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 were 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.

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 pro’s and con’s of vinyl plank flooring.

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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 8 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, recreating 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 distinct 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.

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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 new system.

Like the name suggests, loose lay doesn’t require adhesive or staples, instead using 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.

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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.

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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 a breeding ground 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, they have 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 to maintain Karndean’s product guarantee you should use their floor cleaner, which is available at Karndean dealers and online sites like Amazon.

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Overall Opinion

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

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.

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 offers, by far, the largest selection of stone and wood LVP flooring style choices. Couple that with the ultra-high quality, realistic colors and textures, healthy certifications, and lifetime warranty, and Karndean could be the overall best LVP product out there. LVP is not perfect or impervious to damage, but the Karndean line of products appears to set the bar for LVP flooring worldwide.

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

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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.

2 thoughts on “Karndean Vinyl Plank Flooring Review”

  1. 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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