"When you hear the term 'luxury vinyl,' don't think about that peel-and-stick stuff people used to install," explains Dean. Luxury vinyl is a new category of flooring that combines the high-end look of hardwood (or stone) with the durability of vinyl. "It is so realistic looking," Dean says of the wood-look variety, "that I literally had to get on my hands and knees to see that it wasn't real." Because it stands up to moisture, wood-look vinyl is a natural fit in kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms. Today's vinyl does share one common trait with that old peel-and-stick stuff: It is still a joy to walk on.
In the world of carpet, explains Dean, we are seeing far fewer shags and friezes and more patterned carpets. By using a technique that combines both loops and cut loops — hence the name "cut-and-loop carpet" — manufacturers can create a carpet with patterns that range from subtle to bold. "New technology also is producing carpet with incredibly soft fibers," he adds. Huge improvements have been made in the world of carpet pads, too, with high-quality dense rubber replacing the more commonplace loose fiber.
For homeowners who truly want a sustainable wood flooring product, Dean suggests good-old American hardwoods. Unlike cork and bamboo, which are shipped in from the other side of the world, "We can buy hardwoods from forests that are a few hundred miles away," he says. "And North America does a good job replenishing our forests as we cut them down." Oak, hickory, maple, heart pine: These classic American hardwoods all are making a comeback.
Trendy, sleek and durable as time itself, concrete flooring jumped from bare-bones utilitarian to chic in a New York minute. Thanks to a multitude of available colors, textures and finishes, concrete can adapt to almost any decor. Of course, it helps to already have the concrete in place. "Concrete works great in an old building that has very old subfloors," explains Dean. "It's very cost effective to use what's already there versus installing a new flooring product." Fashion often comes at a cost, and in the case of concrete, it's comfort. "Think through the comfort factor," he cautions. "It's a very hard surface that is not friendly to walk on all day."
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8 Flooring Trends courtesy of HGTV!