ARTICLE Patricia Moore
With timber’s timeless appeal and cork both topping the charts, it’s almost a case of everything old is new again – indeed, old is good, with many hardwood products pre-treated to look well worn!
While hardwood flooring has long retained its popularity, a range of greatly improved look-alike products is now providing the same textures and neutral colourways at more user-friendly prices. And cork is making a comeback as a fashionable choice, valued for its sustainability and good looks.
Many of the products features here can be used with underfloor heating, and can be laid by DIYers, but it’s worth remembering that doing-it-yourself means that you’re not covered by installation guarantee. It’s also important to check with the supplier regarding the use of underfloor heating.
Essentially, choice of flooring will be dictated by budget, the area to be covered, and the amount and type of traffic to which it will be subjected. Choosing a high-gloss finish on a hardwood floor, where there are pets may not be the best option!
How much does bamboo flooring cost?
The big news for everything from t-shirts to flooring is the use of bamboo. A growing number of renovators are discovering it ticks all the boxes. It’s natural, sustainably sourced, and competitively priced.
Gibson Veneer and Plywood’s Enspire range is manufactured from bamboo fibre, which results in a more linear grain direction from other natural wood materials.
It also accounts for the interesting colour variations, says GVP’s Managing Director, Kerry Pearson.
The strength and density of bamboo are a real plus. It’s the hardest of all the wooden flooring materials and therefore offers greater resistance to marking and wear. The glue-less UNICLIC locking system makes installation quick and easy.
Antoinette van der Nist at Ecodure Bamboo and Oak Flooring, reports bamboo is the fastest growing floor type. “People appreciate that it’s a natural product, harvested from bamboo that, once harvested, grows to its full height again in four to five years. It also sequesters more carbon than regular forest trees, making it an eco-friendly choice in an era where eco-friendly options should be first choice.” Bamboo floors provide durability and style. “Maximum pleasure with minimum maintenance and fuss.”
Costs for bamboo
From $60 p/m2
How much does cork flooring cost?
Cork flooring today is a far cry from what Mum and Dad used to have, says Sue Hellesoe at Ecofloors. Renovators are rediscovering the acoustical properties, warmth and durable comfort of cork; and they value its natural sustainability, she says.
“Another big driver is walking comfort, standing comfort and thermal insulation features, plus impact resistance to falling objects.”
Sue highlights the advantages of one of the newer developments in cork flooring – Corktech technology – which involves a unique multi-layered structure combining the latest technology with the natural properties of cork.
“This achieves a higher standard in flooring through a perfect match between beauty, comfort and durability.”
The natural thermal properties of cork are another plus, she says, with tests of four different flooring products showing cork provided a better solution when it comes to retaining heat.
For DIY market, EcoFloors offers Ready Cork Floating Floors with a new high performance surface (HPS) finish that requires no polyurethane once installed, and no use of adhesives.
Costs for cork
From $165 p/m2
How much does hardwood flooring cost?
It may be a more expensive option but “at the end of the day, there’s nothing like a solid wood floor,” says Lynette Baker at The Wooden Floor Company.
“A floor is so visually important, why would you want anything less than the real thing?” Lynette is quick to point out that wood’s been used for hundreds of years and it just gets better with age.
Their wooden floors originate in Sweden and are perfect for New Zealand’s climate because this multi-layered construction and product locking system allow for expansion and contraction.
Not surprisingly, given their cold country origin, they’re also designed to accommodate underfloor heating. The product is pre-finished with seven coats of UV lacquer and it’s all environmentally safe, she says. “You can walk on it within hours of it being laid.”
In addition to cork flooring, EcoFloors have a wood programme with Woodcomfort, providing the best of both worlds, says Sue Hellesoe. “It’s a wood/cork combination that requires no polyurethane and meets slip and fire tests. We also offer our Artisan Oak series in five colours, plus raw board for renovators who wish to do a custom stain or oil finish.”
Costs for hardwood
From $80 p/m2
For DIYers wanting the look of timber without the timber price tag, click-together laminate flooring is a practical and economical solution, says Jack Ou at Fast Floors.
“It’s a multi-layered, man-made product that mimics the look of timber – once installed it looks just like real wood.”
This is because the surface layer is actually a photograph of wood grain, not real wood, which is then given a tough transparent coating, making it impervious to daily wear and tear.
It’s a product that’s come a long way, he says, and has a lot to offer in both style and durability.
Fast Floors laminates are available in a choice of colours, with the classic looks of natural oak being the most popular. In line with overseas trends, more renovators are looking towards grey tones that give a modern, edgy look, says Jack.
The good news for home renovators is that there’s no special experience required when laying laminated flooring; anyone can do it, he says. “However, following the instructions provided is a must!”
How much does laminate flooring cost?
From $11 p/m2
Vinyl planks and tiles
Vinyl planks and tiles come in two different qualities; Luxury Vinyl Tile flooring (LVT) with a high-quality realistic finish and superior durability at a comparatively low cost, and the less expensive Hot Press Tile (HPT).
Both products are essentially three layers; a protective wear layer that helps prevent against damage, a printed design layer simulating natural wood planks, and the backing layer which adds structural strength and durability.
The moduleo LVT range comes in authentic plank lengths and widths, and features bevelled edges and ends, according to Mark Cronin at wholesalers, Robert Malcolm Ltd. “It offers the homeowner superior performance in a product that’s waterproof and easy to install,” he says.
“LVT is a clever alternative to natural flooring, and both planks and tiles can be laid in a similar way to traditional flooring,” says Ben Ewart at Irvine Flooring.
The big advantage with tiles, he says, is the ease of replacement if damage occurs. “LVT Planks and Tiles traditionally require an adhesive to be applied along with sub-floor preparation, however there are different backing options available.” LVT Click is designed for quick and easy installations; and LVT Loose Lay eliminates the need for gluing or clicking into place.
“The latter option is probably preferable for the home renovator,” says Ben. Although given that flooring is an important investment, they recommend LVT products are laid by a qualified installer and member of the national Flooring Association.
Depending on the quality and wear layer of the product, prices through the Irvine retail network can start from as little as $49 per m2. Uplift, sanding, installation and other materials will also need to be taken into account.
How much do vinyl planks and tiles cost?
From $65 p/m2
You might be interested in reading: Wooden floor options.
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