February 6th by Joseph Migadde
If you are going to build a “low-cost” house, it must be built on low-cost land, using low-cost technologies and should ideally be finished with low-cost but durable and strong finishes. Tiling is the most desired house floor finish in Uganda and maybe because of this demand and the fact that the material is mostly imported, it tends to be the most expensive; taking up somewhere between ugx50,000 to ugx200,000 per square meter. Whether your house is low-cost or not, you can save some money on the finishing phase.
Here are a few floor finishes you can try:
A cement-sand screed applied on the concrete slab can be painted with hardener and Epoxy floor paint. This type of finish is cheap, very hard, longlasting and can look very unique shimmery look and sheen depending on the colors chosen. This finish is mostly used in production spaces and factories, but there is no law prohibiting its use in houses. You can paint right on top of the concrete slab if it is level and you don’t mind the small imperfections on the surface of the concrete. Painting would stop dirt from off the slab.
2. Stone Slates
Well cut and arranged stone slates embedded in cement-sand screed can make a very durable and beautiful finish. Given the ready availability of stone slates in Uganda, this finish can be very affordable. This finish would be ideal for cabins at retreats and tourist recreation places. You can go ahead and paint the joints to make them pop.
3. Soft Carpets
Soft carpets can be used in bedrooms, corridors, and any rooms that do not expect any water exposure. They provide good sound insulation, thermal insulation (do not feel cold to the feet like tiles do), are much cheaper than tiles and can be applied to concrete slabs or cement-sand screed, and can be adhered to the surfaces with glue or can just be laid on and held in place by the furnishings and fixtures. They can take on all sorts of patterns and could completely transform your space/room.
The best thing about floor finishes, when you can afford better or fancier, you can remove that finish and put in whatever you want (some are harder to remove than others), so why don’t you go cheaper at first if your finances are constrained.