We go back to ba­sics to help you choose the best op­tions for your floor, writes Chelsea Clark

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Home - - FRONT PAGE - More Aus­tralasian Tim­ber Floor­ing As­so­ci­a­tion, atfa.com.au; Beau­mont Tiles, beau­mont-tiles.com.au; Byzan­tine De­sign, byzan­tinedesign.com.au; Car­pet Court, car­pet­court.com.au; Con­crete Grind­ing So­lu­tions, con­crete­grind­ing­so­lu­tions.com.au; Mar­ques Floor­ing,

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.”

Lov­ing lam­i­nate

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.”

Stone’s throw

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.

Con­crete idea

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.

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