WOOD VERSUS STONE?
Design experts recognise that a rooms floor is one of its most important features and the flooring you choose can have a make or break effect on the entire decorating scheme. Therefore, choosing the right floor becomes an even more important and complicated task.
Diversity of Choice
Despite the wealth of information available consumers face confusion rather than clarity. Such a long term investment with little or no room for error can indeed prove daunting which is why it is so vital to seek knowledge. Our sister company Alan Baker Flooring, are best placed to offer their expertise to ensure informed decision-making.
Whilst there are many options with flooring, it seems that carpet remains the stalwart of the industry, with stone and wood raising the most queries regarding maintenance and performance.
Carpet still remains the most popular and cost effective flooring option, with consumers now able to enjoy collections that embrace colour, pattern and design which were previously only available in the more up-market ranges. Consumers have been inspired and are having more fun than ever capitalising on whats on offer. Stripes on stairs, tartan in studies, spots in children s rooms...... the retail industry is also enjoying such refreshing options. Despite concerns over the practicality of carpet, maintenance is surprisingly simple. Carpets can easily be cleaned by using a hot water extraction machine which relies on heat and water to very effectively remove soiling. It is well worth considering purchasing one to have at your disposal to address spills as they occur.
Hardwood or Natural Stone?
Hard flooring such as engineered or solid wood, or natural stone has never been more desirable. Both offer home-owners a long-lasting beautiful floor. Their appeal to many being the natural grain and tone of the products Both types of flooring have advantages and disadvantages and require elements of maintenance Although quite different in construction they both tend to be used in the same areas of the home.
Engineered wood, in particular, varies in price enormously, as does the quality and obviously in turn the performance. It is very important to establish where the product is sourced and how it is constructed. Ultimately, decisions about both stone and wood need to be made by weighing up the importance of quality versus price. For instance, it is likely that the higher priced engineered wood will be responsibly sourced, originate from Europe and will benefit from a more superior construction.
Wood and stone if fitted correctly both look stunning on the floor. Nature has shaped the product so every tile or plank will be unique and no two floors will be identical.
However, there are a few disadvantages to be aware of. Both wood and stone are susceptible to scratching, however, wood offers more options to rectify than stone. Whilst a poly-urethane finish provides a tough protective coating for wood, it is very difficult to make good if a scratch does occur, although it is harder to scratch in the first place! An oiled finish allows for easy and simple touching up in areas of high tread, for instance in a hallway, and does have the added advantage of being able to be entirely re-oiled if required to bring it back to new. Oiled finishes also dispel the requirement for sanding and sealing.
Both types of floor will benefit from good doormats and protective pads for furniture legs which will certainly help minimise damage. Often, the natural tone of stone and wood can help to disguise scratch marks which can blend in. A prime oak, for instance, is a much cleaner and contemporary looking plank with little or no knots, therefore, a scratch will not only be more obvious, it may look out of keeping with the rest of the floor. A rustic board will have variations in grain and colour, disguising scratches far more effectively. Natural stone will also vary in grain and colour, and the same applies. So, remember to choose your floor sympathetically to your lifestyle!
Unlike wood, stone is a naturally porous material and must be saturated with a sealant once fitted. This has no impact on the colour, and shouldn't have to be re-done, although for caution it is advisable to seal areas around hobs once a year or so, depending on use. The key to a long lasting stone floor lies in the installation. Stone must be fitted on to a secure, sound subfloor to avoid any movement. As stone is inflexible any movement of the subfloor will have a negative impact on the grouting and can even cause the tile to crack.
Underfloor heating is suitable for both engineered wood flooring and natural stone. As stone is a natural conductor, underfloor heating performs more effectively. Stone is cold and hard underfoot and is therefore the logical choice for this type of heating. Engineered wood, however, is also a popular choice to be used in tandem with underfloor heating, although it is worthy to note that wood is a natural insulator and doesn't feel unreasonably cold underfoot.
Water and Wood don't Mix!
Although it is not uncommon to install wood flooring into bathrooms it is not recommended. Stone is by far the more sensible product for this area and blends itself to wet room installations.
How to clean?
Cleaning stone or wooden floors no longer needs to be as arduous as it once was. The advent of steam cleaners make light work of this chore. Wood is best suited to a light steam clean (the more sophisticated steam cleaners will have individual settings for wood, stone and vinyl flooring), or otherwise a well wrung out mop will also suffice. Stone doesn't require the same amount of caution and will cope with the heat and moisture emitted by this type of cleaner.
There is no such thing as a maintenance free floor
Today's premium floors will last for years but they must be properly installed and cared for.
Our sales team are on hand to offer their expertise to ensure your choices are correct for you.