Floorings make up a large part of renovation work, covering the expanse of the entire house. However, with so many different varieties out there in the market today, it is hard to determine which is the best option for you. Therefore here are some know-hows provided by ST Homes on different kinds of floorings to kickstart your journey to finding the flooring that suits your needs best.
Tiles are usually made from ceramic or porcelain and with that, they come with a variety of options up for choice. Tiles are mainly durable and waterproof but certain types do not offer slip resistant properties making it a poor option for toilets and kitchens or other wet areas in case of accidents. Tiles are also cold to the touch and regular cleaning needs to be done to ensure that mould and dirt do not accumulate and grow in grout lines. Here is a breakdown of the various types of tiles:
A variety of porcelain tile. Compounded consistently, its surface colours and designs run uniformly through the entire tile. This is beneficial when minor accidents happen and a tile ends up being chipped. With homogenous tiles, a chip still reveals the same design underneath it, making the defect less obvious.
Colours and designs only remain on the surface of glazed porcelain tiles therefore chips on the tile would be made extremely obvious and rather unsightly.
The design does not run through the entire tile however it retains the colour of the surface within the entire tile making it a slightly more aesthetically pleasing option compared to glazed porcelain tiles.
The weakest and least durable of the lot and is often not recommended for areas with high traffic. With a tendency of being powdery and porous, ceramic tiles are generally not recommended to be used in wet areas.
However these tiles offer slip resistance making it suitable for areas such as the kitchen and toilet.
Known for being slip resistant, waterproof and easy to maintain, vinyl is often recommended for families with children and the elderly. Its low maintenance status also makes it a viable option for pet owners. Advantages of vinyl flooring also include being an economical option that costs up to 50% cheaper than tiles. It is also extremely easy and quick to install due to the lock and click feature it comes with. This feature also makes it tight-fitting and extremely waterproof. You can also avoid hacking away your old tiles if you opt for vinyl floorings as they can be laid over pre-existing tiles.
However, vinyl flooring is less durable compared to its counterparts and are not as scratch resistant. Do also note that vinyl floors require a Green Label Certification from the Singapore Environment Council or the Singapore Green Building Council as lower quality vinyl floorings may contain materials that are hazardous to the air quality which is something you would like to avoid as a homeowner.
Offering the same features as vinyl, laminate floorings can also be snapped into place easily reducing the time spent during installation. Laminate flooring boasts of a look similar to real wood or even marble but comes at an extremely cost-efficient pricing instead. It is slip and impact resistant, markedly easy to clean and maintain too.
However, despite being slip resistant, do refrain from using laminate flooring for wet areas as it risks causing the material to warp due to expansion or contraction. Spills left unattended on the flooring for extended periods of time may also result in stains. Unlike vinyl which can be laid over pre-existing tiles, laminate flooring requires a very smooth surface as its rigidity may cause it to break over time if it is laid on uneven ground. Additionally, there is a susceptibility to discolouration and usage over extensive areas may cheapen the overall look of the space due to its synthetic nature.
Notably one of the most costly and high-maintenance flooring options most commonly made of materials such as oak and teak. Unlike parquet which is a french term describing the geometric mosaic of wood pieces fused together for a decorative effect in flooring, hardwood comes in long and wide strips which offer a different form of aesthetic. Hardwood floors are markedly long-lasting and can be sanded down easily to reinstate its original beauty.
However, hardwood requires sealing and re-coating in order to best upkeep your flooring which is something that is recommended to be done yearly. With excessive moisture and heavy usage, hardwood may also be damaged as it is not entirely waterproof nor effective in keeping out scratches and dents. Despite being able to fetch your home a higher resale rate in the future, it comes with a hefty price to begin with and may possibly swell due to humidity and excessive moisture which is a concern for the year-long humid weather that Singapore experiences.
Engineered wood is the cheaper alternative to hardwood flooring made up of a composition of various layers with the topmost layer comprising of a solid wood veneer. There is also a reduced risk of swelling, discolouration or abrasion as well as being extremely water resistant. Sharing a similar look as hardwood, you are also granted a larger variety of wood choices without the added concern of contraction and expansion from the varying temperature and humidity levels in Singapore. Installation of engineered wood floorings is also done at a relatively fast speed as planks have been sanded down and sealed for fast laying purposes. Similar to hardwood, engineered wood provides the option to be sanded down if scratches appear making it a relatively sustainable option.
However, as the price varies based on the thickness of the topmost veneer layer, lower priced engineered wood would have a thinner topmost layer of solid wood. As a result, cheaper engineered wood floorings cannot be refinished as much as solid wood.
Hailing from natural resources, stone floorings which include granite, slate and marble come at a rather hefty price as well. It is also noteworthy that certain stone floorings do not come with great slip resistant properties especially when wet. Here is a breakdown on the pros and cons of the various types of stone flooring:
It is known to be durable and resistant to stains and scratches which comes along with an aesthetically pleasing variety to choose from. Due to its porous nature, granite is always cool to the touch especially if it is placed within an airconditioned room. Unlike wood floorings, granite also does not run the risk of fading under sun exposure making it a good material for outdoor floorings. However, granite requires professional installation for the best outcome and needs to be resealed regularly to protect it.
Similar to granite, this sturdy material is suitable for areas with high traffic as it is also resistant to scratches, stains and chips and comes with a variety of colours to choose from. It is handy to keep a few extra slate tiles with you in case the need for a replacement arises as it is noted that new veins can be hard to match old strains. Slate tiles also share an issue very much like other tiles in which the grout lines are susceptible to stains and mould which require added care taken to prevent them from forming. However, one can also opt for a complete replacement of grout lines without uninstalling the tiles making it rather convenient to maintain the pristine condition of slate floorings.
Just like the other stone varieties, marble floor tiles are unique and also come in a variety of colours and can be cut into various shapes to form a larger mosaic piece. Marble also comes with an exclusive translucent property which is more evident in white or lighter coloured marble. As a result marble produces almost a glow when the sun strikes it at certain angles lighting up the room as well apart from its shimmering and well-polished exterior. It is also porous and is often known to be cool to the touch especially in Singapore’s high temperatures. However, marble is relatively prone to scratches and chips if mishandled and unlike wood materials that can be sanded down, marble scratches are generally difficult to repair without a complete replacement of the tile. It is also advised to be extra careful with marble flooring as acidic substances from various types of foods and cleaning products may react negatively with the material causing permanent discolouration. To prevent water damage, annual reapplication of sealers is recommended to increase its water resistant properties.
A first thought that often pops to mind with carpet flooring is the warm, luxurious feeling of sinking your toes into the soft material. However apart from the comfort, the soft material of carpets also reduces the impact of falls. Carpets also act as a sound barrier, reducing the noise generated by the movement of people and electronic devices. Unlike stone materials, despite the versatility offered by a variety of design options, carpets retain heat and may be less optimal for non-air conditioned locations in Singapore.
However with the benefits of carpets out of the way, the fuzzy material also proves to be a breeding ground for dust mites and other insects. The accumulation of dust also occurs relatively quickly which is not recommended for individuals suffering from allergies or respiratory issues. Stains and odours caused by accidental spills will be retained on carpets making maintenance extremely important as it requires occasional deep cleanings and regular vacuuming to maintain its cleanliness.
Boasted as a cost-efficient material, cement screed also provides a variety of options making it highly customisable to suit your design needs. Despite being resilient against scratches, chips and dents can be formed easily due to falling items and hairline cracks do appear over time. Odd looking patches may also develop over time due to interactions with the floor base. Similar to stone materials, cement screed is highly porous and is prone to the formation of stains and accumulation of dirt. To prevent such stains from occuring, one can opt to coat it with sealant to increase its water-resistant properties. It is thus recommended to avoid using cement screed in locations with high humidity and moisture. Cement screed also wears off with traffic without an option of repairing without an overhaul. Some also suggest that it is a better option beyond the residential home and more suited for industrial places.
Interested to find out more about the flooring options suitable for your home or workspace? Visit ST Homes website today to search from a variety of flooring companies and link yourself up to top interior designers in Singapore to seek professional advice. Simply fill out the quotation form on our interior design portal and you are one step closer to achieving your dream home!