Product Watch: Flooring

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Historically, about 85% of consumers replace their old flooring with a product similar to it, says Chris Davis, CEO of the World Floor Covering Association. But these days it seems that people want unique looks for their homes.

August 01, 2001

Historically, about 85% of consumers replace their old flooring with a product similar to it, says Chris Davis, CEO of the World Floor Covering Association. But these days it seems that people want unique looks for their homes. Baby boomers are getting older and have more discretionary income as their kids leave home.

That’s why the use of stone, tile, marble and exotic hardwoods has increased. Natural products such as stone and wood have great appeal on two fronts: aesthetics and resale value. This trend also appears in what Davis calls mimicry: Designers of resilient and laminate flooring are trying to capture the look and appeal of natural materials — often with amazing results.

The hottest flooring products are tile and laminate, but resilient flooring is regaining popularity. Carpet manufacturers also hope to make a comeback in the residential market by offering more commercial-type weaves and patterns with greater fashion. They have a way to go, however: The use of carpet is down by nearly one-third during the past two decades.

Consumers today have greater interest in renewable resource materials such as bamboo and cork. These eco-friendly materials are available in dimensionally stable flooring products.

WoodFloorsOnline.com estimates that half of the hardwood floors installed today are pre-finished engineered wood products. The organization attributes this trend to the increase in remodeling and the common use of on-grade (concrete-slab) construction, as well as the products’ stability and versatility.

No matter what the choice of floor covering, it will be only as successful as the underlayment. Any irregularities in the underlayment — nails or screws not set flush, debris or unsanded flash patches — will cause problems in the floor covering sooner or later.

Robbins: Frontier 55 is a five-ply plank flooring constructed of cross-grained oak. The flooring measures 1/2-inch thick by 5 inches wide, is produced in random lengths and is available in four colors: Rawhide, Saddle, Sage and Tumbleweed. It features the ultraviolet-cured, ForEver II Satin no-wax finish.

Contact: www.robbinsflooring.com.

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Bruce Hardwood Floors: Maple Essence (shown), White Oak Essence and Larch are three 1/2-inch-thick, 5-inch-wide engineered, floating floor options. Each features single-panel, three-ply construction in long and wide panels. Maple Essence and White Oak Essence are available in a natural finish. Larch is available in nutmeg and butterscotch colorations. Factory-finished with the Dura-Luster Plus finish.

Contact: 800/722-4647, www.bruce.com.

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Hartco: Beaumont Plank LG flooring, a three-ply engineered low-gloss product, is available in four colors. The flooring’s cross-grain structure provides added dimensional stability, the company says, while its square edges provide a smoother surface for easier maintenance. Product features the HartGuard Deluxe no-wax finish.

Contact: 800/442-7826, www.hartcoflooring.com.

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Bruce Laminate Floors: Five plank styles added to the Traffic Zone laminate flooring line include Alternative Oak, featuring a 3- to 5-inch alternating strip in every plank. Italian Walnut provides a linear look with a wide strip and deep color variations. Dusty Oak and Sandy Beech feature dust lines to mimic eased-edge hardwood. Southern Pecan is a long, two-strip pattern. The planks consist of four plys: Moisture Guard backer, Magnum HDF core, Image Design paper layer and CrystalGuard finish. Product can be installed on, above or below grade.

Contact: www.brucelaminatefloors.com.

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Congoleum: The Ultima line of resilient flooring simulates natural materials such as ceramic tile, stone, marble and wood. Garden View, a floral mosaic border surrounding a 9-inch fired-ceramic tile design, is one of four new designs in 15 colors. The other new designs are Kaleidoscope, Timberland and Foliage.

Contact: www.congoleum.com.

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Domco: The Brilliant Collection of resilient sheet flooring consists of 10 designs and 24 colors. The flooring features a 10-mil wear layer and an UltraClean high-gloss urethane finish. Patterns include Forum, Campus, Brookstone, Malaga, Grace, Palace, Venture, Bellevue, Alhambra and Caballero.

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Wilsonart: Fresco laminate flooring duplicates the look of ceramic tile. The flooring is scuff-, stain- and scratch-resistant and does not chip or crack, the company says. The company offers 24 tile designs including slate, rustic stones and cobblestone-like designs.

Contact: 800/433-3222, www.wilsonart.com.

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BHK of America: Moderna Lifestyle laminate flooring is installed using the Uniclic glueless system. Tongue-and-groove panels simply "click" into place. The flooring is moisture- and scratch-resistant, the company says, and is offered in a range of patterns: Elegant Maple, Winter Maple, Elegant Beech, Traditional Beech, Natural Apple, American Birch, Rustic Cherry, Elegant Oak, Natural Oak, Traditional Oak, Travertin, American Pine, Country Pine, Rustic Pine and Cabin Oak.

Contact: 800/663-4176, www.uniclic.com.

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Also See:

The Great Pretender

Fine Finishes

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