Best Flooring Options For Your Home

There are plenty of fantastic options to select from when it comes to installing new floors in your home. However, you can’t just select any old type of flooring, slap it down throughout your home, and hope that it’ll work.

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Installing new floors requires a great deal of thought and care. This is because each type of flooring comes with its own unique features that might be great in one room, but disastrous in another.

In this article we look at each of our top five picks of flooring options and explore the advantages and disadvantages each type brings to the table.

Unless you’re committed to a uniform appearance throughout your entire home, we suggest keeping an open mind about employing a combination of the floors described below.

That way, at the end of your reading, you can make a more informed decision around which flooring options might best suit the various areas of your home.

1. Hardwood

There is a reason that natural timber floors are one of the most popular flooring options across the world.

Long, gleaming planks of wood nailed to a wooden subfloor, they are super easy to install and look great in whatever space they’re installed.

Advantages

Solid timber floors are highly versatile. They work in any indoor environment, enhancing the visual appeal of any room in which they’re installed, complementing the stylistic and decorative features of the household.

So long as they are treated and maintained with due diligence, they can also last a lifetime. Should they experience any scratches or scuffing, they can be refinished to regain an as new appearance.

They are easy to clean. Simply vacuum and treat to a light steam clean, and they’ll come up looking great. Just make sure you mop up all spills promptly to avoid water damage.

And the cherry on top – hardwood floors are relatively easy to install, even for the most amateurish DIYers, meaning you might be able to save money on hiring contractors to get your new hardwood floor fitted.

Disadvantages

We touched on this above, but the biggest flaw to hardwood floors is that they need regular, diligent maintenance and can become damaged quite easily.

They’re not ideal for humid or water prone environments, basically ruling them out for bathrooms, laundries and sometimes even kitchens. Should they become exposed to water and high heats over a long period of time, they can become warped and twisted, thereby ruining your floor and compromising its resale value.

On top of this, they scratch, dent and nick quite easily, so if you’ve got raucous kids or animals in the house, these may not be the best option for you.

Furthermore, wooden floors really need to be treated once a decade if you want them to maintain that beautiful woodgrain finish that made them so appealing in the first place.

2. Engineered Wood

Engineered woods are typically less expensive than real timber floors and have a more rigid composition, meaning they can be sturdier than their natural counterparts.

However, this does not take away from their looks. With a thin layer of natural wood on top, they retain those gorgeous woodgrain effects to which we’re drawn yet has underlying layers of cheaper plywood fused below: hence the cheaper price and higher stability.

Advantages

As you may have guessed from the description above, the primary benefit for engineered wood floors is that they offer the appearance of beautiful wooden floors at a much more reasonable price.

By and large, they’re considered more durable than hardwood floors as they stand up more effectively to the test of scratches and dents.

This makes them more suitable for areas in the home that are likely to experience a high volume of traffic and are more kid/animal friendly.

Should you have a concrete subfloor or you don’t want to go through all the effort of ripping up your old hardwood floor, fear not: many varieties of engineered wood can be installed directly over both of these with relative ease and a great finish.

Disadvantages

Similar to solid wood, engineered wood is not very resistant to scratches and marks. Engineered wood is a bit less durable than hardwood as well because it can only be refinished two to three times, which makes it a concern for purchasing engineered floors. 

3. Ceramic Tiles

Ceramic tiles are a timeless classic. Most tiles are a combination of clay and shale that has been blended into a single mixture. This mixture is then shaped and placed into a kiln where it is blasted with heat to harden it into the solid flat tiles that we know and love today.

Advantages

Ceramic tiles are available in a huge spectrum of shapes, colours and designs, meaning the right tile will complement the stylistic features and décor of any household.

If you’re super keen on natural stone or woodgrain effects, you’re in luck! Modern technology means it’s now possible to replicate these looks by printing them onto the surface of tiles.

Furthermore, flooring enthusiasts and experts across the world concur that porcelain tiles (perhaps the most popular type of ceramic tile) is the hardiest type of flooring, bar none.

It is highly resistant to scratches, dents and moisture wicks up off its surface like nothing at all. Tiles are super easy to clean and mostly require very little maintenance.

Disadvantages

The big elephant in the room is that tiles are hard underfoot, meaning they amplify the sound of footsteps.

If there is somebody in your family who gets up earlier than everybody else to go to work, be warned: you’ll be able to hear slapping feet or tapping shoes on tiles much more easily than you would, say, if you were to have a hardwood floor installed, which muffles sound rather than magnifying it.

Furthermore, this signature hardness also makes for a cold surface, particularly in the middle of the night and in winter, meaning you might want to think twice if you’re the kind of person who has naturally cold feet.

Talking of feet – if you’ve ever stepped on wet tiles, you know that they can pose a slipping hazard. Wet tiles are basically frictionless, meaning you’re much more likely to slip on them if you don’t notice and mop up any liquids ASAP.

Lastly, should a tile happen to crack, it’s not so easy to pry up one unit and replace it with a new one – it can be a much harder and costlier job than you’d anticipated.

4. Laminate

Laminate floors are probably our favourite type of flooring. Much like engineered wood, they have an outer layer onto which is printed a natural woodgrain effect to create the illusion of hardwood floors.

However, if hardwoods aren’t your thing, don’t stress – that outer layer can be made to mimic any natural material – wood, stone, tiles, take your pick.

Finally, under this outer layer are layers of fused plywood or compressed fibreboard, making them highly durable and stable.

Advantages

As we pointed out above, laminate floors do a marvellous job at replicating natural materials.

This means if you want the uptown look of natural stone or hardwood without the price tag, you can have it if you choose the right laminate floor.

Furthermore, laminates are unbelievable easy to clean and require little to no work in the upkeep department.

With scuff and scratch resistant features, laminate floors fare much better than wood in high traffic areas and, should a single unit ever get damaged, it’s a breeze to pry that length of laminate up and replace it with a new one.

In industry terms, laminate floors are what we call a ‘floating floor’, meaning they can be installed directly over an existing floor without any need for adhesives or fasteners.

Available in a range of ingenious locking systems, laminates are generally a breeze to install, although it’s advised you should get expert help – especially if you want to get a look of uniformity and professionalism when clicking them into place around corners and through doorways.

Disadvantages

Wet laminate poses a slipping hazard. Unlike tiles, they generally feel very comfortable and warm underfoot, but when they get exposed to water, they can get slippery: so watch out.

Moreover, should laminate floors get exposed to water for long enough, the water can seep through the cracks between each unit and soak into the planks, meaning they can warp and twist – and unfortunately, they have to be replaced once this occurs.

5. Carpets

Carpets make our Top 5 list because they prove hugely popular time and time again in bedrooms and living rooms across Australia.

Carpet is essentially a top outer layer of soft fibres, such as wool, that is stitched through a woven underlayer. This underlayer is then stuck to other layers using industrial adhesives to create a strong backing.

Fastened to the floor along with a padded layer, it is cushiony underfoot and one of the most comfortable floors you can install in your home.

Advantages

The obvious advantage to carpet is that it is the most foot friendly option of them all.

It will keep your tootsies warm on a cold winter’s night. It also tends to muffle sound and offers a lot of friction, meaning you will rarely, if ever, slip on carpet.

Also, as all it required is stapling or nailing down, it is a relatively straightforward process when it comes to installing carpet.

Disadvantages

When it comes to cleaning and cleanliness, carpet really falls down.

Although it might look nice and clean to the naked eye, carpets can trap dirt and harbour microscopic nasties brought into the house by pets, kids and footwear that can cause or exacerbate allergies.

That means, unless you steam clean regularly, carpets might have you or somebody you love sneezing more often than they’d like.

Also, carpets are susceptible to staining, so you might want to reconsider that glass of red wine you like to enjoy of an evening if you intend on drinking it over a carpeted floor.

Due to the amount of comments from all of my wonderful readers, it is not always possible for me to respond to each one. However, I absolutely do read them all, and if you’d like to address something specific, or have a question for me, please don’t hesitate to email me at Kristen@theroadtodomestication.com. I will respond to your email as soon as possible! Thank you for visiting the blog!

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