Flooring Advice & FAQs
Read our flooring advice section to help you choose a new floor or to take care of your existing flooring. Choosing a new floor can be a difficult and daunting task, especially with so many products available. There may be questions that you will want to ask to help you decide on the right flooring choice for your home, decor and lifestyle.
Whether you are looking for a wood, laminate, luxury vinyl floor or would rather opt for a warm carpet or rug, our dedicated specialists are on hand to help you make the right decision according to your lifestyle, the area of the home you are updating and, of course, your budget.
Our products all have different installation processes, guarantees and durability. Click on the FAQs for each different flooring type for more information and advice. Remember, each product from the different manufacturers all differ in terms of quality, durability and the guarantee available.
As well as our FAQs, we also have some handy guides to give you an overview on the benefits of the different flooring options available to you, including a carpet buying guide, information on the benefits of luxury vinyl and advice on taking care of your wood floors.
If you don’t find the answer to a question you may about any of our products of services, please don’t hesitate to Contact Us for flooring advice. Our experts are on hand to provide advice on any type of flooring including luxury vinyl, carpet, laminate and engineered and solid wood.
Visit our showroom on Fenwick Road in Giffnock to find out more about the different types of flooring available to you. Our 4,000 square foot showroom features a children’s play area, coffee bar and we have extra large samples so you can really get a feel for each type of flooring that we retail.
Alternatively, call us on 0141 638 0968 for expert flooring advice.
Wood Floor FAQs
Will I need to refinish an engineered floor?
It depends upon the thickness of your hardwood layer, but it is very rare to require your engineered floor to be refinished. With the high quality finishes that are offered and the extensive process that refinishing a floor entails, damaged areas are often removed professionally.
Can engineered wood floors be laid over a concrete floor?
Concrete is the ideal base for an engineered wood floor. First you will need a floating floor over a Combi underlay, as this will have a damp proof membrane. Then the engineered wood floor will be fully glued to the sub floor.
Do I need to leave an expansion gap with wooden floors?
An expansion gap needs to be left with all wood and laminate flooring that is fitted in your home. Wherever your solid hardwood, engineered wood or laminate floor meets a fixed object such as a skirting rail, door, pipes etc. you will need to allow a gap of 1.5mm for every metre in length and width.
What is the best laying direction?
Laminate and hardwood flooring can be laid in your home either lengthwise or width-wise. It really does depend on the room and your own personal choice. We recommend laying the floor in the same direction as the main light source and the main front door. If you have lots of doors and windows then we will recommend which direction will look best based on our experience and expertise.
Can an engineered wood floor be installed in bathrooms or wet areas?
No it is not recommended to install engineered wood flooring in bathrooms or wets areas. Areas such as kitchens or toilets are fine as long as any spillages of water are cleaned up as soon as possible.
What’s the best alternative to wood flooring?
Laminate and luxury vinyl flooring are both extremely versatile flooring products. They can be installed in virtually any room of your home, above or below ground, over wood or concrete. There are several locations that are not recommended for laminate and vinyl flooring. With recent manufacturing developments the look as well as the feel of these products are very close to real wood.
Where can I have laminate flooring installed?
Because laminate flooring is essentially comprised of compressed wood, we don’t recommend that it is installed on wet or humid locations such as a bathroom, wet room, sauna, enclosed veranda or anywhere that will get wet. This is because it could cause your laminate flooring to warp or swell.
When can a laminate floor be installed in a bathroom?
If you would like laminate installed in a bathroom we recommend that any water and spills are mopped up and dried straight away. We recommend using laminate in a larger bathroom or where there is good ventilation. However, we would recommend that you opt for a more water resistant floor covering.
What are the advantages of laminate flooring over hardwood flooring?
Laminate flooring is typically half the price of hardwood flooring (and sometimes the savings can be greater), which for some is an obvious advantage. Laminate flooring is easy to install and can be installed as a DIY job rather than getting it expertly fitted (although there are many disadvantages to doing this!). Hardwood flooring needs a level of expertise and skill, which many DIY enthusiasts simply don’t have. Laminate flooring can be installed quickly, and because it’s scratch resistant, fade resistant and the products available are such good quality many customers opt for laminate over hardwood flooring.
How do I maintain my new laminate floor?
Laminate flooring really is one of the easiest flooring types to care for. It is incredibly resilient and can be fitted in any room for a stunning finish that will last for many, many years. We recently re-fitted some 8-year old flooring in a customer’s home. They wanted to change the living areas to hardwood and as the laminate was as good as the day it was fitted we replaced the carpet in the main bedroom with their unwanted laminate at their request, and it looked as good as when we installed it new. To maintain your laminate floor we advise our customers to vacuum them regularly and use a damp – not wet – cloth to clean up any spillages. Make sure that you don’t use too much water or cleaning detergents to clean your laminate floor. The best method for cleaning is to vacuum or sweep your laminate flooring first to clear any loose dust or grit. Then spray a fine mist of water over the floor in manageable sections, and then wipe them dry making sure you don’t use a non-abrasive, clean cloth.
Why do I need to use a DPM on a concrete subfloor?
There can be a lot of moisture stored in concrete floors that you are unaware of. You need to make sure that there is no contact between this moisture and your new laminate flooring otherwise it will ruin the floor. We recommend installing a moisture barrier over the concrete surface so that your laminate floor will last.
Can I use my old carpet underlay with laminate flooring?
No, carpet underlay is specifically designed to offer comfort underfoot. If you lay a laminate floor over this type of underlay you will put intense pressure on the joints, which will result in damage to the laminate.
What can I do if my floor is making noises when I walk on it?
Squeaky or noisy floors are usually due to an uneven subfloor or even the expansion and contraction of your hardwood or laminate flooring. Try sprinkling talcum powder onto the board that’s causing the noise as this will reduce friction. Otherwise, you need to find out the reason behind the noise and this could mean taking up part of your floor and look at the root cause
Can a laminate floor scratch?
Melamine makes up the surface of laminate flooring, it’s scratch resistant but isn’t scratch proof. Sharp objects can scratch the floor and it isn’t indestructible so make sure you take precautions. Make sure you wipe your shoes to avoid sharp stones, lift rather than drag furniture, use furniture casters, trim dog’s nails and try not to drop any sharp heavy objects onto your floor. When using a vacuum cleaner make sure that the wheels and brush are in working order and don’t drag on the floor. Finally don’t leave water or wet substances on the laminate flooring surface without cleaning them up straight away.
Why would I choose First Floors for my carpet purchase?
We are an independent family business which has successfully supplied flooring for over 20 years throughout Scotland. We pride ourselves in great service, great value, and great workmanship. Our only concern is that our customers are nothing more than delighted with our service.
Will I be able to find what I am looking for in your store?
Absolutely. Our showroom is located over 3,500 sq ft and we have thousands of samples to choose from, ranging from man-made option to natural fibres and wool blends suitable for every area in the home. The options are endless, we have unlimited colour and styles for twists, Berbers, Saxony’s and Axminsters.
Will I find something in my budget and receive value for money?
We have carpets from budget to mid and high range price bands and offer carpets starting from just £6.99 per square metre. In addition, we constantly compare our prices with other retailers to ensure our customers get the best prices. We also have a price match guarantee so should you find the same carpet elsewhere we are happy to match the price, and we run regular special offers and discounts.
Do you charge for estimates?
No! We offer a free home estimate and planning service, available 7 days a week and at a time to suit our customers. In addition, we can bring the samples to your home.
Do you offer a fitting service?
We only employ the very best fitters in the business. We have a fitting service for every product we sell, carried out by specialist fitters for that particular product, and at a lower price than most of our competitors. In addition, we can arrange to move furniture, uplift existing flooring, and prepare subfloors.
What are the delivery and fitting timescales?
We can have carpets on a next day delivery (subject to stock availability). Most carpets will only take 3-5 days to arrive.
What if I wish to order but not ready for a fitting date?
Many customers want to take advantage of a special offer even though they haven’t moved into a property or are waiting for decorating to be carried out. Or they just want to order a floor and delay the fitting for whatever reason. This is absolutely fine, simply place your order to avoid any possible price increases and we will store your carpets until you are ready for fitting, at no extra charge.
Do you have an after sale service?
Yes. Upon completion of every fitting we always ensure we carry out a happy call service to confirm our customers are satisfied with our service and that there are no issues with the product. In addition, customers have a fitting and manufacturing guarantee for complete peace of mind.
We would like carpet on stairs and top landing but wood on my hallway. Do I have to go elsewhere for my hallway?
No. One of the great things about First Floors is that as well as a wide range of carpet options, we also have a vast range of solid and engineered wood including herringbone and crosshatch flooring in wood, an extensive range of luxury vinyl, and laminate options. We also stock ceramic tiles.
We only purchase environmentally friendly products – are you environmentally aware?
We supply carpets made from recycled materials including recycled plastic bottles, carpets made from corn on the cob and made from bamboo which is the fastest growing, most sustainable wood on the planet. Even our underlay is made from recycled material. Order your fantastic new carpet with the good feeling of helping to protect the environment.
What are the advantages of the Vinyl click system?
Vinyl doesn’t need a subfloor, it uses the click system to ensure tight and consistent joints between every board, it comes in a range of finishes including wood effect which is indistinguishable from an authentic floor, the material is completely stable and scratch resistant, it is long lasting and incredibly durable, it is scratch, stain and fire resistant, it’s immune to the sun’s rays, it’s warm, quiet and easy on the feet and is very easy to fit so keeping fitting costs to a minimum.
Does vinyl flooring need a subfloor?
No, that’s what’s so great about this innovative new product. It is a floating floor, and the existing subfloor doesn’t need to be perfect. If it is damp or powdery, we will simply lay a damp proof membrane. It also needs no drying time after the floor is laid, and will be perfectly flat and even, regardless of whether there is some movement on the subfloor.
Is Vinyl a good alternative to solid hardwood or engineered wood?
One of the great features of vinyl flooring planks is that it is available in a True Grain range. This range is a textured finish and follows the grain pattern precisely, making it virtually indistinguishable from an authentic wood floor.
What about a glue down vinyl floor?
Many of our vinyl flooring brands are available in a glue down system which means the floor is fixed. This is very durable and long-lasting as there is no movement in the floor
Can I have vinyl flooring in a humid area such as a bathroom or shower room?
Yes, vinyl is perfect for these areas. They are very hardwearing and water resistant, making them a popular choice for these areas.
Is luxury vinyl expensive to fit?
It’s no more expensive to have fitted than a wood floor, making it a great alternative to these products.
Can I have any carpet made into a rug?
Yes we can, but please bear in mind that we are governed by the carpet widths of either 4m or 5m wide, however there are many multi wide ranges that can enable us to minimize waste. We can order any carpet, cut to your specific size and have it sent for whipping or edging.
Can I have any shape or size rug?
There is no minimum or maximum size restriction on bespoke rugs, however we cannot cut carpets to circular or half moon shapes.
What edgings are available?
We have a range borders available in several colours and widths. However, if you would like a bespoke rug from Alternative Flooring there are many borders available in cotton, canvas, leather and suede. You can also have several borders combined to help tie in several colours from your décor.
How long will it take for my bespoke rug to be delivered to the showroom for collection?
Made to measure rugs from Alternative Flooring take around 4 weeks for delivery, whereas made to measure rugs from all other brands will take around 2 weeks.
What is Make Me A Rug by Alternative Flooring
Alternative Flooring has a wide range of wool and natural fibre rugs (made from seagrass jute and coir) in many styles and colours. You can now have a rug made from any of the Alternative Flooring carpet ranges using a clever online tool. You can visit the showroom and we will talk you through the ranges available and the process of designing your own rug.
What’s the difference between a synthetic and wool rug?
Synthetic rugs are more stain resistant, and many are bleach-cleanable so are ideal for busy family lives and in areas of high footfall such as a hallway. Wool rugs are made from a natural product, and therefore are higher in price. However, they have a longer life expectancy, as the fibres are flexible and don’t break as easily.
Do you have any ready-made rugs in store?
Yes we have a brand called Clan, which provides some stunning tartan rugs and runners in various sizes and in a range of colours. However, we offer a bespoke rug service whereby you can have a rug made out of any of our carpet ranges and either edged or whipped. Talk to one of our experts if you would like a rug with a difference, as we can talk you through all the options.
What size area rug should I buy?
We recommend that you purchase a rug leaves a gap of at least two feet on each wall. Generally you should place the rug in front of furniture rather than underneath it, especially if you have a beautiful natural wood or luxury vinyl floor that you want to show off, and the contrast can be really attractive
What types of rugs make the best investments?
Hand–knotted rugs are the highest quality and longest lasting rugs available, and can last over 100 years.
How do I pick the right rug to compliment the patterns and colours in my room?
The best way to decide on the best rug for your home is to do some research – visit design sites such as Houzz and Pinterest for interiors ideas, and also our brand websites to get some ideas. Generally speaking, geometric and floral designs clash but either goes well with stripes but try not introduce a new pattern if you have lots going on, similarly if your room is plain you might want to introduce a design in your rug.