Q for those in the building trades: best source for laminate flooring?

#1
So I need 25-50m2 of laminate flooring, kitchen floor quality (waterproof, etc).

I understand that "you get what you pay for", although I'd be fine with stuff that can last 10 years instead of the top end 30-year types.

There are about 5 million online sources, from discounters to high street sheds. Its very difficult to understand whether a product is over-priced rubbish, or discounted quality. For sure, if I buy from CarpetRight or B&Q, I know I'll be buying an ok or good quality product, but at a huge mark-up. If I buy online, I might get some typical chinese back-door rubbish (lets not talk about bathroom panelling....).

Hence my question for anyone who deals with flooring on a regular basis - is there a particular value-for-money brand or online supplier that is worth focussing on?
 
#2
Can’t help as toyour specific question as I’m not trade, more above average DIYer.

Just done a bathroom with a new vinyl / limestone mix laminate with a tough veneer called Novocore from Wickes. Went for the ash colour which looks great. Easy to lay (never done it before) takes out minor unevenness in base. The big + was that it can be scored with a Stanley knife then snapped giving clean ends and quickly although we always ensured it was factory end to factory end to be certain. Curves were fine with a jig saw but it didn’t half go through blades, even steel cutting ones which I guess is a testament to its durability?

A lot of the ones we looked at were splash resistant, moderate traffic which is not the same as waterproof and high traffic that you’d expect in parts of your kitchen such as in front of the stove etc. This stuff is the latter although I’d guess “waterproof” is a relative term. We used it for a bathroom and a bathroom fitter I know recommended it.

Downside is cost at about £60 for twelve 1213X176X4 mm lengths (2.56 sq.m) although they did have a 15% discount on. Maybe look at buying direct from the manufacturer?

Hope this helps?
 
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#3
To add, your walls will be on the piss, they all are. This stuff was easy to cut even very narrow bits off full lengths, just score the upper surface then gently snap downwards with pliers. We started in the middle to get a straight line off the edge of the bath with pissed up wall bits hidden behind the karzi etc as your eye is drawn to the visible line, not that it’s really visible with this stuff.

No glueing or nailing as the weight of it holds it all clipped together, no edging as I fitted the skirting afterwards to cover the 5mm odd expansion gap needed at the ends. 20 minutes or so thinking it all out is 20 minutes well spent (time spent on recce etc) then you’ll crack on at a fair rate as it’s easy to cut and fit.
 
#4
Curves were fine with a jig saw but it didn’t half go through blades, even steel cutting ones which I guess is a testament to its durability?
You do know that you can buy blades specifically for cutting laminate right? I can easily do an entire house with 1 blade. They sell them in screwfix.
 
#5
You do know that you can buy blades specifically for cutting laminate right? I can easily do an entire house with 1 blade. They sell them in screwfix.
Obviously not but I do now. That said, this stuff isn’t MDF or any other wood base, it’s a vinyl limestone mix which I suspect is what knacked the blades? That’s also the beauty of this stuff, you’re not using a saw for any straight / slant cuts, only curves. You could score a curve and snap it out too, I tested it it on an off cut but was leery of the blade slipping so went for the jig saw which gave a clean cut with no tearing of the veneer and very minor burring that you could just thumb off.

Cheers anyway, I’ll try it when I convert the now defunct downstairs bathroom into a utility / boot room.
 
#6
Obviously not but I do now. That said, this stuff isn’t MDF or any other wood base, it’s a vinyl limestone mix which I suspect is what knacked the blades?

Cheers anyway, I’ll try it when I convert the now defunct downstairs bathroom into a utility / boot room.
Just so you know, there's two types of blades - one is a bayonet fitting, the other has a slotted end - make sure you buy the correct ones for your jigsaw.
Also I'm not sure how much DIY you do, but if you have a reciprocating saw (for cutting walls down etc), the Makita blades for cutting through stainless steel are really good (Makita P-04880). They cut through nails/hardened screws no bother. I just replaced a wall in my kitchen/hall no bother with them - other blades I used were rubbish in comparison.
 
#7
Just so you know, there's two types of blades - one is a bayonet fitting, the other has a slotted end - make sure you buy the correct ones for your jigsaw.
Also I'm not sure how much DIY you do, but if you have a reciprocating saw (for cutting walls down etc), the Makita blades for cutting through stainless steel are really good (Makita P-04880). They cut through nails/hardened screws no bother. I just replaced a wall in my kitchen/hall no bother with them - other blades I used were rubbish in comparison.
Cheers. Yep, I’ve got a B&D jig saw that takes the bayonet type. Defo looking for a reciprocating saw as I need to take down a badly botched ceiling (my third house renovation and this ones a right bastard, every job I do unearths another 5 the need doing, the previous owner, Mr Bodge, the twat, did everything on the cheap and some of it is actively dangerous).
 

Trans-sane

LE
Book Reviewer
#8
Magnet. Expect to pay more, but the difference in quality will be massive. Most in a kitchen will last a couple of years due to high traffic and humidity.
 
#9
Can’t help as toyour specific question as I’m not trade, more above average DIYer.

Just done a bathroom with a new vinyl / limestone mix laminate with a tough veneer called Novocore from Wickes. Went for the ash colour which looks great. Easy to lay (never done it before) takes out minor unevenness in base. The big + was that it can be scored with a Stanley knife then snapped giving clean ends and quickly although we always ensured it was factory end to factory end to be certain. Curves were fine with a jig saw but it didn’t half go through blades, even steel cutting ones which I guess is a testament to its durability?

A lot of the ones we looked at were splash resistant, moderate traffic which is not the same as waterproof and high traffic that you’d expect in parts of your kitchen such as in front of the stove etc. This stuff is the latter although I’d guess “waterproof” is a relative term. We used it for a bathroom and a bathroom fitter I know recommended it.

Downside is cost at about £60 for twelve 1213X176X4 mm lengths (2.56 sq.m) although they did have a 15% discount on. Maybe look at buying direct from the manufacturer?

Hope this helps?


Funnily enough, I'd seen a "Limestone effect" vinyl tile system in B&Q which appears to be an own-brand version of the Novocore product.

Whilst the material seems very impressive, I did wonder whether the thin and flexible "click joint" would be reliable. My floors are suspended timber and, whilst I've very carefully re-planked the whole lot and levelled them off (two 100 year old rooms apparently joined, with separate sets of floor joists), I can't be 100% sure that the overall floor doesn't have a slight dome or ridge in it. I wondered if vinyl joints would cope with irregularities over long spans (Kitchen is c.4m x 6m).

My house was badly neglected and bodged by its occupants (builders!!!) for 50 odd years. The kitchen, toilets and bathrooms all had rotten joists and studs from multiple historic leaks and bodged tiling, etc. For the toilets and bathrooms I've now gone down the route of using wetroom-type full vinyl sheeting fitted professionally. Not only is this completely watertight, but its a fraction of the weight of the old shower trays, tiles, lathe & plaster, cement board et al. One bathroom had about a 1/2 ton of old materials sitting on rotten crumbled away joists, which were themselves cantilevered far from the supporting walls. The vinyl replacement materials probably weight 100kg or so.
 
#10
My mate has just done his. He got engineered wooden flooring as he was advised it would't expand and contract as much as natural wooden flooring. I can't remember where he got it from but pretty sure it was one of the smaller companies.
 
#12
Funnily enough, I'd seen a "Limestone effect" vinyl tile system in B&Q which appears to be an own-brand version of the Novocore product.

Whilst the material seems very impressive, I did wonder whether the thin and flexible "click joint" would be reliable. My floors are suspended timber and, whilst I've very carefully re-planked the whole lot and levelled them off (two 100 year old rooms apparently joined, with separate sets of floor joists), I can't be 100% sure that the overall floor doesn't have a slight dome or ridge in it. I wondered if vinyl joints would cope with irregularities over long spans (Kitchen is c.4m x 6m).

My house was badly neglected and bodged by its occupants (builders!!!) for 50 odd years. The kitchen, toilets and bathrooms all had rotten joists and studs from multiple historic leaks and bodged tiling, etc. For the toilets and bathrooms I've now gone down the route of using wetroom-type full vinyl sheeting fitted professionally. Not only is this completely watertight, but its a fraction of the weight of the old shower trays, tiles, lathe & plaster, cement board et al. One bathroom had about a 1/2 ton of old materials sitting on rotten crumbled away joists, which were themselves cantilevered far from the supporting walls. The vinyl replacement materials probably weight 100kg or so.
I know all the words to that tune! I had a shagged chipboard floor but set to to screw it down properly then laid 5mm ply to give a more even base. Can’t comment on longevity as it’s only been down 3 weeks but given how flexible the planks were (they’d bend 45 odd degrees before snapping at the score mark) I’m reasonably confident. When shaving odd the odd bit with a sharp blade it almost had a stiff rubber consistency so plenty of flex but I get your point re fatigue cracking from constant movement.

There doesn’t seem to be any movement and the click fit bits seem pretty robust. Time will tell but a 15 year (I think) guarantee gave me some confidence too.
 
#13
So I need 25-50m2 of laminate flooring, kitchen floor quality (waterproof, etc).

I understand that "you get what you pay for", although I'd be fine with stuff that can last 10 years instead of the top end 30-year types.

There are about 5 million online sources, from discounters to high street sheds. Its very difficult to understand whether a product is over-priced rubbish, or discounted quality. For sure, if I buy from CarpetRight or B&Q, I know I'll be buying an ok or good quality product, but at a huge mark-up. If I buy online, I might get some typical chinese back-door rubbish (lets not talk about bathroom panelling....).

Hence my question for anyone who deals with flooring on a regular basis - is there a particular value-for-money brand or online supplier that is worth focussing on?
Do not buy from CarpetRight, shit customer service, have excessive charges for every little thing.
If the fitter they use fucks it up, you have recourse only with the fitter not the store.

Store takes cut of the fitting charge, packs are usually delivered damaged (after paying £35 delivery charge). Packs you don’t use will not be refunded and the fitters are instructed to take in a couple of packs at a time. Same with underlay and associated beading.
Same thing goes with carpets and vinyl. Charger you for the same M2 of underlay as carpet, then keeping the excess (which is actively encouraged to balance store audits). Same goes for gripper rods.

Charging £29 delivery for a carpet they have to deliver into store from there warehouse, £35 to allow the fitters to see the estimators plans.
 
#14
Do not buy from CarpetRight, shit customer service, have excessive charges for every little thing.
I didn't even get as far as buying from them, went in the shop and got talked through the process of buying from them and getting the stuff fitted, I asked a couple of questions he didn't have proper answers to so I walked. The seemed like a right mickey mouse set up staffed by smarmy idiots who didn't have a bloody clue about anything.
 
#15
Interesting timing as wife has decided she wants the hallway and reception in a decent laminate. Nephew does this on the side and he brought a few samples. Purely because of the quality and the oak colour we've gone for Kährs makes wood flooring the easy choice | Kährs. Fitting it next week (him not me, I'm going on holiday).
 
#16
If laminate is damaged it is difficult and expensive to rectify. The karndean was damaged and it cost us £20 quid for a bloke to come round and sort it.
 

Gout Man

LE
Book Reviewer
#17
Agree with @dingerr a mate had his house done with it, very nice it is too. I didn’t ask how much but it looks expensive and feels very nice underfoot, something Dingerr can’t vouch for.;)
 
#18
If laminate is damaged it is difficult and expensive to rectify. The karndean was damaged and it cost us £20 quid for a bloke to come round and sort it.

The modern vinyl is an attractive option (100% waterproof, etc), but its quite pricey and the various systems are pretty limited in colour options.

The Karndean Korlok is quite interesting - integrated underlay and all - but @£44/m2 its nearly four times the price of a decent laminate.

p.s. turns out the CarpetRight laminate wifey quite liked is widely available online for less than half price, c.£12/m2 vs shop price of c.£26/m2. Thats some healthy mark-up!


Ironically, I re-boarded about 90% of the kitchen floor with cheap pine floorboards. Like all fresh carpentry, it looks luvverly, at least where it hasn't picked up bootmarks already. I now realise I could probably have bought better quality floor boards, oiled them and had done with it..... doh!
 

Guns

ADC
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#19
Like most Canadian homes we have floor tile from front door through to the kitchen and breakfast room. Looks smart, easy to clean and no issues with water. If a tile breaks easy to fix. Much more hard wearing than laminate.
 
#20
Like most Canadian homes we have floor tile from front door through to the kitchen and breakfast room. Looks smart, easy to clean and no issues with water. If a tile breaks easy to fix. Much more hard wearing than laminate.

Is that on a concrete subfloor though? Tiles on suspended wood floor - even with a stiffening layer of cement board or ply - tend to work the grout loose as the floor flexes.
 

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