How to choose a suitable flooring material.

Interior designers have their fetishes just like everyone else.  It may sound strange but mine happens to be materials, especially floors.  I don’t know what it is, but when I see a beautiful or interesting floor it really catches my attention.  Sometimes when I go shopping and walk into a store that gives me good vibes, I notice the floor.  It’s funny how it’s usually wood or a resilient material in an interesting print.  Why are we attracted to certain materials?  It must trigger something in our subconscious that connects particular textures and finishes to certain feelings.  We don’t realize how our childhood experiences and memories are ingrained in our subconscious so much so that it affects our decisions later on in life.  I know, I know, it’s only a floor.  But actually remember that flooring in a space is one of the largest surfaces that you must deal with, so it is an important part of the design process.

When choosing flooring today, there are so many options that it’s difficult to make a decision.  Remember to always go back to the main question, “What is the purpose of this space?” next, “who and how many people will use the space?”  Let’s take a kitchen for an example.  The kitchen is for cooking so there will be many times when food and water will be on the floor.  Cooking and cleaning up means someone will be standing in the space for a stretch of time.  So, what are your options?

1.    maintenance:  easily cleaned, flat surface
2.    water resistant
3.    Resilient for comfort or you need a gel mat.

These points help us narrow the options to wood, linoleum, tile and laminate.

The next decision is budget.  How much per square foot can you afford or want to spend?  How long do you want this floor to last?  When calculating you must also enquire about delivery charges, installation, refunds, warranty and all the ‘extras’ that are involved which no one really discusses such as trim, grout, sealant, etc.  This all adds up into the square footage price.  For example, you can purchase cheap tile for $1-$5 a square foot but the labor cost is much more than installing the click wood or laminate panels because there is more prep work.  Also, for tile you have to wait for the tile to set so it can’t be finished in one trip.  Make sure you do all your research before making your decision

Enjoy your search and just to help you get out from your comfort zone I’ve included pictures of our cork floors in the family room against the existing oak.  We did this about six years ago and they still look like new.  Later on we removed the carpet from the stairs replacing it with a combination of cork and oak.  It took a while to get used to, but now I love it!  The best part about the pattern is that is difficult to detect dirt.

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