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We work hard at our jobs and when we come home, the last thing we want to pace on is floor that isn’t to our comfort level.

Design, durability, and distance we can walk before declaring it’s too hard; these factors will help to decide what type of floor material we want. In this article, I’ll walk you through some of the commonly used materials for floors tiles to help you make your final choices.

What materials to use for the floor in your house?

Ceramic

Ceramic is the most common tile found in homes today. Ceramic floor tile wears well, provides good traction, and is essentially water and stain proof and easy to maintain using almost any cleaning chemical. As such, it can be installed in any room without any particular concerns.

Tiles are now printed in patterns or accented with designs or motifs. They can also be printed to credibly reproduce the look of a number of hardwoods and natural stones. Finally, the tiles themselves can be cut and shaped into triangles, rectangles, and planks. Choose patterned designs for an elegant outlook and pair it with white walls for a minimalist look.

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Ceramic flooring is extremely tough and the tiles are difficult to crack or scratch. A quality installation can last for years if well maintained. If a single tile does crack due to a severe impact, the process of replacing that tile is relatively simple. It is also is fairly easy to care for ceramic flooring. Ceramic tiles have a hard, solid surface that does not tend to attract dirt, dust, pollen, or other allergens. When these small debris particles do land on a ceramic floor, they stand out against the surface, making it easy to wipe them away with a mop or sponge.

Are you a fan of air-conditioning? This material does not hold on to heat very well. That means that it can get very cold with air conditioning, which can be a shock to your toes first thing in the morning. The flip side to this is that ceramic can be quite comfortable underfoot on a hot day.

Hardwood

One of the most important first steps in choosing a hardwood floor for your home is to determine whether you need to use solid hardwood floor or engineered hardwood floor. Wood flooring is any product manufactured from timber (space) such as parquet, which is the most common solid hardwood flooring in Singapore. Parquet flooring is manufactured from hardwoods such as oak, walnut, cherry, lime, maple and in the more expensive mahogany.

Engineered hardwood floor is better for Singapore with our humid weather where there is a lot of moisture. It is made of real wood, but is composed of two or more layers of wood in the form of a plank. Wood is a very porous material. When there is moisture in the air, the wood will suck the moisture in and will expand. Solid hardwood flooring, prone to buckling in these types of situations, would not be recommended. Engineered flooring, on the other hand, minimizes expansion and contraction and works well in humid atmospheres. However, it doesn’t last as long as solid hardwood, as you can only refinish it up to a few times.

In a bedroom where there is typically significantly less traffic than in other rooms of the home, a softer wood species, like American Cherry or American Walnut, can be installed. Family rooms are designed for comfort and are more relaxed than other areas of the home. For these reasons, a more casual hardwood look is sometimes appreciated. A more informal appearance can be acquired in a variety of ways: by using wider boards, a hand scraped texture or lighter colours.

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It’s important to keep in consideration that hardwood flooring is not waterproof. Both engineered wood flooring and solid wood flooring can be water resistant to small amounts of water or liquid spillages, but are not waterproof.  If any amount of water (or other liquid) is left to soak into your flooring for a significant amount of time it can cause irreparable damage to your hardwood floor.  This is why it is not recommended to install a hardwood floor in areas with lots of water, for example a kitchen, bathroom or utility room. Hardwood flooring is prone to scratches, and so pet-owners may want to rethink the choice of wood flooring for places where your pet will be allowed to roam.

Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is simply a compressed wood plank with a photographic image of whatever material it is meant to mimic – hardwood, stone, tile, or sometimes even brick on top of it. Home owners therefore have a lot of choices in terms of design for laminate flooring products.

There are differences in the quality of the laminated wood. Clickable resilient flooring or clickable vinyl flooring (which is also known in various names of high end, luxury or high resistant) are often seen as a substitute to conventional laminate flooring due to their waterproof features.

Good quality laminate flooring products have relatively higher impact resistance and are able to tolerate heavy loads. This will therefore enhance safety at home. Good quality laminate flooring products can be easily maintained and cleaned and are relatively more water resistance than most conventional laminate flooring products.

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The premium brands also have better scratch resistant properties that enhance the value of your flooring.

Laminate flooring is a cost effective wood alike flooring product with a variety of designs for the owners to choose from. However, home owners need to get quality laminate flooring from reliable sources.

Marble

The biggest advantage of marble floor tile is that it can instantly enhance the appearance of a space, giving it a regal bearing befitting of a palace. At the same time marble is available in multiple colours, and even in stunning multicolour mixes, providing flexible options for a variety of decorative schemes. Tiles can also be cut to rectangles, and triangles of varying sizes, in order to create complex mosaic piece installations. Because it is a product of the earth, every single piece of marble tile used is unique.

Unlike most natural stones, marble can be polished, getting silky smooth and shimmering when treated properly. It is also easy to mop floors laid with marble tiles.

However, marble is actually a relatively soft material that can be scratched, scraped, and chipped under the wrong conditions. This is especially true if the material is polished, as the imperfections will be more noticeable in the smooth, flat solid surface. Unfortunately, scratches cannot be easily repaired without replacing the damaged material completely. Marble tiles will also have a chemical reaction whenever it comes in contact with acidic substances. This can include a wide variety of foods, sauces, beverages, and cleaning products. Unfortunately, the discoloration stains that come from these processes are permanent.

Being relatively soft, marble floor tiles can suffer from cracking, breaks, and chips. If the floor is improperly installed this can be a particular problem, as any gaps between the material and the subfloor will be weak points ready to burst and break under even standard pressure.

With these factors in mind, marble should only be used in areas such as the study room whereby food spillages and scratching is less likely to occur!

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Still Confused? Here’s a quick summary!

CERAMIC

HARDWOOD

LAMINATE FLOORING

MARBLE

WATERPROOF / WATER RESISTANT? Ceramic floor tile is essentially water and stain proof and easy to maintain using almost any cleaning chemical. No. Hardwood cannot withstand huge amounts of spillage for a long period of time. Yes. Higher quality laminate flooring products are tested for relatively higher water resistance than most conventional laminate flooring products. Not waterproof nor water resistant. Marble tiles need to be set closely in order to prevent water from seeping through and causing damage.
DURABILITY (ETCHING, SCRATCHING) Ceramics are scratchproof. Wood flooring is prone to scratches. Especially, if the home owner has pets, scratches on the wood surface will be unavoidable. Good quality laminate flooring brands have better scratch resistant properties that enhance the value of your flooring. Marble is a soft material that can be scratched, scraped, and chipped under the wrong conditions. This is especially true if the material is polished, as the imperfections will be more noticeable in the smooth, flat solid surface.
COST Low Depends on the type of wood selected. Good quality laminate flooring products can be easily maintained and cleaned. Expensive
POSSIBLE ROOMS Anywhere in the house. Bedroom and living room. Anywhere in the house. Low traffic areas where no eating and scratching occurs.
COMMENTS Most commonly used option in Singapore. Bedroom and living room. Cheaper alternative to engineered hardwood. Low traffic areas where no eating and scratching occurs.

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