Reader Question – Beach House Flooring


What type of flooring do you recommend for a beach house to prevent scratching from sand and warping from dampness?


You posed a very good question. Beach houses are unique in their flooring requirements. You have multiple conditions to consider: sand being tracked in, excessive moisture in the air, and possible ground moisture from below. The fact that you’ve ruled out stone or ceramic is interesting, because either one of those choices would actually have been a great solution. Before you rule out porcelain or ceramic all together, did you know that new tile designs include leather-simulated looks, and even some wood parquet looks? Unglazed tiles offer slip resistance as well. Care and maintenance of a porcelain floor for a beach home would be minimal, and that would be a huge plus.

But here are some other options to consider: Historically speaking, real hardwood floors have not been ideal for beach climates because the moisture in the air can cause excessive expansion of the wood. Expansion and contraction of hardwood floors can result in warping and splitting–never a good thing. However Shaw Industries has a line of hardwood floors called “Epic” that have been engineered to overcome extreme climate conditions. It is a tightly milled product line that has a 5-ply, cross-core construction. This gives the product excellent stability. It’s important to note that only oak is used in the core (for its exceptional hardness), as the core is compressed under extreme heat to produce the stability you are looking for. That process should eliminate entirely the problem of expansion and contraction. If you are environmentally conscious, an added benefit is that Epic hardwoods take half as many freshly cut tress to produce. Look for a wood within this line that has an aluminum oxide top coating to guard against scratching, and always place walk-off mats at each entrance to the house to capture as much dirt and sand as possible. Choosing a lighter toned wood with a low sheen will do well against sun-fade.

One more alternative: laminate floors give the look of real hardwood, but are much more family-friendly. If you like the look of wood for your home, this may be the solution for you. You need to be sure that you choose a laminate that has a moisture resistant core (your local flooring retailer can help guide you) so that it is dimensionally stable. Laminate needs to be installed as a floating floor, with a moisture barrier material beneath, to protect it from ground moisture seeping up. With minimal care, laminate floors will look good for many years to come AND they have superior stain and fade resistance. I hope this helps.

Annette Callari, ASID; CMG

Candy For Your Floors, Walls & Counters


Daltile Athena Mosaics Room View (3)Submitted by Annette M. Callari, A.S.I.D.; CMG

Daltile is the largest manufacturer and distributor of ceramic tile and natural stone in the United States, and they have a reputation of product development that is always on the cutting edge of good design. With the announcement of a new line, the Athena Mosaic tile collection, Daltile is sweetening things up a bit. Trends in design continue to gravitate towards contemporary, urban looks that incorporate generous splashes of color. Athena is a clean, sophisticated, glazed porcelain mosaic that features a rainbow of 33 satin-finish colors. The mesh-mounted ½” x ½” mosaics have slightly cushioned edges for that űber-modern look. Applications are limitless—brought to life through your imagination. Create linear works of art for your walls, or colorful borders for your floor. You can even take Athena outdoors to add flavor to your backyard hardscape.

Color options include: Arctic White, Almond, Urban Putty, Elemental Tan, Crisp Linen, Cornsilk, Cypress, Ice Gray, Stone Gray, Spa, Baby Blue, Pepper White, Artisan Brown, Avocado, Black, Galaxy, Camel, Blue Jean, Pebble Tan, Flower Wood, Suede Gray, Navy, Cityline Kohl, Mustard, Gold Coast, Cherry Blossom, Ocean Blue, Aegean, Carnation Pink, Coral Reef, Orange Burst, Wild Lilac and Periwinkle.

In addition to a generous palette of solid colors, Athena boasts eight color blends that randomly mix as many as four complementary colors onto a 12” x 12” mesh-mounted sheet. These color mixes are an excellent way to create fresh harmonies that are pure fun to live with. Athena is suitable for floors, walls, backsplashes and countertops in both residential and commercial settings, as well as exterior walls in freezing and non-freezing climates. Athena mosaics may represent a candy-store range of colors, but the approved applications tell you this tile collection has strength and substance!

Visit Daltile Products for more information.