the newest trends and developments in wood flooring?
A: During the last few years alone there's been
more development and new features and products than in the past couple
of decades. This is largely due to the general growth of hard-surface
floorings, which as a whole is expected to be a top-20 growth product
or category among non-electronic consumer goods over the next decade
or so. That says something about how Americans are beginning to percieve
their largely carpeted homes. (Some 60% of all floors are still wall-to-wall
carpet, compare to less than 30% in Europe and other parts of the world.)
Here are some of the more recent distinct trends:
Antique and recycled look:
A distinct trend over the last couple of years is the old rustic look,
even on factory-new products. Quite a few manufacturers produce new
wood flooring, and laminate flooring as well, with checks, marks, stains,
knots and cracks to make them look either rustic, worn or antique. Most
are coated with a durable finish, taking out the percived rough and
There is also an increasing number of businesses devoted entirely to
resquing and recycling old barn beams, siding, logs etc. and turn them
into flooring and other end products. These woods have a story, most
are 100-200 years old and makes for a truly unique custom product.
Factory finishes :
Moisture cured urethane is one of the hardest finishes available, but
It is also extremely difficult to apply and it has a very unpleasant
(toxic) odor. A respirator is a must when applying. Moisture cured urethane
dries by pulling moisture from the air, while most other finishes dry
through evaporation of the solvents leaving the resins on the floor.
Q: What's the costs of a wood
floor vs. a laminate floor?
A: Factory pre-finished wood floors have grown tremendously.
Today's pre-finished flooring comes with very durable finishes such
as oil-modified urethanes and water-based finishes (see above), using
several coats of ultraviolet (UV) cured urethane for added protection.
UV cured urethanes can only be properly cured
in the presence of UV light, which would be extremely difficult to duplicate
on a job site finish, not to mention how many days it would take. These
UV cured urethanes create a tough, scratch resistant wear layer and
help prevent moisture from penetrating the wood's surface. This means
that these floors won't watermark like the old waxed hardwood floors,
and the UV cure urethanes do make it easier to maintain the like new
appearance than, for example, the old waxed wood floors.
Choosing pre-finished largely boils down to
installation, durability and maintenance issues. Instead of taking several
days to install and finish a wood floor, a pre-finished wood floor is
generally done in one day, hence resulting in substantial time and cost
savings. Most do-it-yourselfers can install a pre-finished floor. Because
of a high quality and consistent factory application, a pre-finished
floor often has a more durable wear layer and lower maintenance than
a site finished floor.