If you think of vinyl or linoleum flooring and instantly shudder at the tackiness, we wouldn’t blame you. Up until a couple of months ago, that was my reaction – ‘ew, lino?! No thankyou!’
Mr Hammer and I aren’t fans of carpet. We don’t live in a climate where the added warmth is a necessity. In fact, it would, in our opinion, have the opposite effect. The couple of days in the dead of winter where we might get a frost certainly doesn’t warrant carpet for warmth. Plus, we think it’s kinda dirty – the amount of dirt and general crap that we sweep off carpet-less floor several times a day . . . all of that gets stuck in the fibers of carpet. And ain’t nobody got time to vacuum several times a day.
What we love are shining, fresh timber floorboards. Oiled and buffed to perfection, timber floorboards can make any living space beautiful.
Now we take into account our Hammerlings. Small children, toys and varnished floors just don’t go well together. Little wheels on Hot Wheels cars scratch the bejeepers out of timber. The wheels of dolly prams – same result. That’s not to mention the scratches that come from furniture that gets shifted, or dirt trapped in the soles of shoes scuffed along a lovely timber surface.
And then the cost. Timber floorboards aren’t exactly cheap. Maintaining them isn’t cheap (or without a lot of work). So in comes vinyl-timber flooring.
The technology and quality of vinyl has come along in leaps and bounds from a time when it was easily torn and looked cheap and nasty. This flooring now may be on the cheaper side of floors, but it certainly doesn’t look like the old hard lino of yesteryear.
We were presented with a veritable forestry of timber-looks in the Decoria brand. From rosewood to mahogany, walnut to pine, all the way to a light grey wood-grain effect that is becoming increasingly popular in new homes, we had a good variety of choice. This flooring comes in lengths of 1219mm x 177.6mm (4′ x 7″). They are placed together tightly to provide an almost seamless finish (which we are completely thrilled with).
It was a toss-up between Antique Pine (what we chose) and the light grey (Grey Oak). In the end, we felt the light grey would make the house just a little too monochromatic with the wall colours. Plus, popularity leads to ‘trend’, and trends are quickly outdated.
When we walked into the house after the floors had been laid, our first word was, ‘wow’. It was the perfect choice to lend a little warmth to the interior, and to tie in our brass and timber ceiling fans, and actually improved the colour of the kitchen cabinet doors (though they will still eventually be painted black).
Being a thick vinyl, they are a little softer underfoot than the old-school vinyl. They absorb the sounds of footfalls and dropped items infinitely better than natural timber floorboards. We have lived in our current rental for more than seven years. The flooring appears unfinished (it looks exactly like base yellow tongue flooring that has merely been varnished or polished), it scratches like crazy, and provides absolutely zero sound insulation (it also fades oddly with sun and shadow). Anyone in any area of the house can hear pretty much everything that happens in a room on the other side of the house. This is also attributed to the steel frame of the house (our home is a timber frame), but anything dropped and all footsteps reverberate profoundly.
We took the following image from the Decoria website to show the layers of materials that give this finish.
Knowing we will be building in under the house, this minor sound barrier is a most welcome bonus. The flooring butts up against the kitchen cabinets (does not run underneath them), so another bit of good news is that when we deconstruct the kitchen to move it downstairs and therefore expose the base floor under the cabinets, these boards are super easy to pull up and add onto, so it looks like it was always a full floor.
These floorboards have a machined wood-grain-like texture that feels nice. This texture does not follow the grain of the boards like natural timber does, nor does it feel like a natural grain. It is more pronounced than a natural grain, but not overly so (to the extent that I could not capture the grain in a photo).
The colour we chose (Antique Pine) will disguise dirt and Hammerling footprints neatly. We found a little offcut in the skip bin outside and went to town on it with a clicky-pen, stabbing it and scratching it. Beautiful. No marks. The ink will mark it, of course, but that’s to be expected of any flooring.
Our thoughts and opinions on vinyl flooring have come completely about-face. We absolutely love this floor. What do you think? Are you unconvinced, or do you reckon you might give this kind of vinyl/timber flooring a go when you next update your own home?