Home Build: Flooring
When planning your self-build home the flooring has to be decided upon when the house designs are being drawn up. Consider whether you require under floor heating, as this will have to be integrated into the plans before any flooring is fitted.
Cables and PipeBefore the floor of your self-build can be fitted it is advisable to put in place all pipe work for gas and water utilities and ducting for cable for electricity, telephone and arial work. Failure to plan for this could result in contractors having to lift flooring and risk damaging it. Apart from higher charges from contractors for working in cramped conditions it may not be possible for all under floor work to be completed satisfactorily and time will be added to the build.
ArchitectYour architect will be able to advise on the best flooring for your type of house build. He will have had experience of the different types of flooring available. Also cost this part of the build carefully as you will have a large area to cover and it is part of the home that will come under a lot of wear and tear in the years that follow.
Poured ConcreteSome areas of the house can be floored with the poured concrete system. This is not like the footings where you simply pour concrete from the cement lorry into the dug trenches; in this case the floor area has to be prepared thoroughly. The floor will be a raft construction with layers of steel mesh set into the concrete for added strength. Before this is laid the ground will be prepared, levelled flat and insulated.Concrete floors will insulate sound more but consider using under floor heating as well as concrete can be very cold.
Preformed ConcreteImagine lengths of concrete beams laid on your floor with the gaps filled with smaller blocks, this is the concrete block and beam method of concrete flooring. The area to be covered has to be planned carefully before placing the order; this is where your architect can be useful. Heavier that timber flooring, it is not a one-man job to offload the blocks and beams or to lay them. Once fitted a screed of concrete is laid on top to finish the floor.
Man HoleWhen fitting a block and beam concrete floor inspection hatches should be fitted for future under floor maintenance.
TimberTimber seems to be the favoured flooring for self-builds whether it is covered in carpeting at a later date or left stained and polished. Once fitted keep the timber covered so that it is still in pristine condition after all work has been completed and not covered in plaster and paint. If you intend to cover in carpeting at a later date then softwood timber is cheaper and more practical. Softwood is normally available in tongue and groove format and is easy to fit.
Remember that timber floors may be attractive but can also be noisy if used in upstairs rooms, without being carpeted, as every footstep will be heard from downstairs.