Grounded in Nature - Page 2

Rising trends in home flooring
Grounded in Nature
Vintage Vintique engineered wood from Mohawk.
Grounded in Nature
Twilight Oak MLF vinyl from Karndean.
Grounded in Nature
Pryzm luxury vinyl from Armstrong.

High-style hardwood
Real wood flooring is often considered the gold standard of flooring, but it's facing stiff competition these days, as virtually every other hard-surface flooring emulates the look of hardwood while offering better performance features.

To compete, hardwood manufacturers have responded with new, longer formats that go beyond the traditional six- to seven-foot lengths. Styles are now available in ten-foot or longer lengths to create spaces with fewer seams and grander visuals.

Wider plank flooring is another trend that has evolved during the past few years because of its ability to open a room visually and create an illusion of space. Wide-plank flooring, which is usually a minimum of seven inches wide, is a smart choice in environments where there are variations in humidity throughout the year because they fluctuate less than traditional strip floors.

In terms of styling, hardwood-flooring producers are providing more color and finish options to appeal to a broader group of consumers. Gray-toned wide planks, without too much sheen on the finish, continue to be a popular choice. Gray tones work with a variety of décor styles because they don't overpower other colors.

As an alternative to traditional wood stains, some companies are offering fumed wood flooring, which gets rich color and grain without additional staining.

The fuming process involves placing the wood in a chamber where airborne ammonia is then released. The wood reacts with the ammonia and undergoes a color change. The final look feels deeper than what you might get with stained wood flooring.

On the other end of the spectrum, bleached wood is also gaining traction. Inspired by Scandinavian style, this softer, whitewashed look is created through a bleaching process that involves applying a chemical solution onto the surface of the wood to get rid of the wood's natural color.

Not your grandma's vinyl
Often emulating the look of hardwood, multilayer flooring (MLF) is taking the design world by storm because of its benefits and features. Multilayer flooring has gone by many names in the past—including rigid core, composite core, and vinyl planks—but it has grown into a whole new flooring category of hard-surface flooring.

In short, MLF is stronger and more durable than its vinyl ancestors. MLF is made of several layers of materials: a cork, a high-performance core, a backing layer, a printed layer (which provides the look), a transparent wear layer, and a protective coating. The result is a product that keeps its form better than traditional luxury vinyl tile or planks.