Rolling out of bed and onto a cold floor all winter really puts a damper on your morning routine. Each chilly step towards the coffeemaker colder than the last. When the winter weather settles in and your floors start getting chilly, reaching for the thermostat to turn up the heat is a normal (but pricey) reaction. What if we told you that your choice of flooring materials could help you save on energy costs and keep your toes warm and toasty through the winter? In the building trades, a material’s R-Value measures its resistance to heat loss and there are numerous ways to improve the insulation in your home without turning it into a major project, like using rugs and insulating around drafty joists. Keep reading to learn more about the best flooring materials for houses with cold floors.
In above-grade construction, carpet is the number one choice for warmth, softness, and comfort. It’s so cozy you can sleep on it. Paired with foam or wool padding underneath, carpeted floors provide a thick multilayer buffer between your feet and the cold subfloor. Besides providing insulation and warmth, carpet is useful for sound dampening in home theaters, living rooms, basement steps, hallways, and bedrooms; and it’s easy to maintain. However, if you’re working below-grade or in an environment where allergies and moisture are a concern, it’s best to look elsewhere.
Ask any outdoorsman about staying warm in the winter and they’ll tell you that it’s not about the layers–it’s the air pockets between the layers that keep you insulated. These same thermodynamic principles apply to cork flooring. The hundreds (even thousands) of tiny air pockets in cork flooring create a protective barrier against cold air, creating a warm cushion for your feet that’ll put a spring in your step for years to come. Cork resists moisture, making it a great choice for basements, kitchens, bathrooms, and even children’s bedrooms. You can increase cork’s R-Value using thicker sheets for extra insulation.
LVP & Laminate
Luxury vinyl planks and laminate flooring aren’t natural insulators, but when installed on top of a cork or foam pad, these affordable and versatile materials can provide warmth and water-resistance in bathrooms and kitchens. Due to its multilayer construction, LVP products are typically softer underfoot than laminate or natural hardwood. In bedrooms and living spaces, layering a rug on top of LVP or laminate can recreate an infinite number of stylish hardwood, tile, or stone interior design looks with significant savings.
Though tile itself is usually cold, it is an excellent conductor of heat which makes it ideal for use in bathrooms with in-floor radiant heating systems. These systems use a network of electric heating elements or hot water pipes installed in the subfloor to gently radiate convention heat throughout the surface of your floor for unbeatable comfort with the flick of a switch. Check out our blog about the best flooring materials for in-floor radiant heating systems to learn more. Are you getting cold feet about upgrading your floors? Visit any of our four Northeast Ohio locations, click the free consultation button on this page, or give us a call to schedule your in-home shopping appointment today for free measurement and estimates!