Selecting the floor requires a lot of consideration since it defines the character of the house. It forms the base of ever room and is perhaps the only all pervasive element of your house. Hence it is very important to make the correct choice since once installed you will have to live with it for a long time. There are four things which define the characteristic of the flooring of the house. They are:
• Prevalent weather conditions, whether the climate tends to be extreme, moderate or moisture prone,
• The footfall or the wear and tear that it will have to experience based on the type of lifestyle led and the location of the room,
• The ease with which it can be maintained and
• The budget of buying and installing the same.
Based on the above criteria, the different types of flooring materials available are:
Hardwood: These are all time favourites because they are durable with a warm, inviting and natural feel. The fact that they offer a varied choice of styles like planks, prefinished, parquet etc., ensures its flexibility and versatility for installing in any kind of room.
Laminate: Laminate flooring is slowly gaining popularity because they are affordable, easy to install and maintain. They also come in textures and styles which simulate many different type of flooring like hardwood, ceramic, concrete etc.
Engineered wood: This is a slightly expensive variant of laminate flooring wherein the topmost layer is made up of real wood as opposed to the photographic imprint found on laminate floor planks and tiles. Thus engineered wood has a much more authentic feel than laminated floors.
Bamboo: Herein a type of lightweight woody grass is used to create this type of floor. The plant yielding this woody grass is regenerating and fast growing. It also has a tensile strength equivalent to steel making Bamboo floors one of the most durable options available. They are also able to resist expansions and contractions resulting from changes in the temperature and pressure of the environment.
Cork: This is another eco-friendly flooring material which gives a soft cushiony feel underfoot. They also bounce back if dented and have the ability to absorb sounds and vibrations.
Linoleum: Made primarily from linseed oil, wood flour and rosins, Linoleum is another green flooring alternative. The fact that it also has bactericidal properties also makes it a healthy alternative.
Tile: They come in a wide variety of choices to suit every aesthetic and budgetary requirement. Hence choice of tiles can range from porcelain, terra cotta, marble, granite, slate, travertine etc. This is also an easy to maintain alternative.
Vinyl: This is a good option for rooms which are prone to moisture and gives the best value for money. It is also easy to clean and maintain.
Concrete: Long lasting and low maintenance, concrete floors are the evergreen choice. They are practical to use and can also be stained and stamped to look like any of the other flooring options. It is versatile in use and can blend in with any type of decor.
While it is essential for the decor of the room to harmonise with your sensibilities, one also has to be consciously practical when it comes to selecting the flooring material. All the other elements can be worked around to get the required feel and look of the room if the choice of flooring is correctly made.