If you’ve got tatty flooring in your bathroom or kitchen and you don’t want visitors to see it, there’s still time to replace it before they arrive.
Vinyl flooring is a really practical choice for kitchens and bathrooms, and it’s relatively quick and easy to fit yourself, whether you go for sheet vinyl or vinyl tiles.
Vinyl flooring has lots of advantages. It’s economical and comes in a big range of styles and colours, including designs that look like ceramic tiles, wood, or stone, but often cost less per square metre than the real thing.
You may think that vinyl’s dated, but it certainly doesn’t have to be. There are lots of contemporary designs, as well as more traditional ones.
In addition to its good price and good looks, vinyl is water resistant, hard to stain, and durable - the better the quality, the longer it’s likely to last.
Unlike a tiled floor, it’s comfortable and ‘warm’ underfoot, which is a big plus when you’re stepping out of the bath or shower on a cold winter morning.
If you have kids and/or pets, vinyl comes into its own because it’s softer, quieter and safer than a hard floor and generally stands up to heavy foot traffic well.
Best of all, it’s a doddle to keep clean - you can sweep it, vacuum it, mop it and wipe up spills easily.
However, vinyl can get scuffed and scratched and it will deteriorate eventually, especially at the edges, where it tends to curl up over time.
You have to be careful not to tear a vinyl (especially sheet vinyl) floor - dragging a fridge across it, for example, is a recipe for disaster. Vinyl can also be damaged by extreme temperatures, and faded by sunlight.
Disadvantages aside, if you think vinyl’s a good choice for your home and you’re in a hurry to fit it, lots of designs are available in DIY and carpet stores to take away there and then - Carpetright (www.carpetright.co.uk) has a good selection.
Before you buy the vinyl, it’s important to ensure that the sub-floor’s as clean, dry and flat as possible. Vinyl will show up lumps, bumps and other imperfections.
If the sub-floor’s concrete, you can use the Artex Easifix Floor Repair Kit (£12.98, B&Q) to fill any cracks and holes. Floors that are higher in some places and lower in others can be improved with self-levelling compound, which is available from DIY stores.
To prepare a floorboards sub-floor, begin by knocking down any protruding nails with a hammer and nail punch.
Screw down any loose boards, first checking that there aren’t any cables or pipes underneath. Floorboards have a tendency to move, so the more secure you can make them, the better.
Once the floorboards are secure, fix hardboard on top to provide a good surface on which to lay the vinyl.
Both the hardboard and vinyl should be acclimatised in the room before you use them.