5 most popular types of flooring in Singapore homes

Feature, Style

When it comes to choosing flooring, there are a number of things you need to keep in mind. How much wear do you expect to have? How long do you want it to last? How much money do you want to spend? 

In Singapore there are five popular types of flooring: tiles, vinyl, concrete, different types of timber, and stone. Each type of flooring has its pros and cons, so we have listed them to help you make the best flooring choice for your home. 

1. Tile flooring

There is a huge variety of tiles available, everything from concrete to marble, with porcelain tiles making up the bulk of the offerings. Tiles come in every colour under the sun, and now in a wide variety of surface textures too - from mirrored, to glossy, to heavily textured and even in faux timber textures. The most common type of tile is the the HDB-approved homogeneous unglazed porcelain tile.

PROS: Tiles are most commonly used in bathroom, kitchens, laundry areas and entryways because they are hardwearing and waterproof, and are available in a wide range of colours and patterns. 

Image Credit: Design 4 Space

Porcelain tiles are the most durable since they are non-porous and good for high traffic and wet areas. You can use non-slip tiles for floors in wet areas for added safety.

Images Credits: Forefront Interior

CONS: Tiles need a suitable subfloor like a cement board or tile backer base to be installed. They will also need regular cleaning or mould might grow in the grout lines. 

Images Credits: Design 4 Space

Tiles also feel cool and hard underfoot, so it is a good idea to add rugs for some relief like in this Zension Singapore apartment living area. 

Images Credits: 0932

2. Vinyl flooring  

Vinyl flooring, like that in this Evania apartment, is made by attaching a top plastic-based wear layer to layers of felt and foam. Already a relatively affordable product, the price of vinyl flooring is usually determined by the thickness of the tile. The top wear layer has a scratch and stain resistant surface. 

Image Credit: Chapter B

PROS: Vinyl flooring is resilient, has a flexible and cushioned surface, and is fairly durable and maintenance free. It is very cost effective - although you do get what you pay for; cheaper vinyl flooring will not last as long as the more expensive versions. Modern vinyl is available in a wide range of patterns and colours, including those that mirror timber flooring like in this Waterway Sundew apartment. Vinyl flooring is a great choice for families with young children, and those with pets. 

Images Credits: Aart Boxx Interior

CONS: Cheaper versions of vinyl flooring may not hold up under heavy loads, can be damaged by sharp objects, and may form permanent dents under heavy furniture like sofas and beds. Some vinyl flooring will fade under direct sunlight, so it is not recommended for indoor-outdoor spaces. Vinyl flooring is basically plastic, it is made from petroleum, and therefore is not environmentally friendly; when burnt, it can turn into toxic fumes.

Image Credit: Chapter B

3. Concrete flooring 

Concrete, or cement, flooring used to only be found in basements, garages and utility areas, but now has become an upscale choice for many homeowners looking for a modern industrial interior style. Concrete can be polished, etched and coloured to create a uniform floor surface, like in this Pasir Ris apartment.

Images Credits: Liid Studio

PROS: Concrete flooring is extremely strong and durable, and is impossible to scratch or damage. It is also easy to maintain – just wipe it clean and reseal or rewax the surface every few months.

Images Credits: Lemonfridge Studio

CONS: Concrete can feel very hard and cold underfoot, and can be slippery. It can also be quite expensive, as installing polished concrete or concrete screed requires specialist workers.

Images Credits: Fifth Avenue Interior 

4. Timber flooring

Timber floors, like those in this Park Green Condo apartment, add warmth and texture to your home. There are a number of options when it comes to timber flooring: Engineered wood, hardwood, and laminate. Engineered wood is comprised of compressed plywood, making it durable and not easily warped. Hardwood flooring also has a number of varieties including, parquet, oak, walnut, mahogany, maple etc. Hardwoods come in a wide range of textures from smooth and hand-scraped, to distressed or wire-brushed. Laminate timber flooring is made of composite wood slabs that are pressed together and finished with a top layer of ‘photographed wood’ covering that mimics a timber pattern. 

Images Credits: Meter Square

PROS: Engineered wood is durable and moisture resistant; it is also less prone to warping if damaged by water. Hardwood comes with natural patterns and tones; scratches can be sanded out and dull timber can be refinished a number of times. Laminate timber flooring is very affordable, but comes with the look of hardwood floors. 

Images Credits: The Interior Lab 

CONS: Engineered wood cannot be refinished if damaged as the top timber veneer is too thin. Hardwood is prone to scratches and sun discoloration, and can be hard to maintain as it needs to be regularly polished and resealed. Laminate timber flooring is prone to discoloration, and has a tendency to look very fake when used in large spaces as the timber grain is too similar, making it look like a patterned tiled. 

Images Credits: Fifth Avenue Interior 

5. Natural Stone flooring

There are three main types of natural stone flooring - marble, slate and granite. Natural stone is a popular choice for more luxury style homes, and is also used on walls, as counters and splashback in kitchens and throughout bathrooms. Marble, due to its expense and wide variety of colours available is mostly used for a sophisticated look, like in this Esta apartment. Granite with its darker colours is often used on floors and for indoor-outdoor applications. Slate has a more rustic look and feel and is chosen to add texture and colour to floors and walls; it is almost never used for countertops.

Images Credits: The Interior Lab 

PROS: Granite is less likely to stain and is proof against acidic substances making it a good choice for large floor areas, like in this Holland Avenue apartment. Slate is slip-resistant and a good choice for outdoor use, or for bathrooms and wet areas. Marble has a wide variety of colours available, making it a great choice for decorative feature walls, and since it can be highly polished it also helps to make room brighter.

Images Credits: The Interior Lab 

CONS: Marble is actually the most problematic of the natural stone flooring types. It needs to be sealed regularly, it is porous and stains easily, it is also prone to scratches and will discolour under prolonged exposure to sunlight. Slate can also be rather uneven underfoot, and could cause accidents, especially with children and the elderly.

Images Credits: The Design Practice

Looking for more useful interior design tips? Read our story about which side of the island is the best place to live - East or West; discover our tips on how to make your HDB apartment feel larger; and learn how to add more colour to your home’s walls.

Related Professionals: