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Don’t Get Floored By Flooring: What Are Your Options?

January 18, 2018
BOOKMARK

Doing The Ground Work

If there’s one home surface that embodies style and practicality best – it’s the floor.

While it may not be the most outstanding contender for such an honour, keep in mind that this humble layer will always be the first point of physical contact in any home. Not to mention, it plays an important role of creating visual interest as well.

However, with so many materials that look and function differently, finding the right option is almost never a straightforward affair. So read on to discover everything that you’ll need to know about paving the pathways of your dream home!


1. Hardwood

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Interior Designer: akiHAUS

Here’s a lesser-known fact: Although the term ‘parquet’ is synonymous with hardwood floors, it actually refers to the traditional geometric patterns that timber slabs are laid out in (which includes everyone’s favourite herringbone!).

And it’s because of these timelessly stylish arrangements that hardwood continue to be a popular flooring choice, especially among homeowners who are big on classic home designs.

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Interior Designer: akiHAUS

Sadly, natural woods like walnut, oak and cherry aren’t the exactly the most resilient flooring materials. Common issues associated with hardwood floors include their proneness to scratches and liquid stains. So if you are a pet owner or have young children, you may wish to get a hardier alternative.

Performance Rating

Durability: 2.5 / 5

Looks: 4 / 5


2. Marble

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Interior Designer: Fineline Design

If hardwood is the go-to option for a rustic look, marble is the flooring material that you’ll want for a classy interior. With its elegant veining and gentle colours, it’s no coincidence that this material is found in so many luxury homes.

If that’s not enough to convince you about the elegance of this natural stone, marble is also a versatile material that can be used for walls and counters to create a stylish, visually consistent look.

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Interior Designer: Fineline Design

However, going au naturel does pose some care issues.

Durable as they may be, the average marble floor will develop cracks from hard impacts, and is equally easy to stain or etch because of its porosity. There’s a solution to the second problem, however, and that’s to seal the top layer to make it more resistant to common household liquids such as water and oil.

Performance Rating

Durability: 3 / 5

Looks: 5 / 5


3. Porcelain

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Architect: 0932 Design Consultants

Unlike their marble counterparts, porcelain tiles are great for areas that require waterproof flooring. Strong and non-porous, this material is not only resistant to liquids, but is also incredibly hard to stain.

These useful properties don’t come easy though, and they can be traced back to porcelain’s dense layers, which are created by heating processed clay at high temperatures. Incidentally, this manufacturing technique is the reason why porcelain tiles are fireproof as well!

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Architect: 0932 Design Consultants

Another detail to note: porcelain tiles in their unglazed form (i.e. without a glass layer or decorative finish) are also known as homogeneous tiles – a common flooring option in most HDB flats.

And if you have been paying attention to the news, chances are that you’re aware of the recent cases of floor tiles popping up in HDB homes, which perfectly illustrate a downside of getting porcelain flooring. These tiles may be able to stand up to the test of time, but the same cannot be said for imperfect grouts and adhesives.

Performance Rating

Durability: 4 / 5

Looks: 3.5 / 5


4. Vinyl

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Interior Designer: Prozfile

Available as tiles, sheets and planks, vinyl is probably the most flexible choice for homeowners who wish to outfit their dwelling in a resilient, waterproof material.

However, when it comes to eco-friendliness, vinyl flooring largely falls short. Mostly made out of PVC, vinyl flooring is harmful to the environment as it produces toxic substances when burned.

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Interior Designer: Prozfile

On the flip side, there are newer, less damaging vinyl options available too. High End Resilient Flooring, or HERF, is manufactured from virgin vinyl pulp and does not contain phthalates, a (useful, but poisonous) chemical that increases the flexibility and longevity of plastics. In the style department, HERF performs well too as it can mimic the look of natural wood with the help of printed film layers.

Performance Rating

Durability: 5 / 5

Looks 3.5 / 5


5. Cement Screed

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Interior Designer: Free Space Intent

By far the best option for homeowners with a penchant for industrial warmth, cement screed floors are highly appealing due to their seamlessness and raw grey hues.

But just like marble and hardwood, cement floors stain rather easily because of their porous layers, so be sure that they are completely sealed. Even then, it’s unadvisable to use cement for moisture-prone areas like bathrooms or outdoor balconies as sealers are not wear-proof.

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Interior Designer: Free Space Intent

Hairline cracks are another common issue that you will also experience with cement floors if they aren’t properly sealed and maintained. Due to moisture loss from evaporation, hardened layers of cement will start contracting, leading to zig-zagging fractures across the entire surface.

Performance Rating

Durability: 2.5 / 5

Looks: 4.5 /5


6. Engineered Wood

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Interior Designer: Versaform

It’s not wrong to think of engineered wood as hardwood’s ‘disguised’ cousin due to its genuine timber veneer, but that’s as close as it gets to the real deal.

The core of this artificial lookalike is mainly comprised of compressed plywood, which accounts for its high durability and cost-effective performance in home settings.

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Interior Designer: Versaform

Apart from being capable of handling heavy traffic, engineered wood also doesn’t warp as easily as hardwood, making it usable in moist environments like the kitchen and bathroom. And that’s not all, you can even (gently!) sand the top layer of an engineered wood floor to remove unsightly scratch marks. Talk about the perfect flooring, huh?

Performance Rating

Durability: 5 / 5

Looks: 5 / 5


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