Sometimes, looking back, we wonder how we ever lived with things like cargo furniture, early American prints and avocado-green shag carpeting. But as any designer or home decorator can tell you, what goes around comes around. Patterns, colors and style lines come and go as trends whether you’re talking about kitchen cabinets, furniture or flooring. With flooring, though, advancements in manufacturing have given us more choices in design and more durable products. We caught up with a couple of flooring experts to ask them about the trends they see now and for 2020. If you’re thinking of replacing any flooring in your home, we think you’ll be excited.
Luxury vinyl tile: the new champ
Certainly not your grandma’s linoleum, luxury vinyl tile (LVT) has increased in popularity since it came on the flooring scene a few years ago. And unlike the peel-and-stick your mom put down in the laundry room when you were a kid, LVT planks lock together and float on the subfloor much like laminate. They come in a myriad of colors and styles and the best part for lake living is that they’re waterproof.
“People like the LVT because it’s waterproof, pet-proof, and kid-proof,” says Bob Garby, flooring specialist with Whitt Carpet One Floor & Home in Salem.
Vicki Milleham, real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeService Smith Mountain Lake Real Estate agrees. “LVT is good for traffic coming in from the lake,” she says. “And there are a lot of options to choose from.”
What started as plank flooring that resembled hardwood, LVT now comes in a tile or stone look as well. Some plank varieties are textured to give it a more realistic wood feel. Likewise, some styles of LVT are designed to be installed using grout, producing a more authentically ceramic look.
Will LVT hold its first-place title in 2020? You bet. “Every week there’s something new in luxury vinyl,” says Garby.
WHAT STARTED AS PLANK FLOORING THAT RESEMBLED HARDWOOD, LVT NOW COMES IN A TILE OR STONE LOOK AS WELL. SOME PLANK VARIETIES ARE TEXTURED TO GIVE IT A MORE REALISTIC WOOD FEEL.
Hardwood flooring: top dog?
“Everyone still loves hardwood floors,” says Milleham. But is it the top choice when it comes to redecorating? Garby says not.
“Number one is luxury vinyl tile, number two is hardwood, and number three is carpet,” says Garby. That second position could be for several reasons.
“Installing hardwood floors is a lifetime investment,” he says. It shows wear that the vinyl doesn’t and isn’t waterproof. And for a lakefront home, that is something to consider.
However, with synthetic flooring, you have what experts call pattern repeat. Because the wood-grain pattern is a photograph of something natural, there will be a repeat in that pattern, making things like the same knothole on every third plank noticeable to the discerning eye. So, if a homeowner wants a truly natural product, hardwood is the way to go.
What’s the prediction for the future of hardwood? Still the classic, natural flooring option, homeowners will continue to choose hardwood for high traffic areas not exposed to water for homeowners who can afford it.
Carpet is not dead
Contrary to popular opinion, carpet is still a popular floor covering. According to Charles Snider, president of Piedmont Floors in Forest, it is now easier to maintain, more stainresistant, and comes with hypoallergenic choices. The fibers of Mohawk’s Air.o line are created with advanced polymers free of latex and potentially harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs), making it a popular choice for parents of small children or sensitive pets.
“Carpet is still a popular selection for bedrooms and stairways,” says Snider. And it’s the most economical choice for the budget-minded homeowner.
Garby has noticed a huge increase in multi-colored carpets. “They’re mixing colors like grey and brown,” he says. “Homeowners can more easily change wall colors when they install a multi-colored floor covering.”
And for homeowners who enjoy redecorating on a regular basis, large area rugs over already-installed hard floors offer the same comfort and warmth as carpet but are easier to change out.
Will carpet continue to be a major player in 2020? Absolutely. Especially where you want a warm or comfortable feeling.
Who are the outliers? Ceramic tile is pretty much relegated to the kitchen and bath areas now. And, since luxury vinyl tile is waterproof, more homeowners are extending their LVT floors into the open kitchen areas—meaning less ceramic tile.
“Luxury vinyl tile is quieter, warmer, and softer than ceramic,” says Garby. “And, like hardwood, ceramic tile is a lifetime investment.” If someone thinks they may change their flooring with a redecorating job, ceramic isn’t the economical way to go.
Garby says there’s not as much of a demand for green products like there was when they first came out, either. That makes cork and bamboo less prominent. And what about laminate? While some folks still choose this hardwood-look option, it isn’t as “waterproof, pet-proof, and kid-proof” as the LVT.
Keeping up with the times
Both flooring experts agree that customers now seek an online experience. “Consumers want to have the option now to order and shop from home,” says Snider. “We have created a new website that is constantly evolving to include our vendors’ complete offerings.”
Life on the lake includes making a lifetime of memories with swimming, boating, or just sipping something by the shore. But dripping bodies and water equipment, or just the damp moist air can play havoc on your floors. Keep that in mind when choosing a new flooring option for your Smith Mountain Lake home. Because with the choices we have now, the sky’s the limit. ✦