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salblue22
12-03-2010, 00:16 AM
Hi

Im about to convert my house in Islington, London, into 4 flats. It is an old victorian house. I am not sure whether to lay laminate or wood flooring bearing in mind I am planning on renting the flats. I know some landlords swear by laminate, as they say "put wood in your own house, but not in a rental accomodation".


Some people I have spoken to reckon I ought to go for wood as laminate will never be the same as wood. Others say it is a faux pas to put anything down other than laminate. I am currently being swayed by laminate, as it sounds like the more sensible thing to do. Wood would be lovely but am I thinking with my heart and not my head..bearing in mind I am not going to be living there, and instead it may be some tenant who doesnt care too much about scratching my new wooden floor.

The flooring whichever way I go will be an expensive investment and not something I can change my mind on once its laid, so Id be grateful for people's opinions.

Kind regards

Sal

havensRus
12-03-2010, 06:58 AM
Hi

I know some landlords swear by laminate, as they say "put wood in your own house, but not in a rental accomodation".



How much do you want to spend? which section of the rental market are you aiming for? do they require such "high spec" flooring? etc.etc.

I would go for good quality laminate/karndean. There's quite a good range available. Where properties become vacant and need work doing, I am gradually changing flooring in hallways/living rooms (high traffic areas) etc. to laminate and leaving carpets in bedrooms.

The first BTL flat I bought, I put down karndean (I was flush then). A decade later, its still looking very good, no complaints from any of the tenants, its easy to keep clean, worth the investment.

Poppy
12-03-2010, 08:11 AM
I am assuming that the property has suspended wooden floors. (Please correct me if necessary.) How are you going to eliminate the inevitable noise produced by people walking, running, playing and dropping things on such a surface? There are numerous posts about insensitive neighbours causing misery to the people below - and they are not always necessarily insensitive, reasonable movement on such surfaces can also cause annoyance.

westminster
12-03-2010, 10:07 AM
I second the vote for good quality laminate. It can look almost as good as wood and is easier to maintain, much more idiot proof than wood. I installed Pergo 'walnut' flooring in a rental and am still happy with it several years down the line.

What is crucial is to fit it underneath the skirtings boards and not use the plastic moulding/edging which looks terrible IMO.

I also second Poppy's comment about sound insulation; though you will be obliged, anyway, to comply with Building Regs regarding this. See http://www.soundreduction.co.uk/

I used a product called Acoustilay at home (Victorian conversion) under a wood floor - the neighbours in the flat downstairs have never complained about noise. I also put in extra thick carpet underlay elsewhere (bought cheaply on ebay).

My other rental flat has engineered wood floor on the ground floor. This is because I originally planned to refurb and sell but got stuck with it due to housing market plunge. Two years on, the floor is showing signs of wear (even with careful tenants). Still looks okay but I really wish I'd put in laminate.

But if you do go with wood, make sure you check the hardness on the Janka scale
http://www.realoakfloors.co.uk/janka_hardness_scale.php

ram
12-03-2010, 10:23 AM
inevitable noise produced by people walking, running, playing and dropping things on such a surface?

I second the vote for not having laminate flooring.

Our lease says wooden type floors must not be fitted, and carpet must be fitted everywhere except kitchen, where "lino" can be substituted for carpet.

If the OP wants continual complaints, then fit wooden type HARD floor covering. Carpets tend to keep the place feeling warmer as well. I don't fancy my bare feet on cold wooden / laminate floors in the morning.

Another way to look at is is .. hmmm, land lord is a cheap skate, he can't even afford carpet, what else has he penny pinced on ?

You are supplying a comfortable residential, nice to come home to environment, and there is a first contact of soft carpet to dampen the noise from shoes, etc, etc, etc. I would never entertain a property where the landlord cheapens the place with cold looking and unattractive floors. ( in my opinion ).

Below Pergo photo makes me feel cold already. "Brrrrr" ( But each to their own ) ;) I have my feet on a nice warm carpet at the moment.

westminster
12-03-2010, 10:23 AM
Here's the Pergo in the rental. Click for larger image.

http://i938.photobucket.com/albums/ad222/westminster0/th_IMG_3915.jpg (http://s938.photobucket.com/albums/ad222/westminster0/?action=view&current=IMG_3915.jpg)

ram
12-03-2010, 10:42 AM
P.S. My mother had this type of flooring, but only round the edges, and she slipped on it, and dislocated her hip when her foot slipped under a cabinet ( Due to the laminate floor ) One foot on none slip carpet, other on laminate.

I can assure you , you do NOT want to hear the continuous screems eminating from someone with a dislocated hip, with the hip joint pushing up through her body, due to the pull of the tendons. It brings tears instantly, to grown men. She could not crawl to the phone, and had been on the floor for 3 hours, passing out with the pain, and at her age, could have killed her.

I had the laminate edge flooring removed after that. So, just something to bear in mind.

jeffrey
12-03-2010, 11:01 AM
I second the vote for not having laminate flooring.

Our lease says wooden type floors must not be fitted, and carpet must be fitted everywhere except kitchen, where "lino" can be substituted for carpet.

If the OP wants continual complaints, then fit wooden type HARD floor covering. Carpets tend to keep the place feeling warmer as well. I don't fancy my bare feet on cold wooden / laminate floors in the morning.
True, but some people are allergic to house mites/dust; using hard floors minimises the risk.

ram
12-03-2010, 11:19 AM
True, but some people are allergic to house mites/dust; using hard floors minimises the risk.

Then they go for laminated floored properties, OR use a vacume cleaner. Many people seem nowadays, not to know what a vacume cleaner is, and that it sucks up mites and dust ! ( Shocking revelation, I know, that technology has advanced so far, and not many tenants have heard that vacume cleaners are now available in the shops. :rolleyes: )

See post link below ( item 15, page 2 ) then go straight to item 24 page 3, intersting reading.
http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showpost.php?p=142644&postcount=15

see a judges ruling on floor coverings at item 24, page 3

http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showpost.php?p=142748&postcount=24

HairyLandlord
12-03-2010, 11:29 AM
Hi

Im about to convert my house in Islington, London, into 4 flats. It is an old victorian house. I am not sure whether to lay laminate or wood flooring bearing in mind I am planning on renting the flats. I know some landlords swear by laminate, as they say "put wood in your own house, but not in a rental accomodation".


Some people I have spoken to reckon I ought to go for wood as laminate will never be the same as wood. Others say it is a faux pas to put anything down other than laminate. I am currently being swayed by laminate, as it sounds like the more sensible thing to do. Wood would be lovely but am I thinking with my heart and not my head..bearing in mind I am not going to be living there, and instead it may be some tenant who doesnt care too much about scratching my new wooden floor.

The flooring whichever way I go will be an expensive investment and not something I can change my mind on once its laid, so Id be grateful for people's opinions.

Kind regards

Sal

As other's have said, it depends on who you are aiming the properties at.

But in any event, unless you have a verifiable requirement (e.g. Letting agents telling you without hesitation that almost all their tenants want wood flooring and lots of ads of available properties in your area showing rooms with wood flooring), I would stick with good wearing and smart looking carpet, preferably light coloured, as this brightens up the room even though it means it looks dirtier quicker than darker colours and so you'll have to wash the carpets more often..

Efferneti
12-03-2010, 14:33 PM
I have laminate floor in my rental prop and I think it looks amazing. I also got it dead cheap (50% off) from Wickes. My last T has totally destroyed it in one room and the cost of replacement is <£100. The only problem with it is that the floor is freezing cold on the ground floor. I am told wooden floor is warmer.
Upstairs however it is absolutely fine.

salblue22
12-03-2010, 14:51 PM
Thanks for all of your views. Hmm, it looks about 50-50.

I was, and still am, a believer in genune wood floors, but recently have seen some very smart laminate floors. I realise you can spend anywhere between £5 psm and £15 psm for laminate. The more expensive ones look like real wood and are even textured to feel like wood.

To answer some of your questions:

I am aiming for young professional. I will have to ensure the acoustics meet building regs of course.

Right now I think, the way forward is a top of the range laminate. I quite liked the brown pergo(?) posted above..

mind the gap
12-03-2010, 17:38 PM
Real wood is lovely but expensive and very easily scratched. The karndean has much to recommend it, especially if noise reduction is an issue. Good quality laminate is OK too, but I agree with westminster about fitting it under the skirting. We've used B & Q'a Aqualoc which has proved bey tough and waterproof.

westminster
12-03-2010, 18:51 PM
I am aiming for young professional. I will have to ensure the acoustics meet building regs of course.

Right now I think, the way forward is a top of the range laminate. I quite liked the brown pergo(?) posted above..
Yes, Pergo 'walnut' effect.

My market is early 30s professionals in central London. The flat in the photo is in Covent Garden and while turnover is reasonably frequent - Ts tend to stay for 12 to 18 months - voids are minimal. I think this market prefers and expects hard flooring but doesn't care whether it's good quality laminate or real wood, the priority being a smart appearance, and quick and easy maintenance. If anything, they might prefer laminate because there is less worry about damaging it.

If they want a cosier feel they can always buy a big rug. Agents also tell me that a lot of tenants don't want carpet because of allergies, as well as a perception, particularly with foreign tenants, that carpets are less hygienic than hard flooring.

Why not talk to a couple of local agents and find out what the Islington market likes.

salblue22
15-03-2010, 09:00 AM
Many thanks guys.

Westminster - thanks for your post. Im in a similar boat to you in terms of target tenants. Its funny, a few agents have told me exactly the same thing about alienating the European market if I put down carpet and tenants not too fussed over wood or laminate.

salblue22
03-04-2010, 20:07 PM
Dear all

I am in the process of converting my four storey property into 4 flats. Building control have advised that I will need to ensure that the relevant impact and airbourne sound tests are conducted and passed.

I would really like to go with a hard floor and was orginally considering laying real wood. However I have been swayed towards a good quality laminate for various reasons (eg maintenance, price) and most local letting agents have also recommended a hard flooring over carpet. However, I am concerned about its sound insulation properties both in terms of passing the acoustic tests (ie for building regulation purposes) and the possibility of complaints from tenants (ie even after passing the building regulation tests - is this fair?).

My contractor has advised that I do not go with a hard flooring on the upper storeys, although if I insisted then it would be better to conduct the acoustic tests before the final floor is laid down which should ensure a pass, however, there would obviously be no guarantee that tenants would not complain later. Having said that, I met with a previous client of the same contractors who had done a similar conversion and had gone with laminate and has never had any issues.

Does anyone have any experience and advice they can give me on this issue?

Is it possible to buy a good quality acoustic system which guarantees a pass even with a laminate floor?

My understanding is that laminate flooring is still a better option than real wood in terms of meeting the building regulation acoustic requirements (ie due to the acoustic subfloor that the laminate rests on). Is this true?

Grateful for any thoughts and advice.

Kind regards

Sal

Wickerman
04-04-2010, 09:30 AM
Noise regulations are notoriously hard to pass - a local developer near me built a new block of flats, took advice from building control on how to minimise noise to pass the regs, and still failed on the acoustic checks. Result: Flats that took two years longer to finish, and they arrived on the market just as it crashed.

I would recommend the following:
a) Get a written report from a structural engineer on how best to minimise noise (eg rubber joist pads, sound insulation, false ceilings) and if you can use wooden/laminate flooring
b) Get written confirmation from BC that this should be suitable

If it all goes horribly wrong you have two avenues of redress: BC have indicated your solution would be suitable, and a Structural Engineer recommended it (he will have liability insurance so you could in theory sue to cover your high costs of re-doing the works to pass regs).

Brixtonia
04-04-2010, 12:43 PM
Salblue,

I have converted about 30 flats from Victorian houses over the past few years, all have had hard floors and I have never failed a sound test. Some of the projects I managed myself (I had no building experience to begin with) and others I handed over to contractors - but I have always kept a close eye on the installation.

It is very easy to find a specification (check out the British Gypsum White Book for some options) that will meet your requirements but the key key key (key) thing is making sure that it is installed meticulously. There are three main things to look out for:

1) having sufficient acoustic mass between floors which effectively absorbs sound - this includes mass of all the structural elements such as joists and subfloor etc.. but also the material dropped between the joists is very important. It is really important that it is of (or exceeds) the specified density and is not replaced with some cheap/light loft insulation as often happens. If you are installing new modern lightweight I-joists you will probably need more mass between them.
2) Separation. If there is a direct route for impact sound to travel it will take it and transfer the sound vibrations to another room. You need to reduce the transmission route as much as possible. Vibrations are not only sent directly through the floor into the joists and then the ceiling below - consider where else they might go, e.g. if your floor is not separated from your skirtings, the sound will transfer through the skirting into the wall and then into the joists which the wall is sat on.
3) Air tightness. Close up every conceivable gap between the two spaces. It is no good putting in wall to wall insulation if there is a gap around the perimeter through which airbourne sound can travel. e.g. after laying the subfloor on joists I tend to seal around the perimeter of that with expanding foam. Also - make sure that your T&G boards are properly laid making fill use of the T&G - not simply butted up to eachother.

It is all very well to try and cover yourself against problems by getting an engineer to draw you up a spec but conversions are not exact science like new build (they are much more fiddly and have a lot more unpredictable improvised details) and a professional will be able to argue that something somewhere was not done correctly. If you appoint a professional sound insulation engineer (I never have) you need to make sure that they are prepared to take responsibility for checking the details throughout the installation process. You simply cannot beat having a builder who knows what they are doing - or at least who is prepared to take responsibility for getting it right.

The good news is - if you and your builder are fairly sensible, practical and careful you should be fine. It really is not rocket science - but it cannot be a bodge.


My usual spec is this:
Under joists: 2x15mm Soundbloc plasterboard (blue) with staggered joints and sealed around perimeter screwed to resilient bars which are screwed to the joists at 400mm centres.
Between the joists: sorry - I forget the density of rock wool but the White Book will give the info. lots of it!
On top of joists: 18mm T&G chipboard flooring, glued and screwed to joists and sealed around perimeter with expanding foam (gluing to joists helps stock annoying squeaks further down the line), then a floating layer of Monafloor Deck 18 with glued joints (this is effectively an 8mm layer of foam with another 18mm chipboard floor sitting on top - you can save loads of cash by buying the foam and T&G floor separately instead of the branded Deck18). Make sure the upper floating deck is not in contact with the walls. Then you have your 2mm underlay and the finished floor on top. I tend to pop my skirtings on after and have a small foam separator between the bottom of the skitring and the floor - barely noticeable.

Also - make sure the BC agrees the stage at which you can have your test. They usually want in carried out before the floor finish (carpet/laminate) is installed.

As for tenanted properties - wood can be a bit of a nightmare for scratches and dents from heels. I would suggest a good quality realistic laminate even though I wouldn't want it in my own house.

The only complaints I have ever had were in a block of seven and one of the tenants had a lot of noisy how'sy'father with the windows open.

Hope this helps.

westminster
04-04-2010, 13:15 PM
Even if you carpeted everywhere, this is no guarantee of compliance with building regs. And carpets don't necessarily reduce airborne noise in either direction as sound travels through gaps and holes etc (so think twice before putting in tons of recessed downlights). Some depends on how good and solid the original construction of the house is; there were cowboy builders in the 19th century, too.

I posted this link on your previous thread, but here it is again
http://www.soundreduction.co.uk/

salblue22
04-04-2010, 15:15 PM
Thanks for your advice guys.

Brixtonia - many thanks for the details.

ram
04-04-2010, 16:16 PM
Thanks for your advice guys. .

For others reading this post, a similar request by salblue22 is at

http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=26820

and provides similar advice / debate.

But OP seems ( no disrespect to you, salblue22 ) insistant on having hard floors, when most of the concerns mentioned will disapear with underfelt and carpets.

R.a.M.

Brixtonia
04-04-2010, 18:02 PM
For others reading this post, a similar request by salblue22 is at

http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=26820

and provides similar advice / debate.

But OP seems ( no disrespect to you, salblue22 ) insistant on having hard floors, when most of the concerns mentioned will disapear with underfelt and carpets.

R.a.M.

I fully understand Salblue22 wanting to be sure. Converting a property is a nerve wracking experience - and getting past the sound test is one of the most stressful parts in my experience.

As I said above, the sound proofing tests are usually carried out on the hard floor surface before carpet and underlay is installed because it is deemed that the property needs to be sound proof even if the owner later lifts the carpets. So a new property will meet the pretty stringent regs whether you later add carpet or laminate.

I would always opt for hard floors - my tenants (zone 2 London 25-35yrs) always prefer it and it is much easier to keep clean.

Two more tips for sound proofing success:
1) Try to avoid downlighters as they breach the plasterboard barrier - even the sound proofing ones can be a bit hit and miss.

2) My one concession to carpet is stairs - it is less slippy and insulation on treads generally needs to be screwed down rather than floating so impact noise will carry more.

Moderator1
07-04-2010, 02:34 AM
Two threads by the same member have been merged here. Please do not start a new thread if you merely wish to continue a previous discussion or report on subsequent developments. It can cause unnecessary confusion (quite apart from losing the connection with facts previously established or legal points previously explained).

chappers2341
07-04-2010, 07:01 AM
just to confirm that sound tests are always carried out without any floor covering,so whatever flooring you wish to lay is up to you, personally I woiuld go for a half decent laminate in the living areas and a short pile carpet in the bedrooms.

With regards to your sound seperation design get it done by a decent architect or even a noise consultant as the cost of failure can be high when you take into account the costs of remedial works and retesting.

Also bear in mind the layout of the flats building non habitable rooms over or next to habitable rooms,rather than habitable room to habitable room, reduces the number of tests needed.