When looking to improve the appearance of our homes, we often look at the paintwork and general decoration, ignoring all but those at eye level. However, making the right choice in flooring can make a significant difference, not only to the appearance of your home, but also to its practicalities.
There are four main types of flooring available that are commonly used; these are wooden flooring, laminate flooring, carpets or vinyl tiles. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks and we will look at these here:
Real Wooden Flooring
Natural wooden flooring can look stunning. It offers a warm and natural look around the home and is particularly suited to older styles of houses. It is best used in areas such as a living room or hallway where it will show off the space it is in. The benefits though should be balanced against the fact that it is expensive and can be difficult to fit and is likely to require an expert to do this. Because it is a natural product, it will expand and contract in hot and cold weather and will stain easily, and is therefore best avoided in kitchens.
Laminate flooring is made from compressed fibreboard and has a wooden style patterning printed on it to attempt to give it a natural wooden appearance. This effect varies in quality and often corresponds to the price. It is a hardwearing and in many cases, waterproof product (do check before buying though as this is not always the case). This makes it an ideal material for use in kitchens and bathrooms. As well as being cheaper than natural wooden flooring, it is relatively straightforward to fit and provided you have reasonable DIY skills, you may be able to do this yourself. Despite its benefits, aesthetics wise, it is a poor substitute for natural wood and cheaper makes can swell over a period of time. Also, if you are looking to sell your home in years to come, it should be noted that laminate flooring can be a real turnoff for some people.
Carpets are commonly used in many homes and have a number of pros and cons. On the plus side, they offer warmth and act as insulation too. Naturally, the quality of the carpet will depend on the cost and the better ones can be very expensive indeed whilst the cheaper ones can offer very little in the way of comfort and luxury. They can also be problematic for those who have allergies as they are popular with all sorts of dust and mites so are best avoided by allergy sufferers. If you have pets too, carpets may not be the best choice as, inevitably, pets will have accidents and these stains and smells can be very difficult to remove. Despite this, there are a wide range of styles and colours available which makes the use of carpets an easy and effective way to brighten up the home.
Vinyl tiling can be a very good option if you are on a budget. Coming in any number of colours and patterns, the choices are almost limitless and you should be able to find a design which suits you and your home. Preparation for fitting the tiles is usually straightforward as they can be placed on almost any surface and are a great way to easily cover cracked or damaged floors. They are however easily damaged and will fade if exposed to sunlight. Ideally they should not be used in a damp environment such as the kitchen or bathroom.
There are a number of pros and cons to weigh up with all of these materials, but with a little planning and forethought, you should be able to find the one that is best suited to your needs.
About the Author
Author Colin McD. We recently had water damage, so it was time to choose some new flooring or carpet for our downstairs areas, which of course led to many questions as to what to choose! Eventually we chose a white wood flooring option from www.floors2go.co.uk and also some vinyl tiles for the kitchen. It’s installing them that is the next challenge.