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What makes a good floor, great? The details! Plank direction, finishing trims and installation method are among some of the finer points you should consider when choosing laminate and engineered timber flooring. Along with a good installer, these important details will transform the look of your floor and ensure a quality finish.

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What is the difference between floating and glue down?

Laminate floors must be floated whereas you have the choice of floating or glue down for engineered timber.

Floating floors are laid without any adhesive, using the weight of the floor and the joint system to keep them in place. For this reason it’s important to look for a high quality product with a proven click system such as Quickstep’s globally patented Uniclic. Floating floors are generally faster and cheaper to install but if you have a very large area you may need to allow for expansion joins. This is because floating floors need to be able to expand and contract and without expansion joins in these large areas, you risk a squeaky floor. Your consultant will work with you to place expansion joins so they are in an appropriate, out of the way location.

While usually more expensive to install, the glue down method on the other hand does not need to have expansion joins. When walked on they feel firm, just like a solid wood floor. The glue down method is a much more permanent choice as it’s not as easy to swap to a different floor later down the track should you change your mind.

Does there need to be an expansion gap?

Expansion gaps are recommended for floating floors when areas are greater than the following:

  • Laminate: 13 metres width x 13 metres in length.
  • Bamboo: 8 metres in width x 12 metres in length. May move by up to 3mm per lineal metre in width, thicker skirting and undercutting gib may be an option.
  • Engineered Timber: 8 metres in width and 12 metres in length.

Glued down engineered timber floors do not need expansion gaps.

Do I need finishing trims?

Finishing trims are used at transitions to other flooring and at exterior door/window frames. They are not needed where there is skirting as the flooring goes under this. Finishing trims help to protect the edge of your floor which is more prone to damage. They are especially important for floating floors as they allow room for expansion. Trims are usually made of metal and can be powder coated to match your joinery. Options can be discussed with your consultant.

What direction should I lay my flooring?

The direction your planks are laid is largely a personal decision but there are a few key points to consider. Often planks are laid parallel to the longest length of the room and remain in a consistent direction throughout the home. Plank direction can trick the eye into thinking a room is either longer or wider and can be used to draw your eye towards an architectural feature or amazing view. Discuss with your consultant and look at entrances, hallways and points of interest in your home to determine the best direction.

When does my floor get installed?

Timber floors are usually installed after the installation of kitchen joinery carcasses, and prior to fitting of toe kicks, end panels and fitting of skirting.

Your kitchen designer/installer will need to know the thickness of flooring and underlay, so please check with your consultant.

Can I install engineered timber or laminate over any subfloor?

The subfloor has to be flat, dry and structurally sound. The general standard for floor level is a subfloor with no more than 3mm variation over a 3 metre straight edge, and nothing greater than 2mm over 1 metre. Variations will result in the floor being spongy, possibly creaking and sound hollow to walk on.

Can I install engineered timber and laminate over heated subfloors?

Quick-Step timbers and laminates can be installed over heated concrete subfloors, where the heating is embedded in the floor slab. This applies to both floating and glue down methods.

  • Plastic sheeting may be required beneath the underlay of floating floors
  • The heating system should run prior to installation
  • The maximum surface temperature should not exceed 28°C at all times

Flooring Galleries are available in our Christchurch, Dunedin and Wanaka Showrooms.

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