Technology is simplifying our lives and changing traditional products to make them sturdier and more environmentally-friendly, and the flooring industry is no exception. Here are some examples of recent advancements:
Laminate that stands up to water damage
Even though laminate is a popular flooring product for high-traffic areas of the home, early versions of the material were susceptible to moisture and water issues, which left many homeowners disappointed. Areas where laminate is most often installed (kitchens, bathrooms, entryways) are prone to water splashing, tracking and seeping. When older laminate was exposed to this type of water, it could bubble, buckle and warp, which left homeowners with swollen, warped and irreparably damaged flooring that had to be replaced.
But the popularity and benefits of laminate floors won out. “Laminate manufacturers have done a tremendous amount of research and development to come up with new products,” explains Tony Balian, vice president of marketing at Carpeteria. “New laminates have the positive attributes and looks of traditional laminate with the added benefits of being completely waterproof and watertight.”
Those properties protect the floor from water that’s spilled from above or wicks up from below. “One of the most popular products looks like hardwood but is 100 percent laminate,” says Mr. Balian. “This floor could have two inches of water sitting on it for a week and a contractor would be able to take it apart, dry it, repair the leak, and reinstall the floor without it getting damaged. It’s pretty amazing.”
If you’re worried about the expense involved with choosing such a sturdy product, Mr. Balian says you might be pleasantly surprised. “It’s actually not much more expensive than traditional laminate flooring, and the peace of mind you’ll get from a well-researched, carefully developed product is invaluable.”
Better materials make better carpeting
Forward-thinking companies like Mohawk take plastic water bottles, melt them down and convert them into carpet fibers. “Different fibers have different recycled content,” explains Mr. Balian. “In some cases, 100 percent of the material is made from recycled content, while in other cases it’s 30 to 40 percent.” This environmentally-friendly carpeting looks and wears just like traditional carpeting, but it’s often more resilient and longer-lasting.