STACKABLE FLOORS: INTRODUCTION
The floors stackable on the existing ones represent an effective solution to be adopted during the renovation phase, if you do not want to remove the existing floor.
When proceeding with the restyling of an apartment, one of the most frequent interventions is precisely the replacement of the floor.
In fact, in the old houses the floor often appears obsolete or ruined so, unless it is in fine materials like marble or parquet that deserve to be treated and brought to new life, needs to be replaced.
However, a floor refurbishment involves the following steps:
- demolition of the existing floor and often also of the subfloor screed;
- unloading and transport to refuse rubble;
- remaking of the screed;
- finally, installation of the new floor.
The sum of the costs of the various processes makes us understand immediately that it is a rather expensive intervention, an expense that is not always able to deal, especially if the surface of the apartment is large.
To this inconvenience we must add further problems, such as:
- first of all, the long times necessary for the completion of the works;
- the nuisance caused by noise and the formation of dust and debris, especially if you live in an apartment building;
- the inability to remove the old floor if the property is not owned, but is rented.
Hence an stackable floor proves to be the most suitable solution.
WHAT THEY ARE?
The stackable floors are in fact those of extremely reduced thickness, such that they can be laid on an existing floor.
They exist in several materials, including:
- finally, vinyl.
Among these, however, we must distinguish those that allow the complete restoration of the existing floor and those that do not allow.
Typically, this is possible when no products are used for gluing and therefore the underlying surface can be brought back to original conditions, once removed.
Before choosing a stackable floor, however, there are some factors to consider:
- first of all, take into account the weight of the floor to be overlapped and the load-bearing capacity of the underlying floor;
- even if of reduced thickness, the new floors may involve the need to slightly modify the existing doors;
- finally, the existing floor must be in good condition, perfectly flat and level.
Let’s now see a brief review of the most common stackable floors.
SUPER THIN CERAMIC STACKABLE FLOORS
First of all, among ceramic materials, porcelain stoneware is a particularly resistant and durable type, as well as having a great aesthetic impact.
Normally, a porcelain stoneware tile can have uno spessore anche di 12 – 14 mm, which can be a problem if used in overlap.
Research and studies carried out in recent years led to the creation of tiles with a thickness of just 3 mm, including one 0.5 mm glass fiber reinforcement layer, suitable instead for the purpose.
To proceed with the installation of a thin porcelain stoneware floor on an existing floor, the following steps are followed:
- first of all, clean and properly prepare the surface to improve the grip;
- apply a double layer of adhesive both on the surface and on the tiles, evenly and in the same direction, with a notched trowel;
- rest the tile starting from the long side and make it adhere perfectly to the bottom;
- also, apply pressure with small touches of a rubber spatula, to avoid the formation of bubbles and voids;
- eliminate excess glue that comes out;
- insert the spacers to create the escapes;
- finally, fill the escapes with specific products.
STACKABLE RESIN FLOORS
Resin floors are one of the trendiest choices right now. In fact, one of the main advantages of this material is the possibility of creating monolithic surfaces without continuity solutions, without therefore the typical joints typical of ceramic tiles.
But the success of the resin is also linked to the possibility to allow you to create a new floor without having to resort to expensive and annoying removal of the existing one, thanks to its thickness of a few millimeters.
The resin can be applied on any substrate, therefore also an existing floor, provided it is properly prepared and leveled.
Particular attention should be paid only to any presence of moisture that can cause cracks and injuries.
The cladding is laid in three steps, so as to layer the dough and making the surface resistant and durable; then it comes left to dry for the time necessary to solidify.
The three layers are made up of:
- fluid primer;
- polyurethane resin;
- finally, paint film.
SELF-ADHESIVE VINYL STACKABLE FLOORS
The use of adhesive vinyl flooring has recently extended to the residential sector, thanks to the aesthetic improvement of the product, due to the contribution of computer graphics.
Today, in fact, withPVC you can imitate any material, including marble and parquet, not only in appearance, but often also to the touch.
Available in blades or tiles, it can also be easily applied in DIY mode thanks to the presence of double-sided adhesive strips.
The important thing is that the underlying floor is smooth and clean. If not, you need to level it and apply a fixative.
One of the advantages of vinyl floors is that they do not require the affixing of an underlying sound-absorbing mat because the material is already silent on foot walking.
STACKABLE FLOORS WITH FLOATING LAYING
Among the solutions of stackable floors, those with floating pose allow you to restore original floors later.
In fact, this type of installation allows to avoid the use of glue or nails and, moreover, it is also possible in DIY.
Among other things, in this way the floor can also be dismantled and put back in place elsewhere.
The floating installation, takes place using the interlocking system called male-female.
This technique can be adopted for:
- prefinished natural wood parquet;
Before laying, an insulating material mat must be placed on the floor, to be turned up along the walls, behind the baseboard, in order to:
- standardize the laying surface;
- impedire la risalita di umidità;
- finally, limit the propagation of noises.
The mat can be made of various materials, such as:
- bituminous sheath;
- closed cell expanded polyethylene sheet di circa 2 mm di spessore.
After placing the mat, you can proceed the laying of the strips starting from a wall with the part of the joint called female.
Along the perimeter of the rooms it must always be left a space of at least 10 mm, to be covered with the baseboard, to allow the material to expand and contract naturally based on changes of temperature.
The floating floor remains stationary on the underlying one thanks to its weight.
To cover an old floor and create a new flooring, beautiful and welcoming, there are many solutions and materials. In recent decades, the market has gone increasingly towards these solutions, giving the cue for the birth of new stackable flooring.
The laying methods are basically two:
- with total and / or partial gluing;
- resting with floating pose.
Glued floors or countertop floors are both valid solutions, so deciding between the two becomes a subjective choice. In fact, better to decide first if you prefer to glue the new floor on top of the old one, or lay it down.
Certainly the ones that are having the most success are support floors, especially in rented premises, where it often happens that the new one cannot be glued, because the property does not want it.
Another reason for the success of the support floors is that they are not binding, that is, they can be laid and replaced easily, changing the look.
When compared with the demolition of the floor and the complete remaking of the screed, the stackable floors have some advantages:
- it is cheaper: it allows us to save the cost of demolition, the disposal of the resulting materials, and the construction of the new screed;
- it is also faster: the time required to demolish and redo the screed and waiting for it to mature lengthen the construction time by at least 20/25 days
In the face of these advantages there are some differences:
- the construction of a new screed allows us to maintain the same level of the floor, without having to raise the internal doors, the armored doors and the French windows. The latter two are not always easy to raise to the new level of the overlapping tiling;
- the construction of a new screed gives us greater guarantees on the bond strength. In fact, the adhesive clings perfectly on a screed while the adhesion on an old floor, although improved by adhesion promoters, does not reach the same adhesion levels.
HOW CAN NEW TILES BE GLUED TO EXISTING TILES?
First you need to understand if it is possible to make the overlap. Because it is possible it is necessary that they are some pre-conditions are met:
- the old floor must be firm and well cohesive, there must be no detached tiles or that “sound empty”;
- in addition, the existing tiling must be planar so that no teeth or unevenness are created in the new flooring.
If these two preconditions are respected the overlap can be achieved. The methods of realization foresee:
- application of a primer on the existing surface which has the function of improving the adhesion of the glue on the old tiling;
- bonding of new tiles possibly with the double coating method and leveling wedges.
CHECKS TO BE MADE BEFORE THE OVERLAY
The decision to proceed with gluing the floor instead of demolishing the whole floor, as we have seen, it needs some checks.
To check that the floor is firm and that it “doesn’t sing empty”, we recommend using a steel ball and bouncing it on the old tiles. If the ball bounces well and with a high-pitched noise, the tile is correctly glued.
If, on the other hand, the noise is dull and the rebound is low, then the tile must be detached and the space cut.
Clearly if there are too many low-cut tiles on the surface to be paved, it is not appropriate to proceed with the overlap but the entire floor will have to be demolished and dismantled.
To check the flatness of the floor you can use a laser or, failing that, a two-meter pole to be positioned in all directions to discover any depressions or bumps. If the disparity is excessive, it will be necessary to remove the floor and redo the screed.
HOW MUCH DOES THE OVERLAPPING OF NEW TILES COST?
The prices of the stackable floors vary according to the material used, the square meters to be built, the finish, etc.
Currently, the costs of the various types of stackable floors are:
- ceramic: the cost can vary from 20.00 to 40,00 euro per square meter;
- vinyl from 8.00 to 15.00 Euros per square meter;
- laminate from 7,00 to 20,00 Euro per square meter;
- self-adhesive vinyl from 15,00 to 20,00 Euro per square meter;
- floating vinyl from 20,00 to 40,00 Euro per square meter.
The costs refer only to the price of the material, to whom transport, handling and the necessary materials must be added for laying, any preparation of the bottom and the total workforce.
As for the costs of concrete floors spatula and resin, it is not easy to establish a fairly reliable price since various factors come into play, such as:
- the square meters of intervention;
- the type of cement or resin, if self-leveling;
- the degree of finish;
- any reconstruction of the substrate, etc.
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