Types of Floor Coverings – Comparison

Types of Floor Coverings

Types of Floor Coverings There are probably more choices of floor covering available today then there have ever been. Improvements and innovations within manufacturing mean that materials previously deemed unsuitable are now commonly used for flooring. Many homeowners still make carpet their first choice and it is easy to see why – luxurious underfoot, a carpet will lend any room a warm and cosy feel.

Other types of floor covering are also finding their way into homes. Laminate flooring, which has always been popular in Scandinavia, is now common in other European countries. Many people still tend to avoid sheet flooring, but this too has had something of a renaissance in recent years, and a huge range is now available that has little in common with the linoleum of old.


Comparing Types of Floor Coverings

When planning out alterations to a room it is essential to know which types of floor covering are appropriate for the particular subfloor, what are the specific qualities of each type and how much it is all likely to cost. The following table examines each of the main types of floor covering available to buy, listing the cost, positive and negative aspects, suitability and how difficult it is to lay, so that you can easily compare types and make your choice.


Pros and Cons

Cost

Durability

Laying

Suitable Subfloors

CARPETS

Pros


Warm and soft to the touch. Luxurious look. Vast range of colours and patterns to suit any colour scheme. Helps to keep down draughts.

Available in wide rolls.


Cons

Not waterproof but special carpets are available for bathrooms. Can mark and stain easily.

Wide range of costs from cheap to very expensive. Moderately durable. Carpets with a high wool content last longest and can be shampooed

May be undertaken by a skilled amateur but more expensive carpets are best left to a professional.

Cheaper foam-backed carpet is glued to double-sided tape at the edges. Woven backed carpet is attached to gripper rods at the edges of the room.

Concrete screed, plywood, chipboard and solid timber floors are all suitable, but carpet is generally laid on top of underlay.

WOODBLOCK

Pros

Very hardwearing. Easy to maintain. Can be stained or bleached to give different look.


Cons

Limited range of options as not all  timbers are suitable for floors.

Expensive but some modern equivalents are slightly cheaper. Very durable — ideal for high traffic areas. When worn, scuffed and dirty can be refinished to bring back to a condition that is good as new. Laying proper woodblock flooring is a professional job requiring hot pitch. An experienced amateur using a latex adhesive can lay small areas.

Concrete screed.

Not suitable for upper floors or for laying on wooden floorboards.

VINYL TILES

Pros

Hardwearing. Easy to maintain and keep clean. Waterproof when correctly laid. Ideal for kitchens and bathrooms.


Cons

Not suitable for areas as they can look rather clinical. Cold and hard.

Costs are moderate considering the life span and compared to other coverings. Very durable — ideal for high traffic areas. Mopping or wiping with a cloth is all that is required in the way of maintenance. Easy to lay, provided the subfloor is in good condition and the setting out is correct. Self-adhesive tiles are the cleanest and easiest to lay for the amateur. Others are set into adhesive. Concrete screed. Ply or chipboard. Solid floorboards should be covered with ply or hardboard before laying.

SHEET VINYL

Pros

Hardwearing. Easy to maintain. Waterproof when correctly laid -ideal for kitchens and bathrooms. Available in wide rolls.


Cons

Not as resilient as tiles. Not suitable for living areas as it can look uninviting.

Moderate considering the life span and compared to other coverings. Very durable — ideal for high traffic areas. Mopping or wiping with a cloth is all that is required in the way of maintenance. Not as easy to lay as tiles as it can be unwieldy. Often best to make a template first, Some can be loose laid but others are glued to the subfloors with special adhesive. Concrete screed. Ply or chipboard. Solid timber floorboards should be covered with ply or hardboard before laying.

LAMINATE

Pros

Hardwearing. Easy to miaintain. Look of solid wood without the expense. Does not need to be laid by a professional.

Cons

Difficult to affect an invisible repair. Can be noisy and slippery. Limited range of finishes.

Moderate considering the life span and in comparison with other coverings. The cheaper laminates are better suited to low-usage rooms. Durable. Ideal for high traffic areas. Mopping or wiping with a cloth is all that is required in the way or maintenance. Straightforward to lay. Some of the new versions clip together and do not require glue, making them even easier. All should be laid on a thin underlay which varies according to the type of subfloor. Concrete screed. Ply or chipboard. Solid timber floorboards should be covered with ply or hardboard before laying.

PLYWOOD

Pros

Hardwearing. Best suited for workrooms and garages.


Cons

Dusty if not coated. Fixings cannot be concealed.

Cheap to moderate depending on the thickness and grade of ply chosen. Very durable. Ideal for high traffic areas. Waterproof when a suitable paint or varnish is applied. Simple with no complicated joints but take care around pipes. Nailed or screwed to the subfloor or joists.

Laid directly onto joists or flooring.

DPM underneath if laid on floor liable to be e damp.

QUARRY TILES

Pros

Hardwearing. Easy to maintain. Waterproof when correctly laid and sealed. Ideal for kitchens and entrances.


Cons

Noisy, hard and cold. Slippery when wet. Crockery dropped onto it will smash.

Highly expensive. Very durable. Ideal for high traffic areas. Unsealed tiles need periodic sealing with a proprietary product in order to retain their appearance and prevent the surface staining. Not a suitable job for novice. Tiles are laid in wet mortar rather than an adhesive. Concrete screed. Ply or chipboard. Solid timber floorboards should be covered with ply or hardboard before laying.


14. December 2010 by admin
Categories: DIY Home, Flooring | Tags: | Comments Off on Types of Floor Coverings – Comparison

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