Slate floors are very appealing and a great alternative to tiles or concrete. Slate tiles insulate heat well, are non-slip and feel almost soft to walk on. As a natural material, they provide a rustic feel to a room and the darker colours can be combined to great effect with wood grain. Slate is easy to maintain, though it is prone to scratching and if the sealant gets worn out, is vulnerable to stains and moisture spots.
Terrazzo is created by laying marble chips or other aggregates (sometimes including unusual elements like glass and abalone shell) over a cement or epoxy base, pressing it in with a roller, grinding down the surface and then sealing. The effect looks like a faux-marble, and is often used in large scale flooring areas such as shopping malls and schools. Cement-based terrazzo is less common these days as epoxy expands better, is less susceptible to cracks and is much lighter.
Paving a floor with bricks or stones can offer a wide choice of styles which will last for years. These floors have been in use for centuries, and provide a down to earth feel to a room. Bricks are very hardy, give reasonable heat insulation and are also often found externally to the home in patios and pool decks. The irregular surface of the bricks gives good slip resistance too.
Earthen or adobe floor
These floors are made by mixing sand, clay and finely chopped straw to create a mud-like mixture that is poured over a tamped aggregate base. The floor is then allowed to dry and additional layers can be added for strength, allowing each to dry in turn. A sealing finish such as linseed oil is then applied to prevent cracking. These floors are very environmentally friendly, offer excellent insulation and provide a sense of 'warmth' to a home.
Clay floors are similar to earth floors but are compacted. The process generally uses less water than laying a traditional earthen floor so drying time is a lot shorter. Once the dry mixture has been laid over the aggregate, it is lightly wetted and then tamped down with a compactor. More mixture is added for additional layers until the floor is level and stable. Both clay and earthen floors can be presented in their natural beauty or decorated with paints once they're fully dried and set.
Metal non-slip flooring usually takes the form of galvanised steel grill planks. These floors are extremely hard wearing and offer a lot of grip even when wet or dirty making them ideal for use in safety areas such as emergency stairwells. The floors can be open like a true grill to allow smaller things to pass through or can be solid planks with raised grips.