Oak Flooring For Conservatories

25th Aug 2011 @ 16:33

"Can I use oak flooring in my conservatory and which one do you recommend?" is a question we're asked at least twice a week.

If ever there was a controversial subject in the wood flooring industry, this is it!

Now we could do what most oak flooring suppliers would do, which is to just sell you some oak - no questions asked (or indeed answered).

But we're not like that.

What is a conservatory?

Let's start by looking at what a conservatory is.

When you think of a conservatory, you see in your mind a white, uPVC-framed glass house, sitting on a short brick wall and usually fully double glazed.

Inside, is a hard surfaced floor with either underfloor heating or radiators around the sides of the room.

What you're actually seeing is an almost perfect replica of a sub-tropical rainforest!

In winter, warm humid air builds up in the conservatory and often condenses on the glass, droplets of water dripping onto the floor.

In summer, the sun bakes down, filling the conservatory with light and drying it out with relentless heat.

These are just about the worst conditions possible for a solid oak floor board.

Do not use solid oak flooring in a conservatory. Full stop.

As the quality of manufacture in engineered oak flooring increases, there is a temptation to see it as the perfect solution for conservatory floors.

Some words of caution

However, let us provide a few words of caution.

Think very carefully about how you plan to heat your conservatory.

If you plan to use underfloor heating, be sure to use the best quality flexible adhesive if glueing to a subfloor.

Do not attempt to use wide board engineered flooring in a conservatory - go for a 120mm maximum width board to reduce the risk of shrinkage.

Bear in mind that your floor will bleach in bright sunshine, regardless of the oils or waxes you apply.

Most conservatories open directly onto the garden or patio - your floor will have to cope with grit and dirt carried in on shoes and possibly the scrabbling claws of your over-exuberant dog!

Our advice: if you insist on engineered flooring for your conservatory, we'll sell it to you, but again, we would recommend going for slate/tile or stone.

So what about orangeries and garden rooms?

Well, if you are building a garden room with a tiled or solid, un-glazed roof, engineered oak flooring becomes a much more attractive proposition.

Garden rooms tend to keep cooler in the summer and less humid in the winter. There's also less risk of bleaching from sunlight.

We'd recommend narrower boards again, but this time, we'd feel much more comfortable selling you an engineered oak floor.

Do you have a story to tell of oak flooring in your conservatory - solid or engineered?

If so we'd love to hear about your experiences, good or bad.

Please leave your comments below.

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