Choosing the right flooring for your summer house

Summer houses can be bought in sections for easy assembly; however, as with any building project, there is no substitute for good planning.

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Begin with a clear view of all the purposes you might want your summer house to serve over its lifetime – not just the one you have in mind initially. A summer house built for children to play in might become a quiet study for them to do college work later, but this may need better insulation. If it will have a motor mower stored in it, think about flooring that is easy to clean. Electricity or running water are easier to install at the beginning than having to hack through your floor later.

Summer houses do not normally require planning permission, although there are a few regulations about height, distance from roads and boundaries, and the size of platforms or verandas. Verandas could certainly influence your choice of flooring. Do you want the same flooring running through both the indoor and the open-air spaces? If not, how will you tie them together?

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Garden summer houses in NI will experience weather extremes. The warmth they quickly absorb on clear days can build up to significant temperatures on hot days. In winter, temperatures will fall below freezing. Flooring extending outdoors will need to be weatherproof or tolerant.

Garden summer houses NI look best when the flooring either matches or complements the structure. Modern timber treatments are low odour and non-toxic compared with the creosote of old; however, for a homelier space, you may want to consider other options.

Laminate vinyl and linoleum

Laminate tiles are not suitable in areas that get significantly or frequently wet. Other engineered wood products have similar moisture sensitivity.

Linoleum is an excellent choice, but seal the edges so water cannot get underneath.

Vinyl, whether in sheets or tiles, is an excellent choice for this kind of airy space. Inside homes, it can emit VOCs (volatile organic compounds); however, in a well-vented external space, the water-resistant qualities will shine without any build-up of VOCs.

Sub surface

To lay tiles of any kind, a firm and flat sub surface is needed. This is true whether the tiles are stone, ceramic, parquet or laminate boards. A layer of plywood usually does a reliable levelling job.

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