The classic beauty of timber flooring is still a sought-after choice in both modern and traditional homes, thanks to its versatility, low-allergen properties and guaranteed “wow” factor, according to Amanda Watson, of Perth Timber Floors.
While light and dark timbers were both popular, there was a growing trend toward species such as spotted gum, which had variations of taupe, brown, cream and grey tones.
There had also been a resurgence in herringbone pattern parquetry, often antique-stained to resemble traditional European mansions.
ES Blackbutt Timber. Picture: bjtf.com.au
The resurgence in the popularity of carpet is continuing, according to Trevor’s Carpets’ Steve Potter, though more people are now opting for synthetic rather than natural fibres such as wool.
“There is a real trend toward nylon, in particular solution-dyed nylon carpets, ” he said. “Solution-dyed means the colour runs all the way through the fibres, which allow for more aggressive cleaning to get stains out and the colour won’t fade.
“You can get the same look and feel with synthetic carpets that offer better cleaning qualities for a fraction of the price.”
Once seen as an “edgy” option, concrete has firmly established itself as an interior flooring product, particularly in the past 12-18 months, according to Kara Armitt, of Holcim Concrete.
“I think part of the reason for this increase is that people are looking for a hard-wearing, stylish flooring option that requires as little maintenance as possible as well as the new variety of aggregates and colours available in polished concrete giving people more aesthetically pleasing options, ” she said.
From printed designs to virtually invisible grout, ceramic and porcelain tiles — or a combination of the two — have taken over from stone as the preferred tiling style, according to John Tavelli, of Ceramo.
“This is becoming even more so with the advent of new technologies that superbly replicate stone and other materials in porcelain; the advantage is that we get the look we want without the maintenance hassles of the natural equivalents, ” he said.
Mr Tavelli said the most talked-about technology advancement was printed tiles, where almost any image could be replicated on to a tile format — including the hugely popular timber-look tiles.
Curved and round tiles were also coming to the fore, while grouting options had also become more sophisticated with the introduction of antibacterial components like Microban, which inhibit the growth of moulds and make grouts generally easier to clean.
Satin Wenge Tiles. Picture: ceramo.com.au
“Synthetic floors are making a comeback, ” said Choices Flooring’s Kylie Gerick.
She said that while their many benefits — including affordability, low maintenance and quietness underfoot — were a major plus, many people had been put off by their daggy reputation.
However, product advances had changed all that. “Manufacturers have invested money and time into making laminate and vinyl better to meet the needs and wants of their customers and they have delivered some excellent products, ” she said.
Randy Alexander, from Vibe Floor Coverings, agreed that technological advancements had literally changed the face of vinyl and laminate flooring, not just giving them an ultra-lifelike look but by making them easier than ever to install and ensuring a long-wearing result. “Vinyl flooring has evolved from the cringe-worthy 1980s styling and now comes in two forms — a better-quality loose-laid vinyl, and vinyl planks or tiles, which are individual planks or tiles directly stuck to the floor surface.
“Somehow they are still one of the best-kept flooring secrets.”
Cork flooring is making its presence felt in the Perth market after establishing itself as a popular sustainable flooring option in Europe, according to Ms Watson. “The new products I have been impressed with recently are the Corkcomfort and Woodcomfort cork- based products by Wicanders, ” she said.
“Because the product has the cork backing it can be installed quickly without adhesives or underlay directly on to smooth concrete or other subfloors.”
STONE AND SLATE
Gary Neylan, of Mataka Pty Ltd, said travertine made up the majority of the stone flooring market around the world.
“Travertine’s matte finish is easy to live with as marks and dust will not show up as much as on timber or a polished tile surface. It is understated and works with all designs and furniture; offers a classic timeless appearance; feels beautiful on bare feet, and is cooler in summer and warmer in winter, ” he said.
Classical Slate & Tile’s Richard Newton said slate and sandstone had become increasingly popular in recent years, thanks to their thermal benefits and the availability of lighter pastel colours.
“The passive thermal gain from a slate floor can really make a big difference to a household’s heating and cooling costs and the durability of a slate floor means a simple reseal can make the floor look as good as when it was first installed, ” he said.
Mr Newton said when slate first became popular it was mainly a blend of dark colours, and in some cases extremely uneven. However, now, better machinery enabled a calibrated option, producing tiles of the same thickness and with a more even surface, while more slate deposits discovered in recent years meant more lighter beige and pastel tones were becoming increasingly popular.
Travertine Stones. Picture: mataka.com.au
Bamboo offers many benefits, according to Mark Hutchison, of Bamboozle.
“When bamboo was first introduced into the market it was soft, very bright yellow and high gloss and the manufacturing quality was very low, ” he said.
It was now one of the hardest timbers available —“70 per cent harder than jarrah”, according to Mr Hutchinson — and came in a range of hues.
Bamboo flooring. Picture: titanfloors.com.au
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