When choosing a new floor, what do you prioritize: style or durability?
According to a 2018 survey by market research company Mintel, 80 percent would go for the practical choice. This simply means that most people prefer floors that can withstand foot traffic and all other challenges presented in a room before thinking about what it would look like.
This is to be expected. After all, the floor is the part of the house that takes a lot of abuse – from muddy shoes on the entryway to chair legs scraping across the dining room.
So, how can you decide on the right floor to pick? First, you must think about how you intend to use the area. Then, consider what challenges lie ahead and discover the characteristics of the different flooring options you have.
From wall-to-wall carpet and vinyl to hardwood and porcelain tiles, here are four options you must consider for each room in the house.
1. Living Room and Other Family Rooms: Hardwood
There are plenty of flooring options available for living rooms. From terracotta to slate and polished concrete, you can easily find one that matches the style of your home. But if you’re seeking a timeless floor, then you should be looking at hardwood.
Hardwood is your best bet in terms of style in a high-traffic area. From fun herringbone patterns to many different inlays, you can use your creativity to pick the one that matches the interior well.
In terms of cleaning and maintenance, hardwood only requires a quick sweep, vacuum, and the occasional mopping. It would also be better to ask the installer for care instructions as different types of wood floors may have varying specifications and require special maintenance.
Plus, you don’t actually have to worry about aging as wood is much like wine – the more years pass, the better it gets.
Like the living room, the dining room is another common space for family bonding. As such, hardwood is the better choice of flooring for this part of the house, too.
Again, don’t worry about the dulling finish as time passes. If necessary, you can always have it refinished to make it good as new. You also have the option to place a dense area rug under the table to protect the floor against spills and scratches.
2. Kitchen and Mudroom: Vinyl or Porcelain
From dripping raincoats and grit-covered shoes that bring dirt, to heavy canned goods crashing down and chair feet dragging around the area, there is much more than foot traffic to worry about when choosing a floor for the kitchen or mudroom. The floors in these areas tend to bear the brunt of the entire household’s comings and goings, which also means that you’ll need the most cost-efficient and sturdiest low-maintenance floor material for this part of the house.
In this case, wood is definitely not the best choice. Although it does look good in magazines and Pinterest posts, wood cannot withstand assault in the kitchen well. In fact, hardwood is generally more prone to denting than most flooring materials.
With hardwood out of the picture, you have two viable choices: porcelain tiles and vinyl.
Porcelain is a natural choice for high-traffic areas because of its durability. In fact, it outperformed most flooring materials in terms of scratch and dent resistance.
It is also very low maintenance and never requires more than just mopping, vacuuming, or sweeping to stay in good shape for years.
The best part is that you can match virtually any interior design as it comes with a wide range of styles. For example, you can use a set of small-format hex tile or a faux reclaimed-ash plank for the kitchen to match your early-20th century villa. You can even make the faux plank look more realistic with a grout that matches the wood design.
Like tiles, vinyl has been touted as an excellent choice for kitchens and mudrooms. This is primarily because it can withstand the test of time.
For decades, many homeowners have chosen this flooring material to save on installation costs and floor maintenance expenses. It is also sturdy enough to resist scratches even as children drag chairs around, and it stays in shape even with the inevitable spills common in the kitchen. It is also easy on the feet, making it perfect for households with older adults.
If it’s low maintenance that you want, vinyl goes head-to-head with tiles as both only require dust mopping or a good wipe using a damp cloth. Moreover, this type of floor can last for decades if installed properly.
If needed, replacing vinyl floors is also quite affordable and easy, making it a DIY-friendly endeavor for many homeowners. This is useful not just for repairs but also, more importantly, for changing up the look of an entire room. This will allow you to take advantage of the many simulated finishes available.
Take Fitnice flooring, for instance. Made from woven vinyl, it offers a wide range of textures, patterns, and colors that can match just about any interior design style without breaking the bank.
3. Bathroom and Laundry Area
Although they don’t always face stress from heavy foot traffic or constant direct sunlight, the bathroom and laundry area face an entirely different challenge: moisture.
Shower splashes, plumbing leaks, and even overflowing toilets are what you’ll need to think about when selecting a floor for these parts of the house. This is why, like in the kitchen, vinyl and porcelain tiles are the top choices for the bathroom and laundry area.
To prevent slipping from constantly wet floors, you must pick textured tiles over ones with polished surfaces. With vinyl, you also have the option to add a luxurious vibe to the space, mimicking natural flooring materials like wood and stone (think: marble and granite).
4. Bedroom and Playroom: Carpet
In general, hardwood floors are the most popular choice for a residential space. However, this is not the most comfortable type of floor to walk barefooted on in the morning, which means it is not the top choice for bedrooms.
If you’re redoing your room or have only begun having it built, it would be best to go with optimum foot comfort with plush wall-to-wall carpet flooring. It literally feels softer than hardwood, and also lends a cozier vibe in the part of the house dedicated to rest and sleep.
Besides the bedroom, carpets also work well in children’s playrooms where safety and sound issues are top priorities. Because of their softness, carpets help cushion falls while keeping the noise level to a minimum.
So, when remodeling your bedroom or the playroom, don’t hesitate to contact your trusted carpet suppliers in the UAE. You cannot go wrong with this type of flooring when it comes to these areas.
Borrow Knowledge to Make a Sound Choice
When picking a type of floor for a room, you should decide based on the use, challenges, and characteristics of the material. If you have little experience in comparing most types of floors, consider taking advice from those who have studied each option available or have experienced them first-hand. With this borrowed knowledge, you should be able to make a sound choice.
James Prathap is the General Manager at NGC Nafees, one of the leading distributors of wallpapers, floorings, and fabrics in the Middle East and South Asia. Formed three decades ago, the business also offers high-quality panoramics, coordinated fabrics, and creative stickers for residential and commercial projects.