What Types Of Floors Are Best For Certain Ailments?

As long as they're clean and in relatively good shape, you may not spend much time thinking about the floors in your home -- particularly as these floors relate to your health. However, the several hours (or more) per day you spend standing and walking in your home can take a toll on your body if you don't have the right type of supportive floor underneath. Read on to learn more about how certain ailments can be harmed (or improved) by the type of floor in your home. 

  • If you have allergies:

Even if you frequently use a heavy-duty or professional carpet cleaning machine, carpets can harbor millions of dust mites and other common allergens. However, solid-surface floors -- particularly tile flooring, marble flooring, and laminate flooring-- can be easily cleaned and will not harbor allergens. To really boost your home's allergen-fighting potential, you may want to purchase a robotic vacuum that can take care of all your cleaning needs while you're away from home.

  • If you have joint problems:

Joint problems in your knees, ankles, or feet may lead you to assume that you'll need carpet or a soft-surface floor to avoid pain. However, with a properly cushioned underlayment, you can receive relief from sore joints and muscles, even if you choose to install laminate or hardwood. Bamboo in particular is springy and resilient enough to provide protection to your joints despite its lack of "fluffiness." You may want to beef up your floor's softness by placing a cushioned area rug on frequently-trafficked spots.

Because it's difficult to get a sufficiently cushioned underlayment beneath tile or marble, these hard-surface floors are often not the best choice for those with joint issues.

  • If you have poor circulation:

Poor circulation combined with standard hard-surface floors can lead to uncomfortably cold feet. However, if you choose to install tile, thin marble slabs, or laminate, you may be able to inexpensively install radiant heat beneath your floorboards. Radiant heat provides a number of benefits to those with joint problems, circulation issues, and even allergies -- by reducing the amount of time your regular heater needs to blow hot air through your vents, this will reduce the amount of dust mites and allergens traveling through the air within your home.

Radiant heat is generally not the best option for solid hardwood floors, as the heat can cause the wood to expand and contract, leading to unsightly gaps and cracking. However, engineered hardwood is more heat- and moisture-resistant and can be a viable alternative if you love the thought of a warm wooden floor.