Hardwood floors provide durability as well as a certain aesthetic quality to a home. Not everybody is looking for that particular aesthetic, however, and so must look to alternative flooring material. Fortunately, alternatives to hardwood floors are extensive and many provide equal or even superior durability while meeting your visual needs better than wood.
Brick is one of the oldest materials around when it comes to flooring. Bricks were one of the first alternatives to having nothing but a dirt floor. The advantages of brick floors include the ability to handle heavy loads and the fact that it can be worked into many different styles, from country to contemporary. One of the main problems with brick flooring is that it is expensive, though less so than stone or other masonry materials.
Stone flooring can mean marble, limestone, slate, granite or one of several other stone options. Stone offers tremendous strength to your floor, but can be subject to cracking. The cool feel makes it a more effective choice for warmer climates than colder climates. Depending on the specific type of stone you choose, this alternative to hardwood can quickly reach an expense well beyond your budget. The same visual effect can be accomplished much more affordably with faux stone tiles.
Going with tiles means creating a much more impressive artistic design than you could achieve with hardwood planks. Tiles made of ceramic, terra-cotta and high-silica clay are available in a huge variety of styles and designs. A key thing to keep in mind is that small tiles typically come off better in small spaces while large tiles are more effective in spacious rooms.
Terrazzo is another more-affordable alternative to stone that is actually constructed from an aggregate of marble or granite and concrete or cement. The result is a very durable flooring material that cleans up easily, can offer an aesthetic quality equally at home in traditional or modern decors and is particularly well-suited to warmer climates because it is so cool to bare feet.
Concrete is a basic alternative to hardwood that today can be much more artistically satisfying than it was in the past. Concrete can be dyed to match the color of the surrounding furnishings or it can be embedded with materials to customize it so that it reflects your personality. Concrete floors are also very suitable for painting designs yourself after it has been poured.
Metal flooring is laid over an existing wood or concrete subfloor. This highly industrial look for floors is available in both tile and sheet form. In most cases, metal flooring is equipped with raised patterns to provide a texture that prevents slipping. The most common choices for metal floors are aluminum and galvanized steel.
- Flooringandcarpets.com: Metal Flooring
- "Flooring;" Elizabeth Wilhide; 1997
- "1001 Ideas for Floors;" Emma Callery; 2008
- Photo Credit The surface-treated natural wood boards image by Supertrooper from Fotolia.com
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