How to choose the right flooring, tiles or carpets

The floor inside your home is by far one of the most important items of the structure, and without it, you probably would not be sat down reading this!

The flooring in the home is often overlooked and we take them for granted, but a bit of love and attention, and some design flair, can transform parts of your interior space and give each room a whole new look and feel.


There are many different types and kinds of flooring in use today, in offices, shops, houses, banks, pubs, in fact flooring is everywhere, because if not, we all be walking on bare ground which wouldn’t be great would it?

Most people in the UK have fitted carpets in their house, although of late, stripped floorboards have gained popularity, as have laminate flooring and different types of carpets such as coir and sisal varieties.

The latter have become popular in high traffic or footfall areas such as the workplace, in hallways and in schools, but there are so many choices as to what flooring to use, it’s tough making the RIGHT choice, so we put together 10 different types of flooring and their suggested uses.

How to choose flooring: 10 suggestions

Here we go with my top ten flooring suggestions.

1. Cork flooring.

Cork flooring started to appear in homes in the UK (Along with cork wall tiles) in the 1970’s but it’s certainly not a new thing.

It is of course a natural and sustainable product and I myself have seen first hand the harvesting of cork from trees on my travels in both Spain and Portugal.

Make sure your bathroom doesnt have damp

The bark is cut from the tree quite easily, without harming it, and the hollow tubes of bark can be seen stacked up by the side of the road waiting for the factory to pick them up and make them into tiles. It takes about 10 years of growth per cork tree, in order for the bark to be harvested for cork tile production.

Cork tiles are particularity good in kitchen and bathrooms.

 2. Lino flooring

Lino (linoleum) is mass produced in rolls and is very useful in bathroom and kitchens, but most certainly not for anywhere else in the home. It’s easy to lay, very affordable and recent design trends have seen some very interesting patterns emerge.

lino flooring

Don’t walk on it with stiletto heels and be careful when moving furniture around as it can rip easily.

3. Rugs and Carpets.

Rugs have been in use for centuries, but fitted carpets only become prominent in the 19th century, perhaps coinciding with the advent of the vacuum cleaner and also gripper-rods and other methods of securing the carpet in place.

Photo of the carpet warehouse, Larry Speare Ltd

As you can see from the above image, carpets are very bulky items, making fitting a tedious and specialist job, however carpet tiles can also be bought and laid easily, although the range of textures and colours are greatly diminished when using this method.

Rugs are also a very popular choice and can be moved around, or replaced as necessary. There are other types of carpets gaining popularity though, namely Coir which is a hard wearing floor covering made from coconut husks and is ideal for stairways, hallways and commercial premises.

Sisal is another similar hard wearing carpet and has great anti static properties although it tends to absorb moisture in some cases. Seagrass carpet is a good choice too, not only as it is durable, but it’s generally stain resistant but often the patterns created by this natural fibre leave a lot to be desired so it’s a cheap option if anything.

4. Rubber flooring

Rubber floors are often used in schools and hospitals and also in any areas where children are likely to play. This is due to its ability to absorb impact (for example when someone falls) and its ease of maintenance as it only requires a quick sweep and a clean and its good as new.

rubber flooring in school

The rubber flooring can even be made to look like marble, tiled or laminate flooring at first glance as technology can now colour and imprint patterns at the factory.

It is available in several colours and is very hard wearing.

5. Marble tiles.

Marble tiles have been in use since the Roman times and provide a hard wearing, easy to clean and great looking floor!

Marble floors are common in hotter countries as they keep cool, but they also get used for kitchen worktops too. It is a quarried rock which is cut into slabs and highly polished. Marble can last for years without issue and often gets used in Hotels and kitchens amongst other places.

villa casa house painters spain

Marble is used both for internal and external uses as it is water impermeable, weather resistant and attractive too!

6. Laminate floors.

Laminate flooring often comes in hard sheets like planks of wood but is actually made from a synthetic compound.

It is very good for resisting scratches and bumps, spills and stains, and is much cheaper than wooden flooring but looks very similar. Underfloor heating can also be installed with this system, to create a warm and but stylish room anywhere in the house.

Wood effect laminate flooring
Wood effect laminate flooring

The flooring is available in many different styles and colours, to suit all types of space in the home.

7. Solid wood or parquet floors.

A more expensive version of the flooring described in step 6, is real, solid wood flooring. This can be in the form of stripped floorboards, popular and trendy in some homes, or it can be parquet flooring, polish hardwood, and available from your local flooring specialist although it is quite expensive and can be prone to scratches from shoes and from furniture.

parquet floors
A parquet floor

A parquet floor can add a touch of glamour to many rooms, although it is often a darker shade of brown and should not be used with dark coloured walls, or in rooms that do not get much daylight.

8. Bamboo floors

These wooden floor coverings are, as the name suggests, made form the wood of the bamboo plant and can typically be spotted as having a large amount of “knots” or brown dots along their length, from the woods natural colouring.

The wood is quite cheap to buy and is often imported from China or Asia in ready made floor boards. A cheap alternative to solid wood flooring and can make a nice pattern if used in the right place.

9. Slate or flagstone floors.

Flagstones are like large, flat stones that were used for centuries in cottages, churches and all buildings that today would be considered historic or of architectural interest.

english cottages

Flagstone is an even layered sedimentary rock, often shale or sandstone, which is cut into large, flat paving stones, suitable for internal or external uses.  It is a hardy and versatile natural flooring material, closely related to slates used for roofing. It is also waterproof and ideal for cottages or country kitchens.

10. Tiled floors

The final flooring product we are looking at today is floor tiles, commonly made from ceramic, terracotta or porcelain and often used in Kitchens, bathrooms and external patio areas, to give a versatile and hard wearing surface.

kitchen floor tiles

They need to be laid on a cement adhesive, on a flat floor, or the tiles tend to crack. The grouting needs to be of a sufficient width to allow expansion, and they are best used in Kitchens, bathroom and conservatories.

Out of all the flooring listed here, these type of tiles are available in a multitude of colours, sizes and shades.

I hope that you find this flooring article useful and please feel free to share this with your friends.

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