By Jan Dowling May 23rd, 2013. Comments Off on Flooring trends to watch and how to achieve them

Choosing the best flooring for your home extension or renovation can be a daunting process. Today there is an unending list of different styles, materials and finishes on the market, from solid timber and engineered timber floors to laminates, polished concrete and tiles. Add to that the ever-evolving design trends, and it’s no wonder you might feel overwhelmed.

The key to finding the right flooring is to be inspired by the strong and imaginative flooring trends, while keeping in mind the budget and practical needs of your building project. At the end of the day, the flooring must be fit for purpose.

Help is at hand! At Dowling Homes, we’re shining a light on the top flooring trends to help you choose the best one for your home.

Look polished

Concrete has long been a feature in industrial spaces, and now it is the look of choice for contemporary residential spaces. Architects and designers are using concrete flooring in a whole range of finishes to bring natural tones and textural interest to a space. Light reflects off its polished surface, meaning it is a good option to make rooms appear more spacious and airy. But by far the best feature of polished concrete is its durability. It is one of the most hardwearing flooring types you can choose.

Polished concrete has moved beyond simply an exposed concrete surface to a variety of decorative concrete flooring options that give a polished stone appearance. Suppliers are also innovating with a whole range of colours – check out Boral’s Mixed Berry red tones and Jade green decorative concrete.

Made to last 

On the list of “must-haves” for flooring, durability is at the top of the list. We need the highest performance from our flooring, no matter whether we’re renovating an indoor or outdoor space. Engineered timber flooring, polished concrete and laminate are all types of flooring that are exploding in popularity.

Engineered wood is a popular alternative to solid wood flooring thanks to its superior stability and versatility in various environments. It comprises of three layers of real wood pressed together with adhesive under extremely high pressure. The base layer provides the stable foundation of the floor and is typically made of pinewood. The middle layer is typically made from a softer material such as plywood. The top layer is the solid wood veneer, and is the only visible layer once the floor is laid. This method of construction and installation makes the floor stronger and more durable than other types of wood flooring, including solid wood and multilayer. It also means it is able to keep its shape in sudden or extreme temperature changes, and is less prone to shrinking and expanding. This makes it perfect for rooms with varying conditions, such as an outdoor room. It can also be installed over concrete. Learn more about the benefits of engineered timber flooring before you buy.

Laminate flooring is an exciting alternative to solid timber and engineered flooring thanks to the finishes, colours and styles available. Laminate flooring is made up of a central core of HDF (high density fibre) applied to a supporting base layer. The top layer – the decorative layer – is a high quality image giving the floor a realistic look that can resemble almost anything, from timber species to tiles. Suppliers such as Formica have more than 150 solid colours, patterns and lifelike woodgrain designs in their range, with a range of finishes including super gloss. All three layers are fused together by heat and pressure to make the floor incredibly superior to wear, scratches and stains and durable even in areas prone to moisture.

Green underfoot

Eco-friendly products are making a big impact on home renovation and extension projects, so it’s no surprise that people are looking to ‘green’ products underfoot. The good news is there are more sustainable flooring options than ever, and they come in a broad spectrum of stylish colours and finishes. Timber and bamboo are good green choices for the inside, while alfresco rooms can be laid with wood and plastic composite materials or eco-pavers, which are produced from recycled materials. Some laminate products, such as Formica flooring, are also environmentally friendly as they are manufactured exclusively from timer sourced from sustainably managed European plantations.

Bold steps

Open plan living has created a desire for big bold designs on the floors. There are many ways to get the ‘wow’ factor, from wide timber planks to customised tile designs and mosaics. Remember, bold designs don’t need a huge budget – just a little bit of creativity and inspiration.

Seamless flooring from the inside, out

As the outdoor room becomes an extension of the indoor living area, we are looking for flooring that creates a seamless transition from the inside to the outside. We want something that creates a stylish and inviting space without being too cold and hard underfoot, and at the same time it needs to comprise durable and weatherproof features. We don’t ask for much, do we?

Let’s take a look at some of the flooring options and what they can offer. 

Tiles are not just the obvious choice for our bathrooms, they are also an especially good option for an outdoor room.  You can choose from bluestone tiles to marble and even tiles that have a timber look. Thanks to the innovation of tile manufacturers, when it comes to choosing a tile style, you’re only limited by your imagination. Consider materials such as marble, timber effects and porcelain … then think about colours to perfectly match your indoor space while enjoying features suitable for the outdoor room, such as non-slip textures and hardwearing properties.

Timber is not just a floor, but a life long investment that will increase in value with your home. It’s warm and beautiful to look at and so easy to maintain, giving you the added benefit of having extra time just to sit and enjoy its beauty!

And it’s virtually fashion proof, even 20 years later it will look as stylish as it does today! You can create so many different looks with timber these days –  from classic warmth and class to distressed, vintage, washed or limed.

Solid timber flooring can be sanded and stained as the years go by, so longevity is built into the product.

The more you know about the unique characteristics of timber and its source, the better equipped you are to choose a species which will meet your specific requirements. Two of the best species for outdoor rooms are Jarrah and Merbau.

Jarrah comes from long, straight trunks, which are richly coloured and beautifully grained. But it is Jarrah’s exceptional resistance and density that makes it so ideal for decking; Jarrah is resistant to fire, fungus, marine borer, termites and rot. Some Australian companies, such as Havwoods, source their Jarrah from carefully harvested from sustainable, managed resources. You can choose to have it finished with high quality oil, meaning it is a low maintenance option for your outdoor room.

Merbau, on the other hand, is one of the strongest and most workable woods around. That, coupled with its beauty and exotic appeal, means we can’t seem to get enough of Merbau for our interiors and exteriors. Unfortunately its popularity has resulted in Merbau wood being illegally logged in recent years, so you need to be careful to choose a reputable supplier. You can find out more on the Good Wood Guide.

Some species can be used both inside and outside to give a seamless visual effect. One of these is the Australian species of Blackbutt. Its colour ranges from cream to pale brown, which makes it a good choice to visually open spaces.  It also provides good fire resistance; in fact it was one of the seven hardwood timber species to be found suitable by the Building Commission in Victoria for home construction in bushfire areas.

Composite decking is growing in popularity in Australia, thanks to its eco-friendly appeal and ability to provide the looks of different woods. Composite decking is usually made from a combination of recycled plastic and wood products. For example, ModWood claims that each lineal metre of its decking contains approximately thirty-seven recycled plastic milk bottles and almost two kilograms of reclaimed pine waste. As well as being a more sustainable option, composite decking is also low-maintenance, it will not rot or fade over time and requires no oiling or re-staining. It is also extremely moisture resistant and fire resistant. You can purchase composite decking from a whole range of suppliers throughout Australia, from Bunnings to more specialist suppliers like ModWood.

Pavers have long been one of the most popular choices for the outdoor, and now they are an attractive option for outdoor rooms too. This is because suppliers are offering new innovations and designs, taking pavers beyond the square and rectangular stone slabs we are accustomed to, and providing a real ‘wow’ factor.  The difference between tiles and pavers is the thickness. Tiles are thinner – at just 10-15mm – and are designed to be fixed to a hard substrate, such as concrete. Pavers however are up to 30mm thick, which gives them enormous strength. Popular outdoor pavers include stones such as slate, bluestone, travertine, sandstone or quartzite. They can be used to create a seamless transition from the indoors to the outdoors – for example natural stone pavers like slate and sandstone can be used both inside and outside. While the majority of pavers have stain and water resistant properties, be sure to specify this for your outdoor room. Check out some of the paver inspiration on the Boral website.

We’ve been helping customers find the right flooring for their home extensions and renovations for many years, and we’d love to help you too.

Get in touch!

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