I’m interested in updating my flooring and I’m curious about other flooring materials besides the usual like wood or stone. What else is on the market?
Fortunately for homeowners, there are loads of new and alternative flooring materials on the market these days. Whether you are searching for sustainability, eco-friendly, inexpensive, trendy or colorful, there’s probably a right fit for you. When it comes to shopping for flooring, be sure you have your overall square footage on hand. Exact measurements come later, but since flooring is usually priced by the square foot, have your estimate available. Keep in mind that flooring is usually ordered with an overage amount (usually 10% – 20%) to account for breakage, cuts or to simply have extra on hand. Additionally, when shopping for new flooring, pay attention to the thickness of the new material. Even a difference of 1/8 inch can create a toe-stubbing situation. Whether you plan on covering up old flooring or tearing it up, you’ll want to understand any potential changes in floor height from room to room.
End grain or edge grain wood
This is definitely a product for those who love the look of wood but are looking for something unique. An end grain floor will have lots of pattern and depending upon the species, the pattern might be subtle or loud. Similarly, end grain flooring is a different cut of the wood, and offers a significant visual change to standard wood flooring planks. This company even offers end grain wood made from recycled or reclaimed lumber.
Leather is an incredibly durable material. We often think of the durability of a leather belt, a leather sofa or even a favorite leather jacket. For use in flooring, leather it usually sold in tiles and is applied in a similar manner as any other tile product. Leather flooring tiles are sturdy, like a belt, yet somewhat flexible, like cork, and feels amazing under bare feet. It develops a wonderful patina over time and looks soft and rich in a room. Some people choose to use it in rooms where water isn’t an issue, like a home office, bedroom or living room. There’s even a company offering flooring made from recycled leather belts.
Faux wood tiles
A great trend we’re seeing in the bathroom is the use of long, plank-like tiles printed in a faux bois pattern. It reads “wood” but functions as tile, making it a great alternative for high-traffic, high-spills or heavy water use rooms (like a bathroom, laundry room or kitchen). It’s still hard like ceramic tile, and not warm and cozy like wood, but it comes in a huge variety of colors and patterns.
Epoxy floors is one of the most popular flooring system ever created. Applying epoxy to your residential flooring is one way to uniquely beautify it while maintaining durability. Epoxy flooring can be laid on top of concrete, tile, or floor as a form of protection or decoration. It can be colored by mixing different kinds of epoxy and it can feel soft or rough underfoot upon your choice. Aside from those, there are also a lot of other benefits of using epoxy flooring. They are usually used in living rooms, bedroom, bathroom,s and surprisingly even on your counter top.
Cork is definitely not a new product but it has made a huge comeback in residential flooring. Cork is a sustainable material, meaning that trees are destroyed in harvesting. Cork can be colored or stained, it has elastic properties, feels soft underfoot, and works in a variety of rooms. It also lends a subtle, sound absorbing quality to a room making it great for open plan spaces.
Flooring made from linoleum, or linseed oil, is still a popular product after all these years (it was first created by accident in the 1860’s). Manufactures can create linoleum-type flooring in all shades and colors, you can purchase it by the sheet or by the tile and create interesting patterns. It’s naturally antibacterial, incredibly durable, and unlike it’s imitator, vinyl, it feels sturdier and heavier. It also has the lowest manufacturing emissions of any flooring product.
Top image credit: Green Building Supply
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