Floor preparation: worth every penny

Dave Bigham of National Flooring Equipment discusses the process of floor preparation in residential spaces

In the last few years, luxury coverings such as marble, solid oak and bamboo have bumped up the price of residential flooring in the UK. Fortunately, there is an alternative, cheaper option – one pence pieces. While a floor made from pennies certainly makes an impression, it might not be the most durable, long-lasting option. For a floor to truly stand the test of time, property owners need to invest in good preparation. According to the National Association of Home Builders, the average home owner replaces their carpet every eight to ten years. While hard flooring lasts slightly longer, home owners are likely to experience several floor renovations during their lifetime. The aesthetics of a new floor are important, however, it’s actually what lies underneath that is the critical work. Without good sub-floor preparation, a pristine floor can soon become an eye sore.

Why renovate?

When carrying out general modernisation, property owners are not expected to restore their sub floors every time. However, there are certain situations when it is important to address the foundations of their property. If a home has experienced water damage, its sub floor is likely to have suffered. Often, owners are keen to restore their home as quickly as possible, but it is important to address all aspects that might affect the quality and safety of the building in the future. When water damage occurs, you must ensure that concrete floor is completely dry before laying a new covering. It is often believed that, after a few days of drying out, you can proceed with the covering, Normally, a concrete floor is much cooler than the rest of the room. Condensation will therefore form on the surface of the concrete long before it does anywhere else in the room. If a new floor is laid on top of the layer of condensation, you can run into problems further down the road. Flooding can also cause structural damage to the concrete floor, wearing it away if left for a long period. If a new floor is laid on top of a worn surface, it can appear uneven and poorly fitted. The only way to achieve a quality finish is to invest in floor preparation.

Health and safety

Many believe that floor preparation in residential spaces should be more straightforward than commercial and industrial buildings, due to there being less property legislation and health and safety considerations. In reality, there are additional concerns that could impact the renovation process if not handled correctly. The first thing to consider when handling floor preparation in a residential space is ease of access. Contractors and rental customers should ensure that their floor preparation machine fits through any doorways or stairwells that lead to the workspace. If there are steps leading to the property, users should consider whether they are able to lift the machine to transport it to the correct area. It’s also important to consider whether the renovated area is going to be used as a living space during the working period. Floor preparation machinery can by noisy, therefore it’s important to inform residents that there may be some disruption while work is being carried out. Finally, consider the amount of dust that is generated during the floor preparation process. Silicon dioxide or silica is a chemical compound found in materials that are found in sub floors, including sandstone, granite and concrete. These materials create dust when they are cut, sanded and carved. When fine enough, this dust can be inhaled by both workers and residents, causing health problems, such as silicosis or bronchitis. The only way to mitigate the dangers of silica dust is to use the correct dust collecting equipment. Investing in a dust collector that attaches onto the surface preparation machine is the best way to keep silica dust enclosed and stop it from becoming airborne. There’s no doubt that laying a floor made completely from pennies takes rigorous planning in order to get the ideal finish. However, the importance of planning is often devalued during standard renovation. When carrying out your next project, whether it be a home or a commercial property, ensure that you have all the tools and techniques to complete the job to a standard that generates the same reaction as a floor of pennies.

Dave Bigham is the director of national accounts at National Flooring Equipment