The nature of wood
The oldest of construction materials, wood is an extraordinary resource that is constantly renewable: a living source that is full of “secrets”. Lightweight but resistant, it emanates warmth and a natural sense of welcoming. It is because wood is a living material that we must always bear in mind that its structure may be affected or altered by certain external agents it comes into contact with: sunlight, temperature, humidity, and daily use. Those who purchase a wooden floor should be aware that this material does not feature the uniformity of colours and appearance of synthetic floors. These characteristics may differ from species to species. Samples are only a general representative of colour and design which does not represent the exact aesthetic end result of the finished floor.
Colour in wooden floors
The characteristics of the same type of wood may vary widely, for example in colour – variations that are strictly linked to the geographical area where the tree grows. Colour may differ even if the type of wood is the same, due to it containing extracts which establish their colour when exposed to air and light. It is therefore a completely physiological and natural factor which over time causes the colour of a wooden floor to be affected by external agents. Over time, a wooden floor with a coloured finish will inevitably change colour in direct proportion to the shade used. Wood of tropical origin is by nature more subject to colour changes which cause the colour to darken. As a result, those who choose a wood species such as Afrormosia, Iroko or Doussié for their floor must bear in mind that each of these species will undergo marked changes. Doussié in particular is subject to changes in its original colour due to oxidation. As time goes by, Teak, another tropical wood, is affected by light and its colour tends to develop a uniform medium-light shade.
The structure of a wooden floor
If you choose a wooden floor with larger widths and lengths you may notice some cracks around the pith of the wood. This is partly due to the wood's cutting method (tangential cutting). This is a typical characteristic of the product and may be more present when the floor is exposed to the effects of particular climatic conditions. Floors which have undergone structural changes (such as brushing, sawing and planing) could create splinters in certain cases. In open pore finishes (UV oil and water finishing) it must be taken into consideration that liquids could be absorbed by the wood, resulting in alteration of the original colour over time. It is therefore recommended to maintain your floor by vacuuming and then using a well wrung mop. Floors in Oak or Beech wood are distinguished by striped grain or pith ray flecks, also visible with coloured finishes. In general we should point out that evident striped grain or pith ray flecks must be considered a sign of top quality wood and refinement; they are not imperfections.
Stability of a wooden floor
Wooden floors require a stabilising structure. However, keep in mind that humidity and temperature of the area where the floor is laid can affect its stability and cause dimensional variations: slight cracks between boards and micro splits in the top layer are the most common effects of prolonged exposure to an atmosphere that is either too dry or too humid. To avoid these problems, ambient temperature must be kept around 20° Celsius and humidity must be kept between 45% to 65%, even in unused rooms.
Rigidity of a wooden floor
Although every species used to create a wooden floor has all the necessary features of durability and resistance, sudden shocks, falling objects and concentrated loads can damage the surface.
The importance of a correct floor maintenance
Surface finish is an important protective factor for wood floors. Heavy trampling, if joined to an inappropriate periodic maintenance, may have a negative effect on the wood's appearance, resulting in an opaque and impoverished look over time. To keep wooden floors in good condition it is advisable to: dust periodically; clean the floor regularly with a well-wrung mop soaked in water and neutral cleaning detergent designed for wood floors; treat the floor periodically with resin-based protective products diluted in water, self-polishing or to polish as recommended by the manufacturer. Frequency of the protective treatment depends on how intensive is the floor's use. Itlas floors are varnished with water-based products free from emissions that can be harmful to human health. These floors are perfectly compatible with traffic, even when intense, especially in the presence of products with structural work on the surface.
On craftsman finishing we recommend not to use any adhesive tapes as it may damage surface finishes.
Itlas floors respect all of the wood's features and are not subjected to adulteration with selections which alter their original naturalness. The end product is characterised by the presence, in tune with the wood species, of striped and streaked elements, as well as the possible presence of caulked and restored fissures, wholes and knots, and tone variations, even noticeable, which confer to the finished floor originality and character.