By BUILDER Magazine Staff. In the same way that skin is the largest organ in the human body, flooring makes up the largest surface in a house. Use an unattractive flooring product and your buyers will notice immediately, which could elicit the kind of "wow" factor no builder needs or wants. Thankfully, manufacturers have been hard at work producing offerings to arouse your buyers' interest.
Linoleum is one of the hottest not-so-new products on the market. A common residential flooring product for decades, it fell out of favor with homeowners who switched to vinyl because it was maintenance-free and inexpensive. But linoleum is back again. Technological advances have made it easier to care for, and it now comes in a wide variety of cool colors, says Lancaster, Pa.-based Armstrong World Industries.
Armstrong, which stopped making linoleum flooring in the '70s, recently re-entered the residential market with its Marmorette sheet and tile products in 16 colors. The company has also shaken up the vinyl flooring category with crocodile textures, sisal-inspired looks, and slate-like patterns. The manufacturer says more homeowners are recognizing flooring as a vital element in home d cor, and these products address that trend.
Cork flooring is gaining in popularity too, as buyers recognize the product's resiliency and sound-absorbent qualities. BHK of America in Central Valley, N.Y., offers a simple-to-install, glueless cork flooring that saves time and money for builders.
More and more Americans are feeling warm and fuzzy for all things retro, which accounts for the rise in popularity of reclaimed wood flooring. Reclaimed flooring usually comes from old-growth trees that were of the highest quality, but the per-square-foot cost approaches the teens, making it prohibitive for most builders and buyers. Louisville, Ky.-based Kentucky Wood Floors has the solution: a new wood flooring that looks as if it had been ripped from a 19th-century factory. Now you can offer an Old World look at a new world price.
This old floor: Old Kentucky Collection is a new wood flooring product that looks as if it has been reclaimed from a 200-year-old structure. It has a time-worn surface and an uneven finish that looks like it comes from natural foot traffic. Available in various sizes, the flooring comes in five species: ash, cherry, white oak, pecan, and walnut. Kentucky Wood Floors. 502-451 6024. www.kentuckywood.com.
Flashback: Marmorette is the manufacturer's first linoleum flooring product since the '70s. A hot product again, linoleum is made from renewable raw materials such as cork, linseed oil, wood flour, resins, mineral pigments, and jute. It is available in 16 vibrant colors in 6 1/2-feet-wide sheets or in oversized tiles measuring almost 19 by 19 inches. Armstrong World Industries. 800-233-3823. www.armstrong.com.
Cork it: Moderna Toledo cork flooring is a resilient product and a great alternative to traditional hard surfaces. Sound absorbent and environmentally friendly, the product features a glueless construction that makes it fast and easy to install. Available in five natural patterns, the 100 percent cork surface layer is finished with a UV acrylic. BHK of America. 845-928-6200. www.bhkuniclic.com.
Vinyl call: This new line of sheet vinyl has been enhanced with the manufacturer's TruTex surfacing feature that gives each sheet a thicker, higher-end appearance at an economical price point. The product line replicates the most popular natural hard surfaces and has enhanced textural surfaces and more realistic grout lines. It is available in 12-foot widths. Tarkett. 610-266-5500. www.tarkettusa.com.