Wooden floors – passing fad or long-term style?
Just like any other form of interior decoration, wooden floors go through periods of popularity followed by a spell in the décor wilderness. It all depends on what the latest interior design magazines are promoting, whether the hottest celebrities have carpets or wooden floors in their homes, and even the socio-economic situation.
During times of plenty the idea of ‘wooden floor boards’, no matter how beautifully varnished, stained or waxed, can subconsciously suggest austerity and an inability to afford the finer luxuries in life, such as a deep pile shag carpet. Flip the socio-economic coin to a time of recession and all of a sudden polished wooden floors are lauded as desirable, fashionable and ‘cool’ again. So is it all down to passing fads, or do polished wooden floors represent long-term style?
A matter of taste
While on first impression you may feel that carpets represent a warmer, more comfortable flooring option, the truth is that they do have their drawbacks. But leaving the practicalities aside for the moment, the main factor in deciding to go for wooden flooring as opposed to carpeting or other flooring options is simply a matter of taste.
Wooden flooring goes through cyclical periods of popularity and at the moment polished wooden floor boards are very much the ‘in thing’ for home interiors. Browse through any home style magazine and, whether you’re looking at a modernist apartment or a more traditional style interior, wooden flooring features heavily. One of the main reasons for its surge in popularity in recent years has been the development of a wide range of finishes, stains, waxes and polishes that enable you to ‘mix and match’ depending on your existing décor.
From the deep, burgundy tones of a traditional teak finish to the light and fresh ‘blonde’ influence of Scandinavian pine, wooden flooring benefits from a huge range of finishes. Now you can even go ‘post modernist’ with coloured staining that will give you everything from a vibrant blue finish to a lush, forest green effect. The only thing limiting your final result is your own imagination and your individual sense of style.
Good floors need good foundations
But before those exotic finishing products can do their work, you need to ensure that you’ve got a good foundation – and that means sanding off the old to make way for the new. To ensure that you get that perfect result, the preparation has to be thorough, meticulous and preferably carried out by professionals. Just like preparing a wall for wallpaper or painting, wooden floors need that all-important initial preparation to ensure a good finish. You can’t just ‘slap a bit of varnish over the top’ – this will result in an uneven, lumpy and, to be honest, a downright ugly finish. It will also prevent the wood grain from showing its true beauty, suffocated underneath a slapdash layer of cheap varnish that will probably start to chip and crack within the year.
Spend a little extra time at this stage and you can be certain that the final results will be just as good as any you’ll see in those fancy home style magazines. They will also be easier to care for. While wooden floors are extremely low maintenance compared to other flooring options, to ensure that a newly varnished floor lasts a lifetime you will still need to look after it to a certain extent. By making sure the floor is in top condition before you wax, varnish or stain, that maintenance is even easier – a simple wipe over with a mop and the occasional buffing will be all it takes to keep that floor sparkling.