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The Flooring Republic Blog

The UK Flooring Specialists

  • How To Make A Good Match Between Your Flooring & Furniture

    Furnishing is an expression of who we are, in the spaces we return to every day. Below it, however, lies a second truth – flooring is crucial to getting your décor just right. An ill-matched base/furniture arrangement can be unsightly, undermining your aptitude for stylish living.

    Want to find the perfect balance? Join Hartleys Rooms as we explore what floor types are suited to which chairs, tables, beds and home accessories:

    4.0.1

     A turn to minimalism

     Most contemporary arrangements value space over dense, cluttered rooms. Minimal furniture – i.e. units that are geometric and free from extravagance – is in vogue. Often, it’s coloured in plain black, cream, white or grey for a sense of spaciousness. You should choose a lighter-toned floor for this aesthetic, so it adds to those sensibilities.

    We recommend beech laminate – the Quickstep Classic is neat and appealing, bright enough to enhance a minimal décor without drawing too much attention to the floor area. Set an oyster grey sofa on it, or a high white bookcase, to gain that immaculate 21st century effect.

    The distressed vintage look

    Retro furniture has made a huge comeback in recent years. Homes across the UK are flaunting cage decorations, trolley storage, thick wooden tables and factory-borne lighting fixtures. This décor relies on a blend of natural and man-made materials of all types, where we can see design elements with a rustic twist.

    Distressed Antique Oak is a pick that we rate for the vintage-minded homeowner. Under a sepia glow, it looks incredible, and endures wear and tear from metal chairs or cabinet legs.

     

    Authentic Scandi beauty

    The Scandinavians are a seemingly inexhaustible source of amazing furniture. Far from winding down, this trend is becoming more creative with every passing year. If you’re a Scandi fan, then Herringbone flooring is just what you need for that soft, wave-like statement in a bedroom or living area.

    Above it, search for a thin floor lamp to accompany your seating, which can be dressed in soft pastel shades. Herringbone also looks great beneath a Scandi coat hanger: antlers and bare tree branches form the brunt of Nordic fashion, decked in thick layers that offer succour from the cold.

    Playing with rusticity

    Country living has always been defined by rich, deep wood furniture. Traditional homes may still opt for a mahogany dining table, or a display case made from dark solid beech.

     But it’s never a good idea to go too full-blown on a single tonal scheme. Far better to mix up the wood palette – consider, for instance, a luxury oak-effect vinyl floor, and chestnut chairs that’ll stand out against the lighter backdrop. In the bedroom, go for the opposite contrast with a pine bed frame on American Black Walnut.

    That’s it for our brief flooring rundown. Any significant furnishing purchases, whether we’ve mentioned them here or not, will gain clarity if you visit our Hartleys showroom in Skipton. Want more advice on bringing décor concepts to life? Contact the Hartleys team.

  • Christmas Flooring Trends

    Christmas is around the corner, and as the autumn leaves start to get glistened with frost, now is a perfect time to get our homes ready. This weeks blog is focussed on helping you prepare your home for the festivities ahead. From choosing the right flooring technically, as well as the right flooring aesthetically.

    Choosing the right colour

    Darker colours have the ability to add a great amount of natural warmth to any room. Hardwood flooring is your best option, in particular walnut.

    The stunning Burnbury Engineered Lacquered Wood Flooring (Product Code: MWAL190201)

    The above photo is a fine example of walnut flooring that can add a really pleasant atmosphere to a room. Engineered flooring also has the ability to have underfloor heating fitted. Walnut is an incredibly versatile material, but isn't the most durable so is best fitted in low traffic areas. It's important with wood flooring that you allow it to sit in the room it's going to be fitted in to allow it to adapt to its new environment.

    If dark colours aren't for you, there are also a wide range of brighter colours available. Light and vibrant colours can make a room feel bigger, and add a summer glow even on the gloomiest of winter evenings.

    Trade Choice Engineered Oak Brushed & Oiled Wood Flooring (Product Code: EWR300028)

    The above image shows a prime example of what a brighter coloured flooring can add. It provides a vibrance that darker colours simply can't offer, so it really is down to personal choice, and a knowledge of what you're looking for in your home, or specific room.

    Alternatives to hardwood

    The great thing with flooring is that there is such a wide choice available. So with that in mind, if hardwood is a little out of your price range, there are a number of cheaper options. The first we're going to look at is vinyl tiles.

    Berry Alloc Columbian Oak LVT Flooring (Product Code: VR30090)

    The above is a fine example of vinyl, one of the best alternatives to hardwood available. Vinyl Flooring is ideal for bedrooms, but also areas of excess moisture due to its excellent water resistance features.

    Another excellent alternative is laminate. Often heavily compared to vinyl, its price is its biggest selling point. Not only is it one of the most cost effective floorings available, it is also technically very strong. Its incredibly durable and has excellent longevity.

    Krono Original Supernatural Classic Colonial Oak Groove Laminate Flooring (Product Code: K8632)

    The above photo is a fine example of laminate imitating hardwood. Coffee oak laminate flooring still adds the same warmth as solid oak, but for a far more cost effective price tag. It's ideal for homes with pets as it doesn't damage as easily as other flooring types.

    We hope our guide has helped you. As you can see there are a number of options available, it all comes down to personal choice, bur we recommend you make your decision sooner rather than later to make sure you get your order in before Christmas rolls round!

    Don't forget we also offer free samples of all our solid and engineered wood products over on our website!

  • Laminate vs Vinyl Tiles

    Laminate and Vinyl Tiles are incredibly hard to separate. They both have a number of similarities, but they are a few, hard to find subtle differences. In this weeks blog we're going to break them down for you, and category by category give you their pros and cons.

    What are they made of?

    Laminate is made up of a high density fibreboard (HDF), pieces of pulp compressed together to form a wood like substance. Vinyl tiles on the other hand polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and exceptionally durable material. Vinyl takes the lead with this one. PVC is an incredibly hardwearing material, and has excellent longevity. It's also far softer and warmer underfoot.

    The Installation Process

    Laminate is fitted using the most simple and easy to use system going, click-loc. As the name suggests, it simply clicks into place and is a no hassle, no fuss do it yourself technique. Vinyl however is fitted using a glued method, a fitting process usually done by a fitter. Laminate takes this one as the click-loc system is by far the most simple and speedy process on the market, and also far more cost effective.

    The technical aspects

    Both laminate and vinyl are technically very strong, and both have a number of features making them perfect for a family home. Both are incredibly durable and scratch resistance due to their strong outer layer. The only real difference is that vinyl can be refinished. Laminate would need to be replaced if damage occurs, however if only a small area is damaged it is possible to replace individual tiles.

    They are both have good water resistance to a certain extent. Laminate can sometimes get damaged by excess moisture, so it's important to ensure that water doesn't sit on the tiles for too long. Vinyl on the other hand is incredibly water proof, and is perfect for bathrooms and kitchens.

    They are both cheap to buy, but laminate just wins this one. There are plenty of cheap laminate flooring options available, perfect for homes on a slightly tighter budget. Vinyl flooring is traditionally cheaper than hardwood, and is by far the best alternative.

    There are a number of alternatives available, with hardwood and parquet the two most popular options. They are both however far more expensive, but there are a good number of cheap wood flooring options available. Both laminate and vinyl are imitations of wood, but if you've got a little more money to spend hardwood is the best flooring out there.

    We hope our guide has helped you to decipher the difference between luxury vinyl tiles and laminate flooring. As you can see there are a number of similarities, and it ultimately comes down to personal preference.

  • Different Types of Wood Flooring

    There is a huge range of wood flooring available, from oak, to walnut, to bamboo, the options are endless. In this weeks blog we are going to go through the different finishes, shades, and species.

    Finishes

    There are a number of different finishes available, with lacquered and oiled being the two most popular. Lacquered is the more modern of the two. It has a varnished look, which not only looks great but also offers outstanding surface protection. Its smooth and shiny surface means cleaning is effortless, and it's incredibly durable.

    Another alternative is an oiled finish. There are a number of cheap oiled wood flooring options on the market. Oiled is the traditional option, and thus looks vintage and truly has a beautiful aesthetic. Oiled is incredibly durable, so not only does it have its good looks, in the long run it lasts.

    The last finish we're going to look at is unfinished. As the name suggests, this is wooden flooring without a finish, and therefore means you can apply the finish yourself. This allows you to add your own personal touch to your flooring, it is a time consuming process, but an incredibly rewarding one.

    Shades and Colours

    Wood flooring comes in a wide range of different colours, each shade providing a different aesthetic to your home.

    Darker colours such as walnut solid wood adds a wonderful warmth to any room, even on the coldest of winter days.  It is one of the most expensive wood products on the market, but it is worth every penny, and truly adds a beautiful feel to whatever rooms it's fitted in.

    If darker colours are not what you're looking for, then there is also a broad selection of lighter shades available. Brighter colours provide a summer feel even on the darkest of winter nights. White oiled wood is a perfect example of a lighter shade that would make any room feel more spacious, and provide a modern and clean feel.

     

    Species of wood

    There are a number of species available, the three we are going to look at is oak, walnut and bamboo.

    Oak is probably the most popular types on the market. It is incredibly durable, and perfect in rooms with high traffic and heavy footfall. It comes in a number of beautiful colours, and is incredibly versatile. Solid oak is the best seller and is a timeless classic. Longevity is one of its strongest features, typically lasting between 20-30 years.

    Walnut is a great option for anyone looking to add warmth and a touch of class to their home. Walnut isn't the hardest wood around, but that doesn't stop it being as durable as oak. It is important to ensure it is regularly cleaned and maintained to ensure it holds on to its impressive appearance.

    The last we're going to look at is bamboo. A rapidly rising species of wood, bamboo is one of the most modern floorings on the market. It is low-cost in comparison to other types, it is cheaper to source, so as a result is cheaper to buy! It is incredibly easy to care for and maintain, and holds up well under heavy footfall.

    Conclusion

    As you can see there are a number of options available for you to choose from. Ultimately the final decision is down to you and your personal preferences. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages, and it's important you research everything before you buy.

    If you need any more advice feel free to give one of our team a call on 0333 002 1062. We hope our wood flooring guide has helped you to make a decision!

  • Parquet Flooring: The Incredible Comeback Story

    Parquet flooring is back, and there's nothing you can do about it. You may remember parquet as the flooring your Grandparents used to have in your house. It's traditional, but lately has been given a modern twist to fit the contemporary home.

    What is parquet flooring?

    The name parquet is derived from French, and dates back to the 17th century. Originally associated with wealth, it is now a lot easier to produce thus making it cheaper to buy. It is incredibly recognisable down to its patterned tiles and geometric shapes, this is unique thus making it stand out from the crowd. It's usually used in kitchens and dining rooms due to its impressive durability.

     

    Why should you choose to have it in your home?

    It is available in a range of species, such as oak and walnut, and a number of colours and designs. There's bound to be something that suits every need! It is incredibly easy to install, using a glueing process. It is important you have a specific design in mind before installation, as it can look cluttered and erratic if not.  The fact it's made from wood adds a natural warmth to your home wherever it's installed. Similarly to tiled flooring it is incredibly durable, and can withstand heavy levels of footfall.

    Today's parquet flooring has been injected with modern grandeur, but still holds all its traditional values. Vintage is incredibly popular, so it is unsurprising that this type of flooring has burst back onto the market. The unique nature of parquet is certainly one of the key reasons it is so popular.

     

    Disadvantages of parquet

    It does require a lot of maintenance, it is incredibly important the tiles are resealed, sanded and polished. This ensures that it maintains its gleaming and beautiful look, as well as extending its longevity. It can also be damaged by moisture. Parquet is made from wood so it's important to ensure that you manage humidity in your home to prevent it expanding.

    It is important you remain patient, installation can be time consuming but once fitted it all becomes so much more worthwhile! If you are looking to add a vintage feel to your home, then what are you waiting for? Parquet is the one for you.

  • 6 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Moving To a New Apartment

    Setting foot in your dream home sounds like a thrilling adventure, but practical challenges can easily turn it into a grim nightmare. The renovation process is time, energy, and money-consuming: It involves multiple stages and various key choices you have to make. On the opposite ends of the spectrum, there are major, foundation-to-roof overhauls and redecorating projects. Count in everything in between as well, and you got yourself a minefield of decisions. Well, here is how to navigate it without fuss or pouring money down the drain.

    Do I have a plan in place?

    Right off the bat, evaluate the design and financial potential of the property in the light of renovating projects. Come up with a remolding plan as sound as a dollar. Schedule the work and take your time to find the right contractors. Make sure to conduct a thorough inspection to bring potential problems to light. Pay special attention to red flags like structural flaws and issues related electrical and plumbing installations. Gauge how much you would have to invest in order to set things right and whether it makes sense to do so in the long run.

    What needs to be changed?

    In all likelihood, you do not have to update everything. First of all, strive to preserve charming original features of the home (vintage pieces of furniture, exposed brick walls, etc.). One thing you do need to improve if it is lacking is storage, one of the most undervalued aspects of the home. It helps you deal with annoying clutter and free up your space visually. Built-in and custom-made organisational tools like cabinets and floor-to-ceiling shelves always do the trick and enable you to make the most of the available space.

    Is the layout optimal?

    Take a good look at a layout of the home and how optimal it is. Structural changes make a big impact, but they can also cost an arm and a leg. So, provided that you can afford it, you could add square footage and convert a basement, loft, or garage. Knocking down walls and carrying out internal remodeling requires in-depth knowledge, though, and is best handled with a help of a professional designer or a structural engineer. Likewise, extensions require you to keep an eye on the costs, building regulations, permissions, and design requirements.

    Do I really have to go big?

    Of course, one does not have to spend a fortune on large-scale projects. One of the main goals of newfound homeowners is to put their personal stamp on the space. You can pull this off with a bit of sprucing up, weekend renovating, and decorating. New lighting fixtures and a fresh coat of paint instantly change the mood and feel of the home without you having to break the bank. Moreover, identify the design elements that hold meaning to you and help in “tying up” the space. Think in terms of family photos, heirloom, antique pieces, DIY wall décor, etc.

    Can I preserve my health and safety?

    Estimate how the environment performs in terms of promoting health and safety. Are there any security systems or do you have to spend money on them? In case you have kids, ponder on ways to childproof the home. Note that elements like flooring and wall paint are not just some aesthetical details as they also impact the health and well-being. Turn your attention to indoor menaces that inhibit them, such as mold and mildew as well as toxic chemicals and VOCs. Deal with the air pollution by bringing the plants inside and investing in quality air purifier for allergies.

    Is the home energy-efficient?

    One of the prime goals should be to increase the energy efficiency of the home. Insulation has a higher role to play, so figure out ways of enhancing it. Check out the areas like doors, windows, and attics, where most of the heat tends to escape through. Consider splurging on a few energy-efficient appliances that will pay for themselves after a couple of years. Upgrading the HVAC and electrical systems is another essential project, especially in old and outdated homes. Finally, see if you can tap into renewable energy options.

    In the clear

    Moving to a new apartment may seem like a tempting notion, but take a moment to reconsider things. There is a stream of projects you might have to take on. Thus, try to put the structural work behind you first and then add finishing touches by beautifying the space. Make it reflect your personality, fit your style, and meet your specific daily needs. Carefully select design elements, materials, systems, features, and appliances you want to incorporate. Boost the comfort and efficiency to steer away from financial turmoil and headaches down the road.

     

    *this blog was in collaboration with Lana from Smooth Decorator

  • Keeping your floor healthy

    Your floor is probably the area of the house that takes the most stress, and is hardest to keep healthy. Different flooring types have different cleaning techniques and require different levels of attention. In this weeks blog we'll take you through the best ways to keep them nice and clean.

    Laminate

    Laminate is easy to maintain, and cleaning is a simple process. All it needs is a weekly vacuum or wipe with a damp mop. Pet hair can be an issue, therefore it's important that you use a damp mop every so often if you own pets. Vacuuming isn't the best idea for pet hair, as it mostly just ends up blowing the hair around the room!

    Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVT)

    The best way to ensure that LVT remains in top condition is a simple regular sweep or vacuum. It's important to make sure you don't use any harsh clean chemicals as they can damage the flooring, so vacuums will be your floors best friend. Soft bristle brooms will also remove any loose bits of dirt, and make sure that spillages are cleaned as quickly as possible.

    Solid and Engineered Wood

    It is best to avoid vacuuming with wood flooring as it can cause permanent damage and scratching. The best method is a damp mop, and a soft bristled broom similarly to LVT. The great thing with hardwood is it can be refinished, it can also be resanded. So if you do damage your floor, you can quite easily get it back to looking brand new.

     

    It is important you ensure a regular cleaning process for all types of flooring. Cleaning is 100% the most important part of ensuring your floor is kept healthy, and although some floors can be refinished and resanded, it is important that they are kept in a clean condition and are maintained regularly. We hope our guide has helped you. For any more flooring tips, make sure you visit our advice centre!

  • Keeping your house warm this winter

    As the famous House Stark motto goes, winter is coming. As the cold months roll in, it's imperative to ensure we keep our homes warm. There are a number of ways we can maintain warmth, and some may surprise you. Our guide will take you through the best ways to avoid getting the chills.

    via GIPHY

    Your Flooring

    It may surprise you to hear that having warm colours, actually gives off the impression of warmth. Our minds work in weird ways, and if we see colours that we associate with warmth, we immediately feel a sense of natural heat. If this sounds like something you'd be happy to invest in then Walnut flooring which comes in naturally darker colours is perfect.

    Underfloor heating and insulation is also a great way of making sure you stay warm this winter. Insulation will ensure that no cold air can enter through your floorboards, and also makes sure that no hot air leaves your house! Underfloor heating is also worth considering, but only if your wood flooring is an engineered board. We would not recommend underfloor heating with solid flooring. Solid wood does not react well to heat, and would expand. Engineered is mostly made up of a number of layers, with only the top layer being wood, so won't react to the heat.

    Keeping warm around the house

    It's imperative you have other measures in place around the house. Draft excluders on doors will ensure that the heat stays in the room and doesn't escape. DIY draft excluders are also an option, almost any material can be used to wedge the space. Thick curtains can also help maintain heat in your bedroom and living areas. You can also buy curtains with a thermal lining, which is one of the cheaper options. Double glazing is also a good option, but is also rather costly.

    There are a number of "if all else fails options" as well! A jumper, or maybe two if you are really cold blooded will do the trick! Buy yourself a fireplace and light the fire, or even better get yourself a pet. Pets not only keep your warm, but they are also your new best friend. It's important to remember however, a pet is not just for Christmas.

    We hope our guide has helped you a little to stay warm this winter. Avoid the cold, and make sure that your house is ready for the harsh winter to come!

  • Lacquered vs Oiled: The Showdown

    You can forget your McGregor vs Mayweather, Microsoft vs Sony or Katie Hopkins vs everyone else on Twitter, in the flooring world, Lacquered vs Oiled is the big battle that everyone's talking about! In the first of our new weekly blogs, we’ll delve into the debate and attempt to decipher the difference between the two! So first and foremost..

    What is lacquered?

     

    Lacquered comes in high gloss, gloss and matt finishes. Lacquer is a varnish that is applied to the wood as a protection of sorts. It is ideal for a room where there  is a high chance of heavy footfall, or if you simply want a high gloss finish!

    Trade Choice Engineered Flooring

    (Trade Choice Engineered Wood Flooring, with a lacquered finish)

     

    Pro’s:

    We would NEVER claim that it is waterproof but it is certainly water resistant! Liquid can be very easily wiped off the floor and won’t seep into the wood! Try and avoid using too much water, as it can still leave a stain behind. Excessive exposure to moisture can make your floor curl. 

    In most cases with lacquered flooring, you can choose the finish. It most cases it can be semi matte, or a high gloss finish. All depending on the customers needs!

    Con’s

    It is quite easily scuffed or scratched! Because of glossed nature of the wood, if a heavy item is dropped it can be easily damaged. So it would be advised to invest in a door mat or if it’s regularly cleaned. Over time it can become to look worn, so a re-sand would be advised!

    The re-sanding can also be an issue, with a small scratch leading to the whole floor needing a re-sand! They can also be more demanding when it comes to cleaning, with the smallest patch of dirt being exposed on the floor.

    Kingsford Engineered Acacia Black Walnut Flooring

    (Our Kingsford Engineered Acacia Black Walnut with a lacquered finish)

    What is oiled?

     

    Oiled is more of a vintage finish, and more old fashioned than lacquered. Oiled is for the traditionalists who want a more classic look to their home and wanting something a little more hard wearing.

    Pro’s

    The great thing with oiled is the protection doesn’t just come on the surface, but runs deep to the core. Like any wood flooring it needs protection, but it is certainly more sustainable than lacquered. Oiled floors are also antistatic, which means dust won't accumulate easily. 

    Oiled flooring is also very durable, and due to the nature of the finish the wood is allowed to breath. It's perfect for areas of high traffic and high humidity levels.

    Con’s

    Although it has great protection, it does take a lot of maintenance on an ongoing basis. It also has very little (if any) water resistance, any small amount of water spillage can cause damage to the flooring, and leave marks behind.

    The antistatic nature of oiled can be problematic with pets. So if you have pets, it may not be the best finish for you, as it may send your pets skidding around the room!

    Richmond Solid Oak Flooring

    (Richmond Solid Oak Flooring, with a brushed & white oiled finish)

    So, which is more suitable for you?

     

    They both have many pro’s, and have benefits depending on what you’re looking for.

    Lacquered is more sustainable than oiled, and would be far better suited in areas that may be exposed to wet conditions. Oiled on the other hand, has great protective features and is has far more of a traditional look to it.

    We've included a useful little graphic below to help break it down for you:

    We hope this blog helped! If you need any more advice, feel free to give our sales team a call on 0333 002 1062.

  • How to Choose Wooden Flooring for an Open-Plan House

    Whether you’re looking to create the illusion of space or to promote the feeling of feng shui in your home, one of the best ways to create a seamless flow throughout the house is to get smart with your flooring. It’s fundamental that homeowners find flooring that suits each area.

    With different colours, grains, textures and sizes, the options are seemingly endless when it comes to choosing wooden flooring. While each type of wooden floor will bring its own aesthetic, ensuring that your floors flow seamlessly throughout the house can be a challenge in open-plan environments. That’s why today, we’re bringing you a handy guide to finding the wooden floor that best suits your open-plan home.

    Solid or engineered wood flooring?

    From open-plan basements to kitchen-diners, the type of flooring you choose will vary according to the different sections of the house. You can still achieve the high-quality wood floor aesthetic that you’ve been dreaming of in your interior design.

    While solid wood flooring is best avoided in cooler areas of the house like the cellar, the structure of engineered wood flooring makes these floors less likely to react to shifts in temperature and humidity. On the other hand, for high traffic areas like the kitchen, opting for long-lasting solid wood floors means that any scratches or stains can be refinished to restore that sought-after shine time and again.

    Fashion or function: which comes first?

    From wood-effect laminate and solid wood flooring to engineered wooden floors, the visually pleasing aesthetic of these floors will flow seamlessly through every section of the house in an open-plan home. And while these high-quality floors can instantly add value to any home, its the durability and the protective finish that comes with genuine wooden floors that makes them a first-class choice when it comes to functionality.

    So, whether you treat your home to solid hardwood or engineered wood flooring, by prioritising the practical requirements of your home, the long lifetime of these stunning floors means that your investment is guaranteed to pay off.

    Choosing your materials: stick or switch?

    In comparison to traditional floor plans, the lack of distinction between different rooms can make an open-plan space seem larger than it is, but this can often mean that homeowners feel obligated to ensure that the same interior design runs through the space. While sticking to a similar theme will avoid abrupt transitions. Incorporating variety throughout the house means that your eye will be drawn to the unique aspects of each area.

    So, whether you choose to clad the kitchen floors with a darker wooden floor or opt for a more intricate grain in your dining area, by making subtle changes, your interior design will stand out for all the right reasons.

    Whether you adorn the entirety of your open-plan house in the same style of solid hardwood flooring, or create contrast in different spaces by opting for a variety of finishes of wood, treating your home to a versatile wooden floor means that you can inject a touch of class into any style of interior design.

    Ready to get the look? Browse our range of first-class wood flooring options online today, or call our team of experts on 0333 002 1062 to see how we can help you!

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