What is a flooring material?
Floor is the leveled surface that supports all the furniture and occupants of the structure/building. A flooring material is usually applied on top of the floor to provide an aesthetic look and a firm walking surface.
What are the different types of flooring materials?
There are various types of flooring materials. Following are the list of different flooring materials typically used in India.
(1) Wood Flooring:
Wood flooring is one of the most common flooring types and has been in practice for years. It is manufactured from timber and is usually sough out when timber is surplus at cheap prices, say hilly areas. Wooden floors can last a long time as long as proper care and maintenance is taken. Cleaning of wooden floors requires typical sweeping, and maintenance requires scrubbing in regular intervals followed by application of polishing shine solution.
Wooden floors are usually preferred for their natural aesthetics and lasting durability. These are usually apt for auditoriums, dance floors etc. Wooden floors are not recommended for bathrooms or any areas that are prone to moisture and high humidity.
Wood flooring is further classified into three categories:
(i) Solid Wood Flooring:
Solid hardwood floors are made of planks (20mm thickness) manufactured from a single piece of timber. Solid hardwood floors are usually avoided in the rooms with high moisture content such as bathrooms and kitchens.
Solid wood floors have a thicker wear surface compared to an Engineered wood floor.
(ii) Engineered Wood Flooring:
Engineered wood flooring comprises of two layers of wood bonded together to form plank. Of the two layers, one layer is usually a thin layer of a more expensive wood, and the other thick layer (core) is from a cheaper wood. The increased stability of Engineered wood is accomplished by running each layer perpendicularly to the layer above.
Engineered wood flooring usually has better aesthetic look than Laminated wood flooring. It is usually a preferred choice for basement installations or over concrete slabs or radiant heating systems.
(iii) Laminated Wood Flooring:
Laminated wood flooring uses a photographic image of wood on its surface. Because of its synthetic nature, Laminate wood flooring neither looks nor feels like natural wood.
(2) Tile Flooring:
Of all the types of flooring, Tile flooring is the most versatile and common one. Tile flooring is further classified into two types:
(i) Ceramic Tile Flooring:
Ceramic tiles are manufactured using sand, natural products, clay and water. Ceramic tiles are known for their resistance to moisture and lasting durability. Ceramic tiles with abrasive glaze added to them also offer high resistance to slipping thus avoiding any dangers of falling down. Because of the aforementioned features, Ceramic tiles make a good option for flooring in wet areas like bathrooms etc. Ceramic tiles are not usually recommended for installing outdoors.
(ii) Porcelain Tile Flooring:
Porcelain tiles are more water-resistant compared to Ceramic tiles. Porcelain tiles also require more experience to cut properly in comparison with Ceramic tiles.
(3) Carpet Flooring:
Carpets are woven from a wide variety of materials like wool, polyester, nylon, polypropylene etc., hence Carpet flooring offers more choice in terms of color and textures. The quality of the carpet flooring is determined by the number of fibers. The more fibers it has per square inch, the more durable the product will be.
Carpet flooring is often touted as kid friendly due to its soft and warm textural surface, and the ability to be quiet without making any noise/sound. Despite its advantages, cleaning and maintenance of Carpet flooring can be a hassle.
(4) Stone Flooring:
Not many flooring types can match the elegance offered by Stone flooring. Because of its high durability and distinct look, Stone flooring is a favorite of majority of the people. Stone flooring tiles are available in either rectangle or square shapes depending on the customer needs and preferences.
Stone floors are widely known for their ability to withstand high temperatures and are the preferred in the scenarios where there are heat radiating sources like furnaces, fireplaces etc.
Stone flooring is further classified into four categories.
(i) Marble Flooring:
Marble flooring offers a unique value because of its soft grain patterns and colors. The beauty and elegant look of Marble flooring is achieved by polishing to a high sheen. Despite its unmatched elegance, Marble flooring is prone to scratches and stains, hence it’s strongly recommended to seal the floor after installation.
(ii) Granite Flooring:
Granite is a naturally available material and is formed under extremely high pressure making it one of the hardest flooring materials. Compared to Marble flooring, Granite is highly resistant to scratches and stains.
Granite flooring is typically used in kitchens and outdoor areas like pathways.
(iii) Travertine Flooring:
Travertine flooring is used in bathrooms and kitchens and is more vulnerable to stains compared to Marble and Granite flooring.
(iv) Limestone Flooring:
Limestone flooring is very similar to Travertine flooring, albeit a bit harder than Travertine. Limestone is a porous stone and is highly recommended to protect it with a quality stone sealer to prevent scratches and stains.
(5) Glass Flooring:
Glass floors are manufactured with either transparent glass or translucent glass depending on whether the need to view above and below is desired or not. Glass flooring made with toughened glass is usually used at tourist attractions to offer a better view above and below the floor.
(6) Concrete Flooring:
As a flooring material, concrete offers the same durability of a highway. Due to its high strength and durability, concrete flooring is impervious to scratches and dents. Concrete flooring offers low maintenance and beautiful design options.
On the flip side, there are certain cons to the use of Concrete flooring. Due to its hard nature, any glass object has no chance of surviving upon dropping. Concrete flooring might also be a concern if there are little kids and old people living in the house.
How to choose the best flooring material?
Picking the best flooring material for your needs can be overwhelming as there are wide variety of flooring materials available. It’s recommended to do research and get to know about the different types of flooring materials, and the advantages and disadvantages of each type.
The best flooring material is usually selected after careful consideration of the following criteria:
(iii) Surface hardness/softness
(iv) Cleaning and maintenance
(v) Resistance (Fire and water)
(vi) Insulation (Sound and thermal)
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