Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Hard Flooring

When you mention hard flooring most people would think real wood, laminate, sheet vinyl.

Harvey Maria have an amazing range of vinyl floor tiles in the usual woods and stone but also some exceptionally quirky designs- like this water effect. Hard wearing, easy to lay and extremely practical for all areas. The tiles allow you also to create your own designs mixing stripes and woods to great effect.

Other designs include grass, cork, feathers and bubbles!
Amtico is a pretty well known name both for residential and commercial installations. There is a fantastic range to choose from, with feature strips allowing you to be thoroughly creative too. Perfect for heavy used areas, you can achieve the wood look without worrying too much about maintenance. It is a very durable product in direct sunlight too

The leader of the pack in terms of durability has got to be good old linoleum. This product has been in continuous production for over 100 years at the factory in Kirkcaldy. I was lucky enough to visit there many years ago and it is an incredible site. The flooring is made up of overwhelmingly natural materials such as linseed oil, pine rosin, wood flour... The interesting thing about it is that it actually becomes more resilient the longer it is down as it dries out. But it is incredibly supple to install. It is the flooring of choice for school kitchens, and because it is not a print, the design goes right through the product, even slight burns can be smoothed out.

Karndean is another household name, very similar to Amtico in design and installation- often unfairly dubbed "the poor man's Amtico".

With all of these tile products it is essential to ensure that your subfloor is free of damp otherwise the tiles will lift, or cause the damp to escape and rise up the walls. Priming the subfloor is essential. Whether that be by laying ply or a latex screed. As always, if there is underfloor heating installed read the tog rating of each product and use a reputable floorlayer. Not all carpet fitters can lay hard floors. I have a strong flooring background going back to 1990 with a major south east flooring company. Ask advice from someone who knows! 

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