Adding parquet flooring can transform the look and feel of any room in your home. With its elegant geometric patterns and rich natural wood tones, parquet offers timeless beauty and versatility. Installing parquet requires care and precision, but the end result is well worth the effort. Read on to learn everything you need to know to finish your floors to perfection with parquet.
Selecting Parquet Flooring
The first step is choosing the right parquet for your space. There are several factors to consider:
Parquet is available in a wide array of wood species, each with their own distinct characteristics:
- Oak – A popular choice, oak has a bold grain and warm reddish-brown tones. It’s very durable and resistant to wear.
- Maple – Subtly grained and smooth, maple has a pale creamy color. It brings light and brightness to any room.
- Walnut – Prized for its rich chocolate brown hue and flowing grain pattern, walnut has a luxurious look.
- Cherry – Known for its reddish undertones and golden patina, cherry ages beautifully over time.
- Ash – Similar to oak but slightly lighter, ash has an attractive straight grain and modern vibe.
Consider your own style, decor, and the mood you want to achieve when selecting wood species. Darker woods like walnut create drama while light maples keep things airy.
Beyond the wood itself, parquet patterns come in several captivating geometries:
- Herringbone – This timeless look features rectangular slats placed in an angled “V” shape. The zigzag effect is mesmerizing.
- Basketweave – Slats intersect at right angles forming “squares” that look woven together. A versatile classic pattern.
- Chevron – Sleek and modern, chevron parquet has angled slats pointing in the same direction. Dynamic and bold.
- Hexagonal – Small hexagon tiles assembled in a honeycomb design is youthful and energetic.
- Mosaic – Small rectangular and square pieces create a patchwork mosaic effect. Fun and eclectic.
Tip: Larger patterns like herringbone and chevron can make small spaces appear bigger. Smaller mosaic styles have intimate appeal.
Finish and Grade
Parquet comes prefinished or unfinished, with different grades based on the appearance and number of character marks in the wood:
- Prefinished – With a factory coating, prefinished parquet is ready for quick installation. Often the easiest and least messy option.
- Unfinished – Unfinished parquet must be sanded and stained on-site after installing. More work but allows for custom stain colors.
- Clear Grade – The highest grade with minimal natural imperfections or color variations in the wood. Offers a flawless uniform appearance.
- Character Grade – Contains more knots, mineral streaks and grain patterns from the natural wood. Rustic charm at an affordable price.
Solid vs Engineered Parquet
Parquet comes in both solid wood or engineered constructions:
- Solid – Made from real hardwood milled to the total thickness (3/4″ usually). Can be refinished many times but subject to expansion/contraction.
- Engineered – Has a thin hardwood veneer layer atop a plywood core. More dimensionally stable but cannot be refinished as many times as solid wood.
Solid parquet offers timeless luxury and investment value but requires careful installation and maintenance. Engineered provides versatile functionality for any lifestyle or climate.
Preparing the Subfloor
Once you’ve selected the parquet, proper subfloor prep is crucial for a successful installation.
Cleaning and Repairs
Start by clearing away all debris, dirt and dust. Inspect for any cracks or damage and make repairs as needed with patching compounds.
Check for uneven spots or contours. Sand or grind down any high points over 1/4″. Fill any low spots with leveling compound to create a flat surface.
Tip: For concrete subfloors, test moisture levels before installing. Excess moisture can damage wood over time.
Adding a sound-absorbing underlayment helps reduce noise transfer between floors. Look for underlayments designed for wood flooring, rated for impact isolation. Roll out underlayment perpendicular to the planned parquet direction.
Cork, felt or rubber underlayments work well to dampen sound. Some engineered parquet may have padding pre-attached.
For solid parquet, it’s wise to install polyethylene film or other vapor barrier material. This prevents moisture from below migrating up and damaging the wood.
Follow manufacturer guidelines, but generally overlap seams by 6-12 inches and seal with tape. The vapor barrier goes down before underlayments.
Planning the Layout
Carefully mapping out the parquet design is essential for aesthetics and efficiency.
Room Size and Shape
Consider the room’s dimensions and layout. Determine the best angle to lay the parquet to maximize visual appeal and minimize small perimeter cuts.
Mark control lines along the center to align the first rows. Having these references helps keep the pattern straight and consistent.
Typically parquet is arranged so the pattern runs parallel to the longest room dimension or the main entryway. But creativity is welcome – diagonal or radial parquet can make a dramatic statement!
Mixing up directions between rooms creates interest and defines spaces. Just be mindful of transitional floor areas.
Blending Color Variation
Inspect boards beforehand and arrange them to evenly distribute any color or grain variation. Intermix boards from several packs during installation.
Solid parquet color can change over time. Blend for uniformity now but don’t stress slight shifts naturally occurring over the years.
Allowing for Expansion
Wood floors expand and contract with humidity changes. Always leave 1/4 inch expansion gaps between the floor and all surrounding walls and fixed objects.
These gaps are covered with baseboard trim but are essential to prevent buckling or cupping from natural wood movement.
Installing Parquet Flooring
Once prepped and planned out, it’s time for the exciting part – putting down the parquet!
Acclimate the Wood
It’s crucial to let the parquet acclimate to a controlled environment before installing. Leave boxes unopened in the room for 72 hours to adjust moisture levels.
Maintain indoor temperature/humidity during acclimation and continue indefinitely once installed. This prevents issues from wood movement.
Start Along a Wall
Typically begin installation along the longest straightest wall, working outward from there. This helps keep the pattern aligned and straight.
Use spacers along the edges and confirm an expansion gap with the wall. Remove spacers once the floor is complete before adding trim.
Adhesives and Fasteners
Parquet can be installed in multiple ways depending on product type:
- Glue-Down – Applying adhesive is easiest for flooring under 3/4″ thick. Let adhesive fully cure before walking on floor.
- Nail-Down – Solid parquet over 3/4″ can be face-nailed and sometimes tapped together. Pre-drill to avoid splitting.
- Floating – Interlocking engineered parquet can float over sound underlayment. No glue or nails needed but can use supplemental adhesive.
Follow all manufacturer instructions for approved installation methods and materials.
Cutting and Fitting
Use a power miter saw to cut parquet boards and edge pieces to fit neatly together. Make precise 45-degree angle cuts to achieve clean pattern alignments.
Mark and cut decorative inlay borders or filler pieces by hand with a table saw for custom fitting. Use wood filler to patch small gaps if needed.
Rolling and Tapping
As you go, roll the installed floor with a 100-lb roller to set boards into the adhesive. For nail-down parquet, gently tap edges together with a tapping block to close seams.
Take care not to damage the wood when using rollers or tapping blocks. Work slowly and double check alignment often.
Finishing Parquet Floors
Solid or unfinished engineered parquet requires final on-site sanding, staining and sealing. This achieves rich custom color tones and luster.
Use progressively finer grit sandpaper (60 to 120-grit) with a specialized floor sander to smooth planks. Vacuum away all dust between sanding steps.
Sand edges and hard-to-reach areas by hand. Be extremely careful not to oversand and damage the wood.
Staining and Sealing
Apply desired stain color according to manufacturer directions for coverage and drying time. Use painters tape for crisp borders if staining a perimeter design.
Finish with 3-5 coats of high-quality polyurethane floor sealer, allowing drying time between coats. Water-based is excellent for easy soap and water cleanup.
Prevent heavy foot traffic or furniture placement for 72 hours after the final coat fully cures. The sealant needs time to fully harden before use.
Caring for Parquet Over Time
Parquet offers lasting beauty for decades with proper ongoing care and maintenance. Here are some tips:
- Sweep, mop or vacuum regularly to prevent gritty dirt buildup that can scratch the wood. Use only approved hardwood floor cleaners.
- Wipe spills quickly to avoid moisture damage and lift grime with a damp microfiber mop.
- Place felt pads under all furniture legs to prevent scratches and scuffs. Consider area rugs in high traffic zones.
- Keep indoor humidity around 35-55% year-round to minimize natural expansion/contraction of wood.
- Refrain from wet mopping or washing with excess water. Never use wax or oil soap products on sealed parquet.
- Consider re-coating high wear areas every 3-5 years to renew protective sealant layers.
With proper care, parquet floors can remain stunning for generations of enjoyment. The timeless beauty and craftsmanship of real wood never goes out of style.
Frequently Asked Questions About Parquet Flooring
What is parquet flooring?
Parquet flooring is a geometric mosaic wood flooring pattern constructed from small rectangular wood slats arranged in repeating designs. Popular parquet patterns include herringbone, basketweave, chevron and more. The wood slats can be arranged by hand in custom artistic designs or mass-produced in modular tiles.
How is parquet flooring installed?
Parquet can be installed by gluing, nailing, or floating over underlayment. The method depends on the parquet construction – solid wood parquet is often glued or nailed down while engineered click-lock parquet can float. Proper acclimation, subfloor prep, layout planning and expansion gaps are key to success.
What’s the best wood for parquet?
Oak and maple are very common, offering a nice mix of durability and refined elegance. Exotic woods like Brazilian walnut or imported species like European ash are also prized for parquet. The wood choice impacts the overall cost, hardness, coloring and style.
Is parquet flooring expensive?
Parquet is generally more expensive than traditional strip hardwood flooring starting around $10-15 per square foot installed. But pricing ranges dramatically based on wood species, pattern complexity and overall quality. Hand-crafted custom parquet with intricate detailing can cost over $50 per square foot.
Is parquet flooring hard to maintain?
Parquet requires the same routine care and maintenance as any fine hardwood flooring. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for cleaning products and methods. Refinishing high-traffic areas every few years will keep parquet looking fresh and help it last for decades.
Can you install parquet flooring over concrete?
Yes, parquet can be installed over concrete provided proper moisture testing is done beforehand and a vapor barrier is installed. This prevents moisture from the concrete migrating up over time and damaging the wood. The subfloor should also be flattened and prepped.
Is parquet flooring out of style?
Parquet flooring has enjoyed immense popularity for centuries thanks to its elegance, sophistication and geometric beauty. Trends come and go but parquet remains a quintessential flooring for those desiring timeless style. Modern takes with wide planks or unconventional patterns keep parquet fresh too.
Does parquet add value to a home?
Quality parquet flooring absolutely boosts resale value and appeal. The intricacy and workmanship of parquet is a hallmark of a well-appointed home. Refinished parquet also helps homes sell faster. Just avoid overly bold colors or designs that buyers may not prefer.
Can you refinish parquet floors?
Solid parquet can be refinished and recoated many times, which is a major advantage over engineered flooring with thin veneers. The process involves sanding away old finish buildup and applying new protective sealant. Expect to refinish parquet every 5-10 years depending on wear.
With proper selection, preparation, installation and care, parquet flooring offers timeless sophistication and visual intrigue unmatched by any other flooring. The dazzling patterns and warm natural wood tones bring character to any space. While labor-intensive to install, parquet’s enduring beauty for generations makes it a worthwhile investment. For those desiring floors that are truly one-of-a-kind, parquet is the pinnacle of design.