The flooring of a room sets the very 'mood' of a room.Care should be taken to see that the flooring matches the interior design and furnishing and accentuates the overall aesthetic look and feel of the room.The choice of the flooring material should be according to the purpose of the room and on the frequency of use, for example, materials like granite are appropriate for rooms like the living room and the veranda,which are frequently used.
A wide variety of flooring materials are available in the market today.In addition to conventional materials like marble and granite, manufactured flooring materials like ceramic tiles, vitrified tiles and terazo are widely used nowadays.The type of flooring used depends on two main factors-functionality and aesthetic appeal.
The different kinds of flooring available in the market are :
Granite flooring is not at all slippery.
Granite comes in over 45 shades. The most commonly used shades are black, tan brown and red. Quality-wise, all granites are same. Just the look is different. The rates of granites vary on colours.
Granites are maintenance free and are long lasting.They are scratch resistant, durable and very easy to clean.
A variety of colours to choose from and easy on your budget, granite is undoubtedly the best and the strongest material available today when compared to others like marble or mosaic.
Granites come in two forms. One in Tile form and the other, in Slabe. In the tile form, the thickness is around 10 mm. This type of granite can be used for flooring and cladding. The price for tile ranges between Rs.25 per square feet to Rs.75 per square feet depending on the colour and size.
The thickness of the slab is between 17 mm and 18 mm. It is used for counters, kitchen platforms, tabletops, pillars and walls. This is priced at Rs.50 per square feet to Rs.150 per square feet depending on the colour and size.
Indian marble is definitely stronger, less porous and economical. But today there is more demand for the beautiful shades of Italian marble, that is softer and more porous. Despite this, the sheer pleasure of seeing a beautifully polished Italian marble surface makes people go in for it, compared to the Indian ones. Not all Indian marbles achieve the same glossy, glitzy look of the Italian variety. There are many marbles coming from all over the world such as Nepali, Yemeni, and Iranian that look very similar to the Italian marble. Another stone, which is largely available but rarely used, is onyx. Onyx is generally used in combination with other Italian marbles ? as an inlay element, border or special design feature. It is also used as tabletops, bedside tables etc.
Marble flooring is a descendent of limestone and is hard. It comes in a number of shades and hues, ranging from off-white to brown, grey or pink. Stone with different coloured streaks is termed statuary marble. Although hard, marble is softer than granite and is therefore more prone to stains and scratches. This can easily be repaired and corrected by polishing.
Finishes of Marble:-
Marble flooring can have one of two finishes, polished or honed.
Polished: This is a highly reflective finish and brings out the stone's natural shades and marking. This type of finish will not last in areas that have a flow of traffic.
Honed: This is a matte finish (non-reflective) and is better suited in areas where there is a greater flow of traffic. It is also difficult to see scratches on this type of surface finish. The material itself comes in the form of tiles that are usually found in two dimensions: 12'' by 12''and 12'' by 18'' and the thickness usually averages around ? an inch.
There are many other Indian stones available in different colours. There is a range of brown stones, such as Mandana, Agra stones and the Andhra variety. Another favourite of the architects is Jaisalmer stone, which is used alone or in combination with green Baroda marble.
Ceramic tiles are essentially clay tiles with a ceramic coatings of 80 micron thickness. Over a period of time, the coating withers away. But ceramic tiles are easy to maintain. A simple mopping is enough to keep them in good condition. They are best used in toilets. Laying them with proper packing is vital. Any gaps or vacuum underneath can have them breaking apart. And beware of "the seconds" in ceramic. About 40 per cent of the material are said to be seconds. Check the batch numbers and ensure that all the tiles you buy belong to the same batch. If batches differ, their sizes differ and there will be difficulty in laying them. These tiles cost about Rs. 20 to Rs. 40 a sq. ft. The seconds cost Rs. 16 a sq. ft.
For bathrooms, you get anti-skid ceramic tiles which come in sizes 8"x8" which cost Rs. 28 a sq ft. or more and 12"x12" which cost Rs. 26 or more.
These tiles (made with a mix of marble and granite powder under high pressure) have high gloss porcelain coating. Since they come with sharp edges, the gap between two tiles is minimal and this gives a better look. Though stronger than ceramic tiles, rectified tiles get scratches easily. They cost Rs. 35 to Rs. 45 a sq. ft.
These tiles compressed under 5,000 tonne pressure are the strongest among the manmade tiles and are scratch-resistant. They also have glossy finish. They are not porous and absorption is only 0.05 per cent or less. This means that coffee or lemon spills hardly cause any harm to them.
Semi-vitrified tiles have this quality only on the surface while fully-vitrified varieties have it across the section. The latter can be polished again and again to retain the original look. Vitrified tiles are easy to lay.
Semi-vitrified tiles cost Rs. 65 to Rs. 110 while fully-vitrified tiles cost Rs. 90 to Rs. 150 a sq. ft.
Hardwood tiles are quite fashionable these days as they give an elegant look to your floor. But their maintenance is not that easy. Though they come with polyurethane coat, it hardly stays long and wears out fast. Termites can damage them and are inflammable. Cost ranges from Rs. 150 to Rs. 300 a sq. ft. depending on the type of wood chosen.
Also known as Betham Charla tiles, they come in an amazing variety of textures and hundreds of colours. Skilled workers from Chittoor district alone can lay these tiles which are highly uneven in the bottom. The artisans can create almost any pattern one wishes to have. The Andhra Marble does not suffer wear and tear even after years of use. Instead it gets a better look. The tiles come in 10"x"10" size. Cost is Rs. 20 to Rs. 25 a tile.
Kota stones from Rajasthan which are supposed to be the best alternative for marble (widely used in St. John's Hospital) come in 22"x22" slabs. The more you use it the more beautiful it looks, according to an architect. It costs Rs. 30 to 35 a sq. ft. Cuddapah and Shahabad stones which are other options. Very few prefer them because of their sedimentary nature and the polish does not remain for long. Cuddapah stones cost Rs. 12 to Rs. 15 a sq. ft. while Shahabad stones cost Rs. 15 to Rs. 20 a sq. ft.
Even cement flooring is an option with a coating of red/black/green oxide. But as people do not prefer it these days, you do not get skilled labourers who can do it well. The citric acids cause stains on these floors. This flooring costs about Rs. 12 to Rs. 13 a sq. ft.