Start with the look you like
Your new floor is going to be something you live with for a long time so notice what floor drew your eye the first time you saw it. From years of selling flooring it is no longer surprising that after much deliberating and changing minds it is frequently the first floor a client picks that they go with.
Once you have a colour and style you like, you can consider what material will best match your lifestyle.
Questions to ask should include:
Do you love the beach? Will sand be carried into the house by children or tenants less careful about cleaning their feet than you? Do you have dogs inside that could scratch a varnished floor? Do you want to keep cleaning to a minimum?
If the answer is yes to any of these questions then consider a laminate floor. Laminate will give you a water resistant to water proof floor that is very hard to scratch with a matt surface that more easily hides dirt. Laminates are also good for high traffic areas such as entry, lounge, dining, kitchen or rumpus rooms.
A quality laminate is waterproof, has a lower repeat rate in the plank design and will have better colours and surface texture, which make the boards more authentic looking. By touch most people can’t tell a quality laminate from a real timber plank. Make sure you are getting these features for the price.
If you love a glossy deep sheen floor then timber is your obvious choice. Engineered timber will give you a far tougher finish than a board that needs to be sanded and vanished in your home. Ask your local flooring shop to show you the difference.
Buying local and using a team in your area to lay it will mean there is someone close by to sort out any issues you have with the product should they arise down the line.
Lastly, take your own advice. Others will have their own ideas, but this is your floor, so pick it for you, not to please someone else.
By Guy Thornycroft
The hues of your interior say much about you… So they are important to get right. There are two ways of doing this and I suggest the first. When you walk into a show room let yourself become aware of what floor samples you are first drawn to. Quite simply notice what you like the look of when you first start looking. Often we see what we like but get swayed by what others are doing or saying. The other way is to decide what you want to create in advance. You can use an interior designer or the following 6 combination ideas from QuickStep will steer you in the right direction.
1. Yellow & beige
Stand for sun, fun & optimism. Make a dark room feel sunnier and create a peaceful atmosphere with light oak or beech flooring
2. Red and orange
Stand for warmth, intimacy & harmony. Picture yourself in an exotic, warm place with Jarrah, Sydney Blue Gum or Merbau design. Add colonial and solid furniture for accentuation
Stands for earth, comfort & security. Connect with nature by laying brown-tinted floors. The excellent backdrop for rustic furniture and bright, strong colours
4. White and light beige
Stand for light, purity, & timelessness. Go for a contemporary feel and add brightness, space and light to the room with a pattern of light maple or pine colours
Stands for neutral, chic & peaceful. Grey flooring is the perfect match for trendy colours and warm tones. An added plus: it will give your classic furniture a contemporary look
Stands for luxury, style & class. Add flair to your home and give your room a luxurious appearance with black flooring. Contrast with bright colours on your walls and ceiling, and add a couple of eye-catching decorations for maximum effect
See all these colours and borrow samples from the ProFlooring show room in Umina.
Anyone who has done the same task a number of times knows tips and tricks they didn’t know the first time. Here are a few to make laying new flooring easier:
1. How much flooring do I need?
Waste is inevitable from short ends to ripped boards in the last row of each room. One solution is to round every measurement up and order an extra pack. On average 5% extra should be enough. ProFlooring will let you return unopened packs so order one extra or keep it for future mishaps, but being 3 boards short is worth avoiding!
2. Why leave a gap around the edge?
Floating floors will expand and contract in response to moisture in the air. A 10mm gap all around will ensure the flooring can move unnoticed. Most movement is in the width of the boards. Cover the gap with 19mm skirting (which looks the best) or scotia (Quad). A second layer of kick boards in the kitchen as an alternative to scotia. (Call My Kitchen Star)
3. What underlay should I use?
Underlay negates small imperfections like screw heads. It provides a moisture barrier below your floor and can add an acoustic barrier. A 2mm combilay is adequate. Lay it one width at a time before coving with flooring. High density underlay will reduce noise transfer if laying upstairs.
4. When do I need to level the sub-floor?
Manufacturers’ recommend installation on a subfloor with variation in levelness no greater than 3mm over a 3m span.
Check all areas with a straight edge and fill those areas outside the tolerance. (eg: a 2m2 ‘depression’; 5mm deep in the centre, but diminishing to 0 at the edge needs filling)
You can plane and sand the high spots of a timber subfloor to reduce the need for levelling.
5. Where can I learn more?
QuickStep have produced an excellent “How To” video that is worth watching before you start: See: https://www.quick-step.com.au/en-au/flooring/how-to-install-your-floor
ProFlooring at 258 West St, Umina is open to offer you advice and help to make your job easier.
Central Coast Home & Lifestyle Autumn 2018
Having decided on a timber look for your new floor, you are now faced with a seemingly endless range of options! Here’s what to think about-
Over recent years we have seen the white wash/ lime wash / beach cottage effect come into its own. This trend will continue for a while yet. Traditional country-kitchen looking floors will do the same and there are a wonderful range of “Reclaimed Timber” options in Laminate, Bamboo and engineered Timber. Modern finishes include all the high gloss options with less variation in the colour or texture of each plank. Gloss vs Matt
While a high gloss finish gives a classy, formal impression, a matt surface might be more suitable for busy families with pets, simply because it shows less dust and scuffs etc. Are you an active family with open doors and people in and out, or is a more formal look what you are after?
- Degree of feature, knot and grain
On a small sample, a plank with many knots, strong crown grain and features can look busy, but when it is laid in a larger area the eye does not see the individual marks but the impression and overall colour of the floor. No one on entering a room focuses on a single plank. On the other hand if you want the floor to be more of a blank canvas to display your furniture on, bamboo has very little feature and will give you that effect.
Light colours in small areas may give an impression of space, while darker floors will accentuate softer coloured walls or furniture. The darker colours will create a more dignified and stately effect while the lighter colours will brighten a room.
Be mindful of the style and colours of the furniture that will be in the rooms!
Be sure to borrow samples to look at in your home as the lighting will be very different to that in the shop. Call or email us with any questions you have (4342 6666 or firstname.lastname@example.org)
By Guy Thornycroft
What’s the difference?
Who kiss best: the French, Americans or Australians? I can’t answer that but I can shed light on the differences between the French, American, European and even Tasmanian Oaks.
French Oak is an imported hardwood from France. Colours range from cream to pale brown, with some slight tones of pink. Tight knots in the grain are a prominent decorative feature. Being slower growing with tighter grain it doesn’t expand and contract to any great extent. French Oak trees produce long lengths and wide width planks.
Quercus Petraea and Quercus Robur are the two types of white oak grown in France. Of the two Quercus Petraea is considered the finer. The most important oak forests in France are Allier, Nevers and Tronçais (all in central France).
European Oak comes from any Oak tree, anywhere in Europe. The age and species of the Oak does not matter, as long as it is an Oak from Europe. The source of this timber is not always regulated, meaning that the age of trees, species and parts of the trees used are not so controlled. The processing and grading regulations for European Oak differ between countries and many countries that manufacture using this Oak, purchase their material from a variety of suppliers. The end result is a mixed source in the finished product.
American oak flooring typically has much larger grain and growth rings in its boards and a much lighter tone compared to French Oak Flooring. Due to the amount of different variations there are of American Oak, the boards also tend to have more of a colour variation across them.
Quercus Alba is the type of white oak most grown in the United States. It is grown mainly in the eastern states as well as California. American oak is denser than the European, but less tight grain.
Tasmanian oak (or Australian oak) is not an Oak at all and refers to the hardwood produced by three trees: Eucalyptus regnans, Eucalyptus obliqua or Eucalyptus delegatensis, when it is sourced in Tasmania. The hardwood timber is light-coloured, ranging from straw to light reddish brown and sports less feature than the other ‘Oaks’.
They say about buying a property that “Location” is key. For selecting your next floor you might consider “style” as your guide. With different types of flooring expanding in colour and texture range and pushing the quality boundary, you are no longer limited to the type of flooring in the same way as you might have been in the past.
For example, who would have thought laminate would be produced in a water proof surface format!
By Guy Thornycroft
Practical Considerations for new flooring
So often customers will pick something they like in the first 2 minutes of being in the showroom, only to be swayed by a friend or ‘helpful’ relative! A protracted and painful deliberation takes place (sometimes for weeks) before they end up settling on the first floor they liked! It’s good to consider options but take note of what your eye is drawn to first.
Some customers reduce their options to 3 colours and then get stuck. From experience any one of the three would be beautiful. Each will have its own special contribution, but it really is very fine tuning by that stage. Don’t let it detract from your experience. The hard work has already been done.
The best way to compare samples is to look at them individually. It is a mistake putting them all down at the same time. This is confusing for the eye. Each is affected by the other colours. I recommend placing one sample down and giving it a rating of 5 out of 10. The next sample will be either a 4 or a 6 out of 10 and is discarded or becomes the new favourite. Do this process in two or three different areas of your house in different lighting.
I often get asked about hard floors in bedrooms. Most people like the feeling of stepping out of bed onto carpet, but there is the issue of keeping the space under the bed dust free. A hard surface like a quality laminate, bamboo or timber floor is easy to keep clean with a dry dust-mop. The issue of stepping onto carpet can be solved with a matched pair of throw rugs each side of the bed. These have the added benefit of being easy to wash when needed.
The higher the gloss, the easier it is to see dust and scratches. How is your floor going to be used?
Whatever your needs we can offer you expert advice. Come into the showroom and let us help with your next flooring project.
By Guy Thornycroft
What’s Down Under?
I play the bagpipes, so that question gets asked all the time but when it comes to what goes under the floor you choose, the answer is more important.
Whether you are laying Laminate, Bamboo, Cork or Timber there are several important factors that must be right.
Preparation of your sub floor is the first consideration. Renovators are frequently faced with different levels in the house caused by different old floor coverings. For example tiles in the Kitchen and Carpet in the Living area. Common sense dictates your new floor covers all these areas at the same height without ramps.
Companies are emerging that specialise in just preparing your sub floor. Alternatives include raising the lower levels with ply. Seek advice on what is best for your place.
The next challenge is to get the sub floor level. Manufacturers’ recommendations are that flooring be installed on a subfloor with variation in levelness (not smoothness) no greater than 3mm over a 3m span. Failure to do this will result in soft spots and possible creaking.
Low spots are filled with Ardit (think self levelling concrete) or Arditex (a latex based Ardit) to smooth any imperfections which would affect the installation and subsequent performance of the floor covering. The installer could also plane and sand the high spots of a timber subfloor to reduce the need for levelling compound.
Next comes an appropriate underlay. This provides a water barrier and a smooth surface to lay on. It can also add significant sound proofing. In recent months, the European Federation of Producers of Laminate Flooring (EPLF), the most recognised and respected body on laminate flooring in the world, released a technical bulletin regarding underlay specifications.
Of important note was a new “minimum benchmark” for moisture vapour transmission (the ability of subfloor borne moisture vapour to transmit through the underlay and into the underside of the flooring). The report in question specifies that all underlays should reach an SD Value ≥ 75. The higher the SD Value, the better the underlay is at blocking moisture vapour. This can eliminate the potential for cupping, peaking, noisy floors and excessive expansion as a result of rising moisture vapour from the subfloor.
By Guy Thornycroft
What is the best floor to put in my house?
A timeless question asked by most people when they start exploring the wide range of flooring options available.
The answer lies between “A floor you like the look and feel of” and “A floor to match its use”.
There really is no “Best Floor” that meets all needs, so what are the main options and their advantages and disadvantages?
Durability is measured by “scratch” resistance and “dent” resistance.
Laminate flooring has the highest scratch resistance and I recommend it for people with dogs, who live near the beach, have young children, commercial premises or a rental house. It is low maintenance and also the most cost effective option with very realistic timber looking surfaces. The more you pay for the laminate the more dense and water resistant the core material becomes and the greater the number of different prints in the packs (you will see the same board less often).
Bamboo takes the award for the highest “dent” resistance. If your partner is still dancing in stilettos, this is a floor for you. ProFlooring only lays Cold Pressed, 14mm thick Strand Woven bamboo because it is more stable and colour consistent than Hot Pressed bamboo. Prefinished with a tough multi-layer ceramic based varnish, bamboo has the same “Scratch” resistance as Engineered Timber Floors and can also be sanded and revarnished. There is a wide range of colours to pick from, but compared to timber there is less variation in colour and less pattern or features on the boards. Some like this ‘less- busy’ effect.
Engineered Timber Floors have a prefinished polyurethane coating that is much harder than any finish you will put on in later years and its “dent” rating will depend on the species of timber you pick. Timber costs more than the other two options but every board has a unique pattern and more features than bamboo. It can be sanded back in later years. The current trend is towards the grey and beach looking oak floors, but the happiest new-floor-owners, are those that pick what they like!
By Guy Thornycroft
Professional Floor Laying Tips from ProFlooring
Anyone can click floor boards together, but there are a number of critical factors missed by would-be DIY’ers and even those that do not specialise in laying floors. These make the difference between a new floor to cherish and one to put up with.
3 critical points to get right:
- Subfloors levelled to less than a 3mm dip over a 3m span. Cracks or old grout are not important, but ‘valleys’ and ‘puddles’ will ruin your enjoyment like a roof leak. Finding the dips is easier than fixing them as levelling is a skilled job where ‘close’ is not enough.
- Leave a suitable expansion gap around EVERY bit of the new floor edge. We suggest removal and refitting of skirting so that this gap is neatly hidden. Some areas may need scotia or quad where there are no skirting or kick boards. A gap ‘most of the way’ around the new floor is not adequate and will create problems.
- Architraves, doors and fiddly bits like stairs require practice and the right tools. Nothing stands out more than patched cuts and gaps. Most people can cut a 90⁰ angle, but very few houses are built with exact angles meaning that extra care and measuring is required to make trims and fittings ‘look’ right. Professional layers know this and look for it, making the finished job a pleasure to live with. The cost of getting it right is small beside the frustration and disappointment of living with faults.
The type of new flooring is also an important factor. A quality laminate is the most scratch resistant and low maintenance solution and with modern ranges, need not look ‘fake’. Strand Woven Bamboo is the most dent resistant option and there is now a wide range of colour options (we recommend you use 14mm thick, cold pressed products only). Engineered timber will give you a timber floor you can sand back in later years without expensive laying costs.
By Guy Thornycroft