10 Most Popular Flooring types in Sri Lanka

The most important thing about selecting a good flooring material is not just it has to go with your style but should also address the functionality of your lifestyle. Aesthetics, durability, materials and affordability matters in selecting a better flooring type

Flooring types, just like the word says it is all about supporting a surface or the floor using different materials in construction. In today’s article we discuss the 10 best flooring types available in Sri Lanka. The most important thing about selecting a good flooring material is not just it has to go with your style but should also address the functionality of your lifestyle. Aesthetics, durability, materials and affordability matters in selecting a better flooring type. This simple guide will help you to select something better for your design in the future to obtain the most satisfying outcome.

First, we’ll go through some of the most popular flooring types in construction works and how suitable are they for a tropical climatic country.

1. Hard Wood flooring

Hard wood is a natural flooring material which is very attractive and durable. These flooring tones vary from brownish red colorization to a very neutral colorization. The connections between rooms can be established according to the installation method of the flooring. You can find hard wood flooring in teak, rubber, cypress and even in kumbuk varieties.

image of Hardwood flooring - flooring types in Sri Lanka
Hardwood flooring (www.household-decoration.com/)

Hardwood brings warmth in cold climates. But these are highly affected by extreme moist conditions or long-term exposure to dampness. Therefore, they are not suitable to use in kitchens and bathrooms.

Also, it is affected by too much dryness as well. Direct sunlight conditions tend to change color or size of the installed units. Usually the humid levels should remain between 35% to 60% to maintain hardwood flooring in good conditions.


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2. Tile flooring

Ceramic tiles are usually the most popular flooring type in Sri Lanka. They come in different sizes, textures and colors even. These are suitable for any floor at any level in your house. The tiled floors require a moisture barrier or a underlayment and a proper top sealing to protect flooring for a long time.

Indoor yellow color tiles - flooring types in Sri Lanka
Tile flooring (www.pinterest.com/)

Tiles bring coolness to your feet and provide a smooth surface to step on. These are perfect for hot climates or tropical settings. These are tolerant to extreme weather conditions such as high temperatures. But in some occasions, tiles can change their sizes to a certain degree depending on the outer environmental condition. Tiles are like glass. When glass faces extreme temperatures, they crack. This is very similar to tiles. Even though they are tolerant to some extent, it comes with a certain limit. Therefore, it is better use proper placement techniques for a quality installation..

Apart from that, tiles are very easy to clean. It is very versatile given how you can choose from any style you prefer according to the place you want flooring to be installed. The tiles are resistant to fire and water as well. This prevents the accumulation of mold. With proper maintenance less replacement is needed over time.

But when it comes to the price, it varies. Tiles can be matte or glossy. And with the type and the textures you prefer and the amount you order, the price can be very high. And also, on the downside, tiles are a permanent solution. If you change your mind halfway, removing tiles can be a very painful process.

3. Vinyl flooring

indoor dark color vinyl floor - flooring types in Sri Lanka
Vinyl flooring (familytraditionflooring.com/)

Vinyl floors are a good choice if you are looking for a cost-effective material. They show a similar resemblance to wood and sometimes stone.  These are suitable for any climatic condition. Cold or warm. But they require a vapour barrier. It is better to use these in areas with higher foot traffic where a lot of moment takes place like kitchens or living rooms.

 These are designed mold proof and scratch proof. Any mess on vinyl can be cleared off with a bit of sweeping and a mop in some cases. But they also tend to fade over time. There are three types of vinyl flooring. Sheet vinyl, solid vinyl and luxury vinyl. Even though they are cheap, these materials are not much elegant or rich looking. But the flooring can last a long time with high maintenance and proper care.

4. Carpet flooring

carpets in a office interior
Carpet flooring (www.squarefoot.co.in/)

Carpets are not typically used houses in Sri Lanka but used in commercial spaces. That doesn’t make it a bad choice for a house. Carpets doesn’t do well in damp climates. Therefore, they require a proper moisture barrier. Carpets are one of the most economic initial investment in most countries. Carpets can bring a warm feeing to the interior. But the price of carpets varies depending on the quality of the material along with its’ design. Carpets also require deep cleaning and sooner or later, you may have to replace them as carpets tend to damage and stain very easily.

5. Laminate flooring

Laminate flooring interior - flooring types in Sri Lanka
Laminate flooring (www.myinterior.lk/flooring-solutions/)

Laminate flooring is a combination of composite wood with a printed wooden texture on top. You can find them in many varieties. But climate and humidity conditions affect laminate floorings. So, the expansion gaps should be well maintained when installing. If your floor tends to be in a flood prone area or a very rainy area, this is not exactly a good choice as the flooring tend to bend and twist with moisture and dampness. But using a moisture barrier to the subfloor will reduce this effect even though it will cost more. They are also durable and scratch resistant.

Laminate floors are easy to install and doesn’t take much maintenance. Laminate has a click and lock installation which make it easier to install as well. There will be no glue or nails involved in the process. The laminate ranges between residential and commercial both.

Related article: Alternative Materials for Wood

6. Bamboo flooring

light color bamboo flooring
Bamboo flooring

Bamboo is a better choice for those who prefer natural materials. Bamboo flooring are somewhat similar to hardwood floorings. They could be thinner, but the construction methods are the same. Boards are made by gluing bamboo together. Depending on the type of material used, they can be either hard or soft on the final product. Damp resistant is high in bamboo and it is mold resistant. Bamboo can be used in any level of your house. But since bamboos thermal properties are a bit lower, this makes it less suitable for cold climates. But bamboo is a renewable material and adds an exotic aesthetic value to the home.

Bamboo is considered to be environmentally friendly. Unlike hardwood, it doesn’t take decades to mature. They grow fast and harvesting practices doesn’t take much time. Therefore, the resources are available. The prices of bamboo are similar to that of hardwood. But bamboo colors are softer, and hardwood offers dark colors to the customer. The pattern on bamboo is similar from one to another bamboo installment. But hardwood gives different pattern with each tree.

Main maintenance process includes sweeping and vacuuming. Periodical mopping with a suitable floor mopping cleanser can be carried out as well.

7. Cement flooring

Concrete flooring can create very different and stylist floors you have ever seen. This is known to be the most resistant floor type to moisture if it is properly sealed and constructed. The antimicrobial properties are there. They are strong and durable. The floors are also cool when compared to others. This is a good choice for hot climates.  The floors are hard which sometimes makes it uncomfortable for the underfoot.

Indoor cut cement - flooring types in Sri Lanka
Cement flooring (www.pinterest.ca/)

The cement flooring is very affordable, and their design flexibility is very appreciable. Their colors and forms mostly go with modern houses with industrial type built rather than vintage type homes.

8. Titanium flooring

Titanium flooring is a flooring design which can be obtained in many colors you like. This flooring material includes mixing of titanium dioxide with cement. The durability of titanium is high along with its’ surface strength. The surface finish is smooth, and the colour of cement can be lightened up by the mixing of Titanium. Glossy appearance can be seen in the end result. But in the long run, cracks could appear on the floor surface. Even though it is a flooring material, walls can be finished with this material as well.

Maintenance level is low when compared to other flooring types. Adding special chemicals could prevent the flooring from absorbing water in. This is a great way to take into consideration if you are trying to revive the existing floor without going through much trouble.

Titanium flooring (www.wickeyterrazzo.com/)

9. Epoxy flooring

designed floor using epoxy flooring
Epoxy flooring (www.concretedecor.net/)

Epoxy is one of the few materials which can be used on many types of surfaces such as cement and wood. This is still an inexperienced flooring type in Sri Lanka. Epoxy flooring gives out a nice-looking finish to any part of your house. Epoxy can be applied as a coating. This is a mixture of epoxy resin and the resin hardener. 1 mm to 2.5 mm thickness layer can be obtained and the thickness can be increased by adding the respective chemicals.  Colours and the textures can be obtained according to the personal preference.

The durability is moderate. And the flooring is not exactly scratch proof. But this changes with the quality of the epoxy coating applied. The prices increase with the quality level. The epoxy type such as glass cast are expensive but starch proof. Epoxy is suitable for indoors only as it is not UV stable. Epoxy is waterproof. But if the base material gets exposed to water/moisture, the top epoxy coating tends to scrape off.

But these floorings are easy to install and easy to clean as well. Can resist lot of foot traffic. It can be mixed with different paints and colours to mask the cracks and chips as well. These are generally considered as environmentally friendly. With the low maintenance levels, these floorings could easily fit in to your busy lifestyle.

10. Terrazzo flooring

Terrazzo flooring (www.regentway.in/)

Terrazzo floors are created by sprinkling decorative chips in an epoxy liquid to generate unique designs with different colour combinations. The liquid completely seals off these chips without leaving any hard edges or tips on top. The final finish has a smooth surface which provides cold sense to the underfoot. This has become a popular flooring type because of the aesthetical flexibility of the design. Amazing textures are created according to the user’s preference on a reflective surface.

The materials are extremely dense and comes with a sealant and which makes it waterproof. Better for use in areas with lot of foot traffic. The terrazzo is not just limited to floors which means you can use your imagination to use the versatility to create various patterns to add more quality and beauty to the interiors. Installing terrazzo can be an expensive process as it requires professional skills to gain the best result.

Some important points for you to consider when choosing your flooring types are given here.

  1. Don’t just order the materials online. Go and choose them in person. Because the real materials tend to differ from the images you see online.
  2. When deciding the flooring designs, pay attention to the colors of the walls, and the surrounding environment you live in or the adaptability of the flooring. Contrast tones create very uncomfortable environments. Therefore, select the tones which mixes well with the same color palette of the existing condition of the house or the colors you decide to pick for your house.
  3. Decide the amount of flooring you require and get ready with a budget. If you run out of money before the whole area is covered, you might run in to issues. And if you order less amount of flooring units than the needed amount, next time you order from the company, the stocks could be over. So be prepared always.
  4. Most important point is to create a comfortable atmosphere. If you have children, be sure to use non-slippery soft flooring types, because children usually play, run and even falls. So it is better to give priority to their safety than the looks. If you are a family with a very busy schedules, make sure to use low maintenance materials so you only have to worry about your flooring one in a while. If you live in a warm climate, use flooring with materials which generates cool surfaces underfoot and vice versa.

It not always about the looks. But as you can see, flooring types are diverse. There are other flooring types which are not mentioned here. Dig a little deep and find your best pick which can address the conditions you need the most and use it to built a beautiful, comfortable satisfying home for you.

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P. Ramawickrama
Department of Landscape Architecture, University of Moratuwa

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