Tag: laminate

Flooring strategy for property professionals – Case Study

When we launched our business in 2018, we were surprised by the number of flooring strategies, even from professional floor buyers. Often these were not thought through; they were either price-led, “what’s your cheapest engineered wood floor?” or they were born out of a relationship or product a client had previously used. 

Key questions which buyers struggled with included –

  1. When to use laminate and when to use engineered wood? Should they use Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVT)?
  2. What colours should they use? Darker finishes, light or natural oak tones?
  3. Should they use straight-boards or patterned floors like Chevron or Herringbone? 
  4. Who should do the fitting? A specialist flooring contractor? Or a building contractor?

Often they would forget the service aspects of supply; so, how and when it should be quoted and delivered and how they would specify additional extras such as underlay or transition bars.

One of our clients is a business called flyp (https://flyp.co/). flyp works with property vendors to renovate their homes. It’s a revolutionary business model that involves no upfront commitment from the vendor. flyp funds the renovation of the property, which is typically done over 10 days and then relaunches it to the market. Whilst the property is being marketed, they monetise it through short-lets which funds a good part of the renovation. When it comes to selling, they typically achieve a 10% uplift in the sales price, with 95% of homes being under offer in two weeks. It’s an attractive business model; the vendor gets a sold property, for a price they are happy with, flyp makes revenue from the short-let income and the uplift in the sales price. Key to flyp’s success is the speed, cost, and ultimately finished product of a property; they need to make buyers fall in love with the homes they work on and they claim this happens within “the first seven seconds” of a viewing!. 

Flooring is a key part of flyp’s strategy, as inevitably, many properties need a flooring upgrade. To help answer some of the questions our clients have struggled with, we thought we’d look at their strategy; 

What flooring do they use?

flyp uses a blend of laminate and engineered wood. The laminate is hard-wearing, often coming with a lifetime residential guarantee and flyp opt for light coloured, straight board finishes. This allows them to contrast feature walls and bold coloured furniture.

The Kilburn Retreat 

Peach walls contrasting with the grey sofa. Bloom Light Natural Laminate Flooring.

The Kilburn Retreat

The heart of Fulham 

Laminate flooring, contrasted with bold feature walls. 

The heart of Fulham

In prime areas, flyp opts for straight board, engineered wood. Whilst Laminate is great, engineered wood has a deeper colour and the texture of real wood feels more grainy. Moreover, buyers of these properties expect a prime specification to sit with the price tag. Again lighter colours are chosen to contrast with flyp’s bold colour choices. The boards are either rustic, so with knots, or have a slight texture to them.

flyp doesn’t go for the “cheapest engineered wood”. This is a common strategy from some property professionals. There are cheaper engineered wood products in the market, such as lacquered, “three-strip” boards, but in the flyp designers’ view, they don’t have the depth of colour that a slightly more premium engineered board has. For them, you either opt for the light oiled, engineered wood boards, or the cheaper laminate.

Bermondsey Square Escape

190mm, 15mm wide engineered wood board. Rustic grade. Our Lewis finish from the Newington Range.

Bermondsey Square Escape

Queensway Escape

Lewis Textured – Here a slightly textured finish was used to provide a contrast with the wood paneling. This is perhaps our favourite floor.

Queensway Escape

What about Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVT)?

LVT tiles are a great product. They’re quick to fit, realistic, and virtually indestructible. But so is a good quality laminate floor. There are benefits to LVT; such as it’s water-resistant, it gives off less sound when walked on, and can be fitted without underlay. But in flyp’s use case, these advantages don’t outweigh the more premium price point. For flyp, it makes sense to either simply install a floor that just works, the laminate, or a floor that will wow the buyer; the engineered wood. 

What about the supply chain?

For flyp, time is of the essence. Every day spent renovating a property, is a day of missed rental income. For this reason, they need to choose reliable floors that are quick to fit and can be delivered quickly, at specific times. They also need to make sure that when the floors are delivered, there is a sufficient quantity, and that all the accessories needed, such as underlay, beading, door bars, and trims are delivered at the same time.

It doesn’t work for them to have products delivered through larger online providers; not only can they not fulfil the delivery commitments, but they also rely on the client or contractor to provide measurements and an inventory of extras. Getting this information can take time, and slow down the process. 

In terms of fitting, the floors have to be easy to fit as the building contractors do the fitting; so no chevron or herringbone. Also, as fitting the floor is normally one of the last tasks to carry out, it is more efficient for the building contractor to arrange this, rather than flyp having to coordinate with further trades. Of course, with any building project, plans change, so the supplier needs to be constantly in touch with the contractor, making sure the floor is only delivered when they are ready. 

In Summary

So with flyp the strategy started with range, “We worked with Kite to choose floors to help buyers fall in love with our renovations, at a price point that worked for our business model”. Jess Knight, Head of Design for flyp. 

But after that, the strategy was about minimising renovation time. This meant fast lead times, site surveys, and flexible, timed delivery slots.

Combining these factors meant flyp had a flooring strategy they could scale.

All images courtesy of flypwww.flyp.co – and their sister business, Stay Beyond – https://staybeyond.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

Get in touch for help and advice on our flooring