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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 9:30 pm 
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Hi all.
The tortoise-esque refurb continues...more costly and slower than I'd originally hoped :scratch:
The downstairs is racing ahead however, and last week we finally had the plasterer skim the entire downstairs (ceiling and walls...messy beyond belief).

Anyhoo, next to plan is the flooring (at least a year behind schedule!). I've researched as much as I can I think (many a night reading through old threads on here) but would appreciate a bit of final guidance :)

As always, we have a budget to stick to, but it's also important to get the flooring right; I think it will be the 'icing on the cake' of this project.

Ok. I've attached a few pics of the floors in question. I've laid a few laminate floors in the past (and in recent years they've come on quite a bit - I'll be laying this type of flooring in the bedrooms) and feel pretty confident in the task. However, given the costs of engineered wood, I can't really afford to make any mistakes on the install.

I've narrowed the choice down to Oak engineered (controversial eh!). Would prefer pre oiled and the lighter shades.
The original floor is (fairly certain) asphalt/bitumen. Last year it was partially levelled with cempolay by a builder we knew - the floors (1940's semi) drop down a bit in the corners of the room/s. A month or so later this started to crack/split and at the moment (see pic) sections of it have broken up. Looks like I'll have to pour some more down in the coming weeks...money wise, a professional screed is out of the question.
Is the current advice to just lay a damp proof membrane onto this type of floor (I'm not at all considering screwing the new floor down) or is there a combined DPM/foam underlay I can use to help with the 'not completely level' floor?

I'm looking at nothing less than a 4mm veneer, though if I can be persuaded that a 3mm may suffice I'm all ears.
Also looking at the larger width boards (and longer) though some of the smaller (but not three pieces in one board types) random sized boards I've seen are possibilities.

I'm desperately trying to bring it as close to the £30 per Sq m as possible.

A poster on here linked to a family firm in Devon who seem like a good choice:

http://www.jfjwoodflooring.co.uk/supreme-engineered-oak-flooring-range-21mm-thick

Good spec on the one above, but to my eyes, that has a slight look of varnished pine rather than the more contemporary oak I'm searching for.

I prefer the look of this one (and it's cheaper, but still has a 5mm veneer) but slight concerns over small size of boards and how it will look (will need to oil myself which I didn't really want to do - busy household with kids etc).

http://www.jfjwoodflooring.co.uk/150mm-wide-exmoor-oak

This one too (but again smaller pieces and only 3mm veneer).

http://www.jfjwoodflooring.co.uk/180mm-wide-country-oak

Then there's this company (I think Wes on here uses them). Again, quite like the look of this one, 4mm veneer, perhaps not as wide and long as I'd like, but I guess this is reflected in the costs. Back of mind is saying 'Rustic' grade is a byword for 'very knotty'?!

http://www.ukflooringdirect.co.uk/engineered-wood-flooring/galleria-elite-german-rustic-oak-150mm-lacquered-engineered-flooring

There's a fair few boards on there to be fair, but I'm struggling to narrow it down at this stage.

Another link I found in here for this company. Quick glance (only found it this evening) and it appears the prices area bit lower than others - the link below has a good spec...but slightly concerned I've missed something given the price (lower grade, Chinese imported wood?). Can't find any info on where the wood is from on that site?

http://www.easystepflooring.co.uk/engineered-lacquered

It's a balance between a nice looking Oak floor and cost. Even writing this I reckon I'm going to have to go for the smaller boards, but retain the nice grade and 4/5mm top veneer.

The included pics are of the area I need to floor. Small entrance hall leading onto dining room and living room. Rooms are semi knocked into each other (will eventually fit bi folds between them). I believe it's best practice to fit T bars between rooms/doors. The hall to living room isn't an issue, but living room to dining room might be. They're both used in equal amounts and seem relatively similar temp/humidity wise, but appreciate why I might have to fit a T bar.

Apologies over the rough drawn plan! Total area is approx 35sq m. Considered (after reading a few threads/posts on here) starting in the middle of the two rooms as a rough guide (snapping a chalk line etc), but also possible to commence in the hall (terrified that by the time I reach the two main rooms everything starts going awry/on the diagonal :shock: !
Stud fireplaces built, and built in cabinets, but nothing out of the ordinary.
However, one caveat: the built in units start 23mm off the current floor (the bottom of the doors. Possibly a fault on my part - I raised them on a wooden frame in order to have them level (old house...not much is perfectly plumb!). The doors would drag/scrape if the floor is a tad too high (might be able to raise them a few mm). Hence perhaps why I should be looking at a max 18mm floor (the units are 'locked down' and can never be moved!).

Seems like a long ramble above - apologies!
Ok...pics!

Many thanks.


Attachments:
dining room floor.jpg
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Dining and Living rooms.jpg
Dining and Living rooms.jpg [ 308.94 KiB | Viewed 3081 times ]
Dining and Living rooms 2.jpg
Dining and Living rooms 2.jpg [ 291.6 KiB | Viewed 3081 times ]
hall floor.jpg
hall floor.jpg [ 292.88 KiB | Viewed 3081 times ]
floor measurements.JPG
floor measurements.JPG [ 486.12 KiB | Viewed 3081 times ]
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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 12:23 am 
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Do you know what sort of finish you are after? You seem to have linked to all different kinds of finish - Brushed and oiled, oiled, unfinshed, lacquered... all of which are different finishes.

Now normally we get all our floors from distributors as opposed to retailers but on a current job we are replacing an oak floor with a walnut one. The client only had the floor down 3 or 4 years and was in fantastic condition but as a number of rooms have all been knocked together the whole lot needs changing. Seeing as the client was so happy with the old floor we got some samples from the same firm. Got to say i've been really impressed with the quality verses price and their lacquer seems bomb proof which is a big plus as so many lacquers on the market can mark just looking at them. The backing is of high quality again with many of them being multiply.

All the samples we got are from the 'Natura' range which is basically an imported range they've re-badged as their own.

They do 30 odd ranges of oak floors ranging from £18sqm to £48sqm, i'm pretty sure you'd find the quality grade/width/length in your £30sqm limit

http://www.flooringsupplies.co.uk/realw ... natura/oak

As I say we would normally use distributors as opposed to retailers because it allows us to supply higher grade products at cheaper prices but in this case I'd happily use this firm again as the quality verses price seems far better than a lot of internet retailers i've had samples off before :salute:

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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 10:21 am 
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Thanks colour republic. I'll take a look at that link and report back.
Yes...forgot to mention the type of finishes I'm looking into. although my post was long enough!

Limited experience in seeing them in the flesh but I was erring towards the brushed/oiled finishes. I suppose I associated lacquered boards with glossy, varnished pine (perhaps I have an, as yet, undiscovered phobia towards orangey, varnished pine wood!). I should add that the house does have a fair amount of traffic. There's five of us for a start but my partner runs a child minding business from the home too (effectively a nursery during the day) one of the reasons why we don't really (even if we could afford to) spend £50-£80 per sqm on a top of the range kahrs et al floor.
However, we still want a really nice wood floor down...conflict and compromise as ever.

Going back to the 23mm height I have to play with before I hit the bottom of the unit doors, would a 2/3mm DPM suffice on top of the current floor? Perhaps I'd even get away with a 'polythene' sheet (or the underlay equivalent) under the boards?

Many thanks.


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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 11:45 am 
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Colour Republic wrote:
All the samples we got are from the 'Natura' range which is basically an imported range they've re-badged as their own.

They do 30 odd ranges of oak floors ranging from £18sqm to £48sqm, i'm pretty sure you'd find the quality grade/width/length in your £30sqm limit

http://www.flooringsupplies.co.uk/realw ... natura/oak



Had a peek on that site (and in fact already bookmarked this company). There's a fair few coming in around the £30 per Sqm mark, but these are all 2.5mm top layer. I've little experience in real wood flooring (in a previous house we sanded and varnished the original floorboards...can't say it was an overall success down the line!) but 2.5mm seems a little too thin to me. When I look at the 4/5/6 mm boards I'm back up to the £40 per sq m.

Edging towards lacquered oak (general feedback suggests this might be more suitable for our needs) but with the smaller, random sized (300mm and up), but still widish boards (150-190mm). Perhaps not ideal, but other than aesthetics are these smaller length/randoms boards usually ok (to fit and general finished look)?
That or unfinished and spend another couple of days self oiling (oo-eer).

Example:

http://www.jfjwoodflooring.co.uk/150mm-wide-exmoor-oak

And this (5mm top layer, lacquered, random lengths 125mm width)...seems remarkably cheap however. Anybody dealt with easy step flooring? Based at Heathrow - Chinese imported wood alarm bells going off?!

http://www.easystepflooring.co.uk/engineered-lacquered

Cheers.


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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 7:05 pm 
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Ok - just had a good look through the various options to pin point almost exactly what I want.
I feel a pre oiled oak floor would be more suitable. I toyed with the idea of pre finished then applying hard wax oil soon after, but logistically it might be better to have the oil already applied.

I was initially put off with the random length boards, but even with full length (which add a fair bit to the overall costs) I'd probably randomly stagger them also. Bit of concern I might have too many small piece leftovers - possible?

So...simmering the choices down I have something this at around £29 per M2 inc VAT:

Quote:
Image

Engineered Brushed Oiled Oak Flooring (18)
FINISHEngineered • Brushed • Oiled FinishPROFILE Tongue and Groove • Micro bevelled on all 4 sides SIZE 18 mm x 5mm x 125 mm
Random Lengths 300mm - 1.2 meter CONSTRUCTION Single Plank • 5mm Top Layer Oak • 13mm Multi Layer Plywood FITTING Secret nail • Flooring adhesive • Floating PACK SIZE 2.1 square metres SUITABLE Living Areas & Kitchen, Under Floor Heating

http://www.easystepflooring.co.uk/engineered-brushed-oiled


As for the underlay, I'd prefer something with both a DMP and 'slight cushion's the floor is never going to be fully level (slight 'crowning' in the centre of the floor hence levelling off the corners).

Something like this?

Image

Quote:
Cush'n'Wood Laminate Hardwood Underlay.

Laminate underlay with a HIGH tog which is ideal for insulating cold floors. This underlay prevents overstraining of joints in wood. Creates a receptive surface, helping mask slight unevenness found in the sub floor and keeps your room and floor warmer.


Many thanks.


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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 7:13 pm 
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somapop wrote:
Is the current advice to just lay a damp proof membrane onto this type of floor (I'm not at all considering screwing the new floor down) or is there a combined DPM/foam underlay I can use to help with the 'not completely level' floor?


If you will be floating the floor - which I feel would be the best bet - even though the ashpalt/bitumen is a great moisture barrier, it's still advised to use an underlay with a built in vapour barrier.

I notice there's been a repair on the floor where the wall has been opened up. Best to test this for moisture. It'd be tempted to hit it with a couple of coats of bitumen waterproofer anyway. Wickes do a bitumen based floor waterproofer for £12.99. Not the highest of specs but will do the job.

As for the self levelling, there could be several reasons for it failing i.e. A self levelling compound that isn't compatible with bitumen, poor preparation etc. It would be best to lightly abrade the surface of the ashpalt/bitumen. This will clean the surface and remove any contaminants that could prevent adhesion of the self levelling. Abrasion can be done with a grinder and a rough sanding disc (It gets messy!). Wear a mask (respirator), empty and seal the room (at the adjoining doors - open the room windows though) and send the missus and kids out for the day :-)

Purchase a levelling compound that is compatible. Follow prep instructions diligently. Spend time getting the floor flat - especially, when you're spending £30 m2 (plus underlay) on a wood floor . People often rush this step for multiple reasons but it is the absolute key to a great feeling, long lasting floor. If you mess it up, rip it up and start again or if possible patch repair. It doesn't have to look nice, it just has to be flat and well bonded. Also take the time to check the entire floor for flatness. High spots and low spots aren't always obvious until the floor is fitted. Even small deviations can have a big effect on the floor. Don't be fooled with marketing fluff about underlay correcting unevenness.

Find or purchase a long metal straight edge i.e. Spirit level, floor straight edge. You'll also require a mixing paddle, drill, float, and large bucket. A spiked roller will also come in handy.

Order samples of the floors you're interested in. Most companies will post them out to you.

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For this message the author Wes has received gratitude : wine~o
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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 7:31 pm 
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Thanks Wes. You mean the through section where the original wall was?

Image

Ok - I'll apply a coat of the waterproofer.

I do have a 6' level as it happens. In all honesty, parts are so obviously off that one isn't needed :shock:
The original levelling (the cempolay) was carried out by a builder we knew a year or so back (when we went out for the weekend). It was added to the corners of all rooms (but not in the centre corners as these were pretty much ok).
It started to crack a week or so later then got progressively worse.
The main culprit is around the french doors, another section under the bay window and a small part of the hall (all evident in the pics). There's also a section of concrete where the hearth used to be - I can use the bitumen waterproofer on that also.

With regard to the existing cempolay that's still there, should I pour new product onto/around this rather than rip all the existing stuff up (it wasn't particularly cheap)?

Cheers Wes - and yes, definitely floating the floor (I quite like the softness/bounce of this type of floor installation!)


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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 7:49 pm 
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Bit of a revelation that Wes (not a good one though!). Seems that it's a bit tricky to sort this floor out, properly at least (save for plying the whole floor which I cannot do due to raising the height of the floor).

Looks like there's a product called 'Ardex P82 Flexible Primer' then I'd need to add 'Ardex K13' (seems blinking hard to source). Feel I'm a bit out of my depth once again. I might pop this question in the building forum as it's veering off the carpentry course, for the time being at least!


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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 8:23 pm 
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Not the best news mate but truly well worth making sure that sub-floor is spot on. You could buy the most expensive flooring and best underlay money can buy but if the sub-floor isn't flat, you'd be kicking yourself. Especially as it'll be a floating installation. It's obviously your judgement call and this is just my opinion.

Ardex P82 is the dogs. However, you'll still need to remove contaminants i.e. plaster, paint etc. Fair enough the self levelling won't be getting pulled but regardless the ashpalt should be cleaned properly. Don't worry about sourcing K13. It isn't suitable to go on top of ashpalt :-)

If you're going to use Ardex products, Arditex NA will be your best bet and the ashpalt wouldn't need priming. Just a mechanical tickle (sanding/abrasion). One advantage of NA is it feathers really really well. Therefore, if you do decide to patch repair, I'd say that would be your best bet. It's a bit tricky with regards the flow of the material, so a little insider trick would be to add a cup of water to the mix. Makes it flow much better.

If the sub-floor requires a full coverage of self levelling (after you've properly inspected the sub-floor) and you've never used a self levelling compound before, you may be better of using F-ball stopgap 1200. Flows extremely well and is a little more forgiving than the Arditex NA but doesn't feather to great in my experience.

Both are latex based and not particularly cheap. Around £30 per bag retail.

There are plenty of other products out there btw. Mapie (< very good) slc's can be found in some sheds.

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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 9:08 pm 
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Thanks Wes - I didn't want to bend your ears over the levelling issue so created another thread in another part of the forum. However, I think you've answered it perfectly already.
I'd prefer to patch repair, so I assume I'd clean up the sections of asphalt that haven't broken free (main bits are under the dining table as in the pic below), then pour the Arditex NA over the whole of the original sections. It's really these original sections (the corners really) which dip from the middle so probably no need to fully cover. Not quite sure how deep I can lay that NA (I'll check up) but some of the 'dips' are as much as 15mm. I spotted the F ball products whilst looking a similar forums posts, but that NA is looking like a winner (prefer just the one product also). Presume this will be fine over the existing cempolay compound?

With regard to the abrasion of the asphalt, would an orbital sander (course grain) do the trick? Grinder is one of those tools I never got round to purchasing!).

Thanks Wes.


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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 9:28 pm 
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Quote:
I assume I'd clean up the sections of asphalt that haven't broken free


Does that mean you have sections of ashpalt that has broken free?? I might not be reading that correctly. If you have sections of ashpalt that have broken, then you have a failed dpm essentially. The ashpalt should all be sound. Did you mean the slc??

Yes, clean all the areas that you intend to apply the slc.

NA can go upto 12 mm. Up to 30 mm using an aggregate. You'll be ok upto around 15 mm with the NA IMO. It's really good stuff.

Don't presume it'll be fine over the original slc. The NA may lift it and you'd have wasted your money. Remove the original slc.

Orbital sander will be fine. Don't go breathing in the ashpalt dust though. Wear a respirator mask.

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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 9:36 pm 
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Yes - the SLC has broken free, not the original asphalt.
I'll check with a level over the weekend Wes, but I think 15mm is the max 'slant'...can't be certain though, so I might have to use a bit of aggregate in the deeper sections. At a guess, I'd make one mix with the aggregate then another for the shallower sections?

I'll probably run with the NA over the green bag F ball stuff - seems it will do the trick.

Man thanks fella!


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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 9:38 pm 
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You're welcome mate :thumbright:

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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 7:10 pm 
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Just checked some of the sections earlier. The slc laid in the hall is absolutely solid (same sempolay mix) - same asphalt flooring. The hall therefore is pretty level (just one corner 'drooped' a bit as in the picture).
The slc that has cracked/broken up/fractured is directly under both dining table (and chairs) and a heavy sofa. Possible this had an effect (along with the slc not being as compatible as it should perhaps).

I'm going to wait until we order the floor until I relay the slc (rather than laying it and having 'traffic' over it for a few months). I'll probably reignite this thread when the time comes to lay the engineered flooring. Couple of things I wouldn't mind checking over (where to start - hall or middle of room? Confirmation of underlay. Any further tools that might make the job easier - I've always used wedges and one of those metal 'board tapping in' device :dunno: ).

Wes - I almost talked myself out of purchasing the random board style boards but then I saw an old post of yours where you laid pretty much the same type of floor and it looked fantastic. I probably prefer this over the fixed lengths (I'm telling myself!) 190mm types. Have you laid the 125mm width, random lengths boards before? Slight concern it's veering into the laminate look?

http://www.easystepflooring.co.uk/engineered-brushed-oiled

Cheers!


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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 7:32 pm 
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Quote:
Wes - I almost talked myself out of purchasing the random board style boards but then I saw an old post of yours where you laid pretty much the same type of floor and it looked fantastic. I probably prefer this over the fixed lengths (I'm telling myself!) 190mm types. Have you laid the 125mm width, random lengths boards before? Slight concern it's veering into the laminate look?


You're looking at single plank random lengths. The fact it's random lengths will veer you away from the laminate look. Plus at 18 mm thick, it certainly won't feel or sound like a laminate (my personal opinion).

Diy'ers tools for the job - Tape measure, pencil, jigsaw, utility knife, bench of some type to cut on, ideally some compression ratchets (approx 10 but you may be fine with less depending on the quality of flooring), tapping block, hammer, wedges, pull bar (probably your metal tapping device thingy), panel saw or multi-tool or manual undercutter saw, knee pads, safety glasses, patience or v a l i u m :-)

I'd probably suggest starting along to longest wall but I'll keep an eye out when you're ready to start and advise then.

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