Walls by Timberplan

Our readers' top 10 flooring problems (to learn from)

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
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Who doesn’t love a beautiful floor in their house? Be it laminate, stone, hardwood or tile, a beautiful floor (that is also clean) can go a long way in making your home look elegant and stylish.

But like all things in life, floors are not forever, and the occasional revamp might be necessary, especially if you’re living in a rather old house. The problem, however, arises when you try to look for a quick-fix in terms of making those floors beautiful again – trust us when we say there’s no such thing.

So, to help you realise this (before you learn a very expensive lesson), take a look at some common mistakes other homeowners have made when it came to their floors.

1. Not allowing enough time for a hardwood refinishing

Full interior house painting, South West London: classic Bedroom by The Hamilton Group
The Hamilton Group

Full interior house painting, South West London

The Hamilton Group

A lot of homeowners don’t realise the amount of time required for a proper refinishing job. 

Yes, you may know that it takes around 5 days to get the work done, but did you know that you must then wait 4 more days afterwards before you can place your furniture on those wooden surfaces?

2. Hiring the cheapest flooring contractor

The best person for the job is not necessarily the one charging you the least.

Just think about it: both labour and material cost money. Materials cost a certain amount, which means if their costs are lower, chances are probable that it’s a lower-quality product. If the labour costs are lower, then it might mean the work will be inferior. 

Don’t be rushed – take your time interviewing the contractors; ask for references and check up on more than one; ask friends for referrals; and search online for customer reviews.

3. Doing things in the wrong order

Hexagonal Floor Tiles:  Walls by Tileflair
Tileflair

Hexagonal Floor Tiles

Tileflair

The most common sequencing mistakes are: 

1. Painting before refinishing floors, and 

2. Installing cabinets before installing hardwood or tile.

You think you might save some time by doing a bit of painting before the flooring, but in general there will always be painting required afterwards. And trust us when we say that your flooring project will come out much better if the painting is done after the flooring (assuming you hire the correct professionals, of course).

4. Going with a general contractor instead of a flooring specialist

 Walls by Timberplan
Timberplan

Parquet IndusParquet

Timberplan

Thinking of picking a handyman just because he’s cheaper? Although not always the case, somebody who charges less for labour does so because their skill level is lower.

Remember that flooring is a very specialised trade – and that you usually get what you pay for.

5. Using the wrong cleaning products

There are many many products out there promising a clean and glossy floor – most of these use oils and waxes to achieve those shiny results. However, floor waxing was done in the olden days before polyurethane was invented to protect flooring surfaces. And the ironic thing is that waxing actually degrades the poly and causes you to refinish the floors sooner.

Rather consult a flooring expert on the right cleaning methods before you pick the cheapest and quickest route.

6. Buying cheap materials

Shoreditch Project:  Walls by The Wood Galleries
The Wood Galleries

Shoreditch Project

The Wood Galleries

As we’ve mentioned, you get what you pay for – thus, don’t skimp on the materials. 

If you’re having trouble affording the correct materials for the job, it might be a sign that you should hold off on the job a little longer. 

Rather be logical about this: cheaper usually means lower quality.

7. DIYing

 Walls by Equipe Ceramicas
Equipe Ceramicas

Curvytile Cotto Deco Patchwork Ceramic 26,5x26,5

Equipe Ceramicas

Of course there are some very talented people out there, but not all of us were meant to work with our hands. If you don’t install or refinish floors on a regular basis, what makes you think you can attempt such a project alone? 

Rather consult the professionals who do this all day, every day.

8. Going too trendy

Brick Tile Series:  Walls by Tileflair
Tileflair

Brick Tile Series

Tileflair

It’s good that you want to ride the trend wave, but make sure you plan for the future (unless you have an unlimited budget for household renovations). 

Ask yourself the following: 

• How long will I live in this house? 

• What happens when the trends change? 

• What happens if my personal taste changes? 

Make sure you have a plan. Ripping up a tiled or wooden floor is not the same as ripping up vinyl flooring.

9. Falling for too-good-to-be-true ad gimmicks

Berkeley Limestone in a seasoned finish from Artisans of Devizes.:  Walls by Artisans of Devizes
Artisans of Devizes

Berkeley Limestone in a seasoned finish from Artisans of Devizes.

Artisans of Devizes

“Free installation if you call now”. Really? 

Nothing in life is free except trouble – those costs are hidden somewhere else. What type of installer would do a whole day’s worth of work for absolutely nothing? 

Look at the total cost of the project instead of the individual steps before making up your mind.

10. Putting a floating floor under cabinets

A floating floor is a flooring surface that it is “floating” on top of the floor underneath it and is not directly secured to the floor (i.e. no nails and no glue). Instead, the floating floor is secured around the edges of the room – the base moulding/shoe moulding and transitions. 

Many different materials can make exquisite floating floors, such as laminate, cork or hardwood. However, don’t let anybody tell you that a floating floor can be installed underneath cabinets – they need to go around, otherwise they won’t be able to expand and contract, causing them to buckle and you phoning up a new flooring contractor in a panic. 

Speaking of which, you should take a look at these: Cabinets to make home organisation easy.

Planning a flooring project at home?
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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