How to

How to choose a wooden floor that’s right for your home

There is a huge variety of products and materials available on the market, each with its own pros and cons. From laminate wood to hard wood, our flooring guide will help steer you in the right direction

YH0516_REN_Flooring_201603144006871007

Laminate/Engineered Wood

Laminate is one of the most popular flooring choices around. It is easier to install than solid-wood floors and is a lot less expensive. Laminate floors are composed of different wood-based materials that are layered, or laminated, together then topped with a woodgrain photographic imprint on the face of each board. Engineered wood consists of a real hardwood veneer attached to the wood-based layers, making it slightly more expensive than laminate.

Comfort

Hard underfoot so not ideal for areas where you’ll be standing for long periods.

Durability 

Unlike wood, which can dent, laminate flooring is almost impervious to dents and scratches. Laminate flooring has what is called in the industry a ‘wear layer’ which protects the photographic layer underneath.

Warmth/insulation 

No matter how authentic laminates may appear, nothing can quite match the feel and warmth of real timber floors.

Cost

Around $14 per square metre plus the installation cost.

Pros

  • Comes in a range of colours and finishes
  • Can be installed in a matter of hours over any level, solid and dry sub-floor
  • Can be used immediately after installation
  • Pre-finished in the factory means no mess, smells or hassles from sanding or polishing
  • Easy on-going maintenance

Cons

  • If damaged, it can’t be sanded or re-finished
  • Lower resale value than timber floors
  • Can be slippery when wet

Ideal for 

High-traffic areas.

YH0516_REN_Flooring_Vinyl Planking - Gerflor Senso Pro Lock

Vinyl Planks

One of the most value-conscious flooring options today is vinyl. It’s an especially popular choice for rooms that are prone to moisture problems, such as laundries, bathrooms and kitchens.

Comfort

Also known as Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT), vinyl planks and tiles are softer underfoot than natural materials. The product is thinner and lighter than timber, laminate and ceramic tiles, and can be installed where natural products wouldn’t be suitable. LVT has the natural look of real wood or stone flooring.

Durability

LVT will not splinter or crack like natural materials, ensuring that the floor carries on looking beautiful in the toughest of environments.

Warmth/insulation

Whereas wood and stone are susceptible to temperature changes, LVT is warmer underfoot than its natural counterparts. It is also suitable for installing over underfloor heating systems and can be used in conjunction with acoustic underlay for extra sound insulation.

One of the most

value-conscious flooring options today is vinyl

Cost

Gone are the days of cheap lino with LVT offering a wide range of options at different price points. Vinyl planking starts at around$50 a square metre.

Pros

  • LVT is a hard-wearing, comfortable, hygienic and versatile flooring option.
  • Easy maintenance, fast installation and natural beauty in your interior.

Cons

  • LVT is very durable, but could be dented or scratched by incredibly heavy, sharp objects.

Ideal for 

Homeowners looking for a hard-flooring alternative without the practical drawbacks of natural materials. LVT is suitable for every room in the house.

YH0516_REN_Flooring_200710313568418787

Hardwood

Thanks to hardwood’s durability and warm, natural feel, it continues to be the flooring of choice for many New Zealand homeowners. Hardwood floors come in a wide variety of colours, widths and finishes. If budget is tight, pre-finished boards that you can install yourself will help keep costs down.

Comfort

Timber floors have a natural give which can help if you suffer from fatigue and joint pain.

Durability 

Timber floors are definitely a durable option. The better the quality, the more durable the timber. When timber floors are well maintained they can last for generations. But like all flooring, it’s important to take good care of them – they can be rejuvenated to as-new condition by sanding and re-finishing.

Warmth/insulation 

Timber flooring is warm under your feet so it’s perfect for those cold winter nights. Timber floors have a unique comfort and, above all else, have the appeal of an organic, natural material.

Cost

Timber floors can be more expensive than laminate or tiles but the difference is that if they are well maintained they can last as long as your house. They will also add value.

Pros

  • Can last for generations.
  • Can be re-finished to come up as good as new.
  • Greater life expectancy than laminate floors.
  • Timber is harvested from forests that are carefully managed to make sure there is enough resource for future generations.
  • Great for allergy sufferers.

Cons

  • Darker woods do require more maintenance as dust, pet fur etc is more noticeable.

Ideal for 

Anywhere in your home! You can always add rugs and mats to bring extra comfort to bedrooms and living areas.

Underfloor Heating

Underfloor heating is the most luxurious form of heating, as its radiant heat is evenly distributed throughout the room – wall to wall, floor to ceiling – right where you feel it the most. Engage with a central heating engineer to help determine which method is right for your heating needs; this will be dependent on your flooring and your home’s structure.

Pros

  • Living over the magnetic field created by electric underfloor heating is considered by some people to be a health hazard; water-based systems are free from magnetic fields.
  • As different heat sources can be tied into water-based underfloor heating, the system is future-proofed.
  • Warm-water underfloor heating, where the heat comes from a boiler or hydronic heat pump, is generally cheaper to run.

Cons

  • One of the biggest downsides is cost – not from the system itself but from the cost of installation, making it particularly suitable for new-builds or when you are already having work done on your floor.
  • Due to the lower temperatures, an underfloor heating system will also take longer to heat a room, so it is vital to combine it with a timer.
  • Can restrict what you place on the floor as you can’t have underfloor heating beneath certain fittings and items of furniture.

Cost

Around $15,000 for installation, plus ongoing monthly power bills.

Words by: Annick Larkin.

FEATURED