Floored by the options? Today’s range of floor treatments is vast, but choosing the right material is about more than aesthetics.
Before splashing out on beautiful tiles or natural hardwood, consider the best material for the circumstances. It’s a case of combining cost, maintenance and ease of installation considerations with the right choice for the foot traffic a floor will receive, how likely it is to get wet, the exposure to sunlight, and more. For instance, in a house with young children or pets, shiny, slippery tiles may pose more of a risk than a reward, while moisture-resistant materials are a must for bathrooms and kitchens.
SOLID & ENGINEERED WOOD
Natural hardwoods have a timeless appeal, not only due to their appearance but also their feel underfoot. While wood floors can add to the resale value of a home and last a lifetime – with periodic refinishing to eliminate scratches and marks – changes in temperature and humidity can cause warping and discolouration, making it better suited for cooler spaces. Engineered wood, however, with an upper veneer of natural wood, backed by layers of wood fibre and plywood, is a much more stable alternative that is less affected by the elements, often clicks together for easy installation, and looks like the real deal. Find engineered wood on island at Stafford Surfaces
Composed of a photo-realistic top layer that looks like wood, stone or tile, which is coated in hard plastic and affixed to layers of compressed wood fibre and plywood, laminate is an inexpensive, versatile floor treatment. Available in various designs at A. L. Thompson’s
, it’s durable and easy to install – it can even be installed over existing floors – making it a good option for high traffic areas. The downsides are that it is susceptible to water damage, it can produce a harsh, hollow sound when walked on, and, if damaged, cannot be refinished in the way natural wood can.
VINYL, LINOLEUM AND TIER FLOORING
Ideal for kitchens and bathrooms due to their water-resistant qualities, vinyl and linoleum are low-cost, low-maintenance treatments. The added advantage is that these are lightly cushioned with a layer of felt or foam, making them pleasant to walk and stand on. Manufactured in wood, tile, and other ‘looks’, vinyl’s main drawback has traditionally been its susceptibility to indentation from heavy furniture and damage from sharp objects. But the Tier Flooring, available at Signature Cabinets
, with its rigid core technology, combines the stability of tile with the durability of vinyl.
A must for wet areas, tiles are long-lasting, easy to clean and scratch-resistant. Ceramic tiles, which can absorb water, are not suitable for outdoor settings, but non-porous porcelain tiles are good for indoor and outdoor use. Both come in a vast range of styles, shapes, colours, and patterns, so you can even make a unique feature floor. Faux wood porcelain tiles have become a popular choice for continuous flooring throughout a home, and some are suitable for outdoor terraces. View the range of wood looks available at ITC
, all of which provide exceptional durability.