When you begin your journey into choosing a new floor for your home, you will be asking yourself and researching topics around, which type of flooring is more hard wearing, which product is suitable for kitchens, what colour will look best etc. However one very important question you need to ask, is what installation method is best.
Most people do not consider the way the floor is installed as an important factor, however it is fundamental to understand the space you are covering, the environment the floor is going into to consider any potential issues further down the line. Choosing the wrong type of installation method can make or break your floor, literally!
At j2 Flooring, we produce two types of products, LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tiles) in glue down format and SPC (Stone Polymer Composite) in a rigid core, click together system.
Firstly LVT Gluedown or dry back LVT as its known in the industry, are flexible planks and tiles, usually between 2-3mm thick, which are glued directly to a well prepared subfloor. The subfloor must be finished with correct materials, so the adhesive creates a bond between LVT and the floor. A glue down finish is a more permanent method as the adhesive prevemts the floor from being taken up and reused.
SPC is a floating floor system, so unlike LVT gluedown, the planks or tiles are connected together in the form of a click system, so can be taken up at any time as there is no glue or fixings required, they are just interlocking. The subfloor requirements for rigid core SPC, is similar to ceramic tiles and glue down LVT, as the product is not designed to flex over and above its tolerance. Therefore when it comes to installation method the preparation is the same, but the method of fixing is different.
The Questions You Should Consider…
When your look at your space, it is important to consider these key points and speak to your trades person or installer regarding these, as they can have a significant impact on whether you can choose a specific installation method. Most general trades, or non flooring professionals, may opt for a click system, due to lack knowldege and a general understanding of click methods opposed to glue down.
- What UV light / Heat will your space be subject to?
If you have a large open plan kitchen / living space, with bifolds, roof windows or patio doors, effectively low level light and these are South-west facing, subjected to high levels of sunlight, therefore heat in certain periods of the year, a glue down system, would be best. Our SPC and many other SPC floating floors have a maximum temperature of 27oc, in high temperatures such as the summer, the surface temperature of the floors in south facing rooms can exceed 40-50 degrees centigrade in high temperatures, with a floating floor system, this will likely cause the floor to expand too severely, which can lead to the locking system being broken and the boards becoming warped.
In the case of a gluedown LVT floors, although the same temperature threshold applies (maximum 27oc) there are adhesives such as High temperature and epoxy, which can allow LVT to be installed in these situations. Consult with your professional floor layer for advice on this.
If your space is not going to fluctuate too much in terms of temperature change and excessive heat, then click is suitable.
2. Will You have Underfloor Heating?
All our products are suitable with underfloor heating, both gluedown and click, however the surface temperature should be maintained at a steady temperature of 18-23 degrees. Also the heating element must be a minimum of 8mm beneath the floor, usually encapsulated in a smoothing compound, to allow the heat to evenly dissipate across the floor, preventing hot spots.
3. Will you have lots of heavy furniture or fixed items such as kitchen units built on top?
We would always recommend kitchen units and heavy fixed items to be installed first, but even lots of large, heavy furniture can have an impact on a floating floor such as SPC Click. As a floating floor will naturally expand and contract, its important to understand heavy and fixed objects will restrict this natural movement and can therefore cause the click floor to buckle and break as its trying to move in various directions.
Gluedown LVT is a permanent bond, therefore the adhesive prevents the product from expanding and contracting in such extremities, therefore laying kitchen units and heavy objects will have no bearing on the floors performance.
4. Which flooring installation method is best for dogs?
Pets are important factors wen considering floor types, however SPC click and LVT gluedown floors are both suitable for environments with pets. they are both hard wearing and easily cleaned and the installation method has no bearing on performance with homes with dogs or pets in general.
5. Is your subfloor mecanically fixed? solid and strong?
If you live in an older property, you may find the subfloors or original floors, have some movement in them, such as flexing due to settlement or weaker joists.
If there is too much deflection in the subfloor, we would recommend this is fixed by a professional builder, because over time too much flex and deflection can affect both glue down lvt and SPC rigid core floors. However LVT due to its flexibility will be able to flex with a ‘bouncy’ subfloor, more so than the SPC rigid click. The SPC Rigid Click cannot deflect too much, due to its core construction of comprising of predominantly stone, so if you have flexing floors, we would recommend if these are not taken care of first, SPC will break over time.
With solid subfloors, it is important to prepare the floors so the undulation is no greater than 2mm over a 1 metre distance. This is applied to both installation types. Using a quality floor finishing smoothing compound will ensure a good finish is achieved.