Staying Power

Flooring customers are looking for durability & value

Go ahead. Let the dog in. Juggle your coffee, your crossword and a piece of toast on the way to the sofa. Pour the red wine at the party. Today’s flooring can take it. From hardwood and tile to stone composites—and even carpeting—floors now are made for living.

Cost and comfort are key factors for many flooring shoppers. Carpeting often has a friendlier price point and feel than hard surfaces, especially for families with young children who spend a lot of time on the floor. But it is that same group of shoppers that struggles with carpeting because it inevitably shows the telltale signs of life with the preschool set

Paul Dominie, general manager of Coyle Carpet One Floor and Home, says it doesn’t have to be that way anymore. Many new carpets can handle all the curve balls—and hot cocoa spills—that life throws at them. In fact, Dominie says durability and stain resistance have never been better. Plus, manufacturers are taking things one step further with warrantees that essentially guarantee that carpeting can stand up to normal living without looking worse for the wear.

“We have products warranted against coffees and teas and harsh dyes,” Dominie says. “We’re talking about lifetime warranties.”

Homeowners are required to properly clean their carpeting, but if a stain won’t come out, the manufacturer will send out a professional team to repair the damage or replace the carpeting. “Basically, you’ve got no risk,” Dominie says. “If you’re an active family, you don’t have to worry about spilling things and ruining your carpet.”

Worry-free living is one of the features that attracts homeowners to hard flooring. People also love the beauty of wood, tiles, stone and other natural materials. Nothing is more durable: Properly installed, most natural flooring can last a lifetime.

Allen Curran, senior designer at Bella Domicile, says natural choices such as tile, stone and wood are still the mainstays for kitchens. The hues of each run the gamut, so the homeowner has seemingly unlimited options. Curren advises clients, however, to avoid monochromatic looks in their kitchens. Instead of matching flooring to cabinetry, he encourages homeowners to create contrast.

“Especially in a kitchen if you walk into a space and you have wood floors and matching cabinetry,” he says, “the eye is going to be starving for a focal point.”

Tile and stone, Curran notes, are still tops for bathrooms. Not only do they withstand the high moisture, but they also work well with in-floor radiant heat, which makes stepping out of the shower an altogether different experience.

The ability to withstand moisture is also important for lower levels. “When some flooring gets saturated, it has to be thrown out,” says Alicia Szekeres, co-owner of Nature Stone of Wisconsin. “But Nature Stone can withstand any kind of water that enters the basement. It’s permanent.”

Nature Stone is a stone composite that won’t trap moisture between the flooring and the concrete, making it an excellent choice for basements that are prone to mold or mildew. So if the water heater leaks, the washing machine overflows, or the sewer line backs up, Nature Stone can take it.

The product also works with radiant heat, which is a popular choice for basements as well as bathrooms.

Above all, Dominie, Curran and Szekeres agree that shoppers are as concerned with durability and performance as they are with price. In essence, they are looking for value. And they’re finding it.

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