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Karndean Flooring is manufactured in the form of a squarish vinyl tile or an oblong vinyl plank.It's usually very thin,between 2 -3 mm thick and quite flexible.As such it needs a good level subfloor with no bumps and lumps underneath it, to show through on the finished floor.To achieve this, good subfloor preparation is paramount.On a concrete subfloor a levelling screed or smoothing underlayment is used. On a timber floor there is the added complication of subfloor movement.i.e Do the weyroc boards or the tongue and grooved floor boards move when walked upon ? The answer is invariably yes.To overcome this problem plywood boards 8 foot x 4 foot ( 3m2) need to be fixed over the existing timber floor using ringshanked nails every 6 inches( 150 mm ).These have a corrugated or ridged shank which prevents the nails from coming loose when people walk over them.Under normal circumstances 6mm thick plywood boarding is sufficient for this purpose.However if the timber floor was really old and uneven with a few boards loose or proud then it's safer to use 9 mm thick plywood.It's more expensive and more difficult to cut and shape but it will prevent movement.Any movement of the timber floor after the Karndean has been laid causes untold problems,not least of which is the aesthetics of the job.
A good example of what is involved, and how we tackle Karndean flooring on a timber subfloor, is a recently undertaken job for Mr & Mrs Clark of Durham.
In this job the Clarks had a new extension built onto their existing home,more or less the full length of the building.The subfloor was new weyroc boarding .As such it needed to be stiffened.Because it was a new
building it only required the 6mm plywood boarding to stiffen it up as there was no issue with the level of the new weyroc boarding itself.
Once the rooms had been brushed the first plywood board was offered up to the end wall.It's quite important that the board is square and true with the walls.On older builds, walls can be out of line and if you start off assuming they're true then all sorts of alignment problems can arise.In this case there were no problems and the boarding continued throughout the extension as shown.
Once a decent few boards had been cut and positioned they were then fixed down to the weyroc boarding.Normally ringshank nails would have been used but in this instance because the floor was 60 m2 it would have taken about 2 days to ringshank it.So instead a compressor and a staple gun was used.The staples are two pronged and fired in,in such a way as to have the same effect as the ringshanks but it only takes a fraction of the time.
Unfortunately for the DIY man the compressor and gun costs about £600 to buy so it needs a few jobs to pay for itself,otherwise a good hammer and a pack of ringshanks only costs about £3 and has the same effect.The one big advantage of the gun apart from the time saving is the smoothness of the plywood finish.Ordinarily after you've bashed in thousands of ringshanks and missed the nails on countless occasions you end up with a planished effect on the plywood surface i.e lots and lots of dents in the floor.The plywood then needs a full feather screed over it's surface to fill in all the dents and nail heads etc.With the compressor every staple is fired in automatically to the correct depth leaving a nice level surface.All that is required then is a feather finish only to where the board edges butt with each other or anywhere slightly imperfect.
The feather finish screed was then allowed to dry.Depending on temperature this usually takes no more than an hour or so.Once dry it was given a final rub with a stone just to take off any high spots or trowel marks ready to receive the new floor.
Fitting the Karndean
In this instance the kitchen had a central island so it was important that the tiles were started off around the island perfectly square and then fitted out from the centre.For this particular floor the Clarks had chosen Karndean Da Vinci Flooring in Spirito Limestone with a 5mm Taupe grouting strip.Initially the grouting strips are only supplied in a 36" length which is slightly inconvenient when the tiles are only 12" square.So we had to cut some of the grouting strips before we could proceed.Initially we only wanted to start the first few tiles so adhesive was only applied aound the central plinth.
The starter square was then laid and corrected until the tiles met up exactly.From that point it was then a matter of filling in the gaps and moving out from the square.
Each area when finished was then rolled in opposite directions with the 68kg roller to spread the adhesive,which is spread initially with a finally notched trowel,evenly under the tiles.