today there are many competitors to the wooden floor, first and foremost the wood-effect stoneware, which take advantage of their "indifference" to the presence of environmental or surface humidity.

And yet, despite everything, real parquet lovers do not give up on wood in the bathroom. On the contrary, more and more customers are choosing it to be used in continuity with the rest of the house. But is it so dangerous in the bathroom?

If 20 years ago we all advised against it, today it is also used in this environment, albeit with some cautions and precautions that we explain in this article:

parquet in the bathroom

Speaking of new areas: in the kitchen as well as in the bathroom, we also offer... vertical! With amazing results!

wooden wall coverings

Wooden floors in Valdagno (Vicenza)

An oak parquet in a rustic choice and laid in widths of 135, 162 and 192 mm, and lengths of about 2 m 40. The 3 formats help to give a more dynamic and original image of the floor.

Click here to see the entire production

Parquet on underfloor heating?

If excess humidity damages the wooden floor, excessive heat or a too dry environment will also cause damage.

This immediately brings to mind how difficult it can be to combine parquet and underfloor heating, which is becoming the new heating "standard" in modern homes. 

Since, as we have seen, the wooden floor must have a small percentage of humidity inside and since everyone knows that wood, as they say, is a "living" material, which moves, which is affected by temperature changes, how can parquet and radiant screed be reconciled?

Many of our customers express their concerns and ask us if it is not dangerous to lay parquet on a radiant system, if the parquet gets damaged over time... 
Add to this - and many also ask us this question - that wood is an insulator, so will it limit the effect of the radiant system?

Actually, the parquet "must be made to get along" with the underfloor heating system, that is, precautions and techniques must be adopted to allow these two elements to coexist well and for a long time.

I could simply tell you that after decades of experience, we now have the knowledge and techniques to create a wooden floor on a radiant system. So you shouldn't worry: we know very well how to manage this "difficult" coexistence.

But if you want to know more, there is an article about it:

wooden parquet and underfloor heating system

Bleached oak parquet in Vicenza

In this house, a warm and cosy effect floor in bleached oak was laid, which has undulations obtained by hand planing. 

To find out more, click here: 

bleached oak floor 

The natural durability of parquet

Parquet is one of the floors that, if properly maintained, will last much longer than other types of flooring. 
As we have seen, it can be compromised by excess humidity or by too high temperatures or a too dry climate. 
But there are other, even less pleasant elements that can put its durability to the test. We talk about natural durability when we refer to the wood's resistance to biological organisms (fungi, bacteria, insects) that seek nourishment (particularly starch) inside the floorboards. 

We have already mentioned that if the wood used for the floor contains portions of sapwood - richer in starch - the risk is greater. 

If fungi and bacteria require very high percentages of humidity and are not of much concern, the less welcome guests and those we are most afraid of are certainly xylophagous insects and in particular woodworms. 
During their life cycle, the larvae emerge from their eggs, grow into a pupa and then an adult insect that emerges through a hole (flicker hole). The most critical aspect of woodworms is that they dig more or less long tunnels into the wood, which can compromise the floor. 

Obviously, wood flooring manufacturers, especially Italian ones that work well, guarantee their products are treated to resist woodworm attacks. But there are still many cases of moth-eaten floors in Italy. On the other hand, we have seen that the majority of parquet floors laid are of Asian or Eastern European origin.

If you want to learn more about this topic, you can find everything here:

Parquet and woodworm

Wooden flooring throughout the house in Vicenza

We chose to put in a Hungarian herringbone but using a larger than traditional lath than you normally see

Click here to see the full project

Parquet outside: pros and cons

The word "decking" refers to the use of wood flooring outdoors. This is the most critical area for our "poor" wood, which has to resist the weather, temperature changes and frost. On the other hand, a wooden floor on a terrace or poolside enhances the home and makes it more comfortable to enjoy the outdoors. 

This is why it is advisable to choose woods that can cope with these critical conditions in the best possible way. Some are famous, such as Teak, while others are less well-known, such as Ipé, Massandaruba or Angelim. All woods with exotic names are taken from primary forests in South East Asia or Latin America. 

But what if you want FSC-certified European wood?
Today we can give you that solution too! Thanks to a special production technique, heat-treated ash is made resistant to outdoor weather conditions and can be used outdoors. 

We have dedicated an article to those who want to know more about this topic: 

all about wooden decking 

But which wooden floor?

When you're faced with deciding on a wooden floor for your home, you'll realise how many different types of wood there are. And it won't be easy to find your way around oak, ash, elm, birch, walnut...

Over the last few decades, many species of wood from exotic countries with extremely different characteristics have been added to these European species. 

We have collected the various wood species on one page, describing their characteristics, properties and collecting galleries of wooden floors for each species, so that you can choose the one that suits you best:

which parquet essence to choose

In order to choose the right wood species, you also need to know that the stability of wood and its hardness vary according to the different species. There are methods to assess both stability (there are more or less nervous woods) and hardness. We have collected the results in this article:

parquet stability and hardness

Once you have made your choice - by comparing the different types, both aesthetically and functionally - you will have to decide whether you prefer solid parquet or a pre-finished two- or three-layer floor.

 

Wooden floors in an attic in Arzignano (Vicenza)

The wooden floor chosen for this penthouse is a large Oak plank that distributes and unfolds all the surfaces of the house.

Click here to discover the whole project

Solid wood parquet

Until the 1990s, the only solution for those who wanted a parquet floor was to use solid wood planks or boards, glue or nail them down and then sand them and apply the surface finish, varnish or oil, on site. 

Wooden floors were therefore always and only made of solid wood. 

Solid parquet formats

There were different versions: the cheapest was the "mosaic" wooden parquet, which consisted of strips about 8 millimetres thick, about 2/3 centimetres wide and about 10/15 centimetres long. These strips were generally arranged in squares, but could also be laid in a single or double herringbone pattern or with other geometries. 

Going up in size, we found the very common "lamparquet", 10 millimetres thick, 50 or 60 millimetres wide and 250 / 300 millimetres long. 

Going up further, and spending a little more, one passed to the "listoncino", which could reach 14 millimetres in thickness, 60/70 in width and 400/600 millimetres in length and could also be purchased in the "interlocking" version, that is, with tapped boards that guaranteed more stability. 

Lastly, there was the plank, 14 millimetres thick, 80/90 millimetres wide and 800/1200 millimetres long. The plank was the noblest of the formats and cost three times as much as lamparquet. 

Larger sizes were represented by maxi-planks or boards, which reached thicknesses of 22 millimetres, widths of 18 or 20 centimetres and lengths of up to two metres. 

Laying and working with solid wood

What all these different types had in common was that they needed to be finished on site. Installation, sanding and painting on site took around 40 days to complete, a timeframe that is increasingly difficult to accept on today's fast-paced construction sites. 

What also doomed solid wood floors were the increasingly demanding expectations of customers, who demanded a precision finish that is difficult to achieve on a construction site, in the presence of dust and with manual processes that cannot have the precision of a factory machine. 

Increasingly tight deadlines and less and less tolerant customers condemned solid parquet to extinction and favoured the spread of multilayer or pre-finished parquet, which today represents almost the entire market. 

But if you want to learn more about the world of solid parquet (which we can still make), you can find everything here:

solid Parquet

 

Wooden flooring glued to existing floor, Vicenza

For the flooring of this modern house in Vicenza, we opted for a warm wood, smoked oak plug, in a deep brush version.

To see the complete realisation of the house, click here: 

wood and stoneware floors

Prefinished (or multilayer) parquet flooring

In the 1990s, a process and product innovation was introduced that revolutionised the wooden flooring market: pre-finished parquet flooring.

These boards are already sanded in the factory and are then treated with oil or varnish and left to dry. Once boxed, they arrive at the construction site already "finished" and it will be sufficient to glue them on the screed to complete the work and give the floor ready to be lived on the next day. 

The times go from 40 days for a solid wood floor to 2 days for a pre-finished floor, and the varnishing treatments carried out in the laboratory (no longer on the building site) are suitable for the most difficult customer. 

Pre-finished parquet soon became the product of choice, while sales of solid wood floors plummeted.

The product is also called "multilayer" because another of its characteristics is that of having a surface layer of noble wood and one or more support layers that serve to make it more stable once laid.

If you want to know more, read this in-depth study:

the prefinished wood floor

Bleached wooden floor, Hungarian herringbone, in Vicenza

Prefinished parquet: two or three layers? 


We have explained why prefinished flooring has overtaken solid wood flooring, which is hardly ever laid anymore, but there are many different types of prefinished flooring. 

But there are many different types of prefinished floors. Simplifying, we can reduce the various product families to two main types: two-layer and three-layer prefinished.

Pavimento in legno a 2 o a 3 strati?

What are the differences and why should you choose one or the other? 
We have dedicated two articles to this subject, which deal with the advantages and disadvantages of one and the other:

the two-layer prefinished

three-layer prefinished

 

The surface finish of parquet

Once you have decided on the structure and essence of parquet, the next step is to decide on the surface finish, i.e. the surface treatment of the wood.

There are many possibilities: you can decide for a smooth surface or you can buy a parquet floor with an antique look, maybe with a wavy surface or with the effect of saw cuts or planing. 

In this section you will find the different surface finishes that you can request for your wooden floor:

parquet surface finishes

Flooring in Montebello Vicentino (Vicenza)

A light oak parquet with a neutral (sand) shade was chosen for this customer's floor.

to see more click here

Oiled or varnished wooden floors?

The journey to identify your floor is not yet over: it is now a question of deciding which treatment will protect it.

There are many, but there are two main families of treatments: protection by impregnating oil or varnishing. 

Both have their pros and cons in terms of the environment, ecology, day-to-day functionality and the possibility of routine or extraordinary maintenance. 

We have addressed these issues in an in-depth study that will help you decide which of the two treatments to choose:

parquet protection: oil or varnish?

Customised floors and wall tiles: a home in Verona

In this house in the province of Verona we were asked to do the floors and bathrooms with different materials and finishes.

Click here to visit the final project

Appearance classes (or choice) in parquet flooring

In addition to defining the many aspects that a wooden element must comply with, the Uni En standards also classify appearance by dividing parquet into three classes: ⏺ Circle, 🔼 Triangle and ⏹ Square. 

In the different choices, characters such as sapwood, knots, flaming or fibre deviations, slumming or mirroring are allowed (or not)... 

To learn more, I recommend reading this in-depth study:

the appearance classes of wooden floors

Hungarian Thorn Parquet Laying

The customer chose a light, natural oak laid in a Hungarian herringbone pattern. This particular laying pattern was typical of aristocratic palaces in the 19th century. 

CLICk here to find out more

Parquet laying patterns

There are many different laying patterns and designs for parquet. It must be said that the most commonly used pattern, and the one we use most, is the classic straight shiplap laying pattern. In this pattern, the planks are laid parallel to each other and the starting direction is chosen according to the entrance, any windows and light. 

But recently we have seen the emergence of other, more elaborate but impressive laying patterns, such as the beautiful Hungarian herringbone. This ancient laying pattern has also made a comeback in homes in Vicenza and Verona where we lay wooden floors, especially when using important woods such as walnut, or colours such as natural oak or tobacco oak. 

If you are interested in creating a rich and elaborate home floor, you can find a lot of information in this article:

the different laying patterns of wooden floors

Wooden attic flooring in Vicenza

In this house in Montemezzo, where we did the floors in the living and sleeping areas, the customers asked us to use the attic area.

Click here to find out how we did it

Parquet layers in Vicenza

Once you have chosen the wood, the format and the laying pattern, you need to find someone who can turn a mountain of wooden boards into a beautiful floor.

You need a skilled and experienced wood floor installer and here in Vicenza we have some very good ones. 

But before talking about how to lay a wooden floor, in this in-depth analysis we will examine some useful tips and information you need to know BEFORE laying parquet.

precautions before laying parquet flooring

And how much will it cost to lay parquet? Find out in this article:COST of installing wooden floors

 

Neutral oak parquet in Vicenza

In this house, an oak parquet floor with a sandy colour suggests calmness.

Click here for more details on this house:

floors and bathroom furniture in vicenza

Glueing parquet: the importance of the screed

Glue-on screed is the most commonly used method of laying parquet, especially in northern Italy. Some areas in the south (such as Campania) and the majority of countries in northern Europe, on the other hand, prefer floating laying.

In the case of glue-laying, you must bear in mind that the laying surface, i.e. the surface on which the wooden boards are to be applied, is very important for the success and durability of the final result. So much so that the advice is to have it carried out by the same company that will also make your wooden flooring. 

The most common laying surface is the cement screed, to which we have dedicated an in-depth study that I recommend you read:

 the screed for parquet 

Walnut wood flooring for offices, Vicenza

National Walnut wood flooring for an office in Arzignano, Vicenza. The atmosphere created by this flooring is cosy and warm. 

If you want to know more, click here:

walnut parquet for offices

 

Screed checks

The construction manager, or in his absence the client, must have a number of checks carried out on the screed before the wood is laid.

This is because the durability of the wooden floor and its functionality are strictly dependent on the laying surface. We have talked about this in an article which, if you want to read it, goes into more detail:

ithe checks to be made on the screed before laying.

The main check concerns the presence or absence of humidity in the support layer: this check is very important because the wooden floor fears humidity and the installer must absolutely make sure that it is lower than the permitted percentage.
We have also dedicated an in-depth study to this subject:

laying wood and humidity in the screed

Gluing parquet to existing tiles

Parquet can also be glued to an existing tile floor. In this case, too, the support layer must be carefully checked to ensure that it is firm, flat and free of unevenness.
Generally the glaze of the tiles is too vitrified to offer sufficient adhesion to the adhesive, so it is necessary to make the surface more "grippy" by using a prime or mechanically scratching the surface of the ceramic. 

If this is the case, I suggest you read the in-depth analysis:

laying parquet on existing tiles

Floating parquet laying

We have mentioned that the second method for laying parquet - used mainly in northern Europe - is floating laying. 
This system simply involves laying the wooden boards on a mat, gluing them together but letting them "float" on the laying surface.
This system can be used to floor both a screed and an existing tile floor.

This "floating" laying method has a number of advantages, first and foremost that of not using adhesives, and therefore chemical substances, to anchor the floor to the ground. 

Some manufacturers, such as Fiemme Dkz, are pushing for floating installation precisely because it is more "bio-compatible". We have compared the two methods in an in-depth study here:

laying parquet: floating or glued?

Walnut wood flooring in Verona

A walnut floor was chosen for this house, which creates a cosy atmosphere in the various rooms.

Click here to find out more about the elegant house in Verona:

elegant house in the province of Verona

 

Laying parquet on panels, on sand

In some situations, for example if the house is inhabited and it is not possible to "knead" a screed and pump it into the attic, it is possible to lay the flooring on panels after laying a layer of dry sand. Once the sand has been spread and leveled, the OSB panels (or similar) are laid and the parquet is then glued. 

This is a laying method that we still use. We have documented it with a sequence of photos on this site:

laying parquet on panels laid on a bed of sand

Laying parquet: final checks

Regardless of the laying system used, a series of checks must be carried out at the end to verify certain conditions: 

  • Gluing must be homogeneous, with no boards sagging more than 75%.
  • the wooden floor must be flat, with no unevenness or steps (but check with incident light, not grazing light!)
  • the elements must be aligned according to the chosen laying pattern and the start decided together

The standard that regulates the correct laying of parquet and the tolerances we must have - remember that this is still a craft job - is UNI 11371.

Wooden staircase made in Vicenza and Verona

Spectacular structural element: stairs can be made of the same wood as the floor 

Click here to see all our wooden staircases

Cleaning and maintenance of wooden floors

Now that your wooden floor is laid, you need to take care of it. Some tips are now in the public domain, such as

  • provide a doormat at the entrance to clean pebbles or abrasive grains from shoes
  • vacuum the floor periodically to remove any grains from the floor
  • use wet cleaning no more than once a week and with a well wrung out cloth
  • treat the floor with the protective products recommended by the manufacturer

If you want to know more, you can find everything in this in-depth study:

cleaning and mantainance of wooden floors

Renovating and repainting an old parquet floor

Both solid parquet and many types of pre-finished parquet can be sanded and repainted. Renovation operations are not very easy to carry out and are rather invasive: you need to empty the house, remove doors and skirting boards and you cannot live there until the varnish has fully hardened.
But it's an ideal operation to carry out before moving in or when you leave your house to move into a new one, and it allows you to obtain a wooden floor "as new". 
Here you can see how it's done:

sanding and varnishing an old parquet floor

Why a wooden floor? The advantages...

But let's take a step back, why choose a wooden floor? 

I could tell you that wood is comfortable t walk on barefoot, that it will enhance your furniture, that it is a good insulator, that you can renew it over time, making it rejuvenate as you like... or that by buying it you will be giving a small hand to the planet!

Plants make up between 95 and 99% of our planet's biomass and without plants, animals (including us) would not exist. Life itself on the planet would not exist.

Using a plant to make the wooden floors in your home means using a potentially inexhaustible resource. Also because if you (and many like you) choose wood you will make it worthwhile for those who own land to plant plants. Only if the wood market grows will there be an incentive to grow plants instead of soya or maize... As long as you buy FSC-certified wood, i.e. from cultivation and not wood stolen from primary forests!

Parquet is therefore sustainable, recyclable and uses less energy than any other floor covering.  Laying parquet in your home means removing from the environment a quantity of carbon dioxide that will remain quiet in your home, in the form of wood.

So you may decide not to buy parquet from us, from Pellizzari, but if you do, you will be doing good for yourself and the planet. And therefore, indirectly, to us too! So thank you in advance! 

On this subject, we have written an article on why choosing parquet is ecological and good for the environment: 5 reasons why installing parquet is good for the enviroment

Rustic parquet in Vicenza

A wooden floor was laid in this house, reflecting its rustic style. Oak parquet, with many knots and flamed.

Click here to find out more:

rustic parque in Vicenza 

The advantages of a wooden floor

If you are considering which floor to put in your home, it is only fair that you know the advantages and disadvantages of wooden floors.

Let's start with parquet advantages:

  • it's ligh: wood weighs less than 8 kg per square metre, compared to at least twice as much as, say, porcelain stoneware that weighs around 20 kg;
  • it is easy and quick to lay: modern pre-finished floors allow us to lay an entire house of 100 square metres in two days;
  • it can be walked on immediately: as soon as the glue hardens, the wooden floor can be used. 

  • Parquet is not subject to "fashions". A wooden floor does not give a house a date.
  • a wooden floor increases the value of the property.  Try reading the advertisements of real estate agencies and you will read "parquet in the sleeping area" or "parquet in the rooms" etc. 
  • increases sound insulation: wood has the ability to "absorb" noise better as it is softer than other materials
  • increases thermal insulation: wood is a thermal insulator! 
  • a wooden floorboard increases the perceived well-being inside the house, enhancing the feeling of comfort 
  • a parquet floor is ideal for overlaying: if you don't like the sfloor tile you can easily overlay a parquet floor
  • it is a natural, renewable material with a very low environmental impact.
  • a wooden floorboard is easy to restore both in structure and colour, provided that the thickness of the noble part of the wood is sufficient
  • it has become cheaper: once it was a material for the few, but today you can find it for less than 30 euros (but beware of imported materials!)

Negative opinions about wooden floors

In addition to the advantages, it is also worth examining the disadvantages or, rather, the problems of wooden floors (real or perceived). 
Surely you too have heard some of these objections or questions.
 

The doubts: "Does wood stain?" 

This depends on the type of protective treatment that is done on the wood. Certainly wood needs to be protected, and the two most commonly used methods are varnish or oil. Varnish protects the wood from stains thanks to a surface film that does not allow staining agents to pass through, while oil impregnates and saturates the wood fibres. 

Of the two, oil is the most vulnerable but also the easiest to restore. 

 

We talked about this here, asking ouselves: is oil better than varnish?

 

Doubts: "Does wood scratch easily?"

A parquet floor is softer than a ceramic tile, a marble floor or a Venetian. So yes, it can be scratched.

Some types of wood are more resistant than others, and some varnishes are much more resistant to scratching than past treatments. 

The worst time is during construction or renovation work on a house, which is why it should be installed last and should be protected during the work with non-woven fabric and boards if ladders or scaffolding are to be used above it. 

 

Deep scratches or injuries are rare in everyday use. In any case, these problems can be remedied by replacing the damaged plank or by sanding the entire floor and giving it a new treatment (varnish or oil).

 

If you want a more practical parquet floor, you can purchase an antique parquet floor. There are various surface treatments that you can have done to your floorboards, such as hand planing, scuffing or biting. The combination of several processes will make the subsequent scratches unrecognisable from those... made in the factory! 

Antique wooden floor in Vicenza

Doubts: "Are you sure that parquet will fit on the underfloor system?"

25 years ago, when the technology of underfloor heating systems was not so widespread, it was difficult to combine underfloor heating systems and parquet: the wood prevented the passage of heat and the radiant screed excessively "dried out" the parquet boards.

Today, with the experience of thousands of jobs, we have learned how to make the wooden floor coexist with the underfloor system and we do it without problems on hundreds of houses a year here in Vicenza and Verona.

Clearly it is necessary that the radiant system is made with this in mind, that the screed for the floor system follows certain criteria, that a thermal shock is created and that certain precautions are taken before laying.

But if these techniques are followed, you won't have any problems! 

 

Doubts: 'Is parquet suitable for high traffic areas? Shops, shopping centres... "

Have you ever left from Venice airport? The floor is parquet and has been there for more than 20 years.

Same for Copenhagen airport.

There are also public places (bars or restaurants) with heavy traffic with wooden floors. Remember how easy it is to restore compared to other materials that require total replacement rather than repainting. 

 

Doubts: "Can I buy parquet? I have a dog!"

This too is a myth that needs to be dispelled. A lot depends on the size of the dog, but also on the type of parquet you choose. But the best way to tackle this topic is to talk to someone who has a dog and also has a wooden floor: our Roberto.

In the article he has written you will find all the information you need:

dog and wooden floors, advice

Doubts: "Is wood hygienic?"

If this is your fear, we have the perfect solution for you. Today you can buy wooden floors protected with an antibacterial varnish that uses silver ions to prevent bacteria from growing on your wooden floor. For a few years now we have also been offering antibacterical tiles, and finally this treatment is also available for the world of wooden floors. 

Maria and Chiara tell us about it in this video. 

Antibacterial wood flooring, explained by Chiara and Maria

Doubts: "How many times can a pre-finished floor be refinished?"

A pre-finished floor has a noble wood layer of 3 or 4 millimetres, so it can actually be sanded a maximum of three times. A solid wood floor can be sanded 6 to 7 times. But how often should parquet floors be sanded? 

Pavimento in legno: la levigatura
Sanding a wooden floor is a rather invasive operation: it involves moving furniture, dismantling doors, noise and inconvenience. 

But, on average, our customers take over a wooden floor many years after installation. I've rarely done this after less than 20 years, which is usually longer. Which means that for at least 80 years your prefinished wooden floor will be with you. 

If you choose solid wood instead of prefinished, well... there are floors in historic buildings that are 3 or 4 centuries old

Doubts: "Is the maintenance of an oiled floor difficult?"

Again: it used to be, yes.
But not anymore.

A lot of progress has been made and today there are products and techniques that make cleaning as well as maintenance easier. We have written an article on how to maintain an oiled parquet floor.

Multicoloured herringbone floor, Vicenza

For this wooden floor, a herringbone pattern with multicoloured planks was chosen.

Read more here

multicoloured herringbone parquet

Doubts: "Do you destroy forests to make wooden floors?"

Of course, but only if you choose exotic non-cultivated parquet species.

With us, for example, you'll only find parquet made from cultivated and FSC-certified wood. This means that the trees come from sustainably managed forests, where more trees are planted than are harvested. 

Think about it: by buying a wooden floor (FSC certified) you will be doing good for the environment because you will be stimulating the cultivation of trees, increasing their number and the well-being of the environment because:

  • trees trap CO2 (and reduce the greenhouse effect)
  • they produce oxygen (and we all breathe better)
  • the processing of parquet does not produce pollution or massive CO2 emissions
  • Wood is long-lasting and can be easily "regenerated" even after many years. It will not become waste to be disposed of like other floors. 
Parquet in legno a Vicenza

Doubts: "Is wooden parquet the most expensive floor?"

If you are happy with "oversized" parquet, i.e. with boards that are slightly shorter in length or width, you will certainly spend less. If you then accept that there may be some flaming or knots, the cost will drop even further. Obviously, when the price of a product goes down, you need to be very careful because it's rarely a bargain... it's much more likely to conceal problems.

Doubts: "Is wood flooring only good for classic style?"

Absolutely not: there are modern wooden floors that also suit contemporary or minimalist furnishing styles. 

Doubts: "Wood fears humidity! What if my house floods?"

This concern is correct: in the event of flooding, the wood swells, deforming and, in severe cases, rising. We have dedicated an article to theoproblems of parquet with humidity

Pavimenti in legno ed umidità
Wood fears excessive humidity and flooding. An accident on the building site can cause the wood to "swell" and lift. It is important to be careful and to take small precautions to avoid this problem.


But here, too, technology comes to the rescue: there are water detectors, probes, which are placed at floor level and which shut off the water in the event of flooding. 
It is also very important to choose a pre-finished wood floor that has a well-built backing layer that can withstand moisture. 

Parquet articles 

Below you will find a series of articles that form a real guide to buying parquet. We'll give you all the knowledge you need to buy a wooden floor.
Scroll down to find links to the various topics and have fun exploring this wonderful world! 

Wooden floors made in Vicenza and Verona

Approfondimenti

  • Let yourself be captivated and involved by the interior of this house where very dark, dense and deep wood welcomes us at the door and accompanies us in all the rooms, becoming the common denominator of a house full of sensations.

  • In this villa in Arcole (Verona) we laid three different wooden floors: a head-turning achievement designed by architect Maurizio Serafin.