Selecting the right flooring is crucial to the interior design and comfort of your home. Many types of flooring can look and feel extremely different and that is why you need to understand each one before buying.
1. What are the different types of flooring?
When choosing a carpet you should decide on where it is going to go and what its function will be; will it be purely practical or more for aesthetic purposes? There are a range of different carpets available and the type you choose will depend on where it will be placed in your home. For example, you will need a durable carpet for high traffic areas but might prefer a more delicate, softer option in quieter rooms like the bedroom.
Laminate flooring is a synthetic flooring product using multi-layers which are fused together in a lamination process. Quality laminate flooring looks and feels like wood or stone, but offers many other benefits; such as cheaper costs, less maintenance, easier fitting and straightforward cleaning. This real wood or stone alternative is scratch resistant – great for homes with children, pets or both – and some laminates can be fitted alongside underfloor heating for extra warmth and comfort. Laminate is sold as planks, which slot together with a tongue and groove system, making it easier to replace damaged areas.
Vinyl flooring is durable, flexible, easy to clean and hygienic. It is often used in bathrooms and kitchens because of its water-resistant properties and can also often be fitted with underfloor heating. It is sold in sheets or tiles and is secured into place with adhesive. Replacing damaged sections is easier as a result.
2. How to choose the right flooring
Choosing the right flooring will depend largely on the function and room it will be placed in.
How do you choose the right floor material for a room?
Ensure you understand the function of the room and how it is used before purchasing any flooring. Kitchens require hardy flooring options that are easy to clean and stain resistant while living areas need flooring that is both attractive and practical, offering high levels of comfort and warmth but still withstanding everyday wear and tear. Bathrooms have similar requirements to kitchens and high traffic areas such as halls, landings and stairways need more hardwearing options than lesser-used rooms such as bedrooms.
What are the benefits of carpet flooring?
The biggest benefit of carpet is the additional comfort it provides but it is also aesthetically pleasing and can add the finishing touch to any interior design style. Carpets also provide additional insulation; helping to keep rooms warm and cosy.
Carpets are softer underfoot than other flooring types and provide better grip. They are relatively low maintenance although spills and stains may require more cleaning than with other flooring types. Investing in stain-resistant carpets is therefore recommended for busier rooms or those with children or pets.
Which flooring is most suitable for a bathroom?
When looking for suitable flooring for your bathroom you should ensure it is waterproof, durable, easy to clean and comfortable underfoot. One of the most popular flooring options for bathrooms is vinyl, but wood and laminate can also be used to create a modern, functional style that is great for damp spaces.
Specialist bathroom carpet is also available should you prefer this type of flooring.
Which type of flooring is most hard-wearing?
All types of Carpetright flooring are designed to be resilient and hard-wearing. Laminate and vinyl are often considered some of the toughest options as they are water resistant, scratch resistant and even stain resistant but certain types of carpet also boast these properties. Loop pile carpets are especially popular in busy rooms with a lot of foot-fall.
Which flooring type is best for a kitchen?
Vinyl or laminate flooring is recommended for use in kitchens. They are hard-wearing, water resistant and easy to clean which makes them a practical option in this busy room where spills are most likely to occur.
Underfloor heating can be used with most types of vinyl or laminate flooring for extra insulation and warmth. There is a huge range of styles to choose from to match the decor and style of your kitchen.
3. How do you measure a room?
For a carpet:
Draw a diagram of the room and measure the length and width carefully. Round each measurement up to the nearest half a foot to be on the safe side and multiply measurements together to get the total surface area. Add an additional 10% to this amount for wastage and joints.
For rooms which are not square, it may help to measure the room in sections and add each total together to find out the grand total. Always allow a little extra for cutting and mistakes.
For laminate flooring:
Measure the length and width of the room and multiply together to get the total surface area of the room. Add an extra 10% to allow for waste and to match up any patterns with tile-effect floors.
Laminate flooring is usually sold in packs of planks. Check the surface area each pack can cover and divide this figure into the total surface area of your floor to determine how many packs you need. It’s always advisable to buy a few extra to allow for waste and cutting and any spare planks can be kept to replace damaged areas in the future.
For vinyl flooring:
Measure the length and the width of the room and multiply together to get the total surface area. Add 10 cm onto each measurement to make allow for any waste.
Vinyl can either be sold off the sheet or in tiles. For sheet vinyl, you’ll need to buy a piece that matches the dimensions you’ve calculated for the room. For vinyl tiles, check what size area each pack can cover and divide this into the total surface area of the floor to determine how many packs you need.
Again, it may be worth buying a couple of extra packs to make it easier to match patterns and to allow for waste.
4. How do you install flooring?
Carpetright are here to help you every step of the way from choosing the perfect product to professionally fitting it. All of our fitters are FITA approved and their work is regularly monitored. For your peace of mind we would recommend that you use one of our professional vinyl fitters, but for those of you feeling adventurous, here are a few DIY tips on how to fit different flooring types:
Lay underlay for added protection, insulation and comfort. Place the carpet on top and allow it to overflow the floor by 5 inches each side. Where two pieces of carpet join, overlap them and cut down the middle for a flush finish. Use a carpet stretcher to pull the carpet tight across the floor and lock into place using carpet tacks.
Lay the boards in a straight line across the longest wall in the room, placing plastic spacers between the board and the wall every 60cm. The ends of the boards will use a tongue and groove system to snap together.
Once one row is laid, begin on the next. Try to ensure the end points are staggered to create the right effect in the room. Continue this process until the floor is full covered.
Vinyl tiles will be fitted in a similar fashion to laminate flooring except you must use adhesive to fix them into place instead of a tongue and groove mechanism. Make sure tiles line up smoothly and match patterns carefully.
For sheet vinyl, unroll it and fit the longer side of the sheet parallel to the longest wall in the room; aim for around 25mm away from the skirting board. Carefully move a gauge along the skirting so the nail traces the outline of the skirting onto the vinyl. Cut the sheet along this line and stick the vinyl into place with adhesive. Tidy the edges up with a knife afterwards.
5. Flooring Care Advice
Taking care of your flooring will ensure it looks great for years to come and continues to perform its purpose.
- Links to product accessories or care & maintenance page
Useful products and accessories
Underlay should always be used with carpet. It increases the lifespan, adds comfort and increases insulation.
Underlay should also be fitted with laminate but underfloor heating may also be available. Adding a rug can benefit busier rooms by protecting the laminate from heavy traffic. Always use a rubber backed rug or non-slip pad for safety.
Underfloor heating can also be used with vinyl flooring. Vinyl tape can help secure your vinyl floor in place. Underlay may not always be needed depending on the thickness and design of the vinyl. Always check before fitting.
6. Flooring Safety Advice
All carpets from Carpetright are fire-retardant and have undergone extensive safety testing but you should still proceed with caution and avoid exposing them to naked flames or extreme heat.
Any rugs or mats placed on vinyl or laminate flooring should be non-slip to prevent hazards.
Always check cleaning chemicals are safe to use with your floor. Always read the label.
Still unsure which flooring is the one for you? You can test them out when you order free samples!