How Flooring Affects the Comfort of Your House
15th August 2017
We hear more and more about cool materials being used for roofing on buildings. These materials lower the temperature inside by both deflecting and reflecting energy using ingenious technological materials and innovations. How cool your house is during Virginia summer heat, and how warm it stays on chilly winter nights, can also be significantly affected by the choice of material used for the finished floor.
Some flooring materials are especially good at holding in heat and others are especially good at cooling off quickly when exposed to heat. Understanding how a floor holds in or gives off heat can help you make better choices in which type of flooring material to install when improving your property for comfort and energy savings.
Flooring and the Comfort of Your Home
When floors are exposed to direct sunlight through windows, and also as they are exposed to warm air inside the room or from under the floor, the flooring material heats up in response. Denser flooring materials, and ones with more surface area, will retain heat and then radiate it back out into the room for longer amounts of time.
Tiles are especially capable of retaining heat, and tile is also installed over a layer of ¾ inch thick mortar or cement backer-board, which is also a dense, heat-holding material. A tile floor in an area of the house receiving significant amounts of direct sun can become a heat sump, soaking up and retaining the warmth and making it harder to cool the room in summer.
Of course, this property of tile can also be an advantage in other situations. For example, the heat holding capacity of a tile floor makes it an excellent choice for installation over a radiant floor heating system. And if tile is installed in a cool area of the building and protected from direct sun with shades or careful placement of windows, ceramic and stone flooring can also retain cool overnight temperatures, lowering the temperature in the entire room during the day.
For a tile floor in a room with lots of direct sun, hanging heavy curtains over the windows and making sure they are shut before the sun comes in can make a significant difference in keeping the room cool during the day. Timer-controlled, automatic closers for drapes make this task much easier.
Carpet is similar to tile in its ability to hold heat and make a room feel warmer due to the thickness of the carpet pile and complex surface area in thicker carpeting material. Lighter color carpets absorb less heat, and thinner carpets also stay cooler than thicker ones.
Direct sun on carpeting also leads to fading of the carpet color over time. Again, heavy drapes or curtains are a way of protecting carpeting from UV damage and keeping a carpeted room from collecting heat during hot, Virginia summer days.
Other Cool Choices for Flooring
Natural and cultured stone, granite, slate, marble, and travertine are all flooring materials much like tile when it comes to how they affect room temperature. When placed carefully, they can either collect heat, helping to warm a room in winter, or they can retain cool temperatures from overnight, helping to modulate the heat of warm summer days.
Hardwood flooring is not as dense as stone or tile, and it is not installed over a bed of cement underlayment, so hardwood flooring is less able to retain temperature than these other materials. However, hardwood floors can also be comfortable in both summer and winter in Virginia, as long as they are also protected from direct sun. Lighter colored woods are also better at staying cool than darker ones.
One especially versatile flooring material for comfort in any season is bamboo flooring. Bamboo is a fast-growing, renewable, and ecologically-friendly flooring material available from many manufacturers and in many styles, surface patterns, and colors. Bamboo rivals hardwood in strength and durability, and newer manufacturing processes are making strand-woven bamboo with ratings up to 3000 on the Janka hardness test. Hickory rates at 1,820 on the same test.
The type of material used on a floor can have a big impact on the temperature and comfort of the room, as well as on the cost for heating and cooling. When you are considering new flooring in Chester, Colonial Heights, Petersburg, Hopewell, or Prince George County, schedule a consultation with the experts at Accent on Floors for help in choosing the coolest – or hottest – flooring for your home or business.