Fantastic Flooring

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It was not that long ago when decorative flooring was either carpet or some form of sheet flooring but now the choice has widened. This is partly because modern houses usually have chipboard or concrete floors and these are not easy to make attractive in their own right and so they need covering.

Manufacturers have risen to the occasion and produced a wide variety of easy to lay, laminate flooring, which can be laid on top of chipboard, floorboards or concrete; as long as the original flooring is in good repair and not damp. Now the range has been extended yet again -laminate flooring is now available in FOCUS that has a grain texture embossed into it so that it looks and feels even more like the real thing.

Should you want a really luxurious floor, genuine ‘Parawood’ hard wood flooring is also available. Once again we, as DIY’ers, seem to be spoiled for choice.

Flooring is very much a matter of taste. However, before you buy it, ensure that the flooring you choose is suitable for the job. If you intend to lay it in the bathroom, read the label and check that it is suitable for that job. Most flooring needs to be laid on a well-prepared base. If it is being laid onto floorboards, check that they are fixed down securely and that they are fairly even. Use a punch to drive all the nail heads below the surface of the boards.

Alternatively, screw the boards down to get an even more secure fixing. Take great care not to damage any pipes or cables that may run below the floorboards. It is also important to make a note of the location of any electrical or plumbing fittings that may need to be got at later on.

This may be the junction box for lighting or a zone control file for the central heating. Mark the area carefully so that the new flooring can be removed if necessary.

If the floor is very uneven or there are large gaps between the boards, lay hardboard or MDF down first. Concrete flooring must be completely dry and have some form of damp-proof membrane to stop moisture. Once the sub-floors are suitably prepared the new flooring can be laid.

Check the instructions on the flooring packaging to find out what sort of underlay is required. Some underlays will help to decrease the noise transmitted through the floor. These would be ideal to use when flooring a bedroom or any upstairs room to decrease sound penetration to the room below. Some flooring has an underlay built in which makes the job of laying the floor even simpler.

These days most laminate flooring has a special ‘Click’ mechanism, this means that gluing is not necessary, making the whole process much quicker, cleaner and easier to undertake. Remember, it is necessary to leave expansion gaps around the edge of the new flooring to accommodate any expansion in the boards due to moisture from the room. This expansion gap is either formed with plastic or cork spacers. For a neat finish, remove the skirting board so that the expansion gap is hidden underneath the skirting when it is replaced. However, the most popular way of hiding the expansion gap is by using quadrant strips.

These are affixed round the edge of the room and are available in a wide range of finishes to co-ordinate with the flooring of your choice.

Before you decide which direction the boards will run, lay them down in the room and stand in the doorway to see which direction looks best. If the boards run across the room, they will tend to make it look wider and if they run the length of the room they will make the room look longer. It is worth taking a little time to get this looking right before the boards are fixed. The boards can then be cut using a jigsaw (with a fairly fine blade) to fit into a doorway or around obstacles.

Bear in mind that it may be necessary to remove a few millimetres of material from the bottom of the door to allow it to open over the new flooring.With all these choices and easy fit options you can achieve fantastic results that will transform your home.

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