Inspiration

9 top flooring options to consider for your next renovation

Give your home the best base with well thought out and practical flooring choices

With pets, parties, children and probably the occasional scooter or pram traipsing across its surface, your flooring needs to stand up to the trials of family life underfoot. So, regardless of whether it’s going to be the perfect neutral backdrop, or a standout feature, knowing which flooring material will suit your lifestyle needs is top priority.

Carpet

This is a stalwart in the flooring game. Carpet adds warmth, comfort and a soft area to play, which is why it’s often best utilised in bedrooms and living areas. Much like every other flooring option, carpet is filled with sub-categories. Will you choose wool or nylon? Cut or loop piles? And then there’s the colour. The easiest way to decide what will work best in your home is to consider your household needs first, then factor in your interior style. For example, if you have pets with sharp claws, a loop pile might not be the best fit. Likewise, in a home with messy little
ones exploring the boundaries, a darker, softer carpet is a more viable option.

Pros:
– Soft, insulating, comfortable, luxurious
– Absorbs noise.

Cons:
– Might require regular maintenance
– More affected by stains and wear and tear.

Polyester:
A less synthetic fibre with good colourfast properties when solution dyed. It’s soft to touch and pleasant underfoot. However, it can crush, so is best laid in low-traffic areas. It also wears quicker as it’s not as resilient as other fibres.

Wool:
Not only does it improve a room’s warmth and acoustics, Padgett Johnson from Bremworth says, “Wool is naturally stain, soil and fire resistant, plus it holds its beauty year after year. Unlike synthetic fibre, the unique wicking properties of wool can also resist odours and
help control moisture. Wool fibre is also 100 percent renewable and biodegradable.” However, this type of carpet has potential to fade and does comes with a higher price tag.

Solution dyed nylon:
Fade and stain resistant, it also ages well. It boasts a high pile bounce back and can withstand heavy foot traffic. It is a cheaper option, however it is a source of microfibre pollution, which doesn’t make it the most eco-friendly choice.

Texture: Could be a cut and loop variety or a form of loop pile. Makes a feature of the floor.
Cut pile:  Soft underfoot and durable. Cut piles are suitable for households with pets. However, it can be prone to showing tracks.
Loop pile: Hardwearing, durable and doesn’t show any tracks. A good option for high-traffic areas.

Solid wood

Pulling up the carpet to reveal beautiful timber floors is something most homeowners cross their fingers and toes for – and for good reason. Solid timber flooring stands the test of time in terms of looks and durability and brings undeniable character to a home.

Pros:
– Adds value to your home
– Versatile, durable
– Ages beautifully
– Easy to sand down and buff to remove scratches and marks.

Cons:
– Costly
– It is more prone to scratches and marks
– Reacts to moisture and heat, therefore could rot or shrink as a result.

Laminate

This is an incredibly hardwearing ‘timber’ option for your floors, and in general, is more scratch resistant than solid wood. Design developments over the past years have greatly improved how ‘real’ laminate flooring looks and feels. The boards are made up of a printed copy of the wood overlaid with a strong resin, some even have the texture of grains and knots applied.

Pros:
– Hardwearing and durable
– Easy to clean
– Cost effective
– Quick to install.

Cons:
– Not as visually appealing as hardwood, and has a slightly different feel
– Needs to be installed before skirting boards, which may require undercutting if they can’t be removed.

Polished concrete

While polished concrete doesn’t offer up the comfort of carpet or the character of wooden floors, the uber-industrial look is still a favourite in modern builds. Cost wise, to polish the standard concrete foundation floor will equate to around the same as a mid-range solid timber overlay or an expensive carpet. However, additional grinding and polishing will see this option become more costly.

Pros:
– Easy and quick to install
– Resistant to damp and mould
– Relatively low-maintenance to look after
– Fire resistant.

Cons:
– Defects such as scratches and dents aren’t easy to rectify
– Not a great insulator for sound, in fact, it can increase noise.

Engineered timber

A multi-layered flooring type, which uses a third of hardwood on its top layer, developed as a cost-effective and enhanced alternative to solid wood. Damon Jackson from Vienna Woods says, “Engineered timber is less likely to twist and gap, it answers the structural question while still
featuring hardwood.”

Pros:
– More affordable and stable than solid wood planks.

Cons:
– Still more costly than other flooring options
– Can scratch and mark.


Photo by Olivia Pitcher for Flooring Xtra.

LVT/LVP or Hybrid

LVT or LVP stands for luxury vinyl tiles, or luxury vinyl planks. It’s also referred to as hybrid flooring. This type of flooring is made up of multiple layers starting with a base of PVC, topped with a fill layer for thickness and dimensional stability, and then finished with a photographic image and a clear vinyl wear layer.

Pros:
– More affordable
– Easy installation as skirtings don’t need to be removed
– Comes in a variety of style options, including wood and stone.

Cons:
– Less sound absorption
– Due to structure of the board, the planks need to be acclimatised at the property before installation to decrease the chances of compromised dimensional stability
– A less authentic look when compared to laminate, solid wood and engineered timber.

Bamboo

This type of flooring has similar properties to hardwood in terms of look and durability. Bamboo is a great alternative to hardwood thanks to its strength and flexibility. It’s also a rapidly growing renewable resource, which gives it a big tick in the environmental box.

Pros:
– A sustainable and eco-friendly option
– Very durable and hardwearing
– Inexpensive compared to hardwood.

Cons:
– Is prone to colour changes over time
– Difficult to refinish if you should require a new look.

Porcelain tiles

When it comes to choosing tiles for flooring, porcelain is the preferred option over the ceramic variety thanks to its hard-wearing characteristics. This is a perfect option for wet areas, such as bathrooms, kitchens and laundries.

Pros:
– Extremely durable
– Stain resistant
– Simple to clean and maintain.

Cons:
– Grouting may colour without sealing
– Not so forgiving when a vase or mug is dropped on the tiles.


Photo by Olivia Pitcher for Flooring Xtra.

Vinyl sheets

This type of flooring offers a low-maintenance, cost-effective option in myriad of styles, from tiles to concrete to wood.

Pros:
– Water resistant, which makes them a good candidate for bathrooms, laundries and kitchens
– Easy to install
– Cost effective.

Cons:
– Prone to fading and tearing
– Doesn’t offer the same underfoot cushioning as other flooring options.

Words by: Bea Taylor.

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