We asked Claire Southworth from Paul’s Floors a few question about flooring, and she happily shared her extensive knowledge. Paul’s Floors is a family-based company, run by (unsurprisingly) Paul and his wife Claire. Paul has over 20 years of experience in the industry and knows his carpet from Karndean.
1. What are the current flooring trends?
With regards to carpet, we have noticed a large increase in requests for striped carpets, particularly for stairs. There are some really nice, good quality striped carpets on the market at the moment and manufacturers are bringing out more ranges all the time, to suit all budgets. Sisal still remains popular for staircases and other areas of high traffic due to it’s hard wearing nature. For general living areas (bedrooms and living rooms), wool and wool mix carpets are many peoples choice, usually in a neutral/natural colour.
Laminate flooring is still selling well due to advances in design and quality and we have also seen a rise in sales of structured engineered wood, the most popular being the old favourite oak.
For kitchens and bathrooms, vinyl is usually the flooring of choice. There are so many vinyl floors to choose from, from budget sheet vinyl to the high end Karndean/Amtico market, most people can find a vinyl floor to suit their budget.
2. What should a homeowner think about when choosing floor material for their home?
It is important to consider your budget and the look you want to achieve, as well as the practicalities of the area you are covering. Get some rough measurements before you start shopping around and then the retailer will be able to give a more accurate estimate of the costs involved. Consider the use of the floor area you are covering and how much traffic it gets – e.g. a cream carpet in a hallway in a family home will probably not last long whereas a laminate, wood or vinyl floor would last years.
Similarly, we always advise against a laminate or wood floor in a bathroom for the simple reason that wood does not ever react well to moisture and humidity. It is also important to consider the sub-floor as many homeowners have a budget for the flooring and fitting but have not considered any preparation that may be required for correct installation of the chosen flooring – e.g. the high end vinyls, such as Karndean need laying on a floor prepared to the manufacturers strict guidelines or it voids any warranty or guarantee.
3. How important are good quality floors?
This very much depends on the requirements of the customer and how long the flooring is expected to last. For instance, we have laid flooring for customers who want the floor to last, without any need to replace for many years. In this case, it is important to go for the high end, high quality market and ensure that the sub-floor has been prepared correctly. By the same token, we have laid flooring for landlords who have student/short term let accommodation. In this case, they want the most economical flooring as the chances are, it will be replaced with the tenants.
We have also just installed a carpet for a family who know what they eventually want on their stairs and landing but are aware that they are going to have some remedial work done in the next 2 years. We installed a ‘cheap and cheerful’ alternative to their actual choice – it looked vaguely similar to the carpet that they will eventually have, but at a fraction of the cost, hence it doesn’t matter if it gets damaged.
4. What’s the most durable flooring material?
With regard to carpet, the most durable is a traditionally woven Axminster wool carpet. These are normally heavily patterned and very expensive so therefore not too popular recently, but will last for years! If on a budget, the most durable carpet would be a wool mix twist pile carpet. Try and go for a laminate floor with a guaranteed wear layer of 15 – 20 years rather than a thickness of the actual board. It’s the wear layer that counts. In the right environment, solid and engineered woods are extremely durable. The most durable vinyl floor is the high end luxury vinyl tile (Karndean/Amtico).
5. What prices should homeowners expect for flooring per per square metre?
Carpet cost – the cost of a carpet starts at around £5 per sq m going up to £70/£80. As an average, you should be able to pick up a decent wool mix carpet for around £16/£17 per sq m. Don’t forget to factor in underlay (approx £4 per sq m) and fitting in the range of £3 per sq m.
Laminate flooring cost – laminate with a decent click locking system will start at approx £10 per sq m. Underlay starts at £1.50 per sq m and fitting is usually in the area of £7 – £11 per sq m.
Engineered wood flooring cost – engineered wood comes in many different thicknesses and wear levels but as a general rule you should look in the £30 – £50 per sq m price bracket for a decent floor. Fitting is usually around £12 – £15, depending on the fitter. Similarly for solid wood floors, fitting will vary from £12 – £15 and the price bracket for the flooring will be £35 – £70 per sq m.
Vinyl flooring cost – this can start as low as £6 or £7 per sq m but an average for a sheet vinyl would be around £14 per sq m. Fitting again is in the £3/£4 region.
The high end vinyl tile market normally starts at around £18 per sq m rising to £50 – £80 for top of the range Karndean and Amtico. To add on to this are preparation costs (average £7 per sq m) and fitting which is normally a bespoke price depending on pattern/borders etc. but if you were to allow £10 – £15 per sq m, it would give a good indication of cost.