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Published by TOP4 Team
A stylish floor covering will lift your rooms instantly and enhance their impression of comfort. In the same way, ugly, stained or worn floors create an air of decay and grubbiness that won’t go away until they do. The fact that more of your budget is likely to be taken up by floor coverings than any other elements is due partly to the fact that after walls, floors cover the largest area in your home. Unlike walls, though, they have to withstand constant wear and damaging grime, either tracked in from outside or deposited by gravity.
Despite this tight brief, however, finding an appropriate floor covering simply involves identifying a combination of style and practicality that works for you. Floor covering trends seem to change more often - and more violently - than those in other design areas, however, so it’s easy for the novice to feel intimidated, but try to keep your head: the only thing more foolish than choosing an unstainable floor on the basis of its street cred is rejecting one that meets all your needs just because it was last year’s hot news.
Floor coverings are grouped under four basic headings:
Soft flooring (carpets, rugs and natural coverings like coir and sisal)
Wood flooring (including bamboo and man-made boards)
Resilient flooring (vinyl, linoleum, rubber, cork and leather)
Hard flooring (stone, concrete, metal and tiles - ceramic, quarry, etc)
When it comes to choosing between theses surfaces, it’s easy to be swayed by appearance alone, but there are a number of other factors to keep in mind:
Durability: How much wear will the floor get? (Some are tougher than others.)
Noise level: The harder the surface, the noisier it is, and downstairs neighbours will suffer more than those next door.
Access: Do any major pipes, wires or ducts run underneath the floor? If so, make sure you still have access to them once the floor has been laid.
Temperature: Soft flooring is the most efficient insulator of all, whereas old floorboards can let through howling draughts.
Absorbency: Many floor coverings are vulnerable to damp, so they are unsuitable for rooms where water gets splashed about.
Hygiene: Choose washable floors for bathrooms and kitchens.
Installation: Some flooring requires special underlay and skilled fitting. If you can’t afford the whole package, either wait or choose something else instead.
Whatever flooring you choose, it will need an even, stable base, which means sorting out bumpy boards. Sometimes this may involve laying a subfloor. If you ignore this requirement, your covering will look lumpy and wear far more quickly.