Parquet flooring in Singapore has the reputation of being expensive. However, when we told people the price we did ours, they were shocked that it’s not as expensive they expected. It’s almost on par as tiling.
There are many types of flooring available, but we chose parquet for our rooms because we like the real solid wood feel under our feet and not the plastic or rubbery feel of vinyl/laminate flooring. Moreover, I read in renotalk forum that there’s toxic gas emission for vinyl flooring. I’m not sure how true it is, but with a baby in tow, it’s better be safe than sorry. Best to go natural with 100% real wood.
We’ve been told that it’s hard to maintain parquet because it’s easily scratched and worn out. However the parquet in my parent’s house look alright to me even after two decades of wear and tear. In any case, it can be sanded to look like new again, unlike laminated flooring which has to be fully replaced.
Hau Hau Parquet
Since parquet is expensive through contractor, we went to source for the wood ourselves. We found a few vendors, but the pricing gets quite ridiculous too. Hence, we settled for the cheapest we found, Hau Hau Parquet. There might be cheaper ones around, but we were comfortable with Hau Hau, who has been around for a long time and is well-established.
Hau Hau only provides the wood and not the labour to lay the parquet. However, Hau Hau have a few contacts in hand to recommend to their customers without getting any commission. We paid directly to the worker when he came to our door. It might be cheaper for us to get someone else, but since we were lazy to look around, we trusted Hau Hau’s recommendation, thinking they also have a reputation to uphold.
The labour cost is S$1,600, regardless if we want to lay parquet for 3 rooms or the whole flat. Hence the cost will average to be lower if we lay parquet for the whole flat. We were in a dilemma but with the living and dining rooms being high traffic areas, it’s best to get something that’s more durable. So we got homogeneous tiles for those areas.
We paid S$2,095 to Hau Hau for Burma Teak strip* (401 sqft x $4.10), skirting, wood glue and delivery charge of S$40. According to Hau Hat], the price of the wood will increase. Thus, if you decide to get parquet, place your deposit as soon as possible to lock the price. The price increase did happen to us. Hau Hau will also provide more wood than your surface area as back up and for them to cut into the room area shape. So there will be excess wood for you to keep (comes in handy-read on).
The total cost also varies with the pattern in which the parquet is being laid and the thickness of each parquet pieces. Based on Hau Hau’s recommendation, we got the 11mm x 70mm x 1″/2″/2.5″ (thickness, width, length). The width varies because of the way the planks are laid. The worker will cut certain pieces to fit into the room shape. We wanted longer length in general because it will look better but Hau Hau mentioned that it will not be as durable as shorter pieces.
Do remember that you need to pay for the screed to be laid before you can lay parquet. We topped out S$400 on top of the HDB “free screeding”. Our MIA-ed contractor wanted to charge us $1,200 for pre-packed screeding of the three bedrooms of a 4-room flat (S$3psf for 400sqft).
INDONESIA TEAK VS BURMA TEAK
The price of Burma Teak is more expensive than Indonesia Teak as the Burma trees are older and supposedly more durable. According to Hau Hau, trees in Indonesia have been cut down long before Burma. And hence the continuous replanting sees younger and younger trees being used in Indonesia. Because of the much weathering that an older tree has withstood, its wood is assumedly more durable and hardy compared to a younger tree. Aesthetics wise, Burma teak has a darker shade as compared to Indonesia Teak.
PROCESS OF LAYING PARQUET
Vinyl flooring can be laid immediately after cement screeding. However, you have to wait 1-2 weeks for the screed to dry before you can lay the parquet or laminate flooring. But with prepacked screed. you don’t need to wait that long. It dries up the next day for you to lay your parquet.
IF YOU ARE LAYING BOTH TILES AND PARQUET
In our case, there was a conflict of interest between the HDB screed contractor and our contractor. They were persuading us to let the other party start work first. Because of some technical issue of sloping of the ground, the HDB contractor insisted our contractor should lay the tiles first so that he can screed to match it.
On the other hand, our contractor wanted HDB contractor to screed for the parquet first so that the tiles wouldn’t be damaged during the screeding work. The HDB screed contractor tried to scare us by saying that if he start work first we would have to do an ugly metal strip that “balances” out the uneven heights of parquet and tiles.
We didn’t want our tiles to be damaged and hence chose to live with the metal strip. And it didn’t turn out too bad in the end! Thankfully I remembered that most houses have these metal strips and they were almost unnoticeable! Good thing we asked the HDB screed contractor to start work first. Because from the way they bring in the materials and work, the protective flooring covering might be torn through and our tiles damaged.
TIMELINE FOR LAYING PARQUET
1. Lay the screed first. Wait for 1-2 weeks for it to dry (or 1 day for prepacked screed).
2. Arrange for Hau Hau to deliver the wood and book a slot with the parquet contractor.
3. Parquet to be laid and nailed into place. Then, wait for the wood glue to dry in 8-9days. The nails protrude everywhere, like a bed of nails. Other subcontractors will step unto those nails with their boots and continue working once the wood glue is dried.
4. After 8-9 days or after your carpentry is in, the parquet can now be sanded and polished. Wait for another 1 day for the polish to dry before it is finally finished!
You can choose to sand and polish the parquet either before or after the carpentry is in. We chose to polish after the carpentry is in. In this way, the floor will not be scratched when they install the carpentry. Even though the workers installing the carpentry will try to be careful, there’s always a possibility of an “accident”.
Another good thing was, we had decided to install a gypsum board divider (fake wall) along with the wardrobe in our MBR at the last minute. And so the parquet worker used the excess wood (good thing we didn’t throw away!) and do up the skirting on the divider when they sanded and polished the room.
But a downside to this arrangement is that the floor underneath the carpentry will not be polished. Then again, we will not notice it.
All in all, we were happy with how the parquet turned out! Matched nicely with our tiles and doors too. So will you be choosing parquet for your flooring?
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