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Saturday 2 December 2023 Dublin: 2°C
Holly Kuchera/Flickr
the upgrade

The hassle-free way to improve the flooring around your home spoke to an expert to navigate the land of polished concrete and original floorboards.

THE FLOORS OF your home can be something of a mystery as far as design and upgrading is concerned.

Laying down new carpets or ripping out the old lino in the kitchen can feel like more time and money than it’s worth.

And the problem with cheap fixes is that they can end up looking like exactly that.

But is there an affordable way of refurbishing? And how much time and effort can you expect to put in?

To find out spoke to Karl Dietz from GO’C Complete Flooring Specialists about the best way to make a change to the flooring in your home.

Changing flooring seems like a lot more aggro than painting the walls, why should anyone bother? 

Well what people would normally change to nowadays in kitchens and hallways is wood laminate flooring. They give a big variation in colours and styles and they work out, in the long term, much cheaper than carpets. You can put them down for anything ranging from around €6.99 a square metre up to around €20 a square metre.

For an average room people might spend around €500. That would be an average spend. For a carpet it would be in and around the same price, but the carpet might wear out quicker.

laminate flooring GO'C Complete Flooring Specialists An example of a laminate flooring effect GO'C Complete Flooring Specialists

If someone changes the flooring in one room though, does that not mean they have to change it in every room? Would things not look a bit lopsided otherwise? 

Not necessarily – the most commonly changed carpet in anyone’s house is the stairs and landing. The reason being is that when someone comes into the house it gives a good impression coming in the front door.

It’s what you can see, or more importantly for a lot of people, what the neighbours can see. In terms of style we find that stripes would be very popular at the moment.

stair man

Coming into Christmas we would just constantly be doing stairs and landings. The spend on that would go from around €400 to around €650 on average.

Do people have practical considerations when it comes to flooring? Polished concrete would probably be hazardous for young children… 

It was something that we were going to get involved in. Concrete can be dyed certain colours so that design factor would have been its appeal.

There’s two aspects of it really – people find it very cold, not good in the winter, especially around now. Also they were finding that it is just hard to keep. If anything spills on it it is difficult to mop up or wash up. So we decided to stay away from it.

Remember the boomtimes? What sort of crazy stuff were people into then?

Say ten years ago – people were putting down a lot of kitchen tiles and porcelain tiles. But with the Irish market being the way it is, people began to take into consideration the heating and the cold factors. Those surfaces are very hard to keep warm.

During the winter months, people are looking to cut down costs now so people are going back to traditional styles of sheet vinyl – which normally goes down in the kitchen – that is coming back big time. It has a bit more heat and less maintenance and comes at a fraction of a price.

cold weather

Is carpet out of fashion? Some European countries don’t bother with it at all… 

I think carpet will always be in fashion. In the Irish market, we’re a cold people – we like our warmth in Ireland. We like our houses cosy. We do a lot of wood, but we would still deal about 70% to 75% in carpets.

It seems like people like doing up original floorboards a lot now – that must be bad for business? 

It’s a cost implication. People went down that road a lot a few years ago of looking for real wood. But then people discovered that it is quite expensive to do that. You can get a laminate floor for roughly the same price or cheaper.

You could spend a lot of money stripping back a floor and then having it varnished for €30 a square metre – but you could buy a new floor for that.

Are all original floorboards good?

All of a sudden you get down to the stripped floor, you put a varnish or a stain on it, and it doesn’t come up the colour you expect. This is where they go in and buy the laminate floor which ends up having to go over the existing floor. You have a lot of options with laminate floors.

What sort of weird stuff can people do with their flooring? 

People wouldn’t be adventurous with the floor – colours can change – but that would generally be to match the colours around the rest of the house. Curtains and wallpapers. Wallpaper is big in now. It has made a huge comeback. Very few places were doing wallpaper five or six years ago.

With that the flooring should probably – for the most part – be left quite neutral.

Karl Dietz’s tips on sprucing up the floors around your home

  • Concrete surfaces can be cold and hard to maintain.
  • The easiest and most effective way to give your house’s floors an overhaul is to redo the stairs and the landing.
  • Heat is king in Ireland – vinyl flooring and carpets can stop it escaping.
  • Original floorboards can be attractive but may be expensive to dig out and spruce up. 
  • Keeping floor design more neutral to match the walls in your home can be a good idea.

Read: Residents ‘sceptical’ on plans to re-open Love/Hate flats

Also: Here’s some good news if you haven’t paid your property tax yet