When we first started to think about our extension we decided to tile the kitchen floor, have wooden floor in the living room, and put down some cheaper vinyl in the utility and side entrance. But of course, this has now all changed.
One of the builders suggested a bamboo floor. Bamboo floors are engineered – much like ply or chipboard, with strands of bamboo stuck together with loads of glue / adhesive. I read up on these and there were some concerns regarding the manufacturing of cheaper bamboo floors overseas, and some of the adhesives may be irritants etc. As a seasoned allergy sufferer (the Celotex insulation had me sneezing for a few days!) I decided against bamboo. The advantage of bamboo is that it is water tight – you can mop it as with a tiled or vinyl floor so great for kitchens.
Some friends of ours have engineered wooden floors throughout the house, and Kahrs were recommended for their durability, solidness and generally looking nice. However, wooden floors do lose their colour in sunlight and our living room is going to get a lot of sun. However, we almost went for this, but …..
Another friend showed us his Karndean floor. Karndean provide vinyl tiles which are laid onto a latex surface. This produces a soft and well insulated floor which is watertight and very resistant to general wear and tear. Karndean provide a lot of patterns and styles, from very realistic woods to stones and even cobbled effects. The floors have a grain so are less slippery – great for kids that are running about the place and clumsy adults like me. Also, our local carpet centre specialises in Karndean floors and have a dedicated fitter. I took the boys along to the shop on Monday and they liked the patterns too, so we are going for Karndean.
Another advantage of Karndean is that you can lay it right up to a skirting board without it looking odd. This is a winner, as otherwise we would be waiting about 8 weeks to have the skirting boards put in in the living room on top of the wooden floor (the screed takes about 8 weeks to dry out enough to lay a wooden floor). This would just cause more disruption and feel like the job in not finished. Karndean wins!
The plan is to have a stone effect floor in the kitchen and a wooden effect floor (a darkish oak I think) in the lounge.
If our lounge was not also the access to the back garden I would have a nice carpet, but our house gets so dirty – it is impossible to keep the carpets clean at the moment, and that is with shouting “take your shoes off!” about 20 times a day in the summer. With solid floors throughout the downstairs we can be happy that the floor will never be dirty (for long).