Sub-standard goods threaten floor products

Friday, March 13th, 2020 00:00 | By
Isaac Maikwek, Sales Director, Floor Décor Kenya at their business premises in Nairobi. Photo/PD/JOHN OCHIENG

Milliam Murigi@millymur1   

Why should one make the right decision when it comes to purchase and installation of flooring materials?

Flooring is a crucial element in the housing industry and this cannot be overstated. Flooring influences many factors that ultimately have an impact on whether space is well used or not.

Many beautiful floors don’t function as they should, simply because the flooring finish was wrong or impractical.

It is important to realise that although our first interaction with space is a visual one, the actual physical contact a person will have with space will be the floor.

What are the common flooring mistakes homeowners make?

The biggest goof many customers make is pursuit of low prices at the expense of quality. Few know that usually, the cheaper the price, the lower the quality.

Another blunder is that many buyers aren’t after well-known brands in flooring materials,  yet brand is key.

Never go for unknown brands because the quality of the product might be compromised. 

Also, some customers go for the right flooring,  but install it in the wrong places and they are often disappointed.

Others use inexperienced workers. Most people don’t even know that different flooring works best for different lifestyles.

What should one consider before settling for any flooring product?

The weather pattern should guide you on the kind of flooring to install. Floor traffic is another consideration because for residential flooring, the wear layer is different from that for commercial flooring. 

In commercial flooring, the wear layer is always higher since the thicker the wear layer, the more durable the floor.

For slippery surfaces, you need to look for slip-resistant products.  Be keen to examine the ratings, which are always marked by symbol R from R 9 to R 12. The higher the number, the better.

Tell us more about a floor product dubbed Mkeka wa Mbao.

This is one of the products we sell. Others are Forbo Marmoleum Linoleum, Flotex and Pergo.

In total, we have 20 designs of flooring products and Beau Flor, popularly known as Mkeka Wa Mbao has become so popular because its affordability, it is 100 per cent waterproof, easy to install and comes in different textures.

Moreover, it is soft for the feet and warm. Most clients are bracing for climate change impact by buying products that keep buildings warm. Conventional floorings are cold, slippery and tedious to install.

What environmentally friendly solutions is industry inventing?

Of late we have seen a reinvention of environmentally friendly flooring with beautiful designs. The products are made from natural products with zero or little impact on our environment.

These include Forbo Marmoleum Linoleum, bamboo and cork, among others. Most of them have anti-microbial properties that reduce allergens in the home,  an added advantage.

What are the new trends?

PVC and Epoxy flooring have been reinvented, with new and beautiful designs. Ceramic tiles with digital prints and new washable carpets are also coming up.

We are also seeing a reinvention of environmentally friendly products. Definitely the internet has had a positive impact on the sector.

People are now aware of alternatives to convention flooring, something which would have taken ages before. We are also quickly learn about new products introduced to the market.

What challenges do you face? 

The increase of substandard products is the biggest challenge. For our business, inspection and transportation delays are a headache.

Initially, I used to import the products and within 40 days they used to be ready for collection at the Inland Container Deport. 

But ever since the introduction of overseas inspection and re-inspection at inland container by Kenya Bureau of Standards, the process takes more than 60 days. Delays to collect a container attracts a storage fee of Sh6,000 daily per container. 

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