Paul Hambidge, founder of Factory Direct Flooring, a supplier of wood, vinyl, including LVT, and laminate flooring to retailers, commercial sites and residential customers throughout the UK, discusses the latest trends, types and innovations in flooring products as the flooring industry continues to see growth.
The flooring market has been buoyant for many years, but the onset of the pandemic and resulting lockdown restrictions made the demand for flooring products soar, as many people turned their attentions, spare cash and time to home improvements. The appetite hasn’t really waned since then, and as a result, the trends have continued to evolve along with innovations in flooring types and styles. With many of us pushing our homes to do more for us than ever, creating work and recreational or exercise spaces within, flooring has become a key consideration in any renovation or home improvement project. An array of choices means there’s a flooring option for every taste and budget.
But what are the latest trends homeowners and DIYers are opting for, what are the options and what’s new in the world of flooring?
Wood-look flooring remains the top choice
While many would agree the look and feel of real wood flooring is a thing of beauty, the innovations in flooring products means these days, it can be hard to tell them apart from the real deal and it’s a significant factor in the every-growing popularity of wood-look options. The realistic wood designs that sit atop composite materials and beneath a durable wear layer in flooring types such as laminate, vinyl cushion, Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) and Stone Plastic Composite (SPC) not only look like real wood, but with textured options to emulate the feel of woodgrain. Bevelled edges can create realistic plank effects too - every detail has been covered and the feel of real wood can be achieved.
The attraction and appeal of wood-look flooring is not just due to the lower price point compared to traditional real wood flooring (not to mention the easier installation), but also in due to its durability, practicality and suitability for almost any room in the home. For rooms subject to high moisture such as bathrooms, ensuites, laundry rooms – or outdoor buildings that may endure wet footfall – vinyl cushion, LVT and SPC are all major contenders. Many of these are waterproof and will not buckle or damage if they become wet. Vinyl is a great budget-conscious option and we experienced a huge growth in sales of vinyl cushion in wood effect designs in the last half of 2021. It is great value for money and presents few installation challenges.
Trends in tones and laying styles
Wood effect trends go far beyond the traditional oak, pine or birch options: while medium oak is indeed one of our constant bestsellers, the appetite for grey-toned wood has been high in recent years with no signs of it dwindling. There has also been a real lean towards light or white wood tones, largely due to the interiors trends arising in 2021 – emerging as Japandi: a fusion of Japanese and Scandinavian styles giving way to minimalist effects and silver tones.
The types of planks available in laminate, LVT and SPC flooring make laying designs, and therefore looks that can be achieved, infinite. Wide planks are still very popular as they are used to achieve a streamlined look in a large space – or to make a smaller space look larger – due to the limited seams and joins. But a trend that rose exponentially in 2020 and has continued to be strong is herringbone. Each design pattern creates an eye-catching effect that oozes luxury, and can be applied to short or long planks, dependent on the desired look.
Flooring types and innovations
While vinyl is an option experiencing rapid growth in popularity, laminate remains a firm favourite. Since its inception two decades ago, it’s fair to say laminate has come a long way in composition and design. It’s still a popular choice among homeowners, has hundreds of design options, and can be installed by a competent DIYer. It’s a budget-friendly choice and the tough composition of wood fibreboard and melamine resin, topped with a clear vinyl, makes a high-value option. It’s durable, easy to maintain and therefore practical.
Meanwhile, LVT offers the same benefits, and thanks to the emergence of click installation planks, it has also become much more accessible and affordable option. Its benefits over laminate include water resistance and low acoustics, so it has become a popular choice for upstairs rooms. It’s made up of an insulative backing, layers of high density fibreglass and PVC, a design layer and a wear layer over the top to protect it.
A step-up on LVT is SPC. This relatively new innovative product is made of natural stone, polyvinyl chloride and stabiliser, which makes it tougher than LVT and therefore slightly more expensive. This is a good option for those wanting a product offering real longevity and also who seek a more sustainable option.
The pandemic brought a resurgence of a desire to create a safe, warm nurturing environment and a space for multi-functional living. With flooring being the foundation of many a home renovation, it will continue to evolve with design trends, the rigours of everyday living and the appetite for self-installation.
For more information, please visit www.factory-direct-flooring.co.uk