Parquet flooringExamples of parquet flooring can be found as far back as the eighteenth century, yet it is fair to say that it has never been more popular than it is today. This has a lot to do with change in perception undergone by wooden flooring in recent years. Where once generic square patterns had previously connoted something rather practical and charmless, hipster homeowners are finally coming round to the idea that woollen carpets are not the only way to keep their floors looking fancy.
So, what is parquet flooring?
Parquetry refers to the French tradition of making decoration from geometrically arranged wood carvings. The patterns vary greatly depending on one's taste - from elaborate diagonal designs to simple squares. What distinguishes it from conventional wooden flooring is that it is altogether more stylish, and can be applied to almost any room - whether it's the master bedroom or the kitchen. You might not have been aware of it, but you've almost certainly walked on some parquet flooring at some point.
What are the advantages?
It's easy to clean
Everyone loves a nice fluffy layer of carpet, but it can be an ordeal to maintain - particularly if you have children with grubby hands or pets prone to shedding their fur. With parquet flooring, you can simply mop up any debris and wipe surfaces down with disinfectant at little effort or expense on your part.
It compliments any colour scheme
It's important to take a long-term view when you're decorating your home - just ask any estate agent. One of the big plus points of wooden flooring is that it doesn't really clash with any conventional colour scheme you might wish to employ in your home.
It's much more durable
You might balk at the installation costs associated with parquet flooring, but remember: you are going to make some serious savings in the long run. A damaged carpet - be it from water exposure or gradual wear and tear - must be replaced outright, while wooden flooring, in the event of scratches or stains, can simply be sanded down or filled in.
It's suitable for underfloor heating
Underfloor heating is an innovation that is becoming increasingly popular, giving homeowners the option of hiding unsightly pipes and heating units from view - and wooden flooring is essentially a prerequisite.
Are there any disadvantages?
Not many come to mind, but you should probably exercise some caution if you have young children bouncing around your living room, who might be safer with a soft surface beneath their feet. Even then, you can always keep a rug handy for those times that you can't be as vigilant with your supervision.
Parquet flooring is not waterproof so you should avoid any water or liquid spillages. Little amounts are no problem but bigger spillages are a problem. Even when washing the floor try to use as little water as possible.
How much will it cost?
The flooring itself is relatively inexpensive, with DIY giants such as B&Q selling them at around £20 by the square meter (you can also get your hands on a small sample piece for as little as £2, which can be a big help if you're trying to see how it would look against your chosen room's colour scheme).
As you might have guessed, the real cost is in the installation. Obviously, it depends on the size of the room you are looking to cover, but the more ambitious projects can set you back as much as a few grand. As mentioned above, however, you are guaranteed to save in the long run - and it might even bump up your estate valuation if you ever choose to sell up.
You may want to read about: Oak Furniture.