paper igloo architecture and design

Upper storey flooring completed!

March 30, 2016

All of our free time time month has been spent finishing the upper storey floor finishes....

We have two different floor finishes on this level: solid oak parquet in the inner 'box' which will be stained black to match the oak clad walls, and 'Cement Grey' linoleum in the remaining spaces.

We chose linoleum partly because it is made from natural products and partly because we wanted a smooth, simple block of colour to contrast with the texture and variation found in the oak parquet. (We used Marmoleum Walton Uni, which is one of Forbo's brands of linoleum. An excerpt describing the composition: "...It is made from 97% natural raw materials, 70% of which are rapidly renewable, along with a 43% recycled content. The key raw materials used in its production include linseed oil, which comes from the flax plant seeds, wood flour as production waste from controlled forestry plantations and jute, a crop whose fibres provide the material for the membrane onto which the linoleum is calendared.")

The oak parquet is laid directly on top of the acoustic floor system (glued to maintain the 'floating floor' aspect of the fermacell flooring below), whilst the linoleum required another layer of plywood to bring the levels up to match.

So the first step for the main room areas was to lay the 14mm plywood throughout all areas that are out with the inner box...

This was screw fixed using very short screws so as to only fasten it to the fermacell layers themselves to avoid breaching the integral mineral wool acoustic insulation layer. (We could have glued these boards as well but the eco-friendly flooring glue is pretty expensive so we opted for screwing this layer to save a little!)

Any awkward shapes, such as around the MVHR ductwork in the cupboard had to be measured and cut around.

We then used this proprietary feathering compound to smooth over the screw heads and joints between the boards. 

This was then mechanically sanded back until it was completely smooth. 

The next step was then to complete the parquet so that all of the edges that the linoleum abuts were laid and finished. We had some surplus parquet we had purchased for a previous project from Russwood many years ago which had been stored for us for quite some time, so we decided to finally use this and give my dad back some garage space!


We used these longer boards in the main hall area, and we purchased some shorter boards for the two ensuites (the smaller scale suiting the more compact spaces).

In order to continue the 'theme' of diagonals and mitres initiated by the diagonal cladding we decided to lay the parquet in a 'chevron' pattern (even though it was all 'herringbone'!) - this meant that we had to cut each short end and had no tongue or groove on those ends to help pull the flooring together. Glueing the flooring also made the laying process slightly slower as it was harder to set a specific point without knocking out another simultaneously. We got there in the end!

We had to use a glue suitable for an anhydrite / gypsum surface due to the fermacell board and it's porosity. After much deliberation we decided to use Kerakoll Slc Eco S11, which achieves an E3 rating in terms of sustainability. We had hoped to use a suitable Kerakoll glue rated E5 (the most environmentally friendly products they manufacture) however it was very difficult to source for delivery to Scotland, so in the end the product we used was the best compromise (solution!) all round. (More on their environmental ratings and ethos can be found here.)

Some of the older parquet had twisted slightly due to poor storage conditions so we had some sanding to do once it was all laid, although this is not uncommon with parquet as it generally requires more sanding than boards.

The parquet was laid with a small expansion gap at the perimeter which will later be covered by the shadow gap of the final wall material (although we did infill these tiny strips as well just in case they would be visible!).

The completed strip of parquet in the master bedroom that defines the edge of the inner box...


The parquet pre-sanding...

The boards, sanded and ready for staining later...

The final step in the process was to lay the linoleum. After a good tidy up we managed to clear enough space in the double height to roll out and cut the strips for each room!

The process is much the same as for many resilient floor coverings, however linoleum is more brittle than say rubber flooring, and as such requires some careful handling taking care not to put creases in the material when lifting or unrolling.

Each strip is rolled and loose laid into position. One half is then rolled back while the floor is vacuum cleaned and then glued. A small notched spreader is used to distribute the glue evenly over the substrate before the first half is taken back and rolled with a 45kg proprietary roller.

The process is then repeated with the other half, and the whole sheet is then rolled for approximately 10 minutes to make sure there are no air bubbles, working across the roll width first then along the length.

The sheets are butted up to one another (although on commercial projects the seams are often 'welded' using self coloured rods of the same material) and both edges rolled to ensure a nice tight fit.

This description sounds considerably easier than it was as manhandling the 2m wide strips at the floor perimeter under 3 service cavity edges was pretty tricky - once the glue sticks it really sticks!

We finished the job with 4 sticky trainers, several glue-encrusted socks, and many rigid gloves all destined for the ever expanding 'work clothes' pile!