Laying floorboardsFlooring plays a large part in raising the profile and ultimately the value of your home, so whether you’re renovating an existing structure, building, or extending, it is important to establish exactly what you want and need from your floors, then budget and plan accordingly.

I’ve seen a lot of Sydney renovations over the years and due to the age and most common housing available in the inner suburbs, the most popular approach to floors has always been to pull up any carpet and polish the existing floorboards.

Unless there is evidence of termites, damp or rot, most covered floorboards are usually found in reasonable condition and made from Australian hardwood – a timeless solution for any renovation. But, while hardwood polished floors remain a popular and practical option for many homes, it isn’t the only option and in recent years home owners and renovators have been experimenting and revisiting other materials.

If like me, you’re trying to eliminate the drafts and squeaky floorboards created by wood floors you might want to consider the following wood alternatives and think about the benefits of each:

  • bamboo – grown from fast growing forests and a great sustainable option
  • polished concrete – great for thermal gain, very durable and doubles as a building slab
  • carpet – plush underfoot and gives your house a very warm feel
  • lino, rubber or cork – easy to clean and great for children’s areas
  • creamic tiles – highly durable and low in toxicity
  • polished stone – for achieving a great traditional look
  • vinyl – low maintenance

I’d like to look at most of these flooring options in more detail in future blogs, but understanding the options at hand in 2011 should be enough to get you into your 2012 renovation plans.

Of course if you are set on the idea of wooden floors then the following points might help you choose the right materials for your home:

  • Stay away from wood that has been harvested from old growth forests
  • Look for wood that is regarded as a good environmental choice for building
  • Use underlay to eliminate drafts and squeaks
  • If you don’t mind sanding yourself, unfinished woods will provide you with a big saving
  • Consider floating floors laid over existing floors
  • Use tung oil to give your floor a traditional and durable finish