Buying a new home: Checking out quality of finishes.

When buying your new house, finishes play a very crucial role to determine the value of the house. Your architect will be of great help in advising you on the most appropriate finish for a particular room.


Floor finishes vary according to one’s taste, room use and budget.
In living rooms, the cheapest finish is cement plaster screed. This is cement plaster applied on top of the floor slab. It can be colored into different shades of red, green and blue.
Another cost-effective method is use of PVC tiles. These tiles can be arranged to a specific pattern and colors mixed to achieve a desired effect. They come in various thicknesses depending on the traffic that they will contain.
Ceramic tiles are also common in Kenya. These also come in various colors and textures. They are durable, easy to clean and cheap. These are fixed to the concrete floor slab using cement mortar.
Granito tiles are expensive and are mostly used in office floors and banking halls. They come in larger sizes 450mm by 450mm since they are designed to cover large floor spans.
Marble tiles are also in the range of granite tiles but more expensive. These are best suited in entrance porches or other highly visible areas.
Wood tiles are made of hardwood and are a very comfortable floor finish. They come on wood block, wood parquet or wood strips. They make the rooms feel warm and cosy. They are costly to purchase and should be avoided in wet areas.
Wood plastic laminate floor finish is a new floor finish that looks like wood strip finish. It’s much cheaper than wood. Care should be taken when this floor finish is being laid to leave expansion space at the edges to prevent it from bulging up during warm weather.
Mazeras tiles from Mombasa are good in creating the African concept. They are available in uncut natural shapes or cut rectangular shapes in Nairobi.


For masonry wall, cement plaster is laid on the surfaces.
The surface is then painted with one undercoat and 3 coats of paint which can be gloss or emulsion. New surface finishes such as Crown Ruff n Tuff, stucco or wall master are available with a wide range of colors and textures.
Ukambani stone finish is also very aesthetically appealing especially around columns or entrance lobbies. A good example is at Kihingo Village in Kitusuru, Nairobi.

In wet areas such as kitchens or bathrooms, ceramic, granito or marble wall tiles are the best.
Wall paper is also a common wall finish in Kenya. This is available in various colors, textures and images.
Wood plastic laminate is also increasingly becoming a common wall finish especially in phone shops and banking halls.

Finishes are abundant and it remains the choice of the home owner to choose the best after shopping from several shops with the architect advising on costs and functionality.

Francis Gichuhi (692 Posts)

Architect Francis Gichuhi . B.Arch. University of Nairobi. Registered Architect, Kenya. Member, Architectural Association of Kenya. Contacts. email Telephone +254721410684


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