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  • Writer's pictureBenny Kuriakose

Points to Remember While Doing Flooring

Introduction

Flooring is a finished, permanent surface placed over a floor framework to form a level surface for walking. The flooring is required as it gives a solid and level surface, which adds to the aesthetic and functionality of the space. A 1:4:8 concrete base with a thickness of about 100 to 200 mm is provided. After which, the floor finish, which comes in varied types, is laid over it. In order to achieve good flooring that is both functional and aesthetic, it's important to know the steps to take. Therefore, it’s important to choose a tile as per the requirements of the space.

Athangudi Tiles used in our project, Thanikachalam House

List Of Contents

Constituents of Flooring

Floor Base/ Floor Screed

Screed is the base of the floor and is the structural element that provides stability to the floor and protects it from dampness or heat resistance. It is one of the most important parts of a flooring. It is made of a blend of cement and sand, which is then applied on the floor surface.

Floor Screed or base provided for our AHP project at Alappuzha

Floor Covering

A covering material is applied on the base to provide better finishing and protection for the floor.


Thickness of the floor screeds

A screed laid on a concrete base will, within three hours of placing concrete, bond strongly to the concrete and dry slowly with the concrete so that drying shrinkage and cracking of the screed are minimised. For the construction of screed, a thickness of 12 mm is preferred. A screed laid on a concrete base that has been set and hardened should be cleaned and dampened, then covered by a thin grout of water and cement before the screed is laid.


Various Kinds of Flooring

Mud Flooring

Mud flooring is an ancient flooring technique that is suitable for low-cost housing as it is cheaper and easier to obtain. It is waterproof and can make a house cool during the summer. To construct a mud floor, straw is mixed with good quality clay and water to prevent cracking while drying. After which, 25cm of paste is applied and rammed to get an even and compact surface of 15 cm thickness. It can be finished with cow dung for texture.

Mud Flooring for Chuttillu House, DakshinaChitra

Brick and Laterite Flooring

Brick and laterite flooring is suitable for exterior paving like garden paths and garages. It can be arranged in different brick-bond patterns. It is very durable, economical, and easy to construct. After filling the area with earth or sand up to plinth level, a cement concrete base is poured, and bricks can be laid. When pouring cement, one must make sure that there is a slope for water drainage.

Laterite Flooring for our project Huilekere House

Cement Flooring

Cement flooring is the most durable and possesses good wear and tear properties. Its surface is smooth and has a good appearance.

Cement Flooring for our project Port Museum

Stone Flooring

Stone flooring is economical and easy to repair in terms of maintenance. It is durable and porous, thus suitable for exterior paving. The most common stones used for flooring are marble, granite, limestone, sandstone, and slate. Stone flooring can be polished or unpolished. A thin layer of cement mortar with a thickness of 2 cm is poured over the cement concrete layer. After which, the stone slab is placed and tapped with a wooden mallet.

Stone Flooring for Bekal Restaurant, our project at DakshinaChitra

Tile Flooring

Tile flooring is the most common type of flooring because of its aesthetic appearance, and it comes in different types. Transportation is easier as the tiles are light-weight and easier to pack, so they can be taken to upper floors. It is easy to clean, but repair costs are high. After the cement concrete is allowed to harden, a cement mortar with a thickness of 1.2 cm is poured and allowed to harden. Once the cement slurry is poured again, a tile is placed and gently tapped with a mallet.

Tile Flooring for our project Huilekere House

Mosaic and Terrazzo flooring

Both mosaic and terrazzo flooring make use of other pieces to strengthen the mix. Mosaic flooring consists of rigid patterns that can be made into a mural, whereas Terrazzo has a mixture of scattered chips that won’t have any scope for visual flexibility. Terrazzo flooring is highly eco-friendly as it is made of waste chips of natural stones, whereas mosaics can be made so if natural materials are used. Terrazzo is more durable than mosaic as it is prone to wear and tear.

‘Balkerne Star’ mosaic designed by Anne Schwegmann

Timber Flooring

Timber flooring is one of the most preferred interior flooring options for its durability and aesthetics. It mostly makes use of hardwoods like mahogany, teak, oak, etc., as they can stand up to harsh wear and tear. Timber flooring can be suspended, i.e., supported from the ground, or solid, which is fully fixed to the ground.

Timber Flooring for our project Sabari Hill Side

Flagstone Flooring

Flagstone flooring makes use of laminated sandstone or slate that is laid out on a 20-25 mm thick mortar. The thickness of each slab is about 2-4 cm with a width more than 38cm. It is required to slope the land for proper drainage if flagstone is used.

Flagstone Flooring for Guest House, our project at DakshinaChitra

Traits of a Poorly Selected Flooring

  1. Non Durable: The flooring used must be durable, i.e., able to withstand wear, tear, and pressure, and must be resistant to damage to a certain degree.

  2. Difficult to clean: Since most flooring is used for interiors, maintenance must be easier and should not allow debris or water to collect

  3. Noisy when walking: The flooring should not make any noise, as this can be irritating and disturb the peace in the home.

  4. Unappealing Appearance: The flooring should complement the overall interior design and be aesthetically pleasing.

  5. Dampness: The flooring must not absorb water or have gaps that could trap water

  6. Not Heat and fire resistance: A building should use materials that do not aggravate the flame or make the space hotter when it catches fire. This includes flooring tiles, as they spread all over a space and can be prone to spreading fire if not resistant.

  7. High maintenance costs: Flooring requires frequent maintenance, especially if it has been unused for an extended period of time. As a result, lower costs may be more advantageous.

Points to remember for flooring

  1. The inside of the walls, ceiling, and the outside of the walls should be plastered before the flooring.

  2. The top layer should consist of a uniform layer of cement plaster of a specified thickness and 1:4 cement mortar, unless otherwise specified. The top is finished with a floating coat of neat cement.

  3. Screeds should be mixed with just enough water for workability.

  4. The plaster flooring can be thread-lined to the room's sides in squares or diagonally.

  5. To minimise rapid drying shrinkage and cracking, the screed should be cured for at least seven days and allowed to dry slowly over the course of several days.

Conclusion

Flooring is one of the most important elements that could enhance the experience of a space. At the same time, flooring is also a process that could be the least sustainable due to poor material choice and excessive purchase of tiles, which could lead to wastage. Considering residential projects, flooring cannot be avoided, so a good flooring that is durable and less slippery is absolutely essential. So it is important to choose the flooring carefully. For exterior purposes such as garden pavings, it is important to slope the land and drain water so that water doesn’t get trapped and cause damage to the tiles. As a result, good flooring can make a big difference in functionality and should be chosen carefully.

Tiled flooring for our project La Casa Roja

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