Monday, March 22, 2010

Flooring - the Hair Greying Topic

I had no idea how difficult flooring would be. Didn't really give it much thought because apart from tiles in the bathrooms & laundry, Eden Brae are not doing any other flooring for us.

All we know is we like the look and warmth that timber provides (American Oak, pictured above, is divine). I can't have carpet anywhere because the dustmites brings on hayfever. Also with two young boys who find ingenious ways to make a mess (just cleaned strawberry drooled in a trail from kitchen to dining room a few minutes ago), carpet was definitely not an option.

Luckily we are living in a place that has tiles. So easy to clean but the grout between them changes from green to brown all over the place so they look awful. Tiles are out because of the grout issue and also they lack the warmth I want.

Hardwood flooring looks beautiful. For us, this was our initial plan, until we saw prices and also the problem of getting it laid quickly after handover (afterall, we want to move in ASAP). Most hardwood needs to acclimatise for several weeks and then we need 200+ square meters of the stuff so the cost of the product plus laying put it outside our budget. I've also seen the effects of humidity in Sydney.. my parents had a few meters of their beautiful floors suddenly buckle last year.

Strandwoven - Natural & Coffee

I found out about strandwoven bamboo flooring and it seemed the perfect alternative. Cheaper ($60 - $120 depending on who you go to). Incredibly hard so seemed impressively durable. Faster to install if you get it prefinished. Ability to sand back as per traditional hardwood floors. Bingo. Flooring finito.

Until I started digging further and further and the more I read, the less it seemed a wise choice. Its a product that comes out of China and the issue there is you never know what type of quality you're going to get. Also the resins and chemicals used (especially in strandwoven) could be toxic.

Another problem was that the look never really appealed. I thought the coffee stain would be OK but after we borrowed a large sample board of the stuff and took it home, I just couldn't shake the feeling it wasn't right for our house. Images of installations that I found online ranged from looking quite good to teeth gratingly terrible.

Largo - Natural Vanished Oak Close Up & Room View

Now we're considering laminates. The top of the line Quickstep Largo range looks beautiful. I've been quoted $49 for materials only and we can install it ourselves since its the click lock system. Heart racing moment when I saw they had an American Oak finish (ha! what has home building reduced me to?!?).

It was decided and topic was closed until 10pm last night when I chanced upon a forum that mentioned a vinyl alternative "Karndean". This product apparently looks like hardwood flooring but is obviously cheaper. Doesn't sound hollow like laminates. Durable. But it does cost more than Quickstep (the product is more expensive plus it has to be professionally installed).

AAARRRGGGHH.. anyone who has either Karndean or Quickstep Largo please contact me. I need the value of your experience with these products.


  1. Hi
    I was quoted about $40 sqm for Quickstep Largo, Underlay and Beading. Not sure you are based, but if you're in Sydney, the store is called King Flooring (Lansvale Sydney)

  2. WOW that's a brilliant price. I am in Sydney so will call and find out.

    THANK YOU for letting me know (our budget is stretched to the limits so any great deal will help!)

  3. Update: Not sure if you have called that place, but the place would not honour that price so I'm now going to take back my comment above as I do not want to recommend you anyone dodgy. I am back to the original drawing board to looking for a supplier. Please let me know what the best price you have received (and where) - now i'm the one asking for help! :)

  4. Staying away from KF now! I was quoted $49 about 3 weeks ago from but they warned me saying prices fluctuate depending on the value of the Aussie dollar (so could go up or down depending on when you order).
    Let me know if you find anything cheaper. We won't be ordering for at least 3 months.

  5. The best quote I received is from a place in Hornsby called Flooring Direct. I have had friends use them before so I think they should be ok. The quote I've received is $56 per square meter for Largo + quiet step combi-lay. I've been told by these guys that you have to use the quiet step underlay if you want the quick step to be under warranty. Hope that helps!

    I will be putting these floorboards in, in about a month so can send you some photos if you like.

  6. It is good to have ideas about flooring. This is very hard but need to have at least knowledge about it.