The right floor choice can really tie your room décor together, open up an otherwise small space or create a sense of coziness in large room. It can provide a feeling of luxury or comfort. But what’s the right choice?
Nelson Green is a longtime businessman in Brevard County whose family has been providing flooring options and guidance to the community for decades. His store, Great Southeast Flooring America, is riding the wave of several different floor styles that have become hot in recent years.
One of the most notable is luxury vinyl flooring, such as the Downs H20 luxury vinyl plank.
“If you have kids or pets, luxury vinyl is a great choice” -Nelson Green
Luxury Vinyl a Hot Option
The popularity of wood floors in the New World goes way back. Settlers felled trees from old-growth forests and cut broad planks for flooring in their cabin floors.
But there are disadvantages to real wood. Chiefly, it’s not waterproof; flooding and serious spills can wreak havoc with a natural wood floor. The new vinyl planking is different, with its water-resistant, super-tight joints that keep out moisture and mildew. It offers homeowners this beneficial quality while looking like the real thing. “Even with all my years of experience selling floors, I often can’t tell the difference myself – even when I get up close,” Green said.
The luxury vinyl planks are also popular because of their ease of installation. There’s usually no need to tear out the existing flooring. In most cases, the planks can go right over the top.
“That’s a tremendous advantage,” Green said. “If you have a ceramic tile floor, for example, and you want a traditional laminate floor installed, the preparation is extensive and messy. Breaking out the old tile is a lot of work – dust is everywhere and there’s major cleanup required. With the vinyl planks, that’s rarely necessary.”
Pets are another consideration that steers the homeowning population to vinyl flooring.
“If you have kids or pets, luxury vinyl is a great choice,” Green said. “As durable and water-resistant as this flooring is, it repels the spills, the messes – it’s pet-proof and kid-proof. The cork backing also makes it soft for people to walk in their stocking feet.”
Speaking of pets, the Stainmaster PetProtect vinyl plank is also a popular option because of a technology that allows dogs and cats to walk around on the floor without slipping and sliding. A special “Claw Shield” protects the floor from scratches and has a finish that helps pets maintain their footing.
Theresa Clifton, executive director of the Brevard Humane Society, said that this issue is more serious than people realize: The slick surfaces of many floors can actually put pets at risk of injury. “For animals slipping and sliding on floors, it can be hard on their joints and can cause permanent damage if they’re unable to keep their legs beneath them when moving about,”
Other high-demand choices
Luxury vinyl isn’t the only hot trend in flooring. Wood-look porcelain tile is also a favored option these days, Green said. “It has the appearance of wood, but the durability of porcelain,” he said. “People like the combination.”
Those who prefer carpeting often gravitate toward Stainmaster, with its stain resistance, durability and wide spectrum of available patterns. Textured Saxony, commonly known as “plush,” is a strong seller, Green said. The Stainmaster PetProtect has become an especially popular carpeting choice. A special treatment repels pet accidents and makes it easier to vacuum up pet hair from the fibers.
The right floor choice is important not only for the homeowner but also the potential homebuyer. “When homebuyers can envision their own furnishings on top of a beautiful floor, they can look past other things that don’t necessarily suit their personalities,” said Mona Stevenson, a Realtor with SunCoast Real Estate Group in Melbourne. “The floor can make a big difference.”
Changing trends of modern flooring
Flooring has seen a rapid evolution during the past 15 years or so. Tile, vinyl, wood and other types have surged ahead of carpeting as preferred surfaces.
It’s also common now for a home to have one kind of flooring throughout, in every room (although bedrooms are still often carpeted). Before the advent of water-resistant floors, wood-look floors were conspicuously absent from kitchens and bathrooms – but that’s all changed now.
“The surfaces we walk on certainly have changed over the years, for the better,” Green said. “They’re more attractive, tougher – just superior in so many ways.”