7 Best Flooring Materials For Your Forever Home

Planning to age in place? These are the best flooring options for you and your family.
BEST FLOORING

When building a forever home, you should be meticulous about your design decisions. In this blog, we’ll help you choose the best flooring material for your home. It’s not that complicated if you know the factors to consider: 

  • Slip-resistant – the floors should be non-slip even when wet to avoid accidents
  • Ergonomics – the elderly and people with disabilities (e.g. people using a cane, walker, or wheelchair) should find the floors should be easy to use
  • Comfort – consider how the flooring material feels when you step and walk on it
  • Maintenance – consider how much work is required to clean and maintain the floors 
  • Shock absorption – the floors should help minimise injury in the event of a fall

These are the factors that you should prioritise when choosing the best flooring for your house. The importance of each one varies depending on the room/area you wish to build. For wet areas (e.g. bathrooms and laundry), you want floors that are non-slip, low-maintenance, and easy to walk on. For the living room, comfort is the priority. For hallways, ease of travel and ergonomics are important. 

Now that you know the basics, it’s time for you to know the flooring options to consider.

Carpet

The benefits:

  • It is soft, a super comfortable underfoot that protects the body against falls. 
  • The carpet absorbs sounds so people using a cane or walker walk quietly with it.
  • It doesn’t retain heat nor insulate against cold, which makes it a pleasant underfoot.

Drawbacks to consider:

  • Carpets might lower indoor air quality. Carpet glue off-gas volatile organic compounds like formaldehyde. This can be a problem for people with respiratory problems.
  • The fibres of the carpet collect dirt, dust, pollen, and other allergens that are hard to remove. You need a powerful vacuum with strong suction and rotating brushes to clean it. Also, you might need to vacuum the carpet twice a week to keep it clean.
  • Carpets don’t do well in wet and dirty areas of the house (e.g. bathroom, laundry, kitchen, entry). It’s hard to remove and deep-clean carpet stains. You need the services of a professional carpet cleaner. 
  • People using a wheelchair might find it hard to roll on high-pile carpets. For their safety, lay carpets with threads no longer or thicker than ½ inches. Use high-density foam or felt padding to make the carpet more pleasant.

Cork

The benefits:

  • Cork floors are in the middle of our hard-soft scale. It offers enough cushion underfoot.
  • It offers sound insulation and is quiet to walk on. 
  • People in wheelchairs can travel easily because it has a smooth surface. It doesn’t catch feet as well.
  • It offers thermal insulation.
  • When properly maintained, cork floors are easy to clean. The sealant protects the porous cork from stains. All it needs is regular sweeping and vacuuming.

Drawbacks to consider: 

  • Cork is only moderately resistant to water. It is prone to water damage. You must wipe spills immediately to avoid water seeping into the seams and damaging the core.
  • Because cork is soft, any sharp object poking and scraping its surface will damage it (e.g. furniture legs, stiletto heels)

Linoleum

The benefits

  • A resilient flooring material that’s both water and stain-resistant.
  • It is easy to clean and maintain. Unlike carpets, it doesn’t hold onto pollen, dust, and dirt. Moping and sweeping is enough.
  • It has a flat and hard surface that’s great for people with mobility issues. 
  • Linoleum is made from natural materials, therefore, it’s an eco-friendly substitute to vinyl.

Drawbacks to consider

  • When exposed to too much sunlight, linoleum tends to fade or amber.
  • It can be damaged when furniture is dragged over it.
  • It is a hard and cold underfoot.

Vinyl

The benefits

  • Like linoleum, vinyl is a durable and low-maintenance flooring option.
  • It is water-resistant, but you can find waterproof variants in the market today.
  • The price varies but it’s considered as one of the most affordable flooring materials out there. It is DIY-friendly too. 
  • The surface is hard and smooth which makes travel easier.
  • It comes in two kinds. Vinyl tile planks and sheets. The tile planks are great in entertainment areas while the sheets are ideal in wet areas.
  • Luxury vinyl flooring convincingly mimics timber and stone. 

Drawbacks to consider

  • Standard vinyl looks and feels like plastic, which is why homeowners use them in minor rooms of the house (e.g. mudroom, entryway, laundry, and guest bathroom). However, there are higher-quality and more luxurious vinyl flooring that convincingly mimics timber and stone.

Rubber

The benefits

  • Rubber floors are non-slip and shock absorbent, which is perfect for home gyms and exercise areas. Rubber floors make a room safe for extreme physical activity.
  • It is resistant to damage caused by furniture and water. However, water can seep through the seams and damage the sub-floor. It works best when laid over concrete.

Drawbacks to consider

  • Rubber flooring is a bit expensive. You can use rubber snap-together tiles as a substitute though. These are easy to install and DIY friendly — no need to call a professional to install them for you. 
  • This type of flooring comes in limited styles, colours, and textures.

Laminate, Bamboo, and Hardwood

The benefits:

  • Timber, bamboo, and laminate floors all possess a hard surface and soft natural look. 
  • High-quality laminates mimic the look of bamboo and hardwood floors. These are cheaper and more affordable than the real ones. 
  • Bamboo and hardwood floors are more expensive, but they are worth every dollar spent.

Drawbacks to consider

  • Hardwood floors require regular and proper maintenance. Not all species can survive high-moisture areas (e.g. bathroom, kitchen, laundry room). Water might cause permanent staining and damage.
  • Timber, bamboo, and laminate floors offer no sound absorption. It produces noise when someone walks with shoes or when something drops to the floor. 
  • These three are hard and unforgiving in an accident. It doesn’t cushion the body. It offers no protection against injury from falls.
  • Hardwood and bamboo floors require professional installation. If you want to cut costs, consider laying click together floors (available in engineered wood and laminate flooring). These are less expensive and easier to install.

You have design freedom

At the end of the day, you are free to decide which flooring is best for your home. Whatever it is, make sure that:

  1. It’s installed properly. Not everything is DIY-friendly — there are materials that require the help of a professional. 
  2. You perform regular maintenance. It’s a commitment to keep your floors beautiful and in shape for decades. 
  3. The floors unify the design. 
  4. It is safe for you and your family.

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Charlene Gonzales

Charlene Gonzales

Charlene is a Superdraft blogger dedicated to bringing you the best information for your home, from renovation tips to design and decorating advice.

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