Demand high for innovative flooring materials
Consumers are constantly looking for new and innovative materials to enhance the look of interiors.
“The products available these days are not just high on aesthetics but longer-lasting,” informs Priyanka Mehra, Principal Architect, PS Design. “Technological advancements mean ceramic and vinyl tiles can no longer be distinguished from their real wood counterparts. Not just soft and warm to touch, these new sophisticated fakes are also more durable and easier to maintain than wood. 3D epoxy floors create a stunning visual effect as any image can be printed on the floor. Earlier used only in factories, these are now extensively being used in restaurants, offices, malls and even homes.”
Meanwhile, Yashank Wason, Business Head, AlphaCorp Design Studios, says marble is associated with style and opulence—it is available in a variety of colours and is highly absorbent and easy to maintain. “Because of its natural occurrence and limited availability, it is priced steeply and, hence, serves as a sort of status symbol for many Indian households,” he adds. Laminate flooring has had a huge surge in popularity in the past few years, while brick flooring is widely popular on account of its extraordinary strength, fire-resistance and extensive durability. Also, engineered vinyl flooring and hardwood flooring imitating the look of stone and wood, respectively, will continue to dominate the hard surface flooring industry.
According to Kamlesh Patel, Chairman and Managing Director, Asian Granito India (AGL), “The most preferred forms of floor tiles in India are marble, stone and wood finishes. They are increasingly used for home décor in kitchens and bathrooms. A natural look is the preferred form of tile appearance, which has become common thanks to high-resolution printing technology. With changing times, demand for shiny materials is decreasing and preference for matte and rustic finishes is on a steady rise.”
Another trending product is the hi-tech, large-format porcelain slab, says Amit Shah, Managing Director, Classic Marble Company (CMC). “Many architects are now exploring ideas to incorporate large-format porcelain slabs in commercial projects because of their high resistance to wear and tear.”
And Alok Agarwal, CMO, Orient Bell, weighs in, saying. “People have no issues in being bold in their taste, such as for darker marble, bold colours or using marble on the wall. In fact, we have launched a fusion series that combines different trends catering to this segment. Ceramics and double charge are supposedly the steady traditional tiles and have continued to stay that way, while 3D epoxy or engineered hardwood continues to be niche.”