Flooring is the permanent covering every building structure requires in order to present a walking surface. Under the flooring lies its support, called the subfloor. In order to provide structural strength, subfloors can be laid on several layers. A subfloor can be made out of concrete, wood, or other building materials.
The Importance of Quality Flooring
Flooring materials differ in nature and properties. Choosing flooring materials depends on a few factors such as endurance, cleaning method, noise insulation, heat insulation and, of course, cost. Flooring supports constant traffic, so the right choice of materials is very important.
Most Popular Types of Flooring Materials
Certain types of flooring materials require special conditions for installation. Where there might be condensation or moisture, hardwood and laminates floors are not recommended. Other types of flooring should not be installed below ground level.
Ceramic tiles are a cost-effective flooring option. There are often part of the architectural flooring, as designers want to create an attention-grabbing centrepiece at the entrance to a building. All in all, ceramic tiles are a popular choice for flooring materials as they are spill- and stain-proof. They come in a wide variety of colours and are a good balance of quality and price. A main disadvantage, however, is that they can crack if an item is dropped directly on them. They can also be cold and hard to walk on.
Cost, installation requirements, and type of wood are among the factors you should consider when choosing hardwood flooring. Design-wise, the choice of wood should also match the décor and furnishings of the room. The construction of the floor is the main aspect that to consider when selecting the type of wood to use for flooring.
Hardwood falls into two main types- solid and engineered wood. Solid wood is what most would assume as wood flooring in general. A few main rules should be followed – solid wooden flooring should not be installed below ground level, known as ‘below grade’, as humidity and cold coming from the ground can lead to moisture and condensation related problems. Hardwood flooring materials are popular because they match most interiors, adding charm and warmth. Wood never goes out of style, and in terms of care only requires periodic refinishing to properly treat it and prolong its life. Wooden floors have one main disadvantage; they swell or shrink in contact with moisture. That is why flooring specialists advise on installing wood flooring on the second storey or higher, performing regular refinishing to seal the beauty of the wood.
Usually laminate flooring is constructed of several layers of engineered material, imitating the surface appearance of wood or tile. It is more durable than wood flooring as it can resist scuffs and scratches. Laminate floors have an internal protective layer, so they are a good choice for covering high traffic areas such as kitchens, or suitable for households with children. One of the greatest advantages of laminate is that it requires almost no cleaning effort and maintenance – just regular mopping is enough. On the other hand, refinishing is not an option, and laminate flooring needs to be completely replaced when it starts to wear.