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Flooring

How to Keep Warm Bathrooms in Winter

That time of the year is coming when you want to keep warm bathrooms at their warmest. Anyone who knows the crisp winter chill will want to get a cup of hot chocolate, dash into a pub with a fireplace, or dive into a hot bowl of soup on any winter day. But surely you can’t do those while taking a shower, so we’re giving some ideas for you to keep your toes toasty and enjoy your trips to the bathroom even during winter.



undertile heating keeps toasty toes on bathroom floor

Warm Your Towels With Heated Towel Rails


First off, purchase a heated towel rack that will suit your bathroom. Heated towel rails can warm up your towels on a cold morning, whether you pick horizontal towel ladders, vertical towel rods, or freestanding heated towel rails. Of course, they are not designed to heat the room, but warm fluffy towels really complete the warm environment — making your bathroom experience luxurious!

(Read our Tips For Choosing A Heated Towel Rail to get the one that's just right for your bathroom.)

towel warmer

Other Ways to Warm Up Your Bathroom


There are a few other things you can do to prepare so that you won’t dread getting into the bathroom on cold winter mornings.

STOP DRAFTS. Inspect around your house (including the bathroom, of course) for gaps around the ceilings and doors where drafts get through. Then step out to your friendly neighbourhood hardware store, grab some self-stick rubber weather sealing strips, and stick them into those gaps.

DOORS AND WINDOWS. For doors, you could also consider using door snakes (or draft snakes) that properly fit. For windows, try some window insulation kits for your window frames or install cellular shades that let you control the amount of heat (and light) that gets into the room. Others suggest putting up layered curtains to help to keep the heat inside, or adding lots of rugs.

underfloor heating for modern bathroom

BATHTUBS. If you are about to upgrade your bath, think of getting one made of a material that helps to keep the bathwater warm like soapstone, limestone, brass, or copper. The water will still get colder of course, but much slower.

STEAM OR SAUNA? If it’s within your budget, get a steam generating system that can be installed in any shower stall, or order a self-assemble home sauna. But if you crave for pleasures that only real showers and baths can give, even during winter, it could be time for you to install heated flooring.

Hotwire-under-tile-heating-DIY-coil-beneath-tiles

Best Way to Heat Bathrooms: Underfloor Heating


The best way for some to heat their bathrooms is by installing electric under-tile heating. These allow you to step barefoot in the bathroom and enjoy luxuriously warm tiled floors on an icy winter’s day.

UNIFORM WARMTH. Some people install other heating solutions not realising that under-floor heating can actually heat a room and not just the floor. Compared to ducted heating, which will give you a temperature difference of up to 12 degrees between the floor and the ceiling, under tile heating heats evenly from your floor to your ceiling.

Traditional heating can warm you at head height, but the floor will remain cold and it walking barefoot will not be comfortable at all. On the other hand, undertile heating can be your entire heating solution, or you can install it to complement your other heating systems.

under tile heating installation

Undertile Heating is Simple to Install


This is perfect for a DIY project! Many under-tile heating kits can be installed almost entirely by yourself. (Of course, you will later need a licensed electrician to do the last step of connecting the thermostat to the power source.)

Installing underfloor heating can be as easy as priming your floor surface and simply coiling the heating element wire around your floor area and taping them down into place.

Tapes, wires, and everything that you will need to set up undertile heating will be included in a DIY kit.undertile heating diy kit

Bathroom Heating Solution That’s Cheap to Run


Get an under-floor heating kit that’s inexpensive to operate, as these systems have low watt usage. A Hotwire system, for instance, will cost you only about 2 cents per square metre per hour for an average room size and power costs.

While a heat lamp, for example, can also heat portions of your bathroom, it uses 1,500 watts and will cost you $36.27 monthly. An efficient underfloor heating system will consume 600 watts and cost $9.92 per month, giving you 75% savings compared to a heat lamp.

Quiet & Invisible Bathroom Heater


Since undertile heating does not use fans or ducts, it provides a natural feeling of warmth in silence. You won’t even know it’s there and you might wonder where the warmth is coming from if you didn’t know better.

under-tile-heating-heating-DIY-kit

A Safe Way to Stay Warm


NO CRACKS. The cable used for under tile heating goes up to around 50 degrees only, so your tiles will not crack due to heat.

NO MOULDS. Since the heat produced by undertile heating quickly dries the floors, this reduces the chance of mould development.

NO DUST. Unlike ducted heating, an undertile heating system prevents air or dust movement and thus prevents allergies and asthma attacks.

Easy to Operate and Maintain


Some underfloor heating kits come with a programmable touch-screen thermostat. You can schedule it to come on at specific times every morning and warm up to a set temperature.

This 24/7 feature means you can change the temperature from winter through summer and from morning to night. As underfloor heating can warm up in as fast as 30 minutes, you can program the system to switch on and start warming up your bathroom at least half an hour before you rise in the morning.

But maybe one of the best things about underfloor heating is that it’s maintenance free. Once you’ve installed it, you can practically forget about it.

underfloor heating for modern bathroom

Undertile Heating for Your Home


Are you ready to wake up on winter mornings and walk on already warm bathroom tiles? Under-tile heating is a must to avoid the harshness of cold bathrooms, plus it increases the value of your home. Visit Renovator Store now to see Hotwire’s floor heating options. Contact their friendly customer service team today via email at service@renovatorstore.com.au.

Why Should I Opt for Engineered Floorboards?

On the surface you might find it hard to differentiate between solid wood flooring and engineered floorboards, but in actuality these two products couldn't be more different. Engineered floorboards are cheaper, easier to install, are available in a range of wood types and finishes and most of all look fantastic! Find out more about engineered floorboards below...


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What Are Engineered Floorboards?


Source: www.houzz.com.au
Engineered floorboards are essentially a timber board consisting of multiple layers. The top layer consists of solid wood, which is usually 2 to 6mm thick. Following this the boards may consist of 1 or 2 more layers: potentially plywood, or even a layer of softwood sandwiched between another hardwood layer. This layering system creates high levels of rigidity and structural strength. (Check out this website for more information).

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="745"] Source: flooringassociates.co.uk[/caption]

The overall width of the board is usually 3 to 7mm thick, although higher quality options exist with up to 20mm thickness. Essentially the thicker the board, the longer the wear will be.

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What Wood Should I Opt For?


engineeredfloortimber

Engineered floorboards are available in a big range of timbers, so its highly likely you'll be able to find one suitable for your home. Obviously the type of wood you opt for depends on your preference, and what you think will match your house best. If you're really not sure opt for a engineered flooring specialist who can help you make the right choice.

Overall European Oak Floorboards are suitable for most modern rooms, yet depending upon the finish and tone you choose it can also suit traditional settings.

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What Finish Should I Opt For?


Man installing new laminated wooden floor

Unlike solid flooring engineered floors are available pre-finished. Like solid wood there are various finishes you can choose between. For example, a brushed finish highlights texture and grain of the wood, whilst a distressed finish adds a vintage vibe.

You can also opt for different surface treatments such as:

  • Matte lacquers which give the board a natural look

  • Oiling which can highlight the grain

  • Satin lacquers which add sheen and increase durability


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How Do I Install Engineered Floorboards?


Engineered Flooring

Installing these floorboards are easier than you would think. They can either be installed over a floating floor over a suitable underlay, or installed directly using the 'glue down' method via premium hardwood PVA adhesive. The tongue and groove system built into the boards also assists in installation. Maybe the greatest advantage engineered floorboards provide you with it the fact that as soon as the floor is laid, its immediately ready to walk on.

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Where Should I Avoid Using Engineered Floorboards?


Engineered flooring is great in all rooms of the house but one. The bathroom. Your bathroom is constantly going to be exposed to moisture and water, and sadly wooden flooring just isn't going to withstand the damage.

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How Much Do Engineered Floorboards Cost?



Obviously different specialists offer different prices. Its important to do your research and ask around to ensure you get a fairly priced quote.

Also remember with engineered floorboards you get what you pay for: if they're really cheap they're going to be made of thin layers of wood and hence wont be very durable. Alternatively the more expensive ones are going to be thicker, and higher quality. Try Moku for reasonably priced high quality engineering european oak flooring!

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How Much Wood Should I Order?


Ordering engineered flooring requires specifications which are best decided by a professional. To get the area of the room you wish this flooring for, you need to multiply the length by width which can give you the area in meters square. Make sure you order a little bit extra keeping, but remember to keep wastage in mind.

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What Should I Look for When Choosing an Engineered Flooring Specialist?


[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="389"] Source: boligmagasinet.dk[/caption]

A well reputed and experienced specialist in engineered flooring can help you out all aspects of the flooring installation process. To find one go online and search through reviews. Furthermore try asking neighbours and friends to determine the best possible specialist for you.

Easy DIY Renovation Projects

Got something that needs fixing in the house, but not sure you want to fork out money to pay for it? Try these easy DIY Renovation Projects that'll help you save on labor costs and the mark-up contractors charge for materials. You'll be surprised by the simplicity and oh so pleased with the final product.



 

Fixing Kitchen Cabinets




Option 1: Refinish existing cabinet doors. This can be done by through use of paint, stain or laminate.
Option 2: Reface cabinets. This involves putting new doors on existing kitchen boxes. Hint: Before ordering the whole set purchase one door and one drawer to check the dimensions and the overall look.

 

Install New Cabinet Handles 


[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="546"] Source: boltonhandyman.co.uk[/caption]

This ones super simple. All you have to do is select, purchase and then install! To make a huge aesthetic improvement in your house replace wooden ones with modern stainless steel ones. Alternatively swap plain glass handles for brighter coloured glass knobs.

 

Install Feature Lighting


Thread-ball-lamp-modren-interiors

These Feature lights are super simple to do yourself as they simple attach to the existing downlight fixture! Its a quick and easy way to bring style and ambience into a room.

 

Insulate the Attic and Other Energy-Sucking Areas


Insulating-pipes

1. Caulk around windows and spaces between the floor and baseboards to prevent heat escaping.
2. Service your furnace so its working in top shape. You want it to be producing the most heat at the lowest cost obviously!
3. Insulate pipes with pipe insulation wrap and duct tape to reduce heat loss (depicted above)
4. Buy a “draft guard” for the bottoms of your doors (a cheap fix from $10 per door) so wind or heat doesn’t slip through.

 

Tile the Bathroom Floor or Kitchen Backsplash


lifestyle-abstract-2

This one is a little trickier -- but very rewarding. Start off by making sure your surface is flat and dry, like a cement or plywood subfloor, an even wall or a tiled surface you want to cover with new tiles. Apply cement in an even layer  and lay tiles over the top. Always remember to use spacers in order to achieve an even arrangement of tiles.

 

Replace Faucets and Fixtures


blacktapware_01

A new, modern faucet can make a sink in your kitchen or bathroom look brand new again. As long as the new fixtures don’t require a smaller hole in the furniture or sink than the one that’s already there, it’s an easy upgrade. Try this cosmopolitan matte black tap ware for a bold and striking upgrade.

 

Re-paint


feature_wall_colour_abstract_diy_paint_interior_design

Its obvious, I know, but a simple coat of paint has the power to change the entire look of a room. You could repaint your entire room, or you could simply try out a feature wall. Even just repainting window and door frames can uplift the look and feel of a house!

So go on and try some of these super easy DIY renovation projects!

How to choose flooring for a renovation

Are you considering installing new flooring around your home? There are many choices on the market from laminate, wood, tiles, stone, bamboo and concrete to carpet. You can make a choice on a room-by-room basis or consider a uniform solution across your home. What you choose should take into account the amount of foot traffic - whether you have children or pets and what climate you live in.



 

How to Choose Proper Flooring During a Renovation2If you expect to have a lot of traffic, you should look for something durable. Hardwood, concrete are perfect for this, but if style, comfort is what you are focused on then carpet or tiles might be the way to go. If your home is exposed to flooding, stay away from wood based products as water can easily cause boards to warp and buckle.

Here are some tips to consider when choosing flooring for your home:

Carpet


Carpet is a nice, traditional and comfy choice that has been a favourite for centuries. It certainly keeps you feeling warm and comes in a wide array of colours and materials. The downside is they tend to get worn more easily with lots of traffic and spills can be harder to clean up.

  • Wool is one of the classics, and has a nice fiber density. The only drawback is that that woollen carpets tend to be more expensive and vulnerable to moths.

  • Nylon happens to be another sturdy material that works with similar qualities, but it also has a drawback in the form of static electricity generation due to friction with some objects.

  • Polypropylene is also another excellent solution – it has excellent resistance to water damage, mildew and mould as it was intended for use in outdoor areas.

  • Polyester is also a wonderful, stain-resistant material used in such products, allowing for easier carpet cleaning, but it does have a drawback in the form of potential shedding of fibers.

  • Acrylic carpets are made of synthetic wool that allows for easy carpet cleaning and less static electricity generation due to friction, coming in wide variety of colors.


moku engineered european oak floorboards

Wood


Floorboards are the natural option and again there are a huge variety of options from engineered boards to spotted gum, to recycled boards. Floorboards are sound proof, durable if sealed properly and a renewable material source. Timber flooring retains its heat in cold climates and will keep your home feeling warmer. On the downside, high traffic might lead to the floorboards needing to be sanded and stripped frequently.

  • Hardwood flooring looks great and feels warm under your feet, but moisture will kill this product.

  • Engineered floorboards are cheaper and better for the environment. Highly durable with natural grains that can come in a wide variety of colours. New products on the market today, can allow you to install this type of flooring yourself. They are a perfect option in active homes with high volume of traffic. This product also holds up well against water.

  • Parquetry flooring is a mosaic style design of smaller pieces of timber.


 HANA Engineered Oak Floorboards


Concrete


Polished concrete is certainly one of the most popular flooring options these days. Its a mixture of aggregate, water and cement and polished by hand to give it a shiny finish. There is a huge range of choices now and the aggregate can even include stones, glass and trinkets.

Although a very hard floor to walk on, it can be heated to give comfort and warmth.

Laminate


This is a synthetic flooring material that is designed to imitate wood. Its sold in tile or plank form.

Timber laminate is more economical than solid flooring and these days it is very difficult to tell the difference between the two. It is water resistant, comes in a variety of designs, easy to self-lay and simple to remove and replace.

Tiles


Tiled flooring typically comes in ceramic or porcelain styles and is laid on a concrete slab. Tiles are one of the flooring products that will stay warm in winter and cool in summer due to the thermal massing which occurs when a concrete slab sits directly on the ground.

Other


Cork, bamboo flooring, stone are other options to consider.

  • Cork is probably one of the cheapest options around. It is great for kids as its warm and soft and will protect most glasses and plates from breaking.

  • Bamboo is a sustainable product and cost effective alternative to timber. It expands and contracts with temperature changes, so ideal in areas that are humid. It is also a hard flooring material that won't scuff.

  • Products like sandstone will look amazing, but are very porous.

  • Marble, granite and limestone are more expensive and tend to be slippery unless you get it sandblasted.


So in terms of your home, various flooring options can be used for different rooms.

  • Kitchens tend to be high traffic areas and need to have water-resistant and easy to clean surfaces. Floor cleaning and kitchen cleaning needs to be considered. Since you are standing in your kitchen most of the time, soft flooring is desirable and will stop breakages when cups and plates are dropped.

  • Bathrooms tend to be a place where even the smallest slippery surface can be a very dangerous thing, so you should choose flooring that is both mildew and mould resistant and one that sheds water efficiently. Ceramic tiles are a great traditional choice, but they happen to be a bit harder to clean due to their structure. More recent laminate floors are water resistant so they can also be used in bathrooms if they were designed for that purpose.

  • The dining room is also a location used on a regular basis and should be stain resistant. Laminate, tiles and wooden floors are all a valid solution due to their resistance. You should avoid placing carpets since they are more vulnerable to staining.

  • With Bedrooms seeing less traffic, carpets are a wonderful soft solution but you can still use hardwood or laminate floors underneath for added effect. Keep a balance between aesthetics and practicality and you will be just fine.

Why engineered oak flooring?

Engineered floorboards have advantages over solid floorboards - and they are cheaper and better for the environment.  This article explains the pros and cons of engineered oak flooring and highlights where you can get the best value for money. If you want to know why "engineered" and "oak" are desirable when it comes to timber flooring and if you want that desired wide plank floor that all the architects and interior designers are specifying then read on . . .



moku engineered european oak floorboards

Engineered flooring has been around for about 20 years. The popularity of Engineered European Oak flooring has really grown and it is now the most desirable timber flooring choice. Read on to see why.

European Oak is a superior flooring timber


European Oak, or French Oak as it is also called, is a slow growing extremely hard wood timber - obviously from . . . Europe. It is has been used through the centuries as a superior choice for ship-building, barrel coopering, fine furniture production and . . . flooring! Its strong appeal stems from a few key natural features:

  • A high density (0.75g/cm2) making it very strong and durable,

  • Beautiful tight natural grain variations making it a stunning surface (see below),

  • A naturally high tannin content which makes it highly resistant to insect and fungal attacks, and

  • Despite its density, woodworkers will tell you it is very workable. Unlike some hardwoods it can be accurately drilled and cut, and glued


European Oak has a very desirable natural grain


So why does everyone desire European Oak?  When compared to other hardwoods and American Oak it has a unique grain pattern and variability. This is mostly due to its slower growing cycle, which produces a tighter grain, and due to the way it is cut from the log. With American Oak there are three different types of "cut": Plain sawn, Quarter Sawn and Rift Cut.  Depending on how the log is cut you will get one of these grain patterns.

[caption id="attachment_9596" align="alignnone" width="610"]different floorboard cuts produce different grain Image courtesy of Woodwright, Hardwood Wood Company (woodwright.net)[/caption]

With European Oak, usually cut in France or Germany, the technique involves starting with a “square” from the centre of a log, called a cant, and slicing it. The result is a wider plank, typically 170mm to 250mm wide. The centre has a fantastic plain sawn pattern, flanked by a unique rift and quartered grain pattern, all in the same piece of wood.  Getting all three grain patterns from one piece of wood is what makes it highly desirable for feature timber floors!

Engineered boards are stronger and can be made wider


Why is engineered flooring regarded as superior to solid timber flooring?  It is due to how it is constructed. A solid piece of timber acts as timber can - it takes a long time to acclimatise, and it can warp and change with the temperature, air moisture and environment. That is why solid timber planks are generally narrow - to minimise these issues. Engineered timber boards have an engineered base constructed from gluing multiple layers of plantation plywood in many directions to give it high strength. A thinner surface wear layer of solid oak is then glued to this base - this can typically range from 2mm to 5mm, which is enough to provide decades of wear and to allow for multiple future sandings and re-finishings. The top oak wear layer is generally the same thickness as what is usable in a traditional solid board - so there is no loss in the wearability or lifetime of the board.

[caption id="attachment_9599" align="alignnone" width="980"]The benefits of engineered oak flooring Image cortesy of Flooring Creations (sdflooring creations.com)[/caption]

The engineered base is the key - given its strength and rigidity it does not change shape like solid timber.  So it can therefore be made into wider planks with the oak layer glued to the top. Wide and long planks are sought after by architects and interior designers to provide a stunning look for a large room.

Engineered boards are arguably more tolerant of moisture than solid boards - although timber flooring should of course not be used where moisture is expected to be prevalent.

French Oak is a slow growth hard timber

Good for the environment


As engineered flooring boards are predominantly sustainable plantation plywood they are much friendlier to the planet than solid oak flooring.

Far less slow growth oak is used to achieve the same look and lifetime, and most of the floorboard base is from regenerating plantation forests.


Installation is fast and hassle free


Engineered oak floorboards installation is hassle free. They acclimatise very quickly to the installation environment, and as a "floating floor" so they are quickly installed over any subfloor that is flat and sound. As they are pre-finished they are ready to walk on as soon as the job is finished. We have customers that have laid an entire house in a day as a DIY job! That is a very different scenario to traditional floor boards that require extended acclimatisation, multiple sanding phases after installation, and multiple lacquering.

Stay tuned for my next blog on installing and caring for an engineered oak floating floor.

Summary of the pros and cons


Pros

  • European oak is a beautiful hardwood with superior wear characteristics

  • The European Oak cut method can produce a variety of sought after grain variations in a single plank

  • Engineered boards are stronger and can be made wider, and are more tolerant of moisture.  They can be used as long as the subfloor is flat, and can be used in many places that solid hardwood flooring cannot.

  • Engineered boards use less slow growth hardwood than solid boards so are a far more sustainable product than solid wood floors.

  • Engineered boards are typically cheaper as less hardwood is utilised for the same surface area.

  • Installation is fast and the boards are usually pre-finished to walk on straight away


Cons

  • Most solid wood flooring can be used directly onto battens

  • A solid wood board will usually allow an extra sanding or two over engineered boards before you breach the wear layer and expose the tongue and groove


SHIRO Engineered Oak Floorboard

What to look for when buying engineered oak flooring


Design - look for the colour, finish and plank width that will complete your home. Wide planks with a matte or semi-distressed finish are very popular. There are many colours from limed light colours to deep chocolate with dark grains.

Real oak - ensure it is real European Oak. If the description is just "oak" or the timber type is not specifically specified then it might be an alternative hardwood being marketed as European Oak.

Finish - a pre-finished board will save you a lot of time and hassle. They should come with a scratch resistant surface in the colour and finish (matte/satin/gloss - limed/highlighted/distressed etc) you want. Check the boards are UV protected as this is important in Australian conditions where there is an abundance of sun through windows.

Plank size and thickness - if you are after quality then my view is an overall board thickness of at least 14mm is required. At this point the board feels solid. Also, longer planks are important for a larger space - at least 1.6m long in my view. Some hardware chains sell very cheap engineered boards at only 8mm thick and 1.2m planks! These are not made to last and are cheap because they are made from the shorter off-cuts. 

Wear layer - engineered oak boards should have a wear layer that will accommodate at least two future sands and re-finishes. With normal domestic wear and tear these boards will then last for many decades. Some cheaper boards have only 2mm of wear layer. 3mm or more is sufficient.

Warranty - sellers that are not transparent about their warranty support for the product are probably not as willing to stand behind the quality of their product. Floorboards do require proper installation and observance of care for warranties to be valid - so understand these points. Whilst problems are rare, you want to know you are covered for any manufacturing defects or structural issues that might emerge over time.

Accessories - ensure you can get compatible underlay and matching accessories such as edging (scotia) and stair nosing in the same oak and finish as your floorboards. This will ensure the entire project is seamless.

HANA Engineered Oak Floorboards

Where to buy


The traditional way to buy floorboards is from a local retail showroom - often a reseller linked to a supplier. Engineered floorboards should be less expensive than traditional solid hardwood flooring, but is still a substantial investment.  Buying through a traditional retail sales channel of course attracts traditional retail sales margins (to cover rent, fit-out, salespeople, etc). If you are after quality engineered European Oak flooring then you can be smart and save buy buying from a reputable source online. Renovator Store sells the full Moku™ range of Engineered Oak floorboards online to anywhere in Australia at about 25% less than what you would pay in showrooms for an equivalent product. You can order cheap samples express posted to your door - so you can still "touch and feel" the product! The savings on a typical order can be $2000 to $3000 by avoiding the traditional retail margins that reseller showrooms have to charge! So I advise you to check it out.

MIYU Engineered Oak Floorboards

Nobu European Oak Sample

Riku Oak Floorboard Sample
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