The Do's and Don'ts of Laying Karndean Flooring: Expert Advice for a Flawless Finish

Last Updated on April 23, 2024 by SampleBoard

Embarking on a home remodeling project can be both exhilarating and daunting, especially when upgrading your floors to something as stylish and durable as Karndean flooring.

Renowned for its resilience and variety of designs, understanding how to lay Karndean flooring properly is essential to maximize its aesthetic appeal and longevity.

This guide offers expert advice on the crucial do's and don'ts during the installation process, ensuring that your new flooring not only transforms the look of your home but also delivers lasting quality and satisfaction.

Whether you're a seasoned DIY enthusiast or considering professional installation, the following insights will help you navigate the complexities of laying Karndean flooring effectively.

Rest assured, with the proper guidance, this is a task that you can confidently undertake.

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Do's of Laying Karndean Flooring

When installing Karndean flooring, meticulous planning and execution are vital to achieving a flawless finish.

One of the most crucial steps is preparing the subfloor.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on laying your Karndean floors perfectly, enhancing their function and form.

Prepare the Subfloor Thoroughly

A smooth, clean, dry subfloor is critical for adequately installing Karndean flooring.

Subfloor: Any debris, moisture, or irregularity can compromise the adhesive’s effectiveness and the flooring’s appearance.

Begin by removing any old flooring coverings, adhesives, and nails. Next, check the floor level using a spirit level and apply a suitable smoothing compound to even out any high spots or dips.

This step is vital, as a level surface will support the vinyl planks or tiles uniformly, preventing undue stress and potential damage.

Acclimate the Flooring

Karndean flooring requires acclimation to your home's environment before installation.

This process involves leaving the unopened flooring boxes in the room where they will be installed for at least 24 hours.

This allows the flooring to adjust to the room's temperature and humidity levels, reducing the post-installation risk of expansion or contraction.

Skipping this step can lead to warping or gapping, which can affect the floor's overall integrity and appearance.

Measure and Plan Layout

“Measure twice, cut once” is an essential rule in flooring installation.

Before cutting any pieces, carefully measure the room and plan the layout. Consider the most visually appealing and practical direction to lay the planks or tiles.

Running the flooring parallel to the longest wall or the light source light is generally recommended.

Detailed planning helps minimize waste and ensures the pattern looks balanced, with the cut pieces at opposite walls approximately equal width.

Use the Right Adhesive

Using the correct adhesive is crucial for Karndean flooring.

The manufacturer will specify the recommended adhesive type for your particular flooring model.

These adhesives are designed to bond with Karndean materials optimally, accommodating their unique expansion and contraction properties.

Apply the glue with a notched trowel, and only spread as much as you can within the adhesive’s open time to prevent it from drying out before the flooring is placed.

Seal the Edges in Wet Areas

Sealing the edges of Karndean flooring in areas prone to moisture, such as kitchens and bathrooms, adds an extra layer of protection.

Water can seep through the edges and underneath the planks or tiles, potentially damaging the subfloor and reducing the flooring’s lifespan.

A silicone sealant along the room's perimeter, especially near entryways, bathtubs, and toilets, creates a barrier against moisture ingress.

Don'ts of Laying Karndean Flooring

Laying Karndean flooring correctly is crucial to achieving a visually pleasing and long-lasting finish.

However, common mistakes can easily undermine the quality of your installation. Here are some critical "don'ts" to avoid during the process.

Awareness of these pitfalls will help you proceed cautiously and ensure a successful installation.

Skip the Subfloor Preparation

The importance of a properly prepared subfloor cannot be overstated.

Avoid laying Karndean flooring on an uneven, unclean, or moist subfloor from previous cleaning or treatment.

Any residues, dirt, or moisture can impair the adhesive’s ability to bond effectively, leading to lifting or misaligning the tiles or planks.

Always ensure the subfloor is thoroughly cleaned, dried, and leveled using a suitable smoothing compound.

Neglect Room Conditions

Installing your flooring in unsuitable environmental conditions can lead to poor outcomes.

For instance, Karndean flooring should not be installed in overly humid or excessively cold rooms.

Such conditions can affect the curing of the adhesive and the material's ability to expand and contract properly, potentially leading to a flawed installation.

Always aim for a stable room temperature and moderate humidity levels to facilitate optimal installation conditions.

Rush the Installation

Rushing the installation process is a surefire way to encounter problems later.

Each step, from measuring and cutting to laying down the flooring, requires careful attention and precision.

Hurrying through these steps can lead to poorly aligned seams, gaps, and potential adhesive failures. Take the time to carefully follow all installation steps and double-check your work as you go.

Ignore Expansion Gaps

Failing to account for expansion gaps is a standard error that can have significant repercussions.

Karndean flooring, like other vinyl materials, expands and contracts with changes in temperature and humidity.

Neglecting to leave sufficient space around the room's edges can lead to buckling and unsightly bulging of the flooring.

Ensure you leave the recommended gap, usually about 5mm, around the perimeter of the installation area to allow for this natural movement.

Use Harsh Cleaning Products

Post-installation maintenance is as crucial as the installation process itself.

Avoid using harsh cleaning chemicals that Karndean does not recommend. Products containing bleach or ammonia can degrade the flooring material and affect its appearance and longevity.

Instead, opt for cleaning solutions approved by Karndean and stick to regular sweeping and gentle mopping to keep your floors looking their best.


Laying Karndean flooring involves meticulous preparation and attention to detail.

By following these do's and don'ts, you'll ensure your flooring is aesthetically pleasing, durable, and well-fitted.

Proper installation and care can significantly enhance the beauty and lifespan of your Karndean floors, making them a smart choice for any home remodeling project.

The satisfaction of a job well done, knowing that you've transformed your home with your hands, is a feeling like no other.


How long does Karndean flooring take to install?

The time it takes can vary depending on the area's size and the layout's complexity. On average, a professional can complete a room within a day or two, assuming the subfloor is prepped and ready.

Can I lay Karndean flooring over an existing tile floor?

Yes, you can lay Karndean over existing flooring, such as tile, as long as the surface is smooth, clean, and well-adhered to the subfloor. Use a suitable leveling compound to fill any grout lines.

Do I need to use underlay with Karndean flooring?

Karndean flooring does not generally require an underlay. However, ensure the subfloor is appropriately prepared to provide a stable and level surface.

How do I maintain my Karndean floor after installation?

Regular sweeping and mopping with approved cleaning products are recommended. Avoid using steam mops or cleaners, as they can damage the floor. Promptly clean up spills to prevent stains.

What should I do if a section of my Karndean flooring gets damaged?

One advantage of Karndean flooring is that sections can be replaced without redoing the entire floor. If a section becomes damaged, consult a professional to replace the affected tiles or planks properly.