Natural floors: Natural living with floorboards, parquet and cork

Natural floors made of wood are fashionable again today as natural floor coverings. Cork and wood offer invaluable advantages and contribute to a healthy living environment.

Naturböden: Natürlich wohnen mit Dielen, Parkett und Kork ( Foto: Shutterstock-Cinematographer )

Natural floors in the house: criteria for selection

Natural floors are trendy again today as alternatives to the floor coverings that have been common for a long time, such as PVC or carpeting. The focus is not only on the desire for a healthy living, but also for a durable floor that can withstand even harder loads with the least possible abrasion. Aesthetic, robust, healthy and good for the indoor climate: floors made of wood and cork can meet all these requirements with ease. However, it is important to pay attention to some points when choosing.

In many new buildings, underfloor heating is standard, but not always in old buildings. (Photo: Shutterstock- )

Three important aspects for the selection of suitable natural floors

The question is not only whether high-quality Solid wood flooring, a parquet, laminate or a floor with cork covering should come into the living rooms.

When choosing the right natural floors, there are some points to consider such as these:

  1. Abrasion class

    The abrasion class indicates how resilient the natural floors are. From this, in turn, conclusions can be drawn about which living areas the individual floor coverings are intended for. The following applies: the higher the abrasion class, the more resilient the floor is. The abrasion class 21 is suitable for bedrooms and storage rooms and thus for rooms that are less frequented. The abrasion class 23 is different, which is suitable for all heavily stressed floors and is ideal in corridors and kitchens. At least the abrasion class 22 should be installed in living rooms and children’s rooms.

  2. Heated

    In many new buildings, underfloor heating is standard, but not always in old buildings. At the same time, it is true that not all natural floors are suitable for underfloor heating. So if you want to lay floorboards, for example, you should inquire in advance whether the targeted floorboards are suitable for use with underfloor heating.

  3. Room

    Not in every room natural floors are really suitable. For example, if you want to equip a utility room, you will certainly hardly bet on wood, tiles are usually the better choice here. Even though wooden floors are now also moisture-resistant, they are not suitable for real wetness, as occurs regularly, for example, from dripping laundry.

In addition to the selection criteria mentioned, it is of course also the appearance that is the focus of a planned purchase of floor coverings. In addition, the floor must match the building: a half-timbered house that has been extensively restored does not need a break in style due to floor coverings made of plastic. Even old buildings with high walls and stucco on the ceilings need a wooden floor that underlines the overall look and ensures that the residents feel as if they have been transported back to another time.

In new buildings, on the other hand, the builders have a completely free hand and can decide whether to opt for classic or modern floor coverings. In the sense of a healthy living climate, however, the decision should always be made in favor of natural floor coverings.

Floorboards are ideal for living and are suitable for any living area. (Photo: Shutterstock-Robert Kneschke)

Natural floors at a glance: advantages and disadvantages

Natural floor coverings enjoy the greatest popularity and are represented, first of all, by parquet. It radiates a certain comfort in living, is made of wood and thus from a renewable raw material.

In addition, parquet is very durable and has a value-adding effect on the property. Other floor coverings such as floorboards or laminate also have their advantages, whereby floorboards were laid in the houses centuries ago. Even today, many people still live in old buildings that still have the classic solid wood floorboards.

A special feature are the so-called castle floorboards, which were previously installed in the houses of the nobles. They are robust and can even be sanded down several times. This makes them always seem like new.

Parquet is easy to lay and remains dimensionally stable after laying. ( Photo: )

Advantages and disadvantages of various natural floor coverings

Almost all natural floors now have a big disadvantage: the prices for the raw material wood have exploded and thus, although very high-quality, but still expensive wooden floors be installed.

There are certainly price differences between the individual types of wood and cork floor coverings, but today’s prices can no longer be compared with those of two or three years ago. Nevertheless, natural floors are a worthwhile investment.

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of the various natural floors at a glance:

  • Parquet (e.g. made of oak wood)

    Pros: Parquet is easy to lay and remains dimensionally stable after laying. The natural look allows for a pleasant living.
    Cons: The need for care is high for parquet, a partial repair is not possible. The grinding down is just as cost-intensive as the acquisition.

  • Plank

    Pros: Floorboards are ideal for living and are suitable for any living area. They are durable and show a high value.
    Cons: the laying of floorboards is not very easy, a partial repair in case of damage is not possible. Not all floorboards are suitable for underfloor heating.

  • Cork flooring

    Pros: Cork allows for good sound insulation, looks warm and is suitable for cozy living. In addition, various optics can be produced with cork.
    Cons: heavy furniture can create imprints, cork is also not resistant to constant sunlight. In addition, this floor covering is only conditionally suitable for use with underfloor heating.

    Cork allows a good sound insulation, looks warm and is suitable for cozy living. ( Photo: Shutterstock- OlgaKhorkova )

A few more words about cork as a floor covering: cork is usually laid in the form of classic tiles and glued and sealed to the substrate here. An expansion joint is important because the material works. This expansion joint is often perceived as a disadvantage because it disturbs the appearance a little.

At the same time, cork is wonderfully suitable for everyone who likes to walk barefoot in the apartment, because the material insulates optimally against floor cold. In the meantime, cork flooring is even available as prefabricated parquet and can be laid by yourself thanks to simple click systems. However, the substrate must be absolutely flat for this.

A natural floor covering is the dream of many builders or those who want to furnish an apartment. (Photo: Shutterstock- Dariusz Jarzabek_)

Living with wood: natural floors in every room?

A natural floor covering is the dream of many builders or those who want to furnish an apartment. But the Cork flooring as an alternative is the real wood floor really suitable for every room? And isn’t a laminate the better choice because it is easier to care for and less expensive?

Many questions arise when choosing the right floor coverings, at the same time numerous prejudices are revealed. In some cases, for example, it is assumed that wooden floors are not suitable for the kitchen and bathroom, because they could be damaged by the constant moisture as well as by possible wetness. In principle, this is true, but not always and not in every case.

With a modern surface treatment, for example, it is possible to lay a wooden floor even in damp rooms. However, if you have to expect real floods, because, for example, the washing machine is in the room, you should think carefully about the choice of flooring. Constant wetness can also penetrate through well and seemingly sufficiently treated surfaces and gradually destroy the wood.

It is therefore important (and this, no matter in which room) that puddles on wooden floors should best be wiped away directly. As soon as a stagnant pool of water appears, the entrance gate for moisture can form here, which destroys the floor.

Also important: varnish is very sensitive to scratches. If these are very deep, moisture can penetrate particularly easily and unsightly stains occur. Deep scratches can not be repaired, only grinding the entire surface with subsequent repainting will help here. In a heavily frequented room or a room in which the floor is heavily loaded, an appropriate abrasion or usage class should therefore be selected and the surface of the natural floor should be kept well in view.

If the risk of water damage to the natural floor is too high, vinyl can be an alternative. There are optics that look confusingly similar to the original wooden floor, but which are much more water-resistant.

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