From tiles and hardwood to laminate and screed, there’s a seemingly endless variety of flooring options available. We share popular types of flooring as well as their pros and cons.
Step right up
Modern, integrated spaces have greatly influenced our approach to living. Wide open spaces and a sense of integrated living also call for a new approach to flooring. From on-trend shapes and sizes, to the most popular colours and textures, home owners are spoilt for choice.
All things big and small
Pros: From small, detailed mosaics to large-format, there’s a spectrum of flooring options that allow you to upscale or downscale.
Seamless, large-format tiles create a well-defined look from one space to the next. According to Johnny Lamprecht from Bathroom Bizarre. “Large-format tiles create a clean-lined look and are especially suited to large spaces. The lack of grouting lines creates a wonderfully streamlined and smooth aesthetic.”
On the other end of the scale, colourful decorative tiles like mosaics can be used to great effect to add character and interest to floors. Today’s patterned tiles are more stylised and streamlined than their predecessors, but they’re just as big on impact. “Whether it is in mild neutrals, brights or contrasting colours,” says Lamprecht, “it’s all about bold graphic patterned tiles.”
Cons: While there’s a definite trend towards large-format tiles and seamless flooring, they aren’t ideal for small spaces. Remember, trends come and go. While neutrals are timeless, patterns and colour tend to date. Also, due to their intricate detail and input costs, small-scale tiles tend to be pricey.
For a timeless look, stick to neutral colours as the base palette. Rather use high-fashion flooring in smaller spaces.
Looking to define your open-plan living room? Create a rug pattern by fusing smaller, decorative tiles and large-scale tiles. Bolonia Gris décor tiles and In/Out Tile Technology Range in Homestone Pearl, available from www.womag.co.za.
Form and function
Pros: Matte-finish tiles are the ideal counterpoint to any sleek and clean-lined open-plan kitchen/living area. Plus, they’re easy to maintain. Discover the look at www.joosjoiners.co.za.
Cons: Often, home owners believe that slightly textured matte tiles are slip-resistant. Oren Sachs, managing director of WOMAG, says that although matte tiles are easy to clean and usually used in the bathroom or kitchen, they aren’t designed for outdoor use.
Trade Secret: Consider the lifespan of materials. Compare the cost of replacing your floors every three to five years, to a more durable option that will last 10 years or longer.
Pros: Safety is always a concern. Avoid unwanted accidents by using these roughly hewn tiles around the pool or on the patio.
Cons: As these tiles are rough, they are difficult to clean. They should ideally only be used outdoors in functionally wet areas.
Trade Secret: Up the ante with the latest in slip-resistant flooring technology, where a glaze forms part of the actual porcelain tile. “It’s not merely a surface coating add-on that can wear off over time,” says Sachs.
Developed to be matte when dry, the tiles’ unique manufacturing process ensures that they’re slip-resistant when wet. “The result is a functional yet stylish tile that can be used throughout your home,” says Sachs. In/Out Tile Technology Range in Homestone Pearl, available from www.womag.co.za.
Pros: According to Lamprecht, “Wood remains a very popular finish for floors alike – it offers an unbeatable natural warmth and rich aesthetic that never seems to go out of fashion,” says Lamprecht.
Cons: “Timber requires regular maintenance, is pricey, and not great for wet interior or outdoor areas.”
Trade secrets: Lamprecht says that wood-look tiles and laminates provide a great alternative to the real deal. “They’re durable, easy to clean, require no maintenance, and are much more affordable,” he notes.
Eco Cred: Looking to lower your carbon footprint? Opt for 100% bamboo-fibre flooring or cork. Visit www.amorimcork.co.za to find a cork flooring option that suits your style.
Pros: Although colour is fun, nothing exudes a sense of modern gravitas quite like monochrome flooring.
Cons: Unless you introduce various textures to create warmth and interest, monochrome flooring can appear clinical and a tad boring. According to Lamprecht, “Textured tiles create variation, colour depth and surface interest. They can appear subtle or pronounced, depending on the material used, as well as their colour and finish.”
Trade Secret: Floors are a great (and pricey) investment to your home. So, choose wisely. When shopping around for statement floors, consider your personal style, lifestyle and budget. It’s important to invest in quality flooring that you’ll be happy with for years to come.
Pros: The fluid functionality of new-generation cement, concrete and screed applications presents a range of boundary-pushing design possibilities.
Available in a range of colours, textures and natural-effect finishes like marble decorative concrete offers all the advantages of concrete, but with a refined aesthetic. Options include polyurethane mortar screed, self-levelling topping that provides a hard-wearing floor finish. Cement-based, self-smoothing screed sets quickly and is available in a range of colours.
Cons: Cement and concrete are porous materials. Therefore always apply a floor finish to seal the products.