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How to Choose Your Floor

How to Choose Your Floor

Flooring is one of the most important parts for bringing together the entire look of your space and the right functionality. The flooring material is an integral part of your interior design, however, it should meet the needs of your home or workplace as well. There are so many different details to consider when choosing the most suitable flooring option among plenty of available ones. Also, it is important to take into consideration that no one type of flooring is ideal for every room.

This article will help you to find out different types of flooring, their benefits and drawbacks, as well as the suitability of each for specific areas.

  1. Hardwood

Hardwood’s rich character never goes out of style. Good looking, long-lasting and a great investment in your home’s overall value, hardwood flooring is the perfect combination of practicality and elegance when it comes to home improvement. Five hardwood species are among the most common choices for residential flooring – oak, walnut, hickory, maple, and cherry.

When it comes to choosing hardwood floors, you’ve got two main categories to consider: solid wood and engineered wood. Solid hardwood flooring boards are milled from a single piece of wood, while engineered wood flooring looks just like solid wood, but it’s made in a different way. It has a thin veneer of natural wood on top, showing the grain, with layers of less expensive plywood underneath. That makes engineered wood both cheaper and sturdier.

Advantages

People love wood flooring because it looks great in any style of home with any decor. Particularly solid wood is very long-lasting since it can be refinished up to five times to remove surface scratches. It also adds some financial value to your home.

Disadvantages

The biggest downside of hardwood floors is that they are not that water-resistant and they can warp if they’re exposed to moisture for a long time, making them a bad choice for bathrooms or laundry rooms. Solid hardwood flooring can develop gaps if the wood contracts. If the moisture level in the wood was higher when it was installed, gaps between the seams can occur as the wood dries and shrinks. To prevent gaps, allow boards to acclimate to the room climate for at least two weeks before installation.

Best uses

Hardwood floors are best for living rooms, dining rooms, family rooms and bedrooms.  It should never be installed anywhere it’s going to come into contact with humidity, moisture, rising damp, or extreme changes in temperature. That includes kitchens, bathrooms, basements, above underfloor heating systems, etc.

  1. Laminate

Laminate is a floor covering that imitates parquet. This is a floor with its own advantages and disadvantages. Unlike natural coatings, it is not made of wood, but of HDF board pressed under pressure at high temperatures, on which a decorative polymer-based layer is applied, protected by a wear-resistant skin. Externally, distinguishing laminate from other natural wood floorings, such as parquet, is quite difficult. Today, the production of this flooring is highly developed. The texture can imitate not only all types of wood species but also other materials, such as marble, granite, as well as all kinds of patterns and even paintings.

 

Advantages

It is quite resistant and able to withstand significant loads and pressure. Traces of heavy objects, furniture legs do not remain on the surface, scratches and scuffs appear with difficulty. Its density is on average 1.5 times higher than that of wood. Therefore, it has high impact resistance. Some types of laminate floorings are suitable for installation with underfloor heating systems. Ease of installation and maintenance laminate is completely harmless and environmentally friendly. The material does not cause allergies, does not lend itself to the growth of mould and pathogenic bacteria. Products of European manufacturers are treated with anti-allergenic and antibacterial substances to increase safety. Moreover, one can obtain quality products at an affordable price.

 

Disadvantages

Laminate is demanding to the foundation. The rough base must be flat and clean. Irregularities, the presence of debris under the lamellas will lead to loosening of the locking systems, violation of the integrity of the floor. Laminate is sensitive to water. Even a high-quality floor suffers from prolonged contact with water. Joints are the most vulnerable spot. Excessively damp cleaning can cause water to seep into the cracks between the boards, into the base of the HDF board and, as a result, swell the coating. To eliminate the disadvantage, the joints are treated with wax or oil compounds. In rooms with a high level of humidity (kitchen, bathroom), only moisture-resistant laminate should be installed. The Laminate’s surface is cold to the touch. Tactile slats are colder than parquet or solid wood board. It is impossible to completely eliminate this disadvantage of the laminate.

 

Uses

Laminate flooring is a functional solution for most rooms. The universal floor is suitable for offices, apartments, houses with children and animals. Its technical characteristics are in no way inferior to natural parquet, and an additional advantage is cost savings.

  1. Vinyl

Vinyl flooring is a waterproof and durable PVC-based floor covering also called vinyl tiles, vinyl-quartz tiles, vinyl laminate.

Advantages

The multi-layer structure provides the special functional qualities and benefits of vinyl flooring, including being completely waterproof. Vinyl does not allow water to pass through, it is not afraid of moisture accumulation. The only thing it is afraid of is the penetration of water into the joints between the plates. Moisture can destroy the base. It is extremely important to thoroughly process the joints in rooms where the floor may come into contact with water. The coating is resistant to external influences – it will not leave traces of sharp heels, furniture legs. Elasticity provides springy properties of the coating – it is pleasant to walk on. It is anti-slip, silent, antibacterial and resistant to temperature changes. It is not afraid of temperature extremes and is suitable for laying in unheated rooms. Vinyl acts as floor insulation to retain heat inside the room. On the reverse side, the floor does not let the cold from the screed into the room. Therefore, you can walk barefoot on the surface, without worrying about children playing on the floor. Vinyl is ideal for people with bronchial asthma and allergies.

Disadvantages

Unlike wood floors, vinyl cannot be repaired. In case of severe damage or after the expiration date, the coating will have to be changed completely. To fix vinyl, which is thin enough in structure (about 2-5 mm), the base must be perfectly flat and smooth. Even the smallest particles of debris can cause serious damage to the coating. When choosing vinyl one should avoid fakes or poor quality coatings. They will tarnish or turn yellow over time. Plus, cheap vinyl tile options release toxins even at room temperature, leading to respiratory and eye problems. However, the disadvantages of vinyl floors are easily eliminated by choosing products from trusted companies. Due to its high-performance properties, vinyl flooring is often chosen as an alternative to the usual tiles and expensive wood.

Uses

Vinyl falls into three categories in terms of application:

Household – it is chosen for laying in living rooms. Usually laid in hallways, bathrooms, kitchens, often used on balconies. Its resistance to temperature changes is suitable for underfloor heating and for installation in unheated rooms. On average, it will serve about 10 years.

Commercial – intended for use in public areas: cafes, airports, hospitals. It features a thickened top layer, so it will last at least 15 years.

Special – used in rooms where the floor is subjected to constant pressure, for example, dancefloors, gyms, production halls. In order to extend the service life, mineral components are added to its composition, which reduces the sliding on the surface. The additives also increase the strength and lifespan of the floor up to 25 years.

  1. Tiles

Ceramic tile has been manufactured for thousands of years, and it is an extremely familiar material that is used for flooring as well as wall coverings. Porcelain tile is similar, but it’s not just glorified ceramic. Both materials start out as clay, and are moulded into a variety of shapes and thicknesses, glazed, and then fired in a kiln.

Advantages

Porcelain tile is highly durable. Because it is extremely hard and dense, this tile resists wear, scratching, chipping, and cracking. One thing that sets porcelain tile apart from other flooring materials is its water resistance — in fact, it is completely waterproof. That makes it an exceptional flooring for areas that are prone to getting wet, such as bathrooms and kitchens. Because it is waterproof, this modern tile is also extremely resistant to staining, so you won’t have to worry about mud being tracked in by pets and family members, messy meals, or the kids’ art projects. Porcelain tile is quite easy to care for. Unlike natural stone flooring, porcelain tile never needs to be sealed to maintain its waterproof properties. It does not need to be polished, waxed, buffed, or re-finished.

 

Disadvantages

The biggest disadvantage probably is the installation, which adds its cost. Unlike other types of flooring, porcelain tile installation is not really an easy job. It is extremely heavy and needs specialized equipment to cut. An experienced, professional tile installer is required. The density of porcelain tile can create problems too. You’ll need to make sure that your sub-floor and supports are strong enough to withstand the extra weight. Reinforcing your floor can add to the installation cost as well. Compared to other flooring materials, such as hardwood flooring, natural stone, or vinyl tile, porcelain tile can be less comfortable underfoot due to its hardness. It’s colder to walk on, especially in the winter. If you desire under-floor heating, though, porcelain tile is perfect for the job.

 

Uses

High durability makes tiles an exceptional choice for homes with pets and active children. Its toughness also makes it suitable for high traffic areas, which makes it a popular choice for commercial use in hotels, restaurants, stores, and other businesses. Modern porcelain tile is even frost-proof, so you can install it outdoors. Use it to finish off a three-season room, a patio, or even a pool deck. Owners of rental properties may appreciate it as well because it won’t have to be replaced for decades.

 

  1. Stone

There isn’t a room in the home that can’t benefit from a beautiful stone floor. Stone is not only a timeless and gorgeous material; it’s also very sturdy, durable and long lasting, making it a popular choice among homeowners. Installing a stone floor is a long-term investment.

Advantages

Stone is an extremely strong material that is why most of the ancient buildings that are best preserved today are made of stone. If you would like to design your home so that it stands the test of time, a stone floor makes for a great foundation. Its long life is accompanied by very low maintenance needs, unlike wood floors which need to be refinished and even replaced with time. Stone has a natural quality that allows it to stay cool in warmer weather and even cool down spaces in its proximity. This makes stone floors a great feature if you live in a place with a warm climate as it will stay cool to the touch and keep the temperature inside your home low even when it starts to get hotter outside. Stone has a very hard, smooth and nonporous surface. This makes it much easier to clean and keep dust and allergens out of your home. Stone floors can make a huge difference in the lives of people with more severe allergies and they can help cut down your daily cleaning time.

 

Disadvantages

The price is probably the biggest concern of most homeowners who are considering installing stone floors. Stone is a pricey material, costing significantly more than other flooring materials such as wood or laminate. When a stone floor gets wet it becomes very slick and slippery which turns it into an accident prone area. There are certain finishes and sealants (such as honed finishes) that can make the stone’s surface less slippery, but even they can’t prevent it entirely.  Make sure to use nonskid mats in areas where water is more likely to get on the floor such as in your bathroom or around the kitchen sink in order to minimize the danger of falling.

Uses

Stone is one of the few flooring materials that are easy to use both indoors and outdoors making for a seamlessly smooth transition from your yard or patio and into the home. Using the same type and color of stone is a fantastic way to connect your indoor and outdoor spaces and create a cohesive look. It is important to remember that children, elders and people with fragile bones are much more likely to get injured from a fall onto a stone floor.

  1. Carpet

Carpet is a favorite flooring option for homeowners, especially in bedrooms. It comes in a variety of colors, materials and textures. Carpet technology has improved over the years, and modern carpets have stain-resistant qualities. It’s also the most cost-effective flooring option on the market.

Advantages

Carpet provides thermal resistance, which means it will keep warm air for longer in colder seasons than other types of floors. Unlike most flooring surfaces, carpet gives a nice and comfy environment to relax, play, and work.

Carpet cushions fall and slide, making it an excellent choice for families with little children. There are literally hundreds of carpet styles and colours to pick from, allowing you to tailor your living area to your desire. In addition, carpet serves as a sound barrier.

 

Disadvantages

Depending on your lifestyle, the carpeting may need a high amount of upkeep, such as deep carpet cleaning and vacuuming on a regular basis. Due to its capacity to rapidly gather dirt and stains, carpet is an extremely sensitive floor covering material and after carpet installation, the right care is required. Allergens such as mildew, dust mites, and pet dander thrive on the carpet. Hardwood or tile are additional excellent flooring alternatives if you or a family member suffers from allergies or respiratory difficulties.

 

Uses

Carpets are best to use in living rooms, bedrooms, and children’s playgrounds. It is not recommended to use carpets in humid areas of the house, like kitchens or bathrooms.

 

Well, we hope you have found our ideas useful! We set out 6 types but it doesn’t end there. You can choose your floor based on your needs and location. For example, if you live in Sydney, Gold Coast  you can choose tile or timer floor, as it is warm and humidity is not always high. If you live in Melburne or Tasmania, You can think about carpet as it  is humid and cold, timber floor might easily got rotten away. 

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