Choosing the floor covering types of your home is one of the most important long-term decisions you will do when you move in or re-decorate your residence. It is an expression of your tastes and preferences, but beyond the emotional pick, you should also consider the practical dimensions of the selection. Which of the floor covering types requires the most upkeep? Which one is likely to last longer without repairs? Should you make a uniform choice for the whole place or go room by room?
Before I share my thoughts, a quick disclaimer – they are entirely based on practical, not esthetical considerations. I have been into the carpet cleaning industry for almost two decades and have treated hundreds of home and office floors of various types. My personal preference is for the convenient and comfortable rather than the beautiful – the latter is entirely subjective anyway. First, I will make a quick commentary on the most common floor covering types and then share my recommendations for each room of your house or flat.
- Let’s start with one of the most prefered choices for home floors – carpets. They have more than a couple of advantages on their side – carpets are great warmth and sound insulators, they are arguably the safest floor covering of all because you can hardly slip on them, which makes them the perfect option if you have toddlers or small children in the family. Carpeting, however, requires constant and regular sanitary upkeep – vacuum cleaning at least twice per week, more thorough washing is highly recommended twice per year, even better if you do it more often. It is more prone to damage and moulding and suffers the wear and tear of the everyday foot traffic worse than almost any other floor covering alternative. Do not also forget that the carpet stains are much more difficult to remove, so they might not be the best choice for certain rooms at home.
- You can look at rugs as a very close alternative to carpets, but I prefer to put them in a separate category. The differences are significant – I often think of rugs as the more expensive, more challenging to maintain, more aristocratic cousins of carpets. Do not get me wrong – I recognise their esthetic value and the unquestionable class they bring to the interior design of any space. From a purely practical point of view, however, they might be a nightmare to maintain. Be advised before you buy a thousand-pound piece for your living room and then spill some tea on it.
- Wooden floors. They look classy and warm, especially if you get a high-quality contractor to do the fitting. Wood planks are a relatively good heat insulator (though not as good as carpets) and are easy to maintain from a cleaning point of view. They are significantly more durable and long-lasting than carpets – I would say a wooden floor is likely to last at least two if not three times more than a carpet with the proper care. The number one negative is that they are slippery, and pose risk health, especially for older people. If you live in a multi-floor apartment building, you should also consider the sound factor – this type of floor covering is arguably the noisiest you can pick.
- Tile floors. In the interest of full disclosure, I will admit tiles are my personal favourite. They are by far the easiest to clean and maintain, and also the most durable. From a hygienic point of view, they are the best floor covering type, and I do not think it is particularly close. I will readily admit, however, that they have their deficiencies – compared to the three alternatives mentioned above, they are the worst sound and heat insulators, and the most slippery surface (although it is a close call between tiles and wooden floors). From numerous conversations with homeowners, I know that many people find them too sterile and cold – almost creating a hospital-like atmosphere and they do not want to reproduce at home.
Now that I have covered the different types, what would be the most suitable choice for each room of your home?
Let’s start with the bedroom. Since you do not move that much around and you are not likely to bring in too many beverages or dishes (unless you like the occasional snack in bed), the best choice would be carpets. They will create the requisite warmth and comfort and will be relatively easy to maintain. You can add a small rug or two for extra comfort and a nice personal touch if you feel like it. (The same, obviously, applies to all guest rooms.)
I would go for nothing else but a tile floor in the kitchen. Listen, if you frequently cook or eat there, the last thing you want on your mind is the multiple stains that will inevitably appear on the floor. You want a floor that is easy to clean and maintain, that you can sweep and polish in a minute if you spill some wine or olive oil on it. Can you imagine the pandemonium if you spill a pack of flour all over the place? No, thank you!
Tiles are also the obvious choice for the bathroom, but for a different reason. The consideration here is humidity – it will lead to mould on carpets and cracks on wooden planking. If you are worried about slippage, throw in a bath rug close to the tub or shower cabin – it should do the trick.
I left the most difficult choice for last – what should you do with the living room? Well, enough with the reason! How about you listen to your heart for a change? I think each of the floor covering options has its pros and cons, so you should choose the one that feels the best!