Posts by davemills

Maintaining your Vinyl floor

The key to keeping any vinyl floor in good shape is to keep it clean, and sheet vinyl is no exception. Get the dirt off before it gets ground in, and your vinyl will last longer. Sweep frequently. It’s a good idea to get in the habit of quickly running a soft broom across the kitchen floor every evening after you put the dishes in the dishwasher.

At IH Flooring we use the following trusted products to maintain vinyl floors (available for purchase from our shop)

  • Amtico Floorcare Starter Kit
  • Amtico International Floorcare Dressing
  • Amtico Accessories Floorcare Maintainer
  • Amtico International Floorcare Stripper
  • Amtico Adhesive Remove
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Maintaining your wood floor

At IH Flooring we have a selection of floor care products available for purchase from our shop for the maintenance of your new vinyl floors and wood floor.

General Floor Care Products

The following products are available for purchase:

  • Bona Spray Mops, pads, and refill cartridges
  • Treatex Hardwax Oil
  • Treatex Floorcare
  • Woca Wood Cleaner

Wooden Floor Cleaning

Day to day cleaning should only be done with a soft brush or vacuum cleaner to remove dust and dirt. Liquid spills should be wiped up immediately.

Depending on the type of finish you choose for your wood floor will require different types of cleaning:

Oiled floors should only be washed occasionally using wood floor soap, which leave a protective layer on your wood. Once a year a floor should be re-oiled. This will be in either in the form of a liquid paste wax for pre-waxed and hardwax oil finishes, maintenance oil for oxidising oil finishes or maintenance paste for UV cured oiled finishes.

Lacquered surfaces should only ever be damp cleaned and never washed. Application of a suitable polish / refresher product will help to protect the surface of the timber.

Please stop by the shop to view all the products that we have available to purchase for maintaining wood floors.

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Buying a new Carpet – Where to start?

For most people buying a carpet is not something you do very often. It’s a large purchase that will make a significant difference in your home and you want to get it right. You have decided that you do not want a hard floor, so you start your search.

You might start to look at a few companies online and you think about designs; plain or patterned will very much depend on the room, it’s size,  purpose and the furniture. Then you start thinking about colours; maybe the latest greys or a light beige. The internet has provided a good starting point but now you need to touch and feel a carpet to work out what you want so you visit your local showroom.  For those that have walked into a flooring shop you’ll be met by a huge choice of carpet reels from lots of different companies. You might run your hands over the carpets on display and you can feel that they are all different but then what? You thought you’d know what you were looking for but there is so much choice it’s hard to know where to start. This is a moment to feel #confused!

This blog tries to give you some of the key points when choosing a carpet. It will help guide you through some decision points so you can work out what you want and make that visit to the carpet showroom slightly less daunting. We will also point out some of the lingo so that you have far more confidence when asking questions.
So firstly there are five considerations:

  1. What is the purpose of the area/room that is being carpeted? Is it a bathroom, bedroom or lounge. This is important as it will determine what activities are taking place, will bare feet be walking on the carpet, the likelihood for food or drink to be dropped on it or how warm the room needs to be.
  2. What is the likely level of use? In general communal rooms will have much more traffic from people and for some, animals. However even circumstances can change the level of use, someone with an office bedroom will use their bedroom carpet more than a usual bedroom carpet. Do people have to cross a carpeted area to get to a bathroom or kitchen?
  3. Likelihood of stains? – It’s unlikely that a carpet will escape stain free but the type of stains will be different dependant on the type of household. Children, pets or the type of work you might do can affect this. If an open fire is near the carpet extra protection from spitting embers might be needed in that area.
  4. Level of care taken with the carpet? I’m sure we all like to think we are house proud but we also need to be realistic. Children will be children, pets might shed animal hair. Regular hoovering can increase the lifespan of a carpet as can removing shoes.  A small mat over carpeted areas where an animal might routinely sit  might be useful, it can always be slid under a sofa when not needed.  Consider what type of household you have.
  5. How long do you want it to last? Now this might be the most difficult question as it’s hard to predict what is around the corner. However it is important to consider is this carpet for a quick renovation, perhaps for new tenants or a significant investment in your home.

When you’ve considered those questions then you are really in a position to start looking for your perfect carpet.

With carpets there are two main types which are differentiated by how the pile is woven. The pile? Well that’s the material you walk on which is attached to the carpet backing. Both types of carpets have their pros and cons but ultimately decisions will be driven firstly by personal taste and then finding the type you want within your budget.

The two types of carpet pile are

  1. Cut pile
  2. Loop pile

What is a cut pile carpet?

This is what you would traditionally think of when visualising a carpet.  It’s often called twist carpet because the yarn is sewn then cut and then the pieces of yarn are twisted together so they stick up. If there are 2 pieces of yarn twisted together that’s known as 2ply and 3 pieces known as 3ply. 3ply obviously has more yarn and is therefore slightly harder wearing.  Twist is the most common type of carpet. It tends to be soft underfoot and can be used in any kind of room.  It is hardwearing and is extremely versatile but over time it will flatten although certain materials will fair better than others.

…and loop pile carpet?

This is very distinguishable from twist carpet as it’s made from uncut loops of yarn which sewn into the matting. Generally these loops have a more rugged appearance and are often favoured for use on the stairs, in hallways or in other high traffic areas. The loop pile carpet is often preferred by families as it is hard wearing, durable, practical and looks stylish and sophisticated. It is  comfortable underfoot and although it will flatten, it’s design is long-lasting so it looks great for longer.  Loop carpets are not recommended for households with pets as their claws can get stuck in the loops and constant pulling can cause the carpet to fray.

Once you decided the type of carpet you prefer, then the decision is about the material. The material will affect the softness of the carpet and it’s longevity. Carpets are made from different materials some of which are man-made fibres or natural fibres and some people will feel strongly about the type of material they have. The most usual materials are wool and nylon but there are other materials like polyester or more unusually corn, bamboo and recycled materials.

As a general rule man-made materials are softer to the touch but natural fibres are harder wearing. However the pile itself can improve the wearing so man-made material in a loop pile will be harder wearing that a cut pile. To complicate things more, nearly all materials can be treated prior to use in various ways including scotch-guarding, treated for moth resistance, stain proofing etc, all of which can add value to the raw material.

So with all this knowledge you are now ready to go back to that carpet showroom and really look at the carpets on offer. Ask to see a cut pile and loop pile so you can see what you prefer. Discuss your room with the salesperson and answer the 5 key questions about your room as that will help you work out an appropriate material. You aren’t on your own when buying a carpet, let the salesperson help you through the buying process and I am confident you will find the perfect carpet for your home.

Look out for our forthcoming carpet blogs series including ‘a day in the life of your carpet’ and ‘the benefits of underlay.

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Underlay – What is the point?

Guest blog – Rhiannon Evans

Well when I started writing this blog that’s exactly what I said to myself. It’s one of those things you are told you need, but it adds cost and no one sees it. So do you really need it?

Having done my research the answer is yes, you do. That messy looking piece of sponge or felt can play an important role in your comfort in more ways than one. In fact I’ll set out 5 key benefits of underlay which will help you to make a more informed decision when you are asked that question, “what underlay do you want?”

1) Underlay removes the lumps in your floor. Many floors whether wood or concrete have blemishes in them. These can be from the floor material itself or from fixing agents like glue or nails that stick up above the floor board. This means if you run your hand along the floor you’ll feel it isn’t smooth. You will know the feeling when you sit on the grass at a picnic or when you’re trying to sleep in a tent, you always seem to have picked the spot with uneven ground and are lying in lots of stones. Underlay provides a protective layer so that your floor feels smooth even if the truth is far from fact. Underlay reduces the impact of the lumps that lie beneath.

2) Underlay increases the softness of the carpet. If you’ve started your carpet search you’ll know that some carpets feel softer than others. However the softness of the carpet is significantly impacted by the bounce it has. Imagine a furry blanket or throw on your sofa it feels lovely to the touch. When you put this on the hard floor it doesn’t feel as nice. It is the same throw but you need the underlay underneath it to really appreciate its softness. Underlay creates the bounce in your carpet.

3) It insulates your home. Just like all of your soft furnishings your carpet can help maintain the heat in your home. Just like a duvet, underlay has its own t.o.g value. If you are worried about the cost of heating your home then getting a higher t.o.g value can be a good investment.

4) Underlay reduces noise. In the same way that buildings with no soft furnishings like old churches have great acoustics, carpet and underlay can have the opposite effect, dampening the sound. Whilst the number of houses that have budding drummers living in them is few, you should not underestimate the impact of normal household noise. If you take up the carpets in your child’s bedroom you’ll soon be able to hear them running around upstairs when you’re relaxing on the sofa. Whilst some rooms won’t have much footfall it’s worth investing in good underlay where you might want to reduce the noise such as children’s bedrooms.

5) Underlay increases the lifespan of your carpet. Your carpet has to put up with some tough wear and tear in its lifetime. All the movement from feet, to paws, pulling furniture across it or dragging children or adults to bed can impact on the carpet. Underlay will absorb some of the wear and help with grip keeping your carpet looking better for longer.

So why would you have underlay the answer is five reasons. Investing in a good underlay makes common sense as it can outlast the carpet itself. They always say a good house is built on solid foundations and fitting a new carpet on a good underlay is no different. It seems to me like an investment that makes complete financial sense particularly bearing in mind it might actually reduce your fuel bill.

So which to go for. Well there are lots of different types on the market and they range in price from £5 to £15 some are made of natural fibres and some are recyclable, if you go down the environmental route. In general it’s always good to go for a high quality underlay unless you have no requirement for it to last or are not too bothered about a luxury feel under foot. Perhaps you’re doing up a house for sale or it is a rental property that is to be renovated yearly.

I completely empathise with the complex decision carpet buying brings so my top tip is to try before you buy. When you are in the carpet shop, ask them for a sample of underlay and then lay you’re chosen carpet on top. It’s only then that you’ll really feel what you are buying and the decision will be much easier.

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Choosing the right tradesmen

Have you ever been given the advice that before choosing a supplier/tradesmen etc you should get 3 quotes. Well over the years working at various companies this has always been the advice I’ve been given before embarking on any kind of project and I’ve followed it, usually.  Often I’ve not known where to start so I’ve done a quick google search or used yellow pages or something equivalent and then just picked any three.  I have to admit,  sometimes I haven’t been quite as diligent and only got two quotes.

So is this how we should choose tradespeople?

Getting three quotes helps you understand the rough value of what you are buying and where detailed quotes are given, they might pinpoint services or potential problems you hadn’t thought of.  This is particularly helpful if you really have no idea of the cost. It also gives you the option of low end or high end but the problem is that the quoted cost may have no real impact on the quality or reliability of the service you will end up getting.

In a recent survey by plentific.com it found that 87% of the 13 million UK homeowners had fears when it came to hiring tradesmen.  Concerns varied from how to find reliable people, the quality of work, being ripped off by tradesmen, the tradesmen going out of business before completing the work and jobs not being completed on time.  The survey showed that concerns differed by age category with those in older age categories having more concerns compared to younger age categories. There was also a significant variation by region and I’m pleased to say the South West had the highest confidence level at 19% compared to London at only 5% of people having no concerns about hiring a tradesmen. So are these concerns really reflective of the market.  If 19% of you out there have concerns over finding a reliable tradesperson…………….how can you help ensure you get the tradesperson that is right for you.

Well certainly programmes like rogue traders and watchdog urge caution but there are plenty of reputable tradesmen out there. You want a job done but where to find that trusted tradesperson.  You could start by asking yourself, ‘have any of your trusted close family or friends recently used this tradesperson’?  What was their experience? but remember all jobs and costs are different, your needs and priorities may well be different from those of a friend, and staff in a firm can change over time.  You wouldn’t buy the same car as a friend just because they thought it was great!  You need to shop around.

Reviews

The key factor when making a choice should be looking at independent reviews. IH flooring is a member of Checkatrade (www.checkatrade.com) which allows customers to independently rate the quality of the service received.  As these reviews are independently verified this is a good indication of what other customers have said.  There are other sites out there including trusted trader, plentific.com and WHICH.  All of these recommend that consumers consider using any trader who supports a system of reviews that result in independent recommendations.

Speaking to real people!

As one of the concerns homeowners have is about firms going out of business I’d also recommend going with an established firm preferable with a real base such as a shop or showroom where you can see and speak to the staff directly about your needs, your priorities and the service and timescales you expect.  This allows the relationship to be more transparent and will help the tradesperson fully understand your needs and increase your confidence that they will help if things go wrong.  After all, most tradespersons want to get it right.  At IH flooring we aim to feel as pleased and proud of the job that we complete as the property owner is when showing the finished job to friends and family. Ultimately whenever you embark on any project there is some element of risk but if you use the evidence out there you should be able to manage that risk and get the results you want.

Remember if you’ve had a good service then tell others. Let’s drive up standards getting rid of rogue traders and increase confidence in the industry.

 

 

 

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How we became a WHICH? Trusted Trader

WHICH? is a quality brand that helps build trust and confidence for consumers, and helps them to choose the right trader. IH Flooring have always wanted to ensure that our customers receive an excellent service, so the opportunity to gain a Which? Trusted Trader endorsement was hard to pass up.

At the start of December 2016 WHICH? contacted us as they recognised there was a gap in the market for a local independent flooring company to become a trusted trader. We had an initial consultation with one of the representative to see if we qualified and following that were put forward for an interview and assessment. The assessment process was very vigorous including a credit report, checking customer satisfaction, checking all business procedures, interview then a final assessment in January 2017.

We had to make some small changes to the business to comply, but our customers will certainly be better for it. We have now achieved the Trusted Trader endorsement and are very proud that our customers can choose us knowing that we are a WHICH? Trusted Trader.

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What is LVT? ..and is it for me?

LVT may sound suspiciously like a kind of disease to be avoided but it’s actually a type of flooring. LVT stands for luxury vinyl tiles and it is a growing trend in the  flooring world. Like me you’ll probably know, vinyl is a type of plastic but it often brings up connotations of PVC clothing or vinyl records. How can this be the same material we are considering for our floors?  Well vinyl is the 2nd largest manufactured and sold plastic resin in the world, most likely because of it’s versatility and safety.

Vinyl floor

Many people have previously used vinyl cushion floor in their homes, often referred to as lino. However things have significantly moved on from those days. Today LVT is becoming increasingly popular with large name brands such as Amtico and Karndean taking a large portion of the market.  So what is LVT?  It is essentially vinyl tiles or planks that have a picture or design printed onto tiles, then coated with a clear protective overlay. These tiles are produced in many different designs and can give a realistic appearance of a range of materials including wood, stone, marble or ceramic.

Why should I choose LVT?

LVT has increased in popularity because of it’s many excellent features.

  • It is extremely easy to clean, although steam mopping is to be avoided.
  • Easy to maintain with no maintenance requirements like waxing or polishing which would be required for real wood floors.
  • It is very hard wearing so doesn’t get the tread wear that you might get with carpet.
  • It doesn’t age over time which means it will look virtually as good in 20 years as the day it is installed.
  • There is a very large range providing significant choice and there are also some bespoke ranges which means you really can have your own unique floor
  • There is a long warranty on products giving you peace of mind that your purchase is secure.

 

So where do I start when buying LVT?

It’s not surprising that the sheer choice of LVT can feel overwhelming so here are some things to consider to get you started.
1.  Design – There are hundreds of designs available but knowing the type of look you want will help narrow down the choice. Do you want a natural design, something more abstract or 3D patterns or perhaps a vintage look.

2.  Supplier – The choice of look can guide you to the best supplier so Harvey Maria stock vintage style designs providing a Neisha Crosland style look, whereas suppliers like Amtico and Karndean are favoured for a more natural affect.

3.  Preparation and fitting – LVT requires a different type of fitting. Some styles are self adhesive, some need to be glued down and others have an interlocking system to hold them in place. However whatever type of LVT you choose won’t detract from the need for thorough preparation of the sub floor. Although some LVT ranges can be more forgiving than others, the correct sub floor preparation is vital to ensure that imperfections don’t show through.

4.  Price – It’s always important to ensure that you invest in a floor for the long term. LVT are a significant investment that is there to stay, so choosing the correct floor for you is crucial. This means that price should fall slightly further down the list, however most people do have a budget. The price of LVT ranges from £25 a sq/m up to £70sq/m. Why the big difference? Well top end ranges tend to have tailored designs, orders are custom made and the quality of the wear layer of the material is thicker with a lifetime warranty.

So if LVT is for you then come into our store (122 Coldharbour Road, Redland, Bristol) and see our extensive range or ask us for a free quote and we can bring some designs to you. We can show you the various ranges and find the perfect LVT to suit your home. We will even design your new floor for you!

 

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