Wood-look flooring makes life easy

By Steve Cooper

wood-look vinylThe cherry wood flooring in your living and dining room looks fabulous. Problem is, the floor in the kitchen is looking a little sad. What to do?

More wood is one answer. But there’s an asterisk on this one. Do you want to expose your wood floor to spilled milk, water leakage from problem plumbing, and the sand, grime and other offenders so frequently tracked in from outside? And what about bathrooms and your front and back entries? Even woods toughened with hard finishes are vulnerable to everyday assaults at these spots.

Fake it. Pick a wood-look material that has a track record of durability in high-traffic and wet areas. Consider the options:

Vinyl. With the sophisticated technologies of today, the graining patterns in wood-look vinyl are strikingly real. There is great variety in species and finish colors, and seamless sheet goods put up a strong defense against moisture. Kitchens and bathrooms are safe with this flooring. Go with a fiberglass-backed vinyl and you may even be able to put the floor down as a DIY project.

Tile. Step up in style and durability with tile. Porcelain and ceramic tiles that mimic plank wood, parquet, and other looks are available. For a front entry, rich, woody tiles create a luxurious feeling while handling water, snow, and most other things tracked in during inclement weather.

Laminate. Get the color and finish you want in a wood look, and also handle installation yourself. This material is good for the kitchen and entries. If installing in a bathroom, make sure the flooring is specified for wet areas. Stick with major brands, which offer consistent quality and better warranties than most off-brand imports.

For more information on flooring visit the World Floor Covering Association’s Consumer Carpet & Flooring Guide.

Trends (2012 & Beyond) And Their Impact On Floor Covering

Submitted by Annette M. Callari, Allied ASID; Chair Holder CMG

PEOPLE IN MOTIONYou’ve heard the term “think outside the box”.  I prefer to call it reframed thinking, and some of the best reframed thinkers I know are my fellow-members in Color Marketing Group International.  We have to identify key marketing trends even before they become reality, so we can interpret future influences and their impact on color.  Here are just a few of the insights color professionals shared with me in Portland, Oregon:

We’ve all had to become thrifty through this Great Recession and have learned to do more with less, which means recycling products, repurposing old products, and replacing things less frequently.  That has required a huge dose of creativity, and the challenge extends to manufacturers of new products as well.  The number of new products coming into the market with high recycled content is amazing.  I’m referring to carpet and tile especially.  Keeping used carpet out of landfills has a huge impact on our environment, and reinventing old carpet (breaking it down into its raw molecular state and rebuilding it into new carpet, or other new-life goods) is not only possible, but will become the norm in the future.  The goal is to use fewer new raw materials (especially oil in the case of creating nylon) AND to keep thousands of tons of disposed product out of landfills. 

Imagine sidewalks that could harvest the energy created by pedestrians.  Or pairs of shoes that collect energy that could be used to charge a cell phone or laptop.  Sounds wild, but it’s highly possible.  These same ideas can impact manufacturing processes on a much larger scale, cutting down on the resources required to produce products.  On a consumer level, this could even translate to floors that are warmed by the very action of a family walking across them.  Again, think outside of the box. 

Less is more, and we are de-cluttering our lives and our homes.  What we will invest in is well-made products that have a timeless quality to them.  No fads, just authenticity, based on inherent quality and solid design.  This especially pertains to floor coverings.  Hardwood floors are meant to last a lifetime.  Consumers see this as an investment that is worthy of their hard-earned dollars, and manufacturers are responding to that demand.  Soft surfaces (broadloom carpet and area rugs) are also rising to the occasion through better technology, and color palettes with longevity.  Marrying aesthetics to superior performance is the goal which has been met, and will most likely be surpassed in the future.

You might be thinking this blog is bordering on science fiction, but just think of the amazing advances you’ve already witnessed in your lifetime.  The next five years should be quite interesting, and I feel confident in saying that the floor covering industry is definitely gearing up creatively to deliver the goods.

For more information on flooring visit the World Floor Covering Association’s Consumer Carpet & Flooring Guide.