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?
Dating back to the 1930’s, vinyl flooring has come a long way and, I think, it is here to stay. It has proven itself to be a resilient, hardwearing, low maintenance, low cost, water resistant flooring option. The colours and pattern options that are available with vinyl flooring are nearly endless, making it a good choice for any interior style. It mimics wood (laminates) floors, tiles and mosaics. It is available in various sized, from tongue and groove lock system (usually wood effect options), large sheets and stick on tiles. The large sheets can be up to 4m wide and can be used to give a seamless floor finish. Most vinyl options require an underlay, which is designed to protect the sub-floor and provide additional under foot comfort and insulation. As with most things in life, this product also has it drawbacks. The main disadvantage being that the product contains PVC, which emits volatile organic compounds. Manufacturers are however reducing the amount of PVC in the production of vinyl flooring. Although the installation of vinyl flooring is uncomplicated, preparing the sub-floor can be dreary as it has to be very clean in order to ensure an even and neat finish. As vinyl flooring is not as hard as ceramic or wood, a dropped glass will not necessarily break. A sharp objects that falls on the vinyl surface may score, dent and scratch the floor. Furniture pads on the bottom of the furniture legs are therefore a good idea to prevent the development of indentations and other damage.
For me a seamless floor is truly magnificent. No joins, no edges just beautiful natural floors throughout
your home. Many different seamless flooring materials are available on the market. The best known is probably concrete (also know as cement floors) and terrazzo. Terrazzo is a compound material, poured in place and is used on floors and on walls. It consists of chips of e.g. marble, quartz, granite, glass, or other suitable material, poured with a cement type binder. After it has set it is ground and polished smooth and/or sealed create a uniformly textured surface. For obvious reasons this is not a cheep flooring option. Probably my personal favourite flooring option is concrete floors.
Why you might ask?
Well, it is way less expensive compared to terrazzo and can be finished in various colours, stains and textures. Concrete floors are also eco-friendly as it does not deplete natural resources, requires less energy than other floor types to produce, and is “made” on site. It is good for indoor air quality as it hinders mold, mildew, and odor build up and it contains no potentially harmful emissions. Depending on the look and feel required, the texture options are troweled, smooth, or polished. An existing concrete slab in a home can be improved with decorative treatments, such as stains and polishes. The result will not be as nice as starting from scratch when building a new house, but with some effort can still be beautiful. But talk to an expert before setting your heart on this, as not all floors are suitable. A concrete overlay might be installed over certain existing hard-surface floor types to mask damage or offer a fresh new appearance. Depending on the finish and colour, seamless floors are usually extremely durable, simple to maintain and easy to clean and is water resistant if properly sealed. Although it does not suite all interior decorating styles, it could work with most if approached correctly. As the popularity of seamless floors gain ground, new and advanced floor product are starting to appear in the market. I hope to be able to know some of them very soon and will revert back to you in the future.
Wall-to-wall carpeting is an old time favourite for many homes. The variety of styles, textures, colours and patterns ensures that it will enhance the look of most living spaces. But the downsides of carpets are that you face problems from moisture absorption, staining, and mildew. Carpeting can intensify allergy symptoms, as the threads and strands catch and hold dust, dirt, bugs, and bacteria. Anyone who is allergic to dust mites or similar insects or have a respiratory condition such as asthma should think twice before installing carpets. If a carpet is damaged by water it will probably have to be removed. Mold and mildew could develop in the padding resulting in health risks. Most carpets are treated with stain guards, the chemical protectants will not last forever. Pets and carpet usually do not work well together. The smell of dog or cat urine can be difficult to get rid of. If urination of animals continues over a period of time the stench will remain and will force you to get rid of the carpet. The use of area rugs will however still give you most of the benefits of wall-to-wall carpets, but less costly. It will provide underfoot insulation in winter. It is can also be cozy, feel good under your bare feet and make a room feel and look warm and inviting. It reduces sound and is therefore a good choice for bedrooms, TV and dining rooms.