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Flooring Options, Tips & Advice PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 19 August 2007

As one of the most hardworking features in your home, the effect flooring has on your home’s style, atmosphere and value should not be underestimated. Today, consumers are spoiled for choice with many different products to choose from, all depending on your style and needs.

Flooring is one of your décor items which should last longest so pick material that is best suited for the function of the room. The amount of traffic the room has to endure should narrow down your choices. A hardy, durable hardwood or laminate floor would suite a high traffic room such as an entrance hall or TV room. A room exposed to lower amounts of traffic such as a bedroom or study would suite a wall-to-wall carpet or alternatively a decorative rug. Also keep acoustics in mind products such as carpets dampen sound while wooden flooring create a distinctive sound, these would for example not be the ideal option for a first level when the living areas are below. Carpeting is also a warmer option than for example tiles.

The look and feel you want to achieve from the room you are flooring will also guide your decision making. Flooring should always blend in with the room’s décor so choose a colour and pattern that will not take over the room. Your floor colour should be deeper than the walls with the upholstery and curtains the second most dominant colour. If you are going for a clean-lined, contemporary room, hardwood or wood-look flooring will probably be best suited to your décor. If the room is more plush, and you want comfort and luxury to be your theme, a thick, opulent carpet might be the right choice for you. With the wide range of colours available in almost every flooring option, you will more than likely find a suitable shade to match your rooms colour.

Decorative rugs have made a trendy comeback of late and has been earmarked by many interior decorators as this seasons hottest decorating accessory. There are many stunning ranges available and the different styles and patterns makes them an instant décor feature. They also add warmth to any room, if possible keep your special rugs from direct sunlight to ensure a long life.

We look at a few pros and cons of various flooring options.

A quick reference guide to flooring options

Carpets

Décor: A good choice for rooms where you want to create a more luxurious feel. Carpets are excellent sound and heat absorbers and a good choice especially if you are looking at installing underfloor heating. Today carpets come in a wide variety of colours and material ranging from natural products such as wool and sisal to synthetics, which is very affordable. Carpets catch dust particles and if vacuumed regularly are very hygienic. Maintenance: The three top tips for carpet maintenance are vacuum regularly, steam clean periodically and remove spots and spills immediately. Some carpets can be pre-treated for stains and dirt, which will make cleaning them easier. Budget: It is generally recommended that carpets are changed every 8 to 10 years, so keep this in mind when making your decision. Prizes vary to suit any budget but you will find synthetic material carpets more affordable. A 100% wool carpet cost from R250 per square metre while synthetic carpets cost from R65 per square metre.

Tiles

Décor: The options here are vast including ceramic, marble, porcelain and natural stone. Texture should be considered when choosing tiles as it varies from hand-painted to naturally worn appearance. We are currently experiencing a back to nature philosophy adding to natural stone tiles’ popularity. These tiles are durable and ageless. Another trend is the use of larger sized tiles (1mx1m) laid closely together with no grout lines.

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Tiles can be cold but work well with underfloor heating. Tiles can also create a uniform appearance if you use the same tiles in interlinking rooms or between in and outside rooms. Maintenance: Tiles are easy to clean. Replacing chipped ceramic or porcelain tiles might be labour intensive while chipping with natural stone tiles is not an issue as they are coloured right through so chips don’t show. Budget: According to the tiles you choose you can keep it affordable. Ceramic tiles start from R40, natural stone tiles such as slate start from R297 while something like limestone will set you back around R500 per square metre.

Wood

Décor: Wood is ageless and will suit any décor style, few things can top the natural beauty of solid wooden flooring. Huge strides have been made recently in the laminate and engineered wood industry and this is a great alternative to solid wooden flooring. Laminates come in a myriad of colours and even include different textures these days. Laminates are incredibly durable and if well looked after, can last a lifetime. The rule of thumb is to keep laminates out of areas where it will be exposed to water as this will ruin your floor. Bamboo has become increasingly popular as it is harder than most wood is scratch, water and fire resistant, easy to care for and a good choice for environmentally sensitive homeowners. Maintenance: Solid wooden floors are fairly stain resistant but needs annual maintenance which include sanding down and sealing. One of the big advantages of laminate flooring is the ease of maintenance. Sweeping with a normal broom will keep your floor clean, without the hassle of deep-cleaning or calling in the professionals. Budget: Solid wooden floors are expensive but last a long time, cost range from R405 to R700 per square metre. Laminated wood starts at R145 per square metre with DIY options available for under R50 per square metre. Bamboo cost from R330 per square metre.

Vinyl

The vinyl tile has also made a recent comeback, or to be more precise, has reformed itself to become a luxury flooring option with many benefits. Vinyl flooring is an excellent choice for do-it-yourself homeowners, is inexpensive, tough and comes in an endless array of colours, patterns and designs. Vinyl comes in planks or tiles and offers homeowners extensive alternatives to hardwoods and laminates. Vinyl is becoming more popular as a result of its ability to accentuate the décor of the room as well as the fact that it is suitable for various applications, including bathrooms and kitchens because of its water resistance. Vinyl planks offer other benefits, such as sound absorption, thermal insulation and the absence of expansion and contraction. Maintenance: Easy to clean and install. Budget: Vinyl tiles start at R85 per square metres while the planks cost starts at R160 per square metre.

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Mosaics

If your style is a little more eclectic or you are keen to let loose your creative side, ceramics and mosaics are hugely popular and are being used to brighten and give life to rooms, indoors and out. There are some stunning tiles available in all sizes, shapes and colours which you can use to create your own personal patterns, or alternatively employ a contractor to install. In this way, you can choose exactly what colours, textures and styles you want to incorporate into your room, so as to blend nicely with the rest of your décor, as well as the rest of your home. Just be aware of the effect that tiles can have on the amount of space you are using. In other words if you have a large room, larger scale tiling will work best, while smaller rooms call for more delicacy. Epoxy Floors

Décor: Epoxy flooring is becoming an increasingly popular choice for homeowners. These floors are resinous in nature, are seamless and are available in a clear or coloured finish. The colours available are varied and can be tinted to a specific colour depending on the colour scheme and feel of your room. Epoxy floors reflect natural and artificial light well, so put them in a room that you want to be filled with light. If your room has a contemporary, modern feel with natural colours and tones, epoxy floors can lend to the overall atmosphere wonderfully. Maintenance: Epoxy floors are extremely durable if surfaces are prepared properly. They tend to be slip, stain and dust resistant, making for easy maintenance and hygienic living. Just a quick sweep will do the trick. Budget: Depending on the condition of your floor, epoxy coatings can start from R68.00 per square metre. The amount of work it takes to prepare your floor for the coating can significantly influence the cost of installation.

Article supplied by: Homemakers Expo - for more tips and advice visit Complex Living.


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