Whether you’re designing a new home or renovating an older one, two of the most important aspects are style and function. When shaping the design and overall tone of a home or room, start with the floor.
Every homeowner wants a visually stunning yet practical material. The options are staggering when you consider types, looks, colors, layouts and patterns, textures and finishes. It all depends on your personal style, lifestyle and budget.
“It’s a bit overwhelming, but it’s my job to educate people,” Bahar McLin said. She has co-owned Alberta First Flooring, a family business in St. Albert since 2008.
Although smaller than big-box stores, the 1,500-square-foot flooring department features samples of solid hardwood, engineered hardwood, cork, laminate, vinyl, and porcelain tile .
Natural looks are undoubtedly one of the biggest trends of 2022.
“We have been used to seeing a lot of gray in recent years. Now we’re moving to more taupe or gray-taupe,” McLin said.
Due to technological improvements that make materials look and feel like real wood, one of the most popular choices in St. Albert is vinyl plank flooring.
“He is versatile. It is waterproof. It can cross the whole house and it is very resistant. Many of our clients lead busy lives and busy homes. Vinyl plank flooring is easy to clean and maintain. You’re not worried about pets or spills,” McLin said.
Vinyl plank flooring should not be confused with sheet vinyl, which was popular a decade ago.
“Vinyl sheets were available in 12-inch widths, but I haven’t sold any in five years. That’s when vinyl planks came along. They have a more even feel and texture. It does not have a shiny and glossy appearance. The technology is more advanced with a matte finish. And there are more colors, more variations — even a wood look.
Wide plank click and lock laminate, with its warm, affordable and stylish appeal, is also very popular.
“Vinyl has a more plastic look, but laminate has a natural feel. It looks more like real wood and has a more real feel.
Another trend that is all the rage among homeowners is engineered hardwood with a brushed finish. It looks and feels similar to reclaimed or barn wood, but is more durable.
“It’s a type of floor surface that experiences scratching. The goal is to get a texture. It pulls the grain so it’s not soft and smooth.
McLin adds that solid wood, with its timeless look, is preferred in many homes.
“It’s still extremely popular. People are comfortable with wood three-quarters of an inch wide by three-quarters of an inch thick. These are the classics, and they never go out of style. We do a lot of remodeling of homes that were built in the 1970s and people like the traditional look.
In addition, solid wood floors are not affected by climatic variations during the four seasons.
“It’s stable ground. You are not worried about humidity. It is so dry in Alberta during the winter that you sometimes see gaping holes in the wood. Solid wood is very adaptable.
Porcelain floor tiles imported from Europe are extremely durable and can be purchased to mimic the look of slate, travertine, marble and hardwood.
“We made a house with a tile floor that looks like hardwood. It is very easy to clean and maintain. If done right, it lasts a lifetime.
European tiles can be purchased between $4 and $13 per square foot. North American wood products range from $7 to $12, and peel and stick tiles can be purchased for $2.
She warns against buying the cheapest flooring. In her experience, she encountered cheap engineered hardwoods with a veneer so thin it scratched and split easily.
“People look at the price and buy it. Yes, price matters. But if you have to spend an extra $1, it’s worth it to avoid the headaches and expense you’ll have later. Do it well and do it once.