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Lifestyle : The Ultimate Flooring Guide 2011
1HERSA1 C027 SPECIAL REPORT how you’re going to lay the tiles. ‘‘Make sure you leave the correct gap between the tiles [five to 10mm] and know how your cuts are going to go. ‘‘For some ceramic tiles, if there is any movement in the slab and not enough gap left, they can crack and even explode off the floor.’’ Top tip: Measure it twice and cut once. Polished concrete There’s a big difference between a professional grinding process and a do-it-yourself job, Copping says. ‘‘These floors are quite difficult to get level and you never know the condition of the slab until you start grinding into it. ‘‘You can hire machines to do the job yourself but it all comes down to what the slab is like.’’ Top tip: Have the experts do it for you. Warm from the ground up Beat the winter chills with these underfloor heating ideas, writes Margie Sheedy. ‘It is suitable for using just a few hours a day.’ Christine Mottram, Sydney Floor Heating Y ou notice the difference the moment you walk in a room with underfloor heating. The radiant heat rises and wraps around you like a blanket. In a bathroom, the warm tiles feel like pure winter luxury. Floor heating is popular under concrete but preparation is required. ‘‘The decision to put underfloor heating in needs to be made early, before the pouring of the concrete slab,’’ says Wilhelm Harnisch, chief executive of the Master Builders Association. Cables are fixed to the reinforced steel before the slab is poured. There are also systems where the slab ‘‘acts as a heat sink, storing cheap night-time electricity and releasing it slowly during the day,’’ Sydney Floor Heating’s Christine Mottram says. For laminate and tiles, you will need to lay appropriate insulation. ‘‘Under-tile heating is a direct acting system, so it is suitable for using just a few hours a day or on an ad-hoc basis to suit your requirements,’’ Mottram says. Harnisch cautions against using slate tiles, ‘‘because the tiles actually do heat and cool down. The issue is with their expansion and contraction.’’ One way to get underfloor heating into an existing dwelling is under carpet. ‘‘Electric elements or pads are laid above the carpet underlay,’’ Harnisch says. ‘‘You can’t use rubber and you can’t use synthetic carpets.’’ Once the carpet is laid, heavy furniture cannot be moved on top of the heating pads as it will damage them. Underfloor heating is not recommended under hardwood floors as the timber will buckle with the heat fluctuations. Installation prices start at under $700 fully installed for a typical bathroom, according to Mottram. Most underfloor heating companies also offer a range of DIY kits, starting from about $400 to heat a bathroom. It will then need to be connected to a safety-switch-protected circuit by a qualified electrician. Sydney Floor Heating calculates it would cost about $50 to heat a typical bathroom, based on 90 days of usage at four hours a day, at an average temperature of 21 degrees. Graffiti gratification ‘‘Child-like’’ . . . Elinor Scott’s stunning acid-wash concrete floor. School life in the 1880s was the inspiration for the acid-wash graffiti that Elinor Scott created on the cement floor of the Hunter Valley guest house Heritage Retreat that she runs with her husband, Ron. “We thought we could just polish the original concrete and leave the oil and paint spills to give it character,” she says of the former schoolhouse. “Then we discovered that you can’t ‘just polish’ concrete. We had to add three inches of concrete to the floor.” Scott hired experts to do the job. “The company was a bit nervous about how my acid-graffiti idea would turn out,” she says. The stunning “child-like” result features matchstick people, a cat in the corner and ‘‘class of 1881’’. “It took me about 3 1⁄2 hours using a small pressurised spray unit with an adjustable nozzle,” she says. The flooring company then stabilised the surface and a few days later, applied a final polish. Scott says the tricky part with acid on concrete is that once you spray it, it’s permanent, “so you need a plan and to know exactly where all the fixtures and furniture will go before you start’’. We invite you to visit our large showroom designed to show the floors in many different settings, with an extensive range of parquetry and wide board European oak. We also offer a range of architectural elements including; antiques, custom made tables, libraries and wine cellars. Antique Floors are bespoke, made from reclaimed Australian Hardwoods and imported French Oak, cut to size, sanded by hand and restored with natural oils to create traditional European patterns. www.antiquefloors.com.au Showroom 73 Beattie Street Balmain NSW 2041 02 9810 8838 firstname.lastname@example.org Natural floorcoverings, naturally. Marrickville 24-28 Murray Street.(opp. Marrickville Metro) with off-street parking. 9516 5726 Mosman 559 Military Road Spit Junction (free parking in Vista St.) 9960 6921 Marrickville&Mosman F o r spe c ials , gotonatu r al f loo rc o v e r ing c ent r es .c om . auN FC 47 SUPPLY INSTALL GUARANTEE Special offer to SMH readers SE Timber is extending their financial year end offer of up to 30% off* if you place your flooring order before July 31st. SHOWROOMS AT CARINGBAH, CASTL E HILL, CHATSWOOD, DEE WHY, DRUMMOYNE, MOORE PARK & WATERLOO setimber.com.au Call 1300 136 326 all suburbs *Offerappliestotimberonly-notinstallationDHO5780 AG4155964AA-160711 The Sydney Morning Herald smh.com.au July 16- 17, 2011 27
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