If you have been to any of world’s tallest buildings, one of the definite attractions on the topmost floors of these buildings will be the glass floor, which tends to give acrophobics the jitters. This allows us to feel the adventure of being at a fearful height without any restraints. Similarly, we can use the concept of glass flooring to cover flowing water – so experiencing water without any wetness. There are some common building designs where the swimming pool is built under a glass floor, such that the activities can be observed by a person in the overarching room, but with this concept of water flooring, we are only exploring the decorative purposes.
There are many alternatives to achieving a floor finish that seems to mimic the water floor – epoxy with a shiny coat. These depend on the smooth finish on the floor surface and the reflective capability of transparent resin to achieve the fluid look of water. The high resolution printing and graphics capability with sturdy materials to print on also allows life-like imagery of water to be printed and potentially installed within 2 to 3 hours. They just need to clean and prep the floor beforehand using strong adhesives to glue the printout to the floor. However, these may not be sustainable and will require upkeep to maintain the shine. Bottom line – why would you install a replicated image of water in your flooring when you can have the real thing?
Floor heating and cooling systems are becoming popular with some new home designs. With this design, the heating and cooling pipes are installed beneath the floor as a sub floor. The actual flooring can be anything that we choose as flooring today, except the ones that don’t require sub floors. So stone flooring will not work with this system, but laminated flooring or tiling systems will work well. One other challenge will also be that this type of work will require a major renovation since the heating system will have to be incorporated with the flooring renovations, so you would need knowledge of flooring, plumbing and the temperature control system to install it successfully.
Although there are some challenges and limitations in the initial setup, there are considerable advantages. Even balanced heating – if the heated water is spread over an area – keeps the flooring warm and comfortable. There are no concentrated pockets of extreme heat and cold drafts. Heating vents blocking up wall and corner spaces will be a thing of the past – heating system will be neatly tucked under the flooring, where you will barely notice it. Discoloration of upholstery and accelerated drying of plants will be minimized, since there is no concentrated hot air blowing at one spot throughout the year. And the best advantage is the increase in the level of comfort around the house. Humans tend to lose heat faster in the extremities of their limbs – if kept warm, we will stay comfortable. With heated flooring, the feet are kept cozy. In addition, hot air rises and keeps a gentle current moving within the room – encouraging movement of air molecules. Provided the house is properly ventilated and air ducts cleaned, the air will be less stale and optimally used.
A variation of this flooring can also be using normal tiling with partitions of water flow, such that instead of grout, we can use water streams as the borders. Similarly, islands can also be created with water ponds under the islands. These again can be varied by either being covered or left open.
With the dual purpose of a cool-looking terrain and temperature control, this type of flooring brings sustainable interior decor to a new level of popularity. With the variations that can be added with the type of glass (frosted, tinted, powdered, etc.) used, the flooring options open up to new heights of creativity and variety.