When we first moved in to our house, we needed to replace the existing (70s!) carpet in our living room. It’s quite a large room and is also a through-way to another room so gets a lot of wear one way or another. The sensible solution, what with children, cats, dogs, food etc, we knew would be wood (engineer probably, laminate possibly) with rugs. However, we had laminate floors fitted in our first house and I hated them with a passion. It was cold, noisy and dusty. When we moved house we put down really thick lovely carpet in every room and I loved it after living with the laminate BUT having children, cats, dogs, combined with the fact we had chosen beige carpets meant they were very quickly ruined.
My husband wanted to lay wood flooring throughout the house and I was dead against it after the laminate experience, however we did it and I have to say I absolutely love it. Proper engineered wood flooring is NOTHING like laminate. Yes real wood flooring is more expensive but it is totally totally worth it. I know that some people complain about keeping on top of the dust. But I’d still rather chase dust bunnies than clean carpet. It has a slightly textured finish, so not too slippery and the planks lock together very tightly so no gaps. We have just one fairly big rug in front of the hearth. The only drawback is that there is a slight ‘bounce’ in one part of the room where evidently the concrete wasn’t quite as level as we thought!
I would definitely choose wood over carpet if you have young children in the household. You don’t have to worry about spillages or muddy footprints, it all wipes off. A rug in the lounge is good for when they want to sit on the floor to play or watch TV. In terms of the children, the crawling/falling stage is very short. The stage of mud, felt tip pens, paint, play-dough, puddles, spills, sick, yoghurt etc lasts at least 5 years.
One thing to consider, what ever finish you go for, is the thickness of the boards. We went for a thick one so if we ever need to, in years to come, we can hire a sander and sand it all down. Another thing to bear in mind is that if you’re placing it in a kitchen with utilities. It’s best to get a bit spare so that if you are ever unfortunate enough to have a washer / dishwasher flood or burst pipe, you can replace any ruined section and allow about 10 per cent for wastage. Unless of course the range is likely to be current forever.
Now, when it comes to cleaning your engineered wood flooring. Do not use a steam mop or any kind of mop for that matter. Engineered wood floors don’t like the wet. Get a spray and one of those specialist wood floor mops and just use that. I think that ours was about £6 from a local hardware store. Remember, no Flash or any type of off the shelf supermarket ‘cleaner for wood’ (unless it’s specialist) or you’ll ruin it! Always use as little water as possible on wood.
Traditionally, wooden floors have been thought to add value to your property, making them a good investment. They’re also timeless – they don’t date or go out of style like some carpets or vinyl flooring options. They’re relatively neutral, which means you can decorate your house in any colour. Or style without worrying about a jarring clash of colours or patterns. Which of course, is always a bonus!