How to

The best flooring options for your home

Choosing flooring for your home may seem like a daunting process as it requires you to strike a delicate balance between practicality, style and personal preference. There is a huge variety of products and materials available on the market, each with its own pros and cons. From concrete to cork, our in-depth flooring guide will help steer you in the right direction

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Concrete

Concrete is one of the hottest flooring options available today. With the wide range of sealers and specialty stains currently on the market, plain grey concrete can be stamped and stained to resemble polished marble, tumbled stone, brick pavers or really anything you wish.

Comfort
Concrete is very hard, making it uncomfortable to stand on for long periods of time.

Durability
A concrete floor will outlast most of the other components in the home or building.

Warmth/insulation
Concrete floors have a high thermal mass and can be used as heat stores to provide an excellent means of passively heating and cooling your home.

Cost
If you want to polish your standard foundation floor, it’s similar in price to an expensive carpet or a mid-range solid-timber overlay – getting a tradie in to grind and polish is an extra cost.

Pros
> Concrete floors can be constructed quickly.
> Resistant to damp and mould.
> Low maintenance.
> Fire-resistant.

Cons
> Defects are not easy to rectify.
> Concrete flooring cannot be satisfactorily repaired by patching.
> It does not offer great sound insulation.

Ideal for
High-traffic areas, bathrooms, laundries and kitchens.

Carpet

Photography by Maree Homer/ bauersyndication.com.au

 

Carpet

Nothing compares to the soft, luxurious feeling of carpet underfoot. Carpeting provides additional warmth as well as a safe spot for kids to play. Sure, carpet requires a bit of extra maintenance compared to other flooring options, but there’s simply no substitute in terms of sound absorption, warmth and overall comfort.

Comfort
Carpet is the ultimate choice for comfort.

Durability
In terms of durability, for carpet it’s all about where it’s going to be used, and what you’re prepared to invest. Carpet comes in a variety of fibre and pile types which each have unique characteristics which affect their durability.

Warmth/insulation
Carpet is the most insulating flooring choice and, coupled with underlay, is ideal in homes with heating challenges, or as a noise buffer in multiple-storey homes.

Cost
Carpet is an investment and, like all investment pieces, your budget will dictate the quality you can afford. Entry-level carpets, which will have a shorter life span, can start as low as $15 per square metre on sale and go right up to several hundred dollars per square metre.

Pros
> Soft, insulating, comfortable, luxurious.

Cons
> Regular maintenance required (vacuuming) plus professional steam cleans.
> More affected by stains and wear than hard flooring options.

Ideal for
Living/lounge areas and bedrooms.

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Porcelain tiles

Porcelain tiles (which are more dense than ceramic tiles and very hard-wearing) are a popular choice. When selecting tiles on a budget, porcelain is more cost-effective than materials such as terracotta, marble, granite or slate. Glazed porcelain tiles are durable enough to handle heavy-traffic areas and are available in a wide range of hues, textures and finishes.

Comfort
Tiles give comfort in their ability to provide both coolness and warmth, depending on your climate and requirements. In homes that tend to get hot or hold the heat, tiles are a great choice as they will remain cool. Alternatively, with the assistance of underfloor heating, tiles can provide a lovely warming ambience and feel warm underfoot at the same time.

Durability
Tiles are incredibly durable and withstand most types of wear and tear.

Warmth/insulation
Tiles are better conductors of heat, rather than insulators, and as such are typically better in living areas of homes that need to be heated via underfloor heating systems.

Cost
Tiles are not necessarily expensive themselves, but can be costly to install. Tiles need a well-prepared and completely flat surface, which may require some major preparation work. The cost of tiles start at around $50 per square metre. Tiles and installation are competitive with any other flooring option.

Tiles are incredibly durable

and withstand most types of wear and tear

Pros
> Dent- and stain-resistant.
> Huge selection of colours, shapes and sizes.
> Very easy to clean.
> Fantastic for indoor-to-outdoor environments, allowing you to maintain a consistent look across your living spaces.
> Tiles can provide an incredibly upmarket, polished look, which is easy to maintain. It is reassuring to know that your investment will last and continue to give you that five-star feel.

Cons
> Grouting can discolour, so sealing is recommended.
> It’s not forgiving if you drop your coffee cup!

Ideal for
Indoor/outdoor living, wet areas such as kitchens, bathrooms and laundries, plus dining areas and hallways.

Words by: Annick Larkin.

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