Flooring 101: ten things to know

Our expert tips for perfect flooring
Annette O'Brien

A fabulous renovation starts from the ground up. Here are the 10 foundations for perfect flooring.

Paint it white (Credit: Sue Stubbs)

1. You will need to choose your flooring before construction begins.

2. Take into consideration the depth of your flooring when setting the height of balustrades; even a thin tile can affect the minimum height requirement, which is mandatory under building regulations. 

File this tile (Credit: Derek Swalwell)

3. Bathrooms require sub-floors and professional waterproofing – you’ll also need a sub-floor if you are planning to
have under-floor heating.

4. Tiles can flow across wet and dry spaces. Don’t forget about outdoor areas. The style and shape of the kitchen tiles, for instance, can be matched with similar pavers on the outdoor entertaining deck – this creates a pleasing continuity of design.

5. Vinyl is making a comeback – it’s forgiving underfoot and available in myriad hues and patterns, including look-alike stone and timber, but you’ll need to check that it is compatible with under-floor heating and suitable for shower areas.

In the loop (Credit: Cath Muscat)

6. Carpet is soft, comes in various shades and weaves, and is great for both acoustics and insulation. “The choices are either loop pile, cut pile or a combination,” says Desiree Keown of Cavalier Bremworth. “Loop piles are hard-wearing and have great ‘soil-hiding’ properties, whereas cut piles can feel softer underfoot.” For high-traffic areas, look for extra heavy duty gradings, advises Desiree.

Stain it (Credit: John Downs)

7. Your flooring choice will affect your overall decorating scheme, even if you choose a ‘neutral’ material such as wood; many timbers have yellow or red undertones that will impact the colours you choose for your walls.

8. Timber, whether solid or veneer, gives a lovely finish. Timber needs care to prevent scuffing. The ‘Stain & Varnish’ range from Cabot’s can change the timber’s tone to fit your interior look.

9. Painted timber floors have a dramatic feel, but can suffer wear in heavy traffic areas.

Concrete love (Credit: Natasha Lorenzen)

10. Concrete is hard-wearing but tough on toes in cold weather and unforgiving when breakables are dropped. Acting as a battery for heat, concrete’s thermal properties will keep a home warmer in winter and cooler in summer and will work perfect in-slab heating.

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