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A complete buyer’s guide to flooring

Image of the flooring in the hallway of @blossoms.of.hove.interiors

A complete buyer’s guide to flooring

The top three things to think about when choosing new flooring are the function of the room, your budget and your lifestyle. For example, a busy family kitchen will have different requirements from a single person’s living room, which – for a start — will have less traffic. Once you’ve reflected on your needs, you can start thinking about design.

Narrow down your options

One way to narrow down the options when you’re considering new flooring is to think about where it will be. Are you looking for sumptuous carpet for the bedroom, waterproof flooring for the bathroom or a hard-wearing surface for the hallway? In kitchens and bathrooms you’ll need to think about safety, so make sure you check how practical and slip-resistant your chosen flooring is before purchasing.

As a rule of thumb, it’s worth purchasing the best-quality flooring you can afford. Low-quality flooring can cost more in the long run as you may need to replace it more quickly than a better-quality option. A top tip for budgeting is to make sure you factor in the entire flooring project. Think about fitting costs if you’re getting a professional involved, plus the costs for all materials, such as grout and adhesive, as well as the actual flooring.

Think about maintenance

Different types of floors need different levels of maintenance, so think about how these could fit into your lifestyle. Questions to ask yourself include: How much maintenance do I want to do? Am I happy to stain or polish my floor? Or do I want something that requires just a quick mop?

If you have (or plan to have) underfloor heating, it’s worth knowing that materials such as luxury vinyl tiles (LVT) are much better at absorbing and distributing heat than carpet.

Assess your subfloor

Different flooring options have different requirements when it comes to the condition of the surface they sit on. That means it’s important to know the state of your existing subfloor and any work it may need to bring it up to the standard your chosen new flooring material needs. Once your old floor has been removed, a reputable flooring retailer will be able to check the moisture levels of your subfloor, how level it is and whether there are any cracks or holes that need filling.

Take measurements

Most people are more than capable of taking initial room measurements before starting to shop around for their new floor. What’s more, new technology such as laser measurers make the job even easier and the results more reliable. Have your measurements to hand so you can get an initial idea of costs as you explore different flooring options. There’s still a chance of human error, so if you’re not confident then it’s best to approach a professional. They may well take care of measurements as part of the installation service.

The easiest way to measure your space is to grab a tape measure and measure the room’s length and width in metres. Then you simply need to multiply these together to find the total area in square metres. If you have a room with an alcove, divide the whole space into separate rectangular areas, measure them and then add these areas together. Whatever the size and shape of the room you are measuring, always allow an extra 10 per cent for cuts and wastage.

Find an installer

To find a reputable flooring installer, speak to friends and family, and ask who they’ve used. Or, if you’re using other contractors for a build or restoration, be sure to ask for their recommendations as well. Your architect will also be able to help you here. Also check Trustpilot, Google reviews and Facebook reviews, ask for references and, if you can, visit past projects.

Fitting a floor yourself?

Be cautious if you’re planning to install a floor yourself. Floor fitters have specialist knowledge, and are trained to measure accurately and fit a variety of floorcoverings.

If you’re determined to install the floor, make sure you take your time and prepare everything you need before you start. Research how to install your chosen flooring and any tools needed as once you’ve started laying you’ll need to complete quickly. This is particularly important if you’re installing any flooring with glue.

Image of the dining room flooring of @agi_at_59
Image: @agi_at_59

Featured image: The hallway belonging to Holly of @blossoms.of.hove.interiors.

Want more? Dip back into the archive to see our previous blogs on flooring.