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In theory, any of our floors can be installed without a professional, but some are easier than others, and we’d only recommend the DIY approach if you are certain you can do it correctly.

 

Why is moisture testing so critical to the success of a flooring installation?

Prior to installing a resilient or textile floorcovering, it is essential to ensure that the subfloor incorporates an effective damp proof membrane, in accordance with British Standards BS 8203 and BS 5325, respectively.

Moisture testing is performed by measuring the Relative Humidity (RH) level within a subfloor. Where the relative humidity (RH) is above 75%, the installation should not proceed as the excess moisture in the floor can result in blistering of the floorcovering or complete failure of the flooring installation. This may result in expensive and lengthy remedial work, including the possibility of an expensive rip out, to allow the subfloor to dry naturally or apply an appropriate waterproof surface treatment.

By testing the subfloor for moisture at the outset, this can be avoided and moisture can be effectively dealt with prior to the installation of floor coverings.

 

What is the most accurate method of testing for moisture within a subfloor?

All floors need to be carefully examined for moisture. The visual inspection of a subfloor is inadequate as the surface may appear dry, but moisture may still be present.

In the first instance, an indicative test using a radio frequency moisture meter offers a quick and easy method of testing moisture levels, providing an instant reading to indicate whether moisture is present. If no moisture is present, the flooring installation can proceed as planned. However, if a radio frequency meter indicates that a subfloor contains moisture, further investigation is required to enable the identification of an appropriate treatment.

To accurately assess the level of moisture in the subfloor, measurements should be made at a number of points across a floor, over a period of 4-24 hours. According to the British Codes of Practice (Sections BS 8203, BS 5325 and BS 8201 addressing the installation of resilient, textile and timber floorcoverings respectively) it is recommended that a non-invasive method is used for dampness testing, such as a calibrated digital hygrometer.

Temporarily sealed to the floor to isolate the device from the surrounding air, a digital hygrometer provides a direct reading of the RH of a small volume of air in equilibrium with the subfloor. Where RH levels are measured at below 75%, the surface is considered sufficiently dry to receive the floorcovering and the installation can proceed without further treatment. If the RH level exceeds 75%, further treatment is required.

As wood floors are particularly sensitive to moisture, F. Ball recommends a maximum RH level of 65%.However, due to the specialist nature of wood flooring, contractors should seek advice from the wood flooring manufacturer before proceeding.

 

How do you acclimatise a floor?

Unless you live in a warehouse, your home will be a very different environment to the one our flooring is used to. This difference in humidity and temperature can make the flooring expand and contract very slightly once it’s brought indoors – but this small difference could mean your floor gets installed incorrectly.

Because of this, we recommend acclimatising your flooring before fitting. Luckily, whilst this is important, it’s also incredibly simple! Simply leave the flooring in its box in the room that it’ll be fitted in. Try to keep the room at the temperature it’ll be when you use it.

Different floors will have their own requirements, so we recommend consulting the manufacturer’s instructions, but here’s a rough guide of how long it should take to acclimatise your flooring:

Floor Type

Duration

Solid Wood Flooring

7-14 days

Laminate Flooring

2+ days

Vinyl Flooring

2+ days

Natural Carpet

2+ days

Engineered Flooring

up to 2 days (not essential)

 

How do you measure a room?

It’s impossible to know the cost of a new floor without knowing how much of it you need. Unless you’re a maths whizz, it can be pretty daunting to start measuring your room, so we have a simple method you can use.

If your room is a rectangle, this is as simple as measuring
the length and width of your room and multiplying them together.
Therefore if your room is 6 metres long and 3 metres wide, the
area will be 18 metres square because 6 x 3 = 18
diagram1HandyTipSml
   
If your room isn’t rectangular, we recommend splitting it into
rectangular sections. Multiply the width and length of each
rectangle together to find the area. Then, add the areas of
each rectangle together to find the total area. If you have
an L shaped room, for example, this can be split into 2
rectangles.
 diagram2
   
And if you’ve got a complicated room, this method still works.
Simply split the room into as many rectangles as needed.
Multiply the length and width of each rectangle to find the areas,
then add them all together to find the total area. (Remember to
jot down the measurements as you go along!)
diagram3

 

Which floor is best for which room?

Living Rooms

Generally speaking, living rooms have a stable temperature, low moisture levels and low footfall, all of which is great news for any floor. This means there’s no restriction on which floors you can use. It’s probably where you take guests, too, so be sure to use this room to make an impression.

 

Kitchens

Vinyl, laminate, and lacquered engineered floors are all designed to resist the hostility of a busy kitchen. They can handle moisture, splashes and scratches - though remember to mop up spillages as soon as possible. Solid wood, natural carpet and oiled engineered floors aren’t as robust so we would recommend against them.

 

Bathrooms

Vinyl and laminate floors can resist the high levels of moisture found in bathrooms, so these are the floors we’d recommend. Changes in moisture can damage natural carpets and solid wood floors over time, and engineered floors aren’t as good at resisting splashes. Whatever floor you use, be sure to dry up spillages as soon as possible.

 

Conservatories

Vinyl, laminate, engineered and natural carpet are all fine to use in a conservatory. The huge variation in temperature which means the moisture in solid wood floors will rise and fall. For this reason, solid wood floors are likely to shrink and expand in conservatories.

 

Underfloor Heating

Engineered, laminate and luxury vinyl tiles are all fine (although always check with the product manufacturer.) Due to their reaction to heat solid wood floors are not suitable for underfloor heating. Unfortunately, our natural carpets are also not guaranteed against underfloor heating.

 

Basements

Vinyl, laminate, engineered and natural carpet are all fine. Basements can vary hugely in temperature which means the moisture in solid wood floors will rise and fall. For this reason, solid wood floors could shrink and expand in basements.

 

Stairs

Laminate, engineered and solid wood can all be laid on stairs. They are all stable and grippy enough to avoid any potential accidents, unlike vinyl which should be avoided. Coir and Sisal carpets are safe to use, but we'd avoid Jute or Seagrass.

 

Is priming a subfloor necessary?

In general the answer is yes, although there are some instances where priming is not necessary as explained below.

Priming of absorbent floors reduces the absorbency. This will increase the open time of the adhesive thus reducing the possibility of late placing. In addition, it will reduce the possibility of pin holing that can occur when smoothing underlayment is applied.

Priming of non absorbent subfloors with a suitable primer such as undiluted Stopgap P131 will act as an adhesive promoter for the smoothing underlayment.

Priming is not generally necessary when applying reactive adhesives such as polyurethane of epoxy systems.

 

How important is it to use the manufacturers reccomened trowel notch size?

Adhesive manufacturers spend a great deal of time developing adhesives for installing specific floor coverings. It is essential that the correct amount of adhesive is applied and the method of application is normally the V notched trowel. If the notches are worn, the amount of adhesive applied is reduced and the open time of the adhesive is also reduced. The combination of these two factors makes it more likely to have a flooring failure, and the financial consequences can be horrendous.

© All rights reserved 1st Choice Flooring Solutions Ltd 2015. Registered in England Company No.08866029. VAT No, GB 213718329

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