We’ve done a lot of home improvements in our current house, but our love for building things and knocking things down started long before start! Our plans have always involved buying a house that has potential, doing it up for 3 years and then selling up for a profit and moving into somewhere bigger and better.
For our first house, a 3 bed terrace, we spent a lot of time doing the garden up, including putting a love trellis fence all around the long L-Shaped garden, asking with water features and lots of plants. We also made the galley kitchen bigger, by turning around the downstairs toilet and moving it into part of the lounge. Aside from that it was decorating, skirting, coving and flooring throughout.
Our second home continued the renovation theme, and there we knocked down the wall between the kitchen and small dining room to make a more spacious and welcoming kitchen – diner. And of course, we decorated every room, including coving, skirting and flooring throughout.
This time around, we’ve decided that this will be our forever home, so we’ve gone big on this one, with a side extension, and knocking the kitchen wall down to create a very large kitchen / diner / family room and attached playroom for Joshua. It almost goes without saying that we’ve also decorated every room, including coving, skirting and flooring!
So over the past ten years we’ve renovated three different houses from top to bottom. And therefore have made quite a few flooring decisions during that time! So what are the factors we considered?
Obviously this is a massive one, especially if your budgets are tight, or if you just want to make a room look nice but aren’t too fussed about how long it will stay looking nice!
In our previous two houses we went for a combination of fairly hard-wearing carpet and laminate flooring. Laminate has the benefit of being affordable and pretty easy to fit quickly, giving a reasonable and result. However, it won’t last you as long as solid wood flooring, or engineered wood flooring. We went for engineered wood throughout most of our downstairs and we love it!
Practicality & Location
We’ve always gone for carpet for our upstairs bedrooms, both because it feels nice to stand on when you get out of bed, but also so the noise of footsteps transmits less to the downstairs. We’ve also gone for carpet in our main living room, again because it feels nice to walk on and makes things feel cosier.
For our other living areas in our current house we’ve gone for engineered wood. It’s that bit cheaper than solid wood, but looks really good too! The one we have enables you to sand it down a couple of times, so if you accidentally scratch it or damage it by dropping something sharp on it you can get it back to looking new again. It’s also slightly less prone to warping and damage from leaking water than laminate, so made sense for us as it continues through into our kitchen, with its sink, fridge and dishwasher. We’ve also found engineered wood more forgiving in the kitchen than tiles would be, so if we drop a plate or bowl it tends to bounce a bit rather than smash instantly!
For our bathroom and utility room we’ve always gone for tiles. Predominantly because tiles stand up well to water leakage, from washing machines, toilets and bathroom sinks. For us, they also look clean and hygienic and work well against the wall tiles. Lino also works well for those rooms, but we just find tiles look a bit classier, so for our forever home it’s the obvious choice.
Clearly it’s generally best to buy the highest quality you can afford, as it will tend to last longer. We chose engineered wood in our current house, as it wasn’t as expensive as solid wood but should last a lot longer than laminate and look better.
You should expect to find engineered wood to last you a good ten years without problem. Similarly, a good quality, hard-wearing carpet should last many years, with the right care and maintenance. A regular steam clean will help keep it looking its best, along with using cups under chair and table legs to prevent permanent marks. In our case, keeping Joshua away from carpeted areas when he’s eating has also been an important factor!
At the end of the day, personal preference is probably the most important factor of all. You have to be happy with what you have on your floors, because you are likely to spend many years walking on them and looking down on them!
So my advice is to weigh up all the factors above, buy the best quality you can afford and choose whatever type of flooring that makes you feel something.
For more renovation information check out our home and garden section.