Choosing the Right Floor for Retail & Commercial Areas

When it comes to setting up your retail space, the floor beneath your feet plays a large role. More than just a surface to walk on, it’s an important element of your store’s overall ambience, functionality, and customer experience. Choosing the best flooring option for your retail area can transform it from just another shop to an aesthetically pleasing and comfortable shopping destination.

Imagine a floor that not only withstands the hustle and bustle of endless foot traffic but also adds to the aesthetic appeal of your products. That’s the kind of flooring we’re talking about – one that blends durability with style, making your retail space inviting and resilient. Whether you’re refurbishing an old store or opening a new one, choosing the best flooring option is a key decision that can significantly impact your business’s success.

Key Considerations When Choosing Retail Flooring

Selecting the ideal flooring for your retail space isn’t as simple as just picking a colour or pattern. Understanding the specific needs of your environment allows you to make a smart, informed choice. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind:

Durability: Importance for High-Traffic Areas

In retail, your floors see a lot of foot traffic. Durability is key. You need a floor that can withstand constant wear and tear without losing its charm. The right flooring should maintain its integrity and appearance over time, even under the stress of busy sale days and heavy footfall.

Maintenance: Ease of Cleaning and Upkeep

Let’s face it, spills and stains are part and parcel of a retail environment. Opt for flooring that is easy to clean and maintain. You want a surface that can look pristine with a simple sweep and mop, ensuring your store is always presentable and welcoming for customers.

Aesthetics: How Flooring Impacts the Overall Look and Feel of the Space

Your store’s flooring contributes significantly to the atmosphere you want to create. Whether you aim for a luxurious, high-end feel or a warm, inviting vibe, your choice of flooring can make all the difference. It should complement your merchandise and reflect your brand’s personality.

Safety: Slip-Resistance and Customer Comfort

Safety is paramount. The last thing you want is for customers or staff to slip and fall. Choosing slip-resistant flooring is a must, particularly in areas prone to spills. Moreover, consider the comfort underfoot – a floor that’s too hard can be tiring to stand on for long periods.

Cost: Balancing Quality with Budget Considerations

Budgeting for flooring requires a balance between cost and quality. While it might be tempting to cut corners on cost, remember that investing in high-quality, durable flooring can save money in the long run on repairs and replacements. Consider it a long-term investment in your retail space.

Each of these factors plays a role in determining the best flooring for your retail area. It’s about finding the sweet spot where durability, ease of maintenance, aesthetics, safety, and cost intersect to create the perfect flooring solution for your store.

Top Flooring Options for Retail Spaces

Each type of flooring comes with its own set of benefits, suitable for various retail environments. Here’s an overview of some top flooring options that combine functionality with aesthetic appeal:

  • Carpet

    A classic choice, carpet is synonymous with comfort and luxury. It’s perfect for boutique stores or any retail space aiming to create an inviting, intimate atmosphere. Its noise-reducing qualities are excellent for bookstores or galleries where a quieter environment is appreciated.

    • Pros: Offers excellent noise reduction, a wide range of colours and patterns, and a soft underfoot feel.
    • Cons: Can be prone to stains and requires regular maintenance to keep it looking fresh.

  • Vinyl

    Vinyl flooring flooring is the all-rounder, suitable for a wide range of retail settings. Its durability and water resistance make it a practical choice for high-traffic areas like grocery stores or fashion outlets, where there’s frequent footfall and the potential for spills.

    • Pros: Highly durable, water-resistant, easy to clean, and available in a range of styles, including those that mimic wood or stone.
    • Cons: May not have the same premium feel as natural materials.

  • Bamboo

    Bamboo flooring flooring adds a contemporary, eco-friendly touch, ideal for stores that focus on sustainability or natural products. Its unique aesthetic can set your space apart but it’s important to consider the local climate, as bamboo responds to humidity and moisture.

    • Pros: Environmentally friendly, stylish, and has a distinct aesthetic.
    • Cons: Sensitive to humidity and moisture, requiring careful placement.

  • Hybrid Flooring

    Hybrid flooring offers the resilience of vinyl and the aesthetic appeal of laminate. It’s well-suited for busy retail environments that also want to maintain a stylish look, like cafes or lifestyle stores.

    • Pros: Combines the durability of vinyl with the aesthetic appeal of laminate, water-resistant, suitable for various areas.
    • Cons: Limited design options compared to traditional vinyl or laminate.

  • Laminate

    Laminate flooring provides a cost-effective alternative to hardwood floors, bringing style without breaking the bank. It’s a great choice for fashion boutiques or gift shops that want the wood aesthetic but at a more affordable price point.

    • Pros: Cost-effective, durable, available in a variety of styles and finishes.
    • Cons: Not as water-resistant as vinyl, can be slippery when wet.

  • Engineered Timber

    Engineered timber brings the elegance and warmth of real wood, perfect for high-end boutiques, jewellery stores, or any retail space where creating an upscale atmosphere is key. It’s an investment in your store’s ambience and customer experience.

    • Pros: Offers the look of real wood with added durability, and a variety of wood species available.
    • Cons: Can be more expensive than other options, and may require professional installation.

  • Carpet Tiles & Planks

    Carpet tiles and planks offer creative freedom, allowing you to design unique patterns that can define different areas of your store or create visual interest. They are ideal for children’s stores, creative spaces, or anywhere you want to make a bold statement with your flooring.

    • Pros: Easy to replace, great for custom designs and patterns.
    • Cons: Seams may be visible, a less cohesive look than wall-to-wall carpeting.

Each flooring type has unique attributes that can enhance the shopping experience and meet various functional needs of a retail environment. Whether you prioritise luxury, durability, or eco-friendliness, there’s a flooring solution to match your retail space’s requirements.

Choosing the Best Option for Your Retail Space

When choosing your retail space’s flooring, take into consideration the factors mentioned, like foot traffic, potential for spills, maintenance requirements, and, of course, your brand identity. Each type of flooring brings its own set of benefits and can significantly contribute to the overall customer experience and functionality of the space. 

Whether you are opening a new store or refurbishing an existing one, the right flooring can make a significant difference. Visit us at Ashmore Carpets and let us help you lay down the groundwork for a successful retail space. Contact us today or drop by our showroom to explore our extensive collection of commercial solutions for retail flooring.

Bamboo floors may just be the answer you’ve been searching for in your quest for the perfect home flooring. It’s crafted from bamboo, a fast-growing grass, yet don’t let its origins fool you – bamboo can be as hard, if not harder, than traditional hardwoods. This flooring option harnesses the natural strengths of bamboo, presenting a flooring solution that is both stylish and robust.

Bamboo floors are made from bamboo stalks that are harvested and then cut into strips. These strips are processed, treated, and woven together under high pressure to create planks. This method not only ensures the durability of the flooring but also brings out the natural beauty and grain of the bamboo, making each plank uniquely attractive.

Whether you’re renovating your home or building a new one, bamboo flooring is an option worth considering. Its blend of durability, sustainability, and aesthetic appeal makes it a smart choice for homeowners who are environmentally conscious but don’t want to compromise on style and quality. 

The Durability of Bamboo Floors

When you’re investing in new flooring, you want something that lasts, right? Here’s the good news: bamboo floors are renowned for their durability. But are bamboo floors durable enough to withstand the daily rigours of a bustling home? Absolutely.

Bamboo’s inherent strength is often compared to traditional hardwoods, but in many cases, it can outperform them. This is because of the unique structure of bamboo fibres which, when compressed under high-pressure manufacturing processes, result in a flooring material that can take a beating while maintaining its form and beauty. This means it can stand up to the foot traffic of busy families, the adventurous antics of pets, and the general wear and tear of everyday life. 

But what about the long-term? Bamboo floors aren’t just tough; they’re also built to last. With proper care and maintenance, your bamboo floors can remain a stunning feature in your home for decades.

Environmental Impact and Sustainability

Bamboo, as a flooring material, ticks several boxes for sustainability. Firstly, it’s a rapidly renewable resource. Some species of bamboo can grow up to three feet in a single day – making it one of the fastest-growing plants on Earth. This quick growth cycle means bamboo can be harvested every three to five years, unlike hardwood trees which can take decades to reach maturity.

Moreover, bamboo cultivation has a lower environmental footprint. It requires no fertilisers or pesticides and needs very little water compared to traditional hardwoods. The root systems of bamboo plants also help prevent soil erosion, contributing to soil health.

Beyond its growth and harvesting, bamboo flooring’s manufacturing process is also considered environmentally friendly. Innovations in processing and manufacturing have led to efficient practices that reduce waste and energy consumption.

In terms of indoor air quality, many bamboo flooring options meet high standards for low volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions. This is crucial for maintaining healthy indoor air quality in your home.

Choosing bamboo flooring isn’t just a matter of home improvement; it’s a statement of environmental responsibility. It allows homeowners to enjoy the warmth and beauty of natural wood flooring without the heavy ecological footprint associated with traditional hardwoods. This aspect of bamboo flooring aligns perfectly with the growing desire for sustainable living solutions.

Other Benefits of Bamboo Flooring

Aside from its durable and environmentally friendly status, bamboo flooring offers many other benefits.

  • Aesthetic Appeal and Versatility

    When it comes to adding a touch of natural elegance to your home, bamboo flooring is a real game-changer. Its clean, contemporary look brings a fresh and modern feel to any room. But that’s not all – bamboo flooring is incredibly versatile. Whether your home decor is sleek and modern or cosy and rustic, bamboo flooring can complement it beautifully. It comes in a variety of shades, from natural light tones to deeper, carbonised hues, and can even mimic the look of traditional hardwoods. So, no matter your style, bamboo flooring can adapt to fit it, making your design dreams a reality.

  • Cost-Effective

    When it comes to flooring, everyone wants the best bang for their buck, and bamboo flooring hits the mark. It’s generally more affordable than traditional hardwood flooring, but don’t let the price tag fool you – bamboo floors are built to last. Their durability means you won’t be shelling out for new flooring any time soon, making bamboo a cost-effective option in the long run. Plus, the added value it brings to your home is a nice bonus if you’re ever looking to sell.

  • Relatively Low-Maintenance

    Life’s busy enough without having to worry about high-maintenance flooring, right? Here’s where bamboo flooring really shines. It’s incredibly easy to take care of. Regular sweeping or vacuuming to remove dust and debris, along with the occasional mopping with a damp (not wet) mop, is all it takes to keep your bamboo floors looking great. Spills? No sweat – just wipe them up as they happen. Bamboo’s natural resistance to moisture and stains means you won’t be on your hands and knees scrubbing. That’s the kind of low-fuss, high-impact flooring we all need.

In a nutshell, bamboo flooring is the multiple threat of home flooring – not only is it durable and sustainable, it’s beautiful, budget-friendly, and a breeze to maintain. It’s the kind of flooring that makes you feel good about your choice every time you step into the room.

Are You Ready For Bamboo Floors?

Interested in exploring bamboo flooring options for your home? Ashmore Carpets is here to help. With our wide range of bamboo flooring styles and our experienced team ready to assist you, we make finding the perfect flooring an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Visit us to discover how bamboo flooring can elevate the comfort and style of your home, or contact us for more information on our products and services. Let Ashmore Carpets be your guide to the world of bamboo flooring, where sustainability meets elegance.

Whether you’re dealing with a small stain or a whole carpet refresh, knowing how to clean your wool carpet will ensure that it remains a treasured part of your home for years to come.

A champion in the carpeting world, wool is famed for its softness, strength, and natural resilience. Its fibres have a natural crimp, which gives wool carpets that luxurious, springy feel underfoot – it’s like walking on a cloud with every step. Moreover, wool’s natural properties make it inherently stain-resistant and capable of bouncing back after compression. Its fibres can also help regulate humidity, absorbing moisture when the air is damp and releasing it when it’s dry, making it comfortable in any season.

However, wool’s fibres can absorb a lot of water, which makes them susceptible to shrinking and mould if they’re not dried correctly. They can also be sensitive to heat and harsh chemicals, so while they’re forgiving of spills, wool carpets can be unforgiving if treated with the wrong cleaning agents or methods. 

That’s why special cleaning methods are not just recommended but necessary for wool carpets. Traditional cleaning methods that work on synthetic carpets can damage wool’s delicate fibres and strip away its natural oils, leaving your carpet lacklustre and brittle. Gentle, pH-appropriate solutions and cool water are the keys to cleaning wool without causing damage.

How to Wash Wool Carpet

Maintaining the luxurious feel and longevity of your wool carpet hinges on how you wash it. Here’s a guide that walks you through both dry and wet cleaning methods.

Dry Cleaning Methods

  • Absorbent Powder: Sprinkle a wool-safe dry carpet cleaning powder liberally over your carpet. The powder will act as a magnet, pulling dirt from the fibres. After applying, let it sit for the recommended time on the cleaner’s instructions, usually about an hour.
  • Vacuuming: After the cleaning powder has done its job, vacuum the carpet thoroughly to remove all traces of the powder. This method is particularly useful for general maintenance and freshening up the carpet without the risks of water damage.

Wet Cleaning Methods

  • Spot Cleaning: For isolated stains, mix a wool-safe liquid carpet shampoo with water as directed. Apply it to the affected area with a clean cloth, using gentle tapping motions to avoid damaging the fibres. Rinse the cloth in clean water, wring it out, and blot the area to remove soap residue.
  • Whole-Carpet Cleaning: If the entire carpet needs washing, opt for a wool-safe, foaming carpet shampoo. Apply the foam with a sponge or brush, working in sections to ensure thorough coverage. Scrub gently and avoid saturating the carpet with water.
  • Rinsing: After cleaning, blot up excess moisture with clean towels. It’s important not to skip this step as any residue left behind can attract more dirt over time.

Drying: Allow the carpet to air-dry completely before walking on it or replacing furniture. This may take several hours or even a full day, depending on ventilation and humidity.

The Dos and Don'ts of Wool Carpet Care

Navigating the care of wool carpets can be simple with a quick reference guide. Here’s a concise list of best practices to ensure the longevity and beauty of your wool carpeting.

Do:

  • Vacuum Regularly: Keep dust and dirt at bay with frequent, gentle vacuuming.
  • Blot Spills Immediately: Absorb spills quickly with a clean, white cloth to prevent staining.
  • Use Wool-Safe Products: Always opt for cleaners specifically designed for wool.
  • Test Spot Treatments: Before applying any product, test it on an inconspicuous area to check for colorfastness.
  • Rotate Furniture: Regularly change the position of furniture to alter traffic patterns on the carpet. This prevents certain areas from becoming overly worn and helps maintain an even appearance throughout.
  • Seek Professional Help for Major Issues: For persistent stains or restoration needs, contact a professional cleaner experienced with wool.

Don’t:

  • Over-Wet the Carpet: Wool’s absorbent nature makes it prone to damage if it stays wet for too long.
  • Use Bleach or Harsh Chemicals: These can irreversibly damage wool fibres.
  • Rub Stains: This can cause the stain to set deeper into the fibres. Instead, blot gently.
  • Expose to Prolonged Sunlight: UV rays can fade the natural dyes in wool carpets.

Ignore Manufacturer’s Care Instructions: Always follow the guidelines provided by your carpet’s manufacturer for specific care advice.

Wool Carpet Stain Remover Techniques

Tackling stains on wool carpets requires finesse and a good understanding of the type of stain you’re dealing with. It’s good to know how to identify stains and some effective DIY solutions.

Organic Stains

These include food, wine, coffee, and pet accidents. They are often coloured and might even have an odour. Immediate attention is crucial to prevent setting and odour absorption.

  • Cold Water: Blot the stain with cold water as soon as possible. Avoid rubbing, as this can embed the stain deeper into the fibres.
  • Baking Soda: Apply baking soda to the affected area to absorb moisture and odours, then vacuum it up after a few hours.

For Oil-Based Stains 

Grease, lipstick, or ink falls into this category. They tend to adhere to wool fibres and require a solvent-based remover.

  • Cornstarch: Sprinkle cornstarch on the stain and let it sit for several minutes. It absorbs the oil, making the stain easier to lift.
  • Dish Soap Solution: A drop of dish soap diluted in water can break down the grease. Apply with a cloth, blotting gently.

For Synthetic Stains

Think of artificial colouring from drinks or industrially produced items. They can be tricky as they might alter the carpet’s colour if not addressed promptly.

Vinegar Solution: A mixture of white vinegar and water can help in lifting the stain. The mild acidity helps to break down synthetic dyes.

Wool Carpet Experts on the Gold Coast

From vacuuming wisely to responding promptly to spills, and from safe washing techniques to the judicious use of stain removers, every step helps preserve the natural beauty and resilience of wool. 

For those moments when you need a helping hand or when your wool carpet requires deeper cleaning, remember that Ashmore Carpets is here for you. With our knowledge, experience, and specialised services, we ensure that your wool carpets retain their elegance and durability.

Whether you’re seeking advice on the best wool-safe products or need professional cleaning services that understand the intricacies of wool fibres, don’t hesitate to reach out. Contact Ashmore Carpets today, and let us care for your carpets with the same dedication and expertise we’ve provided the Gold Coast community for over 40 years.

Your house is more than just a place to drop your stuff off and charge your phone. Your home is a reflection of what you value and who you are. Carpets can also be an excellent investment for your home. If you plan on staying there for at least five years, it might be worth investing in some high quality carpeting for your home. Many people choose carpet because it is durable, stain resistant and easy to clean. It is also incredibly hard wearing and very comfortable underfoot. Plus, it will make your house feel more welcoming.

Carpets are the perfect way to transform your home. Whether you’re looking for a fresh new look or some extra comfort at Ashmore Carpets, we have plenty of options from brands you trust, like Hycraft, Tuftmaster, Signature and many more. They provide comfort and warmth, as well as style and colour. At Ashmore Carpets, we have a vast range of carpets available for you to choose from. Whether you want a plain, neutral carpet for the bedroom or something more vibrant for the living room, we have it all. In recent years, carpet has become one of Australia’s most popular flooring options, and for good reason. Carpet offers a number of advantages over other flooring types, including:

  • Durability
    The carpet’s durability depends on the material and installation method used. The best carpets will last for 10 to 15 years if cared for properly. For example, vacuuming your carpet 1-2 times a week.
  • Resilience
    Carpets are resilient and can withstand heavy foot traffic, even from pets and children. They also have natural insulating properties that make them comfortable to walk on no matter what time of year it is or how cold it gets outside.

  • Cost effective
    In addition to being durable and resilient, carpets are affordable compared to other types of flooring like timber or stone. Carpet is an ideal option for people who want new flooring without breaking the bank to get it.

  • Environmental friendly
    Carpets are made from natural fibres like wool or cotton, which makes them 100% biodegradable when they eventually need replacing after years of use (which won’t be anytime soon!).

  • It’s less noisy
    Carpet helps insulate and makes home interiors quieter because they absorb sound waves instead of reflecting them back at high volumes as hardwood floors do. This means that if someone is talking loudly in the living room while everyone else is watching television in another room, they’ll be able to hear each other clearly without having to raise their voice unnecessarily loud!

Why wait? If you are in the market for new carpets, whatever you are looking for, Ashmore Carpets has just what you need! There are many options for various floor types, and we understand this can be overwhelming. That’s why at Ashmore Carpets, we aim to help you choose the perfect solution that meets your specific needs while providing you with quality service. Ashmore Carpets offers a wide range of carpets for every need. Our experienced team will be able to help you select a beautiful carpet that suits your taste and budget perfectly. Come say hello and browse our selection today!

Timeless and elegant, timber flooring is renowned for its natural beauty and warm aesthetic. Being a natural product, it is also prone to wear over time, so it’s important to protect your floor from stains and scratches. That’s where timber floor oil comes in.

The best timber floor oil finishes enhance the wood’s natural beauty, while giving you peace of mind that your floor is protected from day-to-day scuffs and spills. To help you choose the right finish for your floorboards, we’ve pulled together a list of the best timber floor oil finishes in Australia.

There are four main types of timber floor oil finishes

Generally speaking, there are four main types of timber floor oil finishes. Each varies in composition, durability, water resistance, style and environmental impact, so it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the full range of options before settling on one brand.

The main types of timber floor oil finishes are:

  • Hard wax oil, is a combination of natural waxes and oils. Hard wax oils penetrate the timber, enhancing the timber’s natural features. Because they don’t form a bridge between the floorboards, they enable the wood to expand and contract with temperature fluctuations without splitting. They are non-toxic and easy to maintain—you can spot repair the finish without needing to sand and recoat the entire floor.
  • Solvent-based polyurethane, which sits on the surface of the timber to form a durable top-coat. It is available in matte, satin and gloss finishes, but is best used for a gloss finish. It provides a durable, moisture-resistant finish but is prone to yellowing with age. It also contains volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can cause irritation during application. Being a topcoat, polyurethane finishes require sanding back to refinish evenly and can split if the floor expands and contracts significantly.
  • Water-based polyurethane, which is a thinner surface finish than solvent-based polyurethane. It is non-toxic and ideal for maintaining the appearance of light timber as it is not prone to yellowing, however, more coats are required to create a thicker coat. It is available in matte, satin and gloss finishes.
  • Oil-based finishes, such as tung and linseed oil, combine oils with resin to provide a matte or satin finish. Like hard wax oil, oil-based finishes penetrate the wood, amplifying its natural features and enabling the wood to breathe. However, as they do not create a top coat, they are less hardwearing than polyurethane coatings.

The best timber floor oil finishes on the market

Once you’ve settled on the type of floor oil finish you want, it’s time to choose a quality brand. Here are some of the best timber floor oil finishes on the market.

Sikkens
Sikkens has been making floor oil since 1973, and has two excellent consumer-grade products for interior flooring:

  • Sikkens Cetol TFF is a water-based polyurethane-acrylic resin finish that is non-yellowing, abrasion resistant, and easy to clean and refinish. It is available in a colourless satin matte finish, and is suitable for parquetry, timber flooring and other interior woodwork that needs a protective coat.
  • Sikkens Cetol TSI Satin Plus is a non-toxic, oil-based transparent finish, that provides a good level of water and dirt resistance while enabling the wood to breathe.

Intergrain
Intergrain’s UltraFloor SlipResistant water-based coating is a great option if you’re looking for a clear, satin finish. It has significantly lower levels of VOCs than solvent-based options and is easy to clean with water.

Bona
Bona is a Swedish company, renowned for its non-toxic water-based floor finishes. They have a wide range of finishes, to suit different wood types. Their Bona Prime Classic is a great option if you’re after a hard-wearing polyurethane coating that flexes with the wood and doesn’t yellow with age.

Osmo
If you’re after a hard wax oil, it’s hard to go past Osmo’s Polyx-Oil. Its combination of plant-based oils and waxes delivers a non-toxic, glossy to matte finish that is resistant to dirt, abrasion and moisture.

Affordable, durable, and easy to clean, laminate flooring is a popular choice in both residential and commercial buildings. However, as one of the harder flooring options available, laminate flooring is prone to carrying slightly more noise than softer flooring alternatives like vinyl or carpet.

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There’s nothing quite like a lovely hardwood floor. Durable yet elegant, they’re a wonderful feature piece that can last for decades. One of the most popular is a spotted gum floor, a choice that offers all the toughness of an Aussie hardwood with beautiful and unique characteristics which ensure that no one else will have a floor quite like yours.

If you’ve been swept away by the beauty of a spotted gum floor and are considering one for your home, we’ve put together this handy guide, breaking down just about everything you’ll need to know.

But first, what exactly is spotted gum?

What is spotted gum?

Spotted Gum Tree

Spotted gum trees (Corymbia maculata) consist of four native Australian species that grow along the east coast from Victoria to Queensland. They get their name from the spots on the tree that become visible as the outer bark layers peel away, as well as from the mottled bark itself.

Spotted gum floors—a uniquely Australian specimen

The timber provided by spotted gum comes in a huge range of rich shades and grain styles. The heartwood is warmer, in shades of light brown to a deep red-brown, while the sapwood leans towards paler shades of white and brown. This means that you’ll have no shortage of choice when it comes to a spotted wood floor, whatever your aesthetic. And as a natural product, no two floors will ever be the same, guaranteeing a truly unique finish.

Hardwood floors are usually split into one of four grades – select, standard, Australiana, and natural (also known as feature grade). Keep an eye on these grades as you search for your perfect timbers, as they give an indication of the number of natural features, like gum veins, grains, and insect trails, that are showcased on the wood. If you’re looking for clean, sleek, and modern, try a select-grade spotted gum. For more of a talking point, you’ll want to seek out those natural/feature-graded timbers.

Spotted gum floors are durable and resilient

One of the main draws of spotted gum floors, other than their beauty, is their durability. One of the hardest of the Australian hardwood trees, they make for incredibly robust flooring. To make the most of their resilience, make sure to plan for the boards to be properly treated and varnished, whether by yourself or by a professional – your floors will thank you in 50 years when they’re still going strong!

The Janka Hardness Scale is an industry-based test used to determine the hardness of timber floors. The test measures the floor’s resistance to pressure, by trying to embed a ball bearing into the surface. The tester will then note how much force it took to do this, and the higher the number, the harder the wood. In Australia, this is measured in kilonewtons (kN), with anything above 8.0kN ranking as particularly strong – spotted gum floors come in at an impressive 11kN.

This means they’re durable, resistant, and less prone to dents. Perfect if you expect there to be a lot of foot traffic, such as kids or pets running around. If you’re looking for something even tougher, bamboo flooring clocked in at a huge 14.7kN – you can find out more about this alternative with our pros and cons guide to bamboo flooring.

Spotted gum floors are also termite, Lyctus Borer, and fire resistant – so much so that they’re approved for use in bushfire-prone areas! In fact, it’s hardy enough to manage most extreme climates but, as with any solid timber flooring, you’ll need to look into the appropriate vapour barriers and underlays to protect your floors if you live in particularly rainy or humid areas. You’ll also need to be mindful of this if you’re planning to install in spaces such as bathrooms or basements.

A sustainable resource

If you’re environmentally conscious, a spotted wood floor is a great option. It’s harvested from both commercial plantations and native forests within Australia. Merbau, another commonly used hardwood, is sometimes brought in from overseas, making its carbon footprint much larger and putting it more at risk of being part of illegal forest clearings. Spotted gum, as a local resource, has less such issues.

The longevity of a spotted gum floor also means it ticks a few more sustainability boxes. When properly cared for, it can last for decades, reducing the need to chop down, transport, treat, and install a whole new floor for quite some time.

Taking care of your spotted gum floor

To make the most of that durability and longevity, you’ll need to take good care of your floors. Happily, because the spotted gum is such a reliant tree, this shouldn’t be too taxing!

Regular sweeping and mopping should do the trick, and you should stay away from any abrasive products. And be sure to clean up any spills or pet accidents right away.

You can enjoy your spotted wood floors for years, though as the wood ages, you might want to consider sanding down and refinishing the planks, just to freshen things up a little.

How much do spotted gum floors cost?

Sustainability, durability, and aesthetics are all well and good, but most of us will likely have one big question on our minds – how much will it cost?

While you’ll have to consider all the usual factors – amount of product needed, the grade you’re looking for, installation and labour costs, etc. – the general rule is that, as a solid timber product, you can expect to pay much more than you would do for a synthetic or engineered style that offers a similar look.

That being said, some may look upon a solid hardwood floor as an investment. Not only will it likely not need replacing for the entire time you’re in your home, but it can potentially add resale value should you choose to move.

Solid timber floor vs engineered flooring

If the cost of a solid timber floor is getting you hot under the collar, turning to engineered spotted wood floors, or even vinyl and laminate alternatives may be an option. These can help you capture that wonderful look and feel without spending quite so much. You might also find them to be a little more pleasant to walk across, with the help of underlays to manage cushioning and sound absorption.

Engineered wood flooring combines a thin layer of hardwood, such as spotted gum, with a substrate of plywood. This gives the aesthetic of the original hardwood, though it won’t last quite as long – expect around 25 years from a well-cared-for engineered floor. That said, it’s a great option if managing moisture in the home is going to be an issue, as it will warp less than solid timber.

If you’d like to know more, check out our breakdown of the pros and cons of both solid timber flooring and engineered flooring.

It’s a similar story with vinyl and laminate flooring, though these only mimic the look of spotted gum – they contain none of the actual hardwood itself. However, advances in technology have come a long way since the introduction of laminate back in the 1970s, and the range of colours and styles available in these flooring types can do a fine job of capturing the unique beauty of a spotted gum floor. Their resilience isn’t on the level of solid wood or even engineered flooring, but in terms of price, they’re a tough one to beat.

It’s also worth noting that both these types of flooring are possible to install yourself, cutting costs on labour as well as materials. Comparatively, solid timber floors are best left to the experts.

So, are spotted gum floors right for you?

If you’re looking for a unique slice of Australiana in your home, it’s hard to go past a spotted gum floor. Ticking all the boxes when it comes to look, durability, and minimal upkeep, they’re a bold and beautiful choice.

Reach out to the experts for a chat and quote and see if you can bring a little bit of Aussie luxury into your living room.

References

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Hybrid flooring is a quality type of flooring that is stylish, waterproof, and extremely affordable. But as people become more and more health-conscious, we’re starting to ask important questions about the products we fill our homes with. And one of those questions is whether hybrid flooring is toxic, or whether it’s safe.

Before we get into the answer, we need to cover some basics about hybrid flooring. This type of flooring is usually a mixture of laminate and vinyl, which are blended together to create a rigid, waterproof, and scratch-resistant material. This is the top layer of the flooring. The bottom layer of the flooring is an underlay that is made of foam and rubber, which provides it with cushioning and soundproofing, and this is where the possibility of toxicity comes in.

The foam and rubber elements of the underlay can contain compounds like formaldehyde, ethanol, and acetone, which are known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). They are called “volatile” because they have a high vapour pressure at room temperature, which means that their chemicals can evaporate and be released into the air—something called off-gassing (or out-gassing). These chemicals can affect your health when breathed in for long periods of time. They can irritate your eyes, nose, and throat, lead to breathing difficulties, nausea, and even damage the central nervous system. Some VOCs can cause cancer too. These can be found in both common types of hybrid flooring—stone plastic composite (SPC) and wood plastic composite (WPC)—because both have the underlay attached to them.

So hybrid flooring can be toxic, but manufacturers should also try their best to create products that have low VOC emissions, and include a VOC rating in their specifications. The ideal VOC rating is E0, which has the lowest emissions by Australian standards. E1 is also considered to be acceptable by these standards. But these ratings often aren’t included on sellers’ websites, so to be extra safe, you should consider asking.

If you’ve already installed hybrid flooring and you’re worried about the quality of the air in your home, you can find an air testing company to measure VOC levels. They will tend to use a professional tool called a photoionization detector (PID), which approximates the total level of VOCs in the air. They might also use flame ionization detectors (FIDs) or metal oxide semiconductor sensors (MOSs) to measure VOC levels.

There has also been some recent concern over the silica content of hybrid flooring, which can cause a lung condition called silicosis. The silica may be released if the hybrid flooring needs to be cut during installation, and can be reduced through the process of wet cutting instead. Regardless of how the cutting occurs, it’s important for the newly-floored area to be thoroughly cleaned after it has been installed. Companies who import and sell hybrid flooring should take measures to ensure that it doesn’t exceed 0.1mg/m3 of silica, and again, this information almost certainly won’t be included on their websites, so it may be worth asking.

Reference:
Volatile Organic Compounds | American Lung Association

Whether you’ve spilt red wine on the carpet, or you’re looking to undertake a deep end-of-lease clean, it’s important to choose the right carpet cleaning method for the job. In this guide to carpet dry cleaning vs steam cleaning, we cover the differences between the two methods, their pros and cons, and the best use cases for each of them. We also include a few carpet care tips to help you get the most out of either method.

Carpet dry cleaning vs. steam cleaning—what is the difference?

Put simply, the main difference between carpet dry cleaning and steam cleaning is the amount of water used in each method. As the name suggests, dry cleaning uses either no, or very little moisture to remove stains and freshen the carpet. Instead, dry cleaning involves applying chemicals to the carpet—either in powder or liquid form—to break down dirt and other particles attached to the carpet’s fibres. These cleaning agents are often brushed into the carpet before being removed along with dirt and other sediment that’s loosened from the carpet after the cleaning agents have had a chance to work on the stains.

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Carpet steam cleaning uses steam

By comparison, steam cleaning—otherwise known as wet carpet cleaning—uses hot water to extract dirt from the carpet. Steam cleaning methods work by applying hot water to the carpet with a pressurised wand to dissolve and dislodge dirt from the carpet’s fibres. This debris is then extracted along with the water. To help the water penetrate the carpet effectively, stains are often pre-treated to break the carpet’s surface tension. However, unlike carpet shampoo methods, steam cleaning doesn’t tend to use heavy cleaning agents.

When should you use carpet dry cleaning vs steam cleaning?

One of the main reasons people choose carpet dry cleaning over steam cleaning is the faster drying time. Because little to no water is used to dry clean the carpet, it’s an ideal method for high-use areas—such as hallways, entrance ways, workplace foyers, office spaces and hotel bedrooms—where it’s not practical to keep people off the carpet for an extended period of time. Dry cleaning is also a good method to use for regular carpet cleans because it’s a quick way to pick up dirt and debris and deodorise smells.

Generally speaking, steam cleaning offers a significantly deeper clean than dry cleaning. This makes it the ideal option for particularly dirty carpet that hasn’t been cleaned in a while. It also makes it a good option for carpet with long fibre lengths. Because the steam penetrates the carpet more deeply than a dry clean can, steam cleaning effectively dislodges dirt and debris such as pet hair, which can become entangled in the longer fibres.

Steam cleaning is also great if you want to do a deep clean of a heavily trafficked area. Many people shy away from using steam cleaning methods for high-use areas because of the longer drying time associated with this method. However, these carpets are often the ones most in need of a deep rejuvenating clean because the high volume of foot traffic compacts dirt in the carpet.

Finally, steam cleaning is an ideal method to use if you have allergies, because it doesn’t rely on the same cleaning products as many other carpet cleaning methods.

Pros and cons of carpet dry cleaning

Dry cleaning is a great method for routine carpet maintenance and is particularly good for heavily trafficked areas where you need a quick clean. Some of the advantages of carpet dry cleaning include:

  • Dry cleaning methods use either no or very little water. Unlike carpet steam cleaning, this means you don’t need to wait for the carpet to dry before you can walk on it again.
  • The cleaning agents used in the dry cleaning process help to remove dirt more effectively than if you were to simply vacuum the carpet. They are particularly good at breaking down oil-based stains, which can be challenging to remove with water alone. Dry cleaning techniques also help to kill bacteria, which deodorise any smells that might be present from spills and animals.
  • Dry cleaning is suitable for delicate carpets that would be damaged by using water, or applying it at high pressure.

Despite these benefits, there are a few downsides to carpet dry cleaning. These include:

  • Dry cleaning does not clean the carpet as deeply as steam cleaning. While it is an effective method if used regularly alongside other good carpet care tips, it can leave dirt embedded within the carpet. Over time, dirt has an abrasive effect on carpet fibres so it’s important to complement dry cleaning with occasional deep steam cleans.
  • Dry cleaning tends to rely on strong solvents to break down stains and dirt. If not removed properly residue may be left behind. These chemicals can tend to have quite a strong smell and are not suited to people with sensitivities to cleaning products.

Pros and cons of carpet steam cleaning

Generally speaking, steam cleaning offers a significantly deeper clean than dry cleaning. However, this needs to be balanced against the longer drying time associated with cleaning the carpet with a water-based method.

Some of the benefits of carpet steam cleaning include:

  • Steam cleaning is highly effective at removing particles deeply embedded in the carpet, giving you the best chance of removing stains and dirt.
  • Steam cleaning is more allergy-friendly than dry cleaning because it doesn’t rely on shampoos or other chemicals. This makes it a great option for people with sensitivities to detergent.
  • Because of the high temperature of the water used to clean the carpet, steam cleaning does a better job of killing bacteria and mould than other carpet cleaning methods.

Some of the cons of carpet steam cleaning include:

  • The main downside to carpet steam cleaning is that it takes longer for the carpet to dry after a steam clean because there will be some residual water left over. It generally takes up to 24 hours for the carpet to dry, although in some cases it can take several days for the carpet to dry fully. Even if the carpet might seem dry, it’s important to wait for the full drying time to pass before walking on it, otherwise you risk ruining the good results by traipsing dirt back into the carpet.
  • Steam cleaning can be less effective at removing oily stains than other methods because it typically uses less chemicals. This can cause stains to reappear if the job isn’t done properly because dirt reattaches to these patches of the carpet. It’s therefore important that oily stains are pre-treated to help break down any residue before the steam clean.

Top tips to get the most of your carpet clean

Whether you choose to dry clean or steam clean your carpet, the end results can be significantly improved by following a few simple carpet care tips. In particular, it’s a good idea to:

  • Vacuum regularly, to prevent dirt and other particles from building up in the carpet.
  • Spot clean spills when they happen, to minimise the chance of stains and prevent oily substances from attracting dirt.
  • Consider using floor mats or taking your shoes off indoors, to limit the amount of dirt that comes inside in the first place.

Combined with a professional carpet cleaning once a year, following these simple steps will help keep your carpet in good condition no matter which side of the carpet dry cleaning vs. steam cleaning debate you land on.

As building technology improves, we’re all becoming better at recognising harmful materials. But that doesn’t mean they’re eliminated entirely. Even now, building and home improvement specialists are learning of new potentially toxic materials and substances that have found their way into common flooring and household products.

That’s why it’s important to know what materials form your flooring, and how to avoid potentially toxic flooring options. There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding artificial flooring products, but with advances in technology, certain engineered flooring products are some of the least toxic options available.

Here are a few safe bets if you want the best non toxic flooring in Australia.

Non-toxic flooring Australia—table of contents

Non toxic flooring is plentiful in Australia and includes hardwood, laminate, bamboo, and more.

Hardwood flooring

Non Toxic Flooring Australia

Hardwood flooring is completely non-toxic, which makes it 100% safe
Solid hardwood flooring is made from individual planks of wood milled directly from trees, which makes it one of the safest and least toxic flooring options you can buy. Toxicity tends to come from chemicals that are used in the manufacturing process, as well as chemicals that are a natural part of the material. So because wooden planks are milled directly from trees, it’s the “cleanest” type of flooring out there. You’ll pay a pretty price for solid hardwood flooring though, and it’s a little more work to maintain.

Polished concrete

Polished concrete is also completely non-toxic, making it one of the safest types of flooring
Polished concrete is usually associated with large stores like Bunnings or IKEA, but it can look beautiful in a home. Like hardwood, it’s also completely non-toxic with a zero VOC rating, so is a great option if you’re happy with a more modern and “industrial” look.

Non-toxic laminate flooring

 

Some types of laminate flooring can be safe and non-toxic, but you’ll need to research
Is there such a thing as non-toxic laminate flooring? Yes! Laminate flooring is artificially constructed from products such as melamine, resin, and fibre board, manufactured with chemicals. Fortunately, chemical technology has improved significantly, resulting in a non-toxic form of laminate flooring. Toxins are rarely noticeable by smell or appearance though, so recognising non-toxic laminate flooring can be tricky. Picking non-toxic laminate flooring requires research, and some expert help.

Asking a few questions before you settle on a variety of laminate flooring can help you to determine whether it’s completely non-toxic. Ask about where it came from, and ask about its composition. You should also look into the manufacturer’s track record when it comes to chemical safety. It is also helpful that you opt for chemical-free installation methods, such as floating floors, to keep your flooring as non-toxic as possible.

Non-toxic bamboo flooring

Bamboo flooring is similar to laminate—it can be safe, but you’ll need to look at each product individually
Non toxic bamboo flooring is a lot like laminate flooring, in the sense that it requires adhesives to bind its fibres and turn it into an appropriate flooring material. And just like laminate, the resins or adhesives that are used will determine whether it’s non toxic or not. Luckily, bamboo flooring is among the more modern flooring options on the market, dedicated to being an ecologically friendly choice (for the most part). That means fewer chemicals, and a lower carbon footprint during the manufacturing process. Generally, if it’s safe for the environment then there’s a high chance it’s non toxic, and that’s the case in most bamboo flooring products. Again, research is important, but you can usually be confident that bamboo flooring is a safe and non toxic flooring option.

Non-toxic vinyl flooring

Vinyl is not generally a good choice for toxicity
The chemical process of leaching is what creates toxic flooring products. When chemicals leach into the flooring material during the manufacturing process, they can cause issues later in the material’s life. Vinyl is more resistant to leaching during manufacture than a lot of other flooring products, however, it can contain a high number of toxic chemicals that can “gas off” after being installed. This may be especially harmful for children1. But not all vinyl flooring is the same, and you can find some low toxic types on the market. So if you’re considering vinyl flooring, be absolutely sure to buy a product that has a proven low VOC.

Vinyl flooring also comes in a wide range of hybrid configurations, which means that you can select options based on their appearance and their suitability for your home.

Non-toxic carpets

Non-toxic carpets are one of the best flooring options for those who are sensitive to chemical products in building materials. You can select carpets that are hypoallergenic, or ones that rely more heavily on natural fibres than synthetic ones. The carpet manufacturing process also varies, which means you have the option of carpets that rely on fewer harsh chemicals during the production stage. The same applies for installation, too, given the various installation options available to you. The availability of carpet adhesives means that you won’t be stuck for options and you can shop around until you find one that suits your need for low toxicity.

Non-toxic gym flooring

If you’re looking to install some non-toxic gym flooring in your home, there’s a single option that is best: rubber. This material gives you the foot grip you need to do your workouts safely and is also easy to clean with vacuum cleaners and mops.

Not all rubber is equal though. You’ll need to look for a variety that has a low VOC (volatile organic compound) rating such as vulcanised rubber, virgin rubber, rubber without any added PVC, or rubber mixed with cork. This is especially important for gym flooring because many workouts require you to lay down and get extremely close to the material, which can give off toxic gases. Provided you buy rubber flooring with a low VOC, you’ll be in good stead.

Is rubber flooring toxic?

Is rubber flooring toxic? As mentioned above, certain types of rubber flooring can be toxic, releasing gases like xylene, hydroxytoluene, ethylbenzene, toluene, formaldehyde, and acetaldehyde. This is especially true of recycled rubber, so you’ll need to pay attention to the VOC content if considering rubber flooring. The lower VOC content, the less toxic the flooring.

Is hybrid flooring toxic?

Hybrid flooring is usually a mixture of either thin wooden planks or laminate, and a vinyl base. The wood or laminate isn’t usually toxic, but the plastic vinyl that forms the base may be. As usual, the best way to tell whether a particular hybrid flooring is toxic is to look at its VOC rating, as well as the emission class (M1 is good).

Non-toxic flooring Australia—summary

As you can see, there’s lots of non (or low) toxic flooring options in Australia. The safest are hardwood and polished concrete, but you can also find low toxic flooring in bamboo, carpet, and even plastic vinyl. You just need to check the VOC rating before you buy. Good luck!

Reference:
George Citroner, 2019, Lung Damage From Household Cleaning Products, Healthline

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