Flooring Questions & Answers

Flooring Questions & Answers

Flooring Questions & Answers

We get plenty of flooring questions. So here is a listing of regularly requested questions and their solutions bearing on floors.

Besides wear and tear, there are various reasons why you could decide to trade your floors. You can upgrade your flooring to keep up with modern trends, prepare your house for a special occasion like a family reunion, or prepare it for sale. Before investing in the renovation, you may have numerous questions regarding retail floors and installations. However, finding satisfactory answers can often be a challenge.

Flooring Service aims to provide you with accurate information to help you choose the right floors for your needs, family, and location. To do exactly this, we’ve responded to some of the most regularly asked questions on floors and more.

How do I wash my new floor?

Flooring dealers have a variety of products to clean every kind of flooring they sell. Be sure to ask your supplier what cleaning products will work best for your flooring to make sure you get the right one.

What is the difference between a ceramic and porcelain tile?

Ceramic is a clay-based tile with a durable glaze. Porcelain is a solid color through body tile that is dense and impervious.

Can ceramic tile be used outside?

Ceramic tile cannot be used outside, however, porcelain can. It must be frost proof and unglazed. Check with your dealer if they have these kinds in stock.

Should ceramic, porcelain or natural stone be sealed?

Ceramic doesn’t need sealing, and the majority of porcelain doesn’t require sealing either. On the other hand, the natural stone should always be sealed.

Is my flooring waterproof?

Carpet, sheet vinyl, engineered and solid wood are not waterproof. The flooring market has, however, introduced luxury vinyl plank and luxury vinyl tiles which are completely waterproof. Be sure to ask your flooring dealer for these if waterproof flooring is important to you.

What is Solid Wood Flooring?

Solid wood flooring is made from planks of milled timber. They don’t use any additional layers or laminates. The boards are a single piece of wood that can be cut into a wide range of shapes and sizes, from parquet blocks and tiles to full-size floorboards. They have a thicker surface and can be sanded without damaging the pattern or grain. They’re hard-wearing and highly desirable, although the most expensive option compared to other flooring types. Find out more about solid wood flooring here, or check out the information on our blog.

What is Engineered Wood Flooring?

Engineered wood flooring is an alternative to hardwood flooring. It has a decorative top layer made of real wood, so you get the natural grain and beauty of a piece of natural timber. It’s bonded to a core layer made from wood chips to give the flooring strength and thickness. The multi-layer construction makes it less reactive to moisture and temperature changes, so it’s suitable for locations such as kitchens. Because it isn’t affected by temperature changes as much as hardwood, it’s also ideal for use with underfloor heating. Find out more about our engineered wood flooring here, or browse our blogs for in-depth information on a wide range of flooring.

What is Laminate Flooring?

Laminate flooring is a great budget option that gives you easy coverage and a beautiful finish. It’s made from a particleboard base covered by a specially created image using the latest 3D printing technology, which gives you a vast range of design options. A transparent wear layer on top protects the pattern. Easy to lay and cheaper than hardwood options, they’re suitable for most locations except for high humidity/moisture areas such as bathrooms or laundry rooms.

They’re DIY-friendly too, with most using a click-and-lock tongue and groove system. Find out more about Kaplan Flooring‘s range of laminate flooring here, and browse our blogs for lots of helpful information on laminate flooring.

What is herringbone/parquet flooring?

Parquet flooring is one of the most desirable types of wooden flooring. This gorgeous technique was invented in France in the 17th century. You can use hardwood or engineered wood blocks to create patterns by arranging them in a specific order. Herringbone flooring is simply an alternative pattern to parquet that uses the same technique. Creating your version of the Versailles Palace in your living room is easier than you may think. Browse our flooring section or check out the information in our blogs for more details.

What is LVT?

LVT is a type of hard surface flooring that is more durable than other options in the commercial flooring industry. Luxury vinyl is made up of several layers, including a durable vinyl backing, a layer with a color or photograph design, and a protective coating or wear layer made of polyurethane. With Flooring Service luxury vinyl, you can expect greater resilience, easier maintenance and installation, and superior durability.

Does LVT stain?

Luxury vinyl tile and plank possess inherent resistance to the majority of everyday stains. Test any product that may stain a floor sample before applying it. Contact your Flooring Service Sales Representative for a Stain Resistance Chart and testing information.

Avoid using rubber mats or anti-fatigue mats as walk-off mats, as the rubber backing can cause movement or discoloration when placed on top of the floor. It’s important to have a walk-off area of at least 15 feet (30 feet is better) to prevent sediment from being tracked inside, including asphalt.

Wax or finish?

The benefit of selecting LVT for interior commercial projects is its low maintenance. Kaplan Flooring LVT and rigid core click products feature a polyurethane coating to naturally help protect them from moisture, stains, scratches, and scuffs. For certain commercial projects, using the right topical products may further protect it.

So, how do you decide between wax or finish?

Although the terms are often used interchangeably, there is a difference between these two products. Using wax to protect luxury vinyl flooring is not recommended. The use of a synthetic floor finish is recommended for areas prone to scuffing or scratching. When applied correctly, floor finish provides a protective barrier shine and adds to the longevity of the floor.

Can I go over a floor that has been chemically abated?

Yes, with proper preparation. Please consult your Flooring Service Sales Representative or our Installation Guidelines for complete information on Luxury Vinyl Tile + Plank or the Installation Guidelines specific to your product.

How do I prepare a floor that had asbestos tile or adhesive previously installed?

Asbestos was used in flooring and adhesives in the past, but it was banned by federal law. If you plan to remove or place vinyl flooring over an existing resilient flooring material, make sure to check for asbestos in the current flooring. Removing this flooring may release asbestos into the air, which, if inhaled, could lead to severe health issues. Do not sand or scrape these materials.

If the conditions on the job site allow it, it’s generally better to install new material over existing material that might have asbestos. When removal of existing flooring cannot be avoided, all safety precautions and proper procedures must be followed.

You can find more details about removing resilient floor covering in the publication “Recommended Work Practices for the Removal of Resilient Floor Covering” from the Resilient Floor Covering Institute. It is also recommended to check state and local laws regarding the removal of asbestos-containing material.

Where can I get flooring products samples?

Kaplan Flooring London Flooring Products samples can be ordered:

What wear layer thickness do I need?

The industry standard thickness varies depending on where LVT is being used. 20 mil is recommended for heavy traffic in commercial use, while 6-12 mil is recommended for light commercial traffic or residential applications.

What is the best LVT product for high-traffic areas?

Products that are at least 3 mm thick and have a 20 mil wear layer are ideal for high-traffic areas. Choose darker colors and intricate patterns to hide dirt and debris from regular foot traffic.

What product thickness do I need?

In high-traffic areas, it is best to use a thicker floor with a stronger wear layer. We recommend our 5 mm luxury vinyl tile and plank or 7 mm loose-lay luxury vinyl for this purpose. A vinyl floor with a higher overall thickness provides greater durability and stability. For smaller businesses or home projects, it is suggested to use a 2 mm luxury vinyl or 5 mm rigid core click product. To see our design and to request samples, check out our luxury vinyl and rigid core collection.

What types of projects is LVT good for?

Luxury vinyl is ideal for interior commercial applications on both the floor and wall for the following industries:

  • Corporate or office spaces, as well as common areas and break rooms
  • Retail spaces such as supermarkets, department stores, chain stores, and food & beverage outlets
  • Hospitality and leisure settings like restaurants, hotel guest rooms and lobbies, spas/salons, and gaming centers
  • Healthcare environments, including hospitals, medical office buildings, dental offices or centers, assisted living, and rehabilitation centers
  • Education spaces like college and university classrooms, dormitories, and common areas
  • Multi-family environments such as apartment complexes and senior living spaces
  • Fitness spaces, including fitness studios and locker rooms
  • Institutional or government projects, including town, city, and state offices or citizen visiting centers and museums

Can I customize a current flooring design to fit my installation?

Yes. Our manufacturing method allows us to make variations to our products. Choose among different patterns, colors, textures, shapes, thicknesses, and embossing to create an ideal design. Minimum order quantity may apply. For more information, contact us or consult your Flooring Service Sales Representative.

What can I do if I scratch or scuff my floor after the installation?

For small scuffs and scratches, there are many simple fixes. Applying finish or vinyl floor sealer (after washing) will conceal most small to medium scuffs and scratches. Flooring Service also recommends a spot-repair kit that is available for purchase here.

If your damage is worse than a scuff or scratch, like a gouge, cut, or dent, there is still a solution. Instead of trying to repair the affected tile, you can simply replace it. (We typically recommend ordering an extra 5-10% of the square footage in case needed for cuts and tile-by-tile repairs.) If extra pieces are not available, ordering replacement tiles from the manufacturer should not be an issue. Either way, repairing and replacing LVT, while not something you’ll often do, is a relatively easy process.

What kind of cleaning products should be used?

While LVT is perhaps the lowest maintenance flooring option, it is not a no-maintenance flooring option. Just make sure not to allow spills to linger. Luxury vinyl flooring does not require high-speed buffing like vinyl composite tile. Basic cleaning methods such as sweeping and mopping with a two-bucket system are sufficient. While maintaining keeping your vinyl floor clean, it’s important to follow some best practices. Consult your floor’s manufacturer to understand specific recommendations, as certain types of vinyl flooring can be easily damaged by vacuum beater bars and certain cleaning chemicals, resulting in scuffing, discoloration, and other issues. When searching for a neutral pH cleaner, it is important to avoid highly acidic products that can remove the floor’s original glossy appearance.

What luxury vinyl products are available?

There are multiple options available for luxury vinyl flooring, especially in terms of installation types. The primary ones used for commercial spaces are:

Dry back, or glue down; is commonly used as LVT in commercial settings. Available in tile, plank, and sheet format, dry back requires the use of an adhesive when installing.

Loose Lay: This variation of LVT is a thicker construction than dry back (typically 5 mm thick). Apply adhesive around the perimeter of small spaces that are 20 feet wide or less. The other pieces can be placed without using adhesive. If the width or length of the installation space exceeds 20 feet, the use of a grid adhesive application is required. This will allow the installation space to have a stable border when installing the planks loosely within the area. Loose Lay has a specialized backing with traction that keeps everything in place once installed.

Click is similar to Dry Back, but it doesn’t need adhesive. Each plank or tile can be easily locked into place with a clocking system. This provides for an easy and quick installation.

Rigid Core Click is similar to click installation, but it has a stronger and more durable construction for added comfort and longevity.

Can luxury vinyl be installed on walls or other surfaces?

Yes, luxury vinyl products can be installed on walls, stairs, bars, and counters. This is a versatile feature of LVT that allows for customization on both floors and walls, creating a seamless appearance.

LVT be installed in areas susceptible to topical water?

LVT or rigid-core click flooring can be installed in areas prone to moisture, such as restaurants, kitchens, and bathrooms. In fact, luxury vinyl is naturally water-resistant.

While vinyl is easily manageable against topical moisture, there are steps you can take to prevent any issues. Clean up spills and moisture promptly to prevent them from lingering. Vinyl flooring is not waterproof when fully submerged underwater, but this only happens in extreme, high-water situations. The vinyl itself will remain unharmed; most adhesives, however, will become compromised. Consult with your Flooring Service Sales Representative for adhesive options that are suitable in high moisture areas.

To protect your LVT, place mats or rugs at doorways and where there may be moisture. Regularly clean your mats and rugs for best results.

Does Flooring Service serve personal home renovation projects?

Unfortunately at this time, due to logistics concerns, we only handle commercial projects. However, feel free to peruse our gallery or resource center for inspiration or education on LVT.

What are the main benefits of hardwood flooring?

There are many benefits to using hardwood flooring in your commercial space, but most people choose hardwood because it:

  • Adds a level of sophistication and beauty
  • Is durable and timeless
  • Adds value to your building/project
  • Is a cost-effective solution and long-term investment
  • Is low maintenance and easy to clean

What is the difference between solid hardwood and engineered hardwood?

Solid hardwood flooring is made from one single piece of wood and is typically milled to 3/4” thick. Solid hardwood flooring is made of individual boards and is ideal for dry areas. Engineered hardwood flooring is made by layering real wood to create a strong and durable solid board. This manufacturing process also makes engineered hardwood ideal for installation in any setting.

Can I install hardwood floors in any room?

Hardwood flooring can be installed in nearly every room in a commercial setting. Avoid installing hardwood flooring in areas with high water exposure, such as bathrooms or laundry rooms. Before installing the flooring, it is important to check the load limit of the floor. This is especially important for engineered hardwood. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations if you plan to place heavy objects or machinery on the floor.

Can hardwood be installed over vinyl or concrete subfloors?

Hardwood flooring can be installed over existing vinyl tile or sheet if it meets certain conditions. The vinyl should only be one layer, in good condition, well secured, and on a suitable subfloor. Concrete slab subfloors are suitable for all glue-down engineered hardwood installations.

Can damage to hardwood flooring be repaired?

Yes. There are different repair options for hardwood flooring, and the one you choose depends on how damaged it is. Common hardwood repair options include color-blended filler, manufacturer’s touch-up kits, and board replacement.

What can I use to clean and maintain my hardwood floor?

Always use the manufacturer’s recommended cleaning solution, and avoid using water and any high-heat cleaning tools or supplies. 

How to level a floor?

You’ll need to make sure your subfloor is level before laying your wooden, engineered wood, or laminate flooring. If you’re laying on top of a wooden floor, make sure any nails or screws are not sticking up above the surface. Replace any boards that are damaged or rotten. Prepare the surface if you are using adhesive, making sure it’s sanded to remove old varnish or wax. Sand down any uneven areas until the surface is flat throughout.

If you need to level a concrete floor, you can use a leveling compound up to 5-6 mm thick. If you have deep cracks or holes, fill them with a concrete repair compound before pouring the leveling compound. Before pouring the leveling compound, seal the surface of the concrete with a PVA mix or acrylic primer. Start in the corner furthest from the door (not the other way round!) and pour the compound. Use a plastering trowel to spread the compound using sweeping strokes. You’ll need to work quickly as it dries within 15 minutes.

Allow it to dry completely. Use a spirit level to check that the floor is level before laying your floor.

How much flooring do I need? How do I work this out?

It’s easy to work out how much flooring you need. Multiply the length of the room by the width to get the square area. Then, make sure you add an extra 10% for any mistakes. So, for example, if your room is 5 m long by 6 m wide, you multiply the two together to get 30 m². Then add 10% (3 m), and you have a total of 33 m.

Remember, measure twice and cut once! And always add that extra – you don’t want to cut your flooring too small and leave ugly gaps. Use our handy floorboard estimator to work out how many boards you need.

Which flooring for which room?

Not all flooring works in every room. Bear in mind that wood reacts to moisture and humidity and can shrink, warp, or twist over time. We recommend the following:

  • Hallways – Hardwood or engineered wood for its strength and longevity
  • Living rooms – Hardwood, engineered wood or laminates
  • Bedrooms – Hardwood, engineered wood or laminates
  • Bathrooms – Vinyl flooring for its waterproof qualities
  • Laundry rooms – Vinyl flooring – moisture-resistant
  • Kitchens – Laminate flooring or vinyl flooring – moisture-resistant (Consider installing an extractor fan to reduce humidity and moisture)

How to fix creaky floors?

Creaky floors often happen when wooden floorboards rub against each other or other wooden parts like a joist or sub-frame beam. Find the problem area and fix the floorboards by either replacing them or making sure they are securely fixed. To secure the board, you can either use adhesive or nail it back into place on a wooden joist subfloor. The quickest way to stop a laminate floor from squeaking is to install underlay. This will cushion the boards and prevent them from moving around.

Should I install my new flooring before or after my new cabinets?

I like to install my new subfloor material and then my cabinetry. The main reason is, so I don’t damage the new flooring and the second is to save some cost. When installing thick hardwood flooring, it is important to use a plywood base for the cabinets that matches or is slightly thinner than the flooring. This will ensure that the countertop ends up at the correct height above the floor.

Can I install my laminate floating flooring tight to walls and other objects?

No, most manufacturers recommend leaving a 1/4″ – 1/2″ space. Read your installation instructions.

Laminate flooring or hardwood?

That is a very personal choice, and a lot depends on budget as well. Laminate flooring is usually cheaper, but there are also expensive high-end options. Pets can really play havoc with a new wood floor, but most laminates have a very hard surface. Weigh the pros and cons for your household.

How much of a stagger between the end joints should I leave in my laminate flooring from row to row?

Most manufacturers recommend a size range of 8 to 12 inches.

I want tile floors, but they are usually so cold; how could I prevent that?

You could install an electric heat mat under them. They work really well whether you are doing a new home or renovation.

How wide should my grout line be?

It really depends on your taste, but no less than 1/8″ and no more than 3/8″. I usually tell people to go a size smaller than they think they want, as the lines can sometimes seem wider than what you pictured.

How long after laying my tiles can I grout them?

It usually takes around 24 hours for the applied material to dry. The drying time may vary depending on the material used.

It’s important to consult the instructions of your chosen product for accurate information.

How long do I wait before walking on my new tile floor?

Typically, most floors are able to accommodate light foot traffic within 12 hours of being installed, as well as after the grouting process. However, if possible, it is recommended to wait for a full 24 hours before using the floor.

Can I use hardwood in my bathroom?

I would advise against it due to the presence of moisture. Numerous vinyl options provide beautifully authentic wood patterns, making them a superior choice.

On vinyl flooring, can I just glue the perimeter?

Some do recommend that, but I prefer to apply adhesive to the entire surface.

Should I refinish my existing hardwoods or replace them?

If the floors are in good condition and only need minimal repairs, and if they are thick enough to be sanded, it is a good idea to refinish them. If the floors are less than 1/2″ thick, have several missing planks, and are heavily scratched, it may be better to replace them.

How much of a stagger between the end joints should I leave in my hardwood from row to row?

6″ minimum.

How long should I acclimatize my new hardwood before I install it?

Allow the boxes to acclimate in the designated installation room for a minimum of 2–4 days prior to installation.

Can I install hardwood on my concrete slab floor?

Install engineered hardwoods on stable, low-moisture concrete floors for improved stability.

Solid hardwood vs. engineered hardwood?

Engineered hardwood is a highly stable product that can be refinished multiple times if necessary. Specifically, 3/4″ solid hardwood is extremely tough and can be refinished multiple times, making it ideal for areas with heavy foot traffic. Both options are available in a wide range of colors, allowing for customization to suit any aesthetic preference.

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