Timber and tile flooring buying guide

Choosing flooring is an important part of home building or renovation.
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  • Updated:8 Nov 2004

03.Tiles and other options


There’s a vast array of vinyl, ceramic, natural and man-made stone tiles in an huge range of designs and styles.

Porcelain tiles are a type of ceramic and are good for indoor and outdoor flooring — they’re more hard-wearing and easier to maintain than natural stone. They come in two types: glazed or vitrified (also known as full-bodied).

The difference is that vitrified tiles are the same colour all the way through, so unlike glazed tiles, if they’re chipped or in very heavy wear situations, they’ll retain their original colour.

Vitrified porcelain tiles come in a ‘natural’ (from around $50/m2) or polished finish (from around $90/m2).

Natural stone like travertine, shellstone, limestone and marble are also popular floor-tiling materials. They typically require regular sealing to protect them from water and wear, because natural stone tends to be porous.

Prices start from around $80/m2. Depending on your particular situation, installation of tiles will generally add around another $50/m2 to the cost.

Other options

Some examples of other flooring materials you may not have considered include:

  • Cork: Pros include hard-wearing aesthetic appeal and comfy, soft, warm feel underfoot. It’s also easy to clean when sealed and resists fading. On the downside, it has relatively poor water and stain resistance unless it’s well-sealed.
  • Rubber: Pros include softness underfoot, durability and fade-resistance. Cons include being relatively difficult to clean and poor resistance to marks/stains and indentations.
  • Vinyl: Pros include an almost inexhaustible range of styles, patterns and colours, easy maintenance, fairly soft underfoot and good fade-resistance. It’s also priced to suit a range of budgets and is easy to install, even DIY. Cons include poor resistance to scratching and indentations, and cheaper versions may be considered a relatively short-term flooring option.

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