Flooring is an important consideration in any home. It can energize a space, inject personality, even provide a talking point, all while offering comfort. Lifestyle asked Tammy Titus of Kemper Carpet in Gainesville about what flooring materials and colors are trending right now, what things consumers should consider before buying, and what to look for in a flooring contractor. We also asked about options available to those looking for a quick, pre-holiday flooring makeover…for a friend, of course.
L: What flooring trends and colors are most popular now?
T: Right now it’s all about luxury vinyl plank. Its ability to withstand water makes it a suitable product for lower levels. Many customers prefer a hard surface in the lower level as it’s easier to care for. Hardwood is usually what they want, but real hardwood doesn’t work in areas where water can be a concern. Now the customer has an option to get the look of hardwood, but with better durability and a better price.
As for colors trending in hardwood and vinyl plank, grey tones are still popular. However, greige, (grey and warm browns mixed) is the most desired.
We’ve found that new colors typically start on the West Coast, make their way to new custom homes here, and are ultimately incorporated into existing homes. Currently we’re seeing a trend in much lighter natural tones, (including greige), with a movement toward arctic whites.
L: Are there any types of flooring that never go out of style?
T: Timeless hardwood in mid brown tones. It offers the best priced hard surface with warm comfort and durability.
L: What should consumers look for when researching flooring contractors and retailers?
T: Check the overall reputation of the company. See if they’re on Angie’s List and what kind of reviews they’ve gotten on Yelp, Google, and the Better Business Bureau. Get referrals from friends and family. And of course supporting your local small businesses is the way to go.
L: What are some factors that go into deciding what kind of flooring would be best for someone?
T: The flooring specialist needs to ask important questions to understand the individual flooring needs of each customer. Things like how much daily use does the room or rooms get, how many people live in the home, are there children or pets, are there concerns about elderly relatives slipping. Those are just a few. Once a product, be it wood, carpet, or tile, is selected, color is the number one deciding factor. After that, other considerations include design and pattern, durability, comfort, and of course cost and budget.
L: What is the easiest and quickest flooring to install and what is the most difficult?
T: None are easy, and all require skills to install. However, the easiest is vinyl plank and the fastest is carpet. In terms of the most difficult, installing ceramic tile and refinishing wood floors are both number one. Consumers should bear in mind that from selection to installation takes about two to four weeks, depending upon material availability.
L: So the best options for a quick, pre-holiday flooring makeover are…?
T: Wall to wall carpet, stair runners, and area rugs.
L: What’s the best way to care for and preserve floors after installation?
T: For wood floors, clean with Bona Cleaner. To protect them, place area rugs at entryways and floor protectors under furniture. If you have pets, keeping their nails trimmed prevents scratches.
For carpet, have it professionally steam cleaned every 18 months, and spot clean as needed, making sure to clean up spills or pet stains as quickly as possible.
L: How often should homeowners update their flooring?
T: Every 8 to 10 years.
L: Is there anything you’d like to add that we haven’t asked about?
T: There are promotional pricing and rebates that result in a tremendous amount of savings for consumers. These typically come in the spring and fall, so shoppers should stay aware and buy during those times to maximize their purchase.
Lastly, beware of online sales. Flooring is a large important purchase and should be carefully thought out with professional assistance. When you buy online there’s no guarantee about the quality of the product and no one to help if it’s in any way defective. Consumers get stuck that way so my advice is to work with a professional who knows their products and your needs.