25+ Popular Types of Flooring Materials for Your House
Kinjal Mistry is a Civil Engineer and content writer who is working at gharpedia.com for the last two years. She is writing a creative article and also solve on any house related problems, specially Flooring, Painting, Doors and Windows.
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Flooring is the heart of your home. Furniture and fittings in your home are easier to change, but the flooring is something that is a permanent floor component and cannot be changed at ease. Changing the flooring is an extensive job. Also, it may turn costly in terms of expense as well as hassle. Hence, you have to be choosy in understanding your flooring needs.
Choosing flooring for your new house is a challenging task. Every flooring option has its pros and cons. However, there are various types of flooring materials available in the market, so you have a wide range of options in your hand for your final selection. It is indeed a boon but too many options at times may turn the trigger of dilemma… so stay alert!
However, it is an old saying that ‘where there is a will, there is a way’. Let’s start finding the popular types of flooring you can happily opt for.
Choosing flooring materials usually depends on personal discretion. But more than whims and fancy, you should select the flooring based on the following criteria:
- Personal Likes and related lifestyle
- Advantages of the flooring material you have selected with respect to its usage and function
- Ease or Difficulty of Installation
- Required Level of Finishing
- Maintenance i.e. Cleaning
- Expected Traffic on the Flooring
Here we have tried to define various types of flooring materials which modern homeowners have liked for their home’s flooring:
Various Types of Flooring Materials
(A) Tiles Flooring
Amongst all the types of flooring used in the house, “tile flooring” is a very common and popular option. These tiles are available in varieties of colours, textures, and patterns.
Flooring Tiles are of different types like vitrified tiles, ceramic tiles, porcelain tiles, etc. We are narrating a brief explanation on all the various types of tiles:
01. Ceramic Tiles Flooring
Ceramic tiles are made of a mix of clay and water. These tiles are used in indoor as well as in outdoor areas. Ceramic tiles are ideal for installing in moist areas like bathrooms, kitchens, etc. as these tiles are not very slippery as compared to vitrified tiles.
02. Vitrified Tiles Flooring
A Vitrified tile is one type of ceramic tiles with lower porosity. Vitrified tiles are most commonly used in the heavy duty areas like living room, kitchen, bedroom, etc. These tiles are made with a typical glossy finish as compared to ceramic tiles. However, these tiles are also available with matt finish.
Wide varieties of vitrified tiles are available in the consumer market like;
2.1 Full Body Vitrified Tiles
Full body vitrified tiles display unique pigment in the entire thickness of the tile body. Therefore, these tiles are mostly scratch-proof type. Furthermore, at the time of cutting these tiles, you can create the borders with the same tiles: the same colour and material in border create a total 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. It is a viable option for medium traffic areas to heavy duty areas in your home. Price-wise, these tiles are cheaper than full body vitrified tiles.
2.3 Soluble Salt Vitrified Tiles
Vitrified tiles get printed with screen printing technology and then after polishing takes a new look altogether. Therefore it is called soluble salt.
2.4 Glazed Vitrified Tiles
Glazed Vitrified Tiles (GVT) offers a glazed surface, which is friendly to many types of designs, surface textures, etc. for inscribing on it. It can enhance the aesthetics of the area elegantly.
03. Porcelain Tiles Flooring
Porcelain tiles are a special type of vitrified tiles. Presently, the use of these tiles has become limited. In 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 in terms of style statement stands against the test of time in contrast to other synthetic or manmade stone products. Natural stone comes in different varieties such as granite, marble, limestone, slate, travertine, sandstone, etc. All the variants are known for their unique characteristics. But all are hardy by nature and the natural cool, hard surface of the stone tiles are ideal for using it in warm and tropical climates.
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 like polishing to retain its beauty. Cutting the stones into sizes can be a difficult task unless it is done with skilled cutters. Being natural, the shade and colour variation across the different pieces is unavoidable. You have to chamfer the edges before fixing it on the floor. Being heavy in weight, it markedly increases the dead load of the structure.
04. Marble Flooring
Marble is a metamorphic rock. When properly finished, it can transform the area like a magic. As said by ‘Donald Watson’, (Famous author of Time Saver Standards for Building Materials & Systems), Marble is classified in four grades: Grade A, Grade B, Grade C & Grade D. These grades define the quality of marble.
Marble flooring is very common in residential and commercial buildings, temple, hotels, hospitals, etc. Marble comes in different colours, like pink, white, brown, black, green, etc.
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, Udaipur Green Marble, etc.
Italian marble is a costly variety but it is now abundantly available for use. Italian and Turkmenistan marbles are popular worldwide for their glamour and outstanding durability.
05. Granite Flooring
Granite is an example of igneous rock. Granite flooring is a type of natural stone flooring and is ideal for installing in the kitchen and surrounding areas. Granite is also used in outdoor areas like pathways like driveways, stair treads, swimming poolside, etc. Granite flooring does not feel as cold as marble.
Jhansi Red, Sindoori Red, Baltic Brown, etc. are some of the popular granite in India.
Also Read: 10 Various Uses of Granite in Your Home
06. Limestone Flooring
Limestone flooring are known for their naturally beautiful texture as these are sedimentary rocks by nature. Limestone flooring is a perfect choice for bathrooms, dining rooms, and hallways. Kota blue, Jaisalmer yellow, natural black, etc. 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 popular limestone varieties used for flooring in India. It is cheaper than marble flooring, and can be used in the lobby, balcony, pathways, etc. 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 longer service life.
Normally, polished kotah stones are slippery therefore it cannot be used in public places like hospitals, corridors, schools. At such places, rough kotah stone can be use.
6.2 Travertine Flooring
Travertine is another type of limestone flooring. Nowadays, the travertine variety is one of the softest flooring available in the market. It is characterized by pitted holes and troughs in its surface although these anomalies are often filled before honing or polishing, to get a smooth surface finish. This stone flooring is most commonly used in kitchens and bathrooms in modern flooring.
Travertine flooring can be more susceptible to staining than granite or marble varieties. Hence these tiles demand periodic cleaning and other maintenance.
07. Sandstone Flooring
Sandstone flooring is composed of loose grains of quartz sand that are rough in texture. The inherent natural beauty makes a sandstone flooring great for interior floors as well as for exterior decoration including flooring, paving, parking, etc. Some of the popular sandstone in India are Jodhpur Pink. Agra Red, Dholpur Red, Rajula Pink, Dhrangadhra, etc.
08. Slate Flooring
Slate flooring is made of metamorphic rock once formed in layers and now these are easy to split into thin sheets to 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 do not have a long life although they look attractive for the shine and texture.
Kund Rustic, Himachal black, Raja Red, Shimla white, etc. are the popular slate stone brands available in India. According to the ‘Indian Bureau of Mines’, slate is the low cost alternative to granite and marble with considerable durability. This is the reason slate stone flooring is quite popular.
(C) Wood Flooring
Wood flooring is an age-old traditional type of flooring material; however, it has never been outdated for its timeless appeal. It is used under special circumstances such as 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 upto 50 or more years. This flooring option is quite costly; hence cannot be everybody’s cup of tea.
Also Read: Pros and Cons of Wood Flooring
There are various types of wooden flooring which are found commonly in use:
09. Solid Wood Flooring
Solid wood flooring is made from a piece of wood, and generally it is built with a thickness of around 20 mm. Solid wood flooring is compatible to any room, except the moisture prone areas such as kitchen, bathrooms, and basements are strict NO for woody installation.
10. Engineered Wood Flooring
Engineered wood flooring is made with the core of plywood and a layer of solid wood attached to its top. It can be installed even in kitchen areas, apart from other rooms of your house. Engineered wood flooring offers an attractive look, which is somehow more appealing than common laminate 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 living room, bedroom, and dining room except wet areas like bathroom and laundry rooms. Their thickness is quite low; hence laminate floor planks are light in weight.
(D) Mosaic Flooring
Mosaic flooring is made of small pieces of coloured stones, tiles, or glass to render an artful design. Mosaic can be arranged in different patterns and colours by using coloured cement.
Further, the following 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 mostly used in residential premises like in living room, bedroom, kitchen, etc. This flooring variety lasts long and not 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 create and quite budget friendly.
13. China Mosaic Flooring
China mosaic flooring is an old vintage type of flooring. Mosaics are made from small round pieces of ceramic or porcelain tiles. This flooring create a nice pattern and displays a beautiful look. China mosaic flooring is mostly used in the roof-top terrace area and in outdoor areas like patio, etc.
There is a common myth of the waterproof layer quality of this flooring, but actually it is not waterproof.
14. Glass Mosaic Flooring
The glass mosaic flooring comprises of multi coloured glass stone, ceramic tile called tessera, in a 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, bathroom, bedroom, swimming pool, etc. The use of mosaic will give a decorative look to enjoy.
(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, etc.
Let’s understand these flooring materials in details one-by-one.
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 also familiar as resilient floor because it is capable of returning to an original shape or position after having been compressed. Vinyl flooring is a good choice for areas that are prone to spills and moisture such as kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, also for offices, etc. They are availbale in sheet or tile form. They are perhaps the most lightweight floor materal. But these are quite scratch-prone. According to ‘Donald Watson‘, (author of Time Saver Standards for Building Materials & Systems), vinyl flooring can last upto the 10 to 15 years with periodical maintenance.
16. Terrazzo Flooring
Terrazzo flooring is a concrete surface with at least 70 % of marble, granite, or quartz chips and 30 % of either white, gray or pigmented Portland Cement embedded in it. Terrazzo is either poured (like concrete) in situ (i.e. in your home) or you can use readymade terrazzo tiles. Terrazzo flooring is commonly recommended for bathrooms, dining rooms, offices, hospitals, etc. It was the most popular material before the vitrified tiles were introduced in the market. Being jointless, these tiles look attractive.
17. Carpet Flooring
In carpet flooring, the carpet is made from wool or from synthetic fibers, such as polypropylene, acrylic, nylon, wool, or polyester. It is the most versatile of all flooring options, featuring more colours and textures than any other types of flooring materials.
It is a kid’s friendly flooring option widely used in the kid’s bedroom almost worldwide. You can use it also in the living room, bedroom, etc. However, cleaning of the floor carpet can be an issue. It is popular in cold climate areas. However, if it is not cleaned frequently, it may turn dirty and often exerts a foul smell.
17.1 Grass Carpet Flooring
Nowadays, artificial grass carpet flooring extremely versatile option available. It is made with thousands of thin strips of green plastic and using the rubber granules which are made from recycled tires often used in the base of the artificial grass. Grass carpet comes in rolls of various sizes. It is popularly used indoor as well as outdoor areas such as in patio, balconies, rooftops, etc.
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, dining areas, etc. This type of flooring material is absolutely environment-friendly. Cork flooring is considered a renewable and sustainable natural resource that supports 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 extremely heavy-duty in its performance. With the support of the latest polishing machines, concrete floors can be semi-polished and can be 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, godowns, etc. Brick flooring is durable and provides a sufficiently hard floor surface. It provides a non-slippery and fire-resistant surface, which is safe and work friendly.
Also Read: 10 Qualities of a Good Clay Bricks
21. Glass Flooring
Glass flooring is not very common. It is seen mostly in aristocratic buildings, both residential and public places. The main objective behind installing glass flooring is to have smooth and pleasing surface. Glass flooring is generally bacteria-free and highly dirt-resistant.
22. Leather Flooring
Leather is a softer flooring material which can be 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 theaters, libraries, etc. It is highly fire resistant, soundproof, and quite easy to maintain, etc.
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. Epoxy 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, warehouses, etc. Also, this type of flooring is used in hospitals, showrooms, sports room, garages, and so on. It is available in varieties of colours. It gives long lasting durability of flooring by adding high resistance to abrasive chemicals. With epoxy coating, the floor becomes easy to clean.
To know more about epoxy flooring, we have already written a detailed article on it, read here: Epoxy Flooring: An Ideal Flooring Material Option for your Homes!.
24. Linoleum Flooring
Linoleum flooring is a one type of resilient floor which is made of a mix of linseed oil, wood or cork powder, and ground stone. It is made of recyclable materials and is available in different colours, styles and patterns, and it is water resistant.
According to the ‘F Bastos, Raquel & Silveira, Paulo’ (Linoleum as Floor Covering: Characteristics, Application and Maintenance), “Linoleum can be applied on any kind of floor like ceramic tiles, concrete, wood, etc.” It is most commonly used in kitchen, bathroom, and laundry rooms.
25. Rubber Flooring
Rubber flooring is the most popular in Asian Countries. This type of flooring converts the floor in a noiseless surface, which is comfortable for silent walking, and it is highly durable in terms of longevity. This type of flooring is also popular as resilient floor.
According to the ‘Indian Standards, IS 809: 1992‘, (Rubber Flooring Materials for General Purposes – Specification), the thickness of rubber flooring generally ranges between 3mm to 6mm. The initial cost of rubber flooring is a little bit high. But it gives excellent wearing surface.
26. Acid Resisting Flooring
It is a commercial heavy duty flooring, randomly used in chemical laboratories, acid manufacturing factories, storage battery factory buildings and such other places 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 fine 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.
Also Read: 4 Major Causes of Squeaky Floor!
28. Metal Flooring
Metal flooring is an excellent flooring to for heavy traffic areas where strength and durability is the main aspect. This type of flooring can be used in multi-story buildings, mezzanine floor, bridge walkways, porches, ramps, parking, garages, storage facilities, etc. It is available in form of plate, grating, etc.
28.1 Metal Plate Flooring
Metal plate is available in smooth or raised pattern to minimize the possibility of slipping.
28.2 Metal Grating
Metal grating is available with concrete fill and generally used over the steel framing. It is often found in sidewalks, stair treads, fire escapes, etc.
29. Mud Flooring
Mud flooring is one of the most suitable options for Indian conditions and tropical climates. It is commonly used in rural areas. Mud flooring is inexpensive and turns hard when done. It is fairly waterproof, and easy to construct. However, it is difficult to maintain and have a short span of life.
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 the natural stones like marble, polished kota, granite and artificial tiles. There are two schools of thoughts among architects and both have sound reasons at their support. Ultimately, it is a personal choice based on personal discretion. However, ultimately the factors like the cost, look, service-life, ease of cleaning, and maintenance play a decisive role in the final selection of flooring.
In olden days, the rough stones available from the limestone mines were used for making floor. The cement mosaic tiles were considered innovative and attractive when they entered the market first time.
The Terrazzo flooring was once very popular in northern India. But limited availability of skilled labour and polishing technicians was an issue and hence now this variety of floor is not in much use.
Marble, kota stone, and granite found their market share once easy polishing techniques were introduced. However, because of huge transportation cost, heavy weight, time in installation and problems in polishing with all natural stones a shift took place to ceramic and vitrified tiles, which are very popular nowadays.
In the past, mirror polish was very costly and installing and finishing support was not 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, a shift from natural stones to ceramic and vitrified tiles came in trend. Somehow mirror polish is nowadays available easily and it is affordable by cost too. The skilled workforce is returning back to work for natural stone polishing and fitting. But somehow marble flooring is still beyond the range of consumers with mediocre financial status.
The taste and preference of consumers are always evolving and dynamic. Change in lifestyle has created a huge demand for different varieties nowadays for flooring. Now you can choose from different types of flooring materials that are available with varied textures, styles, and colours.
Before you finally opt for the flooring for your sweet home, don’t forget that you are going to use the flooring round the clock, round the year, almost at every minute spent at home. So, let your choice be inspired by logic and not by impulse. Select the flooring based on your lifestyle, ability to maintain the same, and of course, considering your budget.
While reading all the above exhaustive information, your mind might have bombarded you with so many questions and queries. Normally, these are the queries, which have also been put to us as a consultant by our clients during our professional life of last 40 years. Also, some of the following queries are raised by our valued readers. So, we would therefore like to elaborate the same.
01. Can I Lay the Vitrified Tiles Over Existing Mosaic Tiles?
Yes, but it is advisable to lay it with the help of 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 which is not advisable for all. 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 here: Tile Adhesive & Its Various Types
02. Can I Lay Vitrified Tiles in Bathroom?
Yes, but always use matt finish 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 possibility of bend in the tiles. Due to the same, the corners and edges may not perfectly match when laid. This can cause injuries in foot if you walk barefoot. Hence though you can do it but you will have to do “trial and error” exercise while laying to match the edges of all four sides with the adjoining tiles. Hence it is better if you use 2 ft X 2 ft.
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 any kind of natural stones. However, experienced mason takes precaution in assorting the stone, so that you use one similar colour and shade in one room. This will require “an effort and time” both. Normally a skilled worker can do it very easily.
05. One of My Friend Advised me that Italian Marble Though Look Very Beautiful are Very Soft, Can I Use it?
Yes, most of the Italian marbles are very soft to the extent that if you don’t handle them properly while lifting, they will either crack or break. Many manufacturers apply chemicals and reinforce it with fibres before use. You really need a very skilled mason to use Italian marble otherwise your wastage will be as high as 50 to 100%.
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 and if they are porous, it is bound to get stained, so use only good quality marble, which is usually very costly. If you cannot afford, don’t fall in love with marble and use similar looking vitrified tiles instead.
07. I Have Observed That Marble Gets Yellow Over Period of Time.
As explained above, unless marble is of good quality it will become yellow as it contains Ferrous oxide which, when oxidised and becomes Feric oxide due to which the marble becomes yellow. Avoid cheap quality of marble.
08. What is the Best Flooring for Staircase?
Normally jointless one-piece flooring is preferred on staircase. Marble with all limitation as described above is very costly. Granite is strong but sometimes slippery. If you cannot afford marble, polish kotah stone of one good uniform colour is the best choice. If you use granite, provide 2-3 grooves so that it is less slippery. But please note that this will collect dust.