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The carpet in one of my properties needs replacing after only four years. My fault for buying cheap and I regretted it almost immediately. I have agreed with the tenant to replace with laminate and they have expressed a preference for a light colour. My handyman has provided a quote for fitting so I just need to select the laminate now.
Laminate is something I know nothing about and having made a mistake over the carpet I want to get it right this time. The tenants have a dog and small children so it needs to be reasonably hard-wearing, not too expensive and look nice. Do you good people have any recommendations for types and brands of laminate, pointers for what I should look out for and where to get the best value for money?
I assume it is not a flat as any sort of hard flooring can cause noise to travel to the property below and also sideways to adjoining flats.
Quickstep with a good underlay - https://www.quick-step.co.uk/en-gb/laminate
It is not just a question of which laminate but how it is put down.
The laminate should be AC Rated at 4 (Domestic to moderate comercial) many brands do not even note their AC rating. This is because they are rubbish regardless of their cost. Lightness or darkness of floor is pretty irrelevant it does not affect durability. I also prefer it to have a v groove around each piece. Admittedly this means you do not get one smooth floor but it does look like boards. The advantage is that when laminate shows signs of wear it is usually at the planks edges, the v groove helps to minimise this and also help to mask any minor discrepancies in the fitting (there are always some trust me). I always use Kronospan from Magnet (in the past I have used many brands). This comes in a variety of colours and AC4. If you get a trade account it sells for about £6.5 m2, if you butter up and get to know the trade boys, or get it on their promotional days it can be around £5m2, but you must not go in as retail but as a trade customer. This stuff easily beats BQ and Wickes stuff at the top of their range at around £16m2 so big saving while not compromising on quality
Regards to fitting, obviously follow the instructions but a couple of extras to point out. The expansion gap is so important. Every single edge must have 10mm space if a tiny part does not your floor will buckle. Even though most instructions do not mention, use a waterproof pva glue on all edges and as a continuos bead with no gaps. This will not make a mess as it can go around the bottom groove and none will seeped out when planks lock together. It will stop joins opening up and when liquid is spilt on floor (it will be) it will stop bubbling up of the planks.
Using this method I have had a tenant flood a kitchen floor, about 1/2 inch water all over. I got there quickly and cleaned up. I removed the beads (merely to let evaporation occur under the laminate) and left a dehumidifyer on for 3 days. Yes the floor expanded causing a buble but after 3 days it went back down and no damage to the laminate, pretty impressive. All this and an average size room costs about £110 on flooring and will take a day at most to fit.
Don't get me wrong I do not like laminate. I think it is the woodchip of our age. However I love laminate on my rentals as it is cheap durable and if fitted properly looks good years later. As said all in the quality (does not equate to cost) and the fitting, if they are not good the floor will give you nothing but problems and need replacing
Very many thanks; that's just the sort of information I am looking for. The Kronospan looks very interesting.
Quickstep is pretty good quality but bloody expensive better quality laminate can be bought for much cheaper
I am not an expert but as a mother am a great advocate of laminate especially from a practical perspective. I have been putting it in my daughters' bedrooms since they were quite small and it has saved me no end of trouble be it from drinks, felt pens, paints etc then as they have grown these hassles have come from drinks, food, make up, nail polish and fake tan etc etc. For years now the only carpet I have ever had has been in the master bedroom and the stairs. This has also alleviated pet issues too. (In fact i recall their bedroom carpet was ruined by bringing our kittens to their bedroom at night when they were little!) I generally find that laminate is priced around a decent carpet per Sq metre but has tended to last much longer.
I recall when laminate first came out, my friend in Ireland had opted for solid wood flooring and the fitter had mentioned that with laminate it is a good idea to paint it with a clear matt varnish to give it extra protection. I have often considered it but never done it.
From a taste perspective I am not a great fan of the paler colours that were fashionable a while ago. I prefer the medium oak colours. One of my daughters opted for white a couple of years back which I regret agreeing to. None of us like it.
Good quality laminate can look as good as engineered wood flooring. Definitely worth shopping around and checking a lot of samples to find one you like. We're less keen on ones with a shiny finish. As a general rule a minimum of 10mm thickness tends to result in a better feel and finish and greater durability...cheap, thin laminate looks awful and chips too easily. Spending a little more now will result in laminate that lasts longer, looks better and will save you money in the longer term. Also worth bearing in mind the quality of the underlying floor...laminate is great on level floors but if you have some undulations it will bow under foot. If you're putting laminate into flats or HMOs then it's also worth considering noise transmission issues...if you have done your refurb/build to a high acoustic standard then laminate will be okay, if not then footsteps on laminate on upper floors will be very noisy for anyone living below...good quality carpet with a thick underlay will be better in such situations.
* New build residential developments and flat conversions in the Home Counties* High end HMOs in Reading and Bracknell