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R240/m2 for laminate wood flooring? You’re buying substandard

There does exist a minimum cost for laminate wood flooring. If you're paying it, you're getting substandard quality.

Anything below R240/m² for a fully installed wood laminate floor is inferior quality, according to Craig Harris of Smart Heat and Floors, based in Randburg, Johannesburg. He says the product won’t last due to the fact that installation quality is highly important and if not installed correctly, with the right installation team, could result in disaster. He adds that the substructure (cement floor) must be 100% level or within regulations.

Ratings on water relativity and the swelling ratio make up the laminate substandard, with Harris recommending moisture-resistant plastic membrane Combilay as an underlay, though there are many different qualities of underlays from which to choose.

Laminate flooring is budget-usage related, rated as either ac3 (light residential), ac4 (heavy residential and light commercial), and ac5 (heavy commercial). Wooden floors, however, are “hellishly expensive” – upwards of R600/m² to 650m² according to Smart Heat – while ceramic wood tiles, though still ceramic, are very much in vogue. Tiling prices, influenced by fluctuating costs, are considerably cheaper than laminate wood flooring, according to Harris.

Because water left on the floor can make the boards warp and lift, it should be wiped off as soon as possible with a soft, damp brush and laminate wood cleaner. Do not use a wet mop.

Smart Heat uses Focus, Kaindl, Euro, Floors Inc, KronoLoc, Balterio and Kanon. All its floors carry a guarantee ranging from 15 years for a domestic installation to a lifetime guarantee for a commercial installation under normal wear and tear.

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Alison Goldberg is the former property editor of Business Day (1985) and the Financial Mail (1991-99). In 1995 she won the Sanlam Financial Journalist of the Year Award. She has edited such titles as National Constructor and The Miner in Australia and has freelanced for The Star, The South African Jewish Report and The Jerusalem Post.

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