PART 1 – INTRODUCTION
Renovating a new home is undoubtedly an exciting time for couples looking forward to moving into their new BTO flats. However, many often focus too much time and effort on the walls and furniture and neglect another vital element that can impact how their living space looks – the flooring.
As a new homeowner yourself, you do not want to make the same mistake, right? However, choosing the best flooring for your house is a daunting and expensive task if you are ill-prepared. So before you delve deeper, we recommend checking out our handy guide to ensure you make an informed decision.
PART 2 – HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR IDEAL HOME FLOORING
2.1. Overview Of Your Flooring Options
Before speaking to a flooring contractor in Singapore, you should take a look at the top home flooring options available to you to ensure you make the correct choice.
Option #1: Vinyl
If you seek a warm material that replicates the appearance of hardwood, look no further than vinyl flooring, which consists of multiple layers of different synthetic materials. In fact, vinyl is one of the most popular flooring options among homeowners in Singapore thanks to its affordability, scratch, stain and waterproofing capabilities, and the fact that it comes in various colours, designs, and styles.
However, with various types of vinyl flooring to choose from, from flexible vinyl (luxury vinyl tiles) to rigid vinyl, it can be challenging for homeowners to pick the right choice. Fortunately, this decision is made a lot simpler with our new Alpha vinyl collection.
Combining style with durability and performance, our Alpha vinyl floors (to be launched) from Quick-Step are as practical as they are beautiful. Boasting hyper-natural surface designs thanks to advance multi-depth structures, homeowners can evoke beautiful authentic colours and highly natural designs, ensuring every space in their homes feels fresh and inviting.
Additionally, our Alpha vinyl floors come equipped with Hydroseal technology and underlay attached, enhancing the durability of the flooring and making it stain, scratch, impact, and water resistant. The attached underlay also helps with the noise reduction towards neighbouring rooms. These features allow homeowners to live their best lives without worrying about damaging their floors or causing a commotion when navigating the place at night.
Option #2: Laminate
Laminate flooring is constructed by pressing compressed wood slabs together, which is capped off with a wear layer at the top, followed by the design layer. As such, it can mimic any wood or stone pattern.
However, the floor can appear synthetic if you clad a large area in laminates since the grains are uniform. Fortunately, this issue has been resolved in recent years, thanks to our latest generation of laminate flooring – Hybrid Wood. The design is so authentic you cannot differentiate it from real wood or stone, as the grains appear natural.
Like vinyl floors, laminate flooring can withstand heavy-duty use and requires minimal maintenance, making it ideal for areas that receive high foot traffic. It is also affordable, versatile, and available in various styles. However, unlike vinyl, laminate flooring comprises mostly wood.
Option #3: Microcement
The rising popularity of industrial style decors in recent years has led to increased demand for cement screed flooring. However, cement screed is notorious for cracking and flaking and has unpredictable aesthetics. An alternative is microcement, which offers the resilient and seamless floor finish of cement screed without the aforementioned drawbacks.
Microcement is a generic term referring to thin surface finishes comprising cementitious compounds, fillers, and polymers. Different brands offer their unique blend of materials. However, most involve a primer or base, a finish layer, and a protection layer. You can also choose between a surface with finer particles for a sleek finish or one with larger cement particles for a “coarser look”.
Option #4: Engineered Stone
Engineered stone is an alternative to natural stone. It features a sophisticated mixture of inorganic minerals and pigments such as quartz, porcelain and glass. The ultra-compact material of engineered stone flooring helps to address some of the shortcomings of natural stone, making the former a fantastic alternative to the latter flooring.
The finished product is as robust as granite. As such, the material does not crack under pressure easily and has near zero porosity, which is beneficial for areas in the house that are regularly exposed to moisture, like bathrooms or kitchen floors. This option is even ideal for outdoor environments like the balcony or porch.
Option #5: Hardwood/Parquet
Wooden flooring is a popular option among homeowners who want their floors to match all the intricacies of their interiors, as wooden floors are like the neutrals of the flooring world; they are compatible with everything.
Among the various choices, hardwood floors, which are fashioned from the likes of solid hardwoods such as cherry, lime, mahogany, maple, oak, and walnut, boast an incredible array of textures – distressed, hand-scraped, smooth, and wire-brushed. So they are the go-to if you are a fan of nature and looking to maximise visual impact in your home.
For those opting for hardwood, we recommend sealing your hardwood floors to keep them looking pristine, as this type of wooden flooring is known to swell or warp due to humidity.
Option #6: Engineered Wood
Another type of wooden flooring popular among Singaporeans is hardwood’s “disguised” cousin, engineered wood, which is constructed by placing a thin piece of hardwood on top of high-quality plywood. This construction method helps prevent the flooring from warping due to temperate changes, making it ideal for use in the kitchen or bathroom.
Option #7: Marble
Marble flooring is often associated with elegance and sophistication, making it ideal for homes looking to achieve a contemporary, luxurious vibe. However, marble stains easily due to its porous nature and is more susceptible to damage than other flooring materials. So it might not be suitable for areas with significant foot traffic.
Fortunately, there is an excellent alternative to this issue, engineered stone flooring. It can mimic the look of marble, providing a similar aesthetic appeal without the aforementioned drawbacks. Furthermore, the variation and veining of engineered stone appear quite natural and do not look synthetic. As such, it is almost impossible to distinguish between the two materials.
2.2. The Best Flooring For Every Room At Home
Of course, when selecting the perfect flooring for your home, it is essential to remember that not all flooring materials are created equal. Some may be better suited for specific rooms than others. As such, it does not make sense to limit yourself to one material in particular for the entire house. Instead, you should explore and understand the best flooring options for each room to help create a cohesive and stylish home that meets your needs and preferences.
Living and dining rooms
Your living and dining areas are likely the spaces where you and your loved ones will gather most throughout the day, which means you need a floor that can withstand the daily tumbles of life while giving the space a warm, clean, and inviting look.
So what would be the ideal type of flooring for living and dining rooms? For nature lovers, it would definitely be wooden flooring, as it is durable and helps amp up the resale value of a home. Some homeowners may also consider vinyl floors for their affordability, robust durability, and ease of maintenance.
An often overlooked material we will recommend as an alternative is microcement. It is versatile and has a broad range of applications. With the correct preparation, microcement can be applied directly over any existing surface, including cement screeds, tiles, and wood.
You have the freedom to completely customise the finish and the ability to choose the colour, style, and tone of the microcement to match your preferences. Moreover, its free-flowing and seamless aesthetic means you do not have to worry about any grout lines discolouring and looking unsightly in years to come.
Simply put, your kitchen requires the hardest working floors in your home. The surface has to be durable enough to withstand chair movement, foot traffic from the entire family, and the occasional food spill. Needless to say, it should also have the easiest-to-clean floors in your home since messes frequently happen in areas where food is prepared.
As a start, vinyl is an excellent material to consider as it is an affordable way to cover an expansive space while being robust enough to withstand the heavy demands of a busy kitchen. Vinyl floors are also easy to install and come in various colours and designs to match any kitchen decor.
Alternatively, you can consider laminate flooring. It is as durable and easy to install and maintain as vinyl floors and is generally more affordable. Plus, with the next generation of laminate flooring (Hybrid Wood from Quick-Step) boasting a 100% waterproof surface, you no longer have to worry about puddles of liquid staining and warping your flooring. An essential quality to have in an environment where moisture is ever-present.
Balcony and porch
If you have a balcony or porch at home, be sure to make full use of this space too! Since it is an outdoor space, it is constantly exposed to wear and tear from the sun and rain. So the type of flooring you choose for your balcony or porch must factor in its exposure to the weather conditions. Do not forget to choose a material that enhances the comfort of your outdoor decking too.
We recommend selecting composite wood decking, artificial turf, or engineered stone decking. Composite wood decking, which is made from a combination of wood fibres or sawdust and plastic, seems the most obvious choice, as it fits the outdoor theme best. This material is more stable than its timber counterpart and resistant to the likes of dampness, mould, and rot – all the elements that make timber challenging to maintain.
Alternatively, you can consider installing artificial turf. It can be placed virtually anywhere with little maintenance, as there is no need to trim or water inorganic grass. The unique construction of the artificial turf also allows for adequate heat distribution and water drainage. As a result, you can rest easy knowing it will remain comfortable and dry throughout the year.
Lastly, engineered stone flooring is ideal for balconies and porches due to its durability and resistance to various outdoor elements. These flooring materials are made up of a proprietary blend of natural quartz stone, porcelain, and glass, creating a dense and hardwearing surface that can withstand heavy foot traffic and exposure to UV rays, water, and temperature fluctuations.
Bathroom floors face a different hazard than other areas of your home. The flooring threats in these rooms usually come in liquid forms, such as bath splashes, shower drips, and toilet overflows. Therefore, we recommend engineered stone flooring for its durability, low maintenance, and water-resistant properties.
Because it is made up of a proprietary blend of natural quartz stone, porcelain, and glass, it possesses a water-resistant surface impervious to moisture and humidity. As a result, it is an ideal choice for bathrooms where water spills and high humidity levels are common.
Additionally, its near-zero porosity surface resists the growth of bacteria and mould, making it a hygienic choice for bathroom flooring. The durability of the material also means it can withstand heavy foot traffic, frequent cleaning, and regular use of bathroom cleaning products without showing signs of wear and tear.
Your bedroom is your sanctuary. The place you retreat to rest and relax after a long day at work. So comfort and cosiness should be at the forefront of your mind when choosing the ideal flooring for your bedroom. Vinyl floors and laminate flooring offer exactly that! They can be installed with an underlayment, which can provide extra cushioning and insulation, making them more comfortable to walk on and reducing noise levels in the bedroom.
PART 3 – HOW TO MAINTAIN YOUR HOME FLOORING
3.1. Keeping Your Home Flooring In Tip-Top Shape
Understanding the ideal flooring for each room in your house is one thing. As a homeowner, you must also know how to clean and maintain your home flooring. So check out our cleaning tips if you want your floors to remain pristine throughout your stay.
Maintaining vinyl flooring
By their very nature, vinyl floors are durable and water, scratch, and stain-resistant. As such, they require little ongoing maintenance. Regular mopping or vacuuming daily, or at least once a week, will suffice. We recommend using a broom or vacuum cleaner to remove any dust before mopping the floors.
Before you begin cleaning, remember to use safe cleaning tools to avoid causing marks on the floor. While vinyl floors are hardwearing, using abrasive brushes can damage the finishing. Most mop types are suitable for cleaning, but a steam mop is a big no-no, as its high temperatures will ruin your beautiful flooring. Also, bleach or abrasive cleaners are a no-go for vinyl floors since they can blemish the shiny finish.
When mopping the floors, it is sufficient to wipe the area with a damp mop or a cloth moistened with a neutral and mild detergent and warm water. You do not require a significant amount of water to clean vinyl floors. Do mop in the direction of your boards to prevent drying streaks from appearing on your beautiful flooring.
Maintaining laminate flooring
Like vinyl floors, laminate flooring can be easy to maintain too! All you need to do is vacuum daily to remove surface dirt and grit that can scratch and damage the finish of the floor. Do not neglect to check under any area rugs, as they can trap dirt that can ruin your flooring. Depending on the amount of traffic, you should consider mopping the area at least once weekly.
Water use should be kept to a minimum, as liquids can seep between the boards and cause warping. So avoid leaving any spills or moisture sitting on top for too long. If you use a conventional mop, please wring it until it is barely moist. If there is excess moisture left behind to dry, you are using too much water.
Fortunately, these issues are a non-concern with our Hybrid Wood laminate flooring thanks to its Hydroseal layer. With that said, we still recommend that you avoid leaving spills sitting for too long. Lastly, only apply as much cleaner onto the laminate flooring as you require for a given area, as the excess solution can leave behind a residue that will dull the laminate floor’s finish.
Maintaining microcement flooring
Avoid using harsh chemicals like bleach or other acidic cleaners on microcement floors. Doing so can damage the surface and cause discolouration. Abrasive cleaning tools such as sponges and metal brushes are similarly a no-go since these elements can ruin the floor surface. Instead, we recommend using a microfibre mop and a mild detergent or pH-neutral soap to clean the floors weekly.
Additionally, remember to avoid letting puddles of liquid sit on your microcement floor for too long, especially acidic substances like lemon juice or vinegar. Clean any spills or stains immediately with a paper towel or soft cloth. Lastly, apply acrylic waxes periodically to maintain the shine and take care of the protective layer of your microcement floor.
Maintaining engineered stone flooring
With the easy maintenance of engineered stone floors, there is little cause for concern whenever you spill liquid onto their surfaces, thanks to their almost zero porosity, unlike other types of floorings like parquet. All you have to do is observe a few precautions and follow the proper care and maintenance guidelines to ensure your floor always looks pristine.
For general cleaning, sweep the surface at least weekly to eliminate dust and dirt particles so that your floor can shine through. We recommend mopping the floor occasionally if sweeping alone is insufficient and dirt continues building up. Please avoid hydrofluoric acid products and abrasive cleaning tools, as they may leave a dull film on the floor surface.
If you encounter stains, fret not! It is actually relatively straightforward to remove them. For wine, coffee, or tea stains, apply detergent to the affected area and let the solution sit for a couple of minutes. Subsequently, wipe off any soap residue in a gentle, circular motion with a damp microfibre cloth. The procedure is identical for grease and ink stains. However, you will require grease remover for the former. Meanwhile, applying solvent or cleaning vinegar helps with the latter.
Maintaining parquet flooring
Always sweep and vacuum your parquet floor as you would most floors to rid the area of dirt and dust particles that can scratch the surface. Since parquet floors are a type of wooden flooring, ensure you use soft cleaning tools to avoid damaging the floors.
Also, avoid using excess water when moping the area since the standing water can seep between the boards and cause warping, cupping, or other damage. Instead, wring the mop out until it is barely damp before wiping the floor. In case of any liquid spills, tend to it immediately and clean the spot using a piece of cloth.
Because parquet floors are more delicate, you should cover the heavily trafficked areas in your home, such as the entrance door and the kitchen, with rugs to safeguard the floor surfaces. Naturally, this also means you should avoid dragging furniture across your floor as it can ruin the flooring. We recommend lifting the furniture and putting it underneath the legs of the furniture wood protector covers
If there are any blemishes in the small areas, you can touch them up with wax sticks, specifically those in the same colour as your parquet floor. Carefully colour the area using the wax stick before scrapping off any excess residue. Subsequently, buff the spot with soft clothing material.
Maintaining engineered wood flooring
Engineered wood flooring tends to show off dirt and dust more than others, as it has no fibres or grooves for debris to hide in. Therefore, it is essential for you to sweep your wooden flooring regularly to keep loose dirt, dust, and other debris under control. We recommend using a lightweight vacuum but avoid those with a rotating bristle bar since they can damage your floors. If your vacuum has a beater bar, please set it to a bare floor setting or utilise a floor-brush attachment instead.
Of course, how often you need to sweep or vacuum the area depends on how much traffic your floors experience. You may have to sweep daily or every other day for active sections like the hallway or entryway. Conversely, places with less foot traffic may only require cleaning weekly.
Do not neglect to mop the floors periodically too. Again, the frequency of the cleaning session depends on the activity your floors see. Areas with higher foot traffic could use a light damp cleaning at least once weekly. Meanwhile, less-used areas probably require a wipe-down monthly.
If you notice your engineered wood flooring is beginning to dull, it is another sign to bring out the mop. Remember to wring the mop until it is slightly damp. While engineered wood flooring is more water-resistant, you should still be careful and not allow moisture to seep into the wood. So avoid creating any standing water and only use sufficient moisture so that it will dry within a few minutes. Any spills or stains must be cleaned immediately from floors, or they will worsen over time.
Maintaining marble flooring
Marble flooring may be durable, but it also stains easily due to its porous structure. As a result, special care and attention are necessary to keep it looking its best for the long haul. If you spill something by accident, you should blot and clean it up immediately. Do not wipe the spill, as it will spread the liquid to other areas. Once blotted, clean the spot with a solution of water and mild dish soap.
Additionally, it is essential to regularly remove dirt and grit from the floor to protect your marble flooring. We recommend using a soft natural dust mop for cleaning to prevent damage to the surface. Ensure you clean your dust mop after each use to avoid reapplying the dirt during the next cleaning session.
You can utilise a vacuum cleaner, but avoid using an upright vacuum since the wheels and other pieces can damage the finish. Ensure you use only the brush attachments and not any of the other plastic or metal attachments.
When considering a cleaning agent to clean your marble floors, you will want to choose a pH-neutral soap. Avoid solutions with acidic components, as they may cause etching and leave behind marks resembling water stains.
When cleaning the floor, cover the area with suds before rinsing the entire surface thoroughly by mopping it again with clean water. Do not over-soak the floor when wiping the area, as any standing water will stain the marble once it evaporates. Once you have cleared the remaining soap residue, dry the surface using a dry mop or a soft cloth.
PART 4 – FAQS ABOUT HOME FLOORING
We hope what we shared has provided you with what you need to select the ideal home flooring. Of course, we understand you might have several questions that might not be covered in our comprehensive guide above. So let us compile a short FAQ addressing the common queries we receive from our customers.
Question #1: What type of home flooring can withstand the test of time?
We carry various hardwearing products that can withstand the test of time with minimal maintenance. In particular, our laminate flooring and luxury vinyl tiles are incredibly scratch-resistant and look similar to authentic wood or tile. They are ideal for those seeking durable flooring that lasts a long time.
If you prefer stone flooring, you can consider our engineered stone flooring. Like laminate flooring and vinyl floors, engineered stone flooring is highly durable and resistant to scratches, stains, and impacts. As a result, it can also withstand heavy foot traffic and is less prone to cracks or chips.
Question #2: What is the best flooring for kids/pets/high-trafficked areas?
There are numerous options available for such scenarios. So we recommend arranging a consultation with our flooring consultants to figure out the ideal flooring that will fit your lifestyle. Our team has vast experience in this matter and can recommend the perfect option that fits your requirements.
Question #3: What is the cheapest flooring option?
It is impossible for us to provide an exact answer, as prices often vary depending on the type of home flooring and how intensive the demolition work will be before installation. While we understand the concerns of those working with a tight budget, we do not believe it is worth compromising on the quality for the price.
Poor flooring affects more than just the appearance of your living space. It can also compromise the safety of you and your family. So it is vital to choose a durable and appealing product. An incorrect decision may also cause you to spend more on future repairs and replacements, burning a bigger hole in your wallet.
Question #4: Which is better – vinyl or laminate flooring?
Customers often ask us which is better – vinyl floors or laminate flooring. However, the answer is not always so clear-cut, as they are both excellent flooring options. Instead, it is about discovering what works best for your home.
With that said, laminate is the more sustainable option, as it comprises hardwood-recycled high-density fiberboard. In contrast, vinyl flooring is usually made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a synthetic material derived from fossil fuels.
If you have any doubts, you can consult our trusted consultants. They can direct you towards the ideal flooring for your living space. At Floor Xpert, we carry a broad selection of laminate and vinyl flooring designs. So you can take your time to decide which option best fits your home decor.
PART 5 – CONCLUSION
Do not underestimate how your home flooring can significantly impact the overall look, feel, and functionality of your home. Whether you opt for classic parquet, vinyl tiles, or eco-friendly options like laminate or engineered hardwood, the right flooring can provide a comfortable, inviting, and functional space for you and your family to enjoy. So take your time, explore your options, and choose the flooring that best reflects your style and enhances your home for years to come.
At Floor Xpert, we offer only the best and most innovative flooring solutions for your home. With more than a decade of experience in the flooring industry, our team has satisfied and delighted various residential clients. So you can rest easy knowing we can help you make the best decision for your living space. Visit our website to book an appointment with our consultants today!