What To Consider When Laying Flooring in High Traffic Areas

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There are parts of our homes that inevitably sustain more wear and impact than others, the high traffic areas where we walk and move around the most.  Normally these are the hallway, kitchen and living room.

These areas not only require a good quality, durable paint on the walls and woodwork to withstand scuffs and knocks; so too do floors need to be robust and up to the job.  The evidence of a heavy footfall will soon show up on an inferior floor covering, so it pays to think about your flooring choice in a practical way before you buy.

It’s definitely worth investing in a quality option in these particular areas of the home.  But you don’t want to compromise on style, too, so what are the main considerations when shopping for new flooring?

Style/Appearance – the age and style of your home will to an extent dictate the sort of flooring you might want to incorporate into your high traffic areas.  For example a modern, new build apartment could take a vibrant and funky rubber floor, which is both hardwearing and fun.  Whereas a traditional home might still seek a modern feel, but with a more classic look, which can be achieved through other options, such as engineered wood.  Think about whether you want a darker, cosy feel to your flooring or a light and bright look to refine your ultimate choice.

Cleaning – this is a big consideration when choosing the most suitable flooring.  If you are a pet owner and don’t want to be vacuuming up pet hairs constantly, or you are a parent regularly having to wipe up mud that has been trodden in from the garden, then a carpet is not going to be an ideal choice.  Choose a floor that is easy to clean with a sweep of a broom and a regular, quick mop, to keep it looking pristine.  Tiled floors are a longstanding choice for high traffic areas, but the grout between tiles can discolour quite quickly.  Steam cleaners are a popular choice for families and pet owners, too, because it is hygienic, sterilising the floor without the need for harsh chemicals – but the hot steam will not be suitable for all floor types, for example it can damage the finish of some wooden flooring.  Always check the manufacturer’s cleaning guidelines before you buy.  Specialist floors will often come with a cleaning kit designed just for that particular type of floor and there are lots of gentle and natural cleaning solutions featured on Pinterest.

Price – as with all purchases, cost is an important consideration when replacing something substantial like flooring.  But it pays to invest in a quality floor covering; you will be rewarded with a product that continues to look great and doesn’t need replacing quickly.  Spend the most you can afford and if you choose a classic style or design that won’t date quickly and reflects your interior style, then you are less likely to want to change it sooner than is necessary.

Durability – there are inferior and superior options around even within the same category of flooring, such as laminate.  Quality laminates can give years of good service, but there are also cheap and cheerful versions that may look nice but won’t stand up to the constant wear.  You want to choose a product with a proven record and a strong guarantee of durability and longevity.  Vinyl planks, such as Karndean vinyl flooring, which we have had for many years in our own kitchen, stay looking new and stylish for a very long time when maintained properly.

Flow – the installation of the same flooring throughout the ground floor of a house or an entire apartment can really open up a space, by flowing seamlessly from one room to another. That look is not always so achievable with flooring options such as tiles, which we tend to think of for kitchens and bathrooms mostly, unless in a Mediterranean style home where all-tiled flooring throughout is not unusual.  Natural and engineered wood can look stunning when flowing through from one space to another, but are not necessarily the best choices for kitchens and bathrooms where frequent cleaning can be detrimental to the surface.  Something like a luxury vinyl floor, with its choice of finishes, from wood effect to slate, can be a practical and eye-catching option.

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