Under Foot


Walk on the surface of the latest flooring trends

This Armstrong Hardwood Birch floor features 5-inch wide plank engineered hardwood in Golden Blonde.

With the crisp winds of autumn sending a chill through the air, so comes a sense of renewal. For those seeking a fresh start with the purchase of a new house or looking to change things up a bit in their present dwelling, plenty of flooring options abound.

For some, what’s on the floor is inconsequential; after all, it’s the colors, textures and materials on the walls and furniture that people notice first. But for others, perhaps those with a more discerning eye for design, the floor is the foundation of what they hope becomes a comfortable and beautiful forever home, not just a house or space to live in.

When exploring fashionable flooring options, the offerings have evolved dramatically in recent years. Hardwood is getter rougher, carpet is getting softer and more resilient, and luxury vinyl tile (LVT), created with the latest technology, has surprisingly become the fastest growing flooring segment today. It’s not your grandmother’s linoleum floor anymore. Here’s a comprehensive guide to a plethora of options.


This Armstrong Hardwood Birch floor features 5-inch wide plank engineered hardwood in Golden Blonde.

Along with ceramic tile, hardwood flooring has taken a bigger piece of the market-share pie when it comes to flooring sold during the past two decades. Homeowners want to bring nature indoors, and with these two hard surfaces, they’ve been able to do just that.

With the rise of great rooms or open concept that brings kitchen and family rooms together into one large space, it’s becoming routine to see wood in kitchens and other applications, where they hadn’t been before. The practice of ripping up carpet and refinishing the wood surfaces underneath is now commonplace.

Several hardwood styles are popular today, including darker offerings, such as ebony, espresso as well as hickory, cherry and walnut, which are often used to offset a home’s light decor. Other popular color options include whitewashed and gray, which has surged in design trends recently, not just hardwood flooring, while whitewashed selections put people in the mindset of beach resorts and other tropical locales.

Another popular hardwood trend is wider planks. Today’s homeowners love this look, and are now using widths as high as five to six inches, whereas before two inches was the norm.

Reclaimed Wood

This Armstrong Hardwood Birch floor features 5-inch wide plank engineered hardwood in Golden Blonde.

Another growing practice is the use of reclaimed wood, which is extremely popular in the farmhouse trend and features wood’s inherent natural character and imperfections. Consumers also like it because it’s eco-friendly, as it’s recycled from old logs, beams and antique floors.

Reclaimed wood choices can be expensive, but manufacturers have answered the call with machine made distressed wood, many of which are produced by scraping chains over the surface to mimic a weathered look.

Luxury Vinyl Tile

Mannington’s Adura Collection in Seaport Anchor offers luxury vinyl plank in a modern salvaged look.

The state-of-the-art technology utilized by resilient flooring producers in recent years has given vinyl floors a whole new look, allowing homeowners to place it in a growing number of applications throughout the home.

The fastest growing flooring category during the last few years, LVT allows homeowners to put the natural look of wood and ceramic on their floors at a fraction of the cost of the real thing, much like laminate floors but at an even lower cost. LVT comes in planks and squares, and features realistic textures never seen before in the resilient-flooring category.


Armstrong’s Woodland Reclaim laminate flooring collection mimics the look of real reclaimed wood.

Bamboo flooring is a niche product that seems to grow in popularity each year due to its green story. An easily renewable resource since it is harvested from a quickly renewable crop, bamboo’s color options have skyrocketed in recent years due to new manufacturing techniques, which have produced both an array of colors and plank widths.

Strand-woven bamboo is currently a popular option in this segment. Manufactured differently than traditional bamboo flooring, strand-woven bamboo features strips of bamboo, which are coated with resins then compressed with heat to form timbers that are then milled into flooring. This process produces bamboo flooring that is twice as hard as the traditional version.

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile continues to get larger and larger, both in popularity and in actual size. Tile in formats as large as 12-by-24 inches, 24-by-24 inches, 36-by-36 inches—and even larger—are becoming a favorite with designers and architects, especially on the commercial side since there’s less grout to clean, and they add an expansive look for consumers’ floors.

Tiles that mimic the look of wood have been the fastest-growing trend in this segment for years, followed by fabric and concrete looks. Porcelain offerings currently rule the ceramic tile landscape with fast-surging trends, including plank formats, the mixing of various textures and products featuring recycled content.

Wide Planks

Mentioned earlier as a hot trend in hardwood flooring, wide planks—generally considered five inches or larger—offer consumers an authentic, rustic feel, as many come distressed or hand-scraped, but wide planks have also made their way into segments such as laminate and LVT.

Wide plank laminate floors are available in almost every color and style, with some even coming in hand-scraped wood looks and random plank patterns. When it comes to LVT, many planks are wider than six inches and mimic the look of real wood.

So, whatever your taste, materials, colors and textures are available to suit every style.

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