By BUILDER Magazine Staff. If you're comfortable with the status quo, you can continue to offer the usual flooring suspects in your homes. But if you want to shake things up, manufacturers are pushing new and not-so-new flooring materials that could increase the wow factor in your homes.
Yesteryear Floorworks in York, Pa., offers 100 percent reclaimed and re-milled antique wood flooring. With knots and nail holes, the product has an industrial yet rustic charm that is perfect for a loft or a mountain home, says president Jeff Horn. The wood grains in reclaimed lumber are tight, the company says, because it comes from trees that grew in virgin forests. Slowly but surely, builders are discovering bamboo. Ann Knight, vice president of marketing for Timbergrass in Bainbridge Island, Wash., says bamboo's beauty, durability, and sustainability have helped increase sales to the builder community. Builders also have been attracted to bamboo's stability. "Most hardwoods generally come from juvenile trees, so they crack and expand more," Knight says. Because bamboo is harder than oak and more than twice as dimensionally stable as maple, it expands very little and is more stable than most wood flooring.
These flooring materials have a high-style quotient, but they have a price tag to match and are therefore unlikely to appear on the upgrades lists of most builders. Antique flooring from Yesteryear runs $9 to $18 per square foot, and bamboo from Timbergrass costs about $11 per square foot installed. They could be a nice change of pace, however, if you're willing to take a walk on the wild side.
Coconut creation: Made from 100 percent recycled coconut palm, DuraPalm is an extremely stable flooring that is harder than rock maple, the manufacturer says. It ranges in color from dark to medium red mahogany and comes in finished or unfinished 3-inch-by-72-inch, tongue-and-groove strips. Finished flooring features an eight-coat finish and has no formaldehyde or VOC emissions. Smith and Fong. 650-872-1184. www.plyboo.com.
Lovely in leather: The ultimate in luxury, Piel leather flooring is suitable in a family room, den, study, or bedroom. The tiles are made from thick water-resistant leather that has been coated with a sealer. Tiles are available in various sizes from 4-inch to 16-inch squares. Ann Sacks. 503-281-7751. www.annsacks.com.
Bamboo groove: Harder than oak and more dimensionally stable than maple, environmentally friendly bamboo flooring is available in vertical grain or flat grain tongue-and-groove strips measuring almost 4-inches wide in lengths of 36, 48, and 74 inches. It can come pre-finished with a five-coat wear protection of aluminum oxide and two polyurethane anti-scratch topcoats or unfinished. Timbergrass. 800-929-6333. www.timbergrass.com. 'Ole timer: Bunkhouse Plank flooring is reclaimed from outdoor applications so the wood may contain weathered cracks and knot holes. Available in American oak and southern yellow pine, each 3/4-inch, tongue-and-groove plank is available in standard widths of 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11 inches and in lengths from 2 to 14 feet. Yesteryear Floorworks. 717-840-0330. www.agedwoods.com.