Tag: flooring

What flooring Interior Designers are choosing this Summer…

As with many businesses, we’ve seen a significant slowdown over recent months. But fortunately, as lockdown has eased, we’ve seen business pick up, and now we’re hoping for a busy Summer. As we’ve dealt with before, choosing your new floor can be a scary; there are so many options, the tendency is to go for the safer “natural wood” option. At Kite, we’re lucky to work with a number of bold designers, who set the trends for 2020 and beyond. So what are they choosing for their flooring options?

  1. Darker finishes

We had so many enquiries when we launched our business about darker finishes we developed our own darker colour scheme. As you can see from the images, darker wood creates warmth within a room. Contrasted against white walls, a dark floor can also make a room feel larger. Often people are nervous about going for a dark finish, but remember, in most rooms you have rugs and other items of furniture, which create contrast. Our finishes come with both a satin and rustic look.

Dark finish, with Satin texture.

This product can be viewed within our Newington Range – https://www.kite-flooring.com/our-floors/engineered-wood/newington-range/

2. Parquet boards, again in a dark finish.

Again this creates warmth, and contrasted with white walls, makes the room feel bigger. The most common forms of Parquet, are Chevron and Herringbone, and both can stretch the appearance of a room; if parquet is laid widthways, the room feel wider, lengthways, the room feels longer. Parquet also makes a design statement with your floor. We love the way this Chevron floor has been used in the Hoxton Hotel, Paris.

Dark finished Chevron in the Hoxton Hotel, Paris

This product is part of our Bespoke flooring collection. Please contact us for a sample.

3. Wide, long boards

As a minimum, our clients have been requesting a 19cm width board, but we’ve also had a number of requests for wider boards, sometimes up to 23cm. Wider boards are normally specified for larger properties with high ceilings, but we’re also seeing them specified by designers, in smaller new-build apartments as well. Here is an example, from one of our manufacturing partners, with a wide board in a new build apartment –

Wide, long boards in a new-build apartment

Almost all our products are available in varying widths.

4. Three strip floor wood floors can become a feature…

Whilst not in our core range, we also offer a three-strip engineered product (these floors have three strips of wood on a single plank). These are often the cheapest form of engineered wood and are popular with Developers (it’s engineered wood, at the cheapest price!?….). With some products, you can barely see the strips, however, when part of a Mid-Century scheme, the strips can be accentuated, and like parquet, can become a feature. Here it is looking suitable retro, with a Mid-Century chair.

A three strip, natural oak board.

For advice, samples and pricing on three strip boards, or any of the other products listed here, contact us at info@kiteflooring.com.

Flooring strategy for residential property professionals

At Kite, whilst much of our work is with consumers, we also work alongside residential property professionals looking for a flooring strategy that will deliver the best returns. In Lettings, the factors to consider are i) minimising upfront spend, ii) ensuring the features of the product fit the use case, iii) maximising lifespan, and iv) giving sufficient “wow” factor. For Sales, we give “wow factor” more weighting, but the other factors are broadly similar.

i) Minimising upfront spend

This is generally the starting point for investors. But, remember, flooring is not simply based around product cost. Fitting should also be factored in, plus additional materials. Certain products, such as those with click systems, are easier to fit, other products are harder, such as Chevron or Herringbone engineered wood. Also, some products will require underlay, others will have it built-in. Get the full cost, before making a decision.

ii) Ensuring the features of the product fit the use case

Every product has features and benefits, as well as scenarios where they’re not suitable. For example, wood products and most laminate are not suitable for wet areas such as bathrooms, and solid wood floors are not suitable for use with underfloor heating. Acoustic properties should also be considered; vinyl products will minimise sound transfer in new-build flats, and if laminate or wooden floors are used, extra precaution should be taken with high-density underlay. In some leasehold flats the freeholder will even specify the type of underlay that should be used. 

iii) Maximising lifespan

The flooring industry is very good at putting long warranties on products and then creating small print to ensure it’s almost impossible to ever claim! However, these warranties can still be used as a guide for durability. For most use cases, 10 to 15 years is sufficient, it is certainly not worth paying a premium for longer from an investment perspective. Some Luxury Vinyl Tiles come with a lifetime guarantee!

What is relevant is how the product performs when stressed or damaged. For example, an engineered wood floor will always struggle to withstand stilettos or a sofa being dragged across it. Vinyl or Laminate will barely mark. In the Private Rental Sector, the reality is tenants won’t maintain the floor with the same care as an owner-occupier, so a more resilient product will prevent deposit disputes at the end of tenancy.

iv) Giving sufficient “wow” factor

At Kite, we obviously love floors, but sometimes products just need to work. On the flip side, for certain Sales markets, a Herringbone or Chevron floor could deliver the “wow” factor to make the sale. At Kite, we can provide entry-level laminate for affordable rentals, that will last for years, be fitted quickly, and will deliver more than enough “wow” factor to attract suitable tenants. We also have trained carpenters that are able to fit the most complex of wooden floors in prime residence. 

For advice on the best flooring solution for your next project, please contact info@kite-flooring.com. We’re a UK wide full-service operation and can quote any property in the UK within 72 hours and normally fit within two weeks. 

Our Nationwide Local Service – a service designed for nationwide property professionals.

The flooring industry is big, which is no surprise given everyone needs floors!

Most estimates put the UK market at around £2bn. But as a market, it is typified by large scale manufacturers working with small, localised retailers and fitters.

With their well-funded Research and Development departments, these manufacturers have invested heavily in product innovation over the last few years. For this reason, the quality of laminate is now unrecognisable to what it was 5 years ago. Entirely new categories have been developed, such as Luxury Vinyl Tiling (LVT) or High Pressure flooring for contract environments. There is a limitless selection of colours and textures.

But on the supply and fit side the innovation has been been slower. 

One of the pain points we have encountered is with businesses who require a nationwide flooring service. They typically carve up the UK by different service providers which means poor buying and inconsistent service levels.

At Kite, we focus on using technology to remove market inefficiencies. For example, we use cutting edge surveying technology to survey any property in the UK within 48 hours. This means our clients can receive a bespoke quote within 72 hours, having never left their desk. We then deploy our team of mobile fitters, working nationwide, who can usually fitting within two weeks. Finally, we provide a video walkthrough of the property, providing clients with a before and after record.

From a clients’s perspective this means –

  1. They don’t have to visit the property to get a quote.
  2. They don’t have to worry about getting measurements wrong.
  3. They won’t need to over order, just in case.
  4. They have a single contractor, nationwide, who takes ownership of each and every project, end to end.
  5. They have peace of mind that the project has been successfully completed without needing to attend the property.

We call this our Nationwide Local Service, a service specifically designed for nationwide property professionals.

Ultimately, at Kite, we’re still in the service business, so our people will always be central to everything we do. But we know we can deploy technology across our processes to improve client experience.

To obtain a quote for your next project, please contact us on info@kite-flooring.com.

Ed and Kristian

Why we started Kite

We started working in property services nearly 15 years ago for one of the largest companies in the sector. This journey took us right across the property spectrum. Sometimes we were working with FTSE companies, sometimes we were working with single Landlords. Sometimes we were working on penthouses, sometimes we were partnering with Local Authorities. We often referred clients to partners for their flooring requirements, but it was rarely something we became involved with; we had relationships with various flooring companies, who more often than not, got the job done. But there seemed to be no one company that provided an exceptional end to end service.

This all changed in the Summer of 2017 when we were invited to one of the largest flooring manufacturers in Europe (we’re talking billions, not millions). We were astonished by the difference between the cost of high-quality product and what was charged to the consumer. Further research into the market revealed a broken supply chain, with too many middlemen, especially when the ultimate clients were reliant upon building contractors and flooring shops. 

We were also overwhelmed by the vast number of options, sometimes with almost no difference, visible or otherwise. Psychologists call this “Overchoice”, or as Alvin Toffler described in his book, Future Shock “Overchoice takes place when the advantages of diversity and individualisation are cancelled by the complexity of buyer’s decision making process”. Do people need 50 shades of grey when choosing carpet? Do they need 120 different types of texture when choosing a wooden floor? The answer is no. They need a curated range of high quality products, at a fair price, any of which would look fantastic in their individual space.

But the product is only one aspect of flooring; it also needs to be fitted professionally. The majority of companies will supply, or fit, but they don’t do both. This means that consumers end up dealing with two companies, which can increase costs and mean that nobody takes ownership of the project.

Kristian is based near the Brecon Beacons, an area famous for affordable, skilled workers. Our teams travel across the UK and are almost always more affordable than fitters in city areas. We also have our own fleet of trucks and vans – so control the distribution from the start to the very last-mile, another place where things can go wrong.

Finally, Sustainability is a priority for us. There are some amazing flooring manufacturers out there. There are also some questionable ones. Organisations and accreditation bodies such as the FSC (https://www.fsc-uk.org) and the PEFC (https://www.pefc.org/) are a great place to start, but consumers still have to be careful. For example, we discovered retailers displaying an accreditation logo on their homepage, when only one of their products was registered! We have spent a lot of time sourcing our product range responsibly, resisting the temptation to source cheaper products from unknown sources.  This is something we feel really strongly about.

We’re looking forward to working with professionals who wish to join us on our journey.

Kristian and Ed

Providing beautiful floors at a fair price

Get in touch for help and advice on our flooring