Friday, September 17, 2010

Should You Choose Carpet or Hard Surface?

Sometimes choosing between carpet and hard flooring can be a real struggle. They both have their distinct benefits and advantages and – with the exception of kitchens and bathroom – both can be equally suitable in a variety of situations. Here is a summary of their properties to help you with your decision:

Advantages of Carpet:

Warmth – the key reason for installing carpet is usually for warmth. It is hard to replicate the same feeling of cosiness and warmth with any other flooring material. In cold climates, carpets are almost obligatory; not only for their insulating properties but for the visual and psychological comfort they give. Thus having carpet means reducing the amount of energy needed to maintain a comfortable internal temperature and therefore saving money.

Sound Insulation – carpet is perhaps the best sound insulator you can find as a flooring material. In fact, it has been shown to be ten times better at reducing airborne noise than any other floor covering.

Comfort – there is nothing like the luxurious feel of a soft, plush carpet. Aside from being comfortable to sit and play on, it also reduces the leg fatigue normally felt on harder floor surfaces.

Safety – due to their cushioning effect, carpets are soft to fall on which makes them a great choice for homes with active young children who are prone to accidents; they can also be good choices to public areas as they reduce the dangers of slipping and the associated legal liabilities in today’s litigious society.

Looks – a good-quality carpet lends a unique sense of class and prestige to an interior, whether it is a professional office or a private living room. The huge range of colors, styles, patterns and even textures means an enormous amount of choice, with something to suit every preference and interior decorating scheme.

Lower Maintenance Cost – despite common belief that carpet is easily dirtied and hard to clean, it is actually less expensive to maintain than hard flooring, as long as both are maintained correctly. In fact, the very construction of carpet means that its loops and piles will trap dirt and dust until they are released by vacuuming. (Some people even argue that this means carpets are actually better for allergies as they trap the allergens and dust particles until vacuumed whereas hard floors force the microscopic particles to recirculate and remain in the atmosphere). In addition, vacuuming – even on a daily basis – is less labour-intensive and more time efficient than the dusting, mopping and sometimes stripping and resurfacing needed for hard floor surfaces.

Advantages of Hard Flooring

Maintenance – the main reason many people choose hard flooring is for ease of maintenance and cleaning. Most types – whether it is hardwood, laminate, vinyl or tile – require little more than a regular vacuum or dust mop, followed by a wet mopping. Hard flooring also accumulates less dust and dirt in the first place. In particular, spills and stains are easily cleaned and removed and in fact, many hard flooring nowadays come with stain-resistant top layers.

Durability – this is the other key reason people choose hard flooring. They can withstand high traffic and heavy wear and tear. This is particularly true of laminate and vinyl. They are ideal for areas such as entrance ways, family living rooms and kitchens, which may experience a lot of foot traffic and other high impact traffic.

Non-Allergenic – the general consensus is that hard flooring is better for people suffering from allergies or asthma as they are less likely to trap allergens. Research shows that carpet environments often harbor large accumulations of dust particles, debris, pet dander, dust mites and other allergens.

Looks – this especially applies to hardwood floors as they have a warm, timeless beauty that is hard to match by any other type of flooring. But laminate and vinyl flooring also offer huge advantages as they come in an endless range of colors and styles, which makes interior decorating an easy and enjoyable task and enables you to create the look and ambiance you seek with minimal effort.

Investment – again, this applies only to hardwood flooring: timber flooring is the one addition that will increase the resale value of your house – in fact, many will consider hardwood floors as a substantial investment in the home’s value. If well-maintained, hardwood flooring will last the lifetime of the structure.

As in many cases, the choice may come down to one of personal preference for style and effect. Remember also that it is important for the flooring to blend with the rest of the interior d├ęcor and for it to flow easily from room to room, thus creating a coherent whole.

This article was taken directly from Floor Ideas (www.floorideas.co.uk). Also, visit my websites at www.americarpetfloors.com , www.stylishrugs.com and www.americarpetcommercial.com for all your flooring needs. We sell all the flooring you read about on the article. 2a 3a

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Rubber Flooring

http://www.polymax.co.uk/images/Rubber%20Matting-Premium/09%20-%20Rubber%20Flooring%20Slate%20Effect%20Tiles%201.jpg
It’s easy to see why rubber is the flooring of choice for many commercial, educational and government establishments – and even, in some cases, a good choice of flooring for areas of the home. It has outstanding durability, as well as resilience and is also resistant to burns, scratches, dents and stains, as well as being completely waterproof. Furthermore, it comes in a stunning array of colours and designs and can also incorporate textures for additional safety. Surprisingly, it can also be a very environmentally-friendly option too!

What is Rubber Flooring?
Traditionally, rubber came from the milky sap of the rubber tree and natural rubber is still harvested in this way. However, the majority of rubber flooring is now often made of synthetic materials. Rubber has always been popular in industrial settings because it is one of the most hard-wearing and resilient floor coverings available and yet still offers a remarkable level of cushioning underfoot and impact absorbency. Its water-resistant and stain-resistant surface, as well as its chemical stability, means that it is ideal in high moisture areas and where thorough cleaning (with water and harsh cleaners) is regularly required. This also makes them ideal for bathrooms in domestic settings. (Note: in heavily wet areas, rubber flooring must be combined with a wet room system to provide a reliable moisture barrier and prevent water leakage).

Where is it Used?
Rubber flooring is used in a huge variety of settings, from airports to schools, hospitals to lifts, farms to restaurants, as its high durability and resistance to wear and tear means it can cope with just about anything, from dogs claws to stiletto heels! In many of these cases, particularly in areas of high traffic, it is worthwhile applying a maintenance layer of polish to the surface to make cleaning and maintenance of the rubber flooring easier.

Rubber flooring is used in commercial and industrial settings for heavy traffic areas due to its combination of aesthetics, functionality and value. It is also widely used in public transport as it meets the stringent requirements of public safety and durability – not only does it have slip resistance and abrasion resistance but it also performs highly against fire and smoke emissions. Lastly, rubber floors are embraced in the sports and fitness industries where their flexibility and cushioning, together with their resiliency and hygiene-promoting properties make them the ideal flooring material.

Rubber floors have also gained in popularity with modern designers as it gives a room a unique ‘high-tech’ look and feel, as well as being versatile enough to match a variety of design schemes. Modern rubber flooring comes in solid sheet or tile form and is available in wet suit finishes, primary and pastel colours and with embedded textures, such as studs or ribbing, for potentially wet areas to prevent slipping and accidents.

Features of Rubber Flooring:
  • Durable: most good quality rubber is guaranteed to last the life of the application without cracking, wearing or breaking. In fact, it is not unknown for the rubber floor to outlast the life of the premises in places such as airports, stations and public transport such as buses and trains. Their longevity is due to their high abrasion resistance and also to an in-built system of self-releasing wax which helps the rubber “heal” against scratches and abrasions. The other factor that helps their longevity is rubber’s inherent resilience and flexibility.
  • Anti-Fatigue: one of the key benefits of rubber flooring is its cushioning effect which dissipates impact energy and thus reduces strain on joints and muscles. This then helps to provide comfort underfoot and prevent fatigue. This makes it an ideal flooring for situations where people will be standing for long periods, from the domestic kitchen to commercial settings such as factory conveyor belts, bars, shopping centres, cash registers and transit areas. This cushioning comes from rubber’s highly-elastic polymer chains arranged in a unique cross-linked network, which enables them to act like miniature springs beneath your feet and gives rubber some of its great resilience under heavy weights.
  • Stable: rubber has in-built UV-stability which makes it ideal for outdoor use, weathering very well in semi-UV exposed areas. For strongly exposed areas, the rubber can be treated with a special sealer coating which will prevent fading and make it more resistant to strong sun exposure. Rubber also has good dimensional stability, which means it shows no noticeable shrinkage or expansion in fluctuating temperatures.
  • Insulating: rubber is a fantastic insulator, both of temperature and sound. The molecular density of the elastomers in rubber helps it absorb sound and impact, and reduce the transfer of noise, resulting in a quieter environment. Its thermal insulation properties also provide comfort in winter and even in summer, keeping the environment warm and cool respectively.
  • Hygienic and Safe: rubber’s smooth surface means that it does not easily harbour pet hairs, dust mites and other allergens. The elastomers within rubber also give extremely high surface traction, making rubber flooring an ideal anti-slip floor covering in both work and home environments. Furthermore, good quality rubber is formulated so that it does not produce any toxic substances when incinerated, thus giving safety in the event of fire – particularly important for public places.
  • Low Static: rubber flooring can be available in a static-dissipative version which is of key importance in certain settings such as hospitals, computer rooms and electronic manufacturing plants, where control of build-up and static discharge is vital.
  • Oil-Resistant & Water-Resistant: rubber flooring can also often be formulated to withstand oil, grease and chemicals which makes them ideal for settings where these compounds are present in high amounts – e.g. car dealerships, beauty salons, food processing facilities and laboratories.
  • Long-Term Economy: because of its longevity and durability, leading to a long life cycle – together with its low maintenance – rubber is without question one of the most economical flooring types in the long term.

Environmentally-Friendly Flooring?
Rubber flooring may not be your first thought as environmentally-friendly flooring but it actually has a lot of eco-friendly properties. Because of its long life cycle, there is no need for frequent removal and disposal of flooring materials plus regular installation, thus reducing use of chemicals (e.g. adhesives), wastage and demand on natural resources. Once it is finally removed, rubber can be recycled. Even if it is not, it is easily disposed of in landfills and in many cases, if it has been formulated without PVC’s, there will be no toxic plasticizers, halogens, or dioxins to seep into the groundwater. Lastly, rubber has been shown to significantly improve indoor air quality.
This article was taken directly from Floor Ideas (www.floorideas.co.uk). Also, visit my websites at www.americarpetfloors.com and www.stylishrugs.com for all your flooring needs. We sell all the flooring you read about on the article. 3a 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Can a Ceramic Floor Look Like Real Stone?

For those looking for a cheaper alternative to stone, choosing a ceramic floor is certainly an option. Visit high street stores, browse the internet or look on auction sites to see what bargains you can pick up. By shopping carefully you could find a floor that looks as good as the real thing. Colours come in all sorts of shades, from rich reds to rusty browns and from warm sandstone shades through to slate blues. Tiles also come in varying shapes and sizes – whether you are looking for large oblong slabs for your new kitchen breakfast room or small squares for your bathroom, the benefits of going down the ceramic route are numerous, and include both flexibility and durability.
A slate-look floor
The beauty of real slate cannot be under-estimated – from its deep colours through to its wonderful textures. Real slate comes in blacks, dark blues and rusty browns. It can be roughly textured, riven or even honed. When you buy a batch of slate you never quite know what you will get in terms of patterning and colouring. How close you can come to the appearance of natural slate with a porcelain tile really depends on the look you are going for. If you are wishing to achieve a highly textured, roughly hewn style then ceramic is likely to look just too finished to be close to the real thing. If, however, you are going for a much sleeker slate look – a uniform dark colour and a smoother finish, then your ceramic tile is likely to pass muster. Don’t forget one of the great benefits of opting for an artificial slate is that it will be much more impervious to water spillage and therefore damage.

Natural stone
A faux-stone floor does have a number of benefits over a real one. To begin with, it requires much less maintenance. Sealing and having to carry out a regular programme of maintenance will not be an issue. Scratching and chipping is also much less likely. If you are looking for a ceramic style that creates a limestone look then you will find examples that do their best to replicate uneven surfaces and slight variations in lightness. These engineered tiles, which often have a very matt finish, can come in large pieces and even when close up can be almost impossible to separate from the real thing.

Faux travertine
If you are looking for something that emulates a travertine floor, however, and brings that cool European feel to your room, then look for a light Italian-style porcelain tile. Once again, the light veining through these man-made products can really help to create the illusion of the real thing. Team the large oblong or square tiles up with a border made from the same material to create a Romanesque look that appears completely genuine. By using a porcelain or ceramic version of the stone you can achieve the same timeless look of cool elegance as with the real thing and you can create a floor that really makes a statement.

This article was taken directly from Floor Ideas (www.floorideas.co.uk). Also, visit my websites at www.americarpetfloors.com and www.stylishrugs.com for all your flooring needs. We sell all the flooring you read about on the article.  3a