In recent years, there’s been a big trend for hardwood flooring and everybody wants to give it a try – but is it really practical in a family home? Although it can be appealing, good quality carpet hasn’t gone out of style and it still has distinct advantages. How should you approach determining the right kind of flooring for your home? What factors do you need to consider and what can you do to get the best out of your chosen material?
Historically, the first carpets were purely decorative and were hung on walls to keep them in good condition. The first people to start putting them underfoot were thought of as very extravagant. Soft carpet is very appealing to walk on, and it also provides a soft landing for young children who fall over a lot, especially if it’s combined with thick underlay. Carpet is relatively cheap to buy, but you really do get what you pay for, so it’s often worth investing a bit more for a carpet that will stay in good condition for longer, especially in areas of the house like the living room, where it’s subject to a lot of wear and tear.
Carpet can be great for insulation, but the warmest carpets contain wool, so you will need to be careful to keep moths out of your home if you choose something with this material, as moths can damage it badly. Combining carpet with rugs is a good alternative way to add extra insulation to your home.
To keep carpet in good condition, you really need to vacuum it at least twice a week – more if you have kids who have asthma or other allergy-related health problems. You should also aim to deep clean it every few months – check out www.finestcarpetcleaning.ca for expert carpet cleaners who can advise on how to go about this. Deep cleaning can add years to the life of your carpet and keep it looking much nicer too.
Although it’s more expensive, hardwood flooring can be a good investment because it adds value to your home. When you’ve got kids running around, it has additional appeal because it’s so easy to wipe clean. This makes it a particularly good choice if your kids have allergies, but remember that you’ll still need to beat curtains and vacuum soft furniture if you want to keep your home free of dust mites.
Although it might not look it, hardwood flooring can also be quite a good insulator if it’s installed properly. It really is important to have a professional do this, as they can also seal any gaps in order to prevent dirt from getting embedded in them.
Although it’s easy to clean superficially, hardwood flooring needs a serious clean and wax every six months to a year in order to keep it in good shape. This takes around a day to do and can be quite physically demanding. It’s also important to make sure that any liquid spilled on the floor is mopped up straight away, because once it gets the chance to penetrate the protective surface, moisture can cause the wood to warp.
Although these are the most popular types of flooring out there, there are other options. Linoleum can be a good choice for kitchens and bathrooms, because it’s cheap and easy to clean, but it has the downside of melting almost instantly if hot things are dropped on it. You can buy linoleum tiles as a way around this, so it’s easy to replace any damaged areas.
Stone flooring – traditional marble, terracotta or something else – can look fantastic and is very practical if you live in an area where there’s a risk of flooding. It’s difficult to damage, but the downside is that it’s a hard surface and more likely to injure children who fall on it.
If you want a really eco-friendly option, rattan or bamboo flooring is a great choice. It’s hardwearing and it can look very stylish, but it can be rough to the touch, especially as it ages, and it can be problematic if you have kids who like to pull loose threads and generally pull things apart.
In a family home, you need to make family decisions, and getting everybody’s input can help you reach the right conclusion. You’ll need to think about safety, hygiene and the destructive potential of your kids, but that doesn’t rule out finding a solution that’s also comfortable and appeals to your sense of style.