Karndean Flooring In A Kitchen – Pros, Cons & Advice
If you’re looking around researching flooring for your new kitchen renovation project chances are you’ve likely come across the name Karndean. It’s a popular kitchen flooring option that I’ve used in many of my projects over the years. But what exactly is it?
In this post, I’ll explain what Karndean flooring is, its pros and cons as well as answer some popular questions about the topic.
What Is Karndean Flooring?
Karndean Flooring is a popular brand of luxury vinyl flooring (LVT) available throughout the UK. Due to its wide range of products and close ties with authorised retailers, some homeowners may call their flooring Karndean, but it’s actually a brand name for luxury vinyl flooring.
Karndean is best known for tiles and planks that closely mimic the look, feel and texture of wood and stone, but without the high price tag for the real thing. It delivers superior performance in the kitchen. Karndean also produces a line of commercial flooring that is sold to hospitals, businesses, and residential high-rise properties.
Karndean is structured and manufactured with five layers. It has two PVC backing layers, one high-definition photographic layer which gives the appearance of wood, stone, cement etc.., one clear PVC embossed wear layer and a final top polyurethane (PU) protective coating.
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Types of Available Karndean Flooring
Karndean offers vinyl flooring that can look like wood, stone, or abstract designs. Abstract appears much like detailed mosaics in a huge range of colours. Within the three different appearances, you can order them as a glue-down, loose lay, or rigid core.
LooseLay and rigid core are not fixed to the subfloor but are closely fitted in the room. Interlocking tiles snap together using a tongue and groove design. The edges are held down by trim moulding along the walls. The glue-down tiles are permanently attached to the subfloor and create a more water-resistant installation.
Rigid core tiles have a water-resistant structure that reduces movement in a loose-lay design. They are less susceptible to swelling and shrinking due to changes in weather and humidity.
Official Karndean flooring is not sold at DIY centres, but only through authorised retailers that also provide installation services. If you lay a Karndean floor yourself, you will void the warranty.
However, the installation process is similar to that of other loose-lay and floating floor products. Most Karndean floors go down in just a few days and can be used immediately after completion. A glue-down floor requires several days to cure before it is ready for foot traffic.
Karndean Flooring Cost
There is a huge price range for Karndean flooring. The least expensive is often certain finishes from the Opus glue-down range which starts at around £15 per square metre. Some of the most popular choices range from £25 – £35 per square meter. Whereas the more premium ranges can cost as much as £70 per square metre.
The average room needs around 15 square metres of material. Installation costs run at around £200 per day per person.
Your total cost for a Karndean floor will run between £1,000 and £2,000.
There are premium add-ons available such as designer edging, stair tread noses, and pieces that mimic the look of grout for a stone-tile appearance.
Advantages of Karndean Flooring
- Mimics the look of real stone or natural wood: The vinyl tile gives any room an upscale appearance in a durable, water-resistant material.
- Professional installation: You won’t make a mistake putting the floor down. You are guaranteed a fabulous finish without lifting a muscle.
- Comfort: Softer and warmer underfoot compared to traditional flooring.
- Hygienic: Doesn’t harbour dust mites or bacteria.
- Easy care: No need to seal the floor or use fancy machines. A soft mop and pH-balanced cleaner are all you need.
- Sound Absorption: Quieter than hardwood or stone flooring.
- Lifetime warranty: When installed by an authorised retailer, the warranty can be transferred to a new homeowner when you sell. You may never need to replace this floor.
- Huge range of prices and colours: From intricate mosaics and patterns to trending styles, there is a Karndean floor available in your budget.
Disadvantages of Karndean Flooring
- Cost: Generally more expensive than other vinyl flooring options.
- Professional Installation Required: Adds to the overall cost and time.
- Sensitive to Sunlight: Can fade or discolour when exposed to direct sunlight over time.
- Subfloor Preparation: Requires a perfectly level and smooth subfloor which might necessitate additional work and cost.
- Stains: Certain substances can stain the flooring if not cleaned up promptly.
- Replacement Difficulty: Individual damaged planks may be challenging to replace, often requiring professional assistance.
- Not available for DIY: The tiles are only sold via an authorised retailer that also provides installation. If you purchase the flooring anywhere else, it voids the lifetime warranty.
- Not all Karndean Flooring is the same: The name Karndean is often used by less reputable resellers in conjunction with other brands of luxury vinyl tile and planks. Check the actual box to ensure what you are purchasing.
- Will scratch and get dull: Since Karndean floors are made out of vinyl, it is possible to scratch them. However, the majority of scratches can be eliminated by restoring the clear protective layer.
- Not 100% waterproof: While Karndean flooring is very good a repelling water, it can be damaged by standing water or floods.
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Does Karndean scratch easily?
As with all vinyl flooring products, you can scratch a Karndean floor. However, in most cases, the scratch only affects the clear outer protective layer. Scratches may make the floor look dull.
The Karndean Refresh product restores the outer layer to its original appearance and only takes an afternoon to apply and let dry.
If you drop a knife or other sharp object onto a Karndean floor, it is possible to create a deep scratch. In these instances, you may need to replace the tile or plank to restore the look of the floor. Any scratch is not likely to affect the performance of the floor.
Is Karndean flooring hard-wearing?
How well your Karndean floor stands up to heavy foot traffic depends on which range you choose. Karndean loose lay and Korlok tiles feature a standard 20 mil wear layer, which will resist wear in most homes. Other residential ranges and their commercial flooring offer a 30 mil wear layer designed for extreme abuse.
Karndean floors are known for their durability. Many of their products will look almost like new even after a decade of daily use.
Good To Know: Wear layers are sometimes measured in mils (one-thousandth of an inch) and in general, the thickness of the wear layer denotes the level of protection. The thicker the layer, the more protection. Not to be confused with mm!
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How Thick Is Karndean?
The overall thickness and the wear layer thickness of Karndean flooring will vary slightly depending on the range. I’ve put the most common thicknesses for each range below.
Art Select – 0.7mm wear layer 3.0mm thickness total
DaVinci – 0.7mm wear layer 3.0mm thickness total
Van Gogh – 0.55mm wear layer 3.0mm thickness total
Opus – 0.55mm wear layer 2.5mm thickness total
Kaleidoscope – 0.55mm wear layer 2.5mm thickness total
Heritage Collection – 0.5mm wear layer 2.5mm thickness total
Knight Tile – 0.3mm wear layer 2.0mm thickness total
Karndean LooseLay – 0.55mm wear layer 4.5mm thickness total
LooseLay Longboard – 0.55mm wear layer 4.5mm thickness
Korlock – 0.55mm wear layer 6.5mm thickness total
Van Gogh – 0.55mm wear layer 5.5mm thickness total
Knight Tile – 0.3mm wear layer 4.5mm thickness total
How long does Karndean last?
The Karndean Korlok rigid core and LooseLay luxury vinyl tiles and planks include a transferrable lifetime residential warranty. With ‘lifetime’ meaning 35 years. With proper installation and care, this could be the last floor that you will ever need to lay in your kitchen.
What can I use to clean my Karndean floor?
Karndean recommends their ph-neutral Karndean Clean product for daily care. Spills should be wiped up as soon as possible. A damp soft mop and a dilution of their Clean liquid will take up most dust and dirt. Use a stronger dilution to remove stubborn stains.
Karndean warns against using a steam mop as it may damage the underlayment of your floor and may even void your warranty. So make sure you check the T&C’s.
Can I Clean Karndean with Flash?
It is not recommended to use any cleaner that contains bleach or strong citrus elements as this can damage the top layer of the flooring. Karndean recommends their own pH-neutral cleaners to help maintain your flooring.
However, many homeowners use different floor cleaners such as Flash and don’t report any issues or damage to the floor. To be safe, look for more natural, ph-neutral or bleach-free cleaners.
Can you lay Karndean in herringbone?
Yes! There are lots of options within the Karndean ranges to be able to lay the planks in a herringbone style. They even provide an installation guide for herringbone patterns here.
What is better laminate or Karndean flooring?
Although the two may appear similar there are some differences in their construction, cost and durability.
Laminate flooring will likely be a cheaper and more affordable alternative than Karndean. However, Karndean is typically more durable and offers nicer finishes that more closely match the natural stone or wood they aim to mimic.
The downside is that Karndean will often be more expensive (depending on the range you pick) and will require professional installation.
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Is Karndean worth the money?
Yes. Although Karndean is often more expensive than other similar flooring types, their construction and design quality are great! They have a wide range of style choices with fantastic-looking wood and stone effect flooring, without the price tag or added maintenance of the real thing.
I’ve used Karndean flooring in many of my kitchen projects over the years and they always look great and clients love them.
There you have it! Everything you need to know about Karndean flooring in the kitchen.
It may not be the cheapest LVT option on the market. However, with a huge selection of colours and finishes as well as easy maintenance, Karndean flooring is a great choice for any kitchen.
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Michael is a kitchen designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new kitchen installations for over 10 years. Before that, he was an electrician and part of a team that fitted kitchens. He created Kitchinsider in early 2019 to help give people advice when it comes to getting a new kitchen.