HOOSING flooring material is one of the challenges that developers face because of the many options on the market. Of course, with money, you can have whatever you want. If you make the wrong choice, you may have to overhaul and reconstruct the floor. But the right material blends well into oneâ€™s
HOOSING flooring material is one of the challenges that developers face because of the many options on the market. Of course, with money, you can have whatever you want. If you make the wrong choice, you may have to overhaul and reconstruct the floor. But the right material blends well into oneâ€™s lifestyle, mixing both fashion and function.
The most popular flooring materials include concrete, plastic and ceramic tiles, wood blocks and terrazzo. Whichever you choose, just make sure that it is the right one and that you will not have to change your mind halfway through installation. Let us go look at the advantages and disadvantages of each of the above flooring materials.
This is the most common type of flooring in the country although it has become old-fashioned. It keeps absorbing moisture from the ground; harsh to the bare feet and increase oneâ€™s risk of getting an electric shock. Poor workmanship reduces its durability, making it crack so easily. Nevertheless, the floor provides a daytime cooling effect inside an iron-roofed house. The floors cost sh8,000 (per square metre) to fix in a semi-urban area, but this is lower upcountry.
Plastic (PVC) tiles
These are being used to substitute cement floors in new sub-urban homes. They come in six colours, green, blue, yellow, orange and gray. So, matching them with curtains, cushions and other draperies in a room is very easy. A square metre costs sh14,400. PVC tiles are easy to install. It only requires gum to stick together the pieces and the work is done. When a home-owner does not need them anymore, he or she will only need to call in workmen to peel them off the floor. A wet cloth and soap is all that the plastic floors need to appear spotless clean and besides, they never get stained.
However, Joseph Kalanzi, a sales executive at Tile Centre, says the tiles do not last.
â€œThey are best for developers who carry out replacements on their floors every five or more years,â€ he says.
Because their fixing gum peels off easily, they are not ideal for bathrooms, kitchens and verandas.
These are water and fire-resistant. So, they last three times longer than plastic tiles. They come in different colours, sizes, shapes, textures and glazes. Textures and patterns range from plain to faux stone and wood on to jewel imitations. Ceramic tiles come in various colours and dimension with more complex glazing applications that mimic the natural metal flecks of stones. The larger tiles allow a home-owner to create a more seamless look in the house.
â€œTiles can be used to change the apparent size of any room in the house. Small tiles of light colour can make a small room appear spacious. Larger, dark-coloured tiles will make a very large room appear busy and smaller,â€ says Grace Wenjohi, an interior designer.
Because of their durability and different designs, tiles can be fitted in any room of the house. They are the excellent choice for high-traffic areas like hall entrances, kitchen and sitting room.
Avoid smooth glossy tiles on the bathroom floor because someone can easily slide and fall.
But fitting tiles calls for an expert. Poor workmanship will call for early replacement, which is expensive. This involves overhauling and rebuilding the sub-floor before replacing the tiles
Buying from established importers rather than small-scale retail shops is crucial because the importers will give you advice on your choices, which a retailer may not be able to do.
Constructing a ceramic floor will cost a home-owner at least sh25,000 (per square metre), excluding labour.
These are becoming rare. For example, you will hardly find a new house in a Kampala with a wooden floor.
Wood absorbs a lot of moisture from the ground. The floor will rot, unless it is polished regularly. Termites might also destroy the floor, making it expensive to maintain.
That aside, wooden floors look, lovely when polished. They also have a certain warmth and character that no other flooring material can imitate.
To last, a wooden floor will need to be sealed once a year and polished every week. Walking on a wooden floor in stilettos will make the house seem like a venue for a tap dance. Dogs are fond of scratching wooden floors, so they will get spoilt quickly if on the verandah.
Before constructing a wooden floor, one needs to seek services from a civil engineer to moisture-test the slab to make sure it is fit to accommodate the floor. Otherwise, you might have to invest in a moisture-barrier underneath. In developed countries, there are new technologies for making wooden floors more durable, but these are yet to be introduced in Kampala.
Wall-to-wall shag carpets
These are another favourite, though temporary, flooring materials, especially in Kampala. Persian (Iranian) traders have introduced a luxurious range of woven carpets and rugs, whose beauty is difficult to resist.
A few home-owners to cover up the cemented floors with wool carpets. The carpets add colour to the interiors. They can also be matched with the furniture and draperies. Shag carpets cost between sh15,000 and sh30,000 per square metre, but can go lower than this depending on where one buys from.
They absorb noise from the footsteps and are warm to the naked feet. Carpets are best for low-traffic relaxation areas in a home like bedrooms and living rooms.
One major disadvantage of these carpets is that they build up dust. So, they are not safe for childrenâ€™s bedrooms. They are also expensive to maintain, requiring special equipment for cleaning. Some are stained with no remedy. Choose a darker-coloured carpet that will not easily manifest the stains.
This type of floor which has been used in Mulago hospital and found on gravestones, is slowly creeping into Kampala homes too.
Today, developers are using it on downstairs verandas, but who knows, they might end up in the house! The beautiful thing about terrazzo is that it is one continuous seamless block, so it is appealing to look at. Besides, it is durable and will resist adverse weather condition. It is also maintenance-free. All it needs is scrubbing and mopping and it will appear spotless.
A square metre costs about sh60,000. But should it, after ages, develop a crack, then there is no remedy, but overhauling it. It cannot be repaired.
Some developers prefer a more mixed floor plan for their homes. So, they can have terrazzo on the verandah, ceramic tiles in the kitchen and bathroom, wood boards in the living room and carpeting in the bedroom. What is your take?
Floor show: What is best for you?