Are you keen to start revamping the floors in your home? Don’t rush the process.
Floors play a pivotal role in your home and require careful consideration before installation. With so many options available, it can seem somewhat overwhelming on where to begin finding the perfect fit. What will work best in a specific space? What are the pros and cons? Which choice will suit your budget?
When choosing a flooring product consider your needs first, before deciding on a style. Let’s explore some of the more popular floor covering options:
It’s a common myth to avoid carpets if you suffer from allergies. Carpets help remove airborne allergens and dust by trapping these in their fibres. There are carpeting options with an anti-microbial finish for this purpose. The trick is to ensure regular vacuuming to remove trapped allergens and dust, which allows restoration of the carpet pile at the same time. If you’re looking for a safe, soft and slip-proof surfacing that provides warmth and comfort – or you have an uneven surface to cover – then carpets are a perfect choice. If you have children or pets, consider stainproof yarn. Best for bedrooms, living rooms and ideal for stairs, carpets save you money and energy due to their insulating effect. Remember to rinse carpet shampoos off thoroughly otherwise, they will attract dirt.
Tiles are a practical choice for any area of the home, both indoors and out. Should a section chip or crack, tiles are easily replaceable, are strong and super easy to clean. They come in a wide variety of sizes, patterns, textures and finishes. Digital ink printing technology creates different looks, such as the natural wood-look, or those resembling planks, stone and cement. Depending on quality, tiles are cost-effective and available in a wide price range. Household cleaning products should be avoided in favour of the supplier’s recommended cleaning products to prevent build-up over time. Using the correct adhesive, tiles should be laid on a level surface. Be wary of using smooth tiles in areas where they can become slippery when wet – rather opt for tiles with a non-slip texture or grip.
Cement and Screed
Cement and screed flooring are smooth and seamless finishes, which are not only decorative but also hardwearing. Resistant to dirt, abrasives, water and stains, use this practical floor covering in any area of the home, including outdoors. They are chemical resistant, low maintenance and easy to clean. Some products can be applied over existing flooring or tiles, with the correct preparation. You have the added advantage of being able to update your cement floor look by applying a stain, or by stripping and resealing it. Although the application process can take time, it’s wise to be patient and allow that time for the curing process to reach proper completion. Have an experienced contractor do the installation using the correct sealer to maintain the floor’s longevity. Although not all cement finishes are consistent in colour, and some hairline cracks can occur, this is all part of the look! Pricing varies depending on the product used.
Wooden floors have natural character and add overall value to your home. Cost varies depending on the product and finishes chosen, so installation may be limiting for those on a tight budget. That said, there’s a wide variety to choose from. Choosing the right type of wood goes a long way to ensuring longevity. Wood is versatile flooring that can be changed simply by sanding and refinishing it. Hardwood flooring is tough, hypoallergenic, and can be installed in most rooms. Oak, maple and cherry are popular choices for hardness, while mahogany is chosen for its beautiful appearance. Softer woods like pine are prone to scratching, so they’re not ideal if you have pets or children. Wooden floors are easy to maintain and clean but are susceptible to changes in humidity and temperature. Certain wood types need regular waxing to maintain shine, and liquid spills should be wiped away instantly. It’s best to ask for professional advice before committing to a choice of wooden flooring and to have a specialist install the flooring for a quality finish.
Vinyl is a durable choice that’s both stylish and easy on the budget. Luxury vinyl, cushioned vinyl, and the wood-look are just some of the popular choices. Available on a roll in sheets, tiles or alternatively as planks, installation is hassle-free and quick. It’s easy to clean, doesn’t fade or stain, is waterproof and scratch-resistant. This quiet, warm and comfortable underfoot surface doesn’t swell or lift, and is slip-proof, making it ideal for kitchens or bathrooms. Vinyl is suited for high traffic areas like entrance hallways, laundry rooms, playrooms, and living rooms. Although easy to maintain, vinyl is susceptible to gouging from sharp objects, and to excessive sun and heat exposure which can cause expanding. Include damp protection measures when installing.
Laminate flooring is a great choice if the budget is tight and you’re keen on the hardwood look. Tough, easy to clean and resistant to allergens, fading, and stains, laminate is a favourite choice for homeowners with pets and kids. Although it can sound hollow when walked on, an underlayment helps to minimize sound and provide a barrier for moisture. It is available in a variety of textures, shapes and finishes and often used in almost any room or space. Surfaces become scratched over time if not kept free of dirt and sand, and spills should be cleaned immediately. Laminate is sturdy and eco-friendly, as well as easy to install.
Other innovative floor surfaces worth considering are cork, bamboo, and linoleum.
Flooring is a big investment. Whatever your preference may be, consider all the pros and cons, then contact a professional for sound advice and quality installation.
Sources: South African Garden and Home Magazine 2014 / 2015