Interiors

The Pros and Cons of Different Types of Flooring

grey living room

When it comes to home renovation projects, the flooring is usually one of the last items on the to-do list. The reason for this is simple: you can’t think about the floor until the walls are finished, the electrics are done, and in the case of a kitchen or bathroom, the installation is complete. For this reason, any decisions regarding flooring you make should be done later in the day. But don’t dismiss flooring as unimportant!

The right flooring choice can transform a room from ordinary to extraordinary. Good quality flooring really lifts a home. For example, imagine a high-spec home with cheap carpet. It would look awful. Yet the same home with hardwood flooring will look completely different.

To help you make the right decision, here are some pros and cons of different types of flooring.

If you’re looking for some tips on keeping you hallway sorted check out this post by Jen at Just Average Jen

Carpet

Carpet is a popular choice for many homeowners. It’s readily available, and it is easy to find inexpensive carpets if you are shopping on a budget. You can fit carpet in any room, but it is not always a good choice for kitchens and bathrooms. In kitchens, there are often spills, which are hard to clean up on a carpet. In a bathroom, high moisture levels may lead to mildew in a carpet, and when you have carpet fitted around a toilet, there are issues with stains and smells.

Pros

  • Carpets are available to suit all budgets
  • Warm underfoot
  • Easy to fit

Cons

  • Stains are hard to clean up
  • Not great in a household with pets
  • Doesn’t last as long as other types of flooring

Timber Flooring

Timber flooring is a luxurious choice for any home. Nothing beats the shine of a polished hardwood floor in a living room or bedroom. The lustrous quality of polished wood works well in both modern and period properties. Polished wood floors suit contemporary or period decorative schemes. Timber is long-lasting and with the right care, your timber floor should last many decades. If you don’t want to spend big bucks on a timber floor, look for engineered wooden flooring. This is a cheaper alternative. Instead of being solid oak, maple, etc., this type of floor has a top layer of wood glued on to a compressed wood base. The main disadvantage of engineered wood is that you can’t sand it down very far, as the top layer is usually only a few millimetres thick.

Pros

  • Looks beautiful
  • Can add value to your home
  • Works well with any decorative scheme
  • Can be DIY fitted

Cons

  • Is susceptible to damp and damage from water leaks
  • Can be expensive, especially if you need to hire an installer

Laminate

Laminate flooring is a poor man’s timber floor. Modern laminates look almost indistinguishable from solid wood flooring but are tougher and less susceptible to surface damage.  Like timber flooring, it is possible to do your own installation if you have the right tools. Most laminates click together and don’t need to be glued in place. The only pieces that need cutting are those around the edge of the room. It is a quick process to fit a laminate floor and in a small room with an uncomplicated layout, the job can be done in a few hours.

A laminate floor looks better if the skirting boards are replaced. If you are fitting laminate on top of an uneven floor, always fit a sub-floor first. Use sheets of hardboard followed by a layer of foam insulation to protect the flooring and reduce noise. You can find all the timber you need from a place like Savoy Timber, including skirting boards and other types of board.

Pros

  • Laminate is inexpensive. Cheaper brands are available for less than £10/square metre.
  • Easy to fit for a DIY enthusiast
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Easy to clean if you have pets

Cons

  • Susceptible to water damage
  • The surface is slippery for pets

Tiles

Tiles are a popular option in kitchens and bathrooms, but there is no reason why you can’t install tiles in any other room. There is a huge selection of tiles to choose from, including ceramic, natural stone, and porcelain. Select a tile to suit your budget and decorative scheme. Natural stone, slate, marble, and granite tiles are usually more expensive than ceramic tiles.

Pros

  • Tiles are hard-wearing and suitable for rooms with high humidity
  • There are tiles to suit any decorative scheme, modern or classic
  • You can install an underfloor heating system beneath a tiled floor
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • You may need to hire a specialist contractor to install your tiles
  • Cold underfoot if you don’t have underfloor heating

Vinyl

Vinyl is a cheap and cheerful alternative to tiles. Flooring is available at different price points and is most often used in kitchens and bathrooms. Select a style that suits your decorative scheme.

Pros

  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Susceptible to damage
  • Not suitable for some sub-floors
  • Can be difficult to fit

Always take into account the sub-floor and humidity levels before installing a new floor.