Delivering on a promise to innovate
By Paul Barratt Managing director Karndean Designflooring.
LUXURY vinyl tiles (LVT) has always been recognised as a traditional glue-down only floorcovering, but in 2013 Karndean Designflooring remained true to its promise to innovate by introducing the first loose lay flooring to the market.
A unique format of LVT boasting the realistic designs of real wood and stone, but with enhanced acoustic properties, easy-fit approach and excellent environment credentials, it’s fast become the preferred alternative to carpet tiles or ceramic tiles.
Karndean LooseLay is a range of luxury vinyl flooring featuring a unique K-Wave friction grip backing and increased dimensional stability that holds the product in place, with no click or lock required. It creates a strong secure installation using a combination of weight and friction.
Importantly, it opens up opportunities for specifiers looking for more flexibility when specifying for projects with challenging deadlines or where end-users are looking for a temporary option.
Why loose lay?
As well as offering a wide-ranging palette of wood designs such as traditional oaks, contemporary blends and exotic species, there are also popular stone effects including travertine, concrete and slate. It is the perfect option for specifiers looking for a quicker fit than traditional LVT floors meaning reduced installation times and costs.
There’s also no in-depth subfloor preparation required in most cases and loose lay can be installed over most hard and flat floors as long as they’re dry, smooth, sound and dust-free.
Loose lay designs are compatible with underfloor heating and ideal for raised access floors where access to underfloor services is required. It can also be easily lifted and replaced or reused in a separate area.
With wellbeing and increased productivity being linked to happiness in the workplace, acoustic qualities remain high on the agenda for most specifiers. In multi-level office or retail spaces where noise transfer can be an issue or consideration, Karndean LooseLay can be specified to reduce noise transfer to rooms below by 13dB.
Unlike natural wood and stone, loose lay is also quieter and softer underfoot – ideal for environments where staff are constantly on their feet. Pioneering fashion brand Farfetch opted for Karndean LooseLay in its new London headquarters as it delivered the industrial yet luxurious backdrop required as well as the acoustic benefits.
Applications in practice
Like LVT, loose lay is just as versatile and can be used in many commercial applications including education, healthcare, office, retail and leisure environments.
Karndean LooseLay is 4.5mm thick with a 0.55mm wearlayer and ideal for heavy-duty commercial installations.
With healthcare establishments looking to floors with a sufficient slip resistance rating for peace-of-mind when protecting the safety of users, specifiers should expect loose lay floors to offer an R10 slip rating. Importantly, Karndean LooseLay is designed for commercial dry areas, therefore wet-rooms should be avoided.
Hygiene is also just as important and most loose lay floors will offer a PU technology to provide a hygienic, easy-to-clean and durable finish. Karndean LooseLay features a K-Guard technology to ensure there’s no need for the specifier to apply an additional surface treatment following installation. Berrington Court is a fine example of a fresh approach to retirement living for residents with 500sq m of Karndean LooseLay throughout the large, open-plan residential communal space and reception.
Like most sectors, office refurbishments can be challenging for specifiers who often must work to demanding timescales to avoid minimal disruption to working hours. Loose lay is a great timesaver when it comes to the installation and it allows specifiers to save time when delivering a project within budget and to deadline.
The Regatta Group looked to Karndean LooseLay when creating their ‘great outdoors’ themed head office space. Being conscious they’d probably need to gain access to electrical services hidden under the raised access floor in the future, loose lay was selected for its flexibility, so individual planks can be lifted and replaced.
Specifiers do recognise the real benefits of selecting Karndean LooseLay in place of traditional carpet tiles and laminate in commercial areas, and it’s continuing to grow from strength to strength in the marketplace.
In a fast-paced environment like retail, loose lay can be a popular choice for spaces which need regularly updating to fit in with latest styles and engage shoppers. It’s also ideal for stores experiencing growth, who are looking to invest in more stores and need a quick turnaround. Waterstones and Furniture Barn have both opted for loose lay products in the past to support new store development.
The rise of pop-up shops or flash retailing has also seen demand for loose lay products increase significantly. As well as providing the retailer with the opportunity to test the market and experiment on the high street, loose lay can be lifted and simply reused in multiple locations.
Go green with Karndean LooseLay
Like all Karndean Designflooring’s products, Karndean LooseLay is 100% recyclable, meaning 100% of the production and post-production waste is granulated and recycled back into the product. They’re also certified to Indoor ‘Air Comfort Gold’ standard which means they fully comply with the national emission requirements of all European countries.
There’s also an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for Karndean LooseLay and many of Karndean Designflooring’s products. An independently verified and registered accreditation, EPD shows comparable information about the lifecycle environmental impact of products.
Owing to demand from the industry for an extra-large plank size, Karndean Designflooring added to its successful LooseLay collection with the launch of its longest plank size to date.
Being 40% larger than the original Karndean LooseLay, LooseLay Longboard introduced a new 1.5m plank design for extra impact in open-plan offices, retail spaces and hospitality areas.
Introduction of rigid core
The next development to follow loose lay in LVT is rigid core. Although still new to the UK marketplace, Karndean Designflooring was the first to introduce its innovative rigid core collection, Korlok, last year.
Importantly, Korlok can be installed over most existing hard surface floors or uneven subfloors without the worry of exposing imperfections underfoot, thanks to its innovative K-Core technology. It also features a superior 5G vertical click locking mechanism and pre-attached acoustic foam backing for quick and easy installation.
Similar to LooseLay, Korlok offers exceptional acoustic benefits and can reduce noise transfer to rooms below by up to 19dB, without the need for separate underlay. Ideal for an array of commercial environments including multilevel spaces such as offices, apartments and student accommodation.
Unlike other rigid core products and click laminate flooring, Korlok can be scored and snapped for ease of installation like our established Gluedown and LooseLay ranges.
The familiar click-locking system and enhanced core technology mean specifiers can achieve an authentic and luxurious floor in any space without need for adhesive and with minimal subfloor preparation. Importantly for specifiers, Korlok offers a new flooring solution for any type of subfloor with a wide array of premium wood designs to choose from.
The Wroxham Bridge American Restaurant, Norwich, recently looked to capture the quintessential American diner style with Korlok.