Karndean flooring is beloved by homeowners around the world because it’s so easy to install and maintain. But some homeowners are finding out that their beautiful Karndean floors can also become a problem, especially if they don’t know what they’re in for before making the investment.
Despite many advantages, past buyers have complained about some issues regarding Karndean flooring. The major disadvantages of Karndean flooring are discoloration or fading due to exposure to direct sunlight, scratches, scuff marks, and surface blemishes.
However, there are some essential things that every homeowner needs to know about this flooring system, including what types of damage you need to watch out for and how to fix the problems when they arise.
- 1 What is Karndean Flooring?
- 2 How Long Do Karndean Floor Tiles Last?
- 3 Proper Installation Is Crucial To Eliminate Karndean Flooring Problems
- 4 Disadvantages of Karndean Flooring
- 5 Final Words
What is Karndean Flooring?
Karndean flooring is a type of luxury vinyl tile or LVT. This means it’s made out of high-grade PVC, and it has the appearance of natural stone or ceramic. Karndean flooring can be found in many different styles, including tiles designed to look like wood planks, slate, marble, granite, limestone and more—making this flooring system versatile enough to work with nearly any decorating style.
In addition, it comes pre-installed into interlocking panels that are easy for DIYers to install themselves without needing professional help.
The biggest selling point of Karndean floors is that they’re extremely low maintenance. They don’t require waxing or other refinishing treatments as hardwood floors do, making them an excellent option for homeowners who don’t want to worry about high upkeep costs. They also feature an easy-to-clean surface, and they even come pre-sealed, so you don’t have to purchase any extra treatments when the floors are installed.
However, despite these selling points, some problems can come with installing or living with Karndean flooring.
Drawbacks include bouncing of Karndean floorboards when installed on uneven floors and the peeling at the edges though the latter most occurs if the floorboards are more than 15-years old. Said that Karndean flooring are typically durable, scratch-resistant, and waterproof compared to other forms of vinyl flooring.
Some people find that the finish starts flaking off after just a few years of wear and tear, which can be very frustrating and requires professional help in order to fix (and may still result in lessened color intensity). Other people report finding bubbles in their tiles after installation, while others complain of workers applying the sealant to grout lines instead of the tiles themselves, which damages grout and further increases the risk of peel-off.
Karndean is a great product when it’s done right. But without adequate research beforehand about installation methods and warranty policies, you could end up with a flooring disaster on your hands. To make sure that doesn’t happen to you (and learn how to fix any problems that do arise), read our guide below.
How Long Do Karndean Floor Tiles Last?
The average lifespan of this flooring system has been estimated at anywhere from five to ten years, but some factors can affect this estimation. For example, if you live in an area with high humidity levels, Karndean flooring might not last as long as it would in a drier climate.
One of the most significant factors that can affect the lifespan of these tiles is whether or not you properly prepare your subfloor before installation. Those who leave this part out and install the floor directly on plywood, for instance, will likely find their floors deteriorating much more rapidly than those who take time to make sure there’s a strong foundation beneath them.
Proper Installation Is Crucial To Eliminate Karndean Flooring Problems
It makes sense that the type of surface the flooring system is installed over will play a role in how long it lasts, but what about how it’s installed?
When we talk about preparing your subfloor, we aren’t just talking about removing furniture and padding. You should know that Karndean flooring requires very specific installation procedures to ensure proper adhesion.
For example, you need to ensure that the subfloor is completely level and 97% free of moisture before beginning your installation process. As for how it’s installed, the tiles are laid out in a staggered brick pattern instead of side-by-side or overlapping each other. You should also be careful not to apply too much pressure when installing; otherwise, the end result could be bubbles underneath the tiles themselves instead of a smooth surface with solid color intensity across all rows and columns.
When it comes to the warranty on your Karndean installation, you need to ask your retailer about any limitations and whether or not professional installation is required for them to honor their warranty claims. Even if you do everything right, some installers will still try to leave you with the bill when something goes wrong down the road, which is why it’s important to find a quality installer from the beginning.
Disadvantages of Karndean Flooring
All of the problems with Karndean flooring are caused by a lack of proper maintenance. Many people install them without knowing what they are getting themselves into. They later find out the hard way that the maintenance of Karndean flooring is not as easy as they thought.
Many people also try to lay down Karndean vinyl floors over the top of old, existing flooring like laminate, plank or tiles that were never designed to be placed on top of each other. This causes problems with adhesion and peeling, which cannot be resolved; the only fix for this problem is to remove all existing flooring and start again.
Discoloration of Karndean Flooring
This is one of most talked about Karndean Flooring problems. The exterior coating of Karndean tiles or floorboards can bleach or fade in strong sunlight, even when coated with a UV-protecting sealer. This is especially noticeable on white and some light colors but can also affect some darker shades. Darker colors are always more resistant to this type of discoloration than lighter ones.
Karndean vinyl is a great material for outdoor decks, but if you install it in direct sunlight or near an open window with no curtains installed, the surface will fade over time.
Karndean Flooring Is Not Fully Scratch-Resistant
Another common complaint with Karndean flooring is that it is not scratch-proof. That means that the floor will scratch easily, which will likely show up most clearly with dark colors. The only way to prevent scratches is to place protective film over the flooring before installing it or by buying high-quality products.
The protective film will protect the floor from scratches and scuffs from heavy objects being dragged across the floor. The high-quality products that don’t scratch easily are typically higher in price, but they allow you to avoid having to use a protective film on your floor. The only other option is to buy flooring that has a coating on it. The coating will prevent scratches but usually comes at an even higher price than high-quality products. If you’re concerned about your kids or pets scratching your Karndean floor, go for floorboards/tiles with weathered designs. Scratches and minor scuffs are less visible on these types of floors.
Karndean Flooring Is Not Waterproof
Karndean vinyl tiles can be installed outside without any problems, but they cannot be exposed to water for a long time or used as a shower or kitchen tile because it will deteriorate. If moisture is left standing on Karndean tiles for hours at a time, mold and mildew can develop. However, since many people install these tiles in places with little foot traffic or minimal wear and tear, this often does not cause problems.
Karndean Vinyl Floor Bouncing/Separating
When the subfloor (the surface your floor is resting on) is not level or flat, you can experience buckling with all types of vinyl floors. If the subfloor has settled over time or movement in the structure of your home has caused an uneven surface, there’s nothing that can be done to resolve this problem other than replacing the subfloor itself. When possible, it’s best to lay down new underlayment before installing a new floor.
Karndean Floorboards Peeling At the Edges/Corners
If you used a transition strip between your old floor and your new Karndean vinyl, it might have been installed at an angle or cut too short. This causes water to pool up near the edge of the flooring instead of running off into the grout lines.
If this happens, your floor will start peeling from those edges as the water is trapped underneath. Once again, this is a problem that cannot be fixed, and you’ll need to lay down a new underlayment before installing another vinyl tile floor. If you didn’t use a transition strip and your corners are peeling, check for cracks in the wall where it meets your flooring. These can let water in and create a damp environment that results in peeling corners.
Karndean Vinyl Floor Bounciness/Separation from Subfloor
“Bounciness,” also known as “float,” is when you step on one part of a tile, and the rest of the tile moves up with your foot instead of staying put. Float can shift or separate floor tiles so they don’t have good contact points with each other, which will cause cracking over time if not addressed.
In most cases, a float is caused by high humidity levels combined with poor installation practices surrounding moisture protection and grout lines during installation. If this sounds like an issue you’ve had with your Karndean flooring, it’s time to call in the professionals — only they can fix this issue for good.
Last but not least, other less mentioned Karndean flooring problems are Karndean flooring is typically more expensive than standard vinyl flooring but is more durable and can be used in a wider range of applications. But, then, when it comes to environmentally conscious consumers, the debate on vinyl flooring is a hot topic.
Some argue that Karndean flooring can significantly diminish indoor air quality due to its high VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) content. However, Karndean floorboards/tiles from reputable brands have extremely low volumes of these toxic gases.
What are most common Karndean flooring problems you faced? Let us know in the comments below.