11 Jun 2019

A first-time buyers guide to flooring

Renovating your home is always an exciting time. But that isn’t to say that it doesn’t come with its own set of challenges. Whether you’re a new homeowner, an interiors novice, or already have experience in home design, it can be hard to know exactly where to start.

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Most homeowners will begin with something small. Making changes to your furniture and other non-permanent furnishings is certainly the easiest step to take. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s the most logical. If you’re looking to achieve the best results possible, you may have to look towards something more ambitious.

There’s one important rule that’s always best to keep in mind: Don’t forget about your flooring!

Flooring can often get overlooked during early renovation projects, but the effect it can have on your interior aesthetic is astonishing. Your flooring is the foundation upon which all good home improvements are made, so why don’t more homeowners start here?

The truth is, some people are intimidated by the flooring market. With a huge amount of options to choose from, it’s easy to get completely lost, and wind up back where you started, feeling confused and frustrated.

If this sounds like you, don’t worry, you’re not alone. We’re here to help get you on the right track. Here’s everything you need to know to get started:

Solid vs engineered wood flooring

There’s no doubt that you’ll have already come across hardwood flooring. As one of the most popular choices of flooring available, solid and engineered woods can be found in both residential and commercial properties across the globe. But knowing the difference between the two is vitally important.

Although solid and engineered boards look identical, they’re actually very different products. Unlike solid boards – which are milled from a single piece of timber – engineered flooring utilises a compressed core of ply or HDF. The board is then finished with a layer of solid wood veneer for durability and appearances.

This separates the two materials for a number of reasons. Most prominently, engineered boards are less prone to warping and shrinkages when placed in the presence of moisture and humidity. This means that it’s the perfect alternative for those looking to get the classic look of wood flooring in their kitchens, conservatories, and areas of underfloor heating.

Laminate and LVT

If you’re looking for the authentic charm of natural materials, but don’t want to spend a fortune on the initial costs, laminate and LVT are your next best choice.

Created with versatility in mind, both products are ideal for any area within your home, proving child friendly, water resistant, and easy to clean.

Whilst the two materials are similar in appearance, they differ in composition. Laminate utilises a predominantly wood core, whereas most luxury vinyl tiles are manufactured using PVC. Both are finished with an aesthetic layer for heightened visual appearances, and a specially created finish to pacify scuffs and scratches.

Many homeowners worry that synthetic materials like laminate and LVT will look cheap, and offer less functionality than their natural counterparts. However, with recent advancements in flooring technology, this is no longer the case. Both offer photorealistic detail, and can be specially constructed to feature depth and texture on the surface.

Know your carpets

Nothing beats the classic, cosy feeling of high-quality carpeting. Whether installed in living rooms, hallways or bedrooms, carpet elevates your interior space, making it a welcoming and sophisticated place. But remember, not all carpets are created equally.

Carpets are available in a wide variety of materials, ranging from traditional wool to synthetic fibres. Both have their advantages, so it’s best to check which is most suited to your lifestyle. Whilst wool provides unparalleled softness and insulation, polypropylene is easy to clean, and therefore a better choice for busy, family households.

Carpet pile also varies, ranging from long and loose to short and dense. During the manufacturing process, the fabric may be cut to create a saxony finish, or looped for a durable berber design. Additionally, carpet backing is just as important as the pile, providing stability, flexibility, or a balance of the two. Always refer back to the type of room you’re looking to install in, and shop around for the most suitable product.

Where to install

Now that you’re comfortable navigating the flooring marketplace, it’s imperative that you know where’s best to install your product. Whilst we’ve discussed this briefly in previous sections, it’s important that we explore this in further detail. This is because a room’s environmental properties can drastically affect the performance of your flooring.

Some choices are more obvious than others. Damp areas, such as bathrooms, are not suitable for carpeting, and will reduce the lifespan of other natural products like solid and engineered wood. Remember to check for fluctuations in temperature when installing your flooring too. Underfloor heating, direct sunlight, and heat from appliances will damage solid woods, but won’t affect their engineered counterparts.

Foot traffic is also a vital aspect to consider. For areas of heavy footfall, you need to be sure that your flooring is up to the test, so choose a thicker plank or a denser pile. As mentioned above, laminate and LVT are the most versatile choice of flooring available. Consequently, they’ll always prove a safe bet, no matter where they’re installed.

Finishing touches

The final embellishments to your flooring can often be the most effective. Whether it’s beading, skirting or stair nosing, each finishing touch will enhance your overall aesthetic. Accessories such as rugs can also add an extra dimension of texture and depth to your room, bringing your space to life.

For best results, keep your flooring clean, tidy, and free from debris. This will help prevent damages, and stop your flooring from fading over time.

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