5 Totally Unexpected Flooring Materials For Your Home

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By Kate Reggev
These may not be the first flooring materials that come to mind, but they sure will make a statement.

When it comes to flooring options, classic, refinished hardwoods have long been the go-to choice. Yet thanks to the flexibility, affordability, and striking aesthetic of the materials below, these unique picks are rapidly gaining traction in popularity. 

If you're looking to steer toward the unexpected the next time you embark on a renovation or flooring project, these fun options will do just the trick. 

1. Rubber

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Low-maintenance, sustainable materials were favored throughout the house. Striking orange Pirelli studded rubber floors were chosen for the main bathroom. Clean white fixtures and black shower cladding complete the graphic space.

Low-maintenance, sustainable materials were favored throughout the house. Striking orange Pirelli studded rubber floors were chosen for the main bathroom. Clean white fixtures and black shower cladding complete the graphic space.

Rubber flooring might initially have you thinking about industrial spaces, impersonal offices, or even your local gym, but it can also be a surprisingly fitting material for residential settings. 

Available in rolls or tiles, as well as in a range of colors and textures varying from bright reds and oranges to more subtle neutrals, rubber is an excellent choice for high-traffic, wet areas like bathrooms or kitchens.

2. Cork

The couple opted for a floating floor of cork tiles from Ecore Commerical Flooring. In this method of installation, tiles are affixed to one another, rather than nailed into the floorboards. This allows the tiles to expand and contract with heat, making it ideal for radiant surfaces. 

The couple opted for a floating floor of cork tiles from Ecore Commerical Flooring. In this method of installation, tiles are affixed to one another, rather than nailed into the floorboards. This allows the tiles to expand and contract with heat, making it ideal for radiant surfaces. 

Although cork may bring thoughts of wine stoppers or bulletin boards into your mind, the sustainable, versatile substance is increasingly being used as a building material, particularly with flooring. 

Cork is a great insulator of heat, cold, and sound, and it’s an easy way to create a quieter space. With its buoyant qualities, cork is also an excellent choice for spaces like kitchens, where you might find yourself on your feet a lot. And thanks to its neutral color, it seamlessly blends with a wide range of various palettes.

3. Painted Hardwood

A pair of lights from IKEA hang above the first floor, which houses the living room, kitchen, and bathroom. Pine floors, painted black, run throughout the residence.

A pair of lights from IKEA hang above the first floor, which houses the living room, kitchen, and bathroom. Pine floors, painted black, run throughout the residence.

Painted wood floors can be very cost-effective and can have as big or small of a visual impact as desired. This is an amazing option when one is yearning for a new look, yet there isn't the budget for totally replacing the floors. Of course, it's important to carefully select the appropriate type of paint for floors, following the manufacturer's recommendations so that the paint is as durable as necessary.

4. Patterned Board Flooring

The ground floor is a music room with a kind of blue vibe, thanks to the Richard Woods flooring.

The ground floor is a music room with a kind of blue vibe, thanks to the Richard Woods flooring.

Another spin on traditional wood flooring is patterned board flooring, where wood boards are painted or covered with a graphic pattern.

Typically, the boards usually start out at about five-inches wide before being cut to various lengths. They are then customized and painted to achieve the desired look.

5. Natural Slate

Bertram retained Neutra’s open floor plan and minimalist aesthetic—soft white tones contrast with the dark slate geometric flooring.

Bertram retained Neutra’s open floor plan and minimalist aesthetic—soft white tones contrast with the dark slate geometric flooring.

The natural, neutral tones of slate make it another desirable choice for flooring. Although it is not the best option for retaining heat—partly because of slate's specific finishing requirements—its texture can provide slip resistance. More so, when installed in both irregular and regular patterns, slate can have a stunning, organic appearance.