A guide to choosing the right flooring for your home

From bamboo and laminate to vinyl and carpet - find out which flooring is right for which room.

When the time comes to choose new flooring for your home, make sure you've done your research on the right flooring for your space, lifestyle and budget.

That way, you'll get the most benefit and your new flooring will stay looking great for longer.

Take a look at our flooring guide to discover what works well around your home.

1. Carpet adds warmth and softness to your home

Carpet is an ideal choice for areas where you want to create a comfortable, soft surface, such as living areas, hallways and bedrooms. Carpets can be made from natural materials such as wool, or from man-made fibres. Both have advantages, and choosing the right carpet is a particular consideration in case of allergies. In addition to the softness and comfort, carpet can also play a role in sound insulation, making it a better choice for instance in apartments, where hard floors can create a noise nuisance for yourself and/or neighbours.

2. Choose laminate for an attractive and authentic look

Laminate flooring features a wood grain appearance which is the same shape and size as wood planks and is one of the most popular flooring choices. This decorative layer is impregnated with a plastic or resin, bonded to a rigid core, with some type of backing material to prevent the floor from warping. The most popular locations for laminate flooring are the kitchen, family rooms and dining rooms. As the image that is printed on the paper layer is actually a photograph, laminate floors really do look like wood, stone, or other materials without worrying about price and durability.

3.  Timber is modern and easy to maintain

Timber lasts longer than other flooring options and can be refinished several times (solid hardwoods can be refinished an unlimited number of times) or can be stained to change the look. Timber flooring is not recommended for areas like kitchens and bathrooms, although some newer engineered woods are more stable and can be used in these areas providing you try and minimise spills. Timber flooring is available in strips, planks, and parquet squares.

4. Bamboo is strong and flexible

Bamboo is a natural flooring material that has many of the properties of timber flooring, even though it is produced from a type of grass. The bamboo plant is a highly renewable resource that grows to maturity in as little as three to five years, much faster than hardwood trees which can take twenty years or more to reach maturity. It is easy to maintain and is slightly more resistant to water damage and stains than most timber flooring. Bamboo is firmer and more sustainable than traditional timber and is increasing in popularity across Australia.

5. Vinyl is durable and resilient against scratches and stains

Vinyl floor coverings are durable and suitable for any room in the house. Vinyl is usually available as sheets or tiles. Vinyl floors are a popular option among many homeowners, particularly in kitchens and bathrooms. A synthetic cousin of linoleum, vinyl flooring is water and stain-resistant, versatile, and provides good durability for the cost. It is also softer and warmer underfoot than tiles and is often preferred over tiles by people with small children due to safety reasons.

6. Hybrid flooring has the look and feel of timber but is waterproof

The best of laminate, the best of vinyl. Multilayer Hybrid flooring is naturally waterproof, so it can be installed in wet areas such as kitchens, bathrooms and laundries where laminate flooring cannot be traditionally used. Thanks to its durable textured surface, Multilayer Hybrid flooring looks and performs like a timber or laminate floor without the drawbacks. It's a true hybrid flooring product. Using cutting edge manufacturing technology, the surface layer of each board is finished with a protective coating embossed with a textured timber grain.

7. Tiles are long-lasting and hypoallergenic

Ceramic tiles have been made by man for 4000 years. In the ancient civilisations of Egypt, Greece and Rome, tiles were found in public buildings, temples and houses of important citizens. The fact that the tiles are often almost intact when these sites were excavated is a testament to the durability of ceramic tiles. Particularly suitable in kitchens, bathrooms, and utility rooms, tiles may not be the cheapest floor covering to buy but they will last for many years if looked after.

8. Underlay is a wise investment

Underlay is often an afterthought when considering flooring options, but it is an integral ingredient that shapes how flooring feels, wears and looks. The right underlay will increase the comfort level and lifespan of most floorings by as much as 50 per cent. Underlay acts as a shock absorber, leveller, sound absorber, and energy preserver and will protect your flooring from the normal wear and tear of a busy household, keeping it looking and feeling good.

Obviously, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of all these types of flooring, cost will play a part in your decision.

Australia's largest retail floor covering specialist, Carpet Court takes immense pride in its reputation for expertise, advice and product knowledge.

For price comparisons, accurate measurements of the area where you want to lay your flooring are essential, and the staff at Carpet Court can offer you a free in-home measure.

Contact them via the website or pop into your local Carpet Court store to see what is on offer for your next flooring project.

This article is brought to you by Carpet Court.

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