Choosing the right flooring for your home

Posted November 20, 2019

The type of floor in any given room can help to define the entire character of the space, but flooring choices are about much more than simple aesthetics. The purpose of a space, the desired durability and lifetime of the floor, health concerns, humidity, and energy costs all need to be taken into account. Unfortunately, the options available to homeowners are often limited by the construction of their homes.

Homes that sit on un-insulated concrete slabs are vulnerable to heat loss roughly equivalent to leaving a window open in winter. If unaddressed, this can quickly translate to very high energy costs. By building the home on an insulated MAXRaft® slab instead, homeowners can choose from a wider range of options based on their personal needs, while also making their homes more energy efficient, and healthier to live in.

Tile flooring

Tile flooring is very popular for bathrooms because it’s easy to clean and resistant to moisture and mold. However, a tile floor covering an uninsulated concrete slab will conduct heat easily, making the room expensive to heat and uncomfortable to stand in during winter.

A home built on an insulated slab can avoid this issue entirely. The insulation creates a thermal break between the slab and the ground, meaning that little heat will be lost from the slab. This means that, as the home—and the slab it sits on—is heated, the insulation will keep that heat from being conducted away into the soil underneath.

 

Hardwood or laminate flooring

Hardwood floors are beautiful, and can last a lifetime if they’re properly maintained. However, they also come with a number of downsides. In a humid environment, poorly sealed hardwood can warp and begin to mold. Moreover, it insulates relatively poorly, meaning that it’s not a great option for installation on uninsulated concrete. Laminate is more durable, but also lacks some of the charm of hardwood. An insulated slab can help to mitigate some of the weaknesses of both. By keeping the floor warmer, it helps to prevent condensation in vulnerable areas, and accelerates drying in the event of a spill.

 

Stone or concrete flooring

Stone tile can provide a home with an elegant flair, and make excellent heat sinks when installed around fireplaces or other heating elements. Concrete offers a more industrial look, but can also be polished or acid washed to create unique and beautiful floors. Not only are these kinds of floors durable, they’re very easy to clean and maintain. This makes it much easier to prevent mold development and the buildup of dust and other allergens. As a result, they’re a favourite choice for people with dust allergies or asthmatics.

 

What about heated flooring?

Homeowners who are looking to make do without using an insulated slab are left with relatively few options. They can either try to make their home more comfortable by using insulated flooring options like carpeting, or by installing floor heating in their homes. Floor heating, however, is also much more effective and affordable when combined with a properly insulated slab. That’s because an uninsulated slab will draw heat down and away from the floor, rather than allowing it to go up into the home. While the floor might be more comfortable to walk on, the energy waste (and cost) would be significant.

 

When building a new home, it’s critical to get the slab that home will sit on right first time After all, it can’t be switched out after the fact. Installing MAXRaft® ’s insulated slab costs only approximately 10% more than a traditional slab, and will easily pay for itself in reduced energy costs. At the same time, homeowners get to enjoy a more comfortable, healthier living space, while enjoying a wider range of aesthetic choices when it comes to choosing the type of flooring that’s right for them.

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