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Floors

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These days floors are all too often covered either with carpeting or timber ‘click’ decorative boards. In older property it is most likely that floors at ground level are constructed in timber, quite probably with concrete flooring in the projecting rear kitchen (the ‘back addition’). I remember that years ago before the days of ‘wall to wall’ carpet, we were obliged to inspect the sub-floor spaces by removing sections of timber floor boards using a special saw, crow bar and hammer. These days such exploratory work is not considered to be part of a ‘normal’ survey, and is largely impractical.

We are, of course, obliged to follow the trail of suspicion should any of our senses be aroused. A practised surveyor will feel unevenness or irregularity underfoot, and will look further to find the cause.

I find myself doing the ‘heel drop test ‘frequently even when not making an inspection.

Chris Ennis, Property Doctor, Chartered Surveyor
Chris Ennis, Property Doctor

The heel drop test is simple…… raise your body on to your toes and let the body weight fall back on to the heels. If the furniture rattles then there is cause for further examination. I remember in one property, every time the owner walked on a particular section of flooring the chimes in a Grandfather clock sounded. Very often the sections of flooring just inside an entrance door threshold are decayed caused by wind-blown moisture ingress. Floors are often decayed in the rear corner of Edwardian / Victorian houses where the rear garden wall adjoins the main building. Horizontal or vertical damp proof courses were seldom fitted allowing moisture in to a building, causing floors to decay.

Where floors are covered with a type of ‘click’ flooring, there is often some slight unevenness caused by incorrect installation. Click flooring should be laid strictly in accord with the manufacturer’s instructions. The substrate should be level, clean, and overlaid with a patent ‘spongy’ underlay. An expansion joint should be formed at the perimeter of the room to accommodate thermal movements.

There is so much more I could advise on floor problems and I can see that this is the subject of another article for 2018. Seasons Greetings to all my readers.

Chris Ennis FRICS is a Chartered Surveyor Tel: 01903 261217 email: surveyor1@talktalk.net www.propdoctor.co.uk