A good renovation starts from the ground up and, writes Toni Eatts, that means choosing the kind of flooring that suits your lifestyle, taste and budget.
Whether you’re buying an apartment off the plan, moving into one where the decisions have already been made or considering renovating, the right flooring is one of the most important features you’ll face.
If you make the wrong choice in a house, it’s only you who’ll have to put up with an ugly look or uncomfortable living. But in an apartment, your decision could unleash a veritable war with your neighbours – especially those who live below.
With hard floors, for instance, such as hardwood timber, parquetry, tiles or wood laminate, they need to be soundproofed with a special underlay to absorb the energy of sound waves.
“As the popularity of timber floors has increased the search for solutions to sound transference has increased,” explains Richard Karsay, managing director of Precision Flooring, which specialises in high-end wooden flooring. “There have also been advances in ‘engineered flooring’.”
Richard says around 80 per cent of the product they sell now is engineered. It offers the natural look of timber but is easier to install, more stable and has no top nails, to leave a smooth, pleasing finish.
In warm climates, tiles remain popular in living areas but even they are getting a ‘timber’ look or following the current interior design passion for a natural, nature-inspired ambience.
Meanwhile, as the population ages and downsizes into apartments, research has focussed on developing flooring designed to reduce injuries when falls occur. Some canny Kiwi researchers have collaborated with Acma Industries of New Zealand to develop an innovative material that remains rigid when you walk or stand but is soft when you fall.
Rugs are a more accessible choice for softening your living spaces. Lia Pielli, senior designer, Designer Rugs, says rugs add design and colour to an interior and define areas in open plan spaces. “They also help with sound proofing. Drop a rug onto a hard surface and it will reduce the echoes and noise bouncing off the walls.”
Read more about RUGS
Read more about TIMBER
Read more about TILES
Read more about STRATA ISSUES