West Fraser outlines some flooring options.
Modern suspended floors in timber are a far cry from the traditional combination of sawn joists and nailed planks. Today modern manufacturing not only makes better use of a raw material that was previously unsuitable for structural purposes; it also results in a high quality and more reliable product.
Instead of the traditional 9” sawn softwood joists, builders can now choose from a variety of composite structural beams that employ the same web-and-flange configuration as a hot-rolled steel beam.
With flanges of softwood and webs of either oriented-strand board (such as West Fraser’s SterlingOSB Zero) or a pressed steel lattice, these beams are as light as a solid timber beam, and just as strong. These engineered products are free of defects, such as knots, splits and cracks that occur naturally in solid sawn timbers. And, being engineered as opposed to simply sawn to size, their strength and other physical properties can be accurately ascertained.
When it comes to floor decking structural integrity is invariably provided by particleboard panels, tongue-and-grooved to provide a solid, continuous floor surface.
West Fraser’s CaberFloor range of flooring systems combine structural strength, stability and reliability with low cost and ease of installation. Unlike traditional floorboards, every sheet of CaberFloor flooring is the same as the next because the particleboard from which it is made is, like the modern joist, an engineered product meaning post-installation defects are less likely in a modern floor.
The suspended first floor of a new house is often pressed into service as soon as it is installed, initially as the working platform for following trades, before the roof is installed. So, floors are often exposed to the elements for days or weeks while workers complete the brick-and block-work, fit windows and erect interior partitioning. In wet weather, the floor can be drenched with rain and, in winter, that rain can turn to sleet or snow.
Many modern flooring panels are, therefore, designed to withstand harsh conditions for extended periods without any deterioration. West Fraser’s CaberDek is one example; it is guaranteed to withstand full exposure to the weather for up to 42 days, when laid in accordance with fitting instructions, and fixed with CaberFix Pro. This is achieved by selecting moisture resistant, load-bearing (P5) particleboard and sealing the surface with a tough waterproof protective film which is peeled away after completion, revealing a pristine surface.
In the case of West Fraser’s toughest flooring product, CaberShieldPlus, the protective surface is bonded permanently to the board on both sides. CaberShieldPlus is designed for the unpredictable British weather. It is BBA approved for 60 days exposure to the weather when used with CaberFix D4.