Though it’s not the gaudy, sticky variety you might recall from your childhood, vinyl is no longer the dud it once was when it comes to interior flooring. That said, it’s important to still be discerning.
“Luxury vinyl plank is making a major comeback in vacation homes and commercial properties,” Connell says. “The look of wood has come a long way.”
While vinyl doesn’t have the best reputation from a sustainability perspective, many of today’s iterations are improving. Stone plastic composite (SPC) vinyl, for example, uses a combination of stone powder and polymers for its core—though some contain more plastic than others. In order to adhere to strict EU sustainability laws, Eylor says his company’s R&D department developed a product that is 90% stone powder and 10% polymers, making it one of the stronger and more stable in the industry, with lower VOC levels.
“SPC is definitely the fastest growing material in the market right now due to its easy installation and it being low-maintenance,” Eylor says. “The current style is French oak grain and clean looks that are moving away from the rustic feel. Coloring is moving away from gray and into light natural oak.”
Despite the many alternatives, sometimes you can’t beat the charm of real wood flooring, our designers say. “My go-to at the moment is herringbone-pattern wood floors—I love a nod to the past, and they give you just that,” London says.
Connell points out that wood can also work in areas where you might usually use tile. “Since we have many lake house projects, our clients are looking for very durable products that can take the wear and tear of water from dripping towels and bare feet, spills from numerous house guests, and muddy paws running in from the lake,” she says. “We are suggesting prefinished engineered hardwoods that have a top wood veneer followed by a sealant that is water-resistant. You’d never know that water won’t harm it, and it’s much warmer on the feet than tile.”