Home series: Choosing the right flooring materials

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Our renovation journey has started last year. In November 2015, we started scouting around for an interior designing firm who could help us with our renovation. The hubs was not keen in engaging an ID as he deemed that they would charge sky rocket high due to their design fee. Typically, the design fees would be an average of $4000 and he would rather get contractors in and get me to draw instead! I would love to, save for the fact that he travels a whole lot and at the end of the day, I might be the one coordinating every single thing! Probably possible 5 years ago, sans kids. However, now, it's I.M.P.O.S.S.I.B.L.E So the search began and it was an arduous one no less. We surfed, we asked and we shortlisted 3 companies. Inflation has really kicked in fast and furious over the last 8 years when we renovated our matrimonial home. We were in for a shock when we saw their quotes! The most expensive being a whopping $96,000! Mind you, we live in a humble 5 room apartment and we were looking at pretty minimal renovation, so a quote like that wasn't going to go well with the pocket. So we searched and searched and finally settled with one which gave us most of what we needed for $77,000. That sounded a little better except that with that price, it doesn't include air-conditioning, furnishings and appliances. What it does include are: hacking of floors and wall tiles; dismantling of everything else, hacking away one kitchen wall to make things more spacious; laying of new flooring; building of cabinets for kitchen, master bedroom and study; doing up new windows and grills; false ceiling and lightings. Does that sound like a lot? teehee. Any hoots, the generous hubs decided that after 9 years, we should have everything changed! New beds, new fridge, new washing machine...everything NEW! I still don't know how we are going to fork out the total bill and am living day by day. 

After we settled on the quote, where i acted like an aunty going to the wet market, we quickly got down to the drawing board. However, as it was the festive period, many were on leave and things were delayed. By December, we finally gotten our 3D drawings presented to us. We spent some time amending and choosing the materials and by the time things were ready to commence, it was nearing to Chinese New Year! During this period, most foreign workers would go back to their hometown and the companies would typically rest for at least 2 weeks! I pressured the ID to have the floor hacked before CNY. I don't know what was I thinking, trying to annoy the S*** out of my neighbours. They would probably hate me for creating so much noise and dust just before the new year. But my intention was just to get things started! Things really had to move as the current living condition is stifling! Think: 7 pax in a small apartment, with one member of the family sleeping in the living room every night. Hence, I have no privacy or place to work after my kids sleep as everyone else would be sleeping and to turn on the lights would be impolite right? My eyesight has deteriorated so much due to working in dim light. Apart from that, keeping up with chores is a pain. I pride myself for being able to manage things. However, I am now living with a professional homemaker who wakes up at 430am to do chores and goes to the market at 6am! Every single day, laundry is being washed and folded. And I have to try to keep my children's toys at bay and leave them with only a box of random toys and a box of lego. That's all they have been having for the past 9 months! So yeah, I need things to start moving!

In anticipation of all the festivities and break from work, our ID suggested that we go shopping and get everything settled for a seamless transition thereafter. Hence, we started choosing our tiles, bathroom accessories and lightings.

Here's sharing some of our findings and loots:

Flooring is so important as it is essentially the foundation of your home. We have to hack the entire floor and redo the flooring instead of doing an overlay which was a much cheaper option. The existing tiles were approximately 20years old and the contractor noted some hollowness in them hence suggested that we changed lest the new overlaid material pops up in years to come. So, hacking of the floor was going to cost us big time. Bummer. 

Popular options for flooring:

Tiles: Of late, the Peranakan and Mediterranean-inspired tiles are in vogue due to their ornate patterns. 

Homogeneous ceramic tiles: Most versatile especially for bathrooms. Some come in matt whilst others are with glazed finishings. Minor scratches won't be obvious. A good choice with kids around.

Natural stone: Marble, limestone, granite and slate. Each cut is unique, hence the price. However, extra care and polishing is needed, so this isn't quite the type of flooring you would be looking at if you have young children. 

Traditional parquet: This is aesthetically pleasing and has a warm feel to it. However, it is easily damaged and will darken with age. I recalled always getting scolded for scratching the parquet of my parents' place when I was a little girl. -_-

Laminated flooring: It has beautiful wood grain, with extensive design. Many use this as an overlay which saves cost. It is actually compressed wood coated with aluminium oxide to enhance its scratch resistance. Low maintenance however, should water seep through, it may spell trouble. The adhesiveness might be lost and the laminates may start popping.

Concrete screeding: I LOVE THIS! 8 years ago, when I did up my first house, we wanted and we tried. However, the contractor wasn't able to achieve the desired look hence it had to be scraped. Apparently, back then, not many contractors were able to do this. This actually saves money as you merely have to top it off with a concrete sealer for smoother finishing and to minimise the dusty feel.

Evorich High End Resilent Flooring: Its 100% waterproof feature is a big draw. You never know when the little ones will spill a pail of water in your living room! It has better wear layer than the traditional vinyl and it is glueless and odourless. 

After analysing all the pros and cons, we decided to go with the High End Resilent Flooring. It was a tad more expensive than laminates, but we believe it will go a long way. 

Apart from the main floor, we had to select tiles for the bathrooms. For this, we went to a shop at Ubi, somewhere behind those car showrooms. Their selection was fairly decent and we settled for the below:

We were going for a resort feel, hence the stone tiles. What do you think? The above is our common toilet. Many commented that it will be tough to wash as dirt will be trapped in between. However, I believe that constant spraying and a bit of mould removal detergent should do the trick! After all, Chio (pretty) is most important right? :P


For our master bedroom's wardrobe. I'm still missing my old walk-in closet! Boo!

White for our kitchen cabinets. Hope it wouldn't be too tough to clean!

Laminates for our wardrobe and kitchen cabinets were chosen. We went through two rounds and kept changing our minds. Don't blame me, I'm Woman after all. 

For our Kitchen top, we have chosen to go with iquartz. This is apparently similar but better than its counterpart, the granite. Granite used to be top of the range and expensive. However, over the years, with innovation, iquartz and granite pricing are pretty much the same. According to our ID, granite isn't favoured as it is more porous and for kitchen, you wouldn't want your sauces to seep into the holes right?

In my next post, I will share with you some places to check out for furniture. Stay tune!


  1. Oh.. how exciting! Show us the place when the renovation is done!

    1. I definitely will, Michelle! :) Cant wait too!