Q&A on flooring design trends and tips.

Hardwood floors add warmth and character to just about any home. Tracey Lust, director of sales and marketing for Yankee Classic Floors, shares advice on how to get the most from your flooring investment.

Q: What kind of flooring does Yankee Classic Floors offer? 

A: We supply any species of wood in both solid and engineered options. We offer products that we site-finish to customize a stain color for our clients, or we can provide flooring that comes pre-finished from the factory. We also supply bamboo, Lyptus and cork. 

Q: What is Lyptus?

A: Lyptus is a brand of flooring made from eucalyptus trees grown on a sustainable, eco-friendly plantation in Brazil. The trees are fast-growing. In fifteen years they can grow to be over one hundred fifteen feet tall.

Q: What are typical installation options?

A: We install any type of flooring on the market. We specialize in nail-down, glue-down, or floating floor installations. We also offer installation over concrete and in-floor heating systems. We meet with clients to determine which option is best for them.

Q: In addition to aesthetics, what are some things a homeowner should consider before purchasing flooring?

A: We recommend that homeowners consider the resale of their home or condo. If resale is likely to be a factor, it is usually prudent to stick with classics, as trends come and go. Also, the economic climate and budgets are important, and we try to make sure clients get the most value for their money. There are good buys right now through local mills, and we can steer budget-conscious customers toward those deals. We also help clients take into consideration the amount of foot traffic they’ll have as well as humidity, pets and children. Final decisions usually center on color.

Q: Are there any mistakes people should try to avoid?

A: We work closely with customers prior to purchase to ensure that they make the right decisions. But we have worked with people who chose the wrong material for certain areas of the house. For example, some kitchen flooring can be uncomfortable to stand on for long periods of time and can even lead to leg and back problems. We also have seen purchases based solely on price, and sometimes those products don’t hold up. Price is just one consideration, and it has to be balanced with quality, anticipated wear, durability and other factors.

Q: Are there any new products or styles out right now?

A: It can take a bit longer for the East Coast and West Coast trends to arrive in the Midwest. We are seeing more dark floors, such as dark walnut, mocha, olives, blacks and tans in hardwood flooring stains. Larger plank sizes are becoming popular. We offer custom plank sizes up to twelve inches in width as well as longer board lengths (up to eighteen feet). The wider and longer the board, the more history of the wood that can be “read” on each plank.

The floors are only part of the equation. As beautiful as they are on their own, hardwoods can look even better when you cover them up a little bit. Brad Stevens, owner of luxury furniture and home accessory retailer Stevens Design, offers some advice on area rugs.

Q: Are there any secrets to buying an area rug? 

A: You should always look for a rug that fits your area and use. Quality is also important. One reliable way to determine quality is the number of knots per inch. The more knots per inch, the better the rug. You should also be able to clearly see the pattern or design on the backside of the rug.

Q: What about materials or fibers?

A: Wool is the finest natural fiber. It resists soiling, cleans easily, and is much more flexible and durable than any synthetic fiber.

Q: Do you allow homeowners to test-run any rugs at home prior to making a purchase? Why is this useful?

A: Yes, we do let clients try out our rugs at home to see if they work with their furniture, lighting and space. It is very important to look at the rug from different directions and in natural and artificial lighting in the space. We ask our clients to look at the rug in the morning, in full light, and again in the evening.

Q: What are some common mistakes people make when buying rugs? 

A: Sometimes people don’t get the right size for the space, or they don’t coordinate the pattern and colors of the rug with other patterns, colors and textures in the space. We offer free design services to help avoid these mistakes.

Q: Why cover up beautiful wood floors with rugs? 

A: Rugs add warmth and help to define spaces. Plus, they are functional artwork. 

Q: What kind of care do you recommend for area rugs? 

A: Vacuum regularly and rotate frequently to allow for equal wear. Wet clean as required, but that is generally not more than every ten years. 

Q: Are there any trends in area rugs in terms of style, material, color or other features?

A: Yes, rugs have evolved to fit the trend in outdoor living spaces. They are offered in fun, bright colors and are made with one hundred percent polypropylene yarns that are moisture and stain resistant. They are also easy to care for. You can clean them with mild soap or simply hose them off.

Jennifer Garrett

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