Help & Advice

Your wooden flooring plays a key role in a successful interior design. Choosing the right flooring is a challenge that must also take ease of maintenance and durability into account. This A-Z listing will help you build the knowledge you need to make an informed choice.

Please scroll through the A – Z listing of key terminology and frequently asked questions (FAQ) below.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

1 Strip
Styles | Full Plank

2 Strip

3 Strip



Amber Heat Treated
Heat treatment permanently changes both the appearance and the properties of the surface layer of parquet.

Depending on the extent of the heat treatment the colour tone of the surface layer changes from light brown to deep dark brown. At the same time hydro-distortion is lowered to one-tenth of the original and the Brinell-hardness of the surface increases.

No chemical additives are used during heat-treatment. Changes in the wood occur due to the affect of heat on its molecular structure. This applies also to the change of colour tone, which is achieved without tinting or staining agents or other wood treatment methods.

Heat-treated timber can be sanded in the normal way and after sanding the colour tone will be unchanged.

Heat-treated woods available are birch and beech. It's suitable with underfloor heating.

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Dark oiled hardwood flooring exudes an ambience of bygone days that suits traditional interior design. Antique is an oiled finish in a dark brownish shade.

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White oiled hardwood flooring exudes an ambience that suits contemporary interior design. Arctic is an oiled finish in a light, white shade.

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This durable timber, light in colour and distinctively grained makes it the ideal choice for either a work or play area. Fresh ash Sapwood and heartwood timber can vary from light reddish to grey in colour tone. Heartwood paginates to light brown in the course of time.


A beech floor creates a warm, cosy atmosphere in any setting, whether fresh and modern or luxurious and elegant. Practical and hardwearing, beech wood parquet is at home anywhere. Beech timber varies from light grey to light reddish in colour tone, based on the temperature of the growing site. Timber is fine textured and grains are generally straight. In production, the steaming process can cause the colour tone to turn dark reddish. Beech is not guaranteed for installation over underfloor heating.

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To create a refreshingly airy living space, nothing can beat the light, refined tones of birch parquet. Birch timber is very light, usually fine textured. Strong grain patterns seldom appear. Knots are clearly visible on the white timber surface. Birch is not guaranteed for installation over underfloor heating.

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Bona – for lacquered surfaces
Wood makes one of the most attractive flooring materials, creating a warm atmosphere. To keep your floor looking attractive for years to come, regular cleaning is the key. Because wood is different from other flooring materials, it requires special cleaning and maintenance products to retain its beauty. Bona has the complete answer - Bona Care, based on Bona’s 80 years’ experience of taking care of wooden floors. Professional flooring contractors, cleaning companies and architects rely on Bona care products because they are made especially for wooden floors.

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Brinell Hardness
Hardwood flooring’s ability to withstand impact and scratches vary, due primarily to the differences in the hardness of the surface lamina manufactured from different timber species. As a rule the higher the value of the lamina on the Brinell harness scale, the better the hardwood flooring’s ability to withstand impacts and scratches.

In this table the average hardness degree of timber materials has been compared to surface lamina of Karelia wood flooring:

Timber Hardness according to Brinell
Jatoba 7.0 - 7.7
Merbau 4.1 - 4.9
Doussie 3.7 - 4.3
Cherry 3.0 - 3.2
Ash 3.3 - 4.1
Maple 3.2 - 4.2
Iroko 3.2 - 3.8
Oak 2.9 - 3.7
Beech 2.7 - 4.0
Euro Maple 2.7 - 3.8
Birch 2.2 - 2.7
Pine 1.3 - 1.8

Hardness according to Brinell (12 % moisture content)
Please note that none of the above mentioned wood species are able to bear excessively heavy point loads without damage, such as the concentrated load of furniture feet not having protective felt pads or wearing stiletto heels. On the other hand it is natural that in the course of time wood flooring will have small dents and marks as you would expect from a natural product.

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Brushed and Oiled
Wire wool is used to raise the grain, underlining the woods natural grain pattern, and is then oiled.

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Bullnose Reducer

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Care for Your Real Wood Floor
A genuine hardwood floor is a stylish component of the interior design. With the right care, a wood floor will maintain its naturalness and provide pleasure for decades. Different timber species and differently treated hardwood floorings require different conditions and maintenance techniques. By observing the simple instructions and recommendations your floor will continue to beautify your home for many years.

Download a pdf:
Maintenance instructions – Lacquered Flooring
Maintenance instructions – Silky/Oiled Flooring
Maintenance instructions – Silky/Oiled Structured Flooring
Bona Care Products (for Lacquered Flooring)
OSMO Care Products (for Silky/Oiled Flooring)

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Made from nature's own material, timber. Modern production methods ensure that the traditional qualities and attractiveness of timber are displayed in a high quality floor that is easy to lay and simple to maintain.

The various species of  wood flooring echo individual lifestyles - they create a peaceful ambience and provide impressive settings for your furniture and soft furnishings. The unique grain pattern of timber gives life to your home and creates unlimited possibilities for fresh furnishing solutions wherever people gather together, both in the home and in public buildings. Whichever wood floor you choose, you will feel an affinity with nature.

The top layer of Carltons wood flooring is available in numerous species of wood and a variety of finishes. Each one is visually distinct but they are all, from the most evenly coloured to the most colourful, technically and in terms of quality the same durable and top class  wood flooring.

Timber's natural variation and vividness offers many different choices of floor finish. Each timber species is divided into three to five categories according to grain pattern and colour. When converted to wood flooring this allows an impressive range of finishes to suit all interiors. It also utilises most of the trunk as raw material for the top layer, with minimal waste.

Each board is made up like a sandwich of three different layers. The top layer is solid wear-and-tear-resistant hardwood. The middle layer is in cross glued spruce for strength. The bottom layer is a spruce ply base.

Slowly grown Nordic coniferous timber, spruce, is used for the manufacture of the middle and bottom layers which minimises movement in the wood. The end tongue and groove, constructed from birch plywood, also minimises moisture differences caused by seasonal fluctuations.

Because of the three-layer structure, the maximum benefit is derived from the hardwood, and the flooring will maintain its form and strength for decades without the need for frequent refurbishing. The raw materials used for wood flooring have a long useful life thereby conserving natural resources and the environment.

The top layer of wood flooring can be sanded a number of times. After refinishing, the surface will be like new. This process of re-sanding and refinishing extends the lifespan of  wood flooring and provides an enduringly beautiful floor.

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Euro Maple
European Maple brings a comfortable, even tone to a parquet floor. European maple timber is very light in colour tone. Sapwood and heartwood cannot easily be distinguished from each other. Euro Maple is not guaranteed for installation over underfloor heating.

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Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
How long do I need to allow my new flooring to acclimatise?
We recommend you leave engineered flooring unopened in its original packaging in the room that you intend to install it for 72 hours.

How durable is hardwood flooring?
The hardness of hardwood flooring will vary depending on the species you choose, however all hardwoods are extremely hard wearing but like any natural product it is susceptible to abuse such as walking over it with high heal stilettos or dragging furniture across the floor.

Which of the wood species is the hardest?
Hardness of various timber species is defined by a Brinell hardness value test. As a rule the higher the rating of the lamina, the more durable the floor. Link to Brinell hardness

What kinds of materials can be used under the wood flooring?
We recommend  Polyfoam or similar over wood or plywood subfloors, or if a damp proof membrane (dpm) is required then either Timbermate Excel or similar. If the subfloor does require a dpm then it is advisable to check the moisture content of the sub-floor using a moisture meter. If the conditions do not comply with the installation requirements, then we would recommend Sika Primer MB is applied.

Do I need to use thresholds between rooms?
We highly recommend that T-sections or Bullnose reducers are used between thresholds to prevent stress around the door ways.

Will my wood floor change appearance with age?
The natural hues of hardwood change colour tone when exposed to light. This is especially the case with exotics such as Jatoba. Exotics can also produce white (sulphur) marks after a period of time.

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How would you recommend I install solid wood flooring?
You can install our solid wood flooring by using either of the following techniques: 1. Secret nailing, 2. Glue-down

What is secret nailing?
This method is a nail-down technique, preferably using nail gun, through the tongue of the board. Using this technique requires a wood/plywood subfloor.

What type and size of nails do I use?
When secret nailing use cleated 18-22mm nails.

What thickness of plywood is required for secret nailing?
We recommend 18mm or a minimum of 15mm plywood.

What kind of glue should be used for installing solid wood flooring?
We recommend products from Sika for full surface bonding. Installation - Solid - Full Surface Bonding

Do I need to leave an expansion gap around the edge of my room?
With solid wood flooring we recommend a 15mm expansion gap is left all around the room.

Can I install over underfloor heating?
Although it is possible to fit solid wood over underfloor heating we would not recommend doing so.

Is the solid wood flooring bevelled?
Most prefinished solid boards have a bevel on all four sides. Unfinished boards do not have bevels they are square shouldered.

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3. Engineered
Is it necessary to treat wood flooring immediately after installation?
You can use wood flooring as soon as it is installed. Pre-finished boards, either lacquered or oiled, require no treatment at the time of installation.

What kind of glue should be used for installing engineered wood flooring?
For the floating installation a normal PVA-glue (wood glue) is recommended. When glued permanently to the subfloor, a high dry content glue must be used. We recommend Sika full surface bonding products.

How do I install engineered wood flooring?
Engineered wood flooring is delivered prefinished and ready to lay. The precision manufactured parquet boards enable a high quality floor to be laid quickly and easily. In every third package you will find a clear installation instruction leaflet. Installation instructions

How do I maintain engineered wood flooring after installation?
Maintenance of engineered wood flooring is easy and carefree when you follow their simple maintenance instructions precisely. Remove particles and dust with a vacuum cleaner or a brush. When you want to clean the floor thoroughly, "dry" wipe it with a barely moist cloth. Care For Your Real Wood Floor

Is it possible to install engineered wood flooring together with underfloor heating?
Due to a special manufacturing technique, most engineered wood flooring is suitable to be installed on a floor with underfloor heating (exceptions are Beech, Birch, Jatoba and Maple). Installation instructions

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You can choose between having your hardwood flooring either lacquered or oiled, stained or heat treated.

You can choose between having your solid wood flooring unfinished,lacquered or oiled

Each finish has its own special characteristics that bring out the best of the wood’s personality and visual qualities.

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Full Plank

Full Surface Bonding
Traditionally wood flooring has been mechanically installed or installed with rigid adhesives but elastic adhesives are now becoming the norm. Ultimately engineered and solid wood flooring retains it full beauty for years. We recommend Sika Acoubond system. Link to Installation Instructions

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The styles of hardwood flooring are created with four different assortments. The prevalence of knots, straightness of the grain and eveness of hue in the different assortments impart their own personality to the floor.

The European standard EN 13489 provides symbols for various timber assortments. The standard specifies the tolerances for such characteristics as the size of knots and the proportion of sapwood.

1. Select
Select products are made from selected heartwoods. The floor’s overall hue is even and knot-free. The grain patterns delineating the floor’s surface are generally the densest, straightest and lightest in tone.
2. Natur
Natur products are made from core timber. Often the wood’s grain patterns are clearly visible. The wood’s varied colouring makes the floor lively and interesting.
3. Rustical
Rustical products are manufactured from selected stemwood and sapwood whose knots impart a liveliness to the floor. The colouring is variable. Many believe that Rustical in particular represents wood flooring at its most genuine.
4. Polar
Polar products are made from heartwood and sapwood. The wood’s lively grain patterns impart a distinctive character to the floor and the strip pattern characteristic of hardwood flooring is more clearly accentuated.

5. ABC – (Solid & Structured)
An ABC grade is a combination of several grades providing an overall rustic appearance that transforms any room with the warm look of wood.

Industry standard Pre-finished and Un-finished solid wood grades fall into four categories, allowance of +/- 5% of actual grade.

  • Premium – A Grade (Prime)
    Best Appearance
    Selected for uniformity of colour
    No cracks or splits
    Slight variation in natural sapwood
    Limited small character marks
    Pin Knots allowed
    Mineral streaks of less than 3mm x 25mm
  • Classic – B Grade (Select)
    Excellent Appearance
    Variations in natural sapwood
    Limited Character marks
    Sound knot of less than 3mm
    Mineral streaks of less than 3mm x 25mm
  • Nature – C Grade (Common)
    Variated Appearance
    All colour variations allowed
    Sapwood 1/3 width, full length allowed
    No Splits, no open defects
    Sound knots less than 10mm, mineral streaks allowed
  • Standard – ABC Grade Mixed
    A Grade 30%
    B Grade 40%
    C Grade 30%

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Installation Instructions
By observing our simple instructions and recommendations your floor will continue to beautify your home for many years.

Download a pdf:
Engineered – General
Engineered – Profiloc
Engineered – T&G
Engineered – Underfloor Heating
Engineered – Saima

Solid - General
Solid - Full Surface Bonding

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Iroko parquet is a precious, exotic floor. Time and daylight bring out the natural grain while deepening its yellow hues into richer shades of brown. Fresh Iroko timber is yellowish in colour tone, but turns dark brownish red with dark brown stripes due to sunlight. Grain pattern is straight or slightly undulating.

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Its exceptional hard surface resists the wear and tear of life, which deepens in both colour and hue transforming Jatoba into a beauty second to none. Jatoba belongs to the “luxury” category of wood flooring. Jatoba timber is deep reddish brown and turns darker after installation. Sapwood is clearly lighter in colour than heartwood. Only heartwood is used for wood flooring. Grain pattern is medium to coarse and mostly interlocked, and can develop white sap marks. Jatoba is not guaranteed for installation over underfloor heating.

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Karelia Wood Floor Properties
Under normal wear and tear conditions wood flooring lasts for decades. Careful observance of the manufacturer's maintenance and reconditioning instructions warrants a maximum long lifespan for your wood flooring and keeps your floor looking good and in excellent condition. For information on hygienic properties, wood flooring and humidity, Heat Conductivity, Colour Tones of Wood Species, Fire-Resistanct Properties; and Wear Resistance click here

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Lacquering brings out the timber’s natural structure and colouring. With Karelia hardwood flooring exceptionally durable and impact-resistant lacquer is used.

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Maintenance Instructions
Care for your real wood floor

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Only genuine Canadian maple is used in the manufacture of this parquet. This is an eye-catching, light-toned parquet with a subtle grain pattern and a silken texture. Canadian maple timber is light or slightly reddish in colour tone, straight grained or with grains subtly undulating. Maple is not guaranteed for installation over underfloor heating.

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Matt Satin
Matt lacquered Karelia Matt Satin is an elegant alternative for glosssy wood floors finishes. The matt lacquering underlines wood’s natural grain and natural lokks. Being highly resistant to scratches it also makes the floor very durable. The gloss grade of matt lacquering is 10, nearly similar to oil finished wood floring.

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Measuring equipment
Measuring equipment products measure moisture content on various surfaces e.g. concrete floors and floor screeds, wood, brick, tiles etc. Moisture meters can be hired typically on a weekly basis.

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Merbau has a distinctive character and durability all of its own. While life goes on, its beauty and strength, mellowing and maturing, can be maintained with the minimum of effort. Merbau timber is reddish brown when fresh but turns darker due to sunlight, even to very dark brown. Grain pattern is straight and very often intertwined, and can show yellow sulphur marks.

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Moisture Membrane
An important aspect of moisture control is a moisture barrier or membrane.
If installing engineered wood flooring If installing solid wood flooring

In the event that the sub-floor does not meet the minimum moisture content requirements, Sika Primer MB can be used to prime the sub-floor. It is a moisture regulator compound, which is applied to cement type substrates and permits wood flooring installation as soon as the moisture content of the substrate is down to 4%. Installation time therefore, may be shortened up to 4 weeks.
Download pdf:
Installation Instructions - Sika Primer MB.

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Hardwood mouldings are used to complete the installation and finish of your floor. There are a range of mouldings available in different species. All mouldings have a lacquered finish unless otherwise stated e.g. Oak Unfinished. Therefore with a lacquered floor it is not advised to purchase unfinished mouldings. If you purchase an oiled floor you have the option to purchase finished or unfinished mouldings.

Scotia Bead
This can be used to edge the room to neatly hide the expansion gap without having to remove the skirting boards.
Quadrant Bead
This can be used to edge the room to neatly hide the expansion gap without having to remove the skirting boards.
Stair Nosing
This is used for covering the edges of stairs when laying wood flooring, the stair nosing covers the edge of the steps enabling you to cover your existing stairs in wood. This is available in both profiloc and T&G fixing.
This can be used in door ways where the wood floor meets a floor of similar height. It is always recommended to have expansion gaps in doorways.
This can be used where the floor meets a wall such as a fireplace or front door.
Bullnose Reducer
This can be used in doorways where the floor meets a floor at a lower level such as vinyl. . It is always recommended to have expansion gaps in doorways.

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The subtle hues and patterns of oak will enhance a wide variety of furnishings. It lends itself beautifully to any decorative style from genuine opulence to rustic warmth. So that whatever life brings, your oak floor will give you limitless pleasure.

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Oil brings out the wood’s grain patterns and accentuates the woods characteristic hues. The oils used in the treatment of Karelia silky hardwood flooring are derived from natural vegetable oils that contain no harmful volatile substances. Available as colour-less Silky, Stonewashed Ivory, Stonewashed Ebony, white-oiled Arctic and brown-oiled Antique. Exceptionally suitable for people suffering from allergies or asthma.

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OSMO - for oiled surfaces
The secret in OSMO’s floor treatment systems lies in the unique combination of natural oils and waxes. They are odourless when dry, do not discolour easily and are extremely resistant in accordance with DIN 68861-1C (resistance to liquids such as wine, beer and fizzy drinks). The plant-based raw materials are purified and refined through a number of complex processes and, when dry, are safe for humans, animals and plants.

In contrast to no-porous “plastic films” present in traditional water-based finishes or polyurethane coatings, Osmo-Polyx®-Oils penetrate deeply into the wood and produce a microporous surface, which can breathe and has a pleasant, natural feel.

Osmo finishes give an extremely high yield and are easy to apply, care for and maintain. Because they won’t crack, flake, peel or blister, partial renovation is an option, eliminating the need for extensive sanding. Link to Care for your real wood floor

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A completely finished product that requires installation only. Pre-finished products are factory sanded, stained and finished (lacquered or oiled), made ready for easy and immediate installation, therefore not requiring any on site sanding and finishing.

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Moisture Membrane

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Profiloc T & G

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The Profiloc system enables you to lay your own floor without special expertise; the flooring is self-locking; no glue is needed to install the floorboards. The end result is a beautiful floor with virtually unnoticeable joints. Profiloc is certifiably the market’s strongest locking joint and is extremely easy to install.

Karelia’s uniform quality is shown off to best advantage during the installation stage. Extremely high quality control standards observed in production ensure that all Karelia hardwood flooring components are dimensionally precise and fit together perfectly. Installation is smooth and is finished before you know it. Installation details are found in every third pack but you can also down load them from this website.

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Quadrant Bead

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Red Oak
The reddish appearance of red oak reflects warmth and comfort, which beckons you to live and be content. The vivid grain character will charm and captivate you from one year to the next

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A mixed grade of Rustical and Polar Link to Grade


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Karelia Saima Brochure

Scotia Bead


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Karelia term for oiled. Karelia Silky has a top layer treated with natural oil giving the timber a silky, glowing surface. The standard Silky oil is colourless, whereas 'Antique' is a brownish shade and 'Arctic' is a white shade

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Solid wood flooring has a wonderful character with rich colours, feature knots and grains. The timber used is selected from the finest renewable forests and crafted by our expert craftsman to bring out this traditional character to its best effect. Our flooring has been installed in both modern and traditional settings, providing natural warmth with a long lasting finish.

Solid wood floors are one solid piece of wood that have tongue and groove sides on all four edges for ease of installation. Un-finished or factory finished with U.V. lacquer or oiled. The solid has a depth of 18mm, 20mm or 22mm with widths usually from 50mm up to 220mm lengths are random. Solid wood floors can either be glued to the floor or nailed-down using the secret nailing technique (driving a nail through the groove at an angle into the sub-floor). You can refinish, or recoat solid wood floors several times, which adds to their appeal and to their long life.

All solid wood floors will react to the presence of moisture. In the winter heating months, moisture leaves the wood causing the floor to contract which leaves gaps between each plank. In the summer months when the humidity is higher the wood will expand and the gaps will disappear. If there is too much moisture it may cause the wood planks to cup, or crown. This is why it is important when installing a solid strip floor to leave the proper expansion area around the perimeter and to acclimatize the wood prior to installation.

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Wood Flooring comes in a variety of species. Choose the name of any of the species below for a description of the wood
Ash Beech Birch Euro Maple Iroko Jatoba Maple Merbau Oak Red Oak Walnut

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Karelia Spring Sport and Dance Floors match the demands of different sports by offering a variety of specific, non-slip surfaced floors and sub-floor systems. Each elastic floor is especially designed for different types of sport and dance to provide excellent shock absorption and energy return, decreasing stress on the body and preventing injury.

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Colour applied to give a darker, richer hue or to give a vibrant, contemporary look. 

Stair Nosing

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In Stonewashed products the first oil layer is of white or dark antique brown oil penetrating into the wood grain, and then the surface is treated with transparent oil. The oil finish together with the brushing underlines the wood’s natural grain pattern.


Using the latest multi-layer laminated technology, the increased stability of this products’ construction allows it to be used directly onto joists.

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You can influence the character of your floor by choosing 3-Strip, 2-Strip, Full Plank, Story, or Saima

The top surface consists of three parallel strips of hardwood with lengths varying between 200 and 500 mm across the width of the plank.
2-strip/Twin Plank
The top surface consists of two parallel strips of hardwood with lengths varying between 700 - 1400 mm across the width of the plank giving the 2-Strip wood flooring an image similar to Full Plank.
Full Plank/1-strip
The top surface consists of one hardwood plank unbroken across the width and length of the board, thus giving the impression of a traditional wooden plank floor.
The top surface consists of one hardwood plank unbroken across the width of the board. A bevel is machined so that after laying the floor a v-shaped groove approximately 3mm wide is left between the boards. The groove gives the floor the appearance of a traditional wooden plank floor.
Saima Classic
Saima Classic is a hardwood floor with a unique structure and appearance. Saima Classic’s top layer is made of northern birch and it shows a lively pattern. The surface is covered with a matt finish lacquer which reflects the light in an exceptional way. The final outcome is the result of the unique interaction between designer and a genuine hardwood floor. Saima Classic will maintain its appearance and durability for decades. The top layer is made of birch wood which is almost as hard as oak. Saima Classic manages to combine the best characteristics of a hardwood floor with the creativity of its designer. Saima Classic is designed to fit into any surroundings and adapts well to most lifestyles.
Karelia Saima Brochure
Spring sport and dance floors offer a variety of ideal, non-slip surfaced floors and subfloor systems to match the demands of different sports. Each floor is designed specifically to provide excellent shock absorption and energy return, decreasing stress on the body and preventing injury for different types of sport. This product is only available to certified fitters, please call our sales team to find out about our supply and fit service for Spring sports and dance floors.

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A sub-floor is the structural base onto which you lay your hardwood flooring. It is important that all flooring materials have protection against moisture damage.
Moisture Membrane

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Tongue & Groove (T&G)
Tongue and groove refers to strip or plank flooring where each plank has a “tongue” or convex side and a “groove” or concave side on the opposite edge. Two or more planks can then be pushed together to provide a secure and smooth joint.

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Underlay serves several purposes including noise reduction, masking slight unevenness in the sub-floor, and acting as a moisture barrier.

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A product which may require sanding, staining and/or a finish applied after installation.

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Walnut is reputed to have a pleasant smell. Its flame or curly grain patterns are sophisticated and decorative. The cool and stately brown walnut is used in pianos, furniture, artefacts and in large surfaces such as panels and hardwood floors. Its warmth softens the edges of modernity while the dark tones define spaces and add character.

The Wenge colour vairate from coffee-brown to dark brown with lights brown stripes. Sapwood has a grewy-white colour tone and it rises visually strongly from the dark-brown heart-wood. Wenge is a good choicce for floors with heavy use, having a Brinell hardness of 3.9 to 5.0. It is not recommended for use in areas where the relative air humidity declines to a very low level in winter.
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