13 Client Supply Items – Floor finishes.

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The choice of which floor finish goes in which room is part of the tender process – we call it Stage 2. The reason is mostly because of the preparation of the subfloor.

If you choose a new timber floor, tiles or cork flooring for example, the floor has to be completely level. As you might know, existing timber floors in older properties usually are not. If you choose to either retain the existing floor boards, or have new carpets installed, you do not need to do anything to the floors – apart from perhaps inspecting for damage, cleaning up the debris between floor joist and adding thermal and/or acoustic insulation before closing the boards down.

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Timber floors come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and finishes. You can get longer, shorter and wider boards, panels or parquets in various shapes as well.

As a rule, the more work that has been put into achieving a specific finish (eg distressed, smoked and oiled), the more expensive the floor will be, but the effect will also be much more interesting.

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It is worth mentioning here that there are also timber effect tiles which have become much more realistic looking in the last few years, and are a great alternative as a kitchen or extension floor finish, where you would like the benefit of tiles, but the look of timber.

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In general, while choosing your tiles, think about where they will go and their size as well. For bathroom tiles, if your bathroom is relatively small, don’t go for a bigger tiles than 600 x 600 mm, as it might visually reduce your bathroom size if the whole bathroom floor uses only a handful of tiles. Conversely, the opposite is true of larger bathrooms and mosaic tiles.

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The next thing to consider is the tiles’ surface finish. Websites will help you choose wall or floor tiles.

For floor tiles, there is a simple rule of thumb – the more polished the tile, the more slippery it is, so the less suitable it is where you will bare foot (there is a slip rating system in place, but I won’t be going into to many technical details).

This is not only for your own safety, but not following this rule can get you into trouble with building control as well. Wall tiles can be pretty much any finish.

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If you would like to choose natural stone or marble tiles or slabs, you need to have them sealed, otherwise they will very easily discolour when soaking up dirt and water. This sealing needs to be repeated every six months for best effect.

Marble, quartz and other natural stones have the added beauty of having a natural, unrepeated pattern and also come in larger sizes and thicknesses, which makes them best suited to vanity worktops, bath surrounds, shower floors and even sinks.

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An alternative option can be cork tiles, which we have recently used successfully on a couple of projects. They are available in a variety of finishes and colours, and when laid, give a very uniform surface.

The added benefit, as opposed to timber floors for example, is that they can be laid in bathrooms, and when you walk on them barefoot, you will feel their gentle softness.

Cork is also a natural acoustic insulation, and you will have fewer issues when laying cork as opposed to timber in multi-storey residential properties, where a Licence for Alterations is required.

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There are of course many other floor options available – carpets, PVC has recently also made a comeback, and more exotic finishes like leather or concrete.

The choice is yours!

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