Hardwood’s durability and timeless design make it a desirable choice in many homes. Bonnie Holmes, executive secretary for the National Wood Flooring Association says the cost of hardwood flooring translates to the perception of quality as well as higher resale values for homes.
The Hardwood Council offers architects and builders a series of brochures called “Tips & Techniques,” which specifies grades, characteristics and options available in designing with hardwood.
BORDERING ON CUSTOM
The trend in wood flooring is moving from the pickled stage toward warmer, golden tones on red oak and gray-toned ash. Other popular hardwoods include white oak, maple and Brazilian cherry. Borders and inlaid patterns offer variety and the ability to customize designs.
LAYING LARGER TILE
Floor tile trends, whether ceramic, marble or faux-finish vinyl, are toward using larger repeats. Larger sizes, especially in public areas such as entryways and family living areas, give a better sense of scale, says New York architect Jonathon Cohen. His award-winning Florida house featured 18-inch-square terra-cotta tile on half the floors of the 4000-square-foot open plan.
In the “Concept House,” a 5200-square-foot spec house in the northern Chicago suburbs, builder Orren Pickell chose marble tile for the floors and in the steam shower. The WarmTouch in-floor radiant heat system was used to control the floor temperature. Jim Nolan, Marketing and Technical Services Representative for WarmTouch, says the product’s 1/8″ thickness and versatility in layout design make it suitable for new or remodeling installations.
OLD WORLD IDEAS
Concrete is an ancient building material whose popularity has resurfaced, notably in its use in residential construction.
Another innovative flooring design started with concrete. The unique idea specified by designer Anthony Michael, Chicago, was used in a Park Forest, Ill., house. Rectangular pours of concrete punctuated by smooth, black stones direct the home’s traffic pattern.
The stones, typically used in Japanese gardens, were positioned on lattice boards before the concrete was poured. Mesh wire was laid and the self-leveling concrete allowed to seep over the lattice, surrounding the bottom half of the fiat stones. The stones were set in diagonal and circular patterns to create an individualized look. “The carpenters had fun with the project. It was totally out of their realm of expertise,” says Michael.
Another trend in custom flooring is seen in the high level of design made possible through the use of resilient materials. Mary Docker, Director of Business Development for Amtico, says homeowners want customized treatments because they make a statement about a homeowner’s personality. Stock motifs and borders can be specified as well as custom designs, logos or patterns.
However, personalization is just one of the factors in the popularity of vinyl flooring. Comfort and ease of maintenance are two other advantages. “Our product is not affected by climatic conditions – it won’t crack or chip,” says Docker.
COLORS THAT SAY WELCOME
Color choices in vinyl flooring are leaning toward light, honey shades. There’s a warmer welcome to colors being specified today. Faux finishes, especially slate, with a textural finish, instead of smooth and glossy, are becoming more popular. Floor Trader Mechanicsville is available for advice. Whether it’s a question about installation or color choice, we’re there to help the end user.