Wood flooring durability is a key: interview with Tim Smith, director of Orchard Building Solutions

Jul 12, 2023

Tim Smith, the director of Orchard Building Solutions, has agreed to share his construction industry knowledge and tips with Ecohardwood blog readers. Tim's experience covers a wide range of topics relevant to both homeowners and professionals in the industry, from choosing the right flooring materials to managing construction projects. 

Tim's entrepreneurial journey began in 2012 when he and his colleague founded Orchard Building Solutions. Thanks to their impressive accomplishments, the company quickly expanded. Today Orchard Building Solutions work with corporate and residential clients across London. It carries out planned maintenance, insurance reinstatement works, refurbishments and office fit-outs as well as extensions and loft conversions for surveyors, architects, asset managers, property facility managers and homeowners.

herringbone wood flooring
Ecohardwood's double oak engineered wood flooring was installed in a herringbone pattern and a Waterfall colour, featuring a width of 140x700 mm and a character grade.

Herringbone wood flooring in Waterfall colour

Can you tell us about your approach to selecting materials for your construction projects and what specifically attracted you towards Ecohardwood oak wood flooring?

I consider myself quite meticulous when it comes to planning a job. While I often work with specifications provided by designers and architects, whenever I have the opportunity to choose materials for a project, I dive deep into research. I believe it's essential to put in the effort and ensure that I make informed decisions. When I first came across Ecohardwood oak wood flooring, I was immediately drawn to its quality and aesthetics. The perfect opportunity to use your flooring came when we undertook refurbishment works in our own house. What I truly appreciate about Ecohardwood wood flooring is its compatibility with plumbed underfloor heating system. It has been specifically engineered for water-based systems, and it has exceeded my expectations in terms of performance. As someone who can be quite particular as a customer, I must say that this wood floor has weathered and worn exceptionally well, and we haven't encountered any issues whatsoever.

What was your vision for the interior design of your home?

From a flooring trend perspective, my vision for the interior design was centered around herringbone flooring, which was very fashionable and trend-driven at the time. Although I personally feel it has been overdone now, I was drawn to the parquet setup. I loved the Waterfall colour and had seen some great imagery online, as well as on shows like Grand Designs, which inspired me to incorporate it into my own house. Having experienced it firsthand, I can speak knowledgeably about its quality and durability. It has worn very well over time. There was a minor issue when cleaning the oven with Oven Pride and placing the trays in a plastic bag on the floor, causing a stain when the bag leaked. However, this incident was resolved by seamlessly replacing the wood planks. The result was impeccable, and it's impossible to tell that any work was done. I genuinely couldn't recommend your oak flooring more highly.

Thank you for sharing your positive experience with us. When selecting flooring or other construction materials, what factors do you consider to be the most important aside from their aesthetic appeal?

I focus on a combination of visual appeal and durability. It's crucial to choose materials that will create the desired look for the client and fit within their budget. However, opting for the cheapest products rarely yields satisfactory results. For flooring, I advise clients to invest in options that are durable and can be maintained, such as engineered oak flooring that can be sanded down or re-buffed to restore their appearance. Engineered wood flooring offer versatility in refinishing, unlike laminate floors, which have limitations. It's important to think long-term and consider the potential for refinishing or changing the floor's colour. Wood flooring durability is always a key.

In bathrooms, where clients often underestimate costs and timelines, I emphasize the significance of purchasing high-quality shower valves and sanitary items. Opting for cheap alternatives may result in frequent replacements and additional expenses. 

Considering budget constraints, one tip I offer is to select a standard kitchen from reputable brands like Howdens or Magnet and allocate more funds towards upgrading the worktops. The kitchen carcasses from these brands are reliable, and it's not always necessary to spend significantly more on a bespoke or high-end brand. However, investing in a durable, visually appealing worktop can significantly enhance the overall look and longevity of the kitchen, making it a worthwhile investment.

In summary, my advice is to prioritize durability, conduct thorough research, and avoid choosing materials solely based on their visual appeal or initial cost. By making informed decisions and spending wisely, clients can achieve a high-quality finish that meets their needs and withstands the test of time.

How important is flooring in the overall design of a property?

In my opinion, flooring is everything to a property. While other design elements can be added and modified, the floor serves as a fundamental starting point. It not only provides a functional surface, the right flooring can enhance the visual appeal and set the desired tone for the entire property. 

From a practical and functional perspective, flooring needs to be suitable for the intended use of the space and should complement other design elements. In the case of my own house, the herringbone flooring from Ecohardwood not only looks fantastic but also performs exceptionally well with our underfloor heating system. This compatibility was one of the reasons we chose it.

I believe that starting with the floor is a solid foundation when designing a space. In a current project, for example, I envision using wide plank, light oak flooring as the basis of the overall look. This wide plank flooring sets the stage for the design, allowing me to build upon it with other elements.

You've been working in the property and construction industry for many years. How have you seen the industry evolve, and what innovations do you appreciate or dislike?

I've witnessed several changes and innovations within the property and construction industry. Trends come and go in all aspects of life, but I firmly believe that a good wood floor in a classic traditional style will never go out of fashion. It's a timeless choice that ages gracefully and maintains its appeal. That being said, there have been notable advancements and developments in the industry. The availability of different types of flooring, such as laminate, parquet and engineered wood, has expanded significantly. Moreover, there are more companies willing to provide bespoke solutions, including radiator pipe covers, trims, and thresholds with unique features like brass inlay strips for border edging.

I've also observed greater experimentation in floor installation techniques. It's become more common to see rooms framed with straight planks and featuring herringbone or chevron flooring patterns in the centre. These creative approaches add visual interest and provide unique design possibilities. There has been a push towards environmentally friendly practices. It's becoming more important for flooring products to be sustainably made. Additionally, the compatibility of wood floors with underfloor heating systems, whether electric or water-based, has been a key consideration. Ensuring that the flooring works effectively with these heating systems has been a focus for manufacturers.

See more images of Orchard Building Solutions home renovation project in Wandsworth >>

Read more about oak wood flooring trends and news >>

For the wood flooring installation in London please contact: [email protected], 07824 428413

We recently collaborated with Ecohardwoods for our project in Ealing, and I must say, the experience was outstanding. A special thanks to Irmantas for his invaluable assistance. His expertise in engineered wood was evident in the quality of materials we received. The precision and quality of their engineered wood contributed immensely to the aesthetic and durability of our project. Our clients were extremely pleased with the results. Kudos to Irmantas and the Ecohardwoods team for their exemplary service and top-tier products. Highly recommend them for anyone in need of premium engineered wood supplies.
Highly motivated approach to customer service, exceptionally high quality flooring, delivered exactly on the day that was first estimated, extremely pleased and satisfied with the whole experience and will be placing another order in the next month or two for phase 2 of my flooring project.
Our experience at Indomo Ltd has always been positive with Ecohardwood. Their flooring offers an ideal balance between quality and price while being eco-friendly, which is perfect for our clients. The prompt arrival of samples and friendly customer service made the experience smooth. We have specified their flooring throughout the spaces of our project, including the kitchen, as we trust its durability and versatility.
Hamilford Design have used Ecohardwood floors across multiple projects. The product is incredible and the team are extremely professional and efficient. We look forward to working with them in the future!
We popped down to the showroom last year and ordered 2-layer Ivory, brushed character planks which we saw online. It was worth the journey as the planks are as beautiful as we thought. We also wanted flooring that the builder would enjoy working with as there is a lot of floor. Fircim Bici (our builder) was really impressed with the quality. But most of all, we have lived with this floor for five months and had many comments as it how beautiful it is.
Ecohardwood Ltd - Hardwood Oak Flooring & Engineered Wood Floors London
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