Laying parquet flooring tiles in your home shows off wood to its best advantage. There are three types, laminated, engineered and solid wood. They all look good, but costs widely vary when purchasing or fitting.
In the UK, average parquet flooring costs per m2, vary with the size of room and type of flooring. But, for a typical living room of around 25m2:
- Medium–grade hardwood costs £1300 to £2000 (£50-£80/m2).
- Engineered wood costs £500 to £1800 (£20-£70/m2).
- laminate costs below £500 (<£20/m2).
Finally, typical installation costs range from £12-£30/m2, or £100-£200/day plus extras that we’ll talk about later. Prices include VAT.
So, what is parquet flooring, and, what are its benefits?
Before we talk about real wood parquet, let’s get the laminated stuff out of the way. Laminate is the cheapest to buy and install because it’s a small sheet of plastic with a wood grain print on the top surface. Manufacturers bond the plastic tile to a thin sheet of MDF to make it easier to install. The laminated tile has click-together tongue and groove on all edges, so once all the tiles have fitted together, it’s essentially one piece. The other main advantages are its low price, and if you’re good at DIY, you can install it yourself.
Engineered parquet comes next. It’s a hardwood veneer bonded to 5 or 7 core plywood. So, engineered parquet blocks don’t twist, warp or expand when damp. The 5mm thick veneer comes from just about any tree species as they aren’t limited to a certain size. Some tiles even have bamboo veneer for a very hardwearing and more exotic experience. You can sand and finish the veneer, just like hardwood. Furthermore, they’re mechanically stable, cheaper than solid wood and have a machined tongue and groove.
Real hardwood blocks are the most expensive, and arguably the best. Just like the other types, we glue them onto a subfloor with insulation and damp proofing. But, because they’re solid wood, the timber is limited to trees that are big enough, while veneers can be from any species. Common hardwoods include cherry, maple, walnut, and beech. But, oak is the commonest, while pine is the softwood used mostly in Victorian houses.
Although you can buy narrow hardwood planks for use as floorboards, this isn’t true parquet. Parquet uses many different shapes, but not boards. Therefore, with rectangular, diamond, and square parquet flooring blocks, you can produce a range of different geometrical patterns.
New Parquet Flooring Prices & Installation Costs
The following table shows a compilation of costs for some of the most popular solid hardwoods used in parquet flooring installations. We also show two of the most popular styles of parquet, so you can see how pattern and texture affect the cost.
We compiled the figures from various online sources, so take the values as a guide. Remember, the actual amounts depend on the:
- Shape of the room.
- Type of subfloor.
- Size of the room.
- Labour costs in your area.
- The chosen pattern.
- Species of wood.
- Type of parquet you buy.
Also, labour charges in London and the Southeast cost more than other areas of the country. Often, by as much as 20%. In this table we won’t take into account accessories such as insulation, edging beads and others. We’ll leave that for later.
|Parquet range||Duration (days) one persons for 5m x 5m room||Average Material costs||Labour cost (person per day)|
|Oak (hardwood)||3 to 4 days||£1300 (£50/m2)||£1000 to £1200|
|Walnut (hardwood)||4 to 5 days||£2000 (£80/m2)||£1100 to £1300|
|Beech||3 to 4 days||£1375 (£55/m2)||£1000 to £1200|
|Maple||3 to 4 days||£2200 (£88/m2)||£1000 to £1200|
|Chevron (pattern)||N/A||£1375 (£55/m2)||N/A|
|Aged or distressed (texture)||N/A||£1625 (£65/m2)||N/A|
Individual Room Pricing
In the following examples, we calculate the approximate cost to install parquet flooring. To keep this simple, we’ll work with the following criteria:
- Use oak parquet.
- To allow for damaged parquet or other problems, add around 10% to the room area.
- Give values for solid wood only.
A typical bathroom, including WC measures around 1.8m x 2.5m. Therefore, the total parquet blocks area is 5m2. If we assume the retail cost is around £50/m2, the total materials cost about £250. Labour for installing these solid wood blocks costs around £100. On top of this, extras such as beading, damp proof membrane, insulation underlay, door trimming, and floor levelling costs around £300 for this sized room. Therefore, the total amount for this sized bathroom comes out at £650. In summary:
- Hardwood blocks cost £250.
- Labour @ £20/m2 costs £100.
- Extras cost £300
- Total £650.
Calculating in the same way as the bathroom, a kitchen measuring 3m x 3.6m (10.8m2 + 10%=11.8m2) costs:
- Hardwood blocks costing £600.
- Labour to lay blocks @ £20/m2 costs £240.
- Extras cost £500.
- Total £1340.
Similarly, a main bedroom 4.2m x 4.8m = 20.16m2. Add on 10% = 22.18m2. This will cost:
- Hardwood blocks cost £1110.
- Labour to lay blocks @ £20/m2 costs £445.
- Extras cost £805.
- Total £2360.
A small bedroom of 3m x 3.6m, or 10.8m2 + 10% = 11.8m2. This costs:
- Hardwood blocks: £600.
- Labour to lay blocks @ £20/m2 costs £240.
- Extras cost £500.
- Total £1340.
A typical living room measures 5.4m x 6m. Or, 32.4m2 + 10% = 35.6m2. This costs:
- Hardwood blocks: £1780.
- Labour to lay blocks @ 20/m2 costs £715.
- Extras cost £1190.
- Total £2990.
Parquet Range (UK Market)
In the UK, you can choose from many different types of hardwoods, colours, and textures. Also, the installer you choose can lay the wooden blocks in many different geometrical patterns to suit the room’s décor or your preferences. And of course, you don’t have to confine yourself to real hardwood blocks. You can also choose from many different ranges of engineered wood and laminate.
Below, we explain a bit about two of the most popular wood species and two of the common choices of pattern and texture. Real wood grain varies from tree to tree, and even within a specific tree. So, no two hardwood blocks look the same. Therefore, the infinitely variable, unique grain pattern adds to its inherent beauty. Something that the repetitious photographic print on laminate flooring doesn’t offer.
Probably, oak is the most commonly used timber species for parquet blocks. Oak is very hardwearing, relatively cheap when compared to other species, and comes in a range of different colours. It has a tight grain, and the colours tend to make a room warm and welcoming when combined with natural sunshine.
Brazilian walnut is more expensive than oak. It’s very hard and durable and comes naturally in a variety of different brown shades. It has a scratch–resistant surface, so pet owners love it. The price depends on the type and the thickness of the block.
You can produce a chevron pattern with any parquet flooring. The pattern comes from the arrangement of rectangular blocks at a 35 or 45–degree angle to each other. Chevron pattern is sometimes known as a Hungarian point, because of the angles.
Many people confuse the herringbone pattern with chevron. But, if you look carefully at the pattern, you can see that they are very different. The herringbone effect comes from rectangular blocks laid in a staggered zig-zag pattern, rather than angled cut ends.
‘Aged’ oak parquet looks as if it has gracefully aged. Sometimes, this texture can be described as being ‘distressed’. Whatever you call it, you have an overall appearance of age, complete with the character and charm you would expect from this.
Aged parquet blocks appear to have tumbled edges and a softly worn appearance. The overall effect looks completely natural and blends in well with antique furniture.
If you prefer to have the appearance of reclaimed wood blocks, choose from the ‘aged’ or ‘distressed’ ranges, rather than use original old reclaimed wood. Then, you get blocks that look old but are in good condition, unlike reclaimed blocks. The latter often become split or warped and become unusable.
What is Parquet Flooring?
Records show that people began to use parquet flooring seriously in palaces and grand buildings in 16th century France. That isn’t to say that no-one used it before. Just, that this era produced and recorded some great designs. Thousands of years previously, the Ancient Romans and Greeks had been using pieces of coloured and shaped stone, laid into geometrical and pictorial images known as mosaic. Parquet was the natural evolution of this by producing woodblock mosaic.
Admittedly, parquet produces a cold hard floor by modern standards. But, it would have been much warmer and less damp when compared to stone or bare compressed earth prevalent at the time. Even more so, when artisans of the era realised they could use bitumen as an adhesive and as a damp proof membrane.
Traditionally, parquet uses small blocks rather than long floorboards, because many of the ornamental trees used were much smaller, with narrower trucks. Because of this, the craftsmen couldn’t use the trees for wide floorboards or structural timber.
Therefore, parquet flooring is a way of producing an attractive wooden floor made from different shaped wooden blocks. Suppose you had wooden floorboards running the full length of the room. You would have many parallel lines between the boards, which, in a large room, might look disturbing. Instead, the blocks make geometrical patterns, breaking up the straight lines, especially if you use different shaped blocks.
The commonest shapes include
- Parallelograms (squashed rectangle).
- Rhombus (squashed square, or diamond).
From these few shapes, you can make an almost infinite variety of effects.
How To Lay Parquet Flooring
Surprisingly, the pattern you choose when fitting parquet flooring gives a room much of its character and ambience. The pattern can make a room look larger, smaller, narrower or wider depending on what you require. Generally, if you lay parquet parallel to the long wall, the room looks narrower. Whereas laying the parquet parallel to the short wall, makes the room look wider.
Usually, if you can afford it, real wood parquet blocks are the ones to choose, as nothing looks better. However, engineered parquet blocks have the advantage of being dimensionally stable. That means, they won’t twist, crack, or warp when exposed to heat. And, they won’t expand or contract when the ambient humidity changes. So, if you intend using underfloor heating, use engineered wood. You won’t regret it.
Only install wooden parquet blocks after completion of all structural work. Allow all concrete and plasterwork to completely dry. Allow about 1 month for every 25mm depth of concrete, screed or render.
Then, lay the blocks randomly in the room for 2 to 3 weeks to acclimatise to the ambient humidity. Real wood always expands and shrinks with different humidities depending on the season, and this continues for its entire lifespan. All you can do is try to keep the area as ventilated and as warm as possible to maintain a constant temperature and humidity.
Measure the overall width and length of the room and multiply them together to calculate the floor area. Add about 10% onto this to allow for mistakes in cutting, damaged pieces of wood or cut ends too small to use. Then round up to the nearest square metre.
Decide on the overall pattern you want to achieve and if possible, draw this onto a large piece of paper. After you start laying the blocks, it is usually too late to change your mind.
Remember to allow for expansion and contraction of the blocks through the seasons. So, leave about 15mm gap at the walls. You can either cover this gap with skirting boards if you intend adding these afterwards. Or, use moulded beading fixed to the skirting (never the floor).
You can lay parquet blocks onto many types of subfloor. Typically, onto the following suitable surfaces:
- Self-levelling compound.
- Flooring grade plywood.
- Flooring grade chipboard.
Never lay parquet directly onto floorboards as they flex, expand and contract too much. Also, floorboards are rarely perfectly flat.
It’s always a good idea to lay a self-levelling compound onto concrete or screed flooring to ensure you have a smooth and level surface.
First, isolate the sub-floor from the parquet by using a damp proof membrane. The best to use is a liquid self-levelling type. Although a purpose–made plastic sheet DPM is adequate.
Before laying the blocks, place adhesive on top of the DPM and insulation. Likewise, if you intend using underfloor heating, put the insulation under the heating mats, and then the adhesive on top.
Prepare the blocks
Ensure the blocks are the right way up. As some new blocks already have sealant on the top surface. Or, have bevelled corners.
But, If you’re using reclaimed parquet, remove as much of the old adhesive as you can. At a minimum, remove all loose and flaky adhesive. And, make sure that the remaining glue is thinner than the adhesive bed.
Lay the blocks
Draw a centre line on the floor and start laying the blocks along the line without adhesive, gradually working away from the centreline on either side. Keep the paper pattern handy so that you can refer to it at any time. Whatever you do, always stick to the pattern. Otherwise, any deviation shows up and becomes noticeable right away. After laying a few lines ‘dry’, go back and fix them to the floor using adhesive. Then, carry on glueing the blocks until you’ve covered the entire floor. Remember to leave the 15mm expansion gap around the perimeter. And, remember that you might have to trim the bottom of the door if the finished floor level is higher than the old one.
If you‘re using small blocks, you don’t need to use flexible glue as each block has minimal expansion and contraction. But, if you use large blocks, bed them into flexible glue. Whatever happens, always use the adhesive recommended by the parquet block manufacturer. They are the experts.
Sanding and filling
Be guided by the adhesive manufacturer as to how long the glue takes to cure and dry. When the glue has dried, it’s time to sand the blocks and fill any holes or blemishes. Use an orbital sander for the main part of the room and an edge sander for the perimeter. Don’t worry too much about knots or blemishes in the surface as you can fill them with wood filler. Or, you can mix the sanding dust with a clear epoxy resin to make a filler of the correct colour.
After filling, give a final sanding. Remember to avoid producing scratches on the woodblocks by sanding carefully and methodically. If you don’t sand carefully, you’ll have unsightly scores and scratches.
Next, vacuum the surface to remove all loose dust, especially between the joints.
There are many available wood finishes, but the choice is up to you. Polyurethane floor varnish is hardwearing and lasts for many years. However, if you don’t expect the floor to receive hard wear, use a water–based, lacquer or a hard wax oil.
However, always take the advice of the parquet manufacturer as the blocks might already have a sealer.
Parquet Flooring Q&A
Is parquet flooring outdated?
Not at all. Although parquet flooring has been around for hundreds of years, it is as relevant now as it always has been. The beauty of finished hardwood is always in fashion. And, hardwood parquet flooring is a very practical surface, resistant to kids and pets.
Which parquet flooring is best?
There are so many different types of parquet floor that the ‘best’ is the one that suits you. One of the best things about parquet flooring is that it comes in so many different shapes and sizes. Different woods come in varying degrees of hardness, colour, grain pattern and texture. You can arrange the wooden blocks in many different geometrical patterns. Typically, herringbone, chevron, basketweave, and more. Some types of parquet blocks show off your room well. In comparison, others are great if you have pets with claws or children with hard metal toy cars.
What era is parquet flooring?
The earliest designs that we know of are from 16th century France. Probably, the artisans made each block by hand. So, parquet from this era was very labour intensive. Records show designs using geometrical patterns with blocks of many different colours, shapes and sizes.
Usually, automatic machines produce modern parquet blocks using standard sizes and shapes, so pattens tend to be repetitious.
How long does parquet flooring last?
Typically, if you look after your parquet floor and keep it well maintained, probably about 10 to 15 years. But, in the UK, many houses from the early part of the 20th century have parquet flooring. Generally, these are in good condition, only requiring some attention. So, a good clean, followed by sanding and resealing bring the colours back like new.
Can you cover parquet flooring?
You can use parquet flooring as a sub-floor for other coverings as long as the blocks are stable, and securely glued to the floor. However, make sure the covering won’t cause the hardwood blocks to sweat, as even the smallest amount of damp causes warping and peeling away from the adhesive.
How do you restore parquet flooring without sanding?
First, let me say that sanding is probably the best way to prepare a parquet surface for restoration. However, ‘scuffing’ the finish with a floor buffer, might be the next best method. Then, add another finishing coat to refresh the original.
Find Floor Fitters Near You
A hardwood floor always gives a touch of sophistication to any room in your home. But, if you’re worried about the cost of parquet flooring being beyond your budget, think again. Complete the form on this page, and you’ll receive 3 or 4 competitive quotations from parquet flooring installers based near you.