Floor finishes

Also see:

9.3.7Flexible sheet and tile finishes

Flexible sheet and tile finishes shall provide a suitable wearing surface for the location and intended use.

Flexible sheet and tile finishes should be:

  • installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations, and generally be fully bonded
  • installed on a backing surface which is even and without high spots or cracks; where necessary, using a levelling underlay of a type and thickness recommended by the flooring manufacturer or in accordance with Table 4
  • reasonably level and smooth, particularly at doorways and junctions
  • fitted with skirtings, coves, coverstrips and other preformed components, where required, and in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Table 4: Acceptable types of underlay for boarded surfaces

Type of underlayMinimum thickness (mm)
Oriented strand board6

Chipboard and oriented strand board underlay should be fixed to battens:

  • with flathead ring shank nails or screws
  • with fixings 2.5 x the thickness of the board
  • at 200mm-300mm centres (9mm from edges)
  • across the boards, at 400mm centres.

Plywood or hardboard underlay should be fixed:

  • with ring shank nails or staples
  • with nails/screws at least 10mm from the edge of the panel
  • around perimeters, at 100mm centres (12mm from edges)
  • across the sheets, at 150mm centres.

Flexible sheet flooring materials should:

  • be stored in a clean and ventilated place
  • not be stored in cold conditions, unless permitted by the manufacturer
  • not be exposed to temperatures less than 18°C for a period of 24 hours before, or during, laying.

The substrate should be sufficiently dry to prevent adverse effects on the flooring, and where:

  • there is a risk of trapping moisture or interstitial condensation, permeable finishes should be used
  • flexible sheet or tile flooring is installed on groundbearing concrete floors, a DPM should be incorporated to prevent rising moisture adversely affecting floor finishes.

When installing flexible sheet or tile flooring:

  • ensure underfloor services are not damaged
  • it should be cut so that it fits neatly around fittings, pipes, etc.
  • adhesives should be spread evenly and left for the correct period of time to ensure full bonding
  • the surface should be pressed down firmly, loaded or rolled as necessary to prevent curling, lifting or bubbling
  • surplus adhesive should be removed
  • welded joints should be provided in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations
  • adjustment after initial contraction or expansion should be made where necessary.

Standards relevant to flexible sheet and tile finishes include:

BS EN ISO 10581‘Resilient floor coverings. Homogeneous poly(vinyl chloride) floor covering’
BS EN ISO 10595‘Resilient floor coverings. Semi-flexible/vinylcomposition (VCT) poly(vinyl chloride) floor tiles’
BS EN 650‘Resilient floor coverings. Polyvinyl chloride floor coverings on jute backing or on polyester felt backing or on a polyester felt with a polyvinyl chloride backing’
BS EN 651‘Resilient floor coverings. Polyvinyl chloride floor coverings with foam layer’
BS EN 12104‘Resilient floor coverings. Cork floor tiles’
BS 8203‘Code of practice for installation of resilient floor coverings’.