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|EKBB Magazine|||||written on: 24-11-2017 12:45pm|
From large sleek slabs to traditional ornate designs, on-trend geometrics and wood effect planks; you’re bound to find the perfect porcelain personality for your kitchen amongst the vast range of designs out there. “The tile market has grown in recent years and new Italian digital technology means porcelain can effectively mimic other materials like stone, marble, wood, concrete, terrazzo and more,” says Louisa Morgan of Mandarin Stone. “Very large format tiles have become popular as well as patterned tiles and planks in herringbone and chevron designs.” Porcelain’s popularity is down to its low absorbency which means it’s hardwearing, easy to clean and doesn’t need to be sealed. Subsequently it conducts underfloor heating well. “The majority of porcelain tiles are ‘rectified’ which means there will be little variation within a production run; however different batches may vary slightly in size, so we advise people to purchase all necessary tiles at the same time,” advises Louisa. This is a heavy, dense and solid material that will last decades.
“Vintage tiles are making a big comeback,” says Marta Cerezo from Porcelanosa. “These grey Ston-ker Deco Bluestone ceramic tiles are ideal if you’re looking to combine traditional design with a modern twist.” They’re priced £90.77 per sq m, Porcelonosa.
Porcelain takes on the persona of a more exotic marble in these Statuario Hexagon tiles from the Roma collection, £66.10 per sq m, Reed Harris.
The chameleon of the flooring world, vinyl is a plastic material which can be designed to create pretty much any effect you want, from wood to stone to concrete, ceramic and porcelain. This is all without the cost, maintenance and installation issues you might find with the real deal. Available in either one big sheet which can be cut to size, or as separate tiles, it’s ideal for kitchens with a high traffic flow and a big chance of spillage, because it can be easily wiped clean and is hardwearing too. And don’t even try to associate the vinyl of today with the planks of the past, says Julie Dempster, marketing manager at Forbo. “We’re always looking at new trends. The great thing about vinyl is that it doesn’t chip like ceramic or warp like laminate,” she continues. Cushioned vinyl will give extra comfort and warmth, while slip-resistance will make the flooring safer. If you’re planning on fitting underfloor heating check the vinyl you want is compatible, because some aren’t. “Vinyl can be loose-laid in an area up to 20 square metres,” advises Julie. “Allow between 12-24 hours after installation before using the floor or moving back in.”
Budget-friendly faux wood flooring which will last a whole childhood and more can’t be frowned at. This Balance Click Canyon Oak flooring in light brown with Saw Cuts is £31.99 per sq m, from QuickStep.
Get a taste of high tile style with the Jura Stone 46960, Verdon Oak 24280 and Verdon Oak 24117 in diamond 3D cubes. They’re all from the Moduleo Moods collection, which is from £60 per sq m.
3. Stone and ceramic
Stone, in the form of limestone, sandstone, marble, slate and granite, is so hardy it can be used outside as well as inside and will last for centuries, which means it’s important to look long into the future when fitting it. “Stone is great for creating a unique floor which is highly durable and, if well sealed, easy to maintain,” says Charles Margetts, manager of Martin Moore Stone. “Make sure you fit the flooring before the kitchen to create an even base and to avoid having to change the floor if you decide to move furniture later.” By having the floor properly installed and sealed by a stone fitter rather than a builder or ceramic tiler, it should only require re-sealing every five years, he advises, and certain surfaces will work better in kitchens. “A smooth stone will not collect dirt, while a surface with scattered shells won’t show the first footprint, but a polished stone could be slippery if water is spilt,” he adds.
The St Aubin honed stone floor offers a beautiful look across a large surface area. Prices start at £50 per sq m, from Martin Moore Stone.
With attention to detail in the form of high resolution ink jet printing, the new Limestone range from Domus features seamless stone-effect porcelain that is close to the real thing. This creates a sleek stage for a modern Scandi kitchen scene. It’s from £72.12 per sq m.
You’ll wonder which came first with these dark grey tumbled limestone Imperial floor tiles in a large opus pattern creating a traditional lived-in look and taking the kitchen on as their own. They’re from £74.40 per sq m, Indigenous.
4. Concrete and resin
In the last few years concrete and resin have moved from commercial staples to residential statements as people search for seamless flooring which will travel through their sleek kitchens and open-plan spaces. But is a concrete floor practical? “The unbeatable thermal mass of concrete holds heat for a long time which is perfect with underfloor heating,” says Laura Gray of Lazenby. “It takes three days to install a polished concrete floor which is 100mm deep so all kitchen units must be removed first, we’ll then return to polish and seal the floor 28 days later in either matt, satin or gloss,” she explains. But before you order, make sure the company you choose has asked for architects’ drawings and engineers’ calculations. “These are necessary to ensure your property is suitable for a concrete installation,” warns Laura. Resin offers a softer alternative, also sits at room temperature and is equally hygienic. “We use polyurethane resin which contains no toxic chemicals with a natural flexibility so it won’t crack,” says Suzanne Driscoll of Puur Floors.
Best of both
Contrasting materials are huge right now and what better way to define your kitchen and living space than with Exposed Concrete and Fumed Oak in a Random Plank laying pattern. This retails from around £70 per sq m, Amtico Signature.
Resin works well in kitchens, “because it has a satin finish which is easy to clean and can be manufactured to any colour,” says Suzanne Driscoll from Puur Floors. Both concrete and resin flooring systems are priced dependant on size of area and location, costing between £120-£180 per sq m.
Your heart might be settled on wood, but it’s important you use your mind to make some fairly important decisions – Solid or engineered? Hardwood like oak or softwood such as pine? DIY or professional fitting? “Hardwoods such as oak are better than softwoods such as most pine floorboards,” advises Rob Weems of Solid Floor. “While engineered timber is designed to withstand a modern house with underfloor heating and will be more stable with less gaps opening between planks over the years. If you use high quality flooring, you won’t see any difference between an engineered and a solid floor.” Whichever wood you choose, avoid ordering online, instead choose a supplier who can show you a large sample. “Use a specialist who will understand the floor they are fitting, particularly if you are having underfloor heating as it will need to be glue bonded to the heated sub floor.” And finish? “Hardwax oil looks natural, is easy to mop clean and can be re-oiled to protect it.” Finally, consider how you’d like the wood to be laid; herringbone, chevron or parquet? One question where it’s time to follow your heart...
This Kährs Chevron White rustic oak wood floor has had a brushed and bevelled treatment, a white stain and a nature oil pre-finish. It’s from £101 per sq m, Kährs.
Reserve Mareggiata French oak planks, from Listone Giordano’s Atelier collection, are designed to look like they’ve been smoothed by time, with oil-based treatments and eco-friendly protection making them perfect for barefoot walking. £118 per sq m, Tuttoparquet.
Credit: Victoria Rolison (Words)
Published: As featured in EKBB Magazine, Issue 246. Prices mentioned are at the time of publication
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