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Floor Coverings

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 11 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Property Renovation Renovate Homes

Is there any other type of floor covering apart from wood flooring? Only twenty years ago you’d have been hard pushed to find it in our DIY stores but now the market is awash with hundreds of wooden flooring products from the most obvious fakes to the real thing. But are they the only option?

Factors to Consider

Look is only one of the factors when selecting the flooring for your renovation project. Cost is another obvious one, but durability, noise and insulating properties also need to be taken into consideration.

Look at the way your property is used to work out where people walk the most. Areas such as hallways and stairs will take a lot of pounding and for this reason carpets and other floor coverings are graded to indicate whether or not they’re suitable for such heavy-duty use. On stairs, carpet can be a very effective sound deadener so particularly if there are going to be children running up and down, carpet may be the best bet.

Luxury Upstairs?

In upstairs rooms such as bedrooms, you have a little more leeway as they are not likely to be walked on a great deal, and if they are, it is likely to be by people in slippers or bare feet rather than heavy footwear. This means that a lighter grade and more luxurious carpet can safely be used, and this will also make bedrooms and upstairs landings feel a lot warmer underfoot.

Waterproof and Resilient

In kitchens, toilet and bathrooms you are likely to want something that is durable and easy to clean frequently, and it’s in these locations that hard floorings such as tiles, wood and vinyl are most frequently used. Vinyl is probably the most common, although lino is making a comeback, as it’s a relatively eco-friendly product made from organic components.

If you use a wooden floor covering in these areas, pay close attention to the waterproofing, if it’s a composite rather than real wood, as it could be an expensive mistake, particularly in a bathroom. If you have real wooden floorboards in a bathroom, then consider sanding them down and sealing them to provide resilience against damp.


Carpet still has a place in the nation’s homes and, in flats in particular, it’s worth considering carpet because hard flooring, such as wood, may give rise to noise complaints from neighbours below you. Carpet can also be better if your property is difficult to keep warm; as wood flooring and tiles can feel very cold underfoot. If you really hanker after the clean modern look of wood flooring, consider a vinyl or even lino imitation, or put a thick insulating layer down underneath to cushion the blow of footsteps and keep heat in the room.

There are many different types of carpet available, such as tufted, woven or pile, and each of these can be made in a variety of fibres. Natural fibres to make the carpet, like cotton and wool, have been joined by an array of man-made alternatives such as nylon, polypropylene and polyester. Similarly the backings can be of natural fibres such as jute, or man-made options, and may have a foam backing glued to it or require a separate underlay.

Heat Matters

One final point; if you are lucky enough to be putting under-floor heating in as part of your renovation, many composite or real wooden floor coverings will warp so it’s important to check this before selecting a product.

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