We ask a lot of hallway flooring. It needs to stand up to all the foot traffic of inhabitants (including, perhaps, those with paws) and visitors. It mustn’t demand more time to clean and to care for than we’re prepared to give. Pattern or colour that doesn’t show the first speck as soon as the vacuum or mop have been returned to the cupboard is high on the requirements list for many of us… How to end up with a hall floor that cuts the mustard? Use our advice, of course.
What choices are there for hallway flooring?
It may be a demanding space, but there remains a huge range of flooring suitable for a hallway. You’ll need to select between hard flooring and floorcoverings that are more forgiving underfoot. Think about colour as well. Do you want a floor that’s available in a dark hue that won’t make what’s tracked in immediately obvious? Prefer pattern for the same reason? Alternatively, you may favour a pale finish that can make a dark hall lighter. Or lay tiles diagonally to make the hallway look larger?How do you prefer to clean the hall floor? Is vacuuming only sufficient, or do you like to be able to mop as well?
Hard floor coverings for hallways
Tiles are a popular choice for hallways. Select from natural or manmade floor tiles. If you prefer natural stone, bear in mind that not all are suitable for high traffic areas. Speak to your supplier to be sure that a particular stone tile will cope with the busyness of a hall, and be aware that it will need ongoing care. The advantages of real stone? Natural beauty and a unique floor.
Manmade tiles may not have the individuality of stone, but they are still an attractive and practical option. Ceramic tiles are hard wearing and easy care, and porcelain is extremely durable. Encaustic tiles can bring period style back to a home that’s lost original features, and lively pattern will keep the hall looking good for longer between cleans. In an older house, it’s worth looking under the carpet as old encaustic tiles can be restored.
Wood can be a winner in a hallway. Mid-toned finishes and dark woods will be more forgiving in terms of showing up dust, while pale wood will demand more work but can help the space look more expansive. Wood flooring has lasting style and durability and the advantage of wood flooring is that it can be refinished if any damage occurs over time.
Don’t just think wooden boards for hallways. Parquet, where small wooden blocks are laid in geometric patterns, makes for a handsome hall floor because plenty of the design will be on show rather than covered by furniture.
Engineered wood is an alternative to solid wood for hallways. Made from several layers, engineered wood is designed to be more stable in response to changes in humidity than solid wood. The best quality designs can be refinished if they become damaged.
Laminate can create the look of solid or engineered wood in the hallway at a lower price point. Good laminate flooring will stand up to the wear and tear it’s subject to in the hall – swerve the cheap options, which won’t wear well – and is easy to keep clean.
Vinyl flooring can reproduce the look of wooden boards or parquet, stone, or patterned tiles. It’s softer and quieter underfoot than those floors, though, so might be the way to go to cut down on clatter when the family troop in and out. Vinyl flooring is a breeze to clean as well. Like laminate, it’s a cost-conscious buy.
Carpet and natural flooring for hallways
Warmer and softer underfoot than hard floorcoverings, carpets and some of the plant-fibre flooring options can be a success in a hallway.
Carpet is the flooring of choice for many homeowners, including for the hallway. Carpet can’t be mopped if shoes or paws bring mud in, of course, but carpets can have good resistance to soiling, and be hard wearing enough for hallway life. Try a wool-rich version (80 per cent wool, 20 per cent manmade fibres). Carpet’s also a good noise-dampener. Pattern, including stripes, can make an impact in the hall and stay smart between vacuuming sessions.
Natural flooring is made from plant fibres and has pleasing texture that can add subtle decorative interest in the hall. Not all natural flooring is suitable for a hallway, however. Look for sisal and coir, which are tough enough to take the traffic. Golden tones will keep coir looking as it should, while for a wide choice of colours, opt for sisal.
Teaming hallway flooring with underfloor heating
Hard hallway flooring such as stone, porcelain and ceramic tiles combine effectively with underfloor heating and provide good heat output.
Solid wood flooring can be suitable for use with underfloor heating, but check with your supplier. Engineered wood should be compatible.
High-quality laminates and vinyls can be used with underfloor heating.
Carpet can also be combined with underfloor heating – however the carpet and underlay needs to conform to the maximum TOG (thermal resistance) rating specified by the heating manufacturer.
Top tip: Whichever hallway flooring you choose, always lay a door mat at the entrance to your home to prevent grit damaging the floorcovering and to prolong its life.