Every Step of the Way: Choosing your Flooring
It is important when adding the finishing touches to your home to consider each and every aspect, and flooring is a crucial decision that will stay with you every step of the way. There are a range of options available on the market: carpet or wood, laminate or tiling, so it is important to decide what you want from your floor, what sort of maintenance it will require and what visual effect is best suited to the room.
Choosing a carpet:
Carpet transforms a room into a warm and cosy living area, adding colour and comfort to walk on. Thanks to improving stain-protection, stains need not be a worry but you should consider other factors, for example the amount of ‘traffic’ through an area to help you decide what carpet type to go for.
What are carpets made from?
Carpets are usually made from nylon, olefin, acrylic, polyester or wool. Olefin is hard wearing synthetic fibre; resistant to chemicals and fading. Acrylic is a good, cheap choice because it can come in a wool-like or cotton appearance without the associated price tag. Nylon and Polyester both have strong fibres resistant to abrasion and chemicals, polyester in particular is easy to clean. As a natural fibre, wool is a popular choice that is warm, easy to clean and durable.
What type of pile should I get?
Pile refers to the way that the fibres in your carpet are constructed. You can get cut pile, level loop, textured and multilevel loop. Cut pile has a plain, flat finish while level loops are formed from loops of fibres of the same length. A multilevel loop pile has loops of different lengths, which creates pattern and texture in the carpet. Similarly a textured carpet is twisted and cut to form a patterned design. In all of these piles the fibre used, density and amount of twist is most important in determining its durability.
Choosing laminate flooring:
Of course carpets may not be suitable for every household or for every room; particularly in hallways and kitchens hard floors are a more popular choice because of their durability and ease when cleaning.
What are the advantages of laminate flooring?
What started out as a cheap alternative to wood has blossomed thanks to its affordability and versatility. A durable, practical laminate floor comes as standard and the variety of finishes available makes it enduringly popular. Laminate flooring can easily be fitted with its ‘snap together’ mechanism that requires no glues or nails. It is easy to maintain and is an extremely cost-efficient flooring option.
What are the disadvantages of laminated flooring?
Laminate flooring is not as durable as wooden floors and can easily scratch and wear. It is also not suitable for very wet areas as laminate flooring tends to warp when it gets wet for a prolonged period of time. Another disadvantage of laminate flooring that you may not have considered is noise. It tends to be noisier than other types of flooring and should always be fitted with an underlay. Laying laminate flooring correctly is crucial. It is advisable to lay the floor and let it ‘settle’ for a day or two to allow air bubbles to escape before continuing building or decorating work.
Choosing wooden flooring:
Wood flooring continues to be the most popular choice of flooring in new builds; available in a range of hard and soft wood it is an option that needs little maintenance and will last forever with its classic appeal.
Can I restore an old wooden floor?
Before looking at other flooring options it may be worth looking underneath your old carpet. Almost always an old wooden floor can be restored to its former glory unless rotten or bug-infested.
What wooden flooring is available?
The range of wooden floors available on the market is vast and it really depends on aesthetically which you like best. Hardwood flooring options that are popular include Oak, Maple, Ash, Beech, Cherry, Walnut and Bamboo. They all vary in their colour and grain, although you may wish to consider cost as an important factor in deciding which wooden floor to choose.
What other flooring options are available?
You could also consider resilient flooring, an affordable, durable option that includes vinyl and linoleum flooring particularly suitable for kitchens as it is easy to lay and available in a wide range of colour and pattern options at low cost. On the other end of the spectrum you could decide on a stone-floor, although not always a popular option due to the associated price-tag, marble or granite make beautiful, durable floors.