In our industry, we’ve definitely seen some trends taking shape both in type of floor, color, finish, pattern and cut. A lot of the trends we are seeing in the wood flooring industry for 2020 are still growing in popularity from 2019 and some are just emerging. Here are the latest trends we are seeing in our world to take note of for the new year.
Type: Solid, Engineered and Waterproof
Real Hardwood flooring (both Solid and Engineered) continues to be a top choice for flooring among homeowners. Ironically, this is followed by all sorts of products trying to mimic the look of hardwood flooring, such as porcelain tile that looks like wood, engineered vinyl planks, or a whole slew of other knock-offs. The reasons hardwood is still a popular choice are simple: It’s beautiful, comfortable, warm, timeless, natural and can last for over a century, essentially making it an heirloom floor.
Hardwood makes a house a home, and you can refinish hardwood over the years to change the color and style as fashion trends and preferences change. For all of these reasons, most homeowners prefer the real deal…and love that it also improves the value of their home at the same time. According to the National Wood Flooring Association, 99% of US real estate agents say that homes with hardwood area easier to sell, 90% of agents say that homes with hardwood sell for more money (up to 10% more than homes that are identical without hardwood floors), and 82% of agents say homes sell faster with hardwood. Additionally, 80% of homeowners believe that wood floors add the most value to their home.
We get asked a lot about the difference of engineered vs. solid wood floors and really, there are no downsides to getting a quality engineered floor. In fact, if you go with an engineered product, you can rest assured that you’re going to get a very stable product as many of them are made with marine grade Baltic birch plywood as the core which makes it resistant to warping and twisting. This core, enables the product to be put in places where solid hardwood can not go, such as basements. It also allows for larger width boards and longer boards, which are increasingly popular in the design world as they will not warp and twist like solid can at those widths and lengths. We recommend if you want a floor with widths over 7”, to highly consider an engineered floor.
The hottest buzz-word in wood flooring right now is water-proof. Many companies have started designing and producing their own versions of waterproof hardwood flooring to compete with the Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) segment that has created such intrigue in the flooring world. The category is garnering attention because it offers the benefits of vinyl — namely resistance to water and scratching — while delivering the visuals consumers equate with and expect from hardwood flooring. Suppliers of waterproof hardwood flooring reported its performance offers increased durability, extended warranties, low maintenance and authentic and attractive visuals. The other benefit is that you can put it in places where moisture might be an issue, such as basements, bathrooms, kitchens and mudrooms. This category is still new to us as we are just starting to dabble in it, so we’ll definitely keep an eye on this emerging trend.
Color: Light and Natural Colored Wood Flooring
That’s right, light-woods are still all the rage in the interior design world! More homeowners are embracing a lighter, airier feeling to their homes and they want their flooring to reflect this as well. The trend is to use tones that are cooler with hints of blues and greys, vs. the more traditional warm with red and yellow undertones which we’ve seen fading in popularity. Medium browns are still popular, but are pulling more towards the more pure and cooler tones (i.e. no red undertones). Plus, there are many benefits to light-wood floors, such as:
- Lighter-woods are easy to decorate around, you can make your room more contemporary or rustic chic with the same floor color. Light-colored wood such as our Manning Collection shown in Bare above, can give your home a light and bright feeling while still feeling timeless.
- Light-colored wood flooring is its ability to hide dirt, dust and scratches better than darker woods which could also be a reason for its resurgence.
- Lighter flooring makes your rooms look larger, especially if you go with a wider plank floor. Conversely, darker woods make your room look smaller (think little black dress).
Finish: Satin, Matte, Oil & White Washed Finishes
High-Gloss Floors that were popular years ago are definitely fading in popularity. These days, more homeowners prefer wood to look like wood. They want a more matte or raw finish, which is achieved with an oil-finished, or satin or matte finish. Oil-finishes enhance the natural color of wood, but can also be combined to create almost any custom color desired. Some things to consider when choosing oil-finish vs. urethane finish:
- Urethane finishes form a layer of protection on top of a floor’s wood surface, which can make scratches appear earlier in the finish on the top of the wood.
- Urethane finishes are extremely durable and are easy to clean with a dry mop and hardwood floor cleaner or a solution of white vinegar and warm water.
- The durability of a urethane finish can make it hard to do spot repairs. Eventually, as the urethane wear layer breaks down, the entire floor will have to be refinished.
- A natural oil finish penetrates the entire piece of wood bonding with the wood on a molecular level, penetrating deep into the hardwood floor in one coat resulting in strengthened wear resistance
- Oil finished floors need more specialized maintenance with specific cleansers and refreshers to keep the look and protection an oil finish provides. Your wood flooring expert should be able to direct you to the correct cleaner for your type of finished floor.
- Because an oil finish affects the actual wood, spot repairs on scratches and gouges are easier to do. If maintained properly, an oil finished floor will never need to be stripped and refinished like a urethane finish.
We’ve also seen a growing trend of white-washing or cerused finishes on wood flooring as well. It creates a lot of depth and movement to the floor, and can be a tedious process. If you’re going to go this route, you should let a flooring professional handle this application as it can be very tricky to do correctly.
The request for wire-brushed flooring is still growing from our clientele. Wire-brushing lifts the soft-grain out of the wood and leaves the hard grain or heart of the wood exposed. These imperfections are smoother and more consistent than hand-scraped or distressed wood. This technique can be done on a pre-finished floor or on-site. Wire-brushing has some great benefits, such as hiding imperfections and scratches (especially from little doggy paws) and helping give the floor more character.
Lay-out: Herringbone, Diagonal, Wide Planks and Mixed Widths
The trend to incorporate a more intricate design pattern into the flooring lay-out itself is one that has continued to grow over the past few years. Homeowners want that custom look and a great way to do that is with a more visually interesting lay-out. Here are some popular lay-outs that we have seen growing in popularity.
- Herringbone – The Herringbone look is an easy way to take your floor design to another level. Herringbone is achieved by connecting two boards at a 90-degree angle to form a point. We love this Herringbone floor accent in the foyer that we installed or one of our clients (shown above). The pattern really adds a subtle but beautiful design to their home.
- Diagonal- This layout is still a popular choice as it creates a wider looking space in most rooms and is a little more visually interesting than a simple straight lay-out. Here is one we did for one of our clients that incorporates the diagonal lay-out and the lighter color choice.
- Wide and Mixed Plank Widths – The trend for wider plank flooring is one that keeps growing and probably will be around for quite some time. Wider boards help your space feel larger and more open. Keep in mind, when going to a really wide plank-it might be wise to consider engineered wood flooring, which is much more stable due to its internal structure than wide solid wood floor planks that can warp and twist over time. We’ve also seen the up-ward trend for mixed width plank floors, which gives a space a more rustic, natural feel.
Cut of Wood: Livesawn and Riftsawn
The way the wood is cut from a tree can give a vastly different appearance in how the floors will look. There are 4 cuts of wood: Plainsawn, Riftsawn, Quartersawn and Livesawn. Below is a great visual that helps to show the 4 different cut types and how that affects the appearance of wood floors. The most popular cut of wood that we are seeing specified is Livesawn, as it has characteristics of the other 3 cut-types that give the wood such a natural look with as much character as possible. In contemporary design, we are seeing a rise in Riftsawn which lends itself well to the clean lines of contemporary design.
At Mansion Hill, we pride ourselves on being a resource to both homeowners and the design-build community. This is why we stay up-to-date on all of the design trends that affect our industry and make sure we have the best variety of styles, colors and patterns to choose from. Creating custom, one-of-a-kind floors is our specialty and our passion. Contact us today to schedule an appointment to visit our showroom or tour our mobile showroom (Nashville area only) and let us help you design the floor of your dreams.