In many a home the most fashionable statement is the floors. However, when choosing a new floor covering, you may discover there are so many options available that it can be quite overwhelming.

Stone and marble are starting to replace the once ubiquitous wood in the living area of high-end new homes, and at the more affordable end an exciting range of very durable laminates is moving in on carpet and tile.

However, exotic woods and stone from far-flung places as well as some quirkier materials such as bamboo or pebble-crete are becoming popular for people trying to individualise their living spaces. Can you believe that sleek leather tiles, while rare, are appealing to people seeking a touch of opulence in their home?

Hardwood floors The look of brand new hardwood floors, or even newly refined hardwood floors, adds an unmistakable quality and value to your home. Where the choices of wood used to be pretty limited, there are now a multitude of designs and finishing options.

The beauty of wooden floors is that you can create a rustic yet formal look and feel in any room, they are easily repaired and can last several generations. Solid wood flooring is not recommended for moisture-prone areas.

The lower cost alternatives to solid wood flooring are engineered hardwood floors. They are made by gluing three to five thin layers of hardwood together. They can hold up to slightly moist conditions in basements and over concrete floors.

For pre-finished tongue and groove timber flooring, you should budget for about $40 to$60 per square metre plus about another $30 per metre for installation. For unfinished timber, you will need to add the price of polishing and finishing.

Carpeting Wall-to-wall carpeting is a quick, easy and relatively inexpensive flooring solution. It’s available in a huge array of styles and patterns, from high tech nylon fibres to traditional materials like wool.

Carpet has several advantages. It’s great underfoot, is a wonderful insulator and absorber of noise and the higher grades are very resilient to wearing. Unfortunately, some carpets are the perfect home for dust mites, and the less expensive grades of carpeting will begin to look worn relatively quickly.

Our advice is to always invest in a good quality carpet for your home and you may want to explore some of the more hardwearing commercial carpets for investment properties. Expect to pay around $40 per square metre for a wool carpet and $30 per square for a nylon.

Concrete Concrete flooring is gaining popularity thanks to the many ways you can now pour a thin but strong layer of concrete over various substrates, and use acid stains and colour pigments to create stone-like visual effects and your own decorative patterns. Once polished, these industrialised floors require very little maintenance and can look absolutely fantastic.

We would advise that if you are exploring concrete floors consider under-floor heating to prevent those winter chills. You can also try a cement paint to bring an existing concrete floor to life or consider the trendier concrete floor tiles instead of the more traditional ceramic tiles.

Bamboo Bamboo flooring is an extremely strong and good-looking floor option. Making its mark only recently, bamboo comes in a wonderful range of colours and is rot-proof -“ so it’s great for moist areas. It can be easily installed over concrete or other hard surfaces. Pre-finished bamboo boards will set you back around $75 per metre, and don’t forget the installation costs.

Vinyl floors Previously thought of as just an inexpensive choice in flooring, now the new generation of vinyl floors is not only durable but can add a real designer touch to your home. Vinyl flooring is available as tiles, strips and rolls in an enormous number of styles and colours.

Vinyl is best suited to kitchens and bathrooms because it’s easy to clean and fairly durable. Also, even a DIY beginner can install vinyl flooring using just a few tools.

Don’t scrimp on quality if you’re considering vinyl -“ it needs to look great. Expect to pay around $35 per square metre and up to $120 per square metre for the premium ranges.

Tiles Ceramic tiles are beautiful, natural, easy to clean, resilient to moisture, easy to install and available in hundreds of shapes and styles. On the other hand, tiles are cool and hard to touch. High gloss glazes should be avoided due to their slipperiness when wet. Cost of tiles does vary greatly, but you should be prepared to pay upwards of $35 per square metre, including approximately $40 per square metre for installation.

Laminated floating floors Floating laminated floors offer an almost endless range of style and colours -“ from simulated wood and tile to creative and decorative choices that will provide any home with an amazingly durable and beautiful floor.

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