Parquet refers to a type of flooring that is created by taking very small slats of wood and arranging them in distinct, repeating patterns. The wooden pieces are generally formed into tiles of varying shapes and then installed in such a way that the individual pieces all contribute to a greater, concerted pattern that stretches across the entire floor.
Common Parquet Tile Sizes: 9” X 9”, 12” X 12”, 19” X 19”
Common Parquet Tile Thickness: Between 5/16” - ¾”
Parquet tiles are generally bonded to a mesh backing of paper, cloth, or plastic, and stitched with a thin metal or plastic skeleton. The material is most often Oak, but you will sometimes find it available in Walnut. More exotic wood parquet floor tiles are also available but will be quite expensive.
Unfinished Parquet: In its natural state, parquet will be prone to staining and damage and will need to be finished in order to protect its surface. However, with unfinished parquet tile’s you get to choose the color of any stains or finishing treatments that will be applied, giving you a wealth of decorative options.
Finished Parquet: These tiles are treated with an extremely durable sealer that is machine applied across the surface of the material before it is shipped. Because this is done industrially, the sealer used can be significantly more durable than one applied on your own. It also cuts down on the hassle and mess of applying a finish on site.
Article: Prefinished Hardwood Flooring Planks
Note: Parquet can also consist of individual slats of wood nailed directly down to the subfloor in repeating patterns. However, this greatly increases the difficulty of the installation and creates much more room for error, and so is not commonly used except in high-end specialty applications requiring custom arrangements.
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Parquet Flooring Design Options
Great In Formal Spaces: Parquet flooring is one of the most elegant and decorative flooring options available. It takes the unique personal beauty of natural hardwood materials and marries them to artistic design. Because of this, these floors work particularly well in formal, upscale locations such as living rooms, dining rooms, and foyers.
Bad In Small And Functional Spaces: While the elegant precision and visual interest of parquet flooring is a benefit in formal locations, it is actually a drawback in other environments. Often parquet will be far too busy for spaces such as a kitchen, or a bathroom, which are already highly active, and require a certain amount of focus. This flooring can also overwhelm tiny spaces, making them feel unduly chaotic.
Patterns: Many times the pattern used in parquet floor tiles is directional in nature. That means that each tile needs to be installed in a certain direction, in order to make the overall pattern work. Failure to do so can end up causing a dissonant look that is far too visually busy. Because of this, you may want to do a dry layout of the parquet tiles before you adhere them to the subfloor.
Note: The name of parquet patterns can vary by retailer and manufacturer. In some cases, the same name will refer to two very different looks. Be sure to visually inspect any material carefully before you make a purchase.
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Parquet Water Concerns
Parquet flooring is slightly better in moist environments than straight hardwood planks. That is because the individual slats in the tiles are less prone to expansion due to high humidity conditions. However, parquet is still predominantly made of wood, and so it will warp, mold, and plump in extremely wet, moist environments such as heavily used bathrooms.
Most parquet flooring is cut with straight edges so that the tiles but up against one another in tight seams.
These floors are either glued down with a hardwood adhesive or in the case of thicker materials, it may be nailed to the subfloor.
Refinishing a Parquet Floor
Parquet is essentially made of hardwood, and can, therefore, be refinished. In fact, straight edge parquet can be refinished roughly an equal number of times as hardwood plank flooring of similar thickness. This is because planks generally have tongue and groove joints that slip together, and you will not be able to sand down past a certain point without exposing those joints. Parquet tiles are straight all the way down to the backing.
However, parquet floors are not quite as easy to refinish as regular hardwood planking is. That is because the grain of the material does not flow in a consistent direction. Rather, the tiny slats of material are all pointed in different directions. This can cause cross grain scratching to appear on the floor, which can be difficult to buff out. You may even need to result to hand sanding in certain places to get the surface looking smooth.