Hard Flooring & Vinyls

There is an endless choice of woods, laminates and vinyls. The huge variety in designs, colours, and textures makes this a great option when looking for a unique design and look for your home. Many of our hard flooring, Karndean and vinyls can be delivered and fitted within two weeks, so you can enjoy your purchase in next to no time.

Visit our extensive showroom in Exeter, Devon and experience the full Queenstreet service including free measuring and estimating, professional advice at every stage of the process and samples to take home.

We have our own flooring fitters who are probably the most experienced in the south west, and most of whom have worked for us for many years. If you are looking for a DIY service, then we can easily supply the flooring only and have it delivered within days.

For further piece of mind, we are registered specialists of the Carpet Foundation which have a code of practice approved by the Trading Standards Institute.

Karndean & Vinyl

Vinyl tiles are an excellent alternative to natural materials and can be used anywhere in the house. They are designed to be tough, durable, hygienic and easy to clean, and so are ideal for kitchens and bathrooms.

Karndean is our best quality of vinyl tiles. It is a great investment as it looks beautiful and comes with a guarantee which is fully transferable should the property be sold. Karndean is made up of tiles and strips that can be combined to make different designs. It is possible to create individual designs for any room, and there is plenty of scope for creativity. Most Karndean tiles are made up of several layers of vinyl, finished with a 1mm wear layer. The wear layer offers outstanding performance, which in normal domestic use, will last as long as you want.

Vinyl floor coverings are made of PVC (polyvinylchloride), a plastic material. It is available in a wide range of designs, styles and widths, is cushioned for comfort and insulation and impervious to water, making it ideal for kitchens and bathrooms. It is also hardwearing and long-lasting, as long as the subfloor (concrete, floorboards, etc.) is well prepared before laying. It is often necessary to have your floor levelled and smoothed first, otherwise the vinyl could show undulations and crease when warm.

Engineered hardwood

Engineered hardwood flooring is a composite material, made up of a layer of high quality veneer adhered to a plywood base. It is very similar, but not identical, to solid wood boards in finish and feel. The boards come prefinished, making them an attractive option for DIY enthusiasts.

Consider the environment of where the flooring is being laid. This will have a large impact on the type of timber chosen. Timber expands and contracts according to the temperature and humidity. This can result in your flooring moving, warping and becoming uneven if installed in a climate with high fluctuations. In these circumstances engineered flooring can be a better option, as the plywood substrate is less susceptible to fluctuations.

Check the thickness of the surface veneer. A thinner veneer will limit the number of times you can refinish the floor over the course of its lifetime, which may be important if it is being installed in a high traffic area.

Laminate

Laminate offers a huge choice of looks and designs. The very latest ranges include textured finishes or beveled edges that are virtually identical to solid wood. Laminates are extremely durable and usually cheaper than natural wood alternatives.

When choosing laminate remember to consider your environment, room by room practicality, lifestyle factors and basic care.

The majority of laminate is manufactured using two different processes. High Pressure Laminate (HPL) and Direct Pressure Laminate (DPL). These processes produce four different laminate installations: glueless (the most popular), laminate flooring with attached underlay, glued and pre-glued.

Enhance and extend the life of your laminate flooring by incorporating the following accessories:

  1. Trims & Mouldings: These conceal expansion gaps between the laminate floor and wall. Trims and mouldings also help to integrate laminate flooring with carpet and other flooring surfaces
  2. Underlay: Minimise sound and moisture transmissions and protect your laminate floors by installing underlay
  3. Adhesives: Depending on the type of laminate flooring you select adhesives may be needed for the installation of your flooring project
  4. Cleaning Kits: Learn which cleaner is best for laminate and which cleaner can actually harm your laminate floor

Laminate is a flooring material specifically designed for high traffic areas, making it ideal for every room in the house. While laminate flooring is moisture resistant, you will need to choose a specially designed water-resistant laminate if using in a kitchen or bathroom area.

Solid wood

Traditionally, solid wood is preferred in terms of quality and acoustics. The cost of hardwood flooring varies greatly depending on the species, width and thickness of the boards. Pine is one of the less expensive options, and it can be stained to mimic the colour of more expensive species such as oak or cedar. Flooring laid in high traffic areas such as hallways and living areas is susceptible to more bumps and scrapes, and so a more durable wood should be considered such as jarrah.

To keep it looking its best the wood should be sanded down and resurfaced every five to seven years.

Solid hardwood does have its drawbacks. In addition to being the most costly option, it is not suitable in areas with high moisture levels, such as basements, as warping and rotting can occur.

Caring for your hard & vinyl flooring

Hardwood

Hardwood flooring not only improves the look of your home, but it is also a worthwhile investment that pays for itself and more when it comes time to sell the house. This will be the case, however, only if hardwood floors are properly cared for, and caring for hardwood floors is not difficult at all. Keeping a few simple principles in mind is all that it takes for maintaining the look and durability of your hardwood floors.

The first thing to remember in caring for wood floors is that they can be easily scratched when heavy objects are dragged across them. For this reason, it is always best to lift furniture when moving it instead of dragging it across the floor. It is also helpful to install felt tips on furniture legs or place the furniture on top of an area rug; that way, you minimise the potential for scratching that is there when sofas and chairs are slightly moved about in the ordinary course of sitting down and getting up.

High-heels are also likely to cause scratches on wood floors, so they should not be worn indoors whenever possible. In the event that they have to be worn, care should be taken to make sure the heels are not overly sharp, for sharp heels are more likely to scratch hardwood flooring.

Secondly, homeowners should beware the potential havoc that sunlight can wreak upon floors that are made of hardwood. Excessive sunlight can cause fading and discolouring, so care should be taken to make sure that no area of the wood floor receives too much direct sunlight. Curtains and blinds are perhaps the most inexpensive way to minimise sun damage, but UV coating for the windows is another possibility when it comes to protecting your floors from harsh sunlight.

Water is the third major enemy that must be taken into account when caring for your hardwood floors. It is well known that wood can get warped if it gets overly wet, so special care should be taken to ensure that all spills are mopped up immediately. Use only a slightly damp mop when mopping floors. It is also a good idea to keep mopping to a minimum in order to guard against excessive wetness. Regular sweeping with a soft-bristled broom will keep the dirt that can scratch or dull a hardwood floor from building up and ruining your floors.

If these simple steps are followed, then your hardwood floors will not suffer many scratches or digs and they will stay beautiful for years to come. A little care now means few headaches in the future when it comes time to sell your home and recoup the investment on your hardwood flooring.

Laminate

All laminate floors regardless of what type of finish must be maintained properly to keep the beauty long lasting. We have listed the basic recommendations to care for your new floor. It is always recommended that you follow the flooring manufactures maintenance guide which comes with the floor. Similar steps should be used for Hardwood flooring.

  1. Sweep or vacuum the floor (with an appropriate broom or vacuum attachment) regularly to keep it clean and free of dirt, oil, dust, grit, and other abrasive and foreign materials
  2. Place area rugs or doormats at entryways to help prevent abrasive or staining materials from being tracked on to the floor surface from outdoors. Avoid rubber backed or similarly dense matting materials that may trap moisture between the mat and the floor. Choose mats that enable airflow instead and do not discolour the floor
  3. Place protective mats in high use work areas such as sinks and workstations
  4. Protect the floor from any exposure to liquids, water or other forms of moisture
  5. Use a damp, not wet, and clean cloth to wipe up spilled food, drink or other liquid immediately
  6. Never wet mop the floor when cleaning
  7. Avoid walking on the floor with wet feet or footwear
  8. Install felt pads or soft bottomed castors on the feet of all furniture and accessories that will be placed directly onto the floor surface
  9. Avoid letting sharp or pointed objects come into contact with the floor. Do not walk on the floor with high heeled shoes or other types of footwear which may damage the finish or cause indentations to the surface
  10. Do not drag, push or roll appliances, furniture or any other objects across the floor
  11. Never use any household or furniture dust remover, polish or similar products
  12. Never use any steel wool, scouring pad or any other abrasive cleaners
  13. Only use cleaning products recommended by the flooring manufacture

Vinyl & Karndean

Vinyl is a hard-wearing, long-lasting, waterproof floor that is easy to clean and does not require large amounts of maintenance, making it very useful in kitchens, bathrooms and in commercial premises. However, the substance is not indestructible and it is important that the correct measures are taken to keep the product in good condition.

Cleaning vinyl floors

How a vinyl floor is cleaned is important. Most spillages and stains can clean off quickly, but some will persist, often becoming dried on the surface and then hard to remove when using just soap and water. A variety of products may be used to deal with these, from peroxide to ice cubes, the latter being used to make some substances - like chewing gum or wax - brittle so they can be scraped up easily. A mixture of water and bicarbonate of soda can also be used to deal with yellow stains that can form from the placing of area rugs on such floors.

However, it is important to avoid certain materials and substances when cleaning a vinyl floor. Scouring powder and brillo pads should both be avoided as these can cause significant damage to a vinyl floor by scratching it. Another issue about floor cleaning is that it should not be scrubbed for at least five days after it has been laid down, in order to allow proper curing.

The best way of all to deal with spillages and stains is to move swiftly to clean them with a wet mop, as this means they are easier to remove in the first instance.

Maintaining vinyl floors

As well as it being possible to damage vinyl through scouring, such a floor can also be scratched in a less obvious way by dust. In this case, each tiny particle scrapes away at the surface, making tiny indentations that collectively over time can cause the floor to deteriorate.

The presence of dust can be eliminated by using a mop or brush to sweep it away, but there are also steps that can be taken to stop the dust getting in to begin with. A floor mat by the door to wipe shoes on can stop grit and sand - the most abrasive sort of dust - being walked into the room, while floor protectors attached to the furniture can have the same beneficial effect.

One of the great things about vinyl flooring, however, is that when maintaining it there is no problem with using plenty of water. While materials such as wood, cork or bamboo will be limited by how much they can soak up because of the problems such as swelling and expansion the same is not true with vinyl. Although the material is cheap and does not quite match the real thing when mimicking wood or other materials, it offers a practical alternative that will need limited levels of care and maintenance.

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Queenstreet Furnishings, Church Road, Alphington, Exeter, Devon, EX2 8SW

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