Q: How did it all start?
A: Robert J. Henry began his journey into the world of antique timbers back in 2001, restoring period home wood floors in Central London. In 2003 Henry started reclaiming Victorian pine floorboards and beams from Historic cotton mills in Manchester, birth place of the Industrial revolution. These ancient timbers were re-machined and restored before being sold on to London retailers and private customers. In 2005 brother Thomas M. Henry joined forces as Workshop manager and the business has flourished since. Beating and expanding through a prolonged global recession, RFC has now become a global phenomenon and industry leader, recognized for product innovation and sustainable business practice.
Q: Do you export internationally?
A: We are an international company with independent companies in the UK, we have sales representatives in the USA, UK and Scandinavia. For all other global markets, we are able to provide quotes F.O.B.
Q: What makes RFC unique?
A: This depends on what you are looking for. We are a mid sized company encompassing both a ‘boutique’ and a large corporation business philosophy. We are small enough and passionate enough about what we do to never sacrifice on quality or outsource production without guaranteeing complete compatibility and respect for our company values, creativity and quality. Nevertheless, at the same time we are not such a ‘boutique’ business that we lack financial backing enabling us to safely meet the precise demands for any large scale commercial project.
The quality of our products and unique surface creations are often the envy of our competitors because many of these products have been created by hand, in house by the founder of the company and a tight team of finishing professionals. We are also a PEFC and FSC® registered company where all production is 100% executed in Europe with strict quality controls enforced.
Q: How does this all work?
A: We provide both authentic reclaimed wood as well as new wood that is treated/coloured to replicate reclaimed or to just look contemporary. We are specialists at finishing with a combined industry experience of over 50 years, many of our unique creations are only available at RFC.
Q: Where does your Reclaimed wood come from?
A: We source our wood from all over the world but predominantly from the UK, USA, and Western Europe. Mostly we carry reclaimed oak and pine, although occasionally we do have other species.
Q: Where does your new wood come from?
A: The majority of our new wood is Northern European Oak, Mountain Character grade. Mountain Character grade means there are lots of beautiful knots where the branches used to be, character is consistent and the grain of the wood is tighter and so the timber is denser. Climate conditions, soil nutrition, water run-off all play apart as natures create a finer quality of oak for flooring.
Q: What is Prime grade and how much does it cost?
A: Prime grade is the highest grade of new oak flooring available with zero open knots and very infrequent pin knots. The grain tends to be straighter and provides a cleaner more uniform look. The cost of making any order in prime grade is an additional £20 per m2, when compared to our standard character grade.
Q: What does engineered wood mean?
A: Our engineered platform has a top layer of real wood adhered to a multi-layered structure of Birch plywood. This is to prevent the wood from moving when fit with Under Floor Heating or challenging environments with consistent humidity variation. We use the highest quality WPB (water proof boiled) engineered platform available that is 100% northern European produced without the use of any formaldehyde in the bonding. All of our engineered platforms are 100% European manufactured come with a manufacturing guarantee against de-lamination.
Q: Why chose a 16mm engineered board and not a 21mm board?
A 21mm platform is for load bearing, eg over joists, it will support a heavier load. A 16mm platform is fine for any subfloor and for under floor heating. The is no difference with durability, quality or lifespan.
Q: Can I sand my pre-finished floor if I don’t like the colour in the future?
We see our pre-finished products as an investment and not a short term ‘styling’ fix or fad. Our wood floors should be cared for and appreciated, we consider the surface colour to be as precious as a painting. The floor can be sanded if desired but this will remove the colour in most cases, as the colour will run to a max 1-2mm deep into the wood. The hard wax oils protect the colour, so aftercare becomes more of a focus than worrying about sanding or not sanding the wood in the future. Over time, the colour and patina improves with each application of hard wax oil.
Q: Are your floors guaranteed?
It has been known for other companies to offer a 30 year warranty with their floor and floor finish. We would advise that you read the small print because for the most part it is not possible to guarantee a floor finish simply because we cannot guarantee how the floor will react to potential hazards such as fire, acid, chemicals, physical damage etc.
Wood is a natural product and not as hard as metal or stone, dings appearing over a period of time are to be expected. However, with correct aftercare our floors will last for centuries. Akin to the fine European wooden floors passed on from generation to generation, the story within the surface becomes its’ greatest asset.
We offer a manufacturing guarantee with all of our engineered floors against de-lamination, provided the flooring has been laid correctly and the boards have not been subject to floor temperature of over 27 degrees. (British Standards Specification)
Q: What does tongue and groove mean?
A: The joint between two boards in which a raised area on the edge of one board fits into a corresponding groove in the edge of the other to produce a flush surface and secure bond. We commonly calibrate the tongue to be 1mm bigger than the tongue, this means that the boards are easier to fit.
Q: What is a micro bevel?
A: For the majority of our new oak platforms as solid or engineered, we encourage the presence of a micro bevel, which is a tiny ‘V’ groove that appears when 2 boards are placed along side one another. This precise and subtle mechanism creates a smooth transition between board surfaces which is beneficial if the sub floor isn’t 100% flat. If there was not micro bevel, potentially a small lip between board surfaces could result in fine chipping from the edge of the board.
We also offer, ‘Soft Round’, ‘Hand Carved’, ‘Straight Edge’ profiles to the edge of the boards depending on specific requirements.
Q: Can you explain how to fit one of your floors?
A: We are for the most part a supply only company but can recommend a fitter if it’s a London based project. Every property is very different and a professional floor fitter should make the most appropriate decision for your property. Generally speaking glue and pinning is the most stable way to fit a floor. For commercial projects we are able to offer a supply and fit service for that extra peace of mind.
Q: What does a “floating” floor mean?
A: Floating a floor is when the tongue and groove is glued together but not the bottom of the planks. This is a cheaper way to fit a floor and is not recommended. Due to fact that only the edges are glued and not the bottoms you might notice pockets of bounce as you walk across the floor.
Q: Can you give me an estimate on fitting costs?
A: The price to fit your floor will vary greatly depending on the product you choose and the condition of your property. Fitting solid reclaimed timber that will require some sanding and colouring will be more expensive due to the additional finishing costs. Engineered flooring that is pre-finished/coloured will be less expensive.
The conditional of your existing floor can also effect the cost, having the current floor removed or levelled, removing skirting boards, fitting a curved wall are just a few things that can affect the fitting cost.
Q: Is it okay to have my builder lay the floor?
A: Many builders are qualified to fit floors but someone who is a professional floor fitter will take into account the aesthetic placement of the boards as well as having more overall knowledge and experience in fitting. If you are considering having your builder fit the floor it is advisable to ask for references/photos of their past work. Reclaimed floors should be given more consideration when deciding who will fit your floor as the finishing/colouring process is a much more specific skill.
Q: Can I use solid wood with under floor heating?
A: This is highly debated depending on who you speak too but as a general rule the answer is no. However this does not mean it’s entirely impossible. The danger of using solid wood on under floor heating is the likelihood that it will cup or bow, this is most certainly true of new wood and especially true if the new wood is over 180mm wide. Antique wood has dried for so many years that the actual cell structure of the wood has changed and thus the potential of the wood bowing is unlikely. It is important to note that not all reclaimed wood is antique. If you would like to speak with us in more detail about the possibility of using solid wood with a UFH system please call our showroom for more information.
Q: I am concerned that the engineered boards will move, can you guarantee that they will not?
A: All of our engineered boards are guaranteed against de-lamination. Proper installation by a certified and insured fitter is the only way to guarantee the fit of a floor over time.
Q: I don’t like the filler that is used to fill the knots of your engineered boards, can you remove this?
A: If you are using an engineered board any knots or holes will be sealed with a specialist wood filler containing actual fine oak dust and a 2 part resin, however if you are using solid wood the knots and splits will be left open. If you would like your floor without you can order it in Prime Grade at an additional £20 per m2. Please note Prime Grade will increase the lead time by 3-4 weeks.
Q: I’m worried that the cracks & Knots in the wood and the knots will open up, will this happen?
Wood is a natural product and while we are able to offer a manufacturing guarantee on our engineered boards against de-lamination, the top layer oak oak itself with still react ever so slightly to the environment. In winter, over underfloor heating for example, in a hot & dry room it is possible that at certain times of the year the wood will shrink very slightly. At other times on the year, the oak will usually expand to its original size.
Q: I’m worried that the grade of wood that I order is not going to be the same as the grade of wood that arrives, is this an issue?
A: Unless specified otherwise all our orders are produced using mountain character grade European oak. You can also order Prime Grade flooring which is free of knots. Please refer to the Case Study section to see a variety of floors that have already been laid in commercial and domestic properties. This will help you gage the overall effect of the floor.
Q: I’m worried about choosing reclaimed wood for my project because of the inherent inconsistences with reclaimed wood, how do you solve this problem?
A: The strongest feature in reclaimed wood is the tonal variation. We feel this should be embraced rather than combated. Depending what you choose to finish the floor with (hard wax oil, traditional wax, lacquer) you will be able to even out the tone of the floor but this will not be as uniform as pre-finished new wood. If you are concerned about achieving the right colour when using reclaimed wood you should speak to your fitter about colouring options.
Q: I’m worried about the wood floor surface scratching, what do you advise?
A: Adhering felt to the bottom of furniture, using a good quality door mat are two key ways to help keep dust down and prevent scratching . Depending of the type of finish your floor has you can also use maintenance oil or a pigmented hard wax oil to locally touch up any damage.
Q: I’m worried about the colour variation within a product. Should I be concerned?
A: If you are concerned about colour variation you can order a sample panel for a refundable deposit. These panels are just under a m2 and will give you a better understanding of any potential colour variation. You can also refer to the case study section to see many examples for floors that have already been laid. Please remember that we are not creating exact copies of floor panels or hand samples, we are creating individual floors with their own unique personality and charm.