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Not Sure what sort of flooring type to choose? Have little or no idea of the flooring types and their differences and want to weigh up the Pros and Cons? We have set up this Question and Answer section to help you understand what you need to know before choosing the floor that’s right for your needs and lifestyle.
We have also included some of the most commonly asked questions we have had people ask us over the years that may provide some clarity.

Frequently Asked Questions

LAMINATE AND VINYL FLOORS

Should I upgrade my floor to a new one?

Old floors can harbour mould, mildew and dust mites – this can affect people with allergies and poor immune systems. Installing a floor like Vinyl or Laminate is a great way to resolve this issue. It’s budget friendly, hypoallergenic and an easy to clean option. If you have young children or pets it provides a no fuss environment for the daily spills and footprints floors are prone to.

The floor is an important visual part of any room, so replacing your old floors with a new one can have an amazing impact to the look of your home,updating it and giving it a complete visual transformation.  Add warmth by choosing timber tones, add light by going for lighter colours.  whatever the look you’re after. a new floor will have a big impact in achieving it.

A new floor also has the added advantage of adding value to your home, so it can be viewed as a small investment for the future. Even if you don’t plan on selling your home in the near future a more updated home will fetch a better price and one with old worm out floors.

What is a Laminate floor?

Laminate is made from multi-layered composite material products fused together with a lamination process. A photographic applique layer is then applied that simulates the look of wood and then a clear hard-wearing protective layer is applied over the top.

With the latest developments in technology and high definition printing techniques, the natural look and feel of a hardwood floor including grain structure, knots and flaws can be replicated with amazing accuracy and clarity, creating a look that’s virtually indistinguishable from a real timber floor.  The degree of realism varies from one brand of flooring to another and according to the quality of printing used.

Laminate is a very durable, scratch resistant floor and tolerates wear and tear extremely well.  Usually priced considerably cheaper than engineered timber and real timber flooring.

Is Laminate durable?

Laminate floors are not made of wood and therefore cannot be re-sanded in the future.  However, one of the great benefits of laminate flooring is that it’s more scratch and impact resistant than some timber floors.   If a plank does become damaged, you can easily replace that board without ruining the rest of your floor in the process.

Just like real timber, how long it lasts will depend on how well it is maintained  It is important to keep floors clean from excess dust, dirt and sand particles as they can act like a sandpaper scratching the surface over time in high-traffic areas. It is also important to keep laminate relatively dry, since sitting water/moisture can cause the planks to swell or warp, though some brands are equipped with water-resistant coatings. Water spills aren’t a problem if they’re wiped up quickly and not allowed to sit for a prolonged period of time.

Are all Laminate floors the same?

The simple answer to this question is ‘No’.   The basic structure of how they are manufactured is the same but the quality of the components used can var.  This makes a difference to the durability of the floor, fade resistance, density rating and most importantly how the floor reacts to humidity (i.e. water, spillages etc.)

 

Other differences are the variances in quality of the printing of the photographic layer which gives the board its timber look. This means some laminates look more real than others and have a less repetitive pattern making them look more like real timber.

 

Some laminates have an MDF core and others are made with HDF wood fibre extracted from chips and pulped wood. HDF is similar but much harder and denser than particle board or medium density fiberboard (MDF) for flooring.

 

Laminate flooring is given an AC rating which measures a floors resistance to abrasion, impact, stains and its general durability. Therefore it’s important to consider what type of foot traffic the area will be exposed to when deciding which floor will suit your particular needs.

 

What is the difference between Laminate and Timber Floating Floors?

Laminate is a multi-layer synthetic flooring product which is very durable. It is designed to imitate the appearance of real wood. The core layer of laminate flooring is manufactured primarily from melamine resin and fiber board material.

 

Engineered hardwood flooring on the other hand is a type of wood floor that consists of several wood or plywood layers interlocked covered with a ‘real timber’ veneer layer on the top, usually between 3 and 6mm thick. This layer means the floor can be re-sanded and coated in the future when needed.

What is Vinyl Plank Floor?

Vinyl plank flooring is a 100 percent synthetic floor made from different layers.  The core is generally made of fiberglass with a printed and embossed surface layer that mimics the look of other floors types including hardwood, tile and natural stone. This versatility in style and colour allows it to suit almost any decor. Modern production methods mean that the floor can look remarkably like real wood with the added benefit that the floor is 100 % waterproof and incredibly dimensionally stable.  This makes it ideal for all areas including bathrooms, kitchens and areas that are damp as when exposed to spills and splashes, vinyl won’t rot, discolour or warp. For these reasons the current trend has people decorating with vinyl in every room of the house including living areas and bedrooms.

 

It is extremely durable and holds up well to heavy foot traffic. If you’re looking for a family friendly floor, this is it – scratch proof and water resistance, vinyl is a formidable opponent against the likes of toddlers with their toy trucks or animals with messy paws.

Vinyl is also soft underfoot and naturally more resilient. The resilience of the floor means it is quieter than other hard floor surfaces making it an ideal solution for second stories and playrooms.

What is Hybrid Vinyl?

Hybrid vinyl planks are made virtually the same as normal vinyl but with one important addition.  Hybrid comes with pre-adhered underlay which improved acoustics and comfort underfoot. This underlay also gives it an additional advantage that it can be laid over tiles or existing timber floors without ‘telegraphing’, which means it doesn’t take on the form of the underlying floor. Normal vinyl planks laid over tiles can with time can start to sag in the grout lines and mimic the shape of the tiles underneath (telegraph effect).  The more rigid construction of the Hybrid planks and additional underlay ensure this does not become an issue.

The product is 100% waterproof and has been designed to be able to go over slightly uneven floors, shortening preparation time and reducing costs.

What is the difference between Laminate and Vinyl Floors?

Both modern laminate flooring and luxury vinyl can now both look remarkably like real wood.    With the exception  of the way they are constructed (which is described in previous Q & A’s)  they have many similarities.

One important difference is that Vinyl is made with materials that are 100 percent waterproof so can be laid in bathrooms and wet areas whilst laminate is generally not recommended for wet areas.

Another difference is vinyl plank is generally thinner – 5-7 mm thick whilst laminate flooring can vary between 8-15 mm thick.

The resilient surface of vinyl plank means it is also slightly quieter as sound echos off it differently than off a rigid surface like a laminate floor.

Is there a floor that is more Pet Friendly than others?

If you need a pet-friendly floor there are 4 qualities you should look for in your floor choice: scratch resistance, water resistance, offers traction and is soft underfoot.

 

Laminate ticks nearly all the boxes when it comes to being pet-friendly. Thanks to its durable wear layer, it has a good water and scratch-resistant surface and some colours and styles do a great job at camouflaging any scratches that do occur.    Some laminate styles (gloss in particular} can be slightly slippery for anyone racing across, if you opt for a textured style you’re adding instant slip-resistance to the floor.

 

Vinyl is what we consider pet-proof and pet-friendly. It’s waterproof, stain-resistant, easy to clean and it absorbs noise. It’s also comfortable for your pets to walk and lie on, providing them with traction which reduces the risk of slips and injuries and is also hypoallergenic – meaning it doesn’t harbour things like mould, mildew and pet hair.

I want a floor that is easy to clean and durable but have a limited budget what’s best?

Both laminate and vinyl are the most affordable flooring products.  Laminate is generally a little lower in price than vinyl. Both are durable and hard-wearing floors.   We have excellent budget range laminates that will give you the elegant look of timber without breaking the budget.

Can laminate and vinyl be laid over existing floors?

Generally speaking, the answer is yes.  If the sub floor is level and flat and the tiles or existing timber floors are stable (not crumbling or breaking loose) then yes laminate and Hybrid vinyl plank can be laid over these.  This often saves the home owner a lot of hassle and money in not having to remove the tiles before updating to a new floor.

If you have sections of the house that have carpet and are lower than tiles and would like to have the entire floor flush and on one level then we have solutions to rectify this also.

ENGINEERED TIMBER

What’s the difference between solid timber and Engineered timber?

Engineered wood flooring is made up of a HDF (high-density fibre) or plywood core with a solid real hardwood veneer glued on top.  The thickness of the veneer varies from one brand to the other.   This process provides all the natural characteristics and beauty of solid wood while offering greater stability to environmental conditions such as heat and humidity that can sometimes cause solid hardwood to warp or shrink.

 

Wood floors are susceptible to wear and tear over the course of their lifespan, but that can be rectified with sanding and refinishing. Some lower quality engineered floors have very thin veneer  layers (eg. .6 mm) which means they are unable to be sanded and refinished in comparison to solid wood floors which can undertake this process multiple times throughout their lifespan.  So if you would like to be able to sand the floor in the future make sure you inform ensure the product you purchase will allow this.

It is a very good idea to opt to have regular maintenance coat applied to your engineered floors.  It consists of giving the floor a very light sand and then coating the area with a floor varnish.  This process camouflages the minor scratches and revives the look of the floor without removing any precious millimeters of timber. This process keeps the floor looking good throughout its entire lifespan as well as working out more economical in the long run.

Can Engineered timber be sanded and coated?

Quality engineered timber floors are coated with extra durable finishes and if cared for properly should last you a long time before sanding is needed.  Depending on the finish of the floor it may also be possible to apply a maintenance coat every 4-5 years before the floor wears out too much.  This which will camouflage the minor scratches and revive the look of the floor adding additional protection to the timber it without having to shave of precious millimeters of timber.

If you are thinking long term and want to know if they can be sanded the answer to this question is it ‘depends’. First and foremost, it will depend on the thickness of the timber veneer.  If the veneer is around 3mm or more yes they can be sanded and coated.  There are however some low budget Engineered floors on the market that have a .5mm to 1mm veneer and these CANNOT be sanded.

It should be noted that if  you purchase a floor with a ‘hand scraped finish’  modern belt sanders used for sanding cannot duplicate a hand scraped look.    Also, if the floor has a coloured stain applied to it,  you will need to factor in the cost of  staining as well as sanding the floor.

Can Engineered floors be laid over an existing floor?

Generally speaking, the answer is yes.  If the sub floor is level and flat, for example tiles or existing timber floors, and is stable so tiles are not crumbling or breaking loose, then yes laminate and Hybrid vinyl plank can be laid over these.  This often saves the homeowner a lot of hassle and money in not having to remove the tiles before updating to a new floor.

If you have sections of the house that have carpet and are lower than tiles and would like to have the entire floor flush and on one level then we have solutions to rectify this also.

Engineered Timber V Solid Timber which is better?

Hardwood timber floors are timeless and durable and can add real value to your homeowner however not all wood floors are the same.

While solid hardwood planks are made out of a single solid pieceof timber, engineered floors are constructed from multiple layers of ply or pine timber and then topped off with a layer of solid timber that can vary in thickness between 3-6 mm.

Both solid and engineered can be sanded and refinished to remove scratches and dint’s.  Generally speaking, solid timber will allow the floor to be sanded more times than an engineered floor. Keep in mind though that even if the solid timber strip flooring is 19 mm thick that doesn’t mean the floor can be sanded until all 19 mm of the timber is gone.  Solid timber is held together with a tongue and groove system and only the section of the timber that sits above the tongue can be sanded.   Sanding further going would expose the groove section and gaps would become visible in the floor. In effect, even with solid timber you only have about 4-5 mm of timber that can be sanded off, which limits the number of sands a floor can be given.  The only exception to this is parquetry as it is not held together with tongue and grooves and can therefore be sanded many times.

Solid hardwood floors are sensitive to moisture, humidity and significant temperature change.  In extreme cases the boards can expand causing cupping, buckling or shrinkage causing gaps to appear between the boards. It is for this reason that solid hardwood is not recommended for bathrooms, laundries or basements. The construction of engineered floors,  counteracts wood’s natural tendency to expand and contract, which means its more resistant to fluctuations in temperature and humidity and are less likely to gap or warp.

 

Another advantage of engineered timber is can be laid directly over concrete increasing the floor height by usually no more than 14 mm  In contrast when when laying solid timber, it is recommended to have a plywood sub floor at least 12mm thick installed  prior to the solid timber.  This can creates the inconvenience of increasing the overall floor height by 25-30 mm.   This can be inconvenient if the timber area meets up with other flooring like carpet or tiles as they will not be flush and usually leave a small step where the two meet.

Although Engineered timber is generally laid as a floating floor  (laid over an underlay and not glued down to the sub floor} it can be glued directly to the sub floor for a more solid feel if desired.

What maintenance is required with an Engineered timber floor?

The two most important factors in maintaining an engineered or solid timber floor are 1) Don’t allow dirt, sand to accumulate on the floor.  This acts like a sand paper which will dull and abrade the floor.  Regular vacuuming is the best way to ensure this doesn’t happen.  2) Don’t use sloppy wet mops to clean the floor this can cause damage to any timber floor Use a damp mop or cloth for cleaning. We don’t recommend the use of steam mops.

For a full set of maintenance instructions, we recommend you download our free ‘how to prepare your home for sanding and coating’ brochure which contains a section on tips on how to look after the floor.   The same principles listed apply to engineered timber.

BAMBOO FLOORING

What is a Bamboo floor?

Bamboo is a natural surface covering that has many of the properties of hardwood flooring even though it is actually produced from a type of grass.  Bamboo is an Eco-friendly, highly renewable source of material and grows much faster than wood. It is also termite resistant and comes in a choice of stains.

Strand woven bamboo flooring is made when heated strips of bamboo are separated into strands, then woven together and compressed with high-pressure heat and environmentally safe resins.

Bamboo is produced in various ways both as an engineered type of floor (only veneer layer of bamboo) or as a solid plank 100% bamboo.Solid carbonized bamboo is very dense and due to its sheer weight, if laid on a flat level surface and with the right underlay it has the same feel of walking on a solid timber floor.

Bamboo has become very popular in the last 10 years and is used as an alternative for flooring because of its physical similarities to true hardwood. It is a very strong and durable floor type and gives the warm look and feel of timber but at a lower price point than timber.

How durable is Bamboo?

Quality Bamboo flooring will probably last 25 years or more.  Various bamboo manufacturers back up this claim by offering a 25 year ‘wear’ warranty and a lifetime structural warranty.  Bamboo has an extremely high janka/hardness rating which makes it harder than most hardwood floors and therefore very impact resistant.

As with all flooring products, care needs to be taken in avoiding unnecessarily scratching the floor.   No floor is totally scratch resistant and a good maintenance routine is recommended to keep it looking good in the long run.

Can Bamboo be laid over an existing Floor?

Generally speaking, the answer is yes.  If the sub floor is level and flat, for example tiles or existing timber floors, and is stable so tiles are not crumbling or breaking loose, then yes laminate and hybrid vinyl plank can be laid over these.  This often saves the homeowner a lot of hassle and money in not having to remove the tiles before updating to a new floor.

If you have sections of the house that have carpet and are lower than tiles and would like to have the entire floor flush and on one level then we have solutions to rectify this also.

SOLID TIMBER

Is solid timber always the best type of flooring?

Solid timber is a timeless long-term investment that increases the value of your home.  If the right type of timber is selected and its maintained properly it can last a life time.  However, it is not without drawbacks and it would be wise to take them into consideration before making  your choice.

Solid timber costs more than Engineered timber and most other flooring options available.  This is mainly due to a higher labour cost as it is very labour intensive to install.  Solid timber is also the most intrusive to a home and family for installation.  It first needs to be installed as a raw timber flooring usually using nails and adhesive.  It will need to be sanded and coated which is fairly time consuming.   This means if you live in the home, you will need to factor in being out of the home for a period of time, as it’s not advisable to be there during the sanding and coating procedure. Most other flooring options are pre-finished and not require any type of sanding or coating.  This means they can be laid without the home occupants moving out.  Additionally, all floating floors are fitted and held in place by a click system of some sort,  the installation time is considerably reduced making it less of a disruption on the family who home is having the new floor installed.

As mentioned in previous questions, solid hardwood floors are sensitive to moisture, humidity and significant temperature changes and in extreme cases the boards can expand causing cupping, buckling or shrinkage causing gaps to appear between the boards.  The wider the boards are, the more susceptible they are to cupping.  For that reason achieving the modern sleek wide board look is easier, less expansive and offers more stability when using an engineered timber.

Over the years we’ve seen quite drastic cupping of timber floors in houses that were left empty over the winter months as well as gaps appearing in between the boards during warmer months. Solid timber flooring requires the internal environment of the home be more stable in other words to not have extreme variances in the temperature and moisture of the home.  Cooling is required in the summer (not evaporative cooling) and heating in the winter so that the floor is not exposed to extreme heat or cold.

Hardwood isn’t scratch proof: Hardwood flooring isn’t scratch proof nor can it hide your pet’s claw marks. It is easily damaged and will need to be refinished. It’s important to choose the right type of timber that’s not too soft to minimize the susceptibility to dint’s, high heel marks etc. Although real wood flooring is sturdy, it can be damaged, often through rough use and moisture spills.

SANDING AND COATING

What I need to do to prepare my home for sanding and coating?

There are various steps we recommend you do prior to sanding and coating to ensure everything goes smoothly.  We recommend that you download our Free “How to prepare your home for timber floor sanding and finishing” e-book that provides all the necessary information.

How do I look after a freshly sanded floor?

The care you take in looking after a freshly sanded floor will directly influence how long the finish will last before it needs to be sanded again. Keep in mind that every sand you give the floor reduces the actual life of the timber. If care is taken and a maintenance coat is applied every so often it should last you a very long time. We have prepared a free downloadable information brochure “How to prepare your home for timber floor sanding and finishing” that contains hints on maintenance for timber floors.

How do I know if my floor needs a maintenance coat?

A ‘maintenance coat’ is when the timber or engineered floor is given a very light sand with a large rotary machine and a new coat of varnish is applied over the top.  This process removes light scratches, helps camouflage larger ones and revives the sheen level of the timber without actually shaving precious millimeters of timber from the floor.

It is a much faster process than full sanding and can be done within a day or two depending on the number of coats applied.  It also works out more economical in the long run and keeps the floor looking good consistently throughout its entire lifespan.

This procedure is possible only if the floor still has varnish coating the entire floor and has not worn through to bare timber in any one place.  If it has worn through, for example: where the chairs legs have rubbed against the floor repeatedly, then a full sand will be needed as the varnish will absorb differently in these areas appearing much darker than the rest of the floor.

We recommend you don’t allow the floor to become too worn out before you book in a maintenance coat.  An average recommended time frame would be every 5 years depending on how the floor has been looked after during this time.

GENERAL QUESTIONS

How do I get a rough idea of what a new floor will cost?

The easiest way is to call or email us with accurate measurements of the area and any other relevant details and tell us which product you are interested in and we can provide you with a free no obligation quote.

If you want to see if new floors are a viable option, then we recommend you follow the instructions below and calculate total square meters of the area. Remember to add an additional 5-7% for off cuts and then multiply that by the price of the product you think you would like.

Do you remove Carpets?

Yes, we also offer a carpet removal service if you need it.  You can then either dispose of the carpet via council hard rubbish collection or let us organize to take it away for you.

Can I buy the flooring from you and lay it myself?

Yes, D.I.Y enthusiasts are most welcome to purchase and lay the floor themselves.  Our pricing is very competitive and products are of excellent quality.  We also offer discounts for larger areas.   We are happy to offer advice in helping you choose the right flooring product how best to install it.

I have already purchased the floor myself do you offer Installation service only?

Yes, we do if you have purchased your own flooring and would like our expert installers to lay it,  not a problem.  If you need accessories like scotia, underlay and metal trims for the doorways we can provide them for you.

How do I measure the rooms to work out the square meters?

To start you will need a measuring tape pen and paper.  Someone to help with the measuring tape would be good but not essential.  If the room is a square to rectangle then it’s easy.  Just measure from wall to wall both the length and width of the room making sure you write each figure down correctly, use meters and centimeters not feet.

If you have an irregular room, it is often beneficial to create a rough sketch of the layout then identify areas which can be split into neat, easily manageable squares or rectangles. Each area can then be measured in the same way as described previously. The size of each section is then added together to get the total area of the room:

Hints and Tips:

 

  • It is best to measure your floor in meters as this is the format in which your flooring is likely to be sold.
  • Always remember a waste factor of 5-10%.
  • Measure into skirting and door frames if your flooring will finish under these.
  • Don’t forget about fireplaces, alcoves and cupboards.

Hints and Tips:

Hints and Tips:
  • It is best to measure your floor in meters as this is the format in which your flooring is likely to be sold.
  • Always remember a waste factor of 5-10%.
  • Measure into skirting and door frames if your flooring will finish under these.
  • Don’t forget about fireplaces, alcoves and cupboards.
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