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Flooring materials June 15, 2006

Posted by fukumimi in general.

via 100shiki

This Puzzlefloor concept looks interesting, although I'd want to know what "northern hardwood" they are using in these floor panels. They mention the renewable nature of wood, temperate climate hardwoods aren't the fastest growing trees around.

These are advertised as "solid hardwood" pieces and that immediately led me to worry about warpage, although the pieces are intended to be glued down. Looking at the pictures posted in the gallery, it would appear that the individual pieces are comprised of a collection of (probably pressure glued) thinner pieces, like a butcher's block, this would reduce the tendancy to warp. However, the pieces are thin (5/8inch) and I wonder how much warpage might result, especially as there are inherently going to be lots of edges, and even slight bumps are irritably noticeable. 

With Japanese housing usually having poor thermal insulation and usually no central heating, wooden flooring gets mighty cold in the winter. Especially as the Japanese normally take their shoes off in the house. There are various underfloor heating systems available, but they would be wasted if they are placed beneath 16mm of wood and then adhesives and whatnot. I suppose we could wear indoor slippers around the house.

I still don't quite understand why modern Japanese housing is so poor at keeping the cold out. When the houses were built of wood and paper (or, post-war, wood and corrugated sheeting), it was unavoidable. But even in modern buildings, it gets so cold inside if you don't have a heater on or something. And yet hardly any houses are built with central heating. Surely it is more economical to build a integrated building wide central heating (and maybe cooling) system than to use the air conditioner on heater mode or use a portable electric fan heater. Or a oil heater, if your landlord allows. This is 21st century Tokyo and yet in the winter little trucks carrying heater fuel drive around Tokyo and people come out of their houses with plastic containers and buy heater fuel, and store this stuff in their homes. Sounds like an unnecessary fire hazard in metropolitan Tokyo. 


1. gme - June 20, 2006

It’s interesting that you mention central heating. Not sure if you’re aware that for a while there was something of a fad for equipping high-end apartment blocks at least in Tokyo with central heating systems (most places I’ve seen that have them tend to be 25-35 years old). However, for whatever reason, you’re usually charged a hefty fixed monthly fee for using them–perhaps Y40-60,000, which I suspect you’d be hard pressed to get near even using the airconditioning. I don’t know whether the systems are monstrously inefficient or require frequent maintenance, or it’s simply a scam.

The 24-hour air circulation systems that some newer buildings have seem to get a better press, however.

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