Flooring is a major design element in your house and it’s worth investing time, thought and finances to ensure key considerations are covered. It's a good idea to prioritising durability, slip resistance, low maintenance and installing a recessed mat well inside the front door.
Neutral colours will work with various colour schemes and if your selling neutral tones are the best choice. Also, be sure to use inexpensive paper underlay in old houses to ensure the dust doesn’t get through floorboards, especially if you're getting carpet fitted.
For many Irish home owners this is the go-to solution for most rooms since it's warmer than wood and tiles and it provides a lovely texture., Carpet also adds opulence and helps to minimise sounds. The down side is it can stain, smell and aggravate allergy symptoms. One option for carpet is wool which is considered a luxury product and it's also eco friendly, biodegradable and renewable. While many synthetic carpets are bleach cleanable which makes them ideal for elderly people, children and pets. They’re also colourfast and recyclable. However, a good quality wool carpet will outperform a synthetic version, retaining its look longer.
If you've decided to revamp your house with some new hardwood flooring, there's a few options to consider including who do you get to install it.
Hardwood floor options in Ireland include – solid flooring, semi-solid flooring and laminate – ordered here in terms of decreasing cost.
Solid hardwood flooring
Hardwood is what it says it is, solid planks of your chosen wood type.
Demand for wood is falling, due to high cost, excessive use of hardwoods and a reputation for possible trouble after installation. In its favour, wood is a good insulator and should last a lifetime.
Also, many contend that solid flooring provides a superior finish and gives property owners greater maintenance options in terms of being able to renew the top surface through sanding it back over time.
This contention is open to debate, as semi-solid can be close to it in both aspects, but what is clear is that solid flooring has greater propensity to absorb moisture and hence expand/warp (for this reason it is not recommended for installation over underfloor heating and questionable for bathrooms).
You must also take traffic considerations into account when installing a solid floor – some wood types will not take kindly to high heels or high footfall so consider this when you are choosing the correct surface for each room and get the retailer's advice where possible.
When deciding what type of wood to use there's a massive range of hardwood and softwood flooring is available, varying in colour, grain shape and durability. Hardwood flooring comes in blocks, strips and planks, with finishes including oil or lacquer. Durable hard hardwoods include oak, maple, and teak. Good soft hardwoods are cherry, walnut and birch. Hard softwoods include pitch pine and larch. Red deal and French pine are soft softwoods.
If you're considering doing underfloor heating softwood floors should be avoided since they are inclined to shrink also it's good to remember wood can’t cope with drastic climate changes.
Semi-Solid Hardwood Flooring
Semi-solid flooring typically consists of a three layer plywood base covered in a real wood top surface and depending on product quality and price, semi-solid and engineered floors are bonded to a softwood core or base. The process results in a very stable hardwood floor, less likely to be affected by moisture, and more suitable for underfloor heating and provides a natural look and feel when installed. Semi-Solid wood can also still be sanded and refinished and is more sustainable as it reduces the amount of hardwood required in favour of softwood.
Many see engineered floors as a good all-round alternative to natural wood. They’re more stable and less likely to cause issues. The benefits of this floor type are that it is typically cheaper to buy and install than solid flooring as well as being more moisture stable. Engineered floors are often impossible to distinguish from a solid floor when fitted properly. Plus, they’re suitable for use with underfloor heating – check for certification. The downside is that depending on the thickness of the wood layer it will dictate the number of times it can be sanded.
So it's important to consider traffic volumes, semi-solid is typically protected by a urethane layer but can still be susceptible to scratches and stiletto marks.
It is worth pointing out that both semi-solid and solid wood floors contain natural wood grains, knots and blemishes. Often the beauty of these floor types is in its irregularities as no one plank is going to be the same.
Be prepared for slightly different shading over a large floor area. It is also important to consider the source of all natural wood floors.
A worrying amount of flooring continues to be sourced from unmanaged or illegal forests globally – you are well within your rights to insist on verifying the source of your flooring to ensure that it comes from sustainable, managed forests which carries the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) mark.
Bamboo flooring is currently considered to be the most ecological friendly wooden flooring on the market and can provide a beautiful alternative to the hardwood variety.
The last main hardwood floor type to consider is laminate.
A synthetic material, laminate flooring is relatively cheap to buy and install but is the most hardy of the three floor types listed. There is a balance to be struck in choosing laminate – it will not replicate the effect of real wood (although again some of the higher end laminates are close) but provides durability and an acceptable finish at a lower cost.
Offering an array of design possibilities, including digitally printed looks and optical illusions, vinyl can be used throughout the house. Vinyl is a low-maintenance, water-resistant product, which is comfortable, inexpensive, durable and you can get stain-resistant tiles and sheets. It’s easy to install and tiles can be replaced individually.
The downside is that vinyl can release volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) after installation and can cause ecological waste problems. Subfloor damage causes rips and tears over time and vinyl chemical stains can be a problem, with discolouration after contact with rubber. Also, vinyl can be difficult to repair; there can be yellowing effects; and it may pose a toxic fire hazard.
Seek sustainability credentials – Amtico’s high-end products are certified by independent bodies to be of the lowest level of VOC emissions for indoor air quality.
An alternative to conventional flooring materials is marmoleum, made from natural raw materials, available from companies such as Forbo. It’s durable, comfortable; hygienic; heat-resistant; and easy to clean. It comes in tile, sheet and click format, with a palette of colours and textures. Topshield 2 natural coating adds to durability as it can dent, scuff and stain.
Tiles offer endless customisation possibilities, in different types, colours, sizes and finishes. They’re water-resistant, durable and easy to maintain with various price points. To reduce the risk of slipping it's better to use matte tiles than one that has a shine on the surface.
You will find that most of the tiles that are more affordable tend to be porcelain. At this point very little ceramic is being manufactured and there’s a real shift away from natural stone due to the quality of reproductions in porcelain. The big drawback with tiles is the chill factor when don't put in underfloor heating.
While considering what type of floors you want for your house you'll also need to figure out if you're installing the flooring yourself or if you are hiring a professional to do it for you.
The upside of doing it yourself is saving on money, however, if you don't have the right tools and you're not handy it's worthwhile considering hiring someone. They will take a lot less time getting the job done, you have the assurance that it's being done correctly and sometimes they may be able to source your materials for a better price than you will since they can get trade discounts.
If you're considering getting your floors done please give PD Construction a call or an send us an email. We'll be happy to give you a free quote, advise you on the best options for your home and we can provide photos and references of our work. Call us today at 085 7378410 or email [email protected]
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