Your Hard Flooring Options

Your Hard Flooring Options

Have a look in our HI Pages photo galleries and you will see a distinct trend: Australians are choosing hard floors over fully carpeted floors. In a warm climate like ours, they are a lot of good reasons for this. Cool underfoot and allergen-free, there are practical reasons for choosing hard floors, but there are other reasons why hard flooring is such a popular trend, too. New technologies and a wider range of styles and materials make hard flooring a more viable option in any setting.

Timber Flooring Option

Timber flooring is a perennial favourite, but in the past, you had to either build your house with timber flooring as an integral part of the structure or buy a home that already had timber floors. If your house was built on a slab, you were out of luck. Thanks to floating timber floors, that’s no longer the case. Floating timber floors are made from thin lengths of timber, are pre-finished and can be laid on any floor.

If there’s a down side to solid timber flooring, it’s the expense. That drawback, too, has largely been removed with the introduction of so-called engineered timbers. The engineered part of the equation simply means that these floors are made from reconstituted timber. Their colour, texture and even grain can be virtually indistinguishable from solid timber or if not, the flooring is so aesthetically pleasing, its resemblance to solid timber is not an issue.

Bamboo, while technically a grass and not a timber, is another timber option in flooring that is taking off in Australia. Even tougher than timber, new bamboo flooring comes either natural or stained. Stained bamboo has been stained during the manufacturing process, so instead of a surface stain that can quickly wear off, the stain permeates the floor boards.

Stone Flooring Options

Natural stone is another Australian favourite and now that modern sealants are available, the drawback of porosity has been largely eliminated. Large format natural stone tiles are the current trend — up to 120X120cm in large, open plan spaces.

Like some of the more expensive timbers, natural stone is not within everyone’s budget. However, even top interior designers whose clients can afford whatever they suggest are turning to terrazzo today. Once considered the budget stone only, terrazzo, which is made from a mixture of ground stone, marble, glass and/or other materials in a cement base, is enjoying a comeback, thanks to the new ranges of colours that are available.

Slate, too, is enjoying a renaissance in popularity. One reason is because grey is such a trendy colour. Another reason is because people are discovering new ways to use the subtle variations in colour to create unique floors that can’t be duplicated with any other material. From greens and blues to auburn, natural slate colours complement each other perfectly and can be arranged in intriguing patterns that add character and warmth to any room.

Vinyl & Linoleum Flooring Options

Your Hard Flooring Options

There was a time when lino nearly became extinct and vinyl was for kitchens only. Times have changed, though. Both linoleum and vinyl flooring have something going for them that no other hard flooring has. They are both soft hard flooring materials. As such, they are comfortable to walk on, safer for children and warmer underfoot than stone.

Do you think old fashioned when you think lino? If so, think again. Some manufacturers are now making eco-friendly lino that is likely to become the next big thing in modern flooring. Do you think unnatural when you think of vinyl? If so, you haven’t seen the latest ranges of photo-realistic timber look vinyl flooring. Don’t give vinyl & linoleum a miss if you’re looking for stylish, modern hard flooring. You will be amazed by the array of designer styles that are now available.

Ceramic Tile Options

Of course, no list of your hard flooring options would be complete without including ceramic tiles. With a nearly infinite variety of colours and designs to choose from, there’s no excuse for not finding a suitable ceramic tile for your kitchen, bathroom or living room. A little more expensive, but probably worth it, porcelain tiles are tougher and more chip resistant than ceramic tiles. Both internal and external (slip-resistant) ceramic and porcelain tiles are available and many styles are available in both, giving you a seamless transition from indoor to outdoor tiles.

One final hint: If you’re worried about hard flooring being too cold for your climate or are looking for a better heating system for your home, consider having underfloor heating installed along with your new flooring. The gentile warmth of underfloor heating is making it an increasingly popular choice in Australia, especially since state-of-the-art technology and installation techniques have brought it down in price.

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