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Types of Flooring

Do you need a little more information to help you choose the right flooring for your Home, Office or Retail? Here's a brief overview of different types of flooring and where they can be installed. Whether you’re building a new home, office or making changes to your existing one, your needs may vary throughout your primary living spaces. Flooring material choices are forever growing and a wide range is available to suit your needs. You can choose flooring that is hard or soft and pick from a wide a variety of styles and colors. You may prefer a softer material underfoot in the bedroom and flooring that is easier to maintain in the kitchen.

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. Let's Know more about the wide range of flooring materials used today.

Though choosing the flooring is a matter of personal preference, one should consider the below-mentioned factors too.

  • Lifestyle

  • Advantages with respect to its usage and function

  • Quality

  • Ease or difficulty of installation

  • The level of finishing needed

  • Maintenance and cleaning

  • Budget

  • Expected foot traffic on the Flooring

Broadly Flooring can be categorized in 4 -

A. Tile Flooring

B. Natural Stone

C. Wood and

D. Others

We will try to understand one by one,

A. Tile Flooring -

Today, tile flooring is most popular option among all, as it’s highly versatile and comes in a variety of colors, textures, and patterns. There are available as vitrified tiles, ceramic tiles, porcelain tiles, and many more.

1.Ceramic Tile - 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. Now a days we can get many color, design & patterns in this.

2.Vitrified Tiles - 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 or Matt finish also. There are 4 types of Vitrified Tiles available in market

a. Full Body Vitrified Tiles - it display unique pigment through the entire thickness of the tile body. Therefore, these tiles are scratch-proof.

b. Double Charged Vitrified Tiles - fed through a press that prints the pattern with a double layer of pigment (two kinds of colors are fed into the machine). So, the upper layer becomes 3 to 4 mm thick. This tile is a viable option for the medium to heavy-traffic areas. Price-wise, these tiles are cheaper than full body vitrified tiles.

c. Soluble Salt Vitrified Tiles - these are printed with the screen-printing technology and then polished to give them a unique look. after using liquid color for screen printing, the tile is subject to high pressure wherein the soluble salt liquid is infused to give them a specific color and pattern. That's why it is called Soluble Salt.

d. Glazed Vitrified Tiles - GTV offers a glazed surface. Since these tiles boost the aesthetic appeal of the interiors, they are widely preferred by interior designers.

3. Porcelain Tiles Flooring - special type of vitrified tiles. Now a days, the use of these tiles has become limited. These tiles were popularly used in the living room as well as in bedroom flooring. These tiles are stain-proof and moderately water-resistant.

B. Natural Stone

They are much more durable in comparison to synthetic or man-made stone options. 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 color 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. As per the ‘Natural Stone Council’, “Granite, Marble, and Slate can last up to 100 years with proper maintenance.” Different types of natural stones are available today, namely granite, marble, limestone, slate, travertine, and sandstone and others.

1. Granite - is an igneous rock that’s used as a dimension stone for residential and commercial buildings. Its ideal & widely used for installing in the kitchen slab and the surrounding areas. Granite is also used in outdoor areas like driveways, stair treads, and swimming poolside. There are different color of Granites available in Indian market like Black Galaxy, Jhansi Red, Sindoori Red, and Baltic Brown etc.

2. Marble - Marble is a metamorphic rock. This makes it a luxurious option for home flooring. It is classified in four grades, namely Grade A, Grade B, Grade C, and Grade D. These grades define the quality of marble. Marble is very common in residential and commercial buildings, temples, hotels, and hospitals. It comes in different colors, such as pink, white, brown, black, and green.

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.

3. LimeStone - 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. The popular limestone used are Kota Stone (Polished & Rough) & Travertine.

Kota Stone is most popular type of natural stone. It is cheaper than marble and often used in the lobby, balcony, and pathways. It is not as attractive as marble and granite flooring. After mirror polishing they look pretty attractive. As they are slippery, they cannot be used in public places like hospitals, corridors, or schools.

Travertine is other type of Lime Stone. It 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. Travertine, can be more susceptible to staining than granite or marbles. Hence, these tiles demand periodic cleaning and maintenance.

4. SandStone - Some of the popular sandstone in India are Jodhpur Pink, Agra Red, Dholpur Red, Rajula Pink, and Dhrangadhra. It 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.

5. Slate - is made of metamorphic rock that was formed in layers. Rough and rugged surfaces of slate flooring are perfect for entryways, patios, and kitchens. It is soft and somehow brittle and does not have a long life. However, slate flooring looks attractive because of its shine and texture. Slate is a low-cost alternative to granite and marble with considerable durability. However, due to its porosity, it often change its color. Kund Rustic, Himachal black, Raja Red, and Shimla white are the popular slate stone.

C. Wood Flooring

Its an age-old traditional type of flooring material. 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. Since most wooden flooring types are expensive, very few are able to afford it. Solid Wood, Engineered Wood, Laminate Wood are most common types of wooden flooring available today. Now a days they are available in different color, textures and type of woods.

1. Solid Wood - 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.

2. Engineered Wood - is made with the core of plywood and a layer of solid wood attached to its top. Besides other rooms, it can also be installed in the cooking area too. Engineered wood flooring offers an attractive look, which is somehow more appealing than common laminate wood flooring. It is less expensive then Solid Wood and mostly called as "wooden flooring". There is quality AC3, AC4 AC5 etc., which is about the thickness. These are available in different type of colors, size and texture.

3. Laminate - 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. Since their thickness is low, laminate floor planks are light-weight.

D. Mosaic

Mosaic is made of small pieces of colored stones, tiles, or glass to render an artistic appeal to the home decor. Mosaic can be arranged in different patterns and colors using colored cement.

1. Cement Mosaic Flooring - is precast tiles which are made by cement concrete and colored stone chips embedded into it. This flooring material is mostly used in rooms having high footfall area. This flooring variety lasts long and isn’t very slippery. This is the commonest type flooring before vitrified tiles came into the market. Besides durability, this flooring is easy-to-install and budget-friendly.

2. 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.

3. Glass Mosaic Flooring - comprises of multicolored glass stones, ceramic tile called tessera embedded in background material such as mortar. These tiles have a multicolored block in them with a glass finish that makes them shine. You can use them in the kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms, and swimming pools.

E. Other

There are also other types of flooring materials available in the market which are mostly used in commercial or other applications, i.e. rubber, Vinyl, leather, glass, metal, epoxy flooring, acid-resistant flooring, metal flooring, linoleum flooring and others.

1. PVC or 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. It comes in roll or tile of different sizes also.

2.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) or ready made terrazzo tiles can be used. Being joint less, these tiles look attractive. With mirror polishing easily available at affordable rates, this looks even more attractive. It needs highly skilled labor.

3.Carpet Flooring - is made using wool or synthetic fibers, such as polypropylene, acrylic, nylon, wool, or polyester. It is the most versatile of all flooring options, featuring more colors and textures than the other type of flooring materials. Cleaning and maintaining the floor carpet is an additional effort and expense. 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.

Grass Carpet Flooring is also preferred options for 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.

4. Cork Flooring - is a natural material obtained from the outer bark of cork oak tree. It is available in the form of colored tiles or sheets. This type of flooring material is absolutely environment-friendly. Cork flooring is considered a renewable and sustainable natural resource that supports a green lifestyle.

5. 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 colored with pigments too.

6. Brick Flooring - 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.

7. Glass Flooring - 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.

8. Leather Flooring - is a soft flooring material usually installed on the concrete and wooden sub floor. It can be used in residential areas such as in the bedroom, living room, hallway, kitchens, as well as for commercial facilities like theaters and libraries. It is highly fire-resistant, soundproof, and easy to maintain.

9. Epoxy Flooring - 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 colors. 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.

10. 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 colors, styles, and patterns. These types of flooring materials are water-resistant and easy to clean and maintain. 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.

11. Rubber Flooring - 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.

12. 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 “joint less floor or seamless floor”. This type of flooring, although not very common, is inexpensive, and mostly creates a smooth surface, which can be laid joint less on the rough surface as the material is quite flexible.

There are many more types of flooring like Metal, Acid Resisting, Mud but not taking up here. 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 the past, mirror polish was very costly and skilled labor 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.

Change in lifestyle has created a huge demand for a wide variety of flooring materials. 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.

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