Like most things each flooring option comes with its own benefits and downfalls. Below you will find our list of common flooring options, characteristics as well as information on each type of option available to you.
Carpet has long been the staple flooring of New Zealand homes. It's hard to move past the warmth, insulation and comfort that carpet brings. There is such a range of styles, fibres and colours currently available on the market to select from. There are several performance factors to consider when selecting your carpet, quality, fibre, weight and pile height. Although generally, the thicker and heavier the weight, the better the carpet will wear.
Something you may notice on your carpet is what is called tracking. These are noticeable footprints or marks from the vacuum that are left behind on the carpet. Shaggy, plush or soft carpets generally are the worst for such issues, but all cut pile carpets may experience tracking. Tracking noticeability is dependant on the texture and resilience of the fibres. If you are worried about being unsightly, a shorter pile or loop pile carpet would be your best option.
No carpet is bulletproof; all require regular maintenance and cleaning to best ensure longevity and looks.
Below you will find our compiled list of the different carpets available for your home.
Cut pile carpet is the most common in residential housing. They are soft underfoot as well as durable making them a popular option. For homes with pets, this is also the best option, as the piles are cut, there are no loops to get caught on and pulled. Cut pile carpet is produced by cutting the yarn loops, which is the upright pile giving a more formal look than loop pile.
Cut pile allows great flexibility, with several styles available; for the retro, shaggy look, they have long pile length or short pile length, which are a low maintenance option.
There are also options in the construction of the pile; a cut pile twist is a tightly twisted pile, or a blown-out, brushed look called a plush cut pile.
Loop pile carpet is manufactured by creating a loop in the thread. This carpet is durable, hard-wearing and shows tracking as often as other carpets. The loop twills are created by blending different colour yarns, making them ideal for high traffic wear. They tend to be the best at hiding wear, therefore, performing highly in commercial applications.
Loop pile now offers flexibility with availability in many patterns and textures.
Texture carpets come under the loop pile carpet category. Unlike classic loop pile carpets, texture carpets are usually made with a single colour. Designs of this carpet range from high and low threads to all level loops. The way they are made, with uneven and twisted fibres, makes them highly durable and less likely to show dirt, dents and tracking, making them a popular option.
Cut and loop textures have a combination of cut and looped piles. This style of carpet usually has a fine and luxurious finish, giving a prestigious aesthetic. With this combination of cut and looped piles, manufactures can create sculptured and patterned effects, such as swirls, squares, etc. This multitude of patterns available gives you more flexibility over the look of your flooring.
Carpet provides warmth and comfort to your home that your cant get from any other flooring option. To have softness underfoot is a feeling that is second to none; it's safe on joints, a soft landing for kids first steps, and is also enjoyable for kids to play on.
Carpet helps provide sufficient heat insulation, creating a more comfortable, healthier home and friendly on your pockets, reducing long-term heating costs.
All carpet has the potential to fade over time, especially with New Zealand's strong UV exposure, particularly wool. This harsh UV index paired with large windows and doors letting plenty of light creates a high potential for carpet fade.
Below are the most popular fibre types to consider:
Wool makes for an excellent carpet loop; its soft texture and plush demeanour makes for a great carpet. Wool is naturally resistant to soiling, crushing and most stains. With it being absorbent, it is more susceptible to staining. It is naturally fire-resistant and hypoallergenic fibre. The softness and rich look of wool is still yet to be matched by a man-made fibre product. Highly resilient, durable and long-lasting, wool is more affordable than you think.
Since wool fibres are made from a natural source, they are environmentally renewable.
Solution Dyed Nylon carpets provide the home with fade and stain resistance. The fibres in the carpet are constructed using a man-made petroleum base. These fibres hold their twists with yarn memory, paired with the correct maintenance means a longer lifespan. This is a highly resilient fibre option, proven to withstand heavy traffic and furniture weight. This is a versatile fibre, available in many different styles and colours.
Solution-dyed nylon fibres are your best option if you know that your carpet will be exposed to long periods of intense sunlight. This is due to their fibres being coloured all the way through rather than just the outside, reducing the risk of fading.
Polyester is a less expensive synthetic fibre, which, when solution-dyed, provides colourfastness. These fibres are soft to touch, creating a pleasant feel underfoot. It is best suited to low traffic areas to prevent crushing and wearing, with it being less resilient than other fibres.
While it is cost-effective, it has a shorter lifespan than other fibres like wool, triexta and SmartStrand.
SmartStrands brand of carpet fibres uses advanced nanotechnology to create a superior spill and soil barrier over the fibres. Naturally stain-resistant, spills are less likely to adhere to the fibres as the fibres don’t have dye sites. The fibres are spring-like, creating a crushing and matting resistance, meaning your carpet will maintain its original beauty.
Triexta is an environmentally friendly carpet fibre made from 37% renewably sourced polymer from corn sugar. With excellent colourfastness, stain resistance and pile recovery, Triexta is the perfect eco-friendly option. The appearance of Triexta is similar to nylon but a softer, more stain resilient finish. If you are after a highly durable, hard wearing carpet, make sure you consider Triexta.
This is a lower-cost synthetic option for fibres that have recently gone through improvements in the manufacturing process. It has the benefits of stain, fade, moisture and mildew resistance, making it perfect for playrooms and rental homes. Usually found in loop style carpets, it's perfect for low traffic areas.
In order to know what to expect from your carpet over time, a few key characteristics are important to understand.
With batch-dyed products, it is normal that there will be slight colour variations between the individual batches and the samples in store. Colour variation may also be present due to lighting differences between where you view a sample and its installation. To beat this, viewing the sample in your home under both day and night lighting is recommended.
Longer and plusher piles are more susceptible to showing slight depressions, scuff marks, and general disturbance in the piles. These are normal and regular vacuuming will groom these out. This is just a characteristic of longer, plush piles in your carpet.
Foot traffic is a big factor in a carpet's appearance changing over time. Matting occurs in tufted carpets due to pile flattening together and entanglement of fibres tuft to tuft. This is more likely to happen in high traffic walkways, stairs and foot agitation areas.
Regular vacuuming will aid in minimising this as well as professional cleaning periodically.
Wrinkling may possibly occur after install due to excessive humidity or the recommended installation procedures not being follower. This is not a fault with your carpet, and a professional installer can normally correct this issue.
When exposed to elements such as direct sunlight or from piles flattening through use, carpets will slowly lose colour. To slow and prevents this, the carpet should be protected from prolonged periods of sunlight through the use of curtains, blinds, shades or awnings.
Colour change can also occur due to ozone, emissions from heating and air conditioners, pesticides, cleaning agents, benzoyl peroxide and other household items. These are not manufacturing issues and won't affect the performance of the carpet.
Tufts within the carpet may be damaged or missing following the installation stretching of the carpet, by pets scratching, or the moving of furniture. In loop pile carpets, tufts can be pulled from the backing, creating long pulls out of the carpet. Sprouts, or snagged tufts, can be trimmed easily without damaging the carpet and missing or damaged tufts can be replaced easily by hand or by retufting.
Laminate flooring allows you to enjoy the real timber look without the maintenance involved or the cost.
Laminate flooring is made of multiple layers that are fused through a lamination process. The core of the laminate plank is made usually of compressed wood. The more compressed and denser the core, the stronger the plank will be. Above the core, a photographic image of wood is applied and overlaid with a hyper durable melamine protective layer. Today with advanced technologies, the best laminate floorings appear exactly like timber, with various grains, styles and stains. The texture of grains and knots are available to replicate the feel of real wood.
To the unsuspecting eye, it can be hard to tell a good laminate floor from lower quality. Cheaper laminate flooring is susceptible to swelling more aggressively. The strength and tightness of the joints of budget laminates can also be of poor quality, allowing water ingress when cleaning and when spilt.
The photographic layer of the laminate board is a clear sign of quality. If there is a high frequency of panel repeat, it is a sign of poor quality, as only having 5-6 different panels creates an unrealistic looking floor. Look also at the quality of the photograph; does the ‘wood’ look real or pixelated? A good quality laminate floor should look or even feel to the touch like real wood to the untrained eye.
Good quality laminate will virtually never change colour or fade, even in New Zealand’s harsh UV conditions. A good quality laminate in sunny rooms will provide you with peace of mind that there will be no colour change patches when you move furniture or a rug.
With laminate flooring having a wood-based core, they can be susceptible to water damage causing the core to swell if water enters through the joints. Low-quality laminates use core materials that swell aggressively with little water, while high-quality laminate can resist water for hours before occurring damage. Recently developed products have joint sealing technology making them bathroom and laundry compatible.
Laminate flooring is installed as a ‘floating floor’ over top of the damp resistant underlay. This helps to prevent and protect the planks from moisture coming up through the subfloor. Good quality underlay helps to reduce footfall noise, warmth and insulation. As long as the sub-floor in your home is flat, dry, clean and stable, laminate flooring will be installed.
Laminate flooring should be installed before skirting boards to achieve the best finish or remove existing skirting ready for installation. If this cant be done, then undercutting may be needed, which isn’t aesthetically pleasing.
Laminate flooring is really low maintenance, requiring only regular vacuuming, sweeping or mopping. As well as no sanding, oiling, lacquering or resurfacing of the laminate flooring is required. Making laminate a hassle-free option for busy houses. A steam mop shouldn’t be used as laminate is not water-resistant.
Timber provides a strong, durable surface for your home. Timber offers a natural, charming aesthetic; while less scratch-resistant than laminate, it brings the aesthetics. While it is the more costly option, depending on the grade of timber and the species of wood. Engineered wood is an enhanced development of solid timber flooring without the natural issues that come with it, such as warping, bowing, buckling or gaps between boards.
Wood is one of the most sought-after flooring finishes, providing a timeless look to any home. Below you will find the beneficial characteristics of wood flooring to help you decide if it’s the choice for you.
There are two main types of wood flooring available on the market.
The first is hardwood flooring. Solid hardwood floors are exactly that, boards made from solid wood. Each board is created from a single piece of wood. They are normally sanded and finished once installation has taken place. These solid hardwood floors are often pricey due to the extensive install process and the cost of the raw materials.
The second is engineered wood floors. This flooring uses numerous layers of wood running in opposite directions, usually from 3 up to 7 layers are used. This flooring normally arrives completely pre-finished, making install quicker and easier, without the hassle of site dust and coatings. The majority of engineered floors can be sanded and refinished in the same way that hardwood can, depending on top layer thickness. A huge benefit of engineered flooring is how stable it is. These boards are less prone to shrinkage and/or growth with humidity and won't gap like solid flooring.
The subfloor used in your home affects the determination of what floor covering is most suitable. Solid hardwood is normally nailed and glued down and react more to moisture and expansion, and shrinkage. If your home has a basement, this area isn’t well regulated in relation to moisture and temperature, so hardwood floors are not recommended. Instead, in these areas, engineered wooden flooring is a suitable substitute.
Engineered flooring, unlike solid hardwood, can be floated over an underlay, nailed or glued, directly to the subfloor of your home. Floating installation is an ideal option in multistorey dwellings to minimise noise or where moisture issues in the subfloor are a problem. Floating engineered wood gives you the option and ability to use underlay beneath the floor to aid in insulation, noise reduction and warmth.
An optimal feature of wood flooring is that you have the ability to sand it down and refinish it. This allows you to remove scuffs, indents and scratches, making it look new again. There are possibilities of several sands throughout the floors lifetime. Be sure to take this into account when looking and comparing wood pricing.
Wood flooring is a value-adding feature to have in your home when it's time to resell. Expensive floor replacements are unlikely to occur as they are very rarely needed on wood flooring. A simple re-sanding and finish is enough to maintain their looks.
Although considered hard flooring, wooden floors tend to be softer than their tile and polished concrete counterparts. Meaning underfoot is a little softer and not so hard on joints when standing.
Wood flooring is considered the most environmentally-friendly option available, as it comes from a renewable resource. Wooden flooring has the added benefits of being biodegradable, recyclable and require less energy to produce. Wood floors with environmental certifications are always available.
The species of wood you chose is a matter of personal preference and individual budget. With a wide range of wood species available, several price ranges are available across the various woods.
Each species of wood has its own colour span across a wide spectrum of warm and cool neutrals. Being a natural product, knots, colour and grain variation between planks is a common occurrence. There is a high chance that the wood samples will look different to your finished floor, so bear that in mind.
Once you’ve decided on your chosen colour palette to work with, consider how exactly your floor will be used. This is important as each species has its own level of hardness. The harder the wood species, the more durable and resilient to wear and tear it will be. Softer wood finishes are more likely to show dents from furniture and heeled shoes.
With it being a natural resource, wood floors are likely to experience subtle colour changes as they age. This is ever apparent when moving furniture and rugs around. Different species will experience colour change at different rates, such as new floors that will differ from an existing sample.
In the kitchen, both hardwood and engineered floors are great options. However, to avoid damage, dropped food and drink should be wiped away fairly quickly.
In the hallway, both types of timber flooring are great for entry spaces and hallways. It is recommended that in these high traffic areas, runners and mats are installed to minimise dirt and grit from outside.
Solid wood is not recommended in the bathroom or laundry, as the humidity and temperature change can cause damage, opt for engineering timber instead.
Vinyl, also known as lino, has been a staple flooring for decades. Its durable, low maintenance and affordable.
Vinyl comes with its own benefits, much like every flooring.
Linoleum itself is no longer made but instead is now Sheet Vinyl. Sheet vinyl is created out of synthetic products. Typically, the backing is a mix of vinyl and plasticiser or fibreglass. That layer is covered with a film print of your desired pattern or print. A clear protective layer then covers this, called the ‘wear layer.’ Finally, urethane is applied as a further protectant.
With the wear layer, it will wear down, meaning your design will be gone. This layer also repels dirt and spills from your flooring. Every vinyl is different and has a different wear layer; the higher quality of the product, the longer-lasting the wear layer will be.
Sheet Vinyl has provided flexibility in design and colour possibilities. Greater than that of linoleum, which also had the downfall of discolouration, sensitivity to cleaners and regular sealing.
The amount of underfoot cushioning given by vinyl is important as it provides the comfort to walk and stand on. This is hugely important for areas with increased standing, such as kitchens. A note to make is that with more cushioning, the chance of indentation is higher. To reduce this risk, use floor protectors under heavy objects such as furniture.
Sheet vinyl comes with the benefits of stability and water resistance. As the name implies, it comes in sheets, leaving minimal joins for a seamless and more water-resistant look. Making this flooring an ideal option for wet rooms, such as bathrooms and laundries.
Exposure to strong, harsh sunlight can cause fading or brittleness in sheet vinyl, where some ranges offer a warranty against this.
Sheet vinyl is highly resistant to moisture and mildew. It's low maintenance and one of the easiest floor options to clean.
Luxury vinyl tiles and planks, or hybrid flooring, are a replica of timber and stone looks created through advanced technologies. Giving you the option of a wood or stone look at a fraction of the price.
LVT/LVP is constructed of multiple layers. Starting with the base of PVC, topped with a fill layer for added thickness and stability. Above this is a photographic image replicating the look of woods, ceramic or stone designs. On top of the image is a clear vinyl layer known as the wear layer to protect the tile or planks durability.
The quality of the top wear layer should not be where you are cutting corners. This layer is essential to the durability, hardwearing and scratch-resistant qualities of LVT. While more expensive, a thicker top layer on LVT will provide longer-lasting resistance to wear-and-tear. Scratches and marks from debris, furniture and human interaction can be avoided by investing in a high-quality LVT/LVP.
The easiness to install makes LVT/LVP appealing as a flooring option. It can be installed without having to remove any of the skirting boards or kickboards from the cabinetry. Even better, it can be laid on top of your existing flooring. Your subfloor must be free of dust, dirt and not too many protruding stones in the concrete. This is to ensure that your planks or tiles lay completely flat and don’t show any irregularities.
Since LVT/LVT is glued directly to your subfloor without the use of underlay, the lack of underlay may not keep your sound absorption levels to your ideal level or to what can be achieved through other flooring options. This is important in multi-level dwellings where sound absorption is a high priority. The exception to this is loose-lay LVT which is thicker with additional layers that enhance the acoustic properties beyond that of standard LVT.
LVT/LVP is an easy to care for, low maintenance flooring option. It doesn’t require sanding, polishing, waxing or refinishing. Instead, a regular clean will maintain its original appearance.
Like any other floor covering, spills should be attended to quickly to avoid staining and lasting damage. Liquid has the potential to lift the planks along seams, with water getting in and dissolving the adhesive.
The biggest issue with luxury vinyl is dimensional stability. Gapping or lifting where the planks meet may occur due to environmental and installation factors. Luxury vinyl needs to be acclimatised at your property before installation to prevent this. The floor and room temperature needs to be maintained before, during and after installation.
Most LVTs can be used in conjunction with underfloor heating systems. However, there are maximum heat recommendations to avoid damaging the planks or tiles.
Choosing tiles as your flooring options can provide a sophisticated aesthetic appeal to your space while maintaining a warm atmosphere. Lighter tile colour choices create the illusion of a bigger space, while dark tiles tend to shrink space inwards.
Tiles have been modernised and are available in many sizes for each room intention you choose.
Tiled floors have many benefits. The main being that they are inhospitable to dust, bacteria and mould, making your home a healthier, more comfortable home. Tiles are the most water-resistant flooring option available, making them ideal in wet rooms such as bathroom, laundries and kitchens. Tiles can also be heated, making them ideal for the living areas of your home, thus making them a versatile flooring option.
Garage floors need to be strong and durable to withstand the battering it goes through, but that doesn’t mean you have to deal with cold, bare concrete. Garage carpet has stronger, more durable fibres, making it tough to do the job in your garage.
The installation of carpet in your garage can turn a once cold space into a multi-purpose room. This provides a warmer, dryer, quieter space when needed. For homes with attached garages, having carpet installed, the source of drafts and heat loss through the garage is gone.
When selecting a garage carpet, opt for one with high UV resistance to make it less prone to fading in the strong New Zealand sun.
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