I have a Victorian house which I extend 20 years ago. The kitchen essentially remained the same. The kitchen floor was never excavated and it is asphalt laid over the old quarry tiles. I laid a Junkers 9mm floating wooden floor. Over the 20 years I have had problems with damp/humidity levels in the room which does cause the flooring to expand and buckle slightly. This tends to happen during the late Summer months when there is no heating on. Added to that over the same period I have had a couple of disasters with e.g. bust pipe on a dishwasher, a blocked drain and the floor has got wet. It is time to replace it.

Ideally I think the floor should come out. That becomes a big job as I would need to remove all the kitchen units, excavate down a sufficient depth to install base, DPC, insulation, screed etc. Clearly there would be improvements in thermal performance and and hopefully also reduce humidity. Speaking to various people though they think it is unlikely I am getting much, in any, damp coming up through the floor it will be the general humidity. I have noted that the floor moves once the humidity gets over 40%.

Any ideas please and any options considered. I would prefer to keep a wooden floor, do I replace it with something heavier? What about underfloor heating? Should I dig it all out and start again? Could use tiles but then cooler, or something like Amtico?

  • Elizabeth Dean

    How about just exposing the original quarry-tile floor? Cold, but beautiful if you like the Victorian rustic look…

    …or excavate and put in underfloor heating. Electric is thinnest and cheaper to buy, although not so efficient to run in a large space.

    … if you can excavate, add a damp-proof membrane, construct a supporting network of timbers (as if building an indoor deck!) and float proper, heavy, tongue-and-groove floorboards across the frame. I have a Swedish timber house, circa 1946, that has an original floor built in a similar way that is fabulous. It’s warm and draught-free, thanks to the tongues and grooves leaving no cold gaps! It’s just pine but is stained in matt ‘English’ hard wax oil (very hard wearing) to look a little darker, like medium oak.

    Good luck!

  • Lindsey Davis

    What is the ventilation like in your kitchen Jeremy? Kitchens have high levels of humidity, so taking measures to tackle this is essential, whatever you do with the floor. Make sure you have a cooker hood, or extraction system fitted to remove all of the added moisture from cooking (if you don’t already).

    If you are considering underfloor heating, you may want to excavate to install a wet system. When you are doing this, you can sort out the damp proofing and check there are no issues with damp from underneath too.

    With UFH you can choose cold floors like tile and not worry about it being cold underfoot. Just be sure that whatever flooring you choose is ok over UFH.


  • Post a comment
    You must be logged in to comment. Log in