Today's floors are not made for just walking
Choosing the right flooring is no more taken lightly. Manufacturers are playing to the gallery
Expectations of consumers are not limited to the quality of the construction, they evaluate every aspect of an apartment before concluding their buying decision. With newer designs and superior quality materials coming in, developers have to stay updated to live up to the expectations of the consumers.
Residential flooring has come a long way. Today with the economy apartment culture, it pretty much comes to the builder to choose the flooring that will fit into his cost to sell the apartment at the right price. With the rise of the economy segments, the villa culture is also on the rise with extremely luxurious fit outs and customers having a choice to customise their flooring, where wooden flooring and rugs give way to the traditional premium appeal. Today, flooring manufacturers have a variety of choice to offer. Rohit Tiwari, head of marketing & concept design, South Asia, Interface, says, “The most recent arrivals in the flooring industry are the luxury vinyl tiles (LVTs) which provide a great choice of design with realistic looking wooden, stone or geometric pattern finishes. The hardware layer on top protects it from minor stains or scratches, and provide the warm touch to encourage walking relaxed bare foot when at home.”
Todd Jarvis, global marketing director, Shaw Contract, says, “So far, we have worked with the commercial sector (corporate office & hospitality). The product lines we have supplied include hard surface (LVT & EVT) and soft surface (carpet tiles & broadloom). That said, we have launched a set of new products for the high-end residential segments in the Indian market. We are known for premium quality design-oriented flooring materials and the product lines include luxury vinyl tiles (LVT), engineering vinyl tiles (EVT) and high-end, aesthetically design-oriented rugs.”
Each apartment type has different needs. Within the apartment itself, various rooms will have even more specific usage. For example, the needs of a luxury project will be different than the needs of a medium-income household. Similarly, a master bed would have a different need say as compared to a child’s room or a guest room. Satinder Chawla, MD, Span Floors, says, “Since our focus area is luxury residences, we work with the developers to suggest an optimised wood flooring solution based on different room types. The end result should be consumer satisfaction. New and improved versions of all types of flooring keep coming up. Since R&D is an ongoing process with quality brands, features that improve quality and satisfaction keep getting introduced. One such product that we have introduced at Span Floors is a new type of engineered wood flooring that is able to handle the humid Indian conditions much better.”
An acquired taste
It all depends on the type of project, its aesthetic and scale. Accordingly, the flooring that’s chosen is the one that reflects the sensibilities and taste of the people buying into the properties. Also, considering varying individual tastes, it is standard practice for developers to sell raw flats and then facilitate individual expressions within spaces. Sahil Jain, founder and principal architect, Morphlab, says, “A few decades ago, making a home truly eco-friendly was an expensive affair, also the final results weren’t visually artistic and beautiful as one expected. But today, with advances in green technology, this is no longer a problem. Today, the design world offers many stunning green flooring options to pick and choose from which are aesthetically astounding. Few examples are: timber, bamboo, rubber, cork, linoleum, etc. Many people hear green flooring and assume a high price tag. But, today, it’s worth exploring this option for the benefits it delivers.”
Most manufacturers design and manufacture keeping the Indian customers in mind. Mukesh Savlani, CEO, Welspun Flooring, says, “Along with global ambitions, our products thrives on three key pillars: Convenience, performance and design. Today, consumers want a quick flooring solution which is easy to install, durable and flexible enough to furnish a small room or perhaps a favourite corner in their house. With our innovative Click-N-Lock tiles, we have redefined the mechanism of refurbishing space and with minimal efforts required for laying tiles, consumers can change their flooring in a matter of hours without any hassles.”
Flooring is directly related to the class of consumers the developer is catering to. The cost and durability plays the key role in deciding the flooring to be used in the apartments. For common areas, lift lobbies, etc. design of the tiles and flooring material is considered as per the concept of the project. Principal Architects Harsh Pote and Gaurav Sanghavi, Pentaspace, says, “Anti-static flooring tiles which are used in hospitals, fire complaint areas like meter rooms, server rooms, and petrochemical factories are being sourced more often than their counterparts. Apart from this a new bendable flexible Italian tile can also be imported. This tile can be bent and curved as per the design requirement. It comes in sizes of 80cmx160cm and 1200cmX600cm. For other uses, the innovation is happening in design on both vitrified as well as ceramic tiles.”
Rohit Poddar, MD, Poddar Housing and Development, says, “An important aspect in an apartment which one should consider is the quality and durability of flooring. Hybrid flooring excels on beauty and durability both the fronts. Hybrid engineered floors are wear-worthiness, waterproof and durable as well. It gives an aesthetic appeal to the floor and maintenance of these hybrid floors is inexpensive. Besides low maintenance, high-quality, waterproof nature, and lovely appearance, we can find several colours and patterns to coordinate with your space.”
Every flooring solution’s longevity depends on how it’s maintained and taken care of. Tiwari of Interface says, “Generally for commercial flooring installations, Interface facilitates a floor maintenance education sessions for the facility management team. We would provide a do’s and don’ts guide to the end user as its makes a significant impact on the floor’s life. The manufacturer’s website is a great place to communicate about the best ways to maintain the flooring.”
In cities with high humidity, one can avoid wood flooring and go for an engineered floor as it gives the feel of wood and doesn’t expand like true wood. Jarvis says, “For the APAC market, we have launched engineering vinyl tile (EVT). Our marketing USP is EVT’s construction which is based on patented COREtec technology makes it waterproof, dimensionally stable and easy to install. The layered construction delivers real performance and durability and reduces sound transmission. Designed with locking edges, installation is quick and easy, saving installation time and cost.”
Rohit Tiwari, Interface.
Most flooring manufacturers are set to disrupt the world of flooring with innovative flooring solutions. Savlani says, “Our Click N Lock tiles is an industry’s first innovation and comes with a unique inter-locking technology. With an engineered mix of stone & polymer, this tile comes in both and wood and marble finish. Aesthetically appealing, they are more durable than vitrified tiles and are waterproof, UV and scratch and termite resistant. The seamless design gives a uniform and wide look even to a small surface area, giving every room its own identity.”
And this is not all. Buyers can mix and match two or more designs according to their convenience and change the look, depending upon occasion or mood.