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DEBBIE TRAVIS: The trend back to bare floors has been growing for the last decade


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Dear Debbie;

We live on the fifth floor of a condo and have been receiving complaints from our neighbours below us that they hear “every step we take.” Our suite has beautiful hardwood floors that were here when we bought and we don’t want to cover them up. What would you do?

~ Henri

Dear Henri;

When you live in an apartment or condo, or any living space that is attached to another, you can expect to hear your neighbours. Sounds travel, especially if there is little or no proper insulation and/or soundproofing barriers in place. However, there’s a limit to how much noise you should be making or putting up with.

New builds generally lay down wall-to-wall carpeting throughout. Put down over a subfloor, this is more economical than applying wood or laminate floors or tiles. Carpeting does a good job muffling footsteps and dropped items.

However, the trend back to bare floors has been growing for the last decade.

Even though most condo bylaws insist on a percentage of your living space being covered with carpeting, it’s not always being enforced. And following the ‘bare floor’ trend appears to be the popular option when renovation time rolls around.

It is a challenge, but an easy fix. Once you realize that you are causing undo discomfort for those who live below or beside you, start by softening your footsteps. Wear socks, soft-soled slippers or bare feet when you are inside. Hard-soled shoes, especially high heels, are not only irritatingly noisy but can harm your wood floors. For high traffic areas such as hallways, why not purchase a runner? There are many designs and colours available in varying price ranges depending on the quality. If you have ceramic tile in the kitchen, a small rug in front of the sink or around the breakfast table will help soften the blow of dropped utensils.

Carpet tiles are a great option as you can build a rug any size you wish. Flor carpet tiles have a huge selection of about 1,000 tiles. Their website offers information and videos to guide you on what to pick, how to create a unique design, and notes on care. Their video shows how to build the carpet using their adhesive dots to secure and join each tile.

In order to enjoy the look of your hardwood floors, you can assemble a pathway down your hall or along a busy traffic area as shown here.

Called Be Cool in copper, this tile design can be placed in random directions to make up the look you like. These modular carpet tiles can be added to at any time and cut to fit your space. They are made of saturated dyed nylon, durable and easy to clean.

Busy living areas get a major style lift with a one-of-a-kind carpet that you create to enhance your furnishings and style. Flor’s Boardwalk in kale has been built to complement a contemporary living space. It stretches in front of the balcony door to unify the area and is bordered by the wood floor. When redecorating, carpet tiles can be reassembled for another room or mixed with tiles that have a fresh colour or design. You and your neighbours will be happy now.

Debbie Travis’ House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle.

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