An Interview with our Master Fitter
As part of a new Series of Blogs, we will be interviewing members of our long standing team here at Turgon; they will be giving tips and pointers as well as an in-depth look into their world.
This week we have an interview with Master Fitter – Ekrem Hallili
How long have you been fitting wooden floors ?
I started fitting wooden floors in 1995, so that’s 21 years
What are the main stages in a successful installation of a wooden floor ?
1. I always check with the client that the product I have is the one they ordered. I fitted a floor a long time ago without checking and when the client came home he looked at the floor and said that’s the wrong colour. I never made that mistake again.
2. I always check the amount of wood I have and the accessories I have to see if there is anything missing. If there’s anything missing it’s still early and there will be time to get me what I need in order to complete the installation on time.
3. Next I check the site conditions using a hygrometer to make sure everything conforms to British Standard 8201:2011. This includes checking the air relative humidity, subfloor moisture content and the moisture content of the new wooden floor. I would never fit a floor outside the conditions set out in BS8201:2011 because if you do and it goes wrong it’s your fault and it can be very expensive to put it right.
4. Is the subfloor level ? It should be +/- 3mm over a 2m span according to British Standards. I would always take my time here to make sure the subfloor is level will give a much higher standard of floor fitting.
5. Setting out. Choosing where to start fitting the floor is not easy so I always take my time to make sure the floor looks its best aesthetically. It’s worth taking your time here, don’t be in a rush, I never am.
6. The easy bit, fitting the floor.
7. Finishing details, trims, beadings, scotias. Again I never rush this part of the job, a well laid floor can be ruined by shoddily fitted trims.8. The final stage which is often forgotten about is protecting the newly laid floor. If there is any other work going on in the property I always protect the floor. Too many people don’t and end up wishing they had. It’s cheaper and easier to protect the floor than to repair it.
What was the most difficult floor you ever fitted ?
It wasn’t a floor, it was a detail on a continuous Versailles patterned floor we fitted at George Harrison’s Henley mansion. We had to clad a 1.2m circular platform with an oak face, a circular border, a traditional oak bullnose around the perimeter and tile and lattice pattern within. I spent 5 days in total creating all the curved pieces, fitting them and staining them to match the floor. It was a work of art.
What in your opinion separates good fitters from great fitters ?
Anyone can fit a wooden floor well, it’s the details that separates the men from the boys.
What kind of details do you mean ?
Curved borders, Man Hole covers, setting out, stairs, curved bottom steps and most importantly selecting the planks.
What do you mean by selecting the planks ?
A really good fitter will not just lay the planks as they come out of the packs. Each plank is unique and as such it has to be fitted in the correct position so it works with all the surrounding planks. A great fitter will be able to do this taking into account the tone and the grain pattern of each plank.
What is the best installation method ?
There is actually no such thing as the best installation method. The type of floor and the site will dictate the best installation method which can be different on every job. Having said that my preferred method is to glue the planks down using MS Polymer adhesive. Once the adhesive is cured the planks are going nowhere and your floor will never squeak.
If you could give one piece of advice to anyone considering a wooden floor, what would it be ?
That’s an easy one. Make sure that the people who are supplying the floor fit it too. That way if anything should go wrong there will only be one person to deal with. Remember, the real experts in wooden flooring are those that fit the floor as well as supplying it. They will always give the customer the best advice.
What is the most exotic location you have visited with your job?
I have been to many places around the world fitting wooden floors, Morzine in France, Trieste in Italy, Verbier in Switzerland, Moscow in Russia but the best one of all was in a small town called Bonifcio on the southern tip of Corsica. I spent two weeks there in June 2016 fitting 450sqm of some of the most beautiful wide oak planks in a beach front, three storey, timber framed property. The views were almost a spectacular as the floor.