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The mer-folk are typical top-half human, bottom-half fish. They can breath with either lungs or gills. Their homes are mostly below water, but some do also extend above. This allows them to do activites only possible above water (such as cook) and some things just because it feels good to "get some fresh air" from time to time and dry out a bit. Strangely human, but don't let them catch you saying that.

Assuming modern levels of technology, and human help if required, what would the mer-society want to use for an above-water floor? Trying to get around without swimming is already a pain, nobody wants to scrape off scales on wet carpet.

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  • $\begingroup$ Above water or underwater flooring? $\endgroup$ – bendl May 21 '18 at 14:49
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    $\begingroup$ I don't know if I missed it, but did you describe how they move on dry ground? You say it's hard, but I fail to see how it is done at all in your particular world $\endgroup$ – Raditz_35 May 21 '18 at 15:14
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    $\begingroup$ @Raditz_35 They half-drag, half naga-like (or snake-like) inundate and push themselves, but it's still more fish-like bottom than snake. (hence, half-dragging) $\endgroup$ – DoubleDouble May 21 '18 at 15:26
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    $\begingroup$ Even underwater, they may want a floor so that they don't kick up silt every time they move around in their home. $\endgroup$ – jxh May 21 '18 at 19:16
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    $\begingroup$ Unless it's explicitly to dry out as you mention, for most in-air activities I don't think they'd want a dry floor at all. That is to say, the "floor" would likely be a shallow pool, as they would be both more mobile and more comfortable partially submerged. $\endgroup$ – Gene May 21 '18 at 22:13
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Mid-gloss stone. It would be familiar in texture, resistant to water damage, has an acceptable coefficient of friction both wet and dry, is beautiful and weathers imperceptibly slowly, but naturally, with enough time and exposure to wave action. It would also visually resonate with other decor elements from their undersea lives, as well as above-water living.

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  • $\begingroup$ Yup I was going to go with polished concrete, this is same-same texture but natural and more resilient. $\endgroup$ – Ash May 21 '18 at 14:52
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    $\begingroup$ @DoubleDouble False economy, if the Mers live in salt water, salt and concrete do not get along at all well. If you could cheaply and reliably seal preformed slabs against all salt and moisture intrusion then yes, but we can't. $\endgroup$ – Ash May 21 '18 at 14:59
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    $\begingroup$ Concrete over any non-immediate timespan, especially polished and sealed concrete, will crack and shift, and in the case of routine seawater immersion, with its attendant changes in temperature, humidity and pressure, would do so pretty quickly. Although Roman style concrete was somehow largely impervious to seawater, all modern concretes degrade quite starkly on seawater intrusion, and the cracks we're talking about would happen quite quickly with a finished floor texture. I've been in the architectural sphere for a long time, and this is one of the known weaknesses of concrete. $\endgroup$ – GerardFalla May 21 '18 at 15:17
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    $\begingroup$ On the island I grew up on, there's a Second World War era concrete anti-tank barricade wall which was immensely thick, and is utterly falling apart and of no structural integrity now, and it was designed and built to stop tanks, and artillery bombardment. $\endgroup$ – GerardFalla May 21 '18 at 15:19
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    $\begingroup$ They figured out the Roman concrete (kind of): telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/07/03/… $\endgroup$ – user3067860 May 21 '18 at 22:31
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There are many types of fish and also many ways they propel themselves through the water.

Unfortunately these techniques don't lend themselves readily to walking on water. Various species of amphibious fish have large solved these problems by:

  • Wriggling
  • Evolving extended gill plates and pushing with fins and tail
  • Springing
  • Snake-like lateral undulation

If this is an advanced society with arms able to manipulate the environment, one of the necessary requirements may be the need to use your arms in any manner you see fit whilst walking, therefore the most likely form of movement is a Snake-like lateral undulation.

For this undulation to work you need purchase on the floor - it cannot be completely smooth. It is well documented a serpentine motion is useless on smooth surfaces.

Therefore we are looking at a rough material - perhaps a porous limestone, where the motion can be easily attained with reduced effort. Ease of 'walking' would be a desirable trait for any floor.

However, having said that, human society has demonstrated people don't always make a choice solely on 'comfort' or utility, but also on other factors such as maintenance, cost, style and culture. Therefore think of all materials that are rough but with different attributes, depending on their culture or technologically advanced capabilities, such as:

  • porous limestone - this may be the most 'culturally accepted' as limestone is common in certain coastal areas
  • slate flooring, grouted
  • Rough slip-resistant tiles - ceramic or porcelain
  • Waterproof easy-to-clean slip resistant sheet vinyl flooring, if they have plenty of oil based product expertise
  • Rough etched concrete, troweled or broom finished, if they have access to cement products
  • Exposed aggregate concrete, especially if shells and other sea floor materials are used as aggregate, could be a good cultural mix with utility.
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