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Completely Floored

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As lifestyles have changed, home interior trends have evolved, too. Homeowners are considering the longevity of their choices more in-depth than before, especially following the pandemic. Currently, people are most commonly seeking low-maintenance and cost-effective flooring options that are uniform throughout the home.

"Years ago, for instance, boys' bedrooms [carpet] would be blue or green, the girls' would be pink or white, and the parents' would be beige… Everybody had their own color scheme in their room. It seems like today, it's the same floor all the way through – a neutral enough floor [because] it's easier to paint a wall than it is to replace flooring," says Steve Matteo, co-owner and store manager of Matteo Family Kitchens and Flooring, Inc.

This trend allows for easy modifications to kids' ever-changing aesthetic preferences, rather than hindering creativity or color options. Matteo mentions that wall paint and accent details function as a burst of color that complements the neutral flooring. He also explains that this completely cohesive floor technique doesn't only extend to bedrooms, but throughout the entire home. Of course, this option also will come in handy if the day arrives that a property will be rented out or sold, with nothing too bold left unalterable.

The lean toward a preference for an amalgamation of convenience and quality is why luxury vinyl plank has gained such traction again lately. While nothing is maintenance free, vinyl plank only requires simple and as-needed cleaning. Its waterproof quality also makes it a preferred choice for kitchens, especially. Though, it should never be drenched in water on repeated occasions, making marble or porcelain a better choice for bathrooms.

"[Vinyl plank] is waterproof. Maintenance is just as basic as: dust mop, broom [and] vacuum. For daily maintenance, use a damp mop with water only or with a pH neutral [cleaning product] – never use harsh or abrasive cleaners with ammonia, bleach, oil, polish, strong alkaline or wax," explains Lorraine Sterl of Sterl Kitchens, Co.

Hardwood is still a preference for homeowners visually. However, this look is attainable without the high maintenance and expense of installing hardwood floors. Vinyl plank is typically the most universally compatible with any lifestyle. Though it may be made to look like wood, it does not easily take damage like a wood product because it is made of calcium carbonate and PVC, a type of lamination. Its installation is a fairly easy and quick process, as well—it is known to be an achievable process for even solo beginners.

"Vinyl plank gives you one of the most scratch-resistant surfaces on the market, next to ceramic tile. Hardwood is beautiful, it's a natural product, looks great, but one characteristic with hardwood is that it does scratch and it does bend," adds Elmer Stoltzfus, owner of Heritage Floors. "So, if you have big dogs or a lot of children, or just a big family, hardwood is not as serviceable as vinyl plank would be."

The variations of luxury vinyl flooring extend far beyond imitation wood. One can choose from beautiful patterns and designs to transform an area. Depending on the choice and the room, some designs can create the illusion of expanded space. On the other hand, a crowded pattern in a small room can create a cramped effect, demonstrating the necessity of planning with alternative solutions in mind.

Not everyone has the luxury of starting their renovation journey with a blank canvas, and a flooring choice may depend on the structures already available. Walls and embellishments can always be modified, but kitchens and bathrooms, especially, are more involved. One might consider flooring that is a complement to already-existing countertops in those scenarios.

The continuously growing interest in top-notch home design at an obtainable level has resulted in a perpetual release of more convenient, stylish and functional options. Although luxury vinyl plank and luxury vinyl tile have been implemented since the '70s, they contain a contemporary look and feel. This, in large part, is due to consistent developments in home renovation projects. One such example is the incremental increase of luxury vinyl tile's thickness.

"MSI [Surfaces] has a brand-new product coming out: the 'Studio' collection of LVT [luxury vinyl tile] flooring, which has a 30-mil wear layer for even greater damage resistance and improved longevity," says Sterl.

It's obvious that vinyl plank flooring has many benefits, but Matteo points out that many are returning to carpeting as a response to high inflation, cost of living and budget cuts. Traditionally difficult to maintain, especially for pet owners, carpet has made a surprising comeback with new technology that improves its durability. Matteo explains that new carpet products have a built-in stain resistance to messes and stains with plastic sheets on the top surface.

"We do know they are holding up so much better than carpets in the past," says Matteo. "We try to be a teaching facility more than just selling to someone. When somebody comes in our door we want to ask them: How do they live in their house? How many kids and pets?… That way, we can give people our honest opinion on what we think might be the best product for them."

Ultimately, the capacity for creativity and heightened functionality offers the freedom to truly customize flooring to one's unique household. Cool-toned neutrals like grays were recently replaced with warmer beiges and blondes in popularity, demonstrating that trends are subjective. Stoltzfus mentions a recent re-emergence of manufacturers offering colored carpets rather than all neutrals, particularly blues and greens.

Ultimately, the best choice is what each individual would enjoy seeing and using on a regular basis, for years to come.

"People's preferences really vary; I always encourage somebody to make sure that it fits you. Don't worry about the trend and make sure it's something you'd like," Stoltzfus advises. "I think it's very important to, rather than worry about what's going to be popular with people, make sure you get something that you're comfortable with."


Heritage Floors
Lancaster, Pa.
(717) 687-7906

Matteo Family Kitchens and Flooring, Inc.
Woodstown, N.J.
(856) 769-2490

Sterl Kitchens, Co.
North Bergen, N.J.
(201) 866-7999

Published (and copyrighted) in House & Home, Volume 24, Issue 5 (April 2024)
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