Medallions, borders, inlays—these are the ornamental elements that can turn a plain floor into a singular design element. Computerized waterjet technology enables such intricate work. While regularly utilized by such suppliers as Artistic Tile, Crossville, and New Ravenna Mosaics, waterjet flooring materials are not limited to tile, stone, and glass. Because the machining is a clear and cold process, it does not heat, harden, or distort materials, so metal, rubber, and vinyl flooring, cork, and carpet all lend themselves to custom-cut designs.

The use of waterjet-embellished flooring goes beyond the decorative; it has plenty of practical applications. In large office buildings, aviation terminals, and hospitals—all structures with complex floor plans and navigational challenges—patterns and colors set strategically into the floor can be used as a wayfinding design aid. Similarly, the floor is the focus in an increasing number of public health clubs: No longer blank planes, the floors of gyms and fitness studios often feature workout stations whose functions are delineated by instructional graphics that are jet-cut into the resilient floor covering.