When you come home from a long day at work, it’s likely that you sit down, hit the couch or maybe pack away a few groceries, and kick your shoes off to relax. You’ll hear a familiar thump, coming from a surface which many of us barely spend a minute thinking about. Our floors.
The floor of a house isn’t something which we think about because 90 percent of the time we aren’t really concentrating on it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an important part of our homes and how they're decorated. Flooring can actually form an integral part of the styling in a room, especially in ultra modern styles or classic looking homes.
Materials for floors
Modern floors can be made of many materials depending on a variety of factors. The room itself can be the defining factor, such as bathrooms and kitchens being better suited to tiled flooring or stone. This is because it is easy to clean, and bathrooms and kitchens have to be able to handle potential wet patches or messes.
Wooden floors are common in classic homes. In America there are quite a few popular woods for flooring, these include Maple hardwood flooring, Hickory, birch, American Cherry, American walnut, Douglas Fir and Heart Pine. Wood makes from great flooring because it is very strong, durable and easy to clean. Different woods have different grains as well as color. Another type of wood flooring is parquet (pronounced par-kay) flooring, which is made from different grades of thin wood blocks placed on the flooring in a brickwork-like pattern. This creates an interesting pattern and arrays of colors which can look very effective.
Carpeting is a great way to keep homes warm in winter, and can be a great addition to a bedroom or living room because it balances comfort with color and style. There are hundreds of carpet styles available, making the decision quite overwhelming at times. You can obviously also purchase rugs instead of carpeting a floor wall-to-wall, which also allows for a little movement if you feel like a change.
Tiles, concrete and stone aren’t the warmest way to floor your entire home, however they definitely have a place as they are (as mentioned earlier) in certain rooms.
Kitchens, bathrooms and washing rooms are the best suited to these, because they have to deal with water every now and then, and are easy to clean, especially if food lands on the floor!
How to take care of the floor and maintain it
Caring for you floor completely depends on the type of floor you have.
Wooden and parquet floors require specific care. They have initially to be varnished, because the wood will be damaged otherwise. To clean a wood floor you only really require 2 things, a good broom and decent mop. Sweeping the floor is not difficult, but you should do this often because the dirt can become clumped up, and sand can lead to a light sanding effect, similar to sandpaper. Mopping the floor should be done with a mild floor polish, this will protect the wood as well as ensuring the varnish remains unaffected. Harsh chemicals like bleaches or handy andy may not cause immediate damage, but prolonged use can lead to unwanted damage to the varnish, leaving bare wood open to prolonged exposure to the environment.
Stone and Tiles can also be damaged by harsh chemicals, so it’s best to use a mild dish soap or a light floor cleaner with lukewarm water. You don’t want to remove color from tiling or protective layers from the stonework on an expensive floor! Carpeting is a mixed bag, because while the usual vacuuming is good enough to keep it dust free and clean, any spills or pet messes can really cause damage, and will need to be cleaned with a deep cleaning vacuum or carpet stain remover.
Replacing a broken floorboard
In older homes with large beam wooden floors, there are sometimes problems where a single wooden beam can be worn down, which can look both terrible and also be dangerous if the floorboard breaks through when someone walks over it. Repairing it is not an easy task, so we’d suggest contacting a professional before taking on the task.
Firstly, you’ll need a new floorboard with the same wood type as the wood you currently have. Ensure that the varnish you have is also a similar color.
Find out where the damaged board moves, if you can re-nail it without damaging it, do so. THis will fix the problem, however, if the wood itself is damaged, then you will need to replace the board. Start by lifting the nails out with pincers, and be careful to look for wiring or any piping.
Lift the board without removing it completely, and place a spacer under it to keep it lifted. Saw the damaged wood off and measure the new board. Cut it to shape and put it into place with ring shank nails or cut floor shank brads.
Once you've placed the new board/s, apply varnish treatment and make sure to leave it to dry for a full day before using the area in order to prevent long term damage or uneven marks on the varnish.
Re-flooring your home
If you choose to re-floor your whole home, firstly you should be aware of the style of your home and what would look best on houses of that style. Older homes often have broad wooden beams floors, modern homes often go for parquet flooring, sometimes with under floor heating (Though this can drive up energy bills over long time use). Look at the rooms in your house as well and decide based on the look and feel, what you should be replacing your floors with. If you aren’t sure you can always talk to a professional like an interior designer to get a good idea of what would look best and be most practical.
If you are choosing to tile kitchen and bathroom areas, remember what kinds of care these need and be sure to pick colours which suit the room designs you’ve chosen. Carpeting requires regular vacuuming, so place them near power outlets if you aren’t going wall to wall with a carpet.
Hopefully this will help you in deciding what to do with your floors, and perhaps you will appreciate them more in future, as more than just a surface to walk on. If you feel like you need help doing anything with your floors, chat to a professional to see what they have to say.