Episode 106: How to Choose the Right Floor

In this episode of My Forever Home, Frances runs through key considerations when deciding on your flooring type.

She outlines 10 buying criteria for choosing the right floor for your home along with key mistakes people can make when deciding on their floor, and how best to avoid those mistakes.

The floor in your home makes a big impact and has to work really hard for you, so it’s important to be informed about different flooring available, choose carefully, and buy the best you can afford.

SHOWNOTES

Why it’s important to get your flooring right the first time:

  • Flooring is a key design element that affects the way your home look and feel.
  • It takes up a large area of your home.
  • It’s expensive and difficult to retrofit.
  • The hard floor gets a heavy workout and needs to withstand heavy punishment as it is normally laid throughout the home, at least the open plan living part of the home – dining, living and kitchen, and main hallway.
  • It has a huge impact on other material choices and colours that you’re going to use.

Invest well in your flooring and save on other areas of your renovation or new build project to make sure that the floor is going to last you and doesn’t need to be replaced later on.

 Buying Criteria for Floors

  1. How does it need to perform?
  • Think about your children- kids, teenagers and adults.
  • Have you got any pets?
  • Lifestyle requirements: Are you big entertainers? Do you like big parties? Do you prefer not to bring shoes inside?
  1. The thickness of the floor (estimates only)

Tiles- 10-15 mil

Engineer timber- 15 mil

Solid timber- 15-20 mil

  • How will it work as a retrofit with skirting boards, door levels, and other flooring?
  • For new builds, the thickness affects the slab pour. For instance, if you are using tiles, then the slab needs to be poured more precisely. And if you have a polished concrete floor, you’ll be looking at different aggregates and colours.
  1. Durability
    • How durable do you need this product to be?
      • Scratch resistance
      • Slip resistance
      • Eg UV resistance- to ensure it’s not going to discolor over time when the sun hits it.
  1. Cleaning
    • How easy it is to clean?
      • Textured flooring can be difficult to clean compared to smooth surfaces
    • Are there any specific cleaning products you need to use for cleaning?
      • e Engineer timber floor or solid timber floor more often than not needs special products for cleaning to ensure its kept in premium condition.
  1. Maintenance
  • What maintenance is required for the floor?
    • Sanding- i.e solid timbers
    • Oiling
    • Polishing
  1. Environmental and sustainability criteria
    • What is the product made up of?
      • Think about the material composition of the product. Toxic components in the materials – i.e VOCs, plastics etc,
        • Hybrid floors- made of plastic and VOCs
      • Sustainability criteria- made of recycled components, renewable resources, and able to be recycled.
        • Cork and timber
        • Bamboo
        • Tiles with green tag certificate
  1. Thermal Mass
  • Is this an important attribute for your home?
    • Great for winter
  • Is the house designed correctly for this?
    • If it is, tile is a great consideration as the warmth of the slab transfers to the tile, and then to the surface of the floor.
    • Whereas timbers don’t perform well with thermal mass as it retains heat.
  1. Noise and Noise Mitigation
    • Think about sound traveling between the levels of your home and if this impacts your flooring choice.Carpet- absorbs noise and sounds
    • Tiles and any hard surfaces – the noise bounces around
  • You may want to consider using carpets in high-traffic areas of your home to mitigate the noise. Eg
    • Stairs
    • Home office
    • Retreat areas
  1. Aesthetics
    • How is the floor going to look?
    • Is it consistent with the other rooms/space in the home?
    • Flooring has the ability to create a different feeling in a space.
  1. Comfort
    • How does it feel underfoot?
      • If you are going to wear shoes or slippers inside a lot, then the feeling of underfoot may not be as important as when you’re walking bare foot.
    • The temperature of the floor underfoot
    • The softness of the floor
      • Vinyl has a spongy feeling- ideal for when you get older
      • The carpet is also warm and soft underfoot.

Mistakes people make when choosing their floor

  • Not doing enough research
    • Doing research means looking into what’s available in the market rather than just what you know about already or what friends have in their homes.
    • There are always new options to choose from so being able to do your own research allows you to choose products that may be new or updated.
      • Sustainability criteria may have also been improved
    • Interior designers will be able to help you with choosing the right flooring as they know about new products, what’s available that suits your needs, and the disadvantages and advantages of each flooring type.
    • What may be the most popular, may not be suitable for your home.
      • Hybrid floor- highly marketed as a waterproof ideal flooring solution, yet toxic because of its VOCs that many people are not aware of.
  • Choosing a more cost-effective/cheap option
    • Flooring is a large investment in your home, but it is worth it as it sets the foundation for everything else.
    • Flooring is expensive to retrofit. Invest more in this and save on other areas of your home that is easier to retrofit.
  • It is difficult and painful to replace
    • You need to move out and move all your furniture too
  • Replacing it has a knock-on effect on other components of your home such as skirting boards, door heights and other floor levels.
  • Cheap materials won’t stand the test of time
  • Don’t future proof the flooring
    • Choose flooring that will serve you and your family long term.
      • Instead of choosing a soft floor because your kids are babies now, instead use rugs and mats as they are easy and cost-effective options to adapt to young kids.
  • Not creating zones within a home through different flooring.
    • Creating zones in a home is part of good design.
    • Having a different flooring type creates a different feeling and can create a sense of coziness or calmness
      • Think of a winter room as an example

Available Resources:

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