What are the best floor coverings

Floor covering: which one suits you?

Finding the right floor covering is not always easy with the range of options available. Whether PVC, laminate or carpeting - it is important that it fits the house and the residents. Read here which floor coverings you can choose.

Which flooring suits you depends on both the house and your personal preferences. Parquet and wooden floorboards, for example, are timeless classics. Vinyl or laminate go along with it and offer a large selection of different designs.

In all cases, however, the floor covering has to withstand a lot. It is used every day for many years. At the same time, it should be easy to clean and harmless to health.

Good to know: Only layers that are stable are counted as flooring. A normal, unpaved carpet does not correspond to this, because it can be removed from the floor at any time.

There is also a distinction between floor and floor covering. The term floor applies, for example, to a horizontally installed floor slab or floor. Screed is laid on top of this before the actual floor covering is installed.

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Wood flooring

Wood floor coverings are also known as hard floor coverings. As the name suggests, these are largely made of wood. However, a distinction is made as to whether it is solid wood or layered wood in combination with other materials.

Laminate is increasingly one of the most popular floor coverings on the market. And not without reason, because it is inexpensive and comes close to the appearance of parquet. The elements are built up in several layers like the elements of pre-fab parquet and plank flooring. They consist of a carrier layer, usually medium-density fibreboard (MDF board), a decorative laminate and a wear-resistant synthetic resin coating. There are also elements with a backing laminate on the back, these are particularly dimensionally stable. Laminate flooring is quite resistant to abrasion and scratches, pressure and bumps, UV light and even cigarette burns. This floor covering creates a different feeling to walk than solid wood and prefinished parquet - the typical clacking and creaking is missing. Some manufacturers now offer insulated laminate on which walking noises are much quieter.

The advantage of laminate is that it requires very little maintenance. Nevertheless, make sure that the floor does not get too wet when mopping. However, once the surface is worn, it can no longer be repaired. Lamina flooring is mainly recommended for rooms that are heavily used, e.g. hallways, corridors, kitchens, children's rooms or even hobby workshops.

Tip: Elements labeled “suitable for damp rooms” also resist steam and water splashes in the bathroom.

Prefabricated parquet is a multi-layer product and usually consists of two to three layers. The surface is usually already treated, which means that the parquet has already been oiled or brushed. In contrast to solid parquet, prefabricated parquet is easier to lay. Depending on the product, for example, a click system or full-coverage bonding is used. Prefabricated parquet is sold, for example, as a plank or as a ship's floor.

Planks are produced in a similar way to prefabricated parquet - their wear layer, however, consists of a piece of wood instead of simulated parquet strips. The elements result in a uniform, calm appearance and are visually restrained - the ideal floor covering for builders who like simple rooms. You choose the type of wood for the continuous top layer according to your taste, budget and intended use. If you want an inexpensive floor covering, choose softwoods such as spruce or pine. Those who value robust material prefer to choose oak, beech, ash, maple or birch.

Parquet consists of horizontally laid solid wood elements, which are usually put together as a pattern. Only a floor with a real wood wear layer of at least 2.5 millimeters may be referred to as “parquet”. Numerous types of wood such as maple, pear tree, ash or oak are available as parquet floors. Most builders afford a solid wood floor for the heavily used entrance area of ​​the house or apartment and in the living room, and more and more often as a bathroom floor.

Good to know: the thicker the solid wood layer of the floor covering, the more often it can be sanded down and resealed.

Parquet is further differentiated into plank floor, a large-format wooden floor covering made of long boards and wooden paving, parquet elements that show the annual rings of the wood.

According to DIN 4072, planed boards are pounded boards, i.e. provided with grooves and tongues on the long sides. Planks with pounded ends are also available in stores.

Commercially available boards are made of coniferous woods such as spruce, fir, pine, larch or Douglas fir, custom-made products made from other types of wood are commissioned to the woodworker. The professional mounts the boards with nails or screws on the wooden joist ceiling or the sub-floor. On a concrete floor, an intermediate construction made of timber or a plate-shaped support material is necessary to firmly attach the individual boards to one another. After laying, the raw boards are sanded and sealed with varnish. The usual thickness of floorboards is 20 to 25 millimeters - worn floorboards can be sanded down several times and then look like new. Floor boards are available in widths between 95 and 155 millimeters, a distinction is made between profile dimensions and cover dimensions. The profile dimension is the board width including the tongue, the effective dimension is the width of the board without the tongue. Plane floorboards give the room a rustic atmosphere - the right floor covering for uncomplicated people and lovers of the country house style.

Tip: Make sure that the wood comes from sustainable cultivation and local forestry.

Textile floor coverings

Textile floor coverings are mainly carpets that are laid on the floor over the entire area. You can lay them out as a fitted carpet, lay them loosely, glue them to the sub-floor or stick them with Velcro. Popular fabrics are cotton, jute, flax, but also coconut and more and more synthetic fibers such as polyamide and nylon are being used. A distinction is made between carpets mainly in the manufacturing technology.

  • Woven carpets
  • Tufted carpets
  • Knitted carpets
  • Bonding carpets
  • Needle felt carpets

Carpets are ideal for bedrooms as well as children's rooms. There are tons of colors and options. However, it is best to choose a neutral style that suits different facilities. With the right technology, cleaning carpets is no problem. With Persian carpets, however, you should observe special rules; it is often better to hire an expert here.

Good to know: Carpet tiles are available as click systems and are very easy to lay. A great advantage of this, however, is that individual elements can be replaced if they are dirty or damaged.

Mineral floor coverings

Mineral floor coverings are ideal for heavily frequented areas such as hallways or entrance areas and bathrooms. The mineral floor coverings include natural stones, ceramic tiles or terrazzo. The advantage of mineral floor coverings is their good thermal conductivity. This means underfloor heating can be optimally combined with it. You can tell how robust the floor covering is from the abrasion group. Group 5 stands for the highest resistance.

In recent times, exposed screed has become increasingly popular. In the past it was mainly used in industrial buildings, today it can also be seen more often in private households - certainly for design reasons. Fair-faced screed is very robust and requires little maintenance. However, laying requires a certain amount of know-how.

Plastic floor coverings

Plastic floor coverings are divided into homogeneous plastic floor coverings and multilayer plastic floor coverings. Homogeneous coverings consist of the same material, while multi-layer coverings can consist of jute, polyester, foam and cork.

Due to the robust surface, vinyl floors are more resistant than floors made from pure natural material. High-quality vinyl floors are subject to very high requirements and no longer contain any harmful plasticizers like earlier vinyl floors. PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is used, for example, in hospitals, laboratories and damp rooms and is particularly inexpensive. In contrast to tiles, vinyl floors offer a warm, damp surface. An important feature is their robustness and resistance to acids and alkalis. They are also very easy to clean and are therefore ideal for allergy sufferers.

PVC is available in both sheets and tiles, which are glued together to form a seamless surface. Vinyl floors don't have to look like a hospital. Rather, there are very different designs nowadays, which are reminiscent of oak, beech or even ship floor, for example.

Just lay vinyl on existing tiles? This works fine under certain conditions - if you avoid these mistakes.

Floor coverings made from renewable raw materials

The most important renewable raw materials include linoleum and cork flooring.

Linoleum is often reminiscent of PVC, but it is environmentally friendly and consists of vegetable and mineral substances. Like PVC, the covering is particularly hard-wearing and durable. It can also be combined well with underfloor heating. In addition to linseed oil, linoleum also consists of wood or cork flour, ground limestone, natural resins and pigments. It is rolled onto a jute net in strips. In the 1950s, linoleum was a very popular floor covering, but it was replaced by the inexpensive PVC. Due to the emerging environmental awareness, the natural product enjoyed a certain amount of attention over time and nowadays it is decorating many floors in houses again. Unlike in the 1960s, there are no longer only the common colors beige, gray, blue and red, but also strong colors and special decors are available.

Linoleum can either be laid by the meter or put together in a similar way to click laminate.

Cork flooring looks warm and cozy and can take on almost any desired look. In addition, this floor covering is sound-absorbing and has extremely good insulation, so that it is impermeable to water. Cork is usually laid as massive tiles that are glued and sealed to the sub-floor. Cork comes in very different looks, including wood, stone or concrete and unusual patterns. If you don't want to lay cork tiles, you can also opt for cork parquet. Cork boards that have already been sealed are glued to one another or clicked into one another