The massive flooring material selection guide
Selection of the right material for flooring is a very important decision that you have to make during construction or renovation of your home or office. A considerable amount of investment is involved so the right decision needs to be taken considering factors like initial investment, life of the flooring material, ascetics, design etc.
We have compiled a guide that will help you select the right flooring material depending on your requirement. We have listed the pros and cons of common flooring material like tile, stone and wood and have compared different options so that you can make an informed choice for the best material for flooring.
This is a really long blog post so you might want to browse using the table of contents section to navigate and find what you are looking for.
Table of contents
Stone Flooring vs Tile Flooring
This is the first question that needs to be answered for choosing the right flooring material.
|Tile Flooring||Stone Flooring|
|Relatively inexpensive (₹40 – ₹150 per sq foot)||Relatively expensive (₹90 – ₹1000 per sq foot)|
|Simple & inexpensive installation||Complicated & relatively expensive installation|
|Does not need maintenance||Requires polishing & maintenance|
|Cannot be restored. Tile floors need to be replaced when they get scratched and lose their shine||While the tile itself is easy to keep clean, the grout is prone to discoloring|
|Mostly impervious to stains||Mostly porous and susceptible to stains|
Tiles are artificial flooring material manufactured by firing clay at high temperatures. Tiles generally have an impervious surface and are available in a variety of colors and designs.
Ceramic tiles are plain clay molded in the shape of a tile and heated to a high temperature inside a kiln. The heat hardens the structure of the tiles and fuses in the color and design of the tile.
Ceramic tiles are not very strong. These tiles are also very porous and thus absorb water easily. In order to make them resistant to water they are often glazed.
Cost of Ceramic Tiles
Average rate of ceramic tiles in India is ₹ 30 per sq ft. The price of Indian ceramic tiles starts at ₹ 20 per sq. ft and goes upto ₹ 100 per sq. ft. The price of imported ceramic tiles (from China, Spain) starts at ₹ 100 per sq. ft and goes upto ₹ 300-400 per sq. ft.
The Look of Ceramic Tiles
Ceramic tiles are artificial so they are available in huge varieties of color, pattern and texture. They can be even customized according to preference. They are available in gloss and matte finish.
Installation of Ceramic Tiles
The installation of ceramic tiles is not a hectic or tedious task. Although easy to install, professional installation is recommended because the process itself is very time-consuming.
Durability of Ceramic Tiles
Ceramic tiles are best known for their durability and have a longer life compared to other flooring material.
Maintenance of Ceramic Tiles
Ceramic tiles are easy to maintain using floor cleaning liquids though cleaning the grout is an issue with all kinds of tiles.
Ceramic tiles pros and cons
|Very Durable||Hard and cold underfoot|
|Dent, Scratch & Stain Resistant||Slippery when wet|
|Huge Variety of Colors, Shape & Sizes||Breaks easily when something is dropped on it|
|Easy to Clean||While the tile itself is easy to keep clean, the grout is prone to discoloring|
Vitrified tiles are similar but superior to ceramic tiles. Vitrified tiles undergo a process called vitrification that makes their surface extremely water resistant and eliminates water absorption to a large extent. This makes the tiles hard and strong, as well as stain resistant.
Vitrified tiles are composed of a mixture containing clay and elements like silica, quartz and feldspar. Due to the presence of such ingredients, the mixture melts under a very high temperature and a glass substrate is formed throughout the tile. While processing vitrified tiles, a dye is mixed with the clay before baking in a kiln so that the color is consistent so if the tile chips off, the same color is revealed underneath.
Cost of Vitrified Tiles
are cheaper than many other types of flooring tiles and marble so quite affordable. The price of Indian vitrified tiles starts at ₹ 40 per sq. ft and goes upto ₹ 150 per sq. ft. The price of imported vitrified tiles (from China or Spain) starts at ₹ 100 per sq. ft and goes upto ₹ 500 per sq. ft.
The Look of Vitrified Tiles
Vitrified tiles have good reflective properties which makes the floor shiny. A large variety of designs, colors and finishes are available and even custom designs can be produced.
Installation of Vitrified Tiles
Vitrified tiles are easy to install and need no polishing after laying. Installation should be done on proper leveled surface as vitrified tiles are prone to chipping and cracking.
Durability of Vitrified Tiles
are very durable as compare to ceramic tiles and marble.
Pros and cons of vitrified tiles
|Huge variety of colors, size & pattern available||Non-environment friendly|
|Durable, Hard & Non-porous||More expensive than ceramic tiles|
|Scratch & Sunlight Resistant||Not lustrous finish as compared to marble & granite|
|Easy to maintain||Slippery when wet|
|Easy to install|
Kota vs Marble vs Granite stone floors
|Kota Stone Flooring||Marble Stone Flooring||Granite Stone Flooring|
|Price||Least expensive (₹ 40/ sq ft onwards)||More expensive than Kota stone (₹ 90/sq ft onwards)||Most expensive (₹ 150/sq ft onwards)|
|Strength||Stronger than marble||Least strength||Strongest stone|
|Porosity/staining||Less porous than marble||Porous surface susceptible to stains||Quite non porous and impervious to stains|
|Application||Best suited to driveways, warehouses and high footfall areas||Should not be installed in areas with high footfall as it is a soft stone susceptible to stains||Most suitable for driveways and commercial spaces. Best for high footfall areas, looks great but is expensive|
|Preference||Not preferred for home interior floors because it is available in dark shades||Flooring material of choice for home interiors as it is of light color which increases the brightness of the house||Not preferred for home interior floors because it is available in dark shades|
|Design variety||Very less||Very high||High|
Natural stone is a top flooring choice for homes and offices. Huge blocks of natural stone are mined from quarries and then sliced to create slabs of natural stone. Since stone is a natural material it is available in a wide variety of shades and colors depending on the quarry from where it was mined. Good quality stone should be free of cracks and should have a homogeneous design pattern which means that the design must be consistent across layers.
Main advantage of stone floors
Unlike tile floors, stone floors can be polished. With use all floors start to lose their shine and get stained and dirty. Stone floors can be restored by grinding and polishing process that removes the dirty layer revealing a fresh stone surface that is bright and shiny.
Marble is one of the most elegant flooring option. It has been the common material choice for designers, architects and artists for ages.
Cost of Marble Flooring
The cost of marble can range all the way from as little as ₹ 90 per square foot, up to as much as thousands of rupees per square foot, making it one of the more expensive natural stone flooring options. There are several factors that impact variations in marble’s quality and price:
- Size: Most marble tiles are 12″ by 12″ or 12″ by 18″. Custom sizes add to the price & larger tiles cost more.
- Thickness: Thicker tile offers more strength but is more expensive. Marble tile thicknesses ranges from 1/4″ to 3/4″.
- Grade: Manufacturers grades marble as A, B, C or D. Grade A is with least inconsistencies & strongest structure.
- Finish: Smooth finishes typically cost less than tumbled finishes. Tumbled finishes provides less slippery tiles, which makes them ideal for wet areas like bathrooms and kitchens.
The total cost of marble flooring depends on various factors such as whether you are getting it installed professionally or not, from where you are buying and through which channel you are buying. When you decide to install marble flooring, you can either buy the marble yourself or source them through the company or contractor who installs them. Many contractors enjoy discounts from the suppliers they use most often, so buying the materials through your contractor might save you some money.
The Look of Marble Flooring
You can give your home a timeless and elegant appeal with marble flooring. With many styles to choose from, you’ll appreciate the versatility and uniqueness of marble. Marble is of various types such as Sandstone, composite, and white marble. Their look varies from type to type. You can get marble tiles gloss finished or matte finished.
Installation of Marble Flooring
Marble is a natural stone and it’s surface is porous. This makes marble prone to damage and discoloration due to stains. In order to combat this, at time of installation, the marble should be treated with both below surface sealer and a surface finishing treatment. This will protect the marble from discoloration due to leaching of the mortar and will also create an invisible protective layer in its surface.
Marble is actually quite soft and can suffer from damage due to cracks, chips, and breakage. So proper care should be taken during installation. The installation process generally takes 8-10 days.
Durability of Marble Flooring
Marble is extremely dense, thus it lasts longer than most other types of natural stone. You can expect properly maintained marble floors to last for at least 25 years. Durability also depends whether it is installed properly or not and thickness of marble.
Maintenance of Marble Flooring
While marble is an elegant and sophisticated flooring option, it does require a certain amount of care and maintenance. You cannot use acidic cleaners on a marble floor since calcium carbonate in the marble reacts with acid causing pitting and staining. Maintenance will require the reapplication of the surface sealing treatment every 6 to 12 months depending on the level of traffic in the space.
Regular cleaning and keeping the floor clear of grit and dirt will help to cut down on smaller blemishes. You can read more about marble cleaning and stain removal here.
Pros and cons of marble flooring
|Different color variety available||Soft & Porous Stone|
|Textural Variety||Not resistant to acids|
|Durable||Can be damaged easily by spills and stains|
|It’s reflective property makes room appear large|
Granite flooring has become a popular choice. Granite is typically associated with kitchen countertops and backsplashes because of its excellent hardness and anti staining properties. It is a durable and attractive flooring option.
Granite is not only durable but it also gives your home an aura of richness. Its beauty can surpass most other flooring material. It is not as porous as marble and need not to be sealed if using in moisture proof area. It is much harder and stain resistant than any other material such as marble.
Cost of Granite Flooring
One of the main drawbacks of granite flooring is its cost. Granite is known as a luxury flooring material, and it’s price tag reflects this. Only those with big pockets can think of installing granite flooring in their entire house.
The Look of Granite Flooring
Granite looks exceptionally beautiful, elegant and sophisticated. It comes in many varieties such as sleek, high gloss formats, more matte, muted and rustic textures. Granite flooring gives you an option to mix and match, create unique designs, or stick with minimal monochromatic looks for a more modern interior. Granite also comes in a wide range of color choices, from elegant black to gold and white and many other earthy and beautiful hues. The speckles of quartz in the stone also provide a dash of sophisticated sparkle. It comes usually pre-polished & sealed against moisture and bacteria. No two slabs of granite flooring are quite alike, making for diverse and interesting patterns and possibilities.
NOTE : If you do choose to go with the glossy look, keep in mind though that granite can become very slippery, especially when wet, and so it might not be suited for young children or elderly people and in bathrooms.
Installation of Granite Flooring
One important consideration before buying granite flooring is the installation process. Installing granite is a long and tedious process which is often expensive as the stone is quite heavy and expertise is needed to install it properly. The installation usually takes time and needs to be professionally, the sub-floor on which granite is to be installed needs to be perfectly leveled, as any irregularities could cause the hard, but brittle, stone to crack. You can find out more about granite installation process and cost here.
Durability of Granite Flooring
Among all of the natural stone flooring options granite is the hardest and most durable. When properly sealed, one never has to worry about granite being stained by spills or damaged by moisture. Granite has super tough surface, which means that granite is nearly impervious to scratches and dents.
Granite is resistant to heat & sunlight, which is why it is cool in summer. The only downside is that being brittle it might chip if something heavy is dropped on it.
Maintenance of Granite Flooring
Granite is a very low maintenance if properly installed. Regular sweeping & mopping is sufficient to keep your granite floors in tip-top shape. Be sure to clean spills immediately and don’t let dirt build up on your floors.
Pros and cons of granite flooring
|Needs professional installation|
Available in different varieties
Resistant to heat & sunlight
Resistant to acids
Kota Stone is a fine-grained variety of limestone and known for its low price, beautiful colors & high durability. It is quarried at Kota district, Rajasthan, India and thus it is named after it. It is water-resistant, non-porous, non-slippery & thus it is used both in interiors and in exteriors, commercial spaces, external staircases, pathways, corridors, driveways, and balconies etc.
Cost of Kota Stone
The cost of Kota Stone depends on number of factors. One of the factors is from where have you purchased it, if you purchase it directly from Kota then it will be much cheaper. Another factor is the thickness of the stone. More the thickness, more is the price of the Kota Stone as it will be more durable.
The Look of Kota Stone
Kota Stone is available in attractive & earthy colors such as blue, brown, yellow, black, beige, etc. The true colors of Kota stone are revealed after polishing. It is available in rough and polished form. Kota stone does not have the elegant appearance that of marble or granite.
Installation of Kota Stone
Installing Kota Stone is not that complicated nevertheless it is done best by experts. One of the most important thing to be done while installing Kota Stone is pre-preparation of the floor surface. You can read our complete guide on Installation of Kota Stone here.
Durability of Kota Stone
Kota Stone is one of the most durable stone available in the market. This is one of the reason why it is commonly used in offices, railway stations and heavy traffic areas.
Maintenance of Kota Stone
Kota Stone is highly durable but if you want to maintain the smoothness of the stone it should be polished periodically. Polishing helps render a shine & smoothness to the stone surface and prevents the flaking of stone.
Pros and cons of Kota flooring
Hard & tough
|Not available in large slabs|
|Continous use might result in flaking|
|Not lustrous as compared to marble & granite|
Wood Flooring is a common choice nowadays. Commonly used flooring are engineered hardwood flooring and laminate flooring.
Engineered Hardwood Flooring
Engineered hardwood flooring delivers the same beauty of natural hardwood flooring but with greater versatility. It is a complex product that consists of several layers, unlike conventional hardwood, which comes straight out of a tree. The top layer of the material is made of solid hardwood while the base layers are designed to give it greater stability & resistance to moisture. The result is a flooring that can be refinished just like solid hardwood but can be installed in humid climates where hardwood flooring can’t be used.
Cost of Engineered Hardwood Flooring
Engineered hardwood floors generally costs somewhere between ₹ 300 and ₹ 1000 per square foot. The cost of engineered flooring also depends on the type of wood.
Maintenance of Engineered Hardwood Flooring
Maintaining engineered hardwood flooring is not a difficult task as long as it is done regularly. To avoid damage, it’s important to keep your floors as free of dirt and spills.
Pros and cons of engineered wood flooring
Huge variety available
|Not resistant to spills|
Resistant to moisture & temperature fluctuation
Easy to maintain
Easy to install
Another alternative of hardwood flooring is laminate flooring. Laminate is a type of synthetic flooring. It is made by fusing several layers of different material together using heat, pressure, & adhesive. Laminates are constructed from resins and fiberboard particles to replicate the look of hardwood.
Cost of Laminate Flooring
Laminate flooring is cheaper than hardwood flooring and engineered hardwood flooring. Its price ranges from ₹ 60- ₹ 150.
The Look of Laminate Flooring
Laminate flooring looks like hardwood flooring but it is not the same. Engineered hardwood flooring look is closer to hardwood. Still laminate flooring is very beautiful and is available in various patterns, designs and colors.
Maintenance of Laminate Flooring
Maintenance of Laminate Flooring is an easy task. You can use a dust mop, soft bristle broom or a vacuum cleaner with suction only to remove dust, dirt and loose particulate on a regular basis. Avoid wet-mop cleaning with water or liquid cleaners.
Pros and cons of laminate wooden floors
|Hard to repair|
|Can be damaged by moisture|
Easy to maintain
Not much expensive
We will be soon adding more flooring varieties to this blog post. We hope that this article helps you make an educated decision to select the best flooring material as per your requirement.
Have some information about flooring selection that we have missed? Please let us know by leaving a comment below and we will surely include it next time we update this post.