The latest flooring innovations include recycled, sustainable and American-made options. The new styles, trends, and technologies will wow commercial projects and consumers alike, from carpet tiles and broadloom to hardwood and laminate.
Tile and Stone
Tile and stone have long been a popular option for homeowners and designers. They are durable and express a timeless beauty. They also can be used to create a variety of exciting surface textures that add depth and visual interest to any room. The most common types of tile are ceramic and porcelain. Both are kiln-fired from clay but are very different in how they are made and their durability. Porcelain tiles are much more demanding and resistant to scratches and stains and can stand up well to heavy foot traffic in residential and commercial environments. Natural stone tiles are a heavier residential flooring material but are incredibly versatile. They can be used to define space and create textural boundaries in commercial spaces, making them ideal for areas that require multi-use floors.
Resilient floors are often more cost-effective than complex flooring options like tile and hardwood. They also offer design flexibility with patterns that mimic stone and wood aesthetics. These floors can be used in various spaces and resist flames, slipping, and water damage. Cork, linoleum, and vinyl composition tile (VCT) are resilient floors that can be sourced from natural materials and have a sustainable life cycle. These floors tend to have a little more give than tile or hardwood and can ease the stress on workers’ feet and backs who spend long periods standing, such as nurses in healthcare settings and clerks in retail stores. Resilient floors can withstand heavy foot traffic and are easy to clean and maintain. They are comfortable to walk on, making them popular in high-traffic areas in schools and office buildings.
Carpet is a popular flooring option for residential use. It absorbs noise, offers thermal insulation, and can create a luxurious look. Unlike hardwood floors that require high maintenance, carpeting requires little to no maintenance and can last up to 30 years. New carpet tile technology is more durable and easier to maintain than traditional broadloom carpeting. It allows for the replacement of individual tiles without requiring extensive installation expertise. Sustainability has become a key consideration in commercial flooring, leading many manufacturers to incorporate green products. These carpets use reclaimed and recycled fibers, are low in VOCs, and are available in darker colors to enhance the design of interior spaces. They also provide aesthetic options for corporate offices, healthcare facilities, and retail projects.
Hardwood floors are a classic choice that adds style and value to homes. They are warm underfoot and can work with underfloor heating systems, reducing the need for energy-efficient carpeting. They also maintain a consistent temperature and are easy to clean. Over time, hardwoods acquire subtle shadings and character markings that provide a unique personality to the space. Engineered hardwoods offer the look of natural wood with improved durability. They feature a solid hardwood veneer over an internal core layer of high-density fiberboard or plywood. This helps prevent warping, expansion, and contraction due to temperature changes that can impact solid hardwoods. They can be nailed, stapled, or glued to the subfloor and are often DIY-installable. They can be sanded and refinished at the site to accommodate changes in design.
Many homeowners consider laminate flooring a viable alternative to natural hardwood floors. Despite the common association with low-end and hollow-sounding imitations, today’s high-quality laminates feature impressively realistic textures that are difficult to discern from the real thing. They are highly durable and require very little maintenance. Dusting or vacuuming is usually all needed to keep them looking great daily, and they can withstand a fair amount of foot traffic and caster chair movement. Mopping isn’t recommended, however, as moisture can seep into the layers and cause swelling, warping, and water damage. The image layer is a photographic applique covering a core of compressed chipped wood or HDF (High-density fiberboard). A protective transparent wear layer encases the lower image and pattern layers.