Step 1: How long am I likely to stay in the property?
Of course, none of us are absolutely certain of the answer, but a rough idea will help you set your budget for the project ahead. Generally, anything under five years would suggest it’s worth considering functional flooring, sitting in the mid to low price range of supplied and installed for £15 per m² and below.
Step 2: What is my budget?
This is always a tough one. A good, honest, reputable retailer would want to know what budget you have to spend. Not to rip you off, but with literally thousands of potential products and designs at their disposal, they need to be able to sort the wheat from the chaff for your project. There’s no point showing you a fully loaded BMW 7 series, even though it’s a belter of a car, if your budget reaches a 2 series.
For you to make the flooring selection process efficient and painless, you need to get an overall budget for the completed installation in your mind before you start researching.
Top Tip #1
Have any pets? Cats love a loop pile carpet and have a tendency to scratch their claws on them, so our advice would be to avoid loop pile carpet if you have a feline friend in residence, and darker flooring will show up animal hair more so bear that in mind too.
Busy households ought to consider hard/resilient flooring in the heaviest traffic areas of the home which tend to be the whole of downstairs; except lounge and dining rooms. Flooring such as luxury vinyl tile (LVT) – which is incredibly popular right now – better quality laminate flooring, high-quality cushion vinyl, wood flooring, and so on, fit the bill, but the price ranges these products fall within span quite a range.
Step 3: What type of project am I about to undertake?
Updating an existing home project
What traffic will your new floor be subjected to? On a regular basis, how many adults will walk across it? Any children? If so, ages of children play their part as the younger they are, the more likely staining will occur throughout the lifespan of the flooring.
To generalise, with young children in the house; say primary school age, most folks are better off selecting a robust mid- to low-budget category. Once the children reach their teenage years, fewer accidents occur, and it becomes safer to consider better quality flooring.
Luxury vinyl tile (LVT)
When all things are considered, LVTs have near enough all the answers. Any LVT with a wear layer above 0.55mm will normally come with around a 15-year residential wear warranty and with a busy house, with lots of comings and goings and a menagerie to boot, tends to find LVTs the easiest to live with. Tough, durable, authentic looks, very low maintenance and waterproof, LVTs are also great at feeling warmer than ceramics and being quite thin, they are fabulous with underfloor heating.
Whether engineered or solid, wood flooring always looks fabulous but to retain this fabulous look, you do have to commit to more routine maintenance than any other flooring type.
No matter how careful you are, you will – without a doubt – at some stage, scratch or dent your wooden floor. For some people, this can be the end of their world, but general wear-and-tear does add an element of character to the floor, but there does come a point when remedial renovation will be needed from you.
Dogs can, and probably will, scratch a wooden floor. Kids and adults probably will walk in with something stuck to their shoe that scratches the surface and someone, in stilettos, will almost certainly decide it’s a great idea to pivot their heel on your very expensive floor; so be prepared for all these moments. In its defence; however, nothing comes close to the look, sound and feel of a real wooden floor.
Cheap laminate (often seen in the DIY sheds) doesn’t look authentic and lacks a good locking system, so we would recommend sticking with a major brand name that’s easily traceable and will come with long residential warranties.
A good quality laminate flooring not only looks believable but they are tough as old boots and will, despite folklore, perform for ages. A good quality laminate can be considered if you have dogs. Some now even have a guarantee for water resistance.
Cushion vinyl Cushion vinyl offers great value and does have a good cross-section of designs. For durability, we’d recommend a dense, compact foam back with a minimum wear layer of 0.3mm for heavy traffic areas. This structure is far less likely to puncture than soft, spongy foam.
Top Tip #2
Where possible, try to install a hard/resilient floor in heavy traffic areas. By doing so, your short-term investment should produce long-term pay off as a good quality resilient flooring that has been professionally installed should last years and years.
Whether you're selling your home or preparing it for rental, it’s probably best you opt for a mid- to low-priced underlay for carpet. When selling a property, underlay only needs to feel good during the selling process. With rentals, it’s likely every kind of spill will occur during the tenancy period, and odours will become trapped in the underlay no matter the quality, which, of course, means you are highly likely to need to replace the underlay for each incoming tenant.
Makeover project to help sell a property and replacing flooring for a rental property?
This one is slightly more tricky to advise on as it depends on the specification and location of the property in question.
Selling a home
It is possible to freshen a property in readiness for an impending sale without spending a fortune. The most important point to consider here is to go neutral and avoid anything unique and individual to your personal taste. Remember, you’re doing this to sell your home and need it to appeal to the masses.
Right now, the in-vogue design to go for is hard/resilient flooring (laminate, cushion vinyl, luxury vinyl tiles, wood flooring etc.) downstairs and carpet on the stairs, landing and bedrooms. If your budget can stretch to hard flooring downstairs, go for a neutral, traditional oak plank design. If you are selecting carpet, go beige or grey with no pattern. These options have the widest appeal amongst potential buyers of your home.