Project House - Laying a Herringbone Floor

May 10, 2017


Parquet floors have been around forever, yet the classic herringbone pattern is having a resurgence as of late and is super on trend. We've got some classic parquet in a small section of our hallway, it's over a hundred years old. So we loved the idea of updating it for our new kitchen extension. We put a lot of solid oak planks in our last house, and in this house so far we've sanded back all the original floorboards, which all look great but plain floorboards get a bit boring after a while. We wanted to do something a bit different for the kitchen, so herringbone it would be! 
Side note - if you're wondering what the difference is between herringbone and parquet - parquet refers to the size of blocks used and herringbone means the pattern in which the floor is laid. We've gone for solid oak parquet blocks laid in a herringbone shape.


We ummed and ahhed for a while over flooring choices, we knew we wanted wood of some kind - we didn't want underfloor heating so tiles would feel too cold and unless it's in some country farmhouse I'm not a massive tile fan for kitchens on a large scale. I thought about white washed floors but we have that in our bathroom and whilst they're just about OK to keep clean in a small bathroom without much traffic, I imagine they'd be a nightmare in a kitchen. I'd fallen in love with herringbone floors on Pinterest and the Devol kitchens brochure. But would a herringbone pattern be too busy in a large room? Would it cost a lot? Would it be a nightmare to source and lay? We looked at tonnes of photos on Pinterest and on Houzz, herringbone can look so different with different sized blocks and the way in which it is laid. I worried that if we got it wrong, it could look really bad. 

We started off ordering some samples online of blocks of wood. We wanted something fairly light in colour, almost white - anything but orange! We've got a lot of dark floors across the rest of the downstairs of our house but we decided against this for the kitchen, wanting something a bit brighter and lighter. The rest of our house is very classic but this kitchen is a new part of the house so we figured it could afford to be different. We then went to an oak specialist not far from us that we've used for all of our previous oak flooring boards and worktop and realised that they sold blocks of solid oak floor perfect for laying in a herringbone pattern. We looked at different colours, sizes and finishes of it and decided that we'd go for that. So within a morning, our flooring was all ordered! No more deliberating, we'd made our decision. Ben is very good for things like that, bam, decision made. 

The flooring is from Artistico {online here}, and cost £30 per square metre including VAT {then you need to add on a few hundred pounds for glue, sanding hire and a varnish/oil at the end to protect it}. We went for solid oak but other companies sell engineered {which tend to be bigger planks}. There are some faux wood alternatives around these days too if you want the look without the maintenance that comes with solid wood and the worry of water spills etc {also note that in flats you may not be allowed solid wood floors due to the noise underneath, check your lease if this applies} but we went for solid oak - a classic and we wanted small planks.  

We asked about a quote for having it fitted, but the quote was more than the floor again. Ben can turn his hand to near enough anything so decided that with the guidance of some YouTube videos and some tips from the guys at Artistico that he'd give it a go himself. So when people ask me if herringbone flooring is expensive, no the floor itself is not expensive - in fact £30 per square metre is v cheap for flooring especially solid oak. But the labour is very intensive meaning that if you don't have somebody who can lay it, you'll have to shell out almost double that to have it installed. 

It's been a complete labour of love and Ben has probably spent about 16-20 hours gluing the blocks down so far, he's around 80% finished. You then have to sand it, fill it and then sand once more with a finer grade and then finish it with a stain/oil/lacquer to protect the wood. We haven't quite decided on the finish we want to go for yet, I actually really love it as it is so want to keep the colour light and matt. I think we'll probably use this raw Oil on it, this will act as a waterproofer without changing the look too much.


To start with you're meant to lay one line down the middle of the room and let it set for a day before you start adding to the sides. Ben tied a piece of string and drew a line to make sure it was straight and then started laying the first few pieces onto the glue. You lay chevrons in a line but you'll quickly find out that when you put one piece in, it can knock another piece out slightly down the line! That first line was the hardest to lay and get right. But once it had set hard, the rest was slightly more straightforward. 







Over the next few days, more and more of the concrete was covered up by beautiful herringbone. Ben was getting the hang of it by this point.


He'd spend a couple of hours each evening doing another section. 



The glue is in two parts which you mix together before using, you have around three hours to use it before it sets hard. So Ben tended to work in three hour segments at a time. 





It looked better and better as a bigger area was complete. House decisions are always such a gamble until they're in place but luckily this time we just knew it had been the right choice and we fell in love with it.



The edges are finished with two boards running parallel. You have to draw a line around the room and then cut the tops of the triangles off.





The above photos are before it got sanded. Below pics are after the first sanding.


It looks so much lighter and unified. 



I literally love it so so much. And a huge huge thank you to my lovely husband. He's vowed never to lay a herringbone floor ever again ;) I think he's glued over two thousand blocks so far! {!!}


Just a few more rows to lay and then onto the finishing off with sanding, filling, a final sand and then the protection. The hardest part is getting enough clear floor space in an extension filled with building materials/tools/paint! I'll post more photos once it's all been sanded, oiled and finished but hopefully this has answered some of your questions.

R <3 xx

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3 comments

  1. Wow I absolutely love it!!! I bet you're very pleased with the results so far.
    Lisa x

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  2. I love this type of flooring - it's a goal when I do up my future place! So satisfying to see it come together ahh

    franalibi.blogspot.co.uk

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  3. Ooh, we are in the process of moving our tiny kitchen into our dining room and the only decision I've not yet made is flooring. I don't want laminate, but as you say, tiles (esp the stone kind that I like) are a bit cold. Our units are solid oak so I thought wood flooring would be out as it would be too much texture in the room, but this is so beautiful and light, and the pattern detracts from the wood a little, that I think it could be perfect! Not sure the husband will agree if he has to lay it though - that is certainly a job I can't do this time round (tiling is normally my domain) because I'll be almost at my due date by the time we get around to installing the flooring and there's no way I'll be able to get down to the floor! :-) x

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