Wars of the Floors!

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Laminate, vinyl and concrete – which is right for you?

Gone are the day when the only choices of flooring were wall-to-wall carpets, or bare floor boards with a well-chosen rug or two; today, the modern homeowner can choose from a plethora of delightful, yet competing floor coverings, from laminate to hard wood, vinyl and concrete, as supplied by Midland Polished Concrete.

The tried and tested

In some cases, the tried and tested is familiar and known – the results are known, its look and robustness acceptable and thus, as we shop for new flooring we can be drawn to the products that offer us comfort and known performance. Laminate and vinyl, for example, or we take the decision to spend hours sanding the hardwood floors that can lurk in some older properties.

And then, there is the new kid on the block. However, concrete us far from being a ‘new’ material. It has, in a not-too-dissimilar form since ancient times, changing only slightly with modern technology and the addition of a few new materials or chemicals, depending on its application.

The pros and the cons of laminate and vinyl…

Laminate was once the baby of every interior designer. Fun, cheap and easy to install, you simply bobbed along to your local hardware store or flooring emporium, did a quick mathematical equation and walk out with X number of packs.

Early choices of laminate were limited, and it took a bit of glue here and there to hold it all together. But then it evolved; no nails or glue were needed as it simply now clicked together. The biggest room can have laminate laid in next to no time – with a professional, almost as fast as laying a wall to wall carpet – and it looks great.

Laminate, like other hard floors is a dream to keep clean. A quick sweep, a mop and the job is done. It will handle the vacuum clean scrapping its surface and it is hygienic. What is there not to like?

Nothing really. It makes a great play surface, it can be updated easily and quickly with rugs. But, there are a few cons…

  • Noise – the clip-clip of any shoes, not just heels, give it an almost ‘tinny’, cheap sound that some people detest
  • Once laid, it can’t really be re-laid – or so the experts say. Once you lift it, the click-click of linking the boards together it lost
  • The cheaper versions don’t last as well as the more expensive options, which can make laminate more expensive than a good quality carpet…

Vinyl is not just for the kitchen or the bathroom, you know…

If you have not been shopping for vinyl floor coverings for a while, then you be genuinely amazed at the vast range and quality now associated with this floor covering. No longer thin and wispy, vinyl floor coverings are now thick and delightfully lush underfoot.

With incredible ‘life-like’ patterns and finishes to modern vinyl floor coverings, you can opt for the look of a hardwood or laminate floor but without the annoying click-clack sound that it can make.  Warm under bear feet, but without the coolness in winter, vinyl seems like an all-round winner, especially when you consider that like laminate, vinyl is a healthier option when it comes to keeping your home squeaky, hygienically clean. Vacuum or sweep, followed by a quick mop and the job is done.

But, there are some downsides, the more notable of which can be that despite its robustness and toughness, it can be damaged, especially under the spike of a high heel shoe. If you are people who host regular parties and dinners, this can be a problem – unless you ban guests from wearing shoes in the home.

Likewise, to get the really good vinyl floor covering, you are looking at a small fortune for a medium sized room.

So, how can polished concrete floors trump all this?

Like vinyl, many people have not realised the full potential of concrete, assuming that the grey slabs of walls that they see around them is the height of concrete’s achievement. Known universally for being robust, sturdy and amazingly strong, the use of concrete within the home has started to develop from being more than just the structure… worktops in kitchen can be poured and polished to a high sheen, all with concrete.

And so it makes sense that concrete could actually offer the top most layer of flooring. But don’t think it only comes in grey. It can be modified and added to create the most amazing final effects, from dramatic black, with hints of jewels to all colours and shades. Polished to a high sheen, it will lift a space and instantly become a wow factor for your home.

Polished concrete floors, just like laminate and vinyl, can also be sparkling and hygienically clean. With such perfection, you would expect a monstrous price tag but actually, as a material, it can be poured over a wide area, polished to perfection at a fraction of the cost…