Flooring is a big commitment. It doesn’t come cheap and it isn’t in the background of your house, it is the background! The interior and the base on which the furniture is laid. Things change: spouses, jobs, furniture, tv’s, taste and the weather. Flooring is here to stay (for a while anyhow). So first things first you want to make sure that you pick the right floor. The bad thing is that most people get their selection right, but when it comes to fitting their flooring far too many get it all wrong!
There are many mishaps, mistakes and general oversights that can be associated with specific types of flooring and for simplistic states we are going to concentrate on the universally popular laminate, solid-wood & engineered. All that time and possibly cost, picking that flooring can all be undone with the simplest, and dare I say dumbest of mistakes. Now, without further ado, here is our big 3 – none are more common or less disastrous than these little beauties. Pay careful attention or you may end up paying in a different way.
The flooring has too acclimatise, I repeat - has to be adjusted to the room it is to be laid in. It will be in there for a number of years, so what’s another 2 days (the normal recommendation) going to hurt. The room should be kept in its natural habitat and no effort should be made to alter things during that time period. Don’t open the windows if they are normally closed, don’t crank the heating up if you usually scrimp on the energy bills. Lay the flooring in their packs flat in the room……..and leave, come back two days later and you can install away. A common mischief is when customers buy flooring on a Friday with grand plans to install it over the ‘weekend’. Put the flooring down, step back and walk away – the installation can wait another (2) days!
We all need room to grow and your flooring is no different. Technically known as an expansion gap, it is where you leave space for the flooring to expand into over the following days after installing the flooring. The assumption of having the flooring fit flush is more common than you may think, the perfect fit leads to bowing and the flooring peaks – resulting in an emotional trough for you. Cork edging (a nod back to our Western Cork roots) is used as a surround to create a buffer to cope with the expansion of the flooring. A passion perimeter we like to call it but that’s just us. If you give your flooring the love and focused attention when you first meet, it will pay you back ten times over with its durability.
Lack Of Planning
This could encapsulate what we have already said above, but we include this mainly as a reminder to plan properly when getting down to the nitty gritty of laying the planks down. Starting willy nilly with no plan in site will leave you bewildered in a matter of minutes. We have seen countless efforts, photos and tales of woe from people who have laid their flooring symmetrically, each joint lining exactly up with the next planks, an equilibrium jigsaw. While others think this looks nice (we don’t), the non-staggered installation relates to numerous points of weakness across the whole floor. Where walking on the planks is the worst thing you can do to them, if you forget the initial laying.
Not that this is a guide to put you off, this is just a dummies guide of what not to do. You’ll be surprised of what you don’t know until you are told. It’s like the £100 question on ‘who wants to be a millionaire’ – you either know it or you don’t. Some of you may be tempted to hire a fitter to install the flooring for you – which is usually a great idea, but believe us fitters are not infallible and we have the photos to back it up.
You can’t go far wrong than follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. And if you’re employing a fitter, make sure they are double checking them anyway. Not just for the cowboy builders, even the honest, experienced ones have made mistakes.
Check out our DIY section for our tips.