Ground force: Choosing flooring to fit your house

Choosing flooring is a seminal moment in any build, revamp or renovation.

A commissioned architect or interior designer would put a large swathe of flooring on their creative mood-board and so should you. Metre per metre it not only safely anchors the going, but influences the feel and flow in a room and adjoining spaces.

Every material has its character and strengths — be that banal or beautiful. Polished, durable honed concrete in a new slab or retro-fit screed can inject reflectivity in a room with a challenged, dark aspect.

Poured concrete is an exciting option that not only delivers a tough, bulletproof, seamless finish, but encases underfloor heating (UFH), while working as a masonry heat store. With inclusions, like pebbles and glass, the possibilities for this material are endless. Finish with quirky, colourful rugs in contemporary or traditional styles. Rug, Esprit Fiesta, €110.50 from the Rug Seller (UK).

Wool carpeting and rugs can add plush comfort to a home with otherwise hard flooring dictated by practicality. Pattern and textures banished for their overbearing failures in the 1970s, have returned refreshed in harlequin jigsaws of mop down eco-friendly Marmoleum to mid-century, jazzy mixed-wool weaves.

If your budget is tight, look to vinyl for bathrooms and kitchens for its ease of installation and nice finish. Choose a thick, insulated product like this Dee Hardwicke Lattice Hay Field vinyl floor tile from Harvey Maria in Pebble, 50m , harveymaria. com. Trend alert: Use vinyl as rugs to protect more expensive flooring.

Gorgeous deceivers for wood plank flooring and veined marble in large rectified porcelain tiles are causing particular excitement in halls, kitchens and bathrooms (where humidity precludes real timber).

Wood flooring is being taken all over the house. Where real wood goes, tile and laminates are hard at work to undercut price. A 4V bevelled edge, longer boards and easy installation marks out this Mammut laminate from Kronotex as quality. Shown in Tower Oak Sand; €19.98m, laminatewoodflooring.ie or find similar with local suppliers.

Look out for baked, matte, Middle Eastern-inspired ceramic beauties for full encaustic floors, frames, and accents perfected by the Spanish tile houses. The contemporary floor is free of the snobbery once directed to laminates.

Quality choices in faux timber include Quick-Step, Pergo and Karndean with their bevelled edges, smoked finishes and touchable grains. In real wood, tailor your spend between 18mm hardwoods and 14mm engineered flooring with a real wood top-side and unmatched stability.

If you find carpeting you love, but don’t want to deploy it large scale, consider a whip-stitched rug in a natural woven grass for a hall or the stairs alone.

A great rug can be expensive, but chosen well will define and separate areas in a room. The Hayon x Nani collection is based on original sketches created by the Spanish designer Jaime Hayon. Nanimarquina Rugs are online at nanimarquina.com or at Lost Weekend. Pieces from €2,000 plus, lostweekend.ie

Some tightly engineered flooring materials will demand careful rectifying of the sub-floor: include a contingency for this work.

Stair risers offer a chance to step things up creatively. The tiling here is by Impact Glass in Liquorice, Snowflake and Storm (britishceramictile.com) but any good toughened glass tile can do the job. Prices from €50 per metre, try corkglass.ie.


More in this Section

Barbara Hulanicki's newest collection taps into her personal favourites

The design rules that are meant to be broken

Top 5 tips to consider when shopping for the perfect rug


Lifestyle

A helicopter put a piano on the 150-foot roof of Blarney Castle and other stories from the Cork Jazz Festival archives

Jazz Memories: Famous faces share their favourite moments

Live music review: The Horrors - Icy genius in a thrillingly intimate setting

Choosing a sheltered spot for Maples is vital

More From The Irish Examiner