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Sun, Feb. 23

Ask the Contractor: Ceiling is high on modern flooring options

We recently moved to Prescott from Ohio, and needless to say we are thrilled to be here. We purchased a 1980s home and are redoing, renewing, refurbishing, revamping and redecorating and even repairing. Flooring has us stymied, a little bewildered and stumped at what type of product to install.

Please give us some insight. Paul and Ruth, Prescott.

With flooring there is the use of hard surface versus soft, and where one installs these surfaces for max potential and wear and tear.

Q: Where does carpet stand today? In talking with several of our local builders, they are installing hard- surface products for the main living areas, however carpet still tends to be selected in bedrooms, with the low-pile textured loops as the popular choice. There are some homeowners that elect to install hard-surface products in bedrooms. Carpet remains a little less than one-third of the flooring space in a single-family home, and as we would probably all agree, carpeting adds a layer of warmth and softness to a room.

Q: When it comes to hard-surface flooring, what flooring is most popular and why? My vote for hard- surface flooring would be what is the most durable and easiest to maintain. There are many choices of hard-surface flooring, designs and colors, and manufacturers are really bringing fantastic products to the market. Tile is very dominant in baths, and the tile market is really innovative with new products and price points. Ceramic tile is getting bigger — literally. Large-format tile, tile that is larger than the standard 12-by-12 inches, is really growing in popularity.

Here are our local trends with flooring: carpet is slightly down. Hard-surface is expanding into living areas and bedrooms. Laminate is slightly up, due to durability and ease of maintenance.

Our builders and our local flooring stores are constantly adding new products, materials and colors to offer to homeowners. Textures and patterns are changing constantly. If you are thinking of carpet for your home, consider carpet for high- or low-traffic areas. Kids and pets need to be considered when selecting carpet. And what is your budget? Purchase the best carpeting you can afford. Cutting corners will only lead to replacing it before you expected.

Carpet vs hard surfaces provides a sound barrier, so keep that in mind when selecting flooring, and entryways and other areas of the home that see very heavy traffic are not the best place for carpeting. In those areas, hard-surface flooring would be a beautiful choice, and then don’t forget the accent rugs. Carpet remains the market-share leader, accounting for more than 60 percent of retail flooring sales.

“The variety of carpets these days is nothing short of amazing,” said Mark Meux, owner of Prescott Flooring Brokers. “Pattern, design, colors, interesting cuts, the whole feel of the material. There’re more wow-factor choices than ever.”

With carpet there are natural fibers, synthetic fibers, nylon, polyester, polypropylene, silk-wool blends and wool. So do your homework and decide which material is best for your lifestyle and pocketbook.

Flooring manufacturers are getting the message. As a result, they’re keen on providing more bang for the buck and producing products that are sensible, low-maintenance and easy on the budget.

In the flooring world, carpeting is getting softer. Wood is getting more roughed-up. And vinyl is getting more luxurious.

Yes, you read that right. “Luxury vinyl” isn’t a contradiction in terms — it’s the phrase du jour among those who pay close attention to the materials home buyers are eager to walk on.

“It’s the fastest-growing portion of the industry in the past two years,” according to Scott Humphrey, chief executive of the World Floor Covering Association, a trade group based in Anaheim, Calif., which says this flooring category has developed thanks to extraordinary photo technology that mimics wood (or just about any other material) so closely that you have to look twice to see that it’s vinyl.

It’s getting more environmentally friendly, and a few manufacturers are creating fiber combinations that take softness to a whole new level, Humphrey says. “Everybody is making carpet that’s green. They have factories that do this all across the United States. Shaw (Floors) is the only one that recycles nylon into carpeting, but a lot of companies melt down polyester and make new fiber over and over.”

There is a lot going on in the flooring industry right now. There are plenty of different, unique options;

Tile, stone, wood, laminate, vinyl, carpet, concrete, cork, bamboo, wood-like tile and water-resistant laminate, and then don’t forget the colors, materials, finishes and designs. Flooring plays a major role in the look; feel and functionality of your home, so remember to explore all flooring surfaces to find the best option for your lifestyle and budget. Flooring possibilities are endless. Comfort, durability, style and cost are key considerations when choosing floors for your home. Learn how to pick a surface that fits your budget and meets your family’s needs.

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