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Most of us love patting and playing with our four-legged friends and having the occasional snuggle from them in winter months. But despite all the positives fur-babies bring, they are harder on our household flooring than people. Beaumont Tiles’ strategic designer, Christie Wood, says tiles are the best choice when it comes to pets. “In the case of mishaps and failure to reach the litter box, floor tiles can be simply mopped off, unlike timber floor boards that can retain a dark spot and a terrible smell or worse still the shag pile carpet which can create all sorts of bother if your pet has a mishap! Furthermore, tiles are not only scratch resistant, but the smooth surface is kind to our furry friends’ paws.”
A hardness scale* of 1-10 is used by the industry to rate the scratch resistance of flooring materials against ten common minerals. Vinyl is ranked the most likely to scratch (no 1) and is equivalent to talc, followed by wood ranked at number two, with a scratch rating equal to gypsum. No flooring scores a hardness of 10, which has the hardness of diamond, however the hardest flooring is porcelain tiles, which score between 7 and 8 depending on their manufacture. Former Block contestants and now professional interior designers Kyal and Kara love the durability of tiles for flooring. “They’re really hard-wearing which is great with a young boy who loves riding his bike around the house. They also come in thousands of different styles, including tiles that replicate other flooring options such as stone, concrete, marble and timber look tiles.”
High Heel Friendly
With the equivalent hardness of Topaz and Quartz on the Hardness Scale, Tiles are pretty well immune to the harshest of treatment, including high heel pit marks. According to the National Science Foundation, high heels or spiked heels worn by a 45-kilogram woman can strike a floor with more force than an elephant’s foot. So high heels are much like a tiny hammer. According to Rapid Reno expert Naomi Findlay, while every girl loves their collection of heels, they don’t love a collection of pit marks throughout their living room or other common area floors. “Tiles are extremely durable and hardwearing meaning you don’t have to ask your dinner party guests to leave their shoes at the door,” Naomi says.
Underfloor Heating Compatible
In the depths of winter, we desire flooring that keeps our toes warm, made possible through underfloor heating. While underfloor heating is readily available for most flooring choices, its effectiveness depends on the thermal conductivity of the flooring material. Good conductivity ensures the floor heats up quicker, gives off more heat and is more efficient to run. This makes tiles the best flooring to use with under tile heating. Beaumont Tiles’ strategic designer, Christie Wood, said Tiles have high thermal conductivity, meaning the heat transfers to the floor surface quickly. “It also retains heat well, not only making the system efficient but ensuring toasty toes even in rooms that have high heat loss,” Christie says.
With around 20% of the Australian population having at least one allergy, tiled floors is one of, if not the healthiest flooring choice. Australia has one of the highest rates of asthma in the world, with Asthma Australia reporting one in nine Australians have asthma and according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, nearly one in five Australians suffer from hay fever. According to the Mayo Clinic, hard flooring may be a good idea to prevent Asthma flare-ups. Ceramic and porcelain tiles, with a hard and mostly flat surface, are a good choice for those with allergies. They are easy to keep clean and cannot be penetrate by dust mites, pollen and pet hair like some other flooring options. They are also highly water resistant and help to repel the build-up of mould and mildew – two factors that can affect asthma and other allergy sufferers.
Termite and Woodworm Proof
A survey by CSIRO suggests that one in three dwellings have termites within the property boundary and many of those homes are at risk, particularly those with termite food available such as untreated wood and wood products. A benefit of tiles is that they are immune to these highly destructive pests which the Australian Institute of Architects suggests attacked 130,000 Australian homes in a year, with estimates of $1.5 billion in damage.
With life so hectic, homeowners love nothing more than life hacks to reduce cleaning and maintenance of their home. A recent survey for charity RUOK found almost 20 per cent of Australians say they were unable to spend as much time with their loved ones as they would like to, because of housework. Tiled floors are an easy and low-maintenance flooring option, according to Australia’s rapid renovation guru Naomi Findlay. “Basic cleaning requires a sweep or vacuum on a daily basis with a mop weekly,” she said. “And while other flooring options need more professional help the older they get, all tiles need is a grout clean and sealing on an annual basis. Not only do tiles save years of back breaking work, but they are also a more cost-effective option as they don’t require professional cleaning.”
Tiles are among the most durable products around, with the average lifespan reaching up to 100 years. They are so durable, that there are hundreds of listing of pre-1800 ceramic and porcelain tiles on sale throughout the world. The same can’t be said for other flooring products, such as carpet that needs replacing as soon as five years or laminate timber flooring that’s lifetime can be as short as 10 years. Rapid Renovation expert, who helps Australians maximise their property investment, says tiles are “a go-to-choice when you are looking for a long lasting and good looking flooring option.”
Flooring takes the brunt of food and liquid spills, muddy footy boots and animal accidents, resulting in uninvited odours despite the best cleaning efforts. For some flooring choices, such as wood, high humidity and water can produce a musty smell, particularly when the room receives no ventilation or natural sunlight. Carpet, timber, concrete and vinyl flooring are all like a big sponge – they absorb odour like a sponge absorbs water, even when sealed. Non-porous or impervious flooring such as glazed porcelain and ceramic tiles do not absorb soils or moisture.
It is not just the wet areas of the home, such as bathrooms and kitchens that are likely to get liquid on them. Kids, pets and parties are among the spill inducing scenarios that can see the lounge room, dining room and bedroom floors become soaked – potentially having long term effect on the floor. Then there are always wet feet from a swim at the pool or beach, which are unavoidable during the summer months. Former Block-heads Simon and Shannon Vos, who, when not running their design and construction business, love getting out in the surf year-round. They say that while most flooring will absorb moisture, tiles are the ideal waterproof flooring. “The tile’s durable glaze on top of the surface does not let liquid seep through,” says Simon. “Tiles are virtually impenetrable and will not let liquids soak in, allowing for easy maintenance and worry-free cleaning,” says Shannon.
Many man-made products use Volatile Organic Compounds or VOCs, which can over time produce vapours or gases. These vapours or gases can be of particular concern for households with babies, small children or anyone suffering from an illness. VOCs are known to present potential health risks, however this is dependent on the nature of the compound, level of exposure, length of exposure and the individual exposed to it. Beaumont Tiles’ strategic designer, Christie Wood, says: “While some flooring choices, like vinyl, include VOCs that have been connected to health problems such as respiratory problems, headaches and skin disease, the good news is they are not used in the production of tiles.”