New options for flooring offer natural beauty and enduring appeal
There is no doubt that wood flooring adds wow — it’s a great choice for a healthy home, plus there are myriad options when it comes to finishes, colours and design patterns.
New engineered wood products, along with polymers like vinyl plank, are adding strength and glamour to new home projects and renovations alike.
But with a bevy of products on the market, it can be tough to wade through the choices.
“The first thing that people should think about is what look they are wanting to achieve and then secondly, what is the budget. If it is their permanent, forever home, the preference would be to have a noble material like real hardwood. All of the imitations, though, stem off of the real thing,” says Jennifer Currie, vice-president at Divine Flooring, a curator and service provider of flooring and accessories, headquartered in Rocky View, with showrooms in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Chicago.
Currie says that industry jargon can be confusing to the consumer, things like grades and performance characteristics.
“At the end of the day, people want a certain look — subtle or clean, or something with a lot of character and expressiveness,” she says.
Currie says it is rare for people nowadays to go with solid hardwood.
“It tends to be a very classic consumer,” she says. Price, plank size and durability are considerations that limit its popularity. It is climate sensitive, tending to heave, cup and warp, and planks can only be cut in widths just over three inches.
In today’s design circles, though, the bomb is engineered hardwood.
“It’s really opened up the market. You don’t have to worry about dimensional stability and so we are now seeing five-inch, seven-inch, nine-inch and even 12-inch wide planks,” says Currie.
It’s a perfect choice for arid climates like Calgary’s, where wide temperature fluctuations are commonplace.
When it comes to current design trends, expect to see edgy bleached-out maple in white and grey washes for an industrial and contemporary look and lots of patterns in white oak, a wood that has hit the top of the charts in popularity.
Design and pattern is also trending using herringbone and chevron styling with planks, while providing some character with natural variations using planks cut from both hardwood and sapwood.
Natural oiling is in for finishes; high gloss is definitely out.
“The slick, shiny surface is definitely not conducive to kids or pets,” says Currie.
But these looks can all be achieved with a more affordable option like a clickable, floating floor in engineered hardwood with a high density fibre board core and an integrated underlay, perfect for a condo or multi-family environment.
“It’s the next step up from vinyl plank,” says Currie. “And it provides great acoustic comfort.”
Other versatile and stylish options include luxury vinyl plank and laminate flooring.
Also clickable, with the added bonus of being soft underfoot, waterproof and kinder to the pocket book, luxury vinyl plank flooring is taking over the market share as a less expensive option.
“It’s really taken a huge chunk out of the laminate industry. You can achieve so many looks with vinyl plank. Plus it has this cushion. Your glasses can tumble to the floor and they won’t shatter into a million pieces. In fact, they might not even break,” says Currie.
A Look at the Choices
Solid and Engineered Hardwood
Offers natural beauty and enduring appeal and can increase the resale value of a home. It’s available in any species.
Solid hardwood, although it provides a classic look reacts to humidity and temperature changes with expansion and contraction, causing cupping and gapping.
Unlike solid hardwood, engineered hardwood can tolerate changes in temperature and humidity and can be installed on any level including below grade and over in-floor heating.
Pricing starts at around $10 per square foot, without installation.
Engineered Hardwood with an HDF core
Divine Flooring offering a signature design known as Coastline. Available in clickable five-inch planks fashioned from rift oak, oak or ash on a high-density fibre board core with a polymer underlay.
Price starts at approximately $5 per square foot, without installation.
Luxury Vinyl Plank
Ideal for active families, luxury vinyl plank realistically captures the essence of wood, while offering high-end style. It’s floatable and clickable; resistant to scratches and scuffs and is waterproof.
Pricing starts at approximately $4.70 per square foot, without installation.
Offering high performance and versatility at an affordable price, laminate is pressed and coated wood that is applied to a MDF or HDF core. It can emulate several looks, but it is not waterproof.
Pricing starts at approximately $2.50 per square foot, without installation