Why wood is so good

WOODEN floors never really go out of fashion.

Unlike carpets, they just get better with age, developing a sheen from the thousands of footsteps that fall on them. “We’ve got a solid oak floor in our lounge that will last forever,” says Tom Cockerill, who owns a wood floor company based in Darlington.

Traditional oak flooring is selling very well, as is parquet, says 25-year-old Tom, but in the recession his customers are also restoring what they have. “You can keep sanding back and repolishing a wooden floor every ten years or so and it will come up beautifully.”

Tom started out importing timber but now his company specialises in fitting and restoring wooden floors, and kitchen joinery, on projects large and small: a couple of weeks ago it was a £130-job in a council house in Hurworth; prior to that the refurbishment of the chemistry block at Hull University as part of a million pound project.

The company also laid down the dance floor at the art deco-style Tindale Towers, just outside Bishop Auckland, and even work for the odd celeb. “We did Janet Street Porter’s house in Pateley Bridge, near Harrogate. The builders had made a bit of a hash of it, so we sanded and repaired the wooden floors,” says Tom.

Another project Tom is particularly proud of is Hindley Hall, an 18th Century house in Northumberland. “We completely took the flooring to bits and put it back together again. We used wide oak planks and bashed them with sticks and hammers, anything that would make a dent, painted them black, then sanded them back. It looked fantastic, genuinely old,” he says.

One reason many people carpet over old wooden floors is because sanding can make such a mess, says Tom, but the company has machines with external vacuums which trap 99 per cent of the dust.

The Thomas Cockerill team is made up of skilled flooring specialists and craftsmen, supported by the management team, including Tom’s partner Sarah Fanning, who is finance director. They are the recommended wooden flooring fitters for a number of timber merchants, building contractors, architects and interior designers in the region.

- This article was originally published in LivingNorthEast -