Wood: Prevailing trends drive flooring purchases
By Reginald Tucker WWhen it comes to summarizing what’s hot versus what’s not in hardwood floors today, there are several factors beyond just color, stain, or style. Whether it’s best-selling images/species, new technical formats, or even improvements to product performance, there are trends and developments that RSAs need to consider when helping consumers make informed decisions. Here’s a look at some of the key trends that still hold interest today.
Oak, hickory reign supreme…
Ask any designer which hardwood flooring fuels most of the demand in the US, and the answer will invariably be white oak. “Designers and consumers can’t seem to get enough of white oak,” said Sara Babinski, senior design manager at AHF Products. “It’s a beautiful house type that fits nicely into the minimalism trend and has a bit of a European flair. The grain is tightly knit, and the undertones Observers say white continues to be popular because it conveys just the right combination of subtlety and elegance, making it a top choice for many consumers today. The prominent wood grain and tree rings can bring movement and delicacy to any room and the natural, earthy color spectrum ranges from light creamy beige to gray brown. “This strain creates a relaxed look with a touch of sophistication for both modern and classic decors,” said Brad Williams, vice president of sales and marketing at Boa-Franc, the parent company of the Mirage brand.
Other major suppliers agree. “European oak is doing very well, especially since what’s trending is lighter, more washed, natural whites,” said Seth Arnold, vice president of residential marketing, timber, Mohawk. “European oak is doing very well in that regard. It’s just a great off color.”
But while popular, oak isn’t the end of everything. There are also all kinds of homegrown varieties that are in high demand today, including North American hickory and maple. “We believe these varieties are popular for flooring not only for their appearance, but also because they are high-quality American varieties that are native to the Appalachian region,” said Paul Stringer, vice president of sales and marketing for Somerset Hardwood. , which sources and produces only in the US
…but exotics are still hot
In addition to the continued popularity of domestic hardwood floors, several subcategories within the industry are also generating interest. This is especially true when it comes to tropical exotic species that come mainly from South America. The common misconception about exotics — at least those that were first introduced to the U.S. market about 15-20 years ago — is that the color palette over time fell out of favor with American consumers enamored with oak and maple. Nothing could be further from the truth, argue proponents. can range from a warm, buttery color to a light green.”
“Our customer base still has a significant number of consumers who want hardwood floors from Brazil,” said Rick Holden, CEO of Willow Grove, Pa.-based Derr Flooring, which stocks the Indusparquet brand. “They are looking for that unique color palette combined with the hardness of those exotic varieties. Indusparquet has developed their color palette to include more trendy images. The collections encompass much more than the traditional shades of red; beige, gray and mocha shades are now part of most collections.”
Wider/longer looks will remain
Of all the different looks available in hardwoods today – mixed width, herringbone, chevron, etc. – the longer/wider trend seems to be enjoying the longest run. And based on the stream of products manufacturers are introducing today, it’s a trend that’s likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
A prime example of this is Provenza Floors, whose best-selling Tresor and Vitali European oak offerings continue to turn heads with homeowners, architects and designers alike. “Ultra-wide and long plank collections provide a product that can fill an interior space with the natural beauty of hardwoods without the visual interruptions associated with narrower planks,” said Ron Sadri, director. “These ultra-wide plank floors can make any interior look bigger and grander, take less time to install, save on labor costs and are suitable for both traditional and modern environments.”
Another notable wide-plank product that is picking up steam is Harris Wood’s Americana Series Cumberland White Oak. Now available in a hefty 9 ½ inch size in new colors, the new addition speaks directly to the popular size. “This has been part of the line since we launched it in 2019, and it has become one of our bestsellers,” Renee Tester, vice president of marketing, e-commerce and digital, QEP, parent company of the Harris Wood brand.
Whether it’s a combination of real wood veneer over a rigid/SPC core, or real hardwood from top to bottom that has been enhanced with waterproofing properties, modern parquet floors are designed to be installed in areas previously off-limits to wood.
Some popular examples of wood/SPC hybrids are: GeoWood (Cali) and HDPC (Wellmade). GeoWood aims to offer consumers the best of both worlds: the durability and visual appeal of real hardwood combined with the waterproof properties of SPC. Wellmade’s HDPC Waterproof hardwood has a real wood veneer bonded to Wellmade’s high-quality HDPC/SPC rigid core, making it suitable for areas prone to moisture ingress.
Repel from Shaw Floors, known to be more splash proof than waterproof, consists of 100% real hardwood planks designed for the traditional hardwood consumer who needs extra household protection. “As homeowners want to enhance their spaces and add value to their homes, hardwood is the natural choice and coveted look,” said Nina LoCicero, vice president of marketing and digital commerce, Shaw Residential. “These changing consumer preferences, coupled with current delivery challenges, make water-resistant hardwoods an ideal solution for retailers looking to get their customers the floors they want faster.”