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Building & Renovating

What Wall and Floor Finishes Are Best For Your Home?

Refreshing walls or floors can be an effective yet quick fix for a tired-looking home. Here are 10 finishes to choose from.

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Original Article: Lilli Beth Gelvezon Photography: Dairy Darilag | Jilson Tiu (Main Photos)

So you’ve decided it’s time for a change in your home. Don’t worry—a little sprucing up can go a long way. New finishes, like a simple change in paint color or a fresh set of floor tiles, can spruce up your interiors by creating a different mood and personality for your home. But before you start your renovation, you should know what kind of wall or floor finish is best for your needs. Here are RL’s best picks:

FOR WALLS

Interior-grade paint


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When it comes to repainting walls and ceilings, the most commonly-used finish is water-based latex paint, which is also the easiest to use among the various kinds of finishes. Another advantage of paint is that it is relatively cheap. One gallon of paint (almost four liters) can cover around 350 sq. ft. and costs approximately P100 to P200. If the paint color you want is not available, there are paint centers in home depots that can custom-mix paints for you.

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Wallpaper


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Veer away from your grandma’s outdated wallpaper—there are new products out there that combine natural materials like bamboo or grass with paper for a fresh take on retro wallpaper. Blown-up pictures, like antique maps and photo-murals, can also be a great alternative to also create a focal point in your interiors. All you need is wallpaper paste and varnish to secure the paper to your wall; however, make sure to use wallpaper with heavy backing so that it is easier to hang and more long-lasting, and to follow instructions on how to use the wallpaper paste. A great advantage of using wallpaper is that though it is a bit more expensive, it produces minimal mess and can be more hardwearing than paint.

READ: 7 Ways To Liven Up Blank Walls

Wall panelling


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Though wall panelling is more complicated and expensive than using paint or wallpaper (making it a job best left to professionals), it can produce the best and most sophisticated results. If you really want to change the feel and character of your space, wall panelling may be the best way to go. There are a variety of materials you can use, but the easiest and safest is wood. Wood strips or veneer can be stained, varnished, or painted, and installed to cover either the whole wall or just parts of it in different patterns. For a more traditional design, you can try combining wood panels with moldings.

FOR FLOORS

Rubber-based floor coating

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If you want low-maintenance flooring but don’t want to use floor tiles, a rubber-based floor finish can be a great alternative. For a more attractive look, limit the use of this type of floor covering to areas that lead to the outside, like kitchens or patios, because it is weather-resistant.

READ: 5 Surprising Benefits of Having Rubber Floors

Ceramic tiles

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These high-fired clay tiles are very durable and come in a wide variety of sizes, styles, and colors. They’re ideal for wet areas and also help cool any interior, and so are recommended for refinishing areas that have heat problems. However, since a lot of care must be taken in laying out ceramic tiles, it is better to leave the tile work to professionals. Without proper planning or a level base, you won’t only have bad-looking flooring; you’ll also have the risk of water seepage.

READ: How To Choose The Right Type of Flooring For Your Home

Vinyl tiles

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Easy to install and relatively inexpensive, vinyl is the perfect choice if you want a quick change in flooring. It is also forgiving of slight unevenness in the base or existing floor. Although it does have a bad reputation for being the “institutional” flooring of choice because it is mostly seen in offices, school, and similar places, residences can also benefit from this material’s waterproofing and abrasion-resistant capabilities. There are plenty of vinyl tile varieties that have improved styles and looks.

OUTDOOR FINISHES

Exterior-grade paint


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The easiest way to freshen up the exterior look of your home is with a new paint job. First, you must decide on what new color to use. This is a crucial decision which will have the biggest impact on what your home will look like and what personality it will project. You can try out the Mediterranean-style shades of orange, terracotta, or yellow which many homes use, or you can go for the more minimalist shades of white or off-white. But if you want a different look, you can find your color of choice at paint-mixing stations in various hardware stores.

Concrete paving stones

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These are practical, flexible, durable, and inexpensive alternatives to the more commonly-used cobblestone, and can help make your exteriors look put-together. Concrete paving stones can instantly accent your yard or garden without any major landscaping. You can install these by yourself; just make sure to follow the instructions provided by the supplier.

Brick walls and brick veneers


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Brick has a characteristic that makes it a favorite material for homeowners who want their house to look warm and inviting. Especially for exteriors, bricks create a look that is a cross between traditional and modern. A good idea would be to use bricks for just a few of the exterior columns of your home or as facing for specific areas of your exterior walls. Just don’t go overboard and cover the whole house with bricks!

Stone veneers


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This is probably the most expensive material on this list, but it can undoubtedly make the most difference in the façade of your home. If you want a distinctly rustic look to your home’s exterior, this is the best finish for you. If you’re working within a budget, you can opt to limit the use of this material to specific areas only to accent your exterior facing. In the end, the finished product will far outweigh the small dent in your budget.

This article originally appeared as “The Finishing Touches” in the December 2005 issue of Real Living Magazine.

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