As with walls, floor finishes greatly influence the style of a room. When deciding on a floor covering, it is important to ask yourself a few important questions. First of all would it work with your interior style? Other important questions would be how safe is it? How will it look after 10 year’s wear and tear? Will it stay relevant in a couple years or is it just a short-term design trend? Will your choice go with the other colours that fit the other fixtures in the space? For me as a designer it boils down to two basic things, namely is it beautiful whilst at the same time practical?
Ceramic tiles are probably the best known and most used floor finish. It is well known for its durability. Believe it or not, intact installations are found in ancient Rome and Egypt ruins. Ceramic tile is rated from zero to five based on hardness. Those rated zero through to two is suitable for wall tiles. A rating of three is good for most residential floor, while four and five are hard enough for commercial use. Tiles also come in either a mat or gloss finish and sometimes have a more course exterior option. Some tiles have a textured finish, which I always advise my clients to avoid, as with our harsh water, unsightly build up of scale and cleaning material could occur over time.
Tiles are easy to clean and maintain, in general (depending on the surface finish) stain and moisture resistant. As we live in a country where many of us suffer from allergies, tiles would definitely be a good option. Many tile surface finishes are very slippery when wet, caution should therefore be taken when selecting a floor tile for example for a bathroom. Since tiles sometimes break or needs to be replaced (e.g. burst water pipe) I always suggest that a client invest in an additional square meter or two for possible use in the future.
As there are variations in manufacturing lots, colours could differ from one to the other. It is therefore important to always make sure that tiles purchased come from the same batch. Also remember that a specific tile could be discontinued in the future, even if very popular at the moment.
Ceramic tiles are very versatile and are available in a wide variety of colours, sizes, designs, finishes and price ranges. It is therefore possible to find a floor tile to go with any interior design.
Real wood floors as I like to call them, are absolutely gorgeous and definitely one of my favorites. But for various reasons not an option I recommend regularly.
Although cost of hardwood greatly depends on the type of wood used, this is usually an expensive choice. Hardwood is timeless and offers incomparable beauty that can fit any interior style. Hardwood floors however do require quite an amount of maintenance. It usually requires a protective sealant after installation to protect the wood. Thereafter it needs regular sealing, depending on the climate. Most wood floors, depending on the wood type selected is resistant to dents and scratches, they still scratch and wear, especially in high-traffic areas.
It is thus wise to apply scratch resistant pads to the feet of furniture. Entrance mats at doors will help reduce dirt and dust, which will help protect your wood floor. Scratches can be fixed, although it will take some effort. A simple sanding and refinishing will restore your floors back to their former glory. Solid woods are vulnerable to moisture and most likely to bend and bulge in a wet climate. Whether a wet or dry climate, if not properly installed, the wood will warp. It should preferably not be installed directly over concrete and a wood or plywood subfloor is a must, which obviously increases the cost of a hardwood floor. Always use a professional for installation. If maintained properly, hardwood can last a lifetime and can add value to a home.
Although artificially manufactured, engineered wood still consists majorly of real wood. Its main advantage is the fact that it shrinks and expands less than solid wood and is less susceptible to moisture. The ‘tongue and groove’ system makes for a faster installation time.
As with hardwood it is recommended that you use entrance mats and put protective pads on the bottoms of furniture. Engineered wood is however extremely expensive, making it an option very few can afford. As with hardwood, a professional service for installation should be non negotiable. If selected correctly, an engineered wood floor, as with hardwood, will suit any interior style.