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I recently wanted something cheap to put down in the conservatory that looked smart, but didn't cost the earth. I thought about laminate flooring, but that stuff can be tricky to fit sometimes and requires a lot of time, skill and patience to fit properly yourself. It would have gone brilliantly with the existing decor, but I decided that floor tiles would be so much easier to fit than laminate flooring, that it was the best option as well as the cheapest.
I searched all the usual suspects to find the right kind of floor tile for the right price, and these Wickes Oak Effect Vinyl Floor Tiles came out the best for quality, appearance, style and price. In fact there are very few tiles available for less per square metre than these cost - and yet these are one of the nicest floor tiles I've seen that aren't ceramic.
These are available only from Wickes, of course, and cost £4.39 for a pack of 11. Each tile is 305mm by 305mm, so one pack will cover 1.02m squared. I bought mine in store, including a couple of packs which were reduced due to damaged packaging, so I got an absolute bargain new floor for less than £30! I really can't think of any other way I could have got such a nice floor for so little expense.
Fitting these tiles was really very simple. I scrubbed the floor clean to begin with, as not doing so can result in the tiles peeling at the corners. Even the tiniest specks of dust can cause the tiles to lift. I noticed on the website that someone complained that these are cheap rubbish that peel within days of being laid, but this is honestly down to their being dirt or dust on the floor they've been laid on.
When the floor was spotless and dust-free, I started by arranging the tiles in a big cross with a line going down the middle of the room, and another going across. Once in place, I went to the middle tile and peeled off the backing, then stuck it firmly on the floor. It was easy to do and I found it adhered to the floor within seconds, with no need to push overly hard or anything. After sticking down all the tiles in my cross formation, I was able to slot the remaining tiles in perfectly without any gaps. It does tell you this on the packaging by the way, and really this is the age-old tried and tested best way to fit all tiles like this.
When I got to the edges of the room, I was really surprised to find that these tiles are really easy to cut down using a metal ruler and a stanley knife. They sliced like they were made of cardboard, and yet they're so durable and thick when you walk on them. There's a little guide on the back to help you if you're not sure how to cut tiles to fit edges by the way.
These tiles have been down for over a month now, and they still look brand new. They're really easy to clean and they've remained smooth and firmly stuck down all over. Liquid has been spilled on a couple of occasions, and each time it's been easily removable without sinking right into the tiles and ruining them. I really can't find a single fault with these tiles, and I think they look amazingly effective. We've had quite a few comments about our 'new laminate flooring' that have gone uncorrected!
You can buy these in Wickes stores, or you can order online. If you spend £45 online, you can even get them delivered for free. If you're looking for a wood effect flooring at a low price, I really can't recommend these vinyl floor tiles highly enough. They're cheap, easy to fit, good quality and they look fantastic.