A floor is no longer just the ground you walk on. It has been elevated from its downtrodden place to an exalted position in home dècor. It can set the tone of a room and do wonders for the ambience. And the best part is now you can renovate your floor just like your furniture - with minimum mess.
The world is moving to better flooring options and there is no reason why you should be still stuck with your old mosaic floor. A room's purpose and your budget are two things that will help you decide on your kind of flooring. Here are some options you can consider:
Indian marble, especially the makrana variety, is commonly seen in many homes. It starts at Rs 30 per square feet. Many shiny Indian marbles are of soft quality that develop cracks easily and attract dust.
If you have a higher budget, you can go for Italian, Spanish or Greek marble that are known for their sparkling finish. Available at a premium price of Rs 250 per square feet onwards, Italian marble flooring along with a good lighting system can give a swanky appearance to your living room. As these marbles develop crack easily and need regular polishing, they cannot be used in rooms that are frequently used like bathrooms, kitchen or children's rooms.
This is one flooring material that is known to be very sturdy and easy to maintain. However, granite is rarely used except to make kitchen or bathroom slabs. It is often neglected because of its dull look. But combined with marble, it can give a new definition to your room. It is more expensive than marble.
Ceramic tiles have become quite popular of late. This low-maintenance material is perfect for bathroom and kitchens. They are available in a riot of colors and you can use contrast borders to break the monotony. Depending upon the quality, ceramic tiles come at different prices. They start at Rs 6 or Rs 7 per square feet and can even climb up to Rs 500 per square feet.
Tiles need to be installed with a lot of care. The floor should be of the same level. Any unevenness can cause the tiles to break. Once broken, ceramic tiles cannot be repaired. Moreover, if the grouts are not sealed properly, they can attract water causing discoloration and visible tile joints.
Vitrified tiles do away with some problems found in ceramic tiles. These are like ceramic tiles but fired under very high temperatures to impart low water absorption. As they are harder they are more abrasion resistant. Moreover, as they have greater dimensional accuracy, vitrified tiles can be butt-joined without grouts. These tiles can be laid on to any room of your choice.
Vitrified tiles also score on convenient installation, as they are pre-polished and ready to be used. You can get decent vitrified tiles for about Rs 50 per square feet.
While buying tiles, remember that most of them will be glazed and slippery. Get the least slippery tiles and for bathroom floors go for an anti-skid variety.
You must have spotted "wooden" flooring in many homes and hotels. Impressed by its rustic elegance, you must have wondered how they are maintained in India's humid climate. Well, that is an easy task if that floor is not actual wood but laminate.
Laminate flooring gives a hardwood look minus the disadvantages of hardwood. It is resistant to stains and scratches. Moreover, installation is easy as it can be laid over existing floors (even and flat).
Wooden laminates cost anything between Rs 80 to Rs 400 square feet.
Laminates don't last a lifetime but can go on for about 20 years. Wet cloth mopping is the only way to clean these floors, as any excess water/moisture will be absorbed by it.
Nothing can beat the ageless charm of hardwood floors. Crafted from a variety of domestic and exotic woods, this flooring adds a lot of warmth and splendor to a room. The popularity of hardwood has increased because they can now be easily laid out in thin parquet squares. Starting at Rs 150 per square feet, the cost of hardwood floor varies with the quality of timber you use.
Although, it is easy to install, only qualified people should do hardwood flooring. The final appearance of the floor will depend more on craftsmanship (sanding and finishing) than the timber quality.
Great care is required to maintain this flooring. Like wood, this floor can attract moisture and termites. Moreover, it tends to wear out in frequently used rooms. It also needs sanding and refinishing every few years. Using a rug or dhurri might be a good idea to maintain this type of flooring.
If you have time and budget restrictions, you can go for linoleum or vinyl flooring. Available in ready-to-paste sheets, their price starts at Rs 10 per square feet. But as they are not very durable, they don't get a nod of approval from home dècor experts.
Kota and Jaisalmer stones are also being used in many homes. They are very hardy and can be used in verandahs or staircase to give a unique touch to your home.
So, go ahead and give a new look to your home by just changing the floor under your feet. And if you can't decide on your favorite flooring, just mix-and-match to give a whole new dimension to your humble abode.