Parquet hardwood flooring has a very different look from typical hardwoods. They were originally made up of many small pieces of exotic woods arranged in intricate geometric patterns. Modern parquet hardwood flooring consists of solid tiles of wood pre-arranged in patterns, making it easy to install. Parquet hardwood flooring is generally the cheapest, however it is harder to refinish than other solid wood floors and its life span is relatively shorter.
Parquet hardwood flooring comes in many designs, ranging from the basic parquet, to basket weave and herringbone. They come in large tiles made up of geometric patterns composed of individual wood slats, held in place by a paper or plastic mesh backing. The visual effects of parquet hardwood flooring can be quite stunning, and variety can be brought to the room simply by moving a rug of piece of furniture to expose of cover different patterns.
Parquet flooring can be attached to either a wood or concrete sub-floor, however concrete sub-floors often require an underlay to help compensate for any unevenness. Because the smaller pieces arranged in different directions result in less overall cross-grain expansion, parquet is a good choice in areas where the moisture content of the flooring is expected to change significantly over time.
Parquet hardwood flooring comes in a variety of woods such as oak, cherry, mahogany, beech and walnut. It is a good idea to make a dry run of the pattern you want to lay out by laying a test arrangement before permanent installation.
The wood tiles should be stored in the room they are to be installed in for at least 24 hours so they can acclimate to the temperature and humidity. You should buy about 5% more flooring than you calculate that you will need, to compensate for any mistakes. The extra material, if not needed, could come in handy later in case of damage.
Unlike strip or plank flooring, parquet flooring is laid in two directions at once. Parquet hardwood flooring should be laid by starting in the center of the room and working outwards toward the walls. This establishes a centered and well aligned geometric pattern.
Find the center of the room by measuring from wall to wall. Snap a chalk line between the center of opposite walls, then snap another chalk line between the other two walls. The intersection between the two lines is the center point. Make sure the two intersecting lines form right angles. Lay a test run of parquet along the chalk lines starting at the center, working toward the wall. Adjust the center to keep the tiles on the edges of the room from being cut too thin.
Using a trowel, spread adhesive on a 2′ x 2′ area at the intersection of the chalk lines and let it thicken and become tacky. Pressing firmly, lay down a tile on the adhesive using the lines for placement. Ensure the placement of the first tile is accurate, as it will determine the layout of the entire floor. Tap the tile into place with a mallet, placing a piece of scrap wood on top to protect the tile. If any adhesive seeps between the tiles, clean with a cloth soaked in solvent. Working toward each wall, fill in one quadrant at a time. To avoid putting your weight on any one tile, use a piece of plywood as a kneeling board.
The last tiles against the wall will need to be cut to fit. They should be cut slightly smaller than the measured space to allow for expansion of the wood. A ¼” – ½” space is usually sufficient. Allow the new parquet hardwood floor to dry for a least a day before using.