Creative flooring specialists Carvall Group explain the pros and cons of popular flooring types.
When deciding on the interior decor of their property, most people make an emotionally driven purchase. This is normally based on matching the colour or pattern to an existing theme. When it comes to flooring solutions, decisions need to be made using a mix of emotional, and practical elements. Matthew Carvall, Managing Director of London flooring company Carvall Group, says:
“You need to think about what you need from your floor. Is your choice purely decorative or design-led? Will the floor be down for a long time? Also consider the number of people who are going to use the room and what the room is to be used for. You also need to incorporate pets into the equation.”
As a company, Carvall Group has witnessed many changes in style and tastes throughout it’s 40 years of trading. Below, Matthew highlights the advantages and disadvantages of several trending areas of flooring design.
Luxury/design-led approach – Wood effect
If style, rather than wear quality, is your main consideration, then the more popular areas for the luxury market are in solid or engineered wood flooring. The two products differ in that solid wood is completely solid all the way through, whilst engineered wood flooring has a solid top surface, typically of about 4mm, stuck onto the top of a soft wood backing-board.
The advantages of solid wood floorings are that they are the same wood all the way through, enabling the floor to be renovated over time by sanding and re-sealing to remove any wear, marks and imperfections. Subject to the specification, solid wood flooring can, in many cases, be installed directly onto a property’s joists, allowing for a more natural and flush finish.
Wood effect flooring’s main disadvantage is that it tends to be more costly and time-consuming to install, as most solid wood floors will need to be adhered in some way to the property’s subfloor. You should be careful where you buy the material, and check whether it has been properly kiln-dried. You need to be aware of the atmospheric conditions as the wood may expand and contract depending on moisture levels and relative humidity. The advantages of engineered wood floorings are that they are much cleaner to install, they do not need to be adhered to the floor. Most modern engineered wood flooring, and those from bettter quality manufacturers, tend to benefit from dry installation ‘Click’ joint systems, enabling it to rest as a floating floor and be ready for use immediately after installation.
Engineered flooring’s higher proportion of fast-growing soft wood makes it a much greener option than solid wood, especially if your taste leans toward more exotic timbers – which may be impractical due to the cost or availability of a solid wood floor. The main disadvantage is that it is harder to restore to its original state.
Current trends in wood flooring continue to move away from the older ship deck style designs with smaller planks, to wider and longer single plank formats. Dark stained woods are becoming more prevalent.
Another hybrid product exists called Multiply, which attempts to combine the best of both solid and engineered wood flooring.
This material can be applied directly onto floor joists because it is manufactured in the same way as a conventional engineered material, but using a thicker 10mm plywood base-board rather than softwood. Normally the wood surface layer would be slightly thicker to allow for renovation. Currently, as with all new items, choice and design of finish are limited.
If you are looking for something different, you might consider rubber flooring. Good quality rubber flooring is not cheap, but as it can be recycled and is often produced using a proportion of recycled material, it can be a green option. It’s advantages are that it is soft under-foot, it is hard wearing and will last longer than many alternative materials under general use. It is also anti-static.
Another factor to consider is noise reduction, especially when you are trying not to wake your children after a hard day! The disadvantages include limited styles and aesthetics, as general choices are limited to either studded or non-studded, with plain solid colours. Consideration should be given to ensuring that your subfloor is properly prepared to avoid and any unevenness showing through your new floor.
Rubber is becoming increasingly popular because of its ability to have plain, solid vibrant colours not always available in flooring materials. Rubber is most popular in kitchens and bathrooms, as cost can be quite high for larger floor areas. They are popular with modern, arty, minimalistic approaches.
Luxury vinyl tile
Vinyl is best used when you are looking for your own bespoke floor design. The PVC layer underneath is overlaid with the pattern design, which is then overlaid with transparent PVC. You can choose almost any style, and luxury ranges such as Karndean have transformed a previously ridiculed flooring option into a highly desirable option today.
The advantages over wood and rubber include a high level of design options, colours to match any room theme, heavy wear and colourfastness, with most manufacturers offering guarantees against fading. The disadvantages are that vinyl flooring cannot be restored when worn out, and also it can be seen as merely an interpretation of the real thing.
Trends are moving toward larger items such as bigger tiles and longer, wider planks. We see a lot of people ‘trading-up’ from standard laminates bought from high street retailers to more dedicated, specialist laminates with better wear quality and increased product and design options.
For more advice or information call: 020 8801 5331 or visit our website at: www.carvallgroup.com