Waking up and walking barefoot across a frigid floor is like playing a reverse game of The Floor is Lava. Say goodbye to those cold floors’ rude awakenings with the right flooring material. Different flooring materials can feel warm underfoot and can help to warm the house. Existing flooring can also be made to feel warmer. The hot favorite, and something of a trick answer, is underfloor heating. The bad news, underfloor heating is not an option for many homeowners as it is expensive and messy to retrofit. So, in the absence of a budget for underfloor heating, here’s a look at some of the warmest flooring materials.
What Is the Warmest Flooring Material?
Although carpeting isn’t suitable for every room it is probably the warmest flooring option. Carpeting comes in a range of qualities and styles, from basic and thin to thick and plush, depending on the budget. To enhance the underfoot appeal and to help with insulating the home, consider underfelt or padding under the carpet.
Solid and Engineered Wooden Flooring
Real wooden flooring conducts heat and helps it to travel throughout a home faster. Engineered hardwood flooring is warm to walk on and also helps to reduce energy costs.
Laminate flooring is great for insulation and can feel warm underfoot. It is impervious to dry air and moisture and doesn’t expand or contract under hot or cold air temperatures. It also has a springy effect.
Luxury Vinyl Flooring
Vinyl is also a warm flooring option and easy to clean to boot. Laminate is very stylish when laid in strips that resemble wood and tiles, and some have a textured finish. As with carpets, an underfelt or sprung foam layer is usually laid under the vinyl.
Linoleum is a smooth-surfaced flooring cover that comes in rolls like carpeting. It is made from a mixture of gums and resins, cork fillings, and oxidized linseed oil. The mixture is applied to a backing made of canvas or felt. It is somewhat similar to vinyl and it is often patterned and made to look like wooden planks on the surface. It is certainly suitable for kitchens and bathrooms, as it is water-resistant and easy to wipe or mop clean.
Cork is a surprisingly durable, eco-friendly, moisture resistant, and comfortable flooring to walk on when correctly sealed. It can also be color-stained. It comes in rolls and tiles and is relatively simple to install.
Tips to make flooring feel warmer
With the exception probably of solid wood flooring and carpeting, the other types of flooring mentioned above will perhaps create the perception of warmth rather than actually being warm. That said, they are definitely warmer and softer to walk on than tiles. There are things that can help to add warmth to these flooring types.
Area rugs will add coziness and texture to open spaces, heavy traffic areas, and on the floor next to beds. They also have the advantage of being used seasonally if so desired, which is like a mini-makeover. Choose from a range of sizes and qualities from basic to thick pile, in accordance with your budget.
Let in the light
Letting the sunlight in helps to heat the flooring, even in the cold winter months. Closing the drapes or blinds when the sun goes down will help the flooring to retain heat as well.
An under-lay, when placed on cold subfloors, acts as an insulating barrier. It adds that extra layer of spring and comfort to carpeting, laminates, vinyl, cork, and hybrids. An underlay brings with it the additional benefit of assisting with noise reduction, which is a big help if you have four-legged family members.
Additional Reading: Radiant Heating – Floors
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