The way in which you use the kitchen and your floorplan should be taken into account.
In open plan kitchen diners in your annexe, having two different flooring types for each area works well, visually defining them as well as offering a more social and less practical feel in the eating space. The same goes for larger open plan layouts in which the living room is incorporated into the kitchen and dining space — varying the flooring will add definition and break up the space into distinct zones.
Stain resistant flooring, as well as flooring materials that are easy to clean and resistant to moisture should also be top of your list — a flooring type that won’t mark, chip or crack easily if something hard gets dropped on it is a good option too.
Plan your kitchen flooring early on — tile sizes, floorboard thicknesses and the like will need to be carefully considered in terms of how they will sit with your kitchen units.
Natural stone flooring is a great choice for kitchens. A more rustic, riven finish is perfect for classic kitchen styles, whilst honed, smooth tiles work best in contemporary kitchens. Be aware that the more irregular tiles will require thicker grout lines which can collect dirt and the uneven surface makes them more time consuming to clean.
Natural stone is tough and will last for years, plus it works brilliantly over underfloor heating — just make sure it is properly sealed before and after laying to ensure it doesn’t stain.
Polished Concrete or Resin
Polished concrete flooring is another hugely popular choice in kitchens. Perfect over underfloor heating, with brilliant thermal properties, it comes in a range of colours and finishes.
On the downside, it is not easily repaired and needs the skills of a professional in order to get the best finish.
Take a look at poured resin, which is becoming increasingly popular in the UK. It can be poured over the entire kitchen floor for a seamless, easy-to-clean finish and can be re-sanded and sealed as and when required. Available in any RAL colour and quite happy over UFH, a matt finish as opposed to gloss is better at hiding any marks or scratches.
Cheaper than natural stone, porcelain floor tiles are very low maintenance, requiring no sealing and are extremely hardwearing — plus their regular shape not only makes thin grout lines easy to acheieve, but it makes them a doddle to lay. A good partner with underfloor heating, porcelain tiles are easy to clean, hard to damage and available in an array of colours and finishes.
Ceramic tiles are cheaper than porcelain but do a very similar job, although they are not as hardwearing and can crack and chip — plus they are not usually coloured all the way through so any damage is quite obvious.
Timber floors can work in a kitchen, but are higher maintenance than stone or tile. Opting for engineered flooring over solid timber is safer in terms of movement, but be aware that an engineered floor will still suffer from scratches and stains and may well require sanding and re-oiling in order to keep it looking its best over time.
Vinyl, Lino or Cork
Vinyl is an easy-to-clean and water-resistant material but it has a fairly short-lifespan compared with the other options. It comes in a range of colours and finishes. Linoleum and cork flooring are both good eco-friendly choices.
Bathroom flooring needs to be capable of withstanding high levels of moisture and fluctuations in temperature. It also needs to be non-slip and stain resistant too.
Most people look for something that is easy to clean, and you might want to specify underfloor heating in your bathroom, so check your chosen floor can be laid over that. Although porcelain and ceramic tiles tend to be the go-to for many there are so many options that will work well too.
Porcelain and Ceramic Tiles
Porcelain tiles, though more expensive than ceramic, are made with a denser clay, fired for longer at a higher temperature than ceramic, they also tend to be through-coloured, whereas the pattern and colour of ceramic tiles is usually just a surface layer. Opt for an unglazed finish (which may require sealing) for a more non-slip finish than glazed.
Luxury Vinyl Tile
Luxury vinyl tile (LVT) is currently a popular option. Available in a range of colours and patterns, as well as finishes that mimic the appearance of other materials such as stone. LVT is soft and warm underfoot and works well over underfloor. On the downside, the installation tends to be best left to the professionals.
Another less obvious choice is rubber, although it is an ideal choice for family bathrooms. Comfortable underfoot and available in non-slip finishes, it comes in an assortment of bright colours and patterns too.
Natural stone adds a real touch of luxury to the bathroom, with the less porous varieties, such as slate and marble being particularly suitable. Limestone and travertine are also popular choices, but do be aware that they need to be sealed before laying, cleaned and then sealed before and after grouting in order to maintain their good looks. Stone should also be resealed every two years.
If you have your heart set on a timber floor for your bathroom but are concerned about the effects of a wet, humid environment, don’t despair. Engineered timber is a must, having a greater level of stability in the face of moisture than solid timber, but it still may not be the most practical choice in family bathrooms. Any water spills should be mopped up immediately and you need to avoid leaving wet bath mats or towels on the floor too.
Living Room Flooring
This really does come down to aesthetics. In open plan living, dining and kitchen spaces it works well to define the living space as a more relaxing area by using a softer flooring type, as opposed to continuing a tile from the kitchen, but a timber floor with a large rug will also do the job nicely.
Engineered wooden floors have the benefit of being easy to keep clean whilst at the same time imparting a warmth to the living space.
Carpet is an obvious choice, but those with pets or children who sit on the side of clumsy, might want to consider its practicality.
If you like the idea of soft flooring but are concerned that carpet might not be the most practical choice, a good compromise is natural flooring. Jute, coir, sisal and seagrass are all options, being environmentally friendly and ideal for those suffering from allergies from chemical and dyes.
Whilst these natural materials are not as soft as carpet underfoot, they do have a more contemporary look that appeals to many. Sisal has a silky feel underfoot whilst jute tends to be the softest. They are hardwearing and suitable for areas of high traffic.
As with more traditional carpets, they require specialist fitting and experts advise that they are allowed to acclimatise in the home for 24 hours before fitting. These plant fibres are relatively easy to wipe clean and can be hoovered — there are also protective sprays which coat the fibres allowing you time to blot off spillages before they soak in.
Entrance Hall Flooring
The main priority in this room should be to fit a floor that is super durable and easy to keep clean — it also pays to pick a flooring that is good at hiding dirt brought in on muddy shoes and pet paws.
Porcelain, ceramic and stone are all good choices, as is solid or engineered timber. Natural fibre flooring is also suitable for hallways and stairs, with both coir and seagrass being suitable for areas of high traffic.
Utility Room Flooring
A utility room floor needs to be very stain resistant. Some stones, even when sealed, will react with certain detergents and bleaches. Choosing a porcelain or ceramic tile in this room should reduce the likelihood of stains, and linoleum and vinyl are also good choices, as is rubber.
This choice really is entirely down to personal preference as opposed to any particular practical requirements.
Carpet is a popular choice, being warm and soft for bare feet. For a fresh, calming feel white-washed, painted and light-stained timber flooring works well and can be softened with the addition of a rug. Both work with underfloor heating.
In children’s rooms, it can be more practical to go for low-maintenace flooring such as rubber, a patterned linoleum, or timber-effect luxury vinyl tile.