Top Flooring Materials to Boost Your House Value
Mahadev Desai is the Founder and CEO of gharpedia.com and SDCPL a leading design consultancy firm having strong national presence. He has a degree in Civil Engineering (BE) and Law (LLB) and has rich experience of 45 years. Besides being the Editor in Chief, he also mentors team at GharPedia. He is associated with many professional bodies. He is also co-founder of 1mnt.in the first in Industry software for contractors’ billing. He is a voracious reader, edited 4 books, and pioneer of book reading movement in Gujarat, India.
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Flooring adds an aesthetic appeal and improves the value of your home. Unlike furniture and fittings that can be changed on a regular basis, flooring is a fairly permanent component of your home decor. Changing the flooring is an extensive, expensive, and tedious undertaking. Hence, it’s important to understand your needs and make an informed decision in your favour.
Different types of flooring materials are available in the market, each having their own pros and cons. The wide variety of flooring materials available in the market can make it tough for you to choose the most suitable one for your home. Read on to know more about the wide range of flooring materials used today.
Though choosing the flooring for your home is a matter of personal preference, you should consider the below-mentioned factors too.
- Advantages with respect to its usage and function
- Ease or difficulty of installation
- The level of finishing needed
- Maintenance and cleaning
- Expected foot traffic on the Flooring
Here are a few types of flooring materials which modern homeowners use these days.
(A) Tiles Flooring
The tile flooring is a popular option among homeowners as it’s highly versatile and comes in a variety of colours, textures, and patterns.
Flooring Tiles are available as vitrified tiles, ceramic tiles, porcelain tiles, and many more. Let’s understand each type in detail.
01. Ceramic Tiles Flooring
Ceramic tiles are made of a mix of clay and water. These tiles are a great modern flooring option, used indoors and outdoors. Ceramic tiles are ideal for installing in moist areas like bathrooms and kitchens as these tiles are not as slippery as compared to vitrified tiles.
02. Vitrified Tiles
A vitrified tile is a type of ceramic tiles with lower porosity. Vitrified tiles are most commonly used in areas with high foot traffic like the living room, kitchen, or bedroom. These tiles are made with a typical glossy finish. However, these days vitrified tiles with a matt finish are also available.
Owing to their popularity, a wide variety of vitrified tiles are available today.
2.1 Full Body Vitrified Tiles
Full body vitrified tiles display unique pigment through the entire thickness of the tile body. Therefore, these tiles are scratch-proof. Further, during the tile cutting process, the borders can be created with the same tiles to create a cohesive effect.
2.2 Double Charged Vitrified Tiles
Double-charged vitrified tiles are fed through a press that prints the pattern with a double layer of pigment (two kinds of colours are fed into the machine). Therefore, the upper layer becomes 3 to 4 mm thick. This tile is a viable option for the medium to heavy-traffic areas in your home. Price-wise, these tiles are cheaper than full body vitrified tiles.
2.3 Soluble Salt Vitrified Tiles
These are vitrified tiles that get printed with the screen-printing technology and then polished to give them a unique look. So, after using liquid colour for screen printing, the tile is subject to high pressure wherein the soluble salt liquid is infused to give them a specific colour and pattern. Hence, the name soluble salt vitrified tiles.
2.4 Glazed Vitrified Tiles
Glazed Vitrified Tiles (GVT) offers a glazed surface, which makes it an ideal choice for many types of interior designs and surface textures. Since these tiles boost the aesthetic appeal of the interiors, they are widely preferred by homeowners and interior designers.
03. Porcelain Tiles Flooring
Porcelain tiles are a special type of vitrified tiles. Presently, the use of these tiles has become limited. In the recent past, porcelain tiles were popularly used in the living room as well as in bedroom flooring. These tiles are stain-proof and moderately water-resistant.
(B) Stone Flooring
Stone flooring is natural, beautiful, and make an excellent focal element for a house. They are durable in comparison to synthetic or manmade stone options. Different types of natural stones are available today, namely granite, marble, limestone, slate, travertine, and sandstone among others. Though each of them has unique characteristics, they are hard by nature. Since they are naturally cool, they are ideal for houses located in warm and tropical climatic conditions.
As per the ‘Natural Stone Council’, “Granite, Marble, and Slate can last up to 100 years with proper maintenance.” All the natural stones need minimum maintenance support or polishing to retain its beauty. Cutting the stones into sizes can be a difficult task unless the job is performed by skilled cutters. Being natural, the shade and colour variation across the different pieces may vary. But that’s unavoidable. Lastly, the tile edges need to be chamfered the edges before fixing them on the floor. Since these tiles are heavy, the amount of dead load of the structure is significantly high.
04. Marble Flooring
Marble is a metamorphic rock. When properly finished, marble adds a grandeur appeal to the home interiors. This makes it a luxurious option for home flooring. As share by ‘Donald Watson,’ (the famous author of Time Saver Standards for Building Materials & Systems), marble is classified in four grades, namely Grade A, Grade B, Grade C, and Grade D. These grades define the quality of marble.
Marble flooring is very common in residential and commercial buildings, temples, hotels, and hospitals. It comes in different colours, such as pink, white, brown, black, and green. According to the ‘CPWD Specifications’, the most popular marble categories available in India are Makarana Marble, Ambaji Green Marble, Kesarayaji Green Marble, Rajnagar Plain White, and Udaipur Green Marble.
Italian marble, though expensive, is widely used because of its superiority an attractive appeal. Owing to its glamorous appeal, the Turkmenistan marble is also popular worldwide.
05. Granite Flooring
Granite is an igneous rock that’s used as a dimension stone for residential and commercial buildings. Granite flooring is a type of natural stone flooring that’s ideal for installing in the kitchen and the surrounding areas. Granite is also used in outdoor areas like driveways, stair treads, and swimming poolside. Though it’s a natural stone, granite flooring does not feel as cold as marble. Jhansi Red, Sindoori Red, and Baltic Brown are some of the popular granite varieties available in India.
Also Read: 10 Various Uses of Granite in Your Home
06. Limestone Flooring
Limestone flooring is known for its naturally-attractive texture. Limestone is a sedimentary rock that often features fossilized patterns, making it a perfect choice for bathrooms, dining rooms, and hallways. Kota blue, Jaisalmer yellow, and natural black are the popular limestone varieties available in India.
Listed below the popular limestone used in flooring mostly in India:
6.1 Kotah Stone Flooring
Kotah Stone is one of the most popular limestone varieties used for flooring in India. It is cheaper than marble and often used in the lobby, balcony, and pathways. It is not as attractive as marble and granite flooring.
Cleaning of Kota stone flooring is not difficult if the stones are polished adequately. Nowadays, with mirror polishing, they look pretty attractive. This stone flooring is known for its durability and long service life.
Normally, polished Kota stones are slippery; therefore, they cannot be used in public places like hospitals, corridors, or schools. In such areas, rough Kotah stone is used to avoid accidental slips and falls.
6.2 Travertine Flooring
Travertine is another type of limestone flooring. Nowadays, the travertine is one of the softest flooring available in the market. It is characterized by pitted holes and troughs; but these anomalies are often filled before honing or polishing, to get a smooth surface finish. This stone is a popular modern flooring option for kitchens and bathrooms.
Travertine flooring can be more susceptible to staining than granite or marbles. Hence, these tiles demand periodic cleaning and maintenance. To get more information on travertine floor, read: Travertine Floor to Increase Beauty of your Home Decor!
07. Sandstone Flooring
Sandstone flooring is composed of loose grains of quartz sand that render a rough texture to the tile. Its inherent natural beauty makes sandstone flooring a great option for interior floors as well as exterior decoration including flooring, paving, or parking. Some of the popular sandstone in India are Jodhpur Pink, Agra Red, Dholpur Red, Rajula Pink, and Dhrangadhra.
08. Slate Flooring
Slate flooring is made of metamorphic rock that was formed in layers. This makes it easy to split into thin sheets that can be cut into tiles. Rough and rugged surfaces of slate flooring are perfect for entryways, patios, and kitchens.
This flooring is soft and somehow brittle and does not have a long life. However, slate flooring looks attractive because of its shine and texture.
Kund Rustic, Himachal black, Raja Red, and Shimla white are the popular slate stone brands available in India. According to the ‘Indian Bureau of Mines,’ slate is a low-cost alternative to granite and marble with considerable durability. This is the reason slate stone flooring is quite popular. However, due to its porosity, it often change its colour.
(C) Wood Flooring
Wood flooring is an age-old traditional type of flooring material; however, it renders a timeless appeal to the house because of which it continues to be in vogue. It is commonly used in hilly areas and in damp places. Wood flooring is available in strips, thin blocks, and planks from various softwoods and hardwoods. As stated by ‘Donald Watson’ (published in Time Saver Standards for Building Materials & Systems), with proper care and maintenance, wood flooring may last for 50 years or more. Since most wooden flooring types are expensive, very few are able to afford it.
Also Read: Pros and Cons of Wood Flooring
Here are the most common types of wooden flooring available today.
09. Solid Wood Flooring
Solid wood flooring is made from a piece of wood and usually built with a thickness of around 20 mm. Solid wood flooring can be used in any room, except the moisture-prone areas such as kitchen, bathrooms, and basements.
10. Engineered Wood Flooring
11. Laminate Wood Flooring
Laminate wood flooring is produced by placing a layer of a photographic image of natural wood on a fiberboard. As it is a synthetic product, it does not give the look and feel of natural wood. Laminate wood flooring can be installed in any room such as the living room, bedroom, and dining room except wet areas like the bathroom and laundry rooms. Since their thickness is low, laminate floor planks are light-weight.
(D) Mosaic Flooring
Mosaic flooring is made of small pieces of coloured stones, tiles, or glass to render an artistic appeal to the home decor. Mosaic can be arranged in different patterns and colours using coloured cement.
Here are the common types of mosaic flooring:
12. Cement Mosaic Flooring
Cement mosaic flooring is precast tiles which are made by cement concrete and coloured stone chips embedded into it. This flooring material is mostly used in rooms having high footfall, like the living room, bedroom, and kitchen. This flooring variety lasts long and isn’t very slippery.
Cement mosaic flooring option was the commonest type flooring before vitrified tiles came into the market. Besides durability, this flooring is easy-to-install and budget-friendly.
13. China Mosaic Flooring
China mosaic flooring is a vintage type of flooring. Mosaics are made from small round pieces of ceramic or porcelain tiles. This flooring can be used to create attractive and interesting patterns. China mosaic flooring is mostly used on rooftops, the terrace area, and outdoor areas like the patio.
It’s falsely believed that these tiles have a waterproof layer. However, that’s not the case.
14. Glass Mosaic Flooring
The glass mosaic flooring comprises of multicoloured glass stones, ceramic tile called tessera embedded in background material such as mortar. These tiles have a multicoloured block in them with a glass finish that makes them shine.
You can use them in the kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms, and swimming pools. These types of flooring materials are resistant to stains and mould and are available in a range of attractive colours.
(E) Miscellaneous Types
There are also other types of flooring materials available in the market which are mostly used in commercial or other applications, i.e. epoxy flooring, acid-resistant flooring, metal flooring, linoleum flooring and others.
Let’s understand each of these flooring materials in detail.
15. PVC or Vinyl Flooring
PVC flooring is also known as vinyl flooring. These types of flooring material offer ultra-smooth top surface and an uneven lower surface. Vinyl flooring is a resilient flooring option because it is capable of returning to its original shape or position after being compressed. Vinyl flooring is a good choice for areas that are prone to spills and moisture such as kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and office areas. They are available in sheet or tile form. They are perhaps the most lightweight flooring material available today. But these tiles are prone to scratches and stains. According to ‘Donald Watson,’ author of Time Saver Standards for Building Materials & Systems, vinyl flooring can last up to the 10 to 15 years with periodical maintenance.
We have also written a detailed article on vinyl flooring, read here: 15 Things to Know Before Installing Vinyl Flooring or PVC Flooring
16. Terrazzo Flooring
Terrazzo flooring is a concrete surface with at least 70 percent of marble, granite, or quartz chips and 30 percent of either white, grey, or pigmented Portland Cement embedded in it. Terrazzo is either poured (like concrete) in situ (in your home) or readymade terrazzo tiles can be used.
Terrazzo flooring is commonly recommended for bathrooms, dining rooms, offices, and hospitals. It was the most popular material before the vitrified tiles were introduced in the market. Being jointless, these tiles look attractive. With mirror polishing easily available at affordable rates, this looks even more attractive. But it needs highly skilled labour.
17. Carpet Flooring
The carpet is made using wool or synthetic fibres, such as polypropylene, acrylic, nylon, wool, or polyester. It is the most versatile of all flooring options, featuring more colours and textures than the other type of flooring materials.
It is a kid-friendly flooring option widely used in children bedroom or nurseries worldwide. You can also use it also in the living room and bedroom. However, cleaning and maintaining the floor carpet is an additional effort and expense. It is popular in cold climate areas. However, if it is not cleaned frequently, it may turn dirty and exert a foul smell, hence not recommended in hot and humid areas and also in dust prone areas.
17.1 Grass Carpet Flooring
Nowadays, artificial grass carpet flooring is an extremely versatile option available to those wanting to improve their home’s curb appeal. It comprises thousands of thin strips of green plastic made from rubber granules from recycled tires. Grass carpet comes in rolls of various sizes. It is popularly used indoor as well as outdoor areas such as the patio, balcony, and rooftops.
18. Cork Flooring
Cork is a natural material obtained from the outer bark of cork oak tree. It is available in the form of coloured tiles or sheets. Cork flooring is mostly used in the kitchen and dining area. This type of flooring material is absolutely environment-friendly. Cork flooring is considered a renewable and sustainable natural resource that supports a green lifestyle.
19. Concrete Flooring
Concrete flooring is one of the oldest types of flooring. It is commonly used all across the world in almost all types of buildings. Concrete flooring is extremely strong and can withstand heavy foot traffic and loads. With the support of the latest polishing machines, concrete floors can be semi-polished and coloured with pigments too.
20. Brick Flooring
Brick flooring is one of the oldest types of flooring materials. It is majorly used in courtyards, stores, and godowns. Brick flooring is durable and provides a sufficiently hard floor surface. It provides a non-slippery and fire-resistant surface, which is safe and functional.
Also Read: 10 Qualities of a Good Clay Bricks
21. Glass Flooring
Glass flooring is not very common. It is mostly seen in aristocratic buildings, both residential and commercial. The main objective behind installing glass flooring is to have smooth and pleasing surface and make the building stand out from its surroundings. Glass flooring is generally bacteria-free and highly dirt-resistant.
22. Leather Flooring
Leather is a soft flooring material usually installed on the concrete and wooden subfloor.
It can be used in residential areas such as in the bedroom, living room, hallway, kitchens, as well as for commercial facilities like theatres and libraries. It is highly fire-resistant, soundproof, and easy to maintain.
We have also written a detailed article on leather tiles, read here: Leather Tiles: A Contemporary Choice for Flooring
23. Epoxy Flooring
Epoxy is a thermosetting resin agent often applied as a protective and decorative coating on the concrete floor to create Epoxy flooring. This type of flooring is commonly used in commercial and industrial plants such as food or beverage plants, in chemical test labs as well as in R&D laboratories, and warehouses. It is also used in hospitals, showrooms, sports room, and garages. It is available in varieties of colours.it possesses long-lasting durability as it is highly resistant to abrasive chemicals. Because of its hard and smooth coating, the flooring becomes easy to clean.
To know more about epoxy flooring, go through this article: Epoxy Flooring: An Ideal Flooring Material Option for your Homes!
24. Linoleum Flooring
Linoleum flooring is a resilient floor made of a mixture of linseed oil, wood or cork powder, and ground stone. The flooring mainly comprises of recyclable materials and is available in different colours, styles, and patterns. These types of flooring materials are water-resistant and easy to clean and maintain.
According to the ‘F Bastos, Raquel & Silveira, Paulo’ (Linoleum as Floor Covering: Characteristics, Application and Maintenance), “Linoleum can be applied on various kinds of flooring like ceramic tiles, concrete, and wood.” It is most commonly used in kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms.
25. Rubber Flooring
Rubber flooring is the most popular in Asian Countries. This type of flooring converts the floor into a noiseless surface. The flooring is highly durable and ideal for silent walking.
According to the ‘Indian Standards, IS 809: 1992‘, (Rubber Flooring Materials for General Purposes – Specification), the thickness of rubber flooring generally ranges between 3 mm to 6 mm. The initial cost of rubber flooring is a little bit high. However, it has an excellent wearing surface.
26. Acid Resisting Flooring
It is a commercial heavy-duty flooring, randomly used in chemical laboratories, acid-manufacturing factories, and storage battery factory buildings where the floor can be harmed by acid accidents. For enhanced floor safety, acid-resisting floor finishing is used.
27. Magnesite Flooring
Magnesite flooring consists of calcined magnesite, magnesium chloride, wood dust, ground quartz or silica, and finely-powdered wood waste. It is used as finishing surface on concrete floor slabs. It is also known as the composition of a “jointless floor or seamless floor”. This type of flooring, although not very common, is inexpensive, and mostly creates a smooth surface, which can be laid jointless on the rough surface as the material is quite flexible.
28. Metal Flooring
Metal flooring is an excellent flooring for heavy traffic areas where strength and durability is the main aspect. This type of flooring can be used in multi-storey buildings, mezzanine floor, bridge walkways, porches, ramps, parking, garages, and storage facilities. It is available in the form of a plate or grating.
28.1 Metal Plate Flooring
The metal plate flooring is available in a smooth or raised pattern to improve its grip and minimize the possibility of slipping.
28.2 Metal Grating
A metal grating is available with concrete fill and generally used over the steel framing. It is often found in sidewalks, stair treads, and fire escapes.
29. Mud Flooring
Mud flooring is one of the most suitable options for tropical climatic conditions like in the Indian sub-continent. It is commonly used in rural areas. Mud flooring is inexpensive and turns hard after drying. It is fairly waterproof and easy to install. However, it is difficult to maintain and has a short lifespan.
Selection of flooring material is always an intricate task; however, it has to be logical and truly functional.
In general, the basic choice always lies between natural stones like marble, polished Kota, granite, and artificial tiles. There are two schools of thoughts among architects and both have sound reasons to support their views. However, you should consider your lifestyle, local climatic conditions, cost, ease of cleaning, and other factors shares in this post before making a decision.
In olden days, the rough stones available from the limestone mines were used for making the floor. The cement mosaic tiles were considered innovative and attractive when they entered the market the first time.
The Terrazzo flooring was once very popular in northern India. But limited availability of skilled labour and polishing technicians is an issue. Hence, this type of floor is not in much use. Marble, Kota stone, and granite found their way to the home decor market when easy polishing techniques were introduced. However, because of huge transportation cost, their weight, time for installation, and the issues faced while polishing natural stones, ceramic and vitrified tiles gained popularity.
In the past, mirror polish was very costly and skilled labour for installing and finishing wasn’t easily available. The natural stones including cement mosaic tiles, therefore, were used to create a dull look almost like today’s matt finish tiles. During this period, there was a shift from natural stones to ceramic and vitrified tiles. Somehow, these days, mirror polish is easily available at an affordable cost. The skilled workforce is returning back to work for natural stone polishing and fitting. However, owing to its high cost, marble flooring is still beyond the range of consumers with an average financial status.
The taste and preferences of consumers will continue to evolve. Change in lifestyle has created a huge demand for a wide variety of flooring materials. As a homeowner, you get to choose from different types of flooring materials that are available with varied textures, styles, and colours.
Before you finally opt for a suitable flooring option for your abode, don’t forget that you and your loved ones will be using it almost every minute spent at home. So, let your choice be inspired by logic, not impulse. Select the flooring based on your lifestyle, ease of maintenance, and budget.
Do you still have questions and queries? We have a list of frequently asked questions from our clients and valued readers.
01. Can I Lay the Vitrified Tiles Over Existing Mosaic Tiles?
Yes. However, it is advisable that you lay it with the help of a chemical adhesive which will restrict the thickness of bed below. If you use mortar, it will increase the thickness and you will have to cut all the doors accordingly. Further, laying vitrified tiles on mosaic tiles directly will save time and also save you from the nuisance of dismantling the mosaic tiles and handling its debris. If you want to know more about tile adhesive, read this article – Tile Adhesive & Its Various Types
02. Can I Lay Vitrified Tiles in Bathroom?
Yes. However, always use a matt or satin finish so that it does not become slippery when wet.
03. I Want to Avoid Many Joints; Can I Use 3 ft X 3 ft Tiles?
The larger the size, the more is the possibility of a bend in the tiles. Hence, the corners and edges may not perfectly match when laid. This can cause injuries in the foot if you walk barefoot. Hence, you may have to put in extra efforts while laying the tiles, ensuring that the edges match on all the four sides of the adjoining tiles. So, it’s better to use 2 ft X 2 ft tiles.
04. One of My Friend Advised me not to Use Polished Kotah Stone or Marble as there is Lot of Colour and Shade Variation.
Your friend is right, you cannot avoid colour and shade variation in natural stones. However, an experienced mason will take precaution in assorting the stone, ensuring a similar colour and shade in a room. This requires both time and efforts.
05. One of My Friends Advised me that Italian Marble Though Beautiful are Very Soft and Brittle. Can I Use them?
Yes, Italian marble is soft to the extent that if it’s not handled properly while lifting or cutting, they will either crack or break. Many manufacturers apply chemicals before using them, thereby reinforcing them with fibres. You really need a very skilled mason to use Italian marble, failing which your wastage will be as high as 50 to 100 percent.
06. Many People Say That the Marble Absorb the Oil and other Liquid and It Stains, Should I Use Marble?
Remember all that is available in marble mines is not marble. The marble has different varieties. The porous ones are bound to get stained. Hence, one should use only good-quality marble, that’s usually quite pricey. If you cannot afford them, avoid using marble altogether and opt for similar-looking vitrified tiles instead.
07. I Have Observed That Marble Gets Yellow Over a Period of Time.
As explained above, unless marble is of good quality it will become yellow. This is because marble contains Ferrous oxide which gets oxidised and converts to Ferric oxide which is yellow. Hence, it’s wise to avoid cheap-quality marble.
08. What is the Best Flooring for Staircases?
Normally jointless one-piece flooring is preferred on the staircase. Good-quality marble is costly. Granite is strong and affordable but tends to get slippery. If you cannot afford marble, use polished Kota stone. In case you choose granite, provide 2-3 grooves so that it is less slippery.