It’s cold outside. Trouble is, it’s cold inside too.
You turn the heat up, trying to warm up your room. And the minute the furnace turns off, signaling it’s reached your desired temperature, you feel a chill run through you.
How can it possibly be warm?
It might not be your furnace that’s the problem. Instead, it might be your floors.
Cold floors are quite common during the winter months when the temperatures continue to drop. And while cold floors can leave you feeling chilled, it can also lead to sickness, including respiratory illness.
Proper heating is important if you want to keep your family warm and comfortable all year long. But getting rid of cold floors doesn’t mean you have to live with ugly flooring. There are many things you can do to love the look and feel of your flooring, and stay warm too.
Certain flooring types are warmer than others. As you live in your home and start to get a feel for how each room functions, you can change up your flooring to match your desired results. It might make more sense to install warmer flooring in the bedrooms, for example, to ensure it stays warm while you sleep.
If you’re thinking of installing new flooring, consider the properties of each option before you finalize your decision.
Carpet – it’s one of the warmest flooring options, and is often placed in rooms where you spend the most amount of time. If you install carpet with longer, thicker fibers, it will have more benefit of keeping the cold away from your feet, as well as help eliminate the chill from the air. A good carpet pad is also needed to help improve resistance and create a barrier between you and the living space below.
Cork – consider how cork works in a wine bottle. It’s effective at holding moisture inside, while being soft to the touch on the outside. That’s because of the numerous tiny air pockets that fill the cork structure. It works in a similar manner in flooring. It acts as an insulator between what’s laid below the surface and what you see and walk on from above. It’s a great flooring choice for preventing warmed air from slipping outside your home.
Laminate – laminate can be warmed up depending on how the boards are created. A layer of dense padding in the underlayment can warm the surrounding area and help keep the wood strips from being too cold. You can also lay laminate over radiant heating to provide additional warmth underfoot.
Tile and stone – these are some of the coldest flooring choices you can install. That’s why you find them in abundance in warmer climates, where they help keep a house cool. That said, tile and stone are also some of the best flooring products to pair with radiant heating systems because of their heat retention. That makes tile and stone the perfect choice for bathrooms and laundry rooms, where its water-resistant features are also beneficial.
Vinyl – today’s vinyl comes in a variety of formats. Sheet vinyl is very thin, and will have a harder time holding heat in place. But newer luxury vinyl planks and tiles are combined with other materials to create a more functional, insulating product. These products are often combined with things like radiant heating, which can work together to create a warm living space.
Sometimes it’s not just about the flooring
If you’re trying to create a warm environment, it’s easy to focus on the flooring you choose. But it’s not always that simple. Sometimes the problem isn’t associated with the flooring, but instead is based on what lies beneath the surface.
Insulation – a constantly cold room can almost always have a finger pointed at improper or poor insulation. You can have a home audit performed to help you find out where insulation is inefficient. This isn’t just a problem in the attic or crawlspace. Often, you’ll find a lack of insulation behind wallboards and below the surface. It can also be a problem on the surface of your floors. Are there spaces between boards allowing heat to escape? Are there problems between joints, gaps between wood, or problems with the underlayments? All of these can leave your flooring feeling cool to the touch.
Underlayment – certain types of flooring like laminate, linoleum, and vinyl, will take on the temperature of the surface. In the winter, that means it will drop in temperature and be cool to the touch. One way to warm up the surface is to pay attention to the underlayment installed between the flooring and the subfloor. In addition to helping create a warmer floor, it will also increase the R-value of the home, which means it will help control energy costs too.
Sub-room – if you find the main living space cold, and your flooring is always cool to the touch when it’s chilly outside, chances are there’s a problem with lies underneath. Does the main level sit on top of a crawlspace or basement? If the floor is about the same temperature as it is below level, the solution is simple. Insulating the floor area will seal the heat loss occurring between the two levels. A professional can help seal up cracks and leaks between floorboards and joists, as well as ensure the entire area underneath the flooring is well insulated.
Check windows and doors – do you notice it gets colder near windows and doors? Now maybe a good time to check for drafts and install weatherstripping. Warm air is lighter than cold air, meaning if cold air is slipping in around a window or door, it may hover just above the flooring and feel colder to the touch. You’ll benefit from adding insulation around doors and windows by increasing the R-value of the home’s envelope, which in turn will help with your energy bills.
Are you tired of cold floors?
The answer might be a simple fix. It may also be a reason to consider installing new flooring, one that gives you a warmer surrounding area for whichever room you spend the most time in.
Is your home prepared for cold winter months? Maybe new flooring is the perfect home improvement project for you this year.