1 NATURAL MATERIALS/NATURAL LOOKS The trend is leaning toward authentic simulations of natural materials,
from vinyl woodgrains that have knots and the character of a natural wood or
knots to concrete designs that look poured. “Color realistic—definitely possible
with today’s printing and graphics processes—is the expectation of the design
community,” says Leigh Przyborski of Centiva.
2 BIGGER DESIGNS, BIGGER TILES “We’re seeing less demand for 12-by-12-inch tiles and more for 24-by-
24-inch and even 36-by-36-inch tiles. The same goes for planks—seven inches
wide rather than three,” says Thomas Powell, president of TAJ Flooring Inc.
3 TECHNOLOGICAL IMPROVEMENTS Improvements in technology are offering new possibilities. Not only
can today’s printing and graphics processes produce color-realistic designs,
but many types of flooring can now be manufactured with antibacterial,
stain-resistant, colorfast, and other performance attributes. In addition,
a new range of installation options are becoming available, to make
flooring movable, reusable, faster to install, and more sustainable.
4 DURABILITY Flooring durability is an increasingly important part of the decision
matrix for retail buyers. “Costs are being related to the life expectancy of
a product, which is a very smart and welcomed assessment. We see a lot
of polished or stained concrete in retail right now—it’s the big trend—but
concrete actually costs more than most floor coverings when you factor
in maintenance,” says Sam Barry, Shaw Inc.
5 SUSTAINABILITY Flooring, which often contributes to LEED credit categories based on
what it’s made of, how it’s installed (adhesives or floating systems), and
how any previous flooring is discarded, is one area where many retailers
are demanding sustainable products. Often, the goal is to remove flooring
from the landfill—either by leaving the original floor in place, or by recycling
it (Cradle-to-Cradle), in many cases through the flooring’s original provider.
“The flooring industry has been a leader in sustainability with manufacturers
shifting their focus from what to do with products after their useful life to
all-encompassing platforms like Cradle-to-Cradle manufacturing,” says
Patty Jafolis of Patcraft.
ALLPETS EMPORIUM | PEMBROKE PINES, FLA.
NATURAL APPEARANCE: Vinyl planks with dramatic graining
and rustic appearance, combined with tiles that replicate stained
concrete, tropical water, and seaspray, contribute to a sensory
experience in this pet-friendly superstore.
DESIGN: PDT International, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
FLOORING: Centiva, a Tarkett Company, Florence, Ala.