As a person ages they lose their muscle tone, experience bone mass loss, and can even develop inflammation of joints. Appropriate flooring choices can help reduce these effects of aging and even help minimize discomfort for all family members.
As I have walked through the homes on the Pocatello Parade of Homes I have noticed some general trends that look great but don’t necessarily benefit those that are aging or have some limitations with mobility.
In almost every kitchen, bathroom and foyer there was ceramic tile. What is wrong with ceramic tile you ask? Doesn’t everyone want ceramic tile? Isn’t it a status symbol to have tile? Maybe so, but let’s think about this…
What is ceramic tile made out of? Generally, tile is made of clay that is baked until it is very hard… So, you ask, what is wrong with flooring being hard? Let me ask you this- have you ever had to stand on your feet for hours at a time on a garage floor or walk on a sidewalk? There is no give or absorption on a tile floor. This creates fatigue and discomfort. Add to that a loss of bone density and muscle tone and standing for any length of time becomes a chore. A simple act of making a meal can become a taxing and uncomfortable experience.
What would be a better alternative to placing tile in these areas? Depending on your tastes and style, there are a number of choices from cork flooring to laminates to even engineered wood or even hard wood. These floorings have some give or bounce to them that will help absorb the forces that standing for prolonged periods causes.
An additional safety issue that some ceramic tiles can create is the slip issue. Some tiles become very slippery when there is a liquid on the surface. Keep that in mind when choosing your flooring. What will happen when there is water on the floor? Rain, snow, even shower water can create a safety hazard in your home. Look for products that have a bit of a texture to them so that there is traction.
Some added bonuses of using cork flooring, laminates or engineered flooring include environmental friendliness, cost benefits and ease of care. I encourage you to explore your options as they are vast and don’t just settle for tile just because everybody else is doing it. In the long run, as we all age, we will benefit from thinking ahead and designing for the future.
If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Take care.