“ Manufacturer: B&Q / Type: Flooring - Laminate „
**B&Q Burning Beech Laminate Flooring**
In a previous review I mentioned the fact that we are currently redecorating our spare room at home at the moment and having a well needed de-clutter. With the wallpaper off the walls and some large pieces of furniture being donated to a local hospice our attention was drawn to the flooring. A few years ago we made the mistake of ripping up the carpet in the room and replacing it with stick-down mock laminate effect strips which have, over time, slipped and left unsightly gaps.
Deciding that it was a shame to spend money on the walls and leaving the floor looking dreadful we weighed up the pros and cons of carpeting again and decided that as our bedroom was laminated four years ago and still looks as good today that we would match up the two rooms and go for 'real' laminate flooring this time.
*What is Laminate Flooring?*
For those who don't know, Laminate Flooring is the generic term for a man-made floor covering which is made up of a layer of wood 'grain' photographed/photocopied printed paper which is fused onto a solid backing (normally fibre board) and is covered by a clear protective layer. Real Wooden flooring can cost hundreds if not thousands of pounds to buy and fit and Laminate is a low price alternative which lends itself well to domestic dwellings. For all intents and purposes it looks like real wood and feels like wood but isn't comparable to the real thing in terms of quality or long-term durability, however at the price it retails at it has become an increasingly popular alternative to carpeting over the past few years.
*Making our Choice*
Near to where we live we have a choice of DIY stores and a large 'Floors 2 Go' so we spent a morning last week going round each of the shops with the aim of making a selection and choosing the flooring that best suited our requirements. B&Q had the largest choice of flooring available from the stores we visited and we were spoilt for choice with the selections on offer. In the end we went for the subject of this review, the "B&Q Burning Beech Effect Laminated Flooring" for a number of reasons:
As our bedroom and living room have Beech coloured floors we wanted to match up the rooms so this option seemed to be the sensible choice for us. It is a neutral colour really which always looks bright and clean and tends to lend itself well with our taste in decorating and as we already have this down in other rooms we knew what to expect from the end result.
*Suitability for the room*
The information sheet on the packs of flooring give an indication as to which rooms the floor is suitable for based on the perceived 'busyness' and use of the room. Bedrooms and Living areas are the suggested rooms that this flooring would be best suited to rather than kitchens or hallways and as we wanted this for our second bedroom it again was the logical choice. The flooring isn't splash resistant and therefore unsuitable for bathrooms or kitchens (presumably it would be too dangerous anyway as would be very slippery when wet I would assume) so is recommended to be laid in a room for general, everyday living.
*Value for Money/Price*
Each pack contains 10 strips which give an overall coverage of 2.5m2, as our room is a bog standard rectangle with an overall area of around 12m2 we were able to work out that 6 packs would be sufficient for our requirements. At £9.95 per pack this meant that we only had to spend around £60.00 to buy enough packs to complete our room and this outlay along with beading for the skirting boards, underlay and a door plate meant that we were easily within our budget for the room.
These were our main requirements when looking at which flooring to buy so armed with our purchases it was just a case of getting on with fitting the floor in our room. At this point I have a confession to make; I'm useless at DIY so called in a friend to 'assist' me (in reality this meant that he did most of the work whilst I supervised and kept a copious supply of coffee coming his way)
Even though I'm a self confessed klutz and extremely clumsy I still wanted to at least *try* to put some of the flooring down so I had the easy task of dealing with the straight pieces which required nothing more than being held and clicked together. The flooring is designed to slot into place with one another (by their trademark 'EasiLoc' system, essentially a tongue and groove design so no glue needed) and it really was as easy of putting the pieces together like a giant jigsaw puzzle, of course it becomes far more complicated when you get to a part of the room where you need to cut down a plank or it needs shaping to fit into the doorway but armed with a saw (and a cup of coffee) my mate managed the awkward sections and the floor was laid with relative ease in around 3 hours.
Even though the price per pack was lower than some of the other options we could have gone for I was impressed at how easily the planks could be cut to measure. I half expected some of the edges to chip or for some of the planks to split but this was not the case, there was little to no frustration with cutting to size which in turn meant that no unnecessary stress was added to the workload. I am by no means an expert in the laying of flooring and neither is my DIY-capable mate but it seemed to me that even though this was a cheap option in terms of price the quality of each strip was very high.
Each strip of laminate measures 128.5cm in length, 19.5cm in width but only 0.6cm in thickness so is clearly at the 'budget' end of the scale of laminate flooring. There are far thicker choices available if your budget will allow but as there is only myself, wife and our small dog at home it is unlikely that we are going to cause any damage to floor simply by walking over it. If you have boisterous, playful children or lots of pets then this may be unsuitable for you but as far as we are concerned it fulfils all our requirements and gave us exactly what we wanted.
It looks great down and is a vast improvement on what was already there; it is easy to maintain only requiring an occasional wipe over when needed and feels smooth and comfortable underfoot. The floor has a matt sheen to it which allows any liquid spillages to be easily removed (it's already had a cup of coffee spilled on it - I said I was clumsy!) which is ideal for us having a dog and the associated muddy paw prints, doggy 'accidents' and the occasional wayward dog hair but also matches our other rooms perfectly. There are no gaps whatsoever in the flooring and you would be hard pressed to spot the joins unless you look _really_ hard for them - this I put down to the excellent job that my friend did as much as the quality of the product. The grain effect is what you expect from any laminate flooring but isn't uniform in its design, I don't know if this would be a concern to anybody but thought it best worth mentioning.
This is a B&Q branded product and does come with a 10 year guarantee (although the terms and conditions to this warranty are not printed on the information sheet which come in the packs of flooring or on B&Q's website - I am keeping my receipts as proof of purchase just in case but I can't imagine a situation arising where I would need to use the warranty) so when compared to carpeting has got to be a cost effective and worthy alternative. I always consider laminate flooring to be more hygienic than carpets anyway, especially being dog owners too and in my opinion they have a nicer, modern finish so this more than suits our own personal tastes.
I am unsure why B&Q market this as "Burning Beech Effect" as the colour of the floor is exactly the same as what we have in our other rooms, the 'Burning' description would make you think that this is slightly darker or redder than regular Beech when in reality it isn't - maybe it is just their way of making the product sound more interesting? Whatever the reason for the name Burning Beech has the same visual appearance as plain old Beech and is identical in colour to the flooring in our other two rooms, to my eye at least.
*Conclusion and Rating*
Overall then I have been very impressed with this laminate flooring from B&Q, it has a lovely look to it, was easy (enough) to fit and the finished results are great. For a little under £100.00 we have transformed our spare room and have the added reassurance that the flooring has been made to last for years to come. It has already had plenty of hammer with us still decorating the room in which it is fitted (and has withstood a spilled cup of coffee already) but for the sake of a balanced review I would question its suitability if this was to be laid in a heavy foot-fall/play area in the long term. The thickness of the planks would raise concerns to me personally and I do feel that there is a very good chance that damage could occur to the flooring if it was subjected to an over-zealous bashing but all in all I would have no problems in awarding a full, five star rating.
Definitely recommended for the price and how it looks when fitted, thanks for reading my review.
Please note that this review originally appeared on ciao under my username