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Background & Preparation for your wooden floor

April 5, 2010

Reclaimed Flooring Stack of pine
written by Vicki Bale

Reclaimed Pine carefully stacked & stored at our premises




Why choose a solid timber floor?


Solid timber has proved itself throughout the centuries as the best material for flooring because it:

  • will last indefinitely if properly laid and cared for
  • is resilient and therefore less tiring to the feet than more unyielding materials
  • provides very good thermal insulation being a low conductor of heat. The equivalent thermal insulation value of wood is about 16 x better than concrete, 400 x better than steel. Heat losses through solid floors can be significantly reduced by overlaying a timber floor
  • can be easily be renovated after wear or neglect
  • remains fresh and attractive long after other surfaces (including laminates) have become unserviceable
  • is less dusty and therefore healthier especially for Asthmatics
  • has superb natural grain and colour and enhances any environment.

Preparing to lay a wooden floor


Understanding your Wood

From the moment a tree is felled timber loses moisture and the process of drying and seasoning begins. As wood loses moisture air moves in to fill the emptying spaces of its cells and so becomes lighter, harder, stronger and shrinks a little. Seasoning continues slowly under natural conditions until a balance is reached between moisture remaining in the wood and the water vapour in the air around it. In a warm centrally heated room wood holds a quantity of water at least equal to 12% of its own dry weight. In a damp room or outside it holds much more. Timber losing water will dry and shrink, and wood which is dry and well seasoned can absorb air borne moisture rapidly and result in swelling and twisting. One cannot completely prevent these natural processes but steps can be taken to limit them.

Priors Reclamation – The steps we take


  • New Kiln Dried Oak – This is kiln dried to 10-11% moisture content, ready to be laid into a normal centrally heated house.
  • Reclaimed timber – (Reclaimed oak, reclaimed pine etc) These are very well seasoned and may have been laid for many years. Our re-sawn pines are in the main cut from beams and joists from Victorian properties.
  • We carefully stack and store all our timbers in dry covered storage.
  • We only buy and sell quality timber.


  • Store timber inside your house at the appropriate living temperature.
  • Take delivery only when other building work is complete and wet work dried out.
  • Allow the timber some acclimatisation time prior to laying. You should take the timber from us at least two weeks prior to laying and either:
    • – stack with plenty of spacers to ensure good airflow or
    • – have the floor loose laid ie cut and laid out but not nailed down to be fixed down a couple of weeks later.
  • Run the heating system in new buildings or extensions for at least 10 days prior to laying and ensure plenty of ventilation to disperse dampness drawn out.
  • Continue to run the heating during and after laying.
  • Lag underfloor pipes to prevent localised shrinkage.

Do Not

  • Store timber outside or in a damp or open outbuilding where it will absorb moisture.
  • Take timber into a building site environment where plaster and concrete floors are drying out.
  • Take delivery from us until your room is at your living temperature.
  • Use gas or oil space heaters to dry out rooms as these create moisture.

Wood Problems


  • Dampness and moisture as outlined are the main enemy. If you have doubts about where you are laying your floor, discuss this with an expert before proceeding.
  • Infestation – we never knowingly sell infested timber, but we cannot be responsible for site conditions. To be certain you should consider treating all timbers including joists and battens.
  • Marking – stiletto heels are a problem, the point loading is so heavy that this may mark even the hardest of hardwoods. Hardwood floors will mark less than softwood, but remember pine boards are also very hardy and many Victorian pine floors are still going strong! If moving heavy items on wood floors, it is best (assuming the item cannot be lifted) to drag with a piece of carpet underneath to act as a slider.
  • Dirt & Grit – vacuum regularly to minimise wear to the floor finish.
  • Problems are few, and handled, laid and cared for properly solid wood floors give years of wear and satisfaction.

  • Notes
  • Please view the sections Laying your wooden floor and Finishing and Maintaining flooring.
  • We are suppliers and not fitters of wooden floors, so we are unable to quote for a fitted price.
  • If you follow advice given on any of our pages, it is entirely at your own risk as we have no knowledge of site conditions.

Thanks to Pete Mountford and Melvyn Dunk for their assistance in writing this article.

We cleared all our reclaimed flooring in 2012 and we now concentrate on door furniturewindow furniture and bathroom accessories. All traditional in style and best quality. Click here to go to our home page.

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