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Atlas Paving

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Flooring Overview

The Facts

Most new home in WA have a concrete slab. Concrete needs to cure before you lay a new floor over it. With timber floors the moisture content must be 5.5% or less. Concrete floors must be level to Australian Standards being no more than 2mm difference over 2mtrs or 5mm over 5mtrs. Be aware of where wet area tiled floors meet other flooring. Wet area floors need to have a 'fall' (slope) towards the floor waste. Ensure the fall does not go across the doorway where the tiles need to meet up with another flooring or the slope will be really obvious. Your floor may require screeding before flooring can be laid. This will depend on your individual job.

The main types of internal flooring are as follows:

 

  • Vinyl Flooring
  • Timber Laminate
  • Bamboo Flooring
  • Engineered Timber
  • Solid Timber
  • Ceramic tiles*
  • Polished Concrete*
  • Slate*
  • Porcelain/Vitrified tiles*
  • Stone/Granite/Marble*
  • Carpet comes in an array of prices from cheap to very expensive

* Indicates that flooring is suitable to assist with solar passive heat gain on northerly windows and glass doors (see Solar Passive Design)

Vinyl Flooring (PVC- Poly Vinyl Chloride)

This flooring is the new version of lino or linoleum. Vinyl flooring is available in many attractive designs.

  • Timber look
  • Tile look
  • Stone look
  • Slate
  • Ceramic tile
  • Cork
  • Patterned/ Geometric/ Abstract

No matter what look you’re after there will be pattern to suit.

Normally applied directly onto the concrete slab, slab must be hard, level, dry, smooth and clean. It is an inexpensive and durable option. Easy to clean, stain resistant and hygienic, vinyl flooring creates a surface with no or few joins (depending on your room size). It is very quick to install and suitable for wet areas.

Timber Laminate Flooring

Timber laminate is a prefinished product. There is no need to sand or seal the floor once it is laid. An alternative to solid timber floors, invented in the 1980’s laminate flooring is available in many timber colours. The timber look is achieved by a printed film under the protective top layer.

These floors cannot be sanded back if they get scratched but the better products will offer an extensive guarantee against scratching, staining, spills cigarette burns etc.

  • Laminate floors normally click together in small pieces for easy installation
  • Easy to clean and still at the inexpensive end of the scale
  • Great for allergy or asthma sufferers
  • Easy underfoot, quick to install
  • Not recommended for bathrooms
  • No sealing or polishing required
  • Check to see if a poured underlay or glue down matt is included, this will have acoustic benefits as well

Engineered Timber

Engineered timber flooring is surfaced with real timber. There is a 3-5mm layer of timber glued onto a substrate of man made timber. Normally installed with a tongue and groove system machined into the substate. As a rule these floors come prefinished with mulitple layers of sealants, but there are some products that are finshed onsite. These floors can be sanded and resurfaced at a later date if damage occurs. There are various styles available. The more expensive option being a single, wide piece of timber glued to the substrate, alternatively smaller pieces of timber are glued together under pressure then attached to the substate creating a look of smaller thinner boards, this style is less expensive than the wide board option. Adding an acoustic rated underlay will reduce noise. As the boards are prefinished and already grooved the floor can be layed swiftly and walked on within a number of hours.

Ceramic Tiles    

Ceramic tiles are glazed tiles laid directly onto the concrete. Absolutely massive range of colours and patterns. Range of sizes and styles. Recommend laying by a professional, must be laid on site which is time consuming. Great for allergy and asthma sufferers. Pale coloured grout between the tiles can discolour, recommend sealing when laid. Great thermal qualities when laid on northern side of house (Sunlight warms up floor during the day in winter and releases the heat back to the room at night). Can be used inside and out to create that great flow in an alfresco area. Hard under foot, bare feet may give you back pain over extended period, unforgiving if you drop a glass. Slippery when wet. Can feel cold in winter without heating, lovely and cool in summer. Won’t fade.

Remember the hardest thing to keep clean about a tile is the grout. The smaller the grout lines and the bigger the tile the easier it will be to keep clean.

Solid Timber    

  • Available in boards of various widths (the wider they are the more expensive) and numerous timbers
  • Can be finished in matt, satin or gloss.
  • Dark timber with gloss finish shows the most dirt.
  • Recycled available and /or check with the agent that the timber is from an environmentally responsible source.
  • Beautiful depth of colour
  • Can be re-sanded
  • Will fade in direct sunlight but this can be avoided with tinting
  • Great underfoot. (not hot or cold)
  • Not as thermally responsive as ceramic or stone.

There are many types of timber available in Perth, the more common WA varieties being WA Blackbutt, Marri, Karri, Jarrah, Sheoak, Tuart, Wandoo. Timbers from elsewhere include Brushbox, Messmite, Spotted Gum, Sydney Blue Gum and Tasmanian Oak. These timbers are available in boards or as parquetry. The most common type of installation is direct stick. This means that the tongue and groove timber is stuck directly to the concrete slab. As most new houses in Perth have concrete pads this is the easiest installation as the finished thickness is normally 10mm which will match your tiled areas and allow the doors to swing over the flooring without additional adjustment. The concrete slab will need to be moisture tested to less than 5.5%(normally 4-6 months in Perth) and a moisture barrier should be installed as per the manufacturer instructions. The peak body for Timber Flooring is the Timber Flooring Association, members can be located at www.atfa.com.au

Polished Concrete/Terrazzo     

  • Any colour can be added to the concrete mix.
  • Coloured stones can be added to the concrete that will show up when it is polished. Fantastic background for furnishings
  • No joins or grout. Easy to clean if sealed properly.
  • Very hard, great thermal qualities for north facing rooms
  • Can be continued into wet areas
  • Great for allergy sufferers
  • Can be cold underfoot if no direct sunlight hits it in winter
  • Suitable for under floor heating

Slate

Slate is basically natural stone tiles. Gone are the days of irregular shaped tiles and masses of grout. Modern slate is available in many colours and normally comes in a large square format. The surface finish can be smooth or slightly irregular. This surface is suitable for both modern or classical interiors.

See Types of Tiles

Vitrified / Porcelain Tiles      

Vitrified tiles are unique in that the colour goes the whole way through the tile. This gives them an appeal all of their own and makes them a premium product.

Very large sizes available thus reducing grout lines. The larger the tile the more expensive it will be to lay. Must be laid by a professional Tiler, flexible glue is recommended.

See Types of Tiles

Stone, Granite, Marble

These are some of the most beautiful floors you could ask for. Excavated from all over the world the stone is cut into tiles and exported. Limestone from Spain, granite from China, Travertine from Iran, marble from Italy, you name it. Most of these products are suitable for indoors, outdoors and wet areas. They are cool to touch, won’t ever fade, thermally responsive, natural and magnificent!! They are also really expensive (to buy and to lay) and must be sealed properly.

See Types of Tiles

Carpet       

Find a supplier

Carpet is available to suit pretty much any budget and any decor. Carpet has many great qualities

  • Sound Insulation- Carpet will absorb noise rather than letting it bounce around a room
  • Thermal Insulation- non conductive therefore keeping the heated air inside in winter
  • Comfort Underfoot- Nothing is quite as luxurious as a thick pile carpet underfoot
  • Non slip/soft fall
  • Quick to install

You will need to choose the style of the carpet and the fibre.

Basic styles are

  • Loop Pile
  • Cut Pile
  • Twist Pile
  • Combination of these styles

Loop pile is where the carpet fibre is continuous and left in a loop, some loops are very closely woven and flat while others are more obvious

Cut Pile, this means all the tightly woven loops have been cut to leave the end fibre as the carpet surface. Velvety finish and rather luxurious

Twist Pile is like cut pile but the strands have been twisted to give a more uneven surface, this will show less traffic wear and be harder wearing

Australian carpets are manufactured from three main fibres wool, nylon and polypropylene. Carpets can be made entirely from one fibre or from a blend of fibres. Each has qualities to recommend it

Wool-

  • Wool is a natural renewable resource
  • Naturally fire resistant
  • Can be dyes to any colour
  • Is naturally resiliant (will spring back)
  • Luxurious underfoot

Other Natural products being made into carpets are

  • Sisal- from the Agarve Sisalana, leaves are dried then spun into yard. Very hard wearing, rough texture. Cannot dye
  • Coir- from coconut fibre, husk is pulped and woven into yarn, natural colour only
  • Seagrass- Hardwearing fibre from paddy fields. Naturally stain resistant, comes in natural hues of green to beige
  • Jute -from the tropical herb corchorus, makes fine weave carpets, can be dyed

 

Solution Dyed Nylon

Nylon is very hardwaring, it has good stain resistant qualities inherent to its fabrication. Though not as resilient as wool, in a low loop or loop and pile combination carpet resilience is not really as important. Nylon will give you a good result in areas that gets high traffic.   Nylon can also be combined with wool to create a carpet with wools' resilence and luxury and nylons' longevity and durability.

 

Polyproylene

Polypropylene is a man made extruded fibre, as a result it cannot absorb liquid or stains. Spills will just sit on the surface waiting to be cleaned. It is extremely hardwearing, it will actually never wear out it will just eventually 'shape out' and look lacklustre.

 

Each type of carpet has its own particular advantage, it really depends on the end use and traffic level you expect the carpet to perform under. If you have young kids who frequently trample dirt from the garden and food from the dinner table onto you floors go an easy clean low pile man made. If you are carpeting a bedroom where you want a luxurious sanctuary a wool cut pile in cream might be just the go. Remember for a luxury feel you will need a quality underlay as well.

 

Most houses are carpeted with Broadloom carpet which comes in a roll. Standard rolls are 3.626 wide. If you choose a pattern with a large or pattern repeat you will need to allow extra meterage for pattern matching.

Helpful Hints

If you get sunlight directly onto your timber floors have the windows tinted to stop UV rays and avoid fading.

 

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