Reader Question – Beach House Flooring

armstrong_beach1Question:

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

Answer:

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

Trends in Hardwood – Shapes, Sheen, Shades, Sizes, Style

Shapes

dsc04156-225x300This year hardwood was not only in planks and strips, but in puzzle pieces. This shaped wood had my imagination running wild with possibilities! Architectural wood blocks from Beckwith Interiors are available in various wood species, finishes, and depths.  (For more information on applications and specifications please contact their Design Studio at www.beckwithinteriors.com)

Other interesting  shapes  of hardwood were 1″x1″ mosaics and 3″x6″ subway shapes. These could be very exciting in a residential application!

Sheen

In the up and coming months there are going to be hardwood  styles that are going to change the direction of hardwood floors.  Floors at the show showed higher sheen levels with some that you could almost see your reflection in. These finishes will give rooms and design schemes a totally new look and feel.

Shades

The majority of the hardwood colors shown were darker and richer shades. Color shades seen resembled coffee  colors, rich furniture colors and warm spices.

dsc04098-300x225Anderson hardwoods has a new collection featuring a new technology called PermaColor .  It captures all of the  allure of exotic floors without the environmental baggage.  Anderson has discovered the key to real beauty – accelerating the aging process which adjusts the natural hue and shade of the wood allowing the grain to show through. This creates an opalescent three dimensional effect. Depending on how light strikes the wood, variances in shade and color create an illusion of depth  that is both stunning and intriguing. Thanks to this unique color process, the planks magnificent color runs throughout the entire wear layer resulting in everlasting beauty that can be enjoyed for a lifetime.

 

dsc04136-300x225Sizes

Wider boards are still popular although many narrower boards are still being shown. Once company called Du Chateau has a product line with boards that are 12″ x 12′. That’s right – TWELEVE FEET LONG! All different size boards were shown, but the displays mostly featured wider boards.

Style

There were styles of hardwood shown that were clean, crisp and elegant as well raw, rustic and anything but refined. There seemed to be more options for different design styles than ever before.

The company Du Chateau has a collection of antique hard waxed oiled floors that are designed to reflect the styles found in Europe centuries ago. The Chateau Collection recreates the same time worn look that showcases the character and longevity of a hardwood floor with natural changing grain patterns exemplifying true vintage artistic design. The ordinary free forming elements of natural wood are what give Chateau Collection floors its unique character and exceptional beauty.