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Choosing the right flooring

At the same time, flooring is a highly practical feature that must perform well and stand the test of time.

There is a lot to think about when your home renovations include new flooring. Over the past decade, the marketplace has seen the introduction of new, exciting products. Many traditional products now come in almost unlimited colours, designs and textures at many price levels.

With so many choices, you want to take a good look at your options in the early planning stages. Look through home and interior decor magazines, including advertisements. Check the websites of major flooring manufacturers and industry associations for information on selecting and caring for flooring. Visit home shows. Spend time in building supply centres and retailers’ showrooms. Tour display models in new housing developments.

Once you are ready to proceed, an HIA builder can help you select the most appropriate products for your project and advise you on implications for installation. When making your final decisions, there are a number of things to consider.

  • Materials – From hardwood to carpeting to ceramics, most materials can be used in a variety of applications. Spend time familiarising yourself with the benefits and design possibilities for each type of flooring, including recent popular options such as laminates, cork and stone.

  • Style – Traditional or modern? Formal or natural? Light or dark? Pattern or plain? Consider overall compatibility with the style and decor of your home as well as the look you want to achieve. A good starting point is to decide on the main feature in an area (e.g. kitchen cabinets) and then select complementary flooring to create a harmonious look. Some manufacturers’ websites allow you to experiment with flooring and colours in ‘virtual’ settings.

  • Durability – How much wear and tear will the new flooring be exposed to? If used in high traffic or activity areas, focus on flooring that is durable, resistant to water, wear, stains, scratches, scuffmarks and even burns. With proper selection and maintenance, many products can last the lifetime of your home.

  • Maintenance – Today’s materials emphasise low maintenance and easy cleaning. However, some require more care than others. Make sure you understand the maintenance requirement of each product, from routine cleaning to dealing with mishaps.

  • Installation – Your builder can advise you on the requirements for installing various types of flooring. What kind of surface preparations are needed e.g. removal of old tiles or installation of new sub-flooring? Will you need new baseboards or trim? How much will this add to the cost? How long will it take to install the floor?

  • Environmental sensitivities – Is anyone in your household sensitive to dust, pet hair and other substances that can collect in carpeting or flooring cracks? Or to glues, grouts and floor finishes that may be used during installation? Fortunately, problems can easily be reduced or avoided. Talk with your builder about the right solutions for your home, including pre-finished hard surface flooring and low-emission glues and grouts.

  • Budget – How much are you willing and able to spend? Is this your ‘renovation of a lifetime’, or do you plan to move or update your renovation in the future? Will you want to spend additional money on area rugs? Can you ‘mix and match’ to stretch your budget to include the touches of flooring luxury you may always have wanted? 

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