Upgraded Classics and Innovative Additions: Current Flooring Trends from Milwaukee/NARI
While a difficult economy may be limiting innovative trends in other industries, it’s driving trends in the area of flooring. Today’s cost-conscious consumers are seeking optimal comfort and appeal for a value, and Milwaukee/NARI members say flooring manufacturers are responding with more bang for the buck—pulling back on high-end marketing and concentrating on products that are sensible, low-maintenance, and easy on the wallet. This has resulted in more innovation and variety to the low-cost mainstays: resilient vinyl and carpeting.
Members of the Milwaukee Chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), the area’s leading home improvement and remodeling industry resource for more than 52 years, identify some of the current top flooring.
Character in wood flooring is something homeowners are now actively seeking when considering their options. A popular money saving and aesthetically pleasing way to incorporate wood flooring into a home is using reclaimed wood. This look is achieved by using woods that have been salvaged from older buildings, as well as high recycled content and raw materials obtained from sustainable sources, for custom flooring. “Over the last few years, we have noticed a trend in rustic flooring. Whether they prefer new wood made to look vintage, or actual reclaimed wood, the distressed appearance is in,” said Bryan Schneeweis, owner of K&B Custom Floors in Menomonee Falls. “I've seen a lot of reclaimed-recycled material from old barns, beams, and buildings being used, especially since people have become much more environmentally conscious.”
Andrea Schmidt of Schmidt Custom Floors in Waukesha said, “A popular route to take with wood floors are the laminate versions.” Laminate is a thin piece of wood on a core that’s made of something else. It creates structural stability so you have less movement in the floor, and it’s less expensive than solid hardwood. Schmidt also said that unique colors and stains are trending in hardwoods, like grey stains and whitewashed woods.
The new luxury look is in vinyl. With budget-conscious but quality seeking customers in mind, the vinyl market has really stepped up its game. The demand for “luxury vinyl”— top-quality resilient flooring with lookalike qualities that are increasingly difficult to distinguish from stone, wood plank, and ceramic tile—continues to increase. Luxury vinyl is in the middle in price range compared to other flooring products, and with its ability to mimic traditional high-end materials, such as tumbled marble and exotic hardwoods, homeowners can get all the popular looks, trends, and quality at a lower cost.
The bigger the better in tiling. Preferences in tiling are leaning toward large-scale tiles according to Schmidt. “We’ve been selling anywhere from 12x24 and 17x24, to 20x20s. People are definitely steering away from simple small tiles, the standard 12x12, and going for a more dramatic look.” In addition to looking great, larger sizes mean more tile surface and fewer grout lines to clean.
Quality carpets with a bold look. Textured and plush carpets like shags and friezes are fading out while patterned carpets are in. By using a technique that combines both loops and cut loops (cut-and-loop carpet), manufacturers are creating carpet with patterns that range from subtle to bold.
The Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council was chartered in July 1961, as a chapter of the National Home Improvement Council. In May of 1982, the National Home Improvement Council merged with the National Remodelers Association to form NARI—the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.
The Council’s goals of encouraging ethical conduct, professionalism, and sound business practices in the remodeling industry have led to the remodeling industry’s growth and made NARI a recognized authority in that industry. With over 740 members, the Milwaukee Chapter is the nation’s largest.
For more information or to receive a free copy of the association’s membership directory and the booklet, “Milwaukee/NARI's Remodeling Guide,” call 414-771-4071 or visit the Council’s website at www.milwaukeenari.org.
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