Some of the most common flooring materials include wood, ceramic and vinyl, and these work well for most common applications. But there are a lot of other flooring materials available, some as old as building itself, others representing the latest in high-tech materials science. We take a look a the best applications for many of these other less common materials and see what might be the best flooring material for your application.
Sandstone has been used in buildings for thousands of years. In ancient structures, it often formed sturdy walls that lasted for centuries or longer. Today, used as flooring, sandstone tiles can provide that old-world look yet stand up to modern punishment. Sandstone has an earthy tone that is attractive and natural-looking. At the same time, it provides a durable surface that is easy to care for.
Travertine is another material that has been in use for millennia. Yet, as a material for floors in modern homes, its use is only now being rediscovered. This natural stone was used in the construction of the Roman Coliseum. Yet, modern homes look both classic and up-to-date with travertine floors.
Similar to marble, though typically with less sheen, travertine provides an ultra-durable surface that looks great. It forms over thousands of years from high pressure acting on materials that occur naturally in subterranean springs and underground rivers. But, thanks to modern manufacturing techniques, you can have a travertine floor anytime.
Smooth, dense and possessed of a natural cream color, your home can have that travertine touch of Italy whenever you choose.
Slate is another natural stone material, one that contains a mixture of quartz, mica and other compounds. Because of the intense heat and pressure that form it in continental coastlines, it has already endured more punishment than the kids could ever give it. It will last literally forever.
But, not only is it durable, it’s easy to care for. The surface resists stains well. It’s also naturally non-slip. Even smooth slate flooring has micro-edges that help prevent falls.
Last, but far from least, slate is universally recognized as a rich, beautiful flooring material. Its dark, sensual color provides a touch of elegance wherever it’s used.
More modern in origin, porcelain is ever popular. In the West, techniques for forming it into flooring material developed relatively recently in historical terms. The 18th century saw considerable advances in its manufacture. But as a home flooring material, it is right up-to-date.
Hard, ultra-easy to clean and available in dozens of colors, porcelain can be used in a uniform design or a mosaic. A solid, pink cream can make for a bathroom that is soft looking and elegant. A multi-colored mosaic of porcelain tiles creates a cheery look limited only by the imagination of the designer.
While cork has been used for centuries for wine stoppers, its introduction to the flooring world is relatively recent. Thanks to modern hardening and reprocessing methods, it can form a flooring material that is ideal.
Even hardened to become highly durable, cork retains its elasticity. That gives the floor a softer feel. Because of its porous nature, it’s also excellent at soaking up sound. But, thanks to a natural waxy compound called Suberin, it is highly moisture resistant. That makes it easy to clean and resistant to mildew.
Investigate some alternative flooring materials. There’s no such thing as too many choices where your home design efforts are concerned.