Pros and Cons of Flooring Materials 3

Pros and Cons of 5 Popular Flooring Materials

February 23, 2018
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From inexpensive and durable materials like vinyl to regal and pricey marble, there certainly is no shortage of flooring options. But just as different people have different tastes and habits, some flooring materials are better suited for your lifestyle than others.

So which is right for you? To help you decide easier (and understand better), we've listed five of the most popular floor types in Malaysia, along with its good and not-so-good sides:


1. Ceramic Tiles

Pros and Cons of Flooring Materials

Interior Designer: X Dimension Design

Ever universal, ceramic tiles are a firm favourite with Malaysian homes thanks to the wide variety of colours and designs, affordable cost and low-maintenance properties.

However, the tile that most of us know as 'ceramic' actually belongs to a bigger family of ceramic-type floors - which include porcelain and homogenous tiles. The difference between the three lies in how porous and hardy they are (as well as their price). Here's a quick breakdown:

Pros and Cons of Flooring Materials

Interior Designer: Seshan Interior Design

Ceramic Tiles: Clay tiles fired at a lower temperature. Usually cheaper, but not as dense and hardy - can easily be chipped and stained over time. And due to its shorter firing time, the inside of the tile differs from its top glaze.

Porcelain Tiles: Fired at a higher and longer temperature than normal ceramic, porcelain tiles are fireproof, denser, more water resistant and durable compared to ceramics. Great for heavy-duty use, the glaze runs through the entire tile as well - providing a uniform look, even when chipped. Downside - it's slightly more expensive.

Homogeneous Tiles: Named after the fact that colour runs through the entire clay tile, homogeneous tiles are essentially unglazed porcelain tiles.

However in this guide, we'll only be covering the benefits and drawbacks of ceramic tiles**.

Pros and Cons of Flooring Materials

Interior Designer: Yong Studio

Pros:

  • Not as porous or delicate as other 'soft' stone floorings such as marble.

  • Relatively easy to clean and maintain - though you'll have to watch out for grout stains!

  • Another big plus is definitely is its variety - available in all sorts of colours, patterns and finishes to suit any interior style.

  • Affordable prices - a ceramic tile can start from as low as RM1 per 30x30cm piece.

Pros and Cons of Flooring Materials

Interior Designer: A Moxie Associates Sdn Bhd

Cons:

  • Hard and cold - it can feel uncomfortable under feet and be unforgiving with falls.

  • Slippery when wet (especially with glossy, glazed tiles). Thus, consider carefully if you have kids.

  • A risk of 'popping' tiles - perfectly good tiles are suddenly loosened out due to weak grout joints and adhesives.

Our Rating:

Cost: $ - $$
Durability: 4/5
Variety of Styles: 4/5


2. Vinyl

Pros and Cons of Flooring Materials

Interior Designer: Nevermore Design

If you are looking for a largely no-fuss, inexpensive material, then vinyl flooring might be of interest. No costly stone or woods here - made out of PVC, vinyl has long been touted as a good water resistant option for wet areas like the kitchen or bathroom. And like ceramic tiles, they come in all sorts of finishes that can greatly mimic the look and feel of natural materials like wood, all with a smooth, seamless look.

Pros and Cons of Flooring Materials

Interior Designer: Ethnic ID

Pros:

  • It is very easy to install. Many come with stick-on bottoms that allow users to lay them out themselves.

  • Low maintenance. In part due to its waterproof properties, dirt and dust can be easily cleaned up with a wipe. The clear wear layer at the top also helps keep stains from being absorbed in.

  • Provides a padded feeling underfoot, thanks to its cushy PVC body. Helps to lower impact of falls.

  • Is pretty inexpensive - vinyl flooring strips can be easily bought online for around RM4 per sqft.

Pros and Cons of Flooring Materials

Interior Designer: Winner Space Design

Cons:

  • Can be damaged by sharp objects

  • Is prone to yellowing (especially low-grade vinyl) over time.

  • Because it's made from a synthetic material, a major concern is the release of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) after installation. Fret not though, there are many eco-friendly vinyl options these days that aim to emit little to no VOCs, free from chemicals.

Our Rating:

Cost: $ - $$
Durability: 4.5/5
Variety of Styles: 3/5


3. Solid Hardwood

Pros and Cons of Flooring Materials

Interior Designer: Movent Signature Design

A handsome option that exudes an authentic, rustic vibe! Warm with tons to offer in terms of uniqueness and texture, solid hardwood floors work well many interior styles. Think dark mahogany floors for classic, Asian Contemporary spaces; or light Ash and Oak for Scandinavian, Japanese-themed homes.

Pros and Cons of Flooring Materials

Interior Designer: UP Creations

Pros:

  • The overall visual (and textural) impact. Solid woods bring forth natural beauty and upscale flair to a home.

  • Comes in all sorts of natural wood finishes that pair well with most interior styles.

  • Hardwoods can be sanded and laid out to achieve beautiful parquet and graining patterns.

  • Can be cut into a multitude of styles to create all types of flooring designs.

Pros and Cons of Flooring Materials

Interior Designer: Archiplan Interior Design

Cons:

  • Definitely not the cheapest on the market - and more so if your woods need to be imported from overseas.

  • Requires refinishing from time to time to maintain an attractive colour and appearance.

  • Not easy to maintain - hardwoods are also susceptible to termite damage, can be noisy, easily scratched and stained due to its porous makeup.

Our Verdict:

Cost: $$$ - $$$$
Durability: 2.5/5
Variety of Styles: 3/5


4. Marble

Pros and Cons of Flooring Materials

Interior Designer: UP Creations

There's something about the marbled grains on this flooring type that still screams 'luxe' after all these years. With a sophisticated, timeless look that'll instantly up the fancy factor in any space, marbles - just like solid hardwoods - are sought after for their all-natural properties and exclusiveness.

No two marble slabs are the same, and even though there are various marble types - Calacatta, Carrara, Volakas - from different countries like China and Greece, each piece has its own marbling that are all part of this material's unparalleled charm.

Pros and Cons of Flooring Materials

Interior Designer: Klaas Design & Build

Pros:

  • Stands out visually and works well with more upscale decor, like modern Victorian, classic, regal and luxe Contemporary.

  • Its exclusivity and uniqueness. No two slabs are the same, and each piece comes in their own individual patterning and staining.

  • Stone floors are generally cool to the touch, so cool that they are literally fire resistant - great for sweltering weathers!

Pros and Cons of Flooring Materials

Interior Designer: Inter Link Design Solutions

Cons:

  • It's expensive - marble floorings can start from RM20 per square feet.

  • It's high maintenance. Marble needs to be constantly cleaned and polished to retain its colour and shine.

  • It's pretty fragile - this flooring material is prone to water damage and stains due to its porous properties. Likewise, marble is considered a 'soft' stone, and can easily crack or chip if installed improperly.

  • Marble can also be very slippery, thanks to its polished surface. Not good for households with elderly or kids.

Our Verdict:

Cost: $$$$
Durability: 2/5
Variety of Styles: 3/5


5. Cement / Concrete

Pros and Cons of Flooring Materials

Interior Designer: Seshan Design Sdn Bhd

This flooring material experienced quite a comeback with the rise of industrial décor styles in the past ten years. Raw and masculine, cement screed or concrete floors provide a welcome dash of cool in our hot tropical weather. But this material isn't only for gritty, urban-inspired spaces! Many homeowners have favoured its natural, irregular look for contemporary, Scandinavian or minimalist styles as well.

Pros and Cons of Flooring Materials

Interior Designer: Studio Bikin

Pros:

  • There's a reason why industrial areas and other heavy-duty places utilise cement/concrete for their floors. It's extremely durable and able to handle large amounts of pressure, and is almost impossible to scratch or damage.

  • If properly sealed, cement/concrete floors are also a breeze to maintain. You'll only need to wipe clean and reseal/rewax its surface every few months to keep it in tip-top condition.

  • And if you think about it - cement will never look dirty! Its traditional dark grey texture masks stains and dirt well.

Pros and Cons of Flooring Materials

Interior Designer: Nevermore Design

Cons:

  • On the flip side, cement's hardiness also makes it unforgivingly hard - you wouldn't want to fall on this floor! Also, if you're a clumsy klutz, maybe cement's not the flooring you should go for - because of it's hardness, items dropped on this material will tend to break or crack.

  • Though this is more of personal preference, the dull, greyish colouring of cement/concrete can come off a tad 'cold' in your interior.

  • Another issue? Cost. Contrary to common belief, installing polished concrete or cement screeding requires specialist work, and that can cost a pretty penny - think prices of around RM30 per sqft.

Our Verdict:

Cost: $$$ - $$$$
Durability: 4.5/5
Variety of Styles: 2/5


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