28th September 2015
Much to my amazement, I laid an entire parquet floor this afternoon. Admittedly, it was quite a small room – our downstairs utility room – but after weeks of intermittent work on our big living room floor, it was immensely pleasing to get a whole room ticked off in a few hours. The wood is partridge wood, from a tree native to central America, also known as worm bark, river almond and the bastard cabbage tree (we’re sticking with partridges). It’s honey-coloured, dense and very stable, so it’s ideal for a room that is likely to see swings in humidity. We got it from Parquet-Parquet, who got it from Sedgefield College, where the students evidently scrub up well as the blocks needed very little cleaning.
As the blocks were square-edged (not tongue and groove), I laid them using a simple but tight ladder pattern. I think it suits the small room well and will be a good four-square contrast to the diagonal basket-weave in the main living room.
The weaving of the basket has not been easy: the pattern is difficult to keep tight, the tongue-and-groove blocks require a good bit of scraping, and there are 39 square metres to fill. There are also some tricky details at the door thresholds which require the parquet to extend beyond the rectangular border of the main floor. You can see in the photo below that I have filled the gap with a line of slightly diminutive soldiers (a brickwork reference – bricks lined up on their ends).
As you would expect, the finished floor fits snugly under the door threshold. This is something of a relief. For although the door divides our main living room from the porch, it is technically an outside door because the porch is not part of the heated living space. Consequently the door sits in the skin of the building and is independent from the floor build-up which supports the parquet. The door rests on a carefully prepared piece of redwood, on top of a block of solid insulation (Compacfoam), on top of the blockwork plinth that is mortared to the slab. Whereas the parquet sits on a chipboard subfloor, three layers of insulation of varying sizes adding up to 325mm, a damp-proof membrane and then the slab. The door got to where it needed to be in September 2014. It may have taken a year for the floor to catch up, but I’m delighted that it has arrived in exactly the same place.