During the process of designing a new home or remodelling an old one, changing the flooring is often one of the priorities as it gets worn out over time. While one might consider the different materials that can be used, the type of floor finishes is not given much importance. However, choosing the right type of finish can complete the overall look of the house, so when working with a professional architect or interior designer, it’s important to discuss the available options as well as the advantages and disadvantages that each one offers.
Every type of material, whether it’s wood, stone, ceramic or vinyl flooring can come in glossy or matte finishes. Similarly, for heavy-traffic areas such as entrance passageways, it’s advisable to use floor finishes that are abrasion resistant. In some areas, such as kitchens and bathrooms, certain types of flooring can get damaged if exposed to acid. The climate in the area also influences the choice of the floor finish. For example, a marble floor might feel cool under the feet in a coastal region but is ill-suited for a place with cold climate. A professional can provide the best advice.
How does one decide on the perfect floor finishes? Durability is a key factor for the flooring as it should look good for years. Additionally, one needs the floor to look stylish, besides being maintenance-free, fire-resistant and moisture resistant. Similarly, one should decide between soft and hard floor finishes.
We provide some tips and ideas to help with the process of picking the right one.
One has a range of materials to choose, including stone, porcelain tiles, laminates and wood flooring. Each of these has specific characteristics that make them more suitable for certain areas.
Among the types of natural stone that are easily available in India are granite, marble and slate.
While it is among the more expensive floor finishes for homeowners who want a hard material, granite is highly durable, stylish and resistant to chemicals. The material can be polished to give it a smooth and shiny finish. Alternatively, it can be honed for a less slippery surface. Granite comes in several colours.
Although it adds sophistication to any home, marble is one of the most high-maintenance among floor finishes as it is a porous material that absorbs moisture easily. They are not acid-resistant and can get worn out easily as the stone is not as strong as granite. After polishing, marble needs to be coated to protect the surface from getting damaged.
Its grey colour makes slate a stylish choice for the flooring in modern homes. Although it has a rough texture if left unpolished, slate can be quite slippery when it is exposed to moisture, making it ill-suited for the outdoors.
Since it’s made with a combination of cement and marble chips, terrazzo tile flooring has a hard surface. Once polished, it resembles mosaic flooring. It’s durable and easy to maintain. However, the surface becomes slippery when wet, so it’s best not to use it in outdoor areas.
Besides being an affordable alternative for the flooring, concrete is hard and durable. While it was not a popular choice earlier due to its grey colour, with advancements in technology, raw concrete can be mixed with pigments to create a wider range of shades for the flooring.
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Wood is always a popular alternative as it adds a cosy ambiance to any environment. The colour options range from light oak to dark teak. Natural wood flooring is expensive and requires regular maintenance to prevent the surface from absorbing moisture. When looking at hardwood floor design ideas, it’s also essential to assess the area where the flooring is being used. Ideally, it should be kept away from wet areas such as kitchens and bathrooms. Wood can be finished by polishing, staining or coating. Some varieties of wood come pre-finished with a durable surface seal. There is also oil-based hardwood flooring that is coated with acrylic urethane to make it resistant to stains and moisture. Usually, this is applied to the surface after the flooring is laid and left to dry for around 12 hours.
Additionally, hardwood flooring can be treated to add to the aesthetics of the room. The techniques include staining, bleaching or distressing the surface for an aged appearance.
For those who want to replicate the look of wood without having to spend too much, laminate floor finishes offer the perfect alternative. The benefits of using laminates for the floor is that they are easy to install and clean. If maintained well, laminate tile flooring can also last for many years.
For those who want maintenance-free floor finishes, ceramic or porcelain tiles are the best option. They are relatively cheap compared to natural stone and wood. The material is easy to maintain as the surface is moisture-resistant. These tiles come in a variety of formats, shades and patterns, making them relatively versatile. One can even find wood grain porcelain tiles that look exactly like natural wood flooring, and they can be used in wet areas, including kitchens and bathrooms.
Ceramic tiles come in glossy and matte finishes. There are also options with an anti-skid surface that are ideal for outdoor areas such as terraces and balconies that get slippery when it rains. Porcelain tiles are extremely hardy and can be used in areas with heavy traffic without any worry of the surface getting worn out.
An alternative to terrazzo tiles is mosaic flooring that is composed of tiny tiles in glass or porcelain. The close setting of the tiles makes it look stylish and easy to maintain.
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Terracotta tiling is one of the most rustic floor finishes that one can use. The tiles, which are made from clay, come in baked or unbaked options. The lovely orange-red tone adds warmth to any house, and it can have a glazed or rough surface, depending on the finish.
PVC or vinyl flooring is among the most affordable alternative for coating the floors in a house. They can be found in an array of designs and patterns, including a wood finish, making them a stylish option for a modern home. If they are well looked after, they can last for a long time.
Among the most popular choices for soft flooring is wall to wall carpets. They come in a variety of textures. However, before one installs them in a room, it’s important to ensure that they need to be maintained and cleaned to prevent dust from gathering on the surface and posing a health risk.
Before choosing a finish for the flooring, it’s best to consult a professional. Besides the advantages and disadvantages of each type of material, there are pros and cons to using matte or glossy surface finishes. While browsing through images of beautiful homes will give one an idea of the floor finishes that are most suitable for a preferred design style, getting advice from a professional will help to make the right choice both in terms of aesthetics as well as functionality.