By Will Hudson, Laminate and Vinyl Plank Flooring Merchant, The Home Depot
In any residence, the floor is a haven for creativity that sets the home’s overall tone. Thanks to new material design and application innovations, remodelers and clients have a wealth of options available to pursue a luxurious, yet affordable floor revitalization. In turn, it’s essential to pay close attention to the latest flooring trends and techniques to guide client conversations and bring imaginative ideas to life.
The following five trends in particular are a great foundation when mapping out any upcoming floor remodel, and ultimately can enliven any property.
REFINED APPEAL AT REDUCED COST
State-of-the-art flooring design technologies blur material divides and offer flexibility to implement a customized, sophisticated look. In particular, digital printing can produce sharp and realistic tiles and planks in a variety of styles, colors and finishes. As a result, clients can select comparable materials to achieve the eye-catching allure of a natural wood or marble floor without the higher costs.
Beyond the primary benefits, new-age digital printing delivers compelling visual variety by creating tiles and planks with minimal repeat designs. By preventing the same pattern from appearing in multiple locations, this randomized printing gives rooms a more natural feel and makes it more difficult for your clients to detect material sourcing differences.
A BIGGER IMPRESSION
For some clients, a remodel is an opportunity to create more open and inviting spaces. As replica wood and stone increase in popularity, so has the demand for large-format tiling and planks. As you’ve likely seen first-hand, flooring materials continue to increase in size, with planks now running as long as four feet in length, squares maintaining widths of up to 16 inches, and rectangles hitting sizes as large as 18 x 36.
While larger tiles and planks are bulkier and require more intricate planning, they are more time-friendly than smaller, higher-volume alternatives. When performing such a specialized installation, use a mortar specifically engineered for heavier materials. Custom Building Products’ Natural Stone and Large Tile mortar, for example, reduces lippage and produces a seamless, gap-free implementation.
Much like its wood and tile counterparts, laminate flooring has evolved into a more durable and attractive form in recent years. Thicker and sturdier laminate planks can better deter scratching and maintain a pristine appearance even in the most highly-traveled areas of the home. These laminates also deliver stability for clients who plan to sell their property during the next few years.
Previously, certain laminate flooring materials struggled to endure the rigors of water contact in bathrooms, kitchens and other exposed home locations. To combat these risks, The Home Depot worked closely with Pergo to develop Outlast Plus, a next-level laminate capable of withstanding water for up to 24 hours. This creates new opportunities to bring wood-look flooring into rooms previously considered off limits. Available exclusively at our stores, this product also includes an attached underlayment that reduces sound and makes installation faster, simpler and more affordable.
THE VINYL RESURGENCE
Modern design innovations have additionally given new life to vinyl flooring, elevating a material previously deemed outdated into one that is both trendy and coveted. Today’s vinyl is waterproof and more versatile than its previous sheet-tile format. As an added advantage, your clients also now can personalize vinyl designs and colors to match any coveted aesthetic.
Vinyl flooring’s easy to apply and maintain composition also is beneficial, with tiles and strips able to go directly over existing vinyl, tile or laminate surfaces without the need to remove the subfloor. The Home Depot’s exclusive Lifeproof vinyl planks use drop and lock end joints that fall perfectly into place and reduce installation cost and time. Featuring an innovative rigid PVC core that is both strong and lightweight, Lifeproof planks are an excellent choice to offer your clients a durable and attractive floor.
A FLOOR FOR ALL REGIONS
The scope of flooring trends varies greatly by geography, with homes in each region maintaining a unique local flair. Sources ranging from social media channels to feedback from clients and fellow pros can help you stay on top of emerging local tastes and regional identities.
At The Home Depot, we’ve seen preferences for different styles of flooring across the country. Texas and the Southwestern region tend to prefer darker grey and brown flooring with a more distressed tone. Properties in more oceanic regions, such as the East and West coasts, not surprisingly go more for lighter grey, white and cream colors that feel cool and casual. Likewise, areas more susceptible to colder winters, such as the Northeast, feature subtle accents ranging from beiges to tans.
The exact dynamics of any flooring remodel will vary depending on your clients’ budget, plans for their property, and desired look and feel. However, awareness of the latest flooring trends can simplify planning conversations, and ultimately align creativity and efficiency to produce an attractive, low-maintenance floor that adds value to any home.
As flooring technologies evolve, The Home Depot remains committed to driving innovative new ideas. Our merchants work with leading manufacturers to develop durable and advanced laminate, vinyl and porcelain tile. This includes amplifying realism – if your clients desire a true-to-life appearance, look no further than rich designs ranging from knots and ripples in wood to wavy colors in marble.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As the Flooring Merchant, Will Hudson is responsible for merchandising the Laminate Flooring and Laminate Installation businesses for all U.S. stores and http://www.homedepot.com. He has been with The Home Depot for 13 years, serving in various merchandising roles.