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Karndean Vinyl Plank Flooring Review

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Long considered the “gold standard” in luxury vinyl plank (LVP) flooring in the U.K., Karndean Design flooring is now an emerging brand here on the other side of the Pond.

Over the past 40 years, the company has built a great reputation for making realistic luxury vinyl flooring products and was one of the first manufacturers to introduce the “loose lay” LVP concept. More on that in a moment.

Karndean is not a “mass market” budget manufacturer. People looking for very high-quality design, a variety of styles, and durability choose Karndean—and don’t mind paying premium prices. With that price, however, comes tremendous durability and an impressive selection of colors, textures, and looks. In fact, Karndean is an established worldwide brand for some of the most demanding commercial flooring environments. That says a lot.

Sure, there are plenty of brands offering LVP (also called LVT) products, but what makes Karndean Designflooring different? Perhaps more importantly, do consumers love or hate those differences? Let’s take a closer look at Karndean.

Key Advantages Of Vinyl Plank Flooring

The Karndean line boasts all the advantages of vinyl plank flooring in general. It’s:

  1. Easy to maintain
  2. Quiet and warm on the feet
  3. Very durable

Vinyl flooring is “softer” and warmer on the feet than wood or tile. It also has some shock and sound absorption qualities, so your home will feel quieter, and you won’t have the creaks and moans of real hardwood or laminate flooring.

Key Advantages Of Vinyl Plank Flooring

Cleaning vinyl planks is a breeze with just a mop and a pH-neutral cleaner. Luxury vinyl is also more tolerant to drops, spills, and swings in temperature and humidity.

By the way, if you’re still trying to decide between vinyl plank flooring and another flooring type (i.e. wood, tile, laminate, carpet, etc.), check out our recent article on the pros and cons of vinyl plank flooring.

Customized Product Ranges

One of the things that makes the Karndean line stand out is its large variety of customizable product ranges. They currently boast eight different product ranges and more than 200 individual product choices.

Here’s a quick rundown of the product ranges currently available:

The premium and popular Art Select range features super-realistic wood and stone looks with finishes that mimic the real-life textures of those natural materials. The Art Select line is also known for offering one of the only options for truly realistic wood parquet-look vinyl. This line has styles that reproduce the look of oak, hickory, limestone, marble, and travertine, among others.

The Da Vinci range features slim and smooth wood planks with beveled edges and a broad range of traditional ceramic and stone-look tiles. The styles in this line are decidedly more “rustic” and textured-looking than some of the other products.

Conversely, the Van Gogh line of products mimic large wood planks, re-creating the look of real timber, with large planks and subtle texture. Van Gogh tiles come in a variety of clean and distressed looks.

Michelangelo LVP products are inspired by natural stone and feature soft, light colors. These unique products have distinctly textured metallic, mosaic, and pebble designs.

The Opus product range features clean, modern lines in a wide variety of wood and concrete textures in grays, browns, and whites, available in Karndean’s largest format planks and tiles.

Knight Tile is their most affordable line, but it’s not lacking in choice. Knight Tile features both wood and stone looks, and features a versatile collection of stripes and borders to customize your floor design.

Each product range takes design inspiration from different natural materials, so sizes and formats in each product line can range significantly.

In addition, each product line has its own vinyl plank thickness & wear layer—some planks are far more durable than others. Keep in mind, planks with thick wear layers are more durable, so be sure to evaluate your durability needs when considering the different lines.

The LooseLay Option

They say “Loose Lay,” or “LooseLay,” is the most versatile and easy-to-install of all the LVP options. Many brands offer a loose lay option, but Karndean was one of the pioneers of this system.

The LooseLay Option

Like the name suggests, loose lay doesn’t require adhesive or staples. Instead, it employs their proprietary K-Wave system that uses friction grip to hold planks to the subfloor. Very cool.

Karndean LooseLay could be the ideal solution in small spaces or rooms where you want to reduce noise levels without needing any underlay. In addition, Karndean LooseLay tiles are dimensionally stable so they will not expand or shrink in different moisture levels.

This line also includes a wide array of color and style options such as distressed, gray, chocolate, and copper tones in all the usual wood grain looks.

The Eco-Friendliest LVP

Karndean is one of the most environmentally conscious LVP companies in the world. After listening to years of complaints from the public about vinyl flooring’s negative environmental impacts (like toxic emissions and inability to be recycled), Karndean reengineered its products to be certified by Global GreenTag™. This means their products have been certified for various environmental air quality standards.

Karndean floors also come with a BRE Global Green Guide rating and are LEED-certified. Their products also carry a test certificate from the U.S. Greenguard Environmental Institute and meet the ‘for use with Children and Schools’ standard, specifically LEED Credit 4.3 and CAL 1350.

As if all that weren’t enough, Karndean products are manufactured in factories certified to the ISO 14001 environmental standard and ISO 9001 quality standard.

What do all these certifications mean for you?

Your floors will never emit volumes of toxic gases that are present in many other brands of LVP flooring. You can also feel good that when you replace the floors in the future, they won’t be sitting in a landfill for all eternity.

Easy To Maintain

According to Karndean, their floors are highly resistant to stains and simple to keep clean, and consumers mostly agree. Their floors cope with spills without warping and everyday drops on the floor will not leave permanent damage. Unlike carpets, their LVP floors don’t act as breeding grounds for dirt, dust, and bacteria.

Designed to last for many years, each floor carries a lifetime residential warranty. If for some reason one plank is damaged, a replacement can be substituted by an installer, so be sure to save some extra tiles after installation.

What’s more, Karndean has  recently incorporated enhanced PU protective surface treatment into all their floors. This provides outstanding slip, scuff, and soiling resistance, while transforming the cleaning and maintenance of the floor into a simple chore—no more waxing.

Some cleaning products contain agents that can damage LVP floors, so Karndean supplies its own cleaner (Karndean Clean) specially formulated for their floors. It’s important to note that in order to maintain Karndean’s product guarantee, you should use their floor cleaner, which is available at Karndean dealers and online sites like Amazon.

Cost

Since Karndean has so many different options to choose from, it will come as no surprise that there are also a lot of different price points.

Karndean’s budget lines, such as the Knight LVP line and the Opus line, cost between $2.50 and $4.00 per square foot.

Mid-range lines such as the Looselay Longboard series and the Korlok Reserve line cost between $4.50-$5.00 per square foot.

For Karndean’s top-end lines such as the Art Select line and the Da Vinci line, prices start at $5.00.

Also, remember that all Karndean lines come with an integrated underlayer, which would otherwise need to be purchased separately.

While the LVP floors are easy to install, it is recommended that you use a professional installer from a Karndean dealer. This will ensure your lifetime warranty is valid and that you avoid the common installation mistakes that could occur—a subfloor that isn’t level, for example.

Karndean has U.S. showrooms in Las Vegas, Nevada, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Fort Worth, Texas.

Customer Opinion

Is vinyl as durable as they say? Some homeowners would say “no way,’ but Karndean’s customers are mostly happy.

Customer Opinion

Fading, scratching, denting, and scuffs appear to be common complaints with all vinyl floors, but those complaints are fewer and further between for Karndean. Their website features verified customer reviews, a rating of 4.4/5, and lots of praise.

We saw consistent praise for Karndean on other online review sites as well, but Karndean isn’t completely free of critics. From what we’ve read, most of the negative reviews are the result of (possibly) unavoidable accidents or improper installation.

FAQs

Is Karndean Flooring Worth The Money?

In our opinion, yes, Karndean flooring is worth the money, especially since this quality flooring is made available at a highly accessible price point. This flooring is designed to stand up against wear and tear. When cared for properly, you can expect it to last 35 years in a domestic setting, much longer than the standard 15–20 years that can be expected for most LVP flooring.

Certainly, Karndean LVP flooring doesn’t have the lifespan of hardwood, and it doesn’t add value to your home in the way that hardwood does. But if you are looking for the convenience and durability of vinyl, it is worth every penny.

Does Karndean Scratch Easily?

Like most LVP flooring options, Karndean flooring is more resistant to scratches than wood and many other flooring options, but this does not mean that it will never scratch. Heavy and sharp objects can cut through vinyl with ease.

Karndean does its best to protect against scratches by combining a durable wear layer (thickness depends on the line), which is then layered with K-Guard+ Surface Protection as an additional layer against dirt and bacteria.

Karndean also recommends applying Karndean Refresh to floors once they are laid. This acts as yet another layer of protection. If the floor gets scratched, you can use Karndean Remove to scrub away the Refresh layer, and most scratches with it. The Refresh layer can then be reapplied.

In the case of deep scratches, the entire plank will need to be replaced. But this is relatively straightforward if installed using the Karndean LooseLay system.

How Long Does Karndean Flooring Last?

Karndean is so confident in the durability of their product that they offer a Lifetime warranty for their planks in residential settings, and warranties of between 10 and 20 years in commercial settings, depending on the product line.

Of course, this only covers the structural integrity of the floor and does not guarantee that your floor will not become faded or scratched. If cared for properly, your floor should continue to look good for 15 to 20 years.

Can Dogs Scratch Karndean Flooring?

Karndean floors are highly scratch resistant, and thanks to its additional K-Guard+ protection layer, it should not be overly affected by the nails of pets. However, owners should also take responsibility and keep pets’ nails at a reasonable length to ensure they do not make deep gouges or scratches in the surface.

Can You Mop Karndean?

Yes, you can mop your Karndean floors with a wet mop and a pH-balanced cleaning solution. However, in order to keep your warranty intact, it’s best to use Karndean’s own cleaning products, which are specially designed to work with their floors.

It is also possible to steam clean Karndean floors without damaging them, though the manufacturer suggests that this be done with caution and that it’s better to use their cleaning system, developed specifically for their floors.

Can You Vacuum Karndean Flooring?

While sweeping is recommended as sufficient for clearing dirt and debris on Karndean floors, they can also be vacuumed. But ensure that you have a vacuum cleaner with attachments appropriate for vinyl flooring to protect against damage caused by brush heads etc.

How Much Does It Cost To Install Karndean Flooring?

Karndean floors are designed to be simple to install, so that anyone with reasonable DIY experience should be able to do the job themselves. However, if you do choose to enlist the services of a specialist, you should expect to pay between $1.50-$3.00 per square foot for installation.

Can You Remove Scratches From Karndean Flooring?

If you applied Karndean Refresh to floors, it is relatively easy to remove light scratches. You simply use Karndean Remove to take off the Refresh layer, which should take any shallow scratches with it. You can then apply a new Refresh layer.

If you do not have a Refresh layer and the scratch has not penetrated beyond the wear layer, buffing the area around the scratch may help reduce its visibility.

But for any scratches that have penetrated beyond the wear later, the only way to remove them is to replace the plank. This is relatively easy to do without having to lift much of the floor, but make sure you always buy extra planks when installing your floor in order to have some in reserve.

Does Karndean Flooring Fade In Sunlight?

Yes, like the majority of floors, Karndean floors will fade when regularly exposed to direct sunlight. The flooring does use a UV inhibitor to minimize the effects of exposure, but like sunscreen, this has limited effectiveness.

Manufacturers recommend using shares of blinds to minimize the floor’s exposure to sunlight— that is, if you’re willing to sacrifice your nice sunny view.

The Verdict

If you are looking for top-quality LVP flooring that looks like real wood or tile and is still affordable, then Karndean is a great range to investigate. They offer some of the best-quality LVP flooring on the market and by far the largest selection of stone and wood LVP flooring style choices.

All LVP flooring has its drawbacks, In particular, it won’t do anything for the resale value of your home, and it can be susceptible to fading and denting. But while a lot of LVP flooring also comes with a number of environmental and health risks, Karndean has worked hard to minimize these. They now offer some of the most environmentally friendly and safe LVP flooring options available anywhere.

If you are looking for LVP flooring, we highly recommend that you include Karndean on your list of brands to consider.

If you have any comments or first-hand experiences with Karndean Vinyl Plank flooring, please post them below or share your pictures via our social media.

About Kristin Warner

Kristin Warner is a freelance writer and serial home remodeler. She has renovated three homes and is a certified Home Stager and Redesigner.

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