Behold the cure for cold floors is here
By Delfhin Mugo Daily Nation http://www.nation.co.ke/
Is your floor too cold, stained, slippery, squeaky, and hard on the feet? Are you wondering what to do with it? Well, wonder no more. Cushion vinyl, the newest technology in flooring, which resembles –and is rolled easily on the floor like— a carpet, comes with a new lease of life for your floor.
The flooring product is not just a solution to all floor headaches that bedevils residents but an eco-friendly solution as well since its bottom layer is made of 95 per cent recycled fiber. Cushion vinyl has five layers unlike a carpet that has one.
“The bottom layer, recycled fiber backing, easily fills into the gaps between tiles and this eliminates the need for grouting,” Mr Amos Kibaru, the CEO of Floor Décor Kenya, told DN2.
The compact layer, he continues, which comes above the fiber layer helps to absorb pressure and prevents substrate deformations. Therefore, the floor underneath, whether wood or ceramic tiles, remains intact and undamaged in case the resident decides to remove the cushion vinyl floor.
On top of the compact layer is the glass fibre mesh layer that prevents excessive expansion and tears. Glass fibre layer precedes the design layer which combines hyper-realistic designs, textures and colours for the cushion vinyl. For instance, the design layer can come in wood, ceramic or stone look. All these designs come in a wide variety of colours to choose from. For a house where most accessories are white, the resident could choose, say, a brown cushion vinyl to complement the accessories, and depending on the wallpapers in the house he or she can choose a stone or wood design vinyl.
Unlike foam backing that encourages penetration of water over time and consequent growth of mildew, cushion vinyl whose backing is textile, is waterproof and does not form mildew on the bottom surface.
Terming cushion vinyl as an all-round floor type, Mr Kibaru says it is ideal for residential areas, offices, hospitals, libraries, hotels and clubs. Singling out hotels and clubs since the interior decoration of these two places needs to constantly change for them to remain attractive and inviting to patrons, he says, “It is expensive to change tiles every now and then in such a place where decoration is quite dynamic. Cushion vinyl would be more ideal since it is cheap, easy to install and comes in a wide variety of designs and colours.”
However, when purchasing cushion vinyl, Mr Kibaru advises individuals to inform the seller where they intend to install the vinyl floor. This is because there are two types of vinyl materials; residential and office vinyl. “The difference is their thickness, where residential vinyl is 0.20mm thick. It is manufactured ideally for low traffic areas. The office vinyl is double the residential in thickness and a bit heavy. It is 0.40mm in thickness,” says Mr Kibaru.
Besides being warm and soft on the foot due to the fibre material used to manufacture it, its top layer, called the wear layer, which is made from polyurethane material, provides resistance to wear and tear that in most cases is occasioned by dragging chairs on the floor or piercing the floor with sharp heals. It also makes it easy to maintain the floor. “You can easily wipe out stains with a wet piece of cloth. The top layer prevents scuffing which is common in wooden tiles,” says Mr Kibaru, adding that walking with sharp heals on it will not leave blemishes behind.
To put it simply, cushion vinyl behaves like a high-density foam mattress that caves in when sat on and regains its shape ones the pressure is off. It comes with a five year warranty.
Cushion vinyl is fire resistance, which means if a resident accidentally drops a red-hot piece of charcoal; the wear layer will not burn immediately to buy some time to put it off. Polyurethane, which manufactures the top layer, is a polymer composed of organic units joined by carbamate (urethane) links; most polyurethanes are thermosetting polymers that do not melt when heated.
Unlike concrete, wood and ceramic tile floors that tend to make noise whenever someone walks on them, especially on heals, cushion vinyl provides a silent floor to a house. This makes it ideal for places such as intensive care units (ICU) and library where dead silence is demanded of visitors.
Since vinyl can laid on top of other floors without damaging it, tenants too can install it in their rented apartments.
“My daughter had hard time crawling on ceramic tiles floor since it was slippery and very cold. Seeing she could not play with her toys comfortably, I took to the internet where I searched for alternative flooring that could cover the entire ceramic tiles floor. That’s how I came across cushion vinyl,” Ms Jema Nkorote told DN2.
“It is non-slippery, at least I can attest to that since my daughter has not fallen down yet,” says Ms Nkorote referring to her little daughter who was comfortably playing with her toys on the floor when DN2 visited their rental apartment at Valley Arcade along Gitanga Road.
However, Nkorote’s sister is uncomfortable with her sister’s vinyl floor which seems to fade a bit too fast but blames her sister for using detergents to clean the floor, to which Mr Kibaru says, “Since vinyl does not harbour dust, I would advise her to use liquid soap and vinegar as opposed to powder detergents which have chemicals that can discolour the surface of the vinyl.”
Staying with the same floor type for a long period is both monotonous and boring; therefore, cushion vinyl comes as a relief since homeowners and tenants can now afford to change their floors from time to time. And cushion vinyl does not cost an arm and a leg. A square meter of vinyl, Mr Kibaru says, is going for Sh 1000.
Though, Mr Kibaru, says they have trained personnel whom they link up their clients with for installation purposes, cushion vinyl installation is an easy, do-it-yourself process that any home owner can install with just a little creativity and a few hours to burn.
“You only need a double sided tape, a craft knife, a skirting wood and a door strip to install,” says Mr Kibaru.
To begin with, the subfloor upon which cushion vinyl is to be laid must be clean, smooth and dry. Then, cut the vinyl into the approximate area, allowing for overhang. When this is done, roll the vinyl on and use the craft knife to cut the vinyl at the edges. Alternatively, a straight edge metal or wood and knife can be used to cut in.
Unroll the overhang material and the vinyl will be laid. Use a double sided tape to hold down the vinyl along the perimeter, and at high traffic areas. Also, at the perimeter, a skirting wood, that has a channel for internet cables running along it on the inner side, is used to hold the vinyl firmly on the floor.
Mr Kibaru advises installers to leave a space for expansion between the vinyl and the wall. Once you are done fixing the skirting wood, hammer in the door strip to hold the vinyl firmly at the entrance. In just a couple of hours, you will have a new floor that is not only beautiful but also, depending on your choice, complements the furniture or the wallpaper in the house.
By Delfhin Mugo Daily Nation http://www.nation.co.ke/