Can Flooring Affect Your Home’s Energy Efficiency?
Yes, if your goal is to feel more comfortable and lower your energy costs, then choosing the right flooring can help. However, the more we discover about energy efficiency, the more complicated things become. It’s easy to be overwhelmed and confused enough to abandon your goal.
Stick with it. Being more comfortable while you save money pays off handsomely. Today, we’re going to keep things simple as we review some smart choices you can make.
Why Saving Energy Is Worth It
There’s no question that energy costs are going to keep going up until each one of us has our own Flux Capacitor and a Mr. Fusion Home Energy Reactor like in Back to the Future. (But who knows, by then, banana peels might cost thousands.) Extreme weather patterns, increased demand from a growing population, and the push for cleaner energy keep putting upward pressure on our home heating and cooling costs.
Quick Fixes For a Cold Floor
The first step is to list where and when your feet get cold. Is it when you first wake up and set your feet on the floor? How about when you’re using the bathroom in the middle of the night or in the morning as you brush your teeth? Do your feet feel cold as you relax to watch tv?
If you work from home and sit at a desk, does the floor feel cold? Some young families enjoy playing board games on the floor. If the thought of this makes you shudder, there’s an easy solution.
Area Rugs – These come in all shapes and sizes as well as different materials. Wool is one of the best materials for an area rug. This natural fiber has excellent insulative value and long-term durability. Whichever rug you choose, please make sure it has a non-skid backing, or you add a non-skid pad.
Reflective Insulative Mat – For those of you who already have area rugs, there’s a way to make them even warmer. You can buy a mat and then cut it to size for several rugs.
Radiant Heat Pad – This recent solution is a game changer for cold floors. Running an extension cord somewhere safe so no one trips on it will give you a heat source you can control to warm up your area rug.
Infrared Heater – One of these at floor level and pointed towards your feet is an energy-efficient solution for cold feet. It will only heat up the area to which it is pointed. Unlike other heaters, it doesn’t waste energy heating up the air in between you and the heater. You’ll feel the warmth instantly as soon as you turn it on.
Eliminate Cold Drafts – Do a bit of investigative work at your home. Are you getting a draft from an outside door that doesn’t seal properly? Are the windows properly caulked? Remember, cold air sinks and sits at floor level even when the rest of the room is at a comfortable temperature.
Insulate Your Crawl Space – Okay, this is anything but a quick fix. However, it is a simple job that will pay off in comfort and energy savings. If, on the other hand, you have a non-insulated concrete slab under your flooring, you’re out of luck.
Flooring Vs. Flooring System
If your only concern is about how your floor looks, then you’re missing out. No matter which flooring you choose, an improperly prepared subfloor or improper installation can adversely affect the performance and durability of your flooring.
What looks great today might show bumps, gaps, and cracks tomorrow. Shop around, but please keep this in mind. Some big box stores and flooring outlets find it easier to make a sale without discussing the installation. When the time is right to replace your flooring, think about a complete flooring system vs. just the flooring.
Insulated Underlayment and Moisture Barriers
Practically every flooring you can think of will feel more comfortable with an insulated underlayment that has a moisture barrier built-in or a separate barrier to keep dampness down. Today’s high-tech underlayments accomplish several tasks at once, including sound deadening. A quality underlayment will also make the finished flooring more comfortable to walk on.
Why Natural Stone, Porcelain, and Ceramic Tile Feels Colder Than Wood or Carpet
You might remember doing something like this in your first science class. Different materials feel warmer or cooler even though they are the exact same temperature. In bare feet, a granite or marble floor feels much cooler during the winter than carpeting.
The flooring materials themselves do not necessarily affect the temperature in the room; they just make the flooring feel cooler or warmer when you’re not wearing shoes. If it’s hot where you live, a tile floor might be just what you want but be ready to crank up the thermostat during the winter months.
Different R-Values For Different Flooring
A three-quarter-inch solid hardwood floor naturally provides a better insulative value (R-value) than a porcelain tile floor. And thick pile carpeting or carpet tile with a hefty underpad has an even greater insulative value. Some of today’s insulative underlayments can enhance the R-Value of solid hardwood, bamboo flooring, vinyl flooring, or engineered hardwood flooring.
Energy-Efficient Windows Vs. Energy-Efficient Flooring
This can be a tough choice when it comes to energy savings. My math skills aren’t sophisticated enough to figure this one out. But I know there’s no comparison when it comes to which will have a greater impact on the look and feel of your home.
Beautiful new flooring can take your breath away every time you step through the door. I don’t know anyone who says this about their windows after a home renovation.
The Best Way to Find the Right Flooring
A new flooring system that keeps you more comfortable while you save money is a great investment. When it’s time, you may have a few more questions that one of our experts would be more than happy to answer. Try our Shop-At-Home service.
A friendly flooring expert will visit you at your home to show you as many flooring options as you like and answer every single question you may have. They will accurately measure your floor and provide you with a free, no-obligation estimate. All you have to do is contact us and let us know what time would be most convenient for you.