By Annette M. Callari, Allied ASID; Chair Holder CMG
You will be seeing new entries in Designer’s Corner over the next two months presenting a two-part series on LVT. I thought this might be just the right time to blog about some of the “secret” design options you can create for your floors using luxury vinyl tile. All it takes is a bit of ingenuity, and some “insider” information of what’s available to you.
Anything you can do with porcelain tile or natural stone, you can do with LVT. Anything you can accomplish with natural hardwood floors, you can do with LVT. Concrete looks, floors that glitter, metal-look floors, marble, slate, hardwoods–all of these are available in LVT. Ease of maintenance, high performance, and exceptional life cycle of these products are bringing incredible attention to LVT products. Let’s take a closer look to see some of the lesser known options that many manufacturers are now offering:
Borders and Corners
You don’t have to sacrifice a custom look to use wood-look LVT planks rather than hardwood. Ornate borders with corner pieces can be used to create insets or perimeter borders around a room to make it memorable.
We’ve seen beautiful medallions (or motifs) offered by hardwood flooring manufacturers. These are perfect for foyers, formal living rooms, even as a focal point in a master bedroom. Whatever you can do with wood, you can do with LVT. Many manufacturers have stock patterns in standard sizes available. These are usually laser-jet, precision-cut motifs offered in both contemporary and traditional modes. If you require a custom medallion, or a custom size, leading manufacturers have design teams in place to work with you to create your vision. CAD drawings are generated for your approval, and LVT wood samples of your choice provided, so each and every design motif can be one of a kind.
This is usually one of the first questions I am asked by designers and customers, “Won’t I be limited as to the size tiles or wood planks I want to use if I choose LVT?
Simple answer to that is, “Absolutely not.” I am amazed at the growing number of sizes being offered as standard. As an example, Amtico International (made in Georgia) offers stone look LVT in 12 x 12”, 12 x 18”, 18 x 18”, or 12 x 24”. Wood planks come 3 x 36”, 4 x 36”, 6 x 36”, 7.25 x 48” and even 9 x 48” (with an extra charge for the last two size options).
Some flooring patterns have a timeless feel to them and are requested over and over. Herringbone layouts, parquet, random plank, key insert layouts, and many more are offered as a “package” floor for just a bit more cost. The result is exceptional precision-cut floors, all manufactured and ready to be professionally installed. You choose from the company’s product range, the correct amount of total square footage is then ordered, all of which is pre-cut and ready for a glue-down installation. (Smooth wood subfloors or concrete substrates are best.) No
Bottom line is that LVT has evolved to the point of becoming quite the status floor. The Europeans discovered the advantages long before we did, here in the USA. I have it first-hand that throughout Europe, when real estate comes on the market and boasts “luxury wood vinyl floors”, that is a huge selling advantage! I believe that as American consumers become more comfortable with LVT luxury flooring systems, we will see this same mind-set take hold right here at home.
By Annette Callari, ASID; CMG
As I promised, here is Part 2 of some of the stellar new products the floor covering industry has brought to market in the first quarter of 2013:
FONTENAY FLOORS – I love floors with a legacy, especially floors that are destined to capture wine enthusiasts’ attention. Fontenay Floors’ Cooperage Collection successfully does both. Fontenay has a singular claim to fame—they are the only provider of reclaimed wine barrel flooring. They painstakingly collect barrel heads from California wineries and mill them into two spectacular flooring products. One represents the outside of the barrel with all of its patina, imprinted cooperstamps, and special markings. The second line utilizes the inside of the barrel and features aged woods with red-wine infused color. Fontenay has a well-rounded line of wine barrel furniture as well (their Morris chairs are a work of art). The on-line photo gallery is a fun tour of these unique products. (fontenaywood.com).
DUCHATEAU – You probably know of DuChateau in the context of finely crafted hardwood floors. Now DuChateau has introduced a new collection called Vinyl Deluxe. With the same excellence to detail reflected in their hardwoods, their wood-look Vinyl Deluxe is just as meticulous. 7” x 48” planks capture the essence of real wood in both light and dark tones. The planks are finished with a urethane and ceramic bead coating infused with anti-microbial nano-silver particles. That’s bound to enhance durability and extend the life cycle of the product.
LILY TRIM – Something for the kids—North Carolina based VersaTrim has introduced a new line of base moldings especially for children’s rooms. This company specializes in digital print technologies and provides their distributors and stocking dealers a valuable source for exact-match moldings and transition pieces. Branching out, they have applied their talents to this new line of 5” high (and very colorful) base moldings in kiddie-pleasing designs. Themes include: under-the-sea, cartoon characters, cartoon galaxies, how-does-your-garden-grow, A-B-C’s and much more. Coordinating polka dot moldings in fun colors work well with each theme. Contact VersaTrim through their website to find out more. (www.versatrim.com)
MANNINGTON/AMTICO – These days manufacturers are introducing new products sparingly—obviously because of the economy– scaling back SKU’s, and downsizing budgets for product development. So it’s quite amazing that Amtico International (part of Mannington Mills) not only introduced brand new luxury vinyl woods and stone patterns in their 40 mil collection, they introduced 78 new products all at once!!! First of all, that says a lot about the strength of the company. Secondly, the demand for LVT has soared on both the commercial front and residential, and Mannington/Amtico answered the call for exciting new products in a big way. The Fragment series has sparkle that will add drama and vibrancy to any floor. New marble-look and urban concrete-look tiles, highly distressed weathered woods, and specialty fiber styles are just a few of the new designs captured in durable LVT. The European styling is evident in this expansive line, and their website stated it well: “…born in England, made in the U.S.A.”). You can see more at manningtoncommercial.com or amtico.com. Either way, it’s worth a website visit to see these exciting visuals first hand.