karndean vinyl plank flooring review

Karndean Vinyl Plank Flooring Review

Long considered the “gold standard” in luxury vinyl plank (LVP) flooring in the U.K., Karndean Designflooring is now an emerging brand here on the other side of the Pond.

Over the past 40 years, the company has built a great reputation for making realistic luxury vinyl flooring products and was one of the first manufacturers to introduce the “loose lay” LVP concept. More on that in a moment.

Karndean is not a “mass market” budget manufacturer. People looking for very high-quality design, a variety of styles, and durability choose Karndean—and don’t mind paying premium prices. With that price, however, comes tremendous durability and an impressive selection of colors, textures, and looks. In fact, Karndean is an established worldwide brand for some of the most demanding commercial flooring environments. That says a lot.

Sure, there are plenty of brands offering LVP (also called LVT) products, but what makes Karndean Designflooring different? Perhaps more importantly, do consumers love or hate those differences? Let’s take a closer look at Karndean.

Key Advantages Of Vinyl Plank Flooring

The Karndean line boasts all the advantages of vinyl plank flooring in general. It’s:

  1. Easy to maintain
  2. Quiet and warm on the feet
  3. Very durable

Vinyl flooring is “softer” and warmer on the feet than wood or tile. It also has some shock and sound absorption qualities, so your home will feel quieter, and you won’t have the creaks and moans of real hardwood or laminate flooring.

Key Advantages Of Vinyl Plank Flooring

Cleaning vinyl planks is a breeze with just a mop and a pH-neutral cleaner. Luxury vinyl is also more tolerant to drops, spills, and swings in temperature and humidity.

By the way, if you’re still trying to decide between vinyl plank flooring and another flooring type (i.e. wood, tile, laminate, carpet, etc.), check out our recent article on the pros and cons of vinyl plank flooring.

Customized Product Ranges

One of the things that makes the Karndean line stand out is its large variety of customizable product ranges. They currently boast eight different product ranges and more than 200 individual product choices.

Here’s a quick rundown of the product ranges currently available:

The premium and popular Art Select range features super-realistic wood and stone looks with finishes that mimic the real-life textures of those natural materials. The Art Select line is also known for offering one of the only options for truly realistic wood parquet-look vinyl. This line has styles that reproduce the look of oak, hickory, limestone, marble, and travertine, among others.

The Da Vinci range features slim and smooth wood planks with beveled edges and a broad range of traditional ceramic and stone-look tiles. The styles in this line are decidedly more “rustic” and textured-looking than some of the other products.

Conversely, the Van Gogh line of products mimic large wood planks, re-creating the look of real timber, with large planks and subtle texture. Van Gogh tiles come in a variety of clean and distressed looks.

Michelangelo LVP products are inspired by natural stone and feature soft, light colors. These unique products have distinctly textured metallic, mosaic, and pebble designs.

The Opus product range features clean, modern lines in a wide variety of wood and concrete textures in grays, browns, and whites, available in Karndean’s largest format planks and tiles.

Knight Tile is their most affordable line, but it’s not lacking in choice. Knight Tile features both wood and stone looks, and features a versatile collection of stripes and borders to customize your floor design.

Each product range takes design inspiration from different natural materials, so sizes and formats in each product line can range significantly.

In addition, each product line has its own vinyl plank thickness & wear layer—some planks are far more durable than others. Keep in mind, planks with thick wear layers are more durable, so be sure to evaluate your durability needs when considering the different lines.

The LooseLay Option

They say “Loose Lay,” or “LooseLay,” is the most versatile and easy-to-install of all the LVP options. Many brands offer a loose lay option, but Karndean was one of the pioneers of this system.

The LooseLay Option

Like the name suggests, loose lay doesn’t require adhesive or staples. Instead, it employs their proprietary K-Wave system that uses friction grip to hold planks to the subfloor. Very cool.

Karndean LooseLay could be the ideal solution in small spaces or rooms where you want to reduce noise levels without needing any underlay. In addition, Karndean LooseLay tiles are dimensionally stable so they will not expand or shrink in different moisture levels.

This line also includes a wide array of color and style options such as distressed, gray, chocolate, and copper tones in all the usual wood grain looks.

The Eco-Friendliest LVP

Karndean is one of the most environmentally conscious LVP companies in the world. After listening to years of complaints from the public about vinyl flooring’s negative environmental impacts (like toxic emissions and inability to be recycled), Karndean reengineered its products to be certified by Global GreenTag™. This means their products have been certified for various environmental air quality standards.

Karndean floors also come with a BRE Global Green Guide rating and are LEED-certified. Their products also carry a test certificate from the U.S. Greenguard Environmental Institute and meet the ‘for use with Children and Schools’ standard, specifically LEED Credit 4.3 and CAL 1350.

As if all that weren’t enough, Karndean products are manufactured in factories certified to the ISO 14001 environmental standard and ISO 9001 quality standard.

What do all these certifications mean for you?

Your floors will never emit volumes of toxic gases that are present in many other brands of LVP flooring. You can also feel good that when you replace the floors in the future, they won’t be sitting in a landfill for all eternity.

Easy To Maintain

According to Karndean, their floors are highly resistant to stains and simple to keep clean, and consumers mostly agree. Their floors cope with spills without warping and everyday drops on the floor will not leave permanent damage. Unlike carpets, their LVP floors don’t act as breeding grounds for dirt, dust, and bacteria.

Designed to last for many years, each floor carries a lifetime residential warranty. If for some reason one plank is damaged, a replacement can be substituted by an installer, so be sure to save some extra tiles after installation.

What’s more, Karndean has  recently incorporated enhanced PU protective surface treatment into all their floors. This provides outstanding slip, scuff, and soiling resistance, while transforming the cleaning and maintenance of the floor into a simple chore—no more waxing.

Some cleaning products contain agents that can damage LVP floors, so Karndean supplies its own cleaner (Karndean Clean) specially formulated for their floors. It’s important to note that in order to maintain Karndean’s product guarantee, you should use their floor cleaner, which is available at Karndean dealers and online sites like Amazon.

Cost

Since Karndean has so many different options to choose from, it will come as no surprise that there are also a lot of different price points.

Karndean’s budget lines, such as the Knight LVP line and the Opus line, cost between $2.50 and $4.00 per square foot.

Mid-range lines such as the Looselay Longboard series and the Korlok Reserve line cost between $4.50-$5.00 per square foot.

For Karndean’s top-end lines such as the Art Select line and the Da Vinci line, prices start at $5.00.

Also, remember that all Karndean lines come with an integrated underlayer, which would otherwise need to be purchased separately.

While the LVP floors are easy to install, it is recommended that you use a professional installer from a Karndean dealer. This will ensure your lifetime warranty is valid and that you avoid the common installation mistakes that could occur—a subfloor that isn’t level, for example.

Karndean has U.S. showrooms in Las Vegas, Nevada, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Fort Worth, Texas.

Customer Opinion

Is vinyl as durable as they say? Some homeowners would say “no way,’ but Karndean’s customers are mostly happy.

Customer Opinion

Fading, scratching, denting, and scuffs appear to be common complaints with all vinyl floors, but those complaints are fewer and further between for Karndean. Their website features verified customer reviews, a rating of 4.4/5, and lots of praise.

We saw consistent praise for Karndean on other online review sites as well, but Karndean isn’t completely free of critics. From what we’ve read, most of the negative reviews are the result of (possibly) unavoidable accidents or improper installation.

FAQs

Is Karndean Flooring Worth The Money?

In our opinion, yes, Karndean flooring is worth the money, especially since this quality flooring is made available at a highly accessible price point. This flooring is designed to stand up against wear and tear. When cared for properly, you can expect it to last 35 years in a domestic setting, much longer than the standard 15–20 years that can be expected for most LVP flooring.

Certainly, Karndean LVP flooring doesn’t have the lifespan of hardwood, and it doesn’t add value to your home in the way that hardwood does. But if you are looking for the convenience and durability of vinyl, it is worth every penny.

Does Karndean Scratch Easily?

Like most LVP flooring options, Karndean flooring is more resistant to scratches than wood and many other flooring options, but this does not mean that it will never scratch. Heavy and sharp objects can cut through vinyl with ease.

Karndean does its best to protect against scratches by combining a durable wear layer (thickness depends on the line), which is then layered with K-Guard+ Surface Protection as an additional layer against dirt and bacteria.

Karndean also recommends applying Karndean Refresh to floors once they are laid. This acts as yet another layer of protection. If the floor gets scratched, you can use Karndean Remove to scrub away the Refresh layer, and most scratches with it. The Refresh layer can then be reapplied.

In the case of deep scratches, the entire plank will need to be replaced. But this is relatively straightforward if installed using the Karndean LooseLay system.

How Long Does Karndean Flooring Last?

Karndean is so confident in the durability of their product that they offer a Lifetime warranty for their planks in residential settings, and warranties of between 10 and 20 years in commercial settings, depending on the product line.

Of course, this only covers the structural integrity of the floor and does not guarantee that your floor will not become faded or scratched. If cared for properly, your floor should continue to look good for 15 to 20 years.

Can Dogs Scratch Karndean Flooring?

Karndean floors are highly scratch resistant, and thanks to its additional K-Guard+ protection layer, it should not be overly affected by the nails of pets. However, owners should also take responsibility and keep pets’ nails at a reasonable length to ensure they do not make deep gouges or scratches in the surface.

Can You Mop Karndean?

Yes, you can mop your Karndean floors with a wet mop and a pH-balanced cleaning solution. However, in order to keep your warranty intact, it’s best to use Karndean’s own cleaning products, which are specially designed to work with their floors.

It is also possible to steam clean Karndean floors without damaging them, though the manufacturer suggests that this be done with caution and that it’s better to use their cleaning system, developed specifically for their floors.

Can You Vacuum Karndean Flooring?

While sweeping is recommended as sufficient for clearing dirt and debris on Karndean floors, they can also be vacuumed. But ensure that you have a vacuum cleaner with attachments appropriate for vinyl flooring to protect against damage caused by brush heads etc.

How Much Does It Cost To Install Karndean Flooring?

Karndean floors are designed to be simple to install, so that anyone with reasonable DIY experience should be able to do the job themselves. However, if you do choose to enlist the services of a specialist, you should expect to pay between $1.50-$3.00 per square foot for installation.

Can You Remove Scratches From Karndean Flooring?

If you applied Karndean Refresh to floors, it is relatively easy to remove light scratches. You simply use Karndean Remove to take off the Refresh layer, which should take any shallow scratches with it. You can then apply a new Refresh layer.

If you do not have a Refresh layer and the scratch has not penetrated beyond the wear layer, buffing the area around the scratch may help reduce its visibility.

But for any scratches that have penetrated beyond the wear later, the only way to remove them is to replace the plank. This is relatively easy to do without having to lift much of the floor, but make sure you always buy extra planks when installing your floor in order to have some in reserve.

Does Karndean Flooring Fade In Sunlight?

Yes, like the majority of floors, Karndean floors will fade when regularly exposed to direct sunlight. The flooring does use a UV inhibitor to minimize the effects of exposure, but like sunscreen, this has limited effectiveness.

Manufacturers recommend using shares of blinds to minimize the floor’s exposure to sunlight— that is, if you’re willing to sacrifice your nice sunny view.

The Verdict

If you are looking for top-quality LVP flooring that looks like real wood or tile and is still affordable, then Karndean is a great range to investigate. They offer some of the best-quality LVP flooring on the market and by far the largest selection of stone and wood LVP flooring style choices.

All LVP flooring has its drawbacks, In particular, it won’t do anything for the resale value of your home, and it can be susceptible to fading and denting. But while a lot of LVP flooring also comes with a number of environmental and health risks, Karndean has worked hard to minimize these. They now offer some of the most environmentally friendly and safe LVP flooring options available anywhere.

If you are looking for LVP flooring, we highly recommend that you include Karndean on your list of brands to consider.

If you have any comments or first-hand experiences with Karndean Vinyl Plank flooring, please post them below or share your pictures via our social media.

Kristin Warner

About Kristin Warner

Kristin Warner is a freelance writer and serial home remodeler. She has renovated three homes and is a certified Home Stager and Redesigner.

38 thoughts on “Karndean Vinyl Plank Flooring Review”

  1. Avatar

    Not a good product! Gaps show, planks cup, corners pop up. Worst of all the flooring store does nothing about it. Would not recommend. Hate this product. The flooring store said it didn’t need underlayment. The abutment of the subflooring shows through the vinyl planks. Flooring store wanted to glue down. Why have a floating plank floor if its glued down. It also scratches.

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    It appears most of the issues are from bad installation, not from bad product. If you don’t prepare the sub-floor properly, you will have problems. Remember not every floor installer is a licensed professional, and just because they are licensed in general contracting, etc. doesn’t mean they know how to probably prepare a sub-floor and lay flooring. Ask for references, ask for pictures, etc.

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    Ann E Ruthsdottir

    My floor was laid ~ 2+ years ago. Now it has spaces between some of the tiles. What is causing this? A flooring contractor suggested it be glued in place. He thought it may be reacting to the humidity from the basement and adjoining crawl space in my 1850 house. What type of glue should be used?

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    Yup, Brand new Karndean floor and I hve not been able to get it to NOT show up black mark even after going on my hands and knees, washing and immediately drying it with a clean cloth. White papertowel is still black when i wipe the floor.

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    This is the Karndean Loose Lay flooring we installed about 5+ years ago
    * Design No. LLP-92
    * Batch No. 131114
    The floor never seems like it gets clean.
    Whenever I wipe anything off the floor, in any place in the house with just a wet paper towel,
    the paper towel is always black. What is coming out of this flooring?
    Does anyone else have this problem?

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    I’m looking to install it over a concrete subflooring. I’m reading the reviews and now I am 2nd guessing myself. I want to wood look flooring, but I don’t want it at a high cost. I have thought about Karndean, engineered hardwood and porcelain tiles.

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    We had Karndean Art Select installed about 7 years ago in the kitchen, DR, LR, laundry, and entryway. It scratches easily. We have felt under everything that touches the floor. The worst place is the kitchen. Under the chairs the planks are a mess. Tiny hard pieces get trapped on the chair leg felt pads and scratch the floor up something awful.

    Removing shoes at the door is some help, but real life is that some dirt/sand etc. is going to get in. I constantly remind everyone not to slide anything across the floor – the Amazon box that was just delivered, the tote from the basement, your stuff from college you brought home, especially not the laundry basket!

    Karndean is beautiful- everyone comments on how gorgeous it is – and we’ve had no problem with staining, warping, fading, water spills – but the scratches are disheartening for what we paid. Buy a lot of extra planks!

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      we bought the glue down 3mm vinyl, not finished with the install, but seams lifting in quite a few places. 3 mm is way to thin for any type of comfort. Very disappointed with this, we have the 5.5 mm click going into the living room, so hopefully that fairs better. Waiting for armstrong to release their new line of laminate and going BACK to that. should never have taken it out.

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    Anyone having issues with streaking when you mop? I have Van Gogh Antique Karrie. Love the look and feel and have had for 6 months now. Only clean with Karndean products but no matter what I do, the kitchen floor is a streaked mess as it dries! Have used a few different kinds of mops, sweep every night and rinse the mops with fresh water after 3 or so passes but still streaks! Can’t use anything else (says it voids the warranty). Would love any suggestions or help. Paid $6K for this and it’s too much of a battle to keep fighting. Thanks!

    1. Avatar

      Have you tried a Norwex mop. Norwex is a “green” company that offers a variety of different products including many very useful household products. I love my Norwex mop. It comes with both a mop head for wet mopping and an additional cloth for dry mopping. It’s the best! Go to the Norwex site online for details on price etc. I had tried a Swifter, a Shark, you make it until I purchased a Norwex mop.

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    Had my Karndean less than a week and I have six scratches already. We have felt on the bottom of everything. I can only conclude that a small pebble or something got in the house somehow, or I don’t know what… because we don’t ever wear shoes in the house! $5,000 and scratches already. I may as well have had sheet vinyl put in! Sad!

  10. Avatar

    Would NEVER use the karndean product again. We have 135m2 of Van Gough wood grain finish in a residential home in New Zealand. Everywhere there is a window or glass panel we have the flooring looking bleached with a green tinge probably from UV. We were sold on it being a great product ideal for NZ conditions etc but lifting rugs etc we can see the fading effect metres away from the windows.

    Karndean NZ ignoring the issue even though the contact person mentioned the greening BEFORE we did when we rang about the issue… Karndean, inaccurate advertising, poor guarantee, bad product, poor customer support. A waste of money.

  11. Avatar

    So far I’m not impressed. Have 3 scratches and I don’t even have my flooring all the way installed yet. They got something on the bottom of one of my dressers and when I tried to move it to plug my stuff back in it removed a dime sized piece of the top layer of the clear part of the flooring.

  12. Avatar

    I am looking to replace 3000 sq ft office floor with Karndean Art select but still very hesitant because of the problems some other people had with it. I may choose Modin instead.

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      Randall A Kelley

      I installed the Karndean Art Select Hickory Peppercorn in our condo (my first try at installation), and it is beyond amazing! Everyone thinks it’s hardwood and rave about it! The install was perfect – so easy! We’ve had it for 2 years now, in kitchen, dining, family room, and halls. NO scratching, NO fading! (And we have two full glass walls in one room!). We just purchased another condo, and will be installing Karndean Art Select Hickory Peppercorn throughout the main floor, kitchen, and basement rec. room. It’s over twice the cost of most other vinyl plank flooring, but we’ve looked and looked – every sample we bring home looks cheap next to our Karndean! We’ve not used any of Karndean’s other options, but I would not hesitate in HIGHLY recommending the floor we have!

  13. Avatar

    A year ago I remodeled my kitchen and at the recommendation of my contractor, I bought Karndean Loose Lay No. LLP-92. I’ve had problems with it ever since. It looks like it’s been down for years. I can’t imagine what it would look like if there was a family in the house.

    There are only two people using my kitchen. No matter what is spilled, it leaves a mark. I called Karndean last fall and the representative told me I using too much of the cleaning solution. Directions are listed in liters so I calculated in ounces. Rep told me how much of the solution I should use to clean the floor. He also said I needed to use the Karndean “Remove” to get my floor back to its original condition and NOT to use the Karndean “Refresh.”

    “Remove” is a pain to use … you can’t let it dry so can only work a small portion at a time and then have to go over the area with clean, fresh water. Directions for “Refresh” say you can’t walk on the floor for 6 hours or over night. Who has that kind of time not to walk on their kitchen floor for 6 hours. I’d have to start cleaning the floor at 7 p.m. This is the worst floor ever. All I wanted was a floor that looked good and was easy to maintain. This definitely isn’t that type of floor. Very disappointed.

    1. Avatar

      Did you ever resolve this issue? I’m having the same problems. I feel like I’m constantly mopping (with plain water). Now there is hardly any shine. Wow! And you were told NOT to use the refresh? Just what I wanted, dull, streaked and blotchy floors. Ugh!

    2. Avatar
      Timothy Steinberger

      We installed 1100 sf throughout our house. Done by professional installers as per Karndean installation instructions. Color is Ashland. After 3 months we noticed gapping. Karndean suggested we use more glue instead of just the perimeter glue down. I guess no loose lay concept then. Now we are seeing cupping. Bad investment, poor customer service, frustrating. Do not use the LVP. We will probably change out the floor next year since it is getting worse.

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        Erica A Meierhans

        We have the exact we problem. Planks are literally shrinking leaving huge gaps. This is happening in every room in our house with multiple types of subfloor. Karndean continues to blame install even though if you measure the planks they are clearly actually shrinking. Had to threaten to sue to even get a response. They won’t even let you talk to a human in the claims department, making you go through the distributor who will tell you they know nothing. It is the worst. DO NOT SPEND THE MONEY ON THIS PRODUCT AND COMPANY THAT DOES NOT STAND BEHIND IT’S WARRANTY.

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          Going through very similar problem with van gough planks gaps appearing larger than a credit card in multiple rooms. Karndean have checked and have told me it was down to an installation problem when the glued was applied.

          1. Avatar

            We are considering Karndean (RL07 » Santina Cherry » Art Select » Wood » 48) in our home. Reading through the reviews, some folks have dogs and go around with shoes and … with no issues (scratches, scuffs, dullness, etc.); while others seem to have these issues if they look at the floor funny! Some have issues with gaps appearing; some not. Obviously, the sub-floor must be fully prepped, no matter what anyone says. The installer must have experience with this specific product, not just LVP products in general. Could someone post pictures of their planks with gaps? If the product is actually measurably shrinking, that’s not good! Thanks!

  14. Avatar
    Jolean A Wegner

    We have installed Karndean LVP throughout our condo. It is beautiful and most people think it is real wood. I have one concern: Is there a safe pad to use under area rugs? We currently are using a basic felt pad under a medium sized rug, but this only works when furniture is holding it down. Is there any non-slip rug pad that will not potentially stain the vinyl?

    1. Avatar
      Carl Lythgoe

      I have had kardean rp 98. Lime lined oak dan vanci range. For 2 months now. I love the look of the floor. It’s my favourite part of the room . But I am so disappointed in its durability i can honestly say it’s scratched all over Allready every time I clean the floor which is every 2 days I discover new fresh deep scratches. I would really like to no how this is happening as I am so. Carefull with the floor it’s really frustrating at the rate I discover the scratches it will be destroyed in a year an will need replacing I would strongly recommend not purchasing this product as it will look scratched an old in no time.

  15. Avatar

    We’re on our second installation of Karndean flooring. Last year I had Van Gough Country Oak installed upstairs and down the hall. We have three Shetland Sheepdogs that run the upstairs like their outside skidding around corners and down the halls. The puppy plays with all his upstairs toys every day. We wear shoes in the house. We’ve not had one scuff, scratch all year. This Fall we’ve during DaVinci Limed Silk Oak in the bi level family room. They’re installing it now and for the next two days. It’s completely different and looks amazing. The same three dogs also play down there. The words DOG and CARPET should never be in the same sentence ever. Goodbye carpet!!!!

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    I would like to have a Karndean floor installed in an entry. Can I use a rubber-backed rug on it since it is an entry without it changing the color of the floor?

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    I’m interested in knowing about satisfaction with Karndean Korlok in term of scratches and dents. I’m leaning toward getting it over other brands that have poor reviews re: scratches.

    1. Avatar

      Hi. I fit Korlok professionally, it’s a superb product…

      As with most vinyl flooring scratches are inevitable, and I will say that Korlok is no different and can easily scratch.

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      I redid my 2200 sq ft home a year ago with korlock Cathedral Oak. I have 6 pets (dogs & cats). I love the floor, it is completely waterproof for their accidents and no discoloration or shifting of the boards. I paid extra to have padding put underneath due to my bad knees to give extra cushion. I have zero regrets, the floor is quiet, warm even with A/C on high (I live in Texas), and scratches are minimal. If you drag something heavy, then the texture top may get hurt, but that is your choice. My professional installers put felt pads on the bottom of all furnature and I’ve had zero issues.

      Those using rubber are crazy, that will leave rubber marks behind! For cleaning, I don’t understand why people think water cleans your floor. You need a floor cleaner specific for vinyl plank. Don’t complain if you aren’t using the product correctly.

      I can’t speak for non-korlock products, but the Korlock product line is excellent. I am building a new house next year and I am going to pay the builder to do a custom upgrade to use the same flooring in my new house that I did a year ago.

  18. Avatar

    I was reading that it can be installed over an existing hard floor. Does that mean it can be installed over laminate floors?

  19. Avatar

    Had vinyl planks installed on concrete slab. Have noticed there are some “lumps” in the floor as if the slab was not level. Advised by supplier that this does happen. Also there are thin (but noticeable) gaps between planks. Also advised that this was normal.

    1. Avatar
      Catherine Gertz

      The lumps happened to us, as well. We are now on the fourth attempt by our professional installer to get rid of the lumps. Any advice? They floated the floor and it’s still appearing lumpy.

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      My installer leveled all concrete flooring prior to installation of our korlock. This isn’t carpet, you have to prep your floor!

  20. Avatar
    David Collette

    Thanks for the article. I am impressed with Karndean flooring as they are one of the only resilient flooring material manufacturers that publish actual coefficient of friction (COF) test data using D2047. Most specifiers, interior designers or architects for example, are only usually told that the static coefficient of friction (SCOF) is greater than 0.50 (so can be called “slip resistant”).

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