Selecting the right flooring and contractor for your property

Designer Contracts MD, Peter Kelsey offers his expert opinion on how to select the right contractor and the right flooring products for any property.

When it comes to flooring coverings across the contract sector the ‘who’ to use is as important as ‘what’ to use.

It goes without saying that using a reliable contractor is vital to the success of an installation along with a swift service. The ability to supply a variety of floorcoverings within budget and that are technically appropriate to ensure a safe and inclusive environment are vital to any property.

So in selecting a contractor, opt for a company able to offer a wide selection of affordable – yet durable floorcoverings to suit the nature of the property.

Careful planning and consideration should be taken before any flooring selection is made. Flooring that can be easily cleaned is essential for a busy care home for example. Practical options and slip resistant vinyls should be considered for any wet areas.Where appropriate the product should be slip resistant and suitable for occupants with bare feet and in the case of social care, where their carer is likely to wear shoes when assisting in and around wet areas.

Flooring has changed in the last couple of years but carpet is still an ever-popular choice of floorcovering with ‘greige’ – a mixture of cooler beiges and greys – being a common choice for new build properties, where it sits comfortably with modern interiors.

The advanced manufacturing techniques used for vinyl tiles and laminates mean it’s difficult to tell the difference between these and the real thing, yet they’re much easier to maintain. Their hard-wearing nature makes them a popular choice for families with young children and pets.

So in high traffic areas, such as hallways and kitchens, luxury vinyl tiles and fashionable laminates continue to grow in popularity as a practical alternative to real wood, stone or ceramic tiles.

Having access to the most up to date products and being aware of new and innovative products, often in advance of them being introduced to the industry, is important for any contractor.

One ground-breaking product is a new waterproof laminate, which could be ideal for rented properties. The joints are fitted with a protective, waterproof coat (Hydroseal). This coat stops water from penetrating into the joints, so that it sparkles on the floor instead.

The joints are pressed into the surface structure right from the first production step. This not only makes the laminate floor waterproof, but it also ensures that the design, colour, and structure of the planks blend subtly into the joint. This is perfect where previously those renting out properties were reluctant to use laminate floors in bathrooms, kitchens and other areas susceptible to moisture.

Individual rooms and apartments should be approached in a completely different way. Noise disturbance in some properties can be a real problem if the room above has not had suitable flooring fitted. Softer flooring – and underlay options should be considered – as it could save a great deal of hassle in the long run. And high traffic entrance areas will require a thicker wear layer and surface protection to increase the longevity of the product.

There are regulations and requirements that should be considered when selecting flooring products. R10 is the German DIN Standard slip resistant test (ramp test), which is the accepted test method for Europe. However in the UK HSE guidelines prefer the Pendulum Test, providing a classification of 36+ when dry, wet and contaminated. So if a floor is going to be prone to product spillage – shampoo, shower gel or general bathroom related products, it will need a low potential for slip (>36 ) with a surface roughness of >20 microns as outlined in BS7976-2.

Ease of installation is incredibly important. Time is money so contractors should be able to replace and install flooring to tight deadlines. As well as new properties, some older properties have to be upgraded to comply with modern needs and changes in regulations.

Whatever the property, it’s important to build trusted relationships, so completing work as soon as possible means a swift and efficient turnaround for all.