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Big, Bold Flooring Trends

by Kim Kinrade

In the past many renovations concentrated on the walls, cabinets and windows, relegating the trim and floor style to a minor role. Not that the floor was snubbed it was just not given the attention of the elements at eye-level; treated as more of an embellishment than the focal point of the room. This was because there not many products for the domestic floor outside carpet and linoleum. As well, few liked the hardwood floors which came with the older homes because they were a nuisance to maintain. The emergence of re-finished hardwood and the acceptance of tile for domestic floors changed all this.

Floors have gone through many style changes in the past twenty years: hardwood, stone, laminate, cement but we are going to go over the trends for the next year and why many people are choosing them

Kitchens: From Sterile to Cluttered

Being one of the most used rooms in the home the kitchen has progressed from a wood-and-white appearance to a a collage of colors and textures reminiscence of country kitchens from a round the world. While some designers are moving toward a minimalistic approach, a European city model which matches the austere with fashion others are going for a full-bodied, Euro-country theme complete with hanging garlic rings and drying peppers. So it is only natural that the floors follow this trend.

  1. flooring america, flooring laminateEuro-Country Kitchen: The kitchen floors in Europe - like many of the houses - are hundreds of years old and some of the tile runs out into the garden. To recreate the look of these well-worn floors over-sized tiles such as Italian-style travertine, marble, stone and terracottas large as 24” x 24” are laid tightly showing no grout lines. There are no smooth finishes here as the flooring is buffed instead of polished.

  1. flooring america, flooring laminateAl Fresco Café: This is a Tuscan design created through worn ceramics and stone. Instead of being smooth like most tiles tumbled travertine, slate and marble can have a rougher appearance. Tiles in browns, beiges and creams can tie together most kitchen themes.

Bathrooms: Tile used for Continuity

Tile is still the order of the day in bathrooms and, like kitchens, it can be big. As well, the tile doesn't stop at the baseboards because, in many cases, there are no baseboards. It goes right up the wall. The tile is also used in the shower giving a beautiful continuity when shown through a glass enclosure.

Other Living Areas

A new trend for livingroom and bedroom areas of the home is to replace the existing carpet with “green” products such as reclaimed wood, linoleum, cork or bamboo, products that reduce wastage while providing a lasting beauty to any room.

Wood

floors 2 go, flooring vinylWood is one of those products that becomes more beautiful as it ages. Even wood planking that has mars from use or rust stains from old nails can either be re-planed and finished or just lightly sanded and clear-coated before being put down as flooring. This adds character to a feature room such as a library, office or den. These products are available from second-hand building supply depots.

Most of the wood that is put down is pre-finished but unfinished is still popular with new homes because the homeowner doesn't have top worry about getting dust all over the home.

Cork

floors 2 go, flooring vinylCork flooring originates from the cork oak tree. The cork itself is actually the bark and is harvested by peeling it off the trunk and branches. This harvesting of the bark is done about every ten years but does not hurt the tree so it will be ready again for another batch down the road. Cork trees have been known to live for 200 or more years so it is a truly renewable resource.

Advantages of cork:

  • Deadens sound.

  • Moderate cost.

  • Soft underfoot.

  • Antimicrobial, resistant to mold and mildew.

  • Water-resistant and will last forever when installed properly

  • Easy to install

  • Renewable resource without harm to the tree

Bamboo

floor plans, floor2goIn addition to being as hard as maple one of the best things about bamboo is that it is, like cork, a truly renewable resource and is farmed in a pasture . However, unlike cork you can harvest bamboo every 2-3 years. When we think of bamboo our thoughts usually drift to overseas origins but the continental U.S. And Mexico is now picking up on this product

Bamboo is available in two distinct types: natural and carmelized, which means that an amber stain is applied. There are three (3) methods of putting down bamboo:

  1. Floating: Just like when installing a laminate floor the bamboo is not attached to the subfloor. The surface is lined with a foam sheet and the bamboo just “clicks” into place.

  2. Glue Down: This type of bamboo is good for cement and wood bases and, like the floating floor, snaps together. A V-notched trowel is used to put down the adhesive and the flooring is put down in a similar fashion as laminate.

  1. Nail Down: The type of bamboo used here is the 3/4” planking. In much the same way that a normal hardwood floor is installed a pneumatic nailer should be used which drives a nail or staple in a 45 degree angle through the tongue and into the subfloor.

Stained Cement

floor plans, floor2goStained concrete interior floors are gaining in popularity because consumers can create

nearly any color or design. They are especially easy to put down on a cement slab and can mimic everything from polished marble to tanned leather or stained wood. When placed over an in-floor heating system their high heating and cooling retention allows floors to absorb, store and release this energy when conditions are ideal resulting in lower energy costs.

Whatever the type of flooring they choose consumers are going at it for the long run with durable products.


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