If you are thinking of purchasing a parquet, or if you have already made your choice and have a parquet floor in your home, you will certainly at least have heard of oxidation. In this new instalment of our Berti Tips feature we are going to provide guidance on choosing parquet with regard to the characteristics of wood in general and the species of wood used for parquet.
As we like to remind everyone, one of the finest things about wood is that we are dealing with an absolutely natural material: this brings countless benefits, but it also brings us into contact with phenomena which may appear strange or alarming on first impression.
There is no need to worry: oxidation is a completely natural phenomenon, which occurs when the parquet is exposed to light. It has nothing to do with the quality of the chosen wood. Wood is a photo-sensitive material, so all kinds of parquet normally undergo natural changes in colour on exposure to air and light, and due to the action of ultraviolet radiation in particular. Photochromicity, meaning a significant change in colour, occurs above all on first exposure to light: it is very similar to what happens when our skins tan in the summer. The degree of oxidation will vary depending on the type of wood chosen, with more or less noticeable variations: exotic timbers (such as Teak, Doussiè and Iroko) tend to change colour more and their vein patterns become more uniform. It is also important to remember that most types of wood tend to turn darker over time, except for Teak, which becomes lighter in shade.
But how long does the oxidation process last? Initially, the variations will be visible to the naked eye, but the rate of change in colour becomes less noticeable with time. The speed and degree of oxidation are closely correlated to the brightness of the light to which the parquet is exposed and the finish applied. The oxidation process overall may therefore continue even for several years, as anyone will know how has moved their furniture and found that the parquet that was protected from the light is slightly lighter: however, thanks to oxidation the whole floor will soon acquire the same colour as the part that was initially exposed to the light. It is a good idea, and usually included in the recommendations for the period just after the parquet is laid, to allow the entire surface to oxidise as much as possible before placing furniture and carpets on it.