Your floor type is probably not the first place you go if you want to save money on your energy bill. Reinstalling a new floor can be a costly renovation project (not to mention a time-consuming one), but if you’re planning to replace your floors as part of a general renovation, it might be worth considering which one. options can pay for themselves by saving you money in the long run.
Although the cold winter months are just around the corner, the costs of heating your home are unprecedented. Many of us turn to our homes to improve insulation and save a few extra cents. Attic insulation, draft excluders and window glazing may be your first point of contact, but you shouldn’t overlook the impact of your floor either.
With EDF Energy predicting that approximately 10-20% of a building’s heat loss can be through floors, there’s never been a better time to replace your floor. If you’ve ever put your hand on an old drafty wooden floorboard in the middle of winter, that statistic won’t be hard to understand.
Fortunately, we’ve gathered expert advice on the best types of flooring to retain heat in your home. And if you don’t have the budget to wreck your floors this fall, you’ll be happy to hear that there are some quick, budget-friendly solutions in the mix, too.
Lilith is an expert in following news and trends in the interior world. She is committed to helping readers make the best choices in their home by writing best practices and guides to help guide their design choices. For this article, she spoke to flooring experts to find out which options can help you save on your energy bill this winter.
1. Engineered wood floors
By far the best insulator for your floors is parquet. Installing this manufactured material, which combines wood with solid wood veneer, is an easy way to lower bills and save energy in your home.
You might think that carpets are the intuitive choice for trapping heat, but Declan Christie, founder and flooring specialist at Luxury Flooring & Furnishings (opens in new tab)is here to explain why this isn’t the case.
“Wood floors can often be mistaken for being colder and less insulating than carpet, but wood floors are excellent at retaining heat,” he explains. “Carpets may seem like a cozier option, but they have a lower thermal mass because they don’t trap heat, but act as a barrier.”
In fact, it turns out that insulation materials aren’t necessarily the only thing you should be looking for. “Carpets are an insulator, meaning they absorb the heat, while wood is a conductor, ensuring that the heat is returned back to the room,” notes Declan.
While parquet floors are almost completely identical to solid wood floors, the layers of plywood used in the construction make the material much denser, meaning it’s great at absorbing heat. “Combined with an insulated subfloor, this gives your floor incredible levels of insulation, ultimately reducing energy consumption,” says Declan.
2. Cork Floors
Some may see cork floors as a retro trend they would never see again, but as a durable material that also retains heat without the need for electricity or gas, designers are beginning to appreciate its practical and aesthetic benefits again. Guess what? It is also one of the most important living room trends for 2023.
“One of the first things you notice about cork is that it feels warm,” explains James Scully, founder of Record (opens in new tab). ‘It’s an exceptional insulator thanks to the unique honeycomb structure of millions of air-filled cells that ensure that cork planks maintain an optimum temperature all year round and feel warm underfoot.’
Cork floors also don’t have to be the speckled beige floors you probably imagine. Thanks to advancements in manufacturing, you can now get printed cork tiles made to imitate floorboards.
According to James, as a material, cork retains its heat longer compared to wood, laminate and LVT floors. “And it’s better for the environment in the process, thanks to the sustainable harvesting and production process,” he adds. (Cork can be harvested from the same tree for 100-300 years!)
3. Area Rugs
The power of the simple rug should not be underestimated. This quick floor repair is a much cheaper way to keep your home warm, and it can also be playful with your design ideas.
It takes much less dedication to add the latest carpet trend to your space, such as installing a new type of flooring. “Rugs are a great way to decorate your home because you can change the rugs if the atmosphere suits you and completely change the personality of the room,” said Lorna Haigh, Creative Director at Alternative floors (opens in new tab).
In fact, a living room rug can be a great insulator to cut costs on your energy bill, especially when made from natural thermal fibers. ‘A large wool rug or wool rug is not only soft underfoot and gives floorboards comfort and warmth, but it is also a natural insulator,’ explains Lorna. ‘A woolen carpet saves household energy consumption and helps the environment.’ If the floor underneath is particularly draughty, place a thermal blanket underneath.
Other rugs made of natural materials, such as jute or coir, can also help to retain the heat. For extra layers of warmth and an extra cozy feel, try layering rugs.