EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT FLOORING
We go back to basics to help you choose the best options for your floor, writes Chelsea Clark
It’s one of the most important design decisions you’ll make about your home so it pays to choose your flooring carefully. But with new products hitting the market, knowing which type of flooring best suits your family and your space can be confusing.
“One of the most important things to consider when selecting flooring is the function of the room,” says Rachel Gilding, design specialist at Beaumont Tiles.
“What will the space be used for, and what kind of foot traffic is it likely to receive? After that, maintenance is a key consideration and of course the look and feel of flooring is crucial for creating a home you love.”
We’ve gone back to basics so you know exactly what you’re in for.
On the tiles
This hard-wearing and low maintenance option is enjoying renewed popularity with so many design choices available.
“At the moment large format tiles are extremely popular,” Rachel says. “Given their size, they can create a seamless feel in a space with minimal grout lines.”
Design-wise, it seems Aussies are becoming a little bolder in our choices too, says Dara Shashoua, owner of retailer Byzantine Design.
“We are specifying a lot of patterned floors for bathrooms and outdoor areas, mosaics, encaustic tiles or a printed porcelain,” says Dara who has recently collaborated with Melbourne design studio Bonnie + Neil on a printed porcelain tile collection.
“Glazed porcelain tiles are a great flooring option. It’s a surface that needs no maintenance, will not stain and technology has come so far that the prints and patterns on these tiles are very on trend.
“If you’re in love with a tile that doesn’t fit the budget, use it as a feature either in a feature wall, splash back or niche and fill in the remainder in a neutral lower cost porcelain to offset the cost.”
Magic carpet ride
Carpet lovers will tell you there’s no better feeling than the plush, soft feel under your feet when you get out of bed in the morning.
But the high level of maintenance involved can often turn people off choosing carpet for high-traffic areas of their home such as the living room or hallways.
“Like any flooring, carpet can bear the brunt of everyday stresses like sticky fingers, accidental food spillages and muddy dog paws,” says Anthony Carter, national product manager at retailer Carpet Court.
Before selecting carpet, Anthony says you should think about the type of carpet and fibre best suited to your space.
“High-traffic areas where some carpets can wear out would require a certain type, like loop carpet or a tightly tufted cut pile,” he says. “You may need a fire resistant carpet because you have an open fireplace. In this situation wool would be a good choice.”
If you don’t want to commit to wall-to-wall installation, a large format rug can suffice and will also help zone an open-plan living area.
Wooden you know it
There’s no denying the beauty of a hardwood timber floor but a seemingly hefty price tag can put some homeowners off.
David Hayward, technical manager at the Australasian Timber Flooring Association, says timber flooring is an investment that will stretch your dollar further over time.
“While some timber flooring may be more costly upfront, it carries more benefits than other options, and with a little maintenance will look better for longer,” he says.
Environmentally, timber flooring can also prove to be a safe choice, says Josh Marques, general manager at Marques Flooring.
“A good quality timber floor will come from a plantation forest which has been planted for production,” he says.
And if you’re looking for a hard-wearing flooring option, look no further says David.
“Good quality solid timber floors can last for decades with some over 100 years old,” he says. “Because solid timber floors can be resanded they can be rejuvenated to near new.”
If timber flooring is out of reach, laminate is an excellent alternative.
“Laminate flooring is a fantastic way to achieve a stylish and modern look without breaking the bank — it’s amazing how real the flooring panels look too,” says Anthony.
“It’s the most scratch resistant of all flooring choices so is suitable for heavy duty applications such as lounge areas.”
Carpet Court has just developed a Multilayer Hybrid that has a protective wear layer, decorative film, composite core board and pre-adhered underlay.
“The key difference is the composite core panels built into each board,” explains Anthony. “These render the range 100 per cent waterproof and offer stability for Australia’s variable climates, so boards will not warp as temperatures change.”
Whether it’s limestone, travertine, sandstone, granite or slate, a stone floor has a certain appeal that can be hard to replicate.
“Stone is an exquisite addition to any room with natural tones that create space and ooze luxury,” says Rachel.
“Natural stone tiles have different properties to porcelain tiles so it is important to understand the limitations of both.”
Natural stone generally requires sealing to avoid staining. Dara suggests using natural stone for an ensuite for “some luxury in an adults only space”.
“Natural stone is amazing to live on, it changes and ages with the home,” she says.
Polished concrete is equally durable and stain resistant when properly sealed.
Acting as a battery for heat, concrete’s thermal properties will keep a home warmer in winter and cooler in summer.
“You’ll never have to worry about it being eaten by termites or getting weather damaged,” says Mick Owar from Concrete Grinding Solutions.
Install hydronic heating before you lay the concrete to stay warm underfoot over winter.
Bespoak micro veneer flooring from Carpet Court offers a timber finish without the cost of full timber joists.
The Mutina Puzzle range of floor tiles by Barber & Osgerby, available from Academy Tiles, adds instant personality to any room.
Laminate floors from Carpet Court can be used where timber flooring can’t.
These new release Denim tiles from Beaumont Tiles have been laid in a striking herringbone pattern.
Mosaic tiled floors by Greg Natale for Bisazza take luxury to a new level.
Update timber flooring with a lime finish from Feast Watson.
Concrete floors by Concrete Grinding Solutions have a surprisingly warm feel.