What Hard Flooring Do I Need?

By Andy Laird  |   |  Oct 20, 2014
Laminate Flooring

We often get asked this question, “What hard flooring do I need?” and our first response is “where are you having this floor? What wear will it get? And what is your budget for this project?”

Before you decide what you want, it is important to make sure that the flooring that you choose is suitable for use. Most hard floors require dry, sound sub floors that are level. If you have a damp floor, they need preparing with a damp proof membrane. If you do not wish for this extra expense, then you should consider alternative choices. It is true that most modern houses are proofed for damp, so you may be able to deal with a damp problem with relative ease.

Once you are sure that the floor is sound and level and will not suffer from damp, you can get moving with making your choice from the following:-

Sheet vinyl. This normally comes in three widths, 2,3 and 4 m wide. There are many different choices available in variations of wood-plank, tile and plain designs. Vinyl flooring can be sealed around the edges with mastic to provide a water resistant finish which is ideal for bathrooms and kitchens. Check on the slip resistant rating if you are concerned about slipping over. These are “R” ratings and will be seen on the sampling. The higher ratings are above an R10 numbering system. This choice is generally the least expensive option for a hard floor.

Laminate flooring traditionally comes in wood effect planks, or tile effect finishes in terrazzo type sizes. They click together and are generally fitted with scotia trims around the edges of the room, or have the skirting boards fitted over them. Expansion edges or joints are generally needed particularly in larger areas of installation. If you plan on using the product in damp or wet areas, ensure that you use an appropriate product. Laminate is generally fitted on a special underlay. This helps to reduce the sound transmission and is especially important if being fitted in a flat.

Wooden flooring comes in a multitude of species and finishes and is very much a personal selection. Remember that in areas with strong sunlight, the product is liable to fade or tone down to a paler colour. Wood has a number of fitting options, either stuck direct to the floor, or using a click system. In some cases where the wood is sufficiently  strong, the wood can be fixed to the existing floor supports. Wood fitted using the click system on “engineered wood products” are usually fitted using a special underlay.

As wood is a natural product, the samples are only a guide and there is sometimes a variation in the product from the original sample.

Luxury Vinyl tiles, more often referred to as ”Karndean” or “Amtico”  is now produced by many different manufacturers and is available in a huge number of finishes. These generally fall into two styles, woods and tiles. The beauty of the product is that you can design your floor in many different options depending on the tile selected. Pencil tram lines, grout fillets and inset designs such as large stars, dolphins or practically any other design that you care to choose.

With all of these products, you should go to a professional installer to ensure that the completed job is to your satisfaction. Every home and room will be different and there is a wide choice of these products available, so there may be cases where a different hard floor solution is required. Most reputable companies will visit your home and complete a survey of your floor to ensure that the product is suitable and to ensure that any preparation work is completed before fitting commences. Always ask for a free estimate and check the price quoted includes everything that you want. Don’t be fooled by cheap initial Sq. meterage prices for the product. It is the finished job price that you should compare before you place your order.

Being experts in all types of hard flooring, call us on 0800 0388 010 if you would like to chat further about your hard flooring options.