When Philemon Kituyi, an accountant built his new home in Utawala, Nairobi, he was not keen on using wooden boarding for the floors.
Not sure on which materials to use, he settled for the common ceramic tiles for the floor, as is normal among just about anyone else building a house.
But ceramic tiles are a monotonous choice; lacking in variety and often tend to become boring.
Try quartz, granite or marble which can be used not just on the floors, but also on walls.
When it comes to flooring or putting a decorative layer on bathrooms or kitchen walls, most homeowners go for ceramic tiles.
Ceramic may be tough, but still it does not compare to the durability and sturdiness of materials like quartz floor tiles, or a marble or granite flooring.
Quartz, marble, granite, slate and other forms of stones are gradually becoming sought after flooring options.
Tony Walyaula, a field operations officer at Crown Marble and Quartz, a Nairobi-based company says quartz is a perfect flooring solution, especially in areas that receive substantial amount of foot traffic. The material comes in permanent, beautiful multicoloured designs, it does not require seal-in and it is durable.
Quartz is also more cost-effective compared to other products. It comes in integral wall base or curb type options, is resistant to chemicals, mould and mildew, is environmentally-friendly and apart from the usual regular cleaning, it requires low maintenance.
The material can be used as an epoxy quartz flooring or quartz tile flooring.
Granite, on the other hand, is a naturally occurring rock, with the tiles made by processing the igneous rock until it has smooth surfaces, which brings out its magnificence.
“It’s hard which makes it a good option for use not just in making floors, but tiled counter-tops. It also does not lose its beautiful colours,” says Daniel Mutua, who works with High-tech Granite, a Nairobi-based company.
Daniel notes that usual ceramic tiles, which are also called granito tiles, have a downside in that they are not as sturdy as the granite tiles.
And in case one granito tile in a room breaks, it becomes hard to find a replacement tile with the exact colours and patterns.
“This is why in many households with tiled floors and walls, you may notice one tile in the midst of others, looking a little different from the rest. But with natural granite, the patterns on the tile are always alike, provided the homeowner knows which type of granite they worked with,” says Daniel.
It comes in a wide range of colours and patterns because the course of its formation happens during natural volcanic processes that involve varied high temperatures and minerals.
With granite tiles, one does not need to worry about moisture damaging the sub-floor as the material creates a surface that is virtually impermeable to liquids — including standing liquid.
Granite tile flooring, is also said to reduce the amount of allergens present in the house, especially if you have family members with asthma.
“Granite’s natural beauty is one of the main reasons that people pick it as a flooring material.
“While two slabs of the material are hardly identical, their patterning creates some sort of synchronisation and this creates the potential for beautiful and diverse patterns and designs,” says Tony.
It can come in highly refined, glossy texture or in gentler brushed feel.
There is also a wide range of colour choices, with the combination of the granite and the quartz, which helps in the process of its formulation, giving the finished product a sparkle.
Common natural colours in which the material can be found include white, red, brown, blue, black, pink, green, and beige among others.
One can choose desert brown, peach white, Egyptian grey, black galaxy and absolute black granites.
Marble is yet another beautiful flooring material available in a broad range of colours, patterns and designs.
It is probably the most attractive. It has a smooth finish and when polished, it shimmers, increasing the radiance of wall cladding spaces or flooring.
Because of its translucence when exposed to light, the surface glows and increases the sparkle in the room.
Marble is similarly ideal for homes built in hot climates, as it tends to create a feel of comfort and relative coolness under the feet, given that it is also soft in nature.
Making tiles from the material is simple as its softness makes it easy to cut the tiles to required dimensions while the edges can also be easily moulded or shaped as one desires, making fitting of any required joints easy.
“It is also durable, increases the attractiveness of the floor, is water-resistant, and can be polished and re-polished over again to maintain its glossy feel,” says Tony.
Limestone and travertine, which both belong to the marble family, as well as slate, are other materials that one can use, instead of the common granite ceramic tiles, in flooring and wall cladding of the house.
Being rather pricier than conventional tiling, investing in these materials may require a homeowner to dig a little deeper into one’s pockets. But the end results are worth what one spends.