What is the Best Material to Use for Flooring?

With tumult in the housing market, many homeowners are seeking to improve their existing home rather than risk selling. The result has been a 36% increase on renovation spends in the last year, as more and more households take renovations into their own hands. Flooring is an underrated part of the renovation process, imparting a great deal of character as well as other benefits – but how might a household choose the right flooring for them?

flooring
Photo by Neven Krcmarek on Unsplash

Why is Choosing a Material Important?

Different flooring materials respond differently to stresses, with some options wearing out far quicker than others – an important consideration if a given space receives high footfall or heavy use. Cost is also a considerable factor, as harder-wearing floors tend to come with a significant uptick in cost. The following are three common material choices for flooring, each of which have their own benefits and shortcomings.

Plywood

Plywood is a durable composite wood with a relatively low outlay. It is commonly used as a construction material, particularly in the form of sub-flooring – but various types and grades exist with different finishes and looks, all of which can be used on top of plywood sub-flooring as the main floor. With the right finish, plywood can be an inexpensive and hard-wearing flooring solution, and also a versatile one. Plywood sheeting can be easily cut any number of ways, and used to create unique panel or strip patterns.

Hardwood

For a more authentic and natural feel to a wooden floor, hardwood is the single best option. Hardwood flooring is also much more durable than plywood, and promises longevity as a result – though, unfortunately, at a cost. Hardwood can be a pricey install, especially if you are looking at exotic woods such as jatoba – which, with a high relative hardness, can be repeatedly re-finished without needing complete replacement for years to come.

Stone

Stone flooring is by far the most hard-wearing kind of floor, but also surprisingly versatile in terms of end result. Classic stone floor designs include the use of marble tiling to create a luxury feel – but in recent years, natural flagstone flooring has become an increasingly popular option for new kitchens as homeowners seek to embody rural cottage aesthetics in their home. Some forms of stone flooring are more expensive than others, but whichever flooring option you take will outstrip the cost of a wooden floor considerably. Not only can the material cost significantly, but the labour involved in installation can see a sympathetic increase in labour costs.

Which is Right for You?

Ultimately, the decision is yours to make regarding which material you think better suits your home’s aesthetic. However, budget and use cases can have some impact on the efficacy of your choices. Plywood is a fantastic option for renovations on a smaller budget, as the end result can look fantastic. However, with heavy use plywood can weather at a much faster rate than hardwood. Stone is a brilliant choice for someone who has the budget, but is also poor at retaining heat, and can make spaces colder. Which would suit your lifestyle better?

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