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Cleaning laminate flooring

If you've just installed a brand new laminate floor, you'll no doubt want to keep those boards looking good for as long as possible. Unfortunately, that means you'll have to clean your flooring every once in a while, but worry not - we're here to make it as easy as possible for you!

By following these basic guidelines, you can virtually guarantee that your laminate flooring will stay beautiful for years to come. Laminate flooring is an exceptional choice for almost any interior due to its excellent quality and affordable price, in addition to the fact that it's really easy to look after - here's what you have to do:

1. General Cleaning - The easiest way to keep your laminate floor clean is with everyday household cleaning products such as a dry dust mop, a dustpan and brush, and a vacuum cleaner with soft brush attachment. Hoover, sweep and mop your floor on a regular basis to prevent scratches and a buildup of excess hair, dirt and debris. Don't use a string or sponge mop, as these tend to hold a lot of water (which is definitely not a good thing for your laminate flooring - excess moisture can damage the floor's protective layer and cause the boards to warp over time). Anything you spill on your laminate floor should be cleaned up immediately using a cloth or sponge.

2. Hot Water Wash - Every few months, or after an area of noticeable mud/dirt has been spotted, a thorough wet wash should be performed. Do this with hot water, as this is generally less likely to leave streaks or harm the aforementioned protective coating. Once again, we advise avoiding string/sponge mops; instead, use a damp microfiber mop. Clean from the centre of the floor, working your way out in order to avoid walking on areas that you've already cleaned. Dry with a clean microfiber cloth or leave to air dry if the floor isn't too wet.

3. Cleaning Solutions - Mixing your own household cleaning solution is another great way to clean your laminate floor when necessary. One commonly-used solution combines vinegar, water and washing up liquid. In a squirt bottle, mix 1 part vinegar with 3 parts water and a squirt of washing up liquid. Shake well to create a cleaning solution that can be used to tackle stains that have made your laminate floor look dull or faded. Be sure to wipe up the solution immediately after use with a damp, non-abrasive cloth or mop, as failing to do so may cause the vinegar to wear away the protective coating. Again, dry the floor using a microfiber cloth or air-dry if possible.

4. Problem Stains - You may find it difficult to clean tough stains such as blood, ink, wine and shoe marks with any of the above methods. If these stains are causing you problems, you may be able to get them up using household products such as window cleaner, nail polish remover, or even a pencil eraser. These products can harm your laminate floor if used incorrectly, so follow these simple tips to remove those more stubborn stains:

  • Blood - Spray a small amount of window cleaner on the stain and wipe away immediately using a mildly damp non-abrasive microfiber cloth.

  • Chewing Gum - Gum can be removed with a plastic knife (do not use a metal knife for this purpose, as this may scratch the floor). Any residue left from the gum should be wiped with a mildly damp non-abrasive microfiber cloth.

  • Fizzy Drinks, Wine & Ink - These stains can be easily removed using a mildly damp non-abrasive microfiber cloth. If the stain persists, apply mineral spirits to the cloth and be sure to re-clean the affected area.

  • Nail / Shoe Polish - Applying a small amount of acetone nail polish remover to a mildly damp non-abrasive microfiber cloth should be sufficient to remove these stains.

  • Heel Marks & Scuffs - Use a pencil eraser to rub over the marks until they disappear.

  • Grease - Freezing grease with an ice pack or a package of frozen vegetables will make the grease harden. Then, simply scrape away the grease with a plastic knife and wipe the area with a mildly damp non-abrasive microfiber cloth.

5. Deep Cleaning - Occasionally, your laminate floor may require a deep clean. To do this effectively, we advise using a steam mop, but take caution as repeated use may cause the laminate flooring to buckle.

How to Maintain Your Laminate Flooring

Now that we have looked at how to clean your laminate floor, it is important to know how to maintain it in order to reduce the amount of cleaning needed and to prolong your floor's good looks. Here are some quick maintenance tips:

  • Place felt pads under all table and chair legs.

  • Place pads/mats under pets' bowls and babies' high chairs.

  • Remove shoes before walking on the floor (and keep a door mat at each entrance to catch any dirt/debris).

  • Trim pets' nails to avoid damage to the laminate floor's protective layering.

Cleaning and maintaining your laminate flooring as described in this guide should keep your boards in tip-top shape for a long time to come.

Browse and buy laminate flooring >

Bamboo Flooring

Bamboo flooring is a unique and stunning addition to any home, naturally opening up small spaces and creating a cosy ambience. Bamboo - which is technically a type of grass - grows more quickly than any tree, and so bamboo flooring is a highly eco-friendly choice that is destined to be the focal point of any room.

If you’re looking to add a strong and resilient bamboo floor to your house, you may be wondering how to install it. Fear not, for we have done the hard work for you! Simply read on to find out how you can install this gorgeous flooring in any room.

Be sure to prep the floor

First, make sure you install your bamboo flooring in an area with good natural lighting. Prior to installing your new floor, the subfloor (whatever you are laying the flooring on top of) must be clean, dry and level.

Be careful to also check for moisture using a concrete moisture meter if you have a freshly-laid concrete subfloor. Once you are certain the moisture content is below 6%, place your bamboo flooring in the room where it will be laid for a minimum of 48 hours. By leaving it in the room with the boxes flat and open, you allow the flooring to acclimatise, and so you should not have any problems once it has been laid.

After the minimum 48 hours have elapsed, take the bamboo flooring out of the boxes and inspect the difference in colours. Build separate piles of light, medium and dark so that you can mix and match the naturally-varying colours throughout the room as you please.

Different bamboo floors have different installation methods. The bamboo floors we sell here at Floormaker are designed to be laid as floating floors, meaning you don't need any nails or adhesives to fix the boards down!

How to Install a Floating Bamboo Floor

  • Begin by placing a suitable underlay over your subfloor. If you have are installing your bamboo floor atop a level plywood, chipboard or concrete subfloor, we recommend high performance underlay with DPM; for uneven concrete or floorboard subfloors, use 5mm wood fibreboard underlay.

  • You will also need to place spacers around the perimeter of your room to allow your bamboo flooring to expand and contract. 

  • Begin to install the flooring by gluing the tongues and grooves together using waterproof PVA flooring glue. We would recommend using our Westco Plank Adhesive for this!

  • After ensuring that the first row is straight, you can start to build up the remainder of the rows, mixing the colours as you go.

  • Avoid gluing the floorboards to your underlay and you should end up with a perfectly-installed bamboo flooring. 

Congratulations - your stunning new floor is complete! Now you will be able to let all of your friends know you were the master who installed your beautiful new flooring.

Check out our Accessories department for everything you'll need to install your bamboo flooring. If you're still unsure about any of these steps, feel free to get in touch!
How to Lay Vinyl Flooring

Wondering how to lay vinyl flooring? Well, wonder no more - we've broken it down for you in this step-by-step guide. Vinyl flooring is a popular choice due to its stunning yet practical and hard-wearing nature, and here at Floormaker we stock two types of this durable flooring to suit every need. Both types of vinyl flooring are installed differently, so this guide will detail how you can lay each type with ease!

How to Lay Vinyl Flooring: Self-Adhesive Tiles

Self-adhesive vinyl tiles are among the easiest flooring products to lay by yourself, and they're perfect if you want to finish laying the floor just in time for dinner! These tiles come with a pre-applied layer of adhesive, so you don't need to rush out and buy glue or anything like that. All you will need to install your self-adhesive floor is a sharp knife with which to cut the tiles.
1. Firstly, ensure your vinyl tiles are acclimatised to a temperature of at least 15-18°C to make them easy to work with. If you try to install your flooring at a lower temperature, this could make the laying process more difficult than it needs to be. The temperature you lay the floor at needs to be maintained for at least 24 hours. 
2. If you are using a range of colours, plan how you want the finished floor to look before you start to make sure you achieve the desired effect.
3. Before you start, prepare the subfloor. The subfloor needs to be damp-proof and should be smooth, clean and dry before you start. Also, be sure to remove any existing flooring and replace with a smooth compound.
4. Apply a coat of floor primer across the entirety of the subfloor. This should take around a quarter of an hour. 
5. Begin to lay your vinyl floor in the centre of the room. You can make sure you are directly in the centre by measuring the width and length of the room first, then drawing a line down the middle of both. You should begin where the lines intersect. 
6. Lay the tiles by removing the backing paper and placing onto the sub floor.
7. Once they are positioned correctly, check that the separate vinyl tiles are close together and press on the centre of the tile to release any air bubbles. 
8. When you reach the perimeter of the room, cut the tiles to fit appropriately. 


How to Lay Vinyl Flooring: Luxury Vinyl Flooring

Our stunning luxury vinyl flooring is a revolutionary product, not just because it looks lovely in any room but also because the tiles click together like laminate floorboards. You don't need to buy any adhesive for these products either, as the floor does not need any type of glue to hold it together. This makes it even easier to lay your vinyl flooring!
1. As with the self-adhesive vinyl tiles, ensure your room is acclimatised to a temperature of at least 15-18°C to make it easier to work with. For best results, leave the luxury vinyl flooring in a room at this temperature for a period of 48 hours before installation.
2. If you have underfloor heating, or if you think the temperature of the room may at times rise above 45°C, it is best to first lay a sun/heat underlay on top of a clean subfloor. 
3. If you do not need to have a sun/heat underlay, ensure that your subfloor is clean and dry before you begin.
4. Make sure you leave a 2mm expansion area around the perimeter of the room.
5. Now you can move on to 'clicking' your luxury vinyl floor together! You can do this by slightly lifting the tile with your hand underneath it and pushing the joint towards the first tile until you hear a click. Be sure to not use a hammer or a tapping block for this method as it could damage the click connection.
6. As you reach the perimeter of the room, once again cut the tiles to suit the fit of your room.
7. Once your luxury vinyl flooring covers the entire room. be sure to keep the room temperature maintained for at least 24 hours after installation.

Congratulations! If you have followed this how to lay vinyl flooring guide step-by-step, you should now have a perfectly installed vinyl floor. Of course, if you have any questions, feel free to contact us and we will be happy to help!
Buying a new floor? Here's how to calculate the area of your room in square feet OR square metres...
Tape Measure
Before you purchase a new floor for your home, you'll need to know the size of the room you're re-flooring. And that means calculating its area.

A room's area can be measured in square feet (ft2) or square metres (m2). As you browse the Floormaker website, you'll probably notice our flooring calculator, which looks like this:

Flooring Calculator

This handy tool enables you to see exactly how much it will cost you to cover your room in each of our flooring products. Simply enter your room's area when you arrive on the Floormaker website, and all product prices will automatically be adjusted to your requirements.

Flooring Prices Adjusted for Room Area

Of course, you won't be able to take advantage of this useful feature until you've actually calculated the area of your room. If you're not sure how to do that, here's a quick step-by-step guide...

Calculating the area of a square / rectangular room

If your room is a simple square or rectangle shape, calculating its area is very straightforward. Here's what to do:
  • Use a tape measure to measure the length of your room (in metres or feet).

  • Next, measure the width of your room (using the same unit of measurement).

  • Finally, multiply these two numbers together to get the area of your room in square metres or square feet.

Calculating the area of a square room

Example: Anne's living room is 20 feet long and 10 feet wide. Since 20 x 10 = 200, the area of Anne's living room is 200ft2.

Rooms with unusual shapes

Calculating the area of a non-rectangular room is a little trickier, but still doable. As an example, here's how to measure the area of an L-shaped room:
  • Divide the room into two rectangular portions (i.e. the stalk and the foot of the 'L' shape)

  • Calculate the area of each portion as described above.

  • Add the two areas together to get the total area of the room. If you have a more complex room shape, you can divide the room into more than 2 parts and use the same method.

Calculating the area of an oddly-shaped room

Example: Bob has an L-shaped kitchen. The long part of the 'L' is 3 metres long and 1.5 metres wide, giving it an area of 4.5m2. The short part of the 'L' is 2 metres long and 1.5 metres wide, giving it an area of 3m2. Since 3 + 4.5 = 7.5, the total area of Bob's kitchen is 7.5m2.

Make sure you add 5% for wastage!

When you're buying a brand new floor, it's always a good idea to over-estimate the amount you will need in order to cover any wastage. To ensure that you get enough floorboards for your room, always add 5% to the total area before making your purchase.

Example: Charlie's bedroom has an area of 5m2. Before selecting a floor, Charlie adds 5% to this total to account for wastage. Since 5% of 5 = 0.25, Charlie will proceed as if the bedroom has an actual area of 5.25 square metres.

Please note that, when you use Floormaker's flooring calculator tool, we add the extra 5% for you, so there's no need to do the maths yourself!

Oak flooring

Oak Flooring Finishes

There is a lot of jargon associated with flooring, especially wood flooring. Between all the different species and designs and measurements, there’s plenty of room for confusion, and if you’ve never installed a floor before, you may start feeling like you’re lost in the woods.

In this DIY SOS post, we’re going to help you out a little bit. As you’re browsing through our Oak Flooring collection, you’ll see a lot of words like ‘brushed’ and ‘oiled’; these refer to different finishes, and we’re going to attempt to explain what each and every one of those terms really means.

Brushed – The brushed finish is achieved by pulling a brush across the surface of the wood while it is still soft, resulting in an attractive, textured appearance. Example: Brushed Light Oak

Engineered – This actually doesn’t refer to a finish at all, but to the anatomy of the floor itself. Engineered wood flooring is made by bonding several layers of wood together and topping this construction with a layer of real oak. This results in a very hard-wearing floor with that authentic real wood look. Example: Engineered Jacobean Oak

Handscraped – This means that the soft surface of the oak has been scraped away to achieve an unrefined, slightly worn look. Example: Parador Handscraped Oak Flooring

Lacquered – Lacquer is a varnish, and lacquered oak floors are made to stand the test of time and cope with a relatively high level of domestic foot traffic. Example: 18mm 150mm Wide Lacquered Oak

Oiled – Oiling an oak floor will give the wood a protective coating to help guard against wear and tear. An oiled finish can also bring out the natural beauty of oak flooring, making the grains and imperfections more visible in a very attractive way. Example: Brushed & Oiled Elephant Skin Oak

Unfinished – As you’d probably guess, an ‘unfinished’ oak floor is one to which no finish has yet been applied. This allows you to customise the floor with your own finish; we recommend American Wood Oil, which can be mixed with a variety of different pigments to create a truly unique colour. Example: 18mm 180mm Wide Unfinished Oak

Still unsure about some of the terms we use on the Floormaker website? Click here to contact us, or drop us a line on Twitter!

Green carpeting

Benefits & Disadvantages of Carpeting

Carpeting is one of the most popular flooring products of all, but would you be better off with sumptuous solid wood or a robust laminate floor? Let’s weight up the pros and cons of carpeting...

Pro: Warm underfoot
As much as we like laminate flooring, it can be a little cold when you hop out of bed on a cold winter morning. Carpet tiles, on the other hand, are always nice and toasty!

Con: Stuffiness
Going for a cool, contemporary look in your home? In that case, carpet probably isn’t the right choice. It’s great for a cosy, intimate interior, but if used wrongly, it can make the room feel stuffy and unpleasant.

Pro: Easy to Lay
Unlike wood flooring, you don’t need a saw to lay a carpet. Simply glue the carpet tiles down and, if one is too big, use a knife or a pair of scissors to cut it to size

Con: Allergies
If you suffer from allergies then you’d do well to go for a wooden floor instead of a carpet. Even low-pile carpeting can be a haven for dust mites and other nasties that will set off your allergies.

Pro: Noise Reduction
One of the biggest problems with laminate flooring is the amount of noise it makes when installed upstairs. Carpet tiles are far better at absorbing noise, which is good news for the people on the floor below you.

Con: Difficult to Clean
If you spill something on a laminate floor, you can usually just wipe it right off again. If you spill something on a carpet...you may never get it out!

Carpets certainly have their place, but a lot of the time, laminate flooring is a far better choice. Still, whichever route you decided to take, Floormaker are here to help your decorating dreams come true!

Cork flooring and 5 reasons to love it

Cork flooring may not be as ubiquitous as laminate flooring or as elegant as solid wood, but it’s still an extremely popular choice among homeowners. It’s most commonly found in the bathroom, but we’ve also seen it used in kitchen, hallways, and other areas, always to winning effect.

cork flooring

If you’re new to the concept of a cork floor, allow us to enlighten you. Cork flooring is a great option for your home, and here are five reasons why:

    Cork flooring seems to get more and more popular as time goes by, and this may be due to our growing awareness of the state of our planet. Many people now opt for cork simply because it’s a sustainable material; flooring manufacturers only need the bark of a cork tree to create their products, and extracting the bark doesn’t kill the tree. In fact, the bark grows back in less than a decade, making cork flooring a far greener option than standard wood. 
  1. It's absorbent and hard-wearing.

    Water resistance is the ace up cork’s sleeve. That’s why you see it in so many bathrooms – it’s far better suited to high-moisture environments than wood and carpeting. It’s also very durable; you have to take quite a lot of care with, say, solid wood flooring, but cork flooring isn’t nearly as high-maintenance.

  2. It's a natural insulator.

    Have your ever stepped out of the shower and flinched as your bare feet touch the cold bathroom tiles? Cork makes that problem a thing of the past. The very nature of cork ensures that it’s extremely insulative, meaning a warmer room and perhaps even a slightly cheaper energy bill.

  3. It's nice and quiet.

     Another point related to cork’s insulative properties. Flooring your room with cork tiles will cut down on noise pollution throughout the house – cork isn’t as noisy underfoot as wood. This is particularly useful if the cork-floored room is upstairs.

  4. It's soft underfoot.

    Everyone can enjoy the soft, tactile surface of a cork floor. It feels lovely and cushion-y underfoot, and while this doesn’t really serve any practical purpose, it’s a lovely little bonus and a great point on which to end our list.

If you’re sold on cork flooring, click here to find out how much it will cost to floor your room.  At just £11.99 per square metre, you may well be surprised!

Plank laying kit, red

The beauty of laminate flooring is that it can be installed without the help of a professional tradesman. Even if you've no DIY experience whatsoever, you should still be able to lay your laminate floor with relative ease!

Not sure how laminate flooring installation works? Read on, and Floormaker's handy guide will tell you everything you need to know!

You Will Need:

Before You Start
Leave the unopened packs in the room that you're going to re-floor for at least 72 hours. This allows the boards to acclimatise to that room's natural conditions.

Prepare the Sub-Floor
The sub-floor is whatever you're laying your new floor on top of. Remove any carpet, linoleum or vinyl sheet from the sub-floor, along with any existing underlay. Ensure that your sub-floor meets the following criteria before proceeding:
  • Is it dry? (You can use a moisture meter to check this)
  • Is it flat and level?
  • Is it clean and dust-free?
  • Is it free from protruding nails, screws, etc.?
If you are installing the new floor on top of vinyl tiles, ensure that they are stuck down properly. If you are installing on top of floorboard, make sure they're firmly fixed or cover them with plywood sheets (at least 6mm thick), nailing the sheets down at every 300mm in all directions. Alternatively, cover the old floorboards with fibre board underlay.

Now it's time to add your underlay. Cover the sub-floor completely with damp-proof membrane (or another underlay product with similar qualities, such as our high performance underlay); once that's done, take a metre-wide strip of foam underlay and lay it along the length of the longest wall.

Laying the Floor
Once you've prepared the sub-floor, added the underlay, and given your new floor 72 hours to acclimatise, it's time to start laying. Open the packs and mix the boards up for an assortment of shades and textures (the floor will look more natural this way). Before laying each board, wipe the tongue/groove with a dry cloth to remove any debris.


Start laying your boards in the right-hand corner of the room (lay them with the 'tongue' side facing the wall - the 'tongue' is the overlap, and the 'groove' is the underlap). Here's a good tip: measure the room against the boards and see how many rows you need ahead of time so that you're not left with thin boards on your last row. If this would be the case, cut your first row to make the last row wider. Laminate floorboards connect using a simple 'express' loc' system that allows the ends of the boards to snap together. You must leave a 12mm expansion gap around all perimeter edges (including fireplaces and doorways). Use your floor spacers to achieve this, allowing your floorboards to expand naturally.

Note: If you are installing the new floor in your bathroom (or another high-humidity area), you will need to seal the floorboards by running a bead of PVA glue along each groove before installing the board into place.

When you reach the other side of the room on your first row, cut the final plank of that row and use the offcut to start your second row of boards (unless the offcut is less than 300mm wide). This will create a 'staggered' effect that strengthens the floor and creates a natural appearance.

Step-by-step guide to laminate flooring installation

Finishing Off
Once you've finished laying your new floor, remove the 12mm spacers and replace them with cork expansion strips. Fix your edging/scotia to the wall (DO NOT nail or glue it to the floor) - this will hide your expansion gap.

If you're still unsure about any of these steps, feel free to drop us an email on sales@floormaker.co.uk.

Laminate Flooring - which way to lay?

There are lots of ‘How to Lay Laminate Flooring’ articles on the internet, but while these step-by-step guides are a good way to get acquainted with the basics, they have a tendency to leave things out. An amateur DIY-er can run into any number of unexpected dilemmas when laying laminate flooring, many of which are glossed over by the how-to guides. Perhaps the experts didn’t consider all the potential scenarios, or perhaps they just forgot to mention something important.

One seemingly minor question that many guides neglect to answer is this: ‘Which way do I lay my laminate flooring?’ Some might suggest that it makes no difference, but there is a recommended way to go about it. You can make your home look however you want, of course, but if you corner a flooring expert and demand to know their opinion, this is the answer you’ll usually get:

Lay the laminate flooring parallel to the longest wall. If all walls are of equal length, lay the floor so that it faces towards the window.

Again, there’s nothing stopping you from defying this advice if you fancy, but most people would agree that floorboards look best when they’re facing in the same direction as the longest wall. You’ll never find yourself wondering which way to lay laminate flooring again!

Of course, there are other issues you could come across when you lay laminate flooring that we might not even have thought of. If you’ve ever got any questions about your laminate flooring and how to lay it, Floormaker’s team of flooring experts are happy to help – you can contact us by calling 02920 344 358 and put our knowledge to the test.

Carpet tiles

If you wish to learn how to lay carpet tiles, we've compiled an easy to follow step-by-step guide! Depending on your own experience level, you may wish to hire a professional fitter, especially if you are looking to fit a more complex pattern. If you are fairly comfortable with your DIY abilities, and are a laying a standard, uniform design, let Floormaker show you how to lay carpet tiles easily, safely, and attractively.

1. Prep Your Existing Floor
We all know what happened to the man who built his house foundations on sand, and your lovely new carpet tile floor could suffer a similar fate if you do not make the necessary preparations. Our carpet tiles can be laid onto any hard, smooth floor surface; just ensure it is clean, dry, and level.

2. Map Your Floor Out
Start laying your tiles down to get an idea of space, size, and style! You will soon start to see not only how many tiles you’re going to need, but also how many tiles you are going to have to cut to size - we recommend starting from the centre of your room, and making your way to the walls.

3. Making the Cut
Using a sharp Stanley knife or a special carpet knife and a metal straight-edge or ruler, start cutting your carpet tiles to fit the edges of your room. If you are cutting your tiles to fit near a wall or corner, set the tile upside down and flush towards the edge of the wall, then mark each end the tile overlaps the next one – this will give you an accurate cut for a snugger, more secure fit.

4. Stick Them Down
When you are pleased with the design and convinced that all the tiles fit together neatly, start thinking about sticking them down securely! Make sure all the tiles slot together nicely, and then use double-sided tape to stick down the tiles on the edge, as well as the occasional central tile for that extra support.

Once your tiles are laid, pop out your hoover and enjoy your beautiful new carpet-tiled floor! And if you thought learning how to lay carpet tiles was easy, you should how simple it is to replace them, should you fancy a change.