As well as looking good and coping with daily use, your ideal floor needs to be safe, act as a sound and/or heat insulator, and, of course, meet your budget. There is a huge choice of floor coverings, from carpets, tiles and wood to vinyl, lino and rubber.
Choose Right Flooring for Your Home
To help yourself find out what you need, ask yourself the following questions:
How much can I spend?
It will be useful to set yourself a budget, so you know how much you can spend. In fact, the more limits you set, the more it will be easier to decide on any product.
Consult magazines and brochures with price lists to know the approximate cost of different types of flooring before looking around showrooms. For a durable floor, spend as much as you can afford. It is not the thing to save money on, as you will only have to repeat the process in every few years.
If you are changing your flooring to help sell your house more quickly, choose something neutral and middle-priced, because an expensive flooring may not be preferred by some buyers.
Which room is the flooring for?
Thinking about how your room is used – for relaxation or cooking – will help you identify the flooring you need.
In rooms where floors are exposed to splashes and spills such as kitchens and bathrooms, choose water-resistant and non-slip covering that will be easy to clean and fix.
In living rooms and bedrooms, where you spend time merely for relaxing, you will need something that provides warmth underfoot, such as a carpet or a rug.
Consider tough and hard wearing solutions for areas of heavy use, such as hallways and utility rooms, particularly if they lead outdoors, as they can get dirty quickly.
What will enhance the finished look?
Think about colors, textures and patterns to achieve the right effect for your room.
Create a light and airy feel in a small kitchen or bathroom with a vinyl linoleum or tiles in pale colors.
Brighten up a dull room with light wood or laminate, such as ash or beech, or with a plain carpet in an off-white shade.
If you have a large kitchen, combined with a dining room, separate the two areas by using different types of flooring. Or add interest to a big room with a two-tone floor.
Bring a cozy feeling to a large living room with a soft carpet, or cover the floor in a warm honey-toned wood and with an eye-catching rug.
If you’re planning to re-floor your entire home, consider using the same flooring throughout for a sense of continuity. Wood or laminate is versatile enough to be used in most rooms – use rugs to add a warm and welcoming feel.
How much maintenance will your floor need?
Bear in mind the amount of time you can spend for maintenance of your flooring – some materials, such as wood, need more looking after than others, such as carpet.
Porous tiles such as limestone and terracotta need coating with a special sealant every six months to keep them water-resistant and looking their best.
Rubber flooring requires a weekly polish with linseed oil to maintain its shine.
Wooden floorboards need frequent sweeping or vacuuming to remove grit and dust, as well as regular re-sealing.
Carpets and natural flooring involve the least amount of work. A weekly vacuum and an occasional steam clean for carpets, or dry clean for natural floors, will keep them looking fresh and like new.