Guide To Non-Timber Flooring

Hardwood timber floors are becoming increasingly more expensive and so more homeowners are looking to invest in sustainable, non-timber flooring options

Handyman Magazine, DIY, Guide to Non-Timber Flooring, Vinyl Sheeting

Vinyl sheeting was used on this floor to add a stone-look finish for a fraction of the cost

Timber floors are the number one choice in Australian homes due to their durability and timeless style however, the high price of hardwood flooring has prompted many homeowners to look at alternative options.
 
There are several options to choose from when considering non-timber flooring.
 
When choosing what to lay, the main considerations are budget and aesthetic. But it’s important to remember that what works in one space may not suit another, so take time to make the right choices.
 
The style of the house and existing furniture as well as how the room will be used are important elements.
 
Lifestyle factors such as age of children, whether you have pets and regular activities will also help steer your choices.
 
There is a wide range of possibilities for flooring, with something to suit every room and taste. And technological advancements improve quality and durability year on year.
 

Carpet

Though carpet making has been practiced in nomadic and ancient cultures for centuries, carpets as we know them today are the result of mechanical advancements during the Industrial Revolution.
 
Traditional loom weaving steadily declined over time and machine-made tufted carpets took over. By the 1950s, patterning technology began to improve.
 
Carpet is one of the best flooring options for bedrooms and other low-traffic areas. It’s soft underfoot, available in a wide range of colours and textures, and helps keep a room warm and comfortable.
 
Increased resistance to wear and staining means there is a carpet for every room, from acrylics to natural fibres such as wool. Installing DIY is best done with two people.
 

Handyman Magazine, DIY, Non-Timber Flooring, Carpet
Carpet is a great option for bedrooms and other low-traffic areas 


Tiles 

Tiles are well suited to Australia’s mostly temperate climate and the cool, smooth finish feels pleasant underfoot during the hot months.
 
Ideal for wet areas like the bathroom and laundry, large-format ceramic tiles have also made a comeback in living spaces.
 
Use luxurious rugs to soften and delineate zones, as well as add warmth during winter.


Handyman Magazine, DIY, Non-Timber Flooring, Tiles
With fewer lines to break up the space large-format tiles make a room appear bigger 


Bamboo

Timber floors are still the number one choice in Australian homes due to their durability and timeless style.
 
But as hardwoods become increasingly expensive due to slow-growth species, and reclaimed boards become harder to source, alternatives such as hard, fast-growing bamboo have boomed in popularity.
 
Environmentally sustainable, bamboo has a pleasing look and colour which suits most modern homes. Available as a pre-finished product, bamboo flooring is easy and quick to install, requiring no sanding, sealing or polishing.
 
Once installed, you can walk on your bamboo floor almost immediately with minimal mess and no nasty chemicals or fumes to deal with.
 
As bamboo floorboards are installed as a floating floor without being adhered to the substrate, a good quality underlay adds to the warmth and acoustic insulation of the room. 


Handyman Magazine, Non-Timber Flooring, Bamboo
 Bamboo is actually a grass but it has many similarities to hardwoods 


Laminate

One of the most cost effective of all timber-look options laminate flooring does not use any solid timber.
 
It consists of a base layer of moisture-resistant resins topped by a woodchip composite layer then a high definition image of timber, ceramic or stone that’s covered in tough melamine resin.
 
This type of flooring is commonly installed floating on top of an existing floor without adhering to the substrate.
 
The boards are joined with a tongue-and-groove system that clicks into position.
 
To install DIY you’ll need to buy a floor laying installation kit, underlay, duct tape and the laminate boards.
 
If laying over a new concrete slab, leave it to cure for one month per 25mmthickness to ensure that the concrete is completely set.  


Handyman Magazine, Non-Timber Flooring, Laminate
For a neat finish, remove the skirting before installing laminate flooring then replace it 

 

Vinyl

The earliest flexible floor coverings were made of linoleum, invented in the 1860s, but modern vinyl products are even more versatile as well as being economical to install.

Vinyl is soft underfoot, highly durable, easy to maintain and very affordable. The advent of high definition imaging means the look of natural materials can be realistically replicated, while colours and patterns appear fresh and bright. 
 
Additional layers improve comfort and special compounds inhibit the growth of bacteria, mould and mildew, making it an excellent choice for wet areas such as the bathroom, kitchen and laundry.
 
Available in many different styles, colours and prints, vinyl is designed to last for up to 20 years and requires no maintenance other than regular sweeping and mopping.


Handyman Magazine, Non-Timber Flooring, Vinyl
A classic black and white vinyl floor looks like tile but is easier to install  

Sheet or Tiles

Although it’s also available as boards or tiles that give a particularly realistic look to natural material finishes, vinyl sheeting is still the most popular way to buy the product. It’s also the most cost effective and easy to clean.
 
Vinyl sheeting is easy to lay DIY with installation taking just a few hours. The only tools required are a utility knife, sealant and floor roller. Some vinyl can be laid directly over tiles or other floors without the need for an underlay.
 

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