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How to Guide for Karndean Flooring


Karndean flooring is a household name, especially in the UK. This is because it’s a fantastic imitation of both stone and wood. In addition, its structure makes the floor a luxury vinyl flooring that is flexible with a warmer underfoot.

In this guide, we shall discuss the benefits of Karndean flooring, the different types of Karndean flooring, professional installation, a DIY version, how to care for your floor and how to protect them.

Some of the benefits of installing a Karndean flooring to your home are;

  • They are children friendly.

The floors have a warm underfoot and have an easy-to-clean surface.

  • Pet-friendly.

The floors are scratch resistant and with a surface protection system with a durable finishing.

Water is essential, but it can be destructive especially if it seeps into your floorboard for an extended period without detection. Karndean floors have a waterproof binding to maintain the original quality of the floor.

  • Life-long warranty.

Unlike their counterparts, which may have a warranty of up to 10 years, Karndean flooring can last up to 35 years.

There are three main formats of the Karndean flooring. They include;

  1. Loose-lay flooring.

There are specific installation guidelines prior to laying the loose lay format of the Karndean flooring.

  • Attune the flooring at least 48 hours before installation

Loose-lay flooring must be unpacked and let it rest flat to allow it to get attuned with the room temperature between 65°F – 85°F (18°C – 29°C).

  • Prepare the sub-floor

Subfloor preparation must be clean, dry, smooth and dust-free. In addition, it should comply with the National Standards and Building Codes. Install it if the floor moisture content is less than 95% RH ( Relative Humidity). A moisture suppression system is applied prior if it has a reading above 95% RH. Finally, you could prepare it according to your floor type.

Using strong solvents or harsh chemicals to remove the subfloor contaminants or clean can damage the backing of the Karndean flooring, reducing the floor’s performance.

  • Ensure the room’s edges and opening are well stripped.

You must mechanically remove all adhesive residue from the previous flooring. Additionally, quarry, mosaic, and terrazzo tiles ensure the floor does not have any grout lines by levelling with a suitable smoothing compound.

  • Lay the flooring with a tight fit to themselves and the wall.

The maximum length of the room is 4m(13’). However, if the room surpasses 4m, the tradesperson should treat the installation process as grid stick installation.

A Grid stick is for rooms longer than 4m and parallel to each other by 4m. Fit the grid stick tightly across themselves and on the wall.

In areas of high traffic like entrances, it should be installed with planks for full coverage. Additionally, the adhesive used should be easy to peel during replacement. Urethane adhesive or epoxy is recommended for areas likely to be exposed to extreme temperature fluctuation and water spillage.

It’s possible to install the Karndean loose-lay flooring by yourself using the following easy steps.

Things you may need;

  1. A tape measure
  2. A multiple blade knife
  3. A long ruler with a straight edge.

Step 1 – Base preparation.

Ensure all your nails on the area of installation are sunken. Next, check your type of existing floor to determine what to do. For instance, if you have an uneven concrete floor, it’s essential to self-level the area, and if the floor has floorboard, the fitter can lay a sheet of hardboard over the top.

Step 2 – Laying the Karndean flooring.

You now have to lay each plank side by side and ensure they are tightly fitted. It may take up to 2 minutes to fill the entire room with the planks. However, the tricky part in laying the Karndean loose lay floor is when you need to scribe the cuts to have a nice and tight fit.

To have a perfect cut, you will have to translate the angles of the wall onto the board. To achieve this, you can lay the board on top of the closest board to the skirting. Then push a second board up against the skirting and measure.

Step 3 – Cutting the Karndean flooring.

By just using a knife, you can cut the board in a similar way that you can cut plasterboard. The intention is to achieve a nice and crisp line at the top of the board. It can be termed as relatively easy, but an area with edges like a doorframe will require precise cutting and concentration.

Having completed the whole process, you will have achieved your desired final look.

  1. Glue-down flooring

In comparison to loose-lay flooring, there are specific guidelines to ensure it’s well installed. These are;

  • Attune the flooring at least 24 hours before installation

Glue-down flooring must be removed from its packaging to allow it to get attuned with the room’s temperature that ranges between 65°F – 85°F (18°C – 29°C). In addition, if the adhesives have been exposed to other temperatures, the attunement time should be increased to 48 hours.

  • Sub-floor preparation

The perfect final look is determined by how well the subfloor was prepared. It should be free from any defects, moisture and dust. However, if you fail to ensure a smooth subfloor, the irregularities will show through the floor.

The base of the subfloor should be in accordance with the national relevant standard in case of moisture. The hygrometer test for humidity must be less than 75% RH and the calcium carbide test must be no more than 2%CM.

  • Ensure the room’s edges are well stripped

The tradesperson must remove all the waste from the previous installation to ensure smooth plank placement.

  • Tightly fit the planks.

It’s important to note that care should be included while placing the planks. This is because a loose plank may cause an accident and may make the floor’s appearance untidy.

Just like loose-lay, you can DIY using the following steps to achieve the look you desire.

  • Cut the plank at a 45-degree angle as per your edges.
  • After cutting the plank, fit it to your wall.
  • In the presence of concrete floors or tiles, you may want to consider using design strips to create a grouted look.
  • Tightly fit the planks to your floor.
  • Enjoy the view on your new floor.
  1. Rigid-core flooring

The installation process is similar to loose-lay and glue-down flooring. However, after installation, you should be careful to ensure you have left the floor dry for at least seven days.

How to clean Karndean flooring

  1. Sweep regularly

It’s advisable to sweep your floor regularly but avoid vacuum cleaners especially if they have beater bars.

  1. For floors installed with grout:
  • Lightly dilute a 3M pad with a floor cleaner.
  • Carefully clean the surface and wipe using another dry and clean cloth.

      2. For floors installed with an adhesive:

  • Do not scrub or pour water on the floor for at least seven days. This will prevent moisture from locking into the floor.
  • Wipe spills as soon as possible to avoid the area from staining and letting moisture sip in.
  • Avoid dragging heavy furniture across the floor.
  • To maintain your floor’s appearance, clean it with a fragrance-free and PH-neutral cleaner.

  How to protect your floor

  • Use rags on areas with high traffic. In addition, it’s highly advisable to use woven, cotton or silk rugs as rubber/latex will discolour the floor.
  • Finally, use furniture protection to reduce indentation.

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