Let's talk laminate flooring

You'll know that I'm a fan of wooden floors, but moving here was my first encounter with them as before that my only experience with non-carpeted floors was the laminate flooring in my kitchen and hallway. I was going to say I'd installed it, but that wouldn't be entirely true as dad did it!  So when Direct Wood Flooring got in touch about sharing where laminate flooring was suitable for, I was keen to know more.

We're still considering our next house project - our conservatory - and how much, or how little we tackle. There's some obvious contenders that need to be done, but the flooring is on our possibles list. We think it's a type of oak effect laminate flooring and the decision really is if we replace it or not. 

Laminate flooring has developed immensely since the last time I shopped for it, there is now so much choice. It's manufactured from a high density fibreboard and covered in a decorative layer. This can replicate the designs of premium solid wood and stone tiles in a convincing way, with the advantage over stone that it's warmer underfoot.  The advances in technology means it has come a long way from its humble beginnings and there's now a huge array of quality patterns and styles to choose from.

Which is great from a choice perspective, less so for actually having to choose one!

Photo courtesy of Direct Wood Flooring

Photo courtesy of Direct Wood Flooring

So where can you fit laminate flooring?

And the real answer to that depends on the type of laminate flooring, as while its composition makes it a versatile range, as with many flooring choices it can struggle under the pressure of excessive moisture, so flooring experts recommend avoiding fitting laminate in high risk areas and treat spillages as quickly as possible. 

Living room

The vast range of finishes, colours, patterns and designs mean it's a great choice for living areas and you'll find a style that's perfect for you whether you're looking something traditional for a family home or something more contemporary.

Photo courtesy of Direct Wood Flooring

Photo courtesy of Direct Wood Flooring

Dining room

The practicality of laminate flooring performs well in dining rooms, and if there is the odd food or drink spillage then it's easy to clear up. 

Kitchen

This is one of the areas that providers recommend caution, but as long as any spillages are tended to quickly I think it should be fine. As I said at the start of the post this is one of the areas that I had laminate flooring in my last house, and it was entirely practical. At the time I had four cats and they ate in the kitchen, I found it easier to keep clean than the mat that I'd had in there beforehand.  

Excessive moisture can cause the laminate to lift, warp or even crack - thankfully I never experienced that - so it is important to be attentive to spills quickly to prevent this.

Conservatory

Conservatories can often be more unusual shapes than conventional rooms - not always, ours is rectangular - but Direct Wood Flooring say this makes laminate perfect for your conservatory. The click system makes joining the boards fast and efficient as a floating installation doesn't require any adhesive. It simply clicks together. 

You might think laminate wouldn't be suitable for conservatories as the temperatures fluctuate - yes British Summer Time, I'm looking at you! - but all you need to do is leave space around the edge of the room to allow for it to expand, and it's easy to hid this with your skirting or a piece of quadrant.  We have this with our current wooden floors, so is quite a normal approach.

Hall, Stairs & Landing

These are all high traffic areas so while laminate works well in these areas it's important to get a laminate that is capable of withstanding lots of use.  It can make a great first impression too when people arrive at your home. 

In my house, I had a carpet runner on the stairs and landing, so only installed laminate in the hallway and into the kitchen. With the laminate panels running from front to back of the house it gave the impression that my house was longer than it actually was from the front door. In the wider areas I used some rugs to break up the space, or that was the plan anyway...

You know how cats can sometimes have a funny half hour? Well imagine that four times over, it seems that one of their favourite past times in their funny half hour was to launch themselves onto the rug near the bottom of the stairs and to "surf" along the floor. Quite funny to watch them as they were definitely doing it on purpose, but equally easy to stop them with some of that rug-grip felt. I think I spoiled their fun though...

Bedroom

Laminate copes well in bedrooms providing a neutral setting to the rest of your decor; for maximum comfort consider installing a quality underlay, as as with most floor coverings this makes all the difference.

Photo courtesy of Direct Wood Flooring

Photo courtesy of Direct Wood Flooring

Bathroom

You can install laminate flooring in bathrooms, but you'll need to make sure it's waterproof as it can really struggle in this environment, and well, that's not surprising is it?  

One thing that I'd urge you to consider with laminate flooring though (wherever you install it) is underfloor heating. The density of the boards along with the varying thickness available makes the perfect combination for thermal conductivity and transferable heat. However, it is vital that you use the correct underlay, and one that is compatible with underfloor heating manufactured to allow heat to transfer through and enabling even distribution. A regular laminate underlay can block the heat from rising and redirect it to the edge of the room, causing the floor temperature to fluctuate which may lead to other problems, including a less than satisfactory room temperature!

 

So, some useful information there on laminate flooring - but there's still so many designs to choose from, so while I feel better informed, my conservatory plans - and flooring decision - continues.

Do you have laminate flooring, let me know where and what you opted for?

 

The loos at the Tandoor Chop House

Well it's been a while and I'm pretty sure I promised a new edition of the Loo Series a few weeks back. These are just around the corner from those at Les Deux Salons strangely, so near to Trafalgar Square is clearly a good area for decent loos.

We were in town celebrating my birthday on the last Bank Holiday Monday in May. There's some perks to having a birthday on a Bank Holiday, no work is one, and quieter than usual restaurants is another.  I'd spotted the Tandoor Chop House in a recent edition of the Good Food Magazine with recipes you could cook at home, feeling stuck for somewhere to go for a birthday meal and feeling inspired by the food in the magazine, my mind was made up and I booked a table!

And well, it would have been rude not to photograph the loos wouldn't it?  Well, for me it would be.

I'll admit I was slightly worried as the loos were those single cubicle shared affairs. You know the sort where you time your visit accordingly. But in reality I shouldn't have been worried (and I did pick the least visited - the first one on the left, if you're ever there). I didn't quite expect the traditional fittings though.

traditional style taps at the Tandoor Chop House near Trafalgar Square

With a simple black and white colour scheme, the effect was classy and elegant. And the lights, well I'd happily have those at home.

wall lights in the loos at the Tandoor Chop House London

The loo rolder, like the taps, were very traditional.

somewhere for the loo roll, as you'd expect, at the Tandoor Chop House in London

But the hand lotions were much more up to date, and not a brand I've seen before.

pretty toiletries in the loos at the Tandoor Chop House

See, I told you the lights were good.

lights and mirrors - it was rude not to!

It seems they also have a thing about floors there. Hexagonal floors at that. In the loos there was plain black. 

And a look at the floor in the loos at the Tandoor Chop House

And they continued in the restaurant, with more of a pattern.  And yes it's those shoes and orange skirt again, they're a winning combination!

a pleated skirt and the most tradiitonal of tiled floors at the tandoor chop house

If you're wondering about the restaurant, we had a great meal.  It's as you might imagine a spicier version of a traditional chop house, think Josper Grill rather than curries with sauces - and the cocktails were fantastic!

Where's the best loos you've seen lately?

Let's talk Bamboo flooring

Now, if I said Bamboo flooring to you,  I've got a good idea what you might think. In fact it might be close to my first thoughts. Something like this maybe:

Thinking about it more I couldn't see any reason why bamboo couldn't be used for flooring, as I know it's a tremendously versatile material. I mean I have a couple of summer dresses made from bamboo, and instead of the stiff, hard fabric you'd imagine they are unbelievably soft. And remember those bamboo beach mats that were an essential holiday item? Well they're flexible and light too aren't they. 

So until I looked into this more, and browsed around the Ambient Bamboo Flooring site, I'd assumed that bamboo flooring would be a soft floor covering. It turns out I couldn't have been more wrong, as they are said to be three times harder than traditional wood floors, but with the same look and feel. 

The stranded flooring is so resilient because of the way it's made.  The bamboo strands are torn apart and then fused together using intense heat and pressure. And the strength increases if the strands are laid in a cross pattern, which makes sense even to my non technical brain.

So if it's strong, what does it look like?

That was the next question forming in my head. And no doubt yours. But I was pleasantly surprised there too. There's plenty of examples on their site and even as I was beginning to expect to be surprised, I was. 

It can be installed over many types of existing flooring, including concrete. And as bamboo's a fast grower - I can vouch for that if it's anything like the bamboo in my garden - the plants regrow in less than ten years, which is fast compared to seventy years for comparable hardwoods. It starts to make you think doesn't it?

So having not heard of Bamboo floorings before, suddenly I've found myself intrigued by it and wondering why it's not in use more. And then I thought, maybe it is and we just don't know it...

 

This is a collaborative post but all views and opinions are my own.