2021 Floor covering trends

Robert & Lisa Measer
Published on February 22, 2021

2021 Floor covering trends

If you read through home listing descriptions, several things stand out: stainless steel appliances, granite countertops and hardwood floors.

Listing agents of homes that feature any of these items highlight them prominently, under the often-mistaken notion that these are the end-all be-all dreams of every potential homebuyer.

We’ll save the countertops and kitchen appliances for later. Today we’d like to share with you what we’ve learned about flooring trends – what is in demand and what isn’t, in 2021.

We start with what isn’t.

Hardwood

Since hardwood floors are so often assumed to be the darling of the flooring world, we thought we’d start here. Ready for some myth busting?

Hardwood floors have been steadily losing their appeal over the past decade. In fact, “… wood continued to lose share to LVT [luxury vinyl tile] and its cousins,” in new home construction, according to Jonathan Trivers at floorcoveringweekly.com.

Floor and Décor, one of the country’s most successful flooring outlets, sells more flooring installation material than it does hardwood flooring.

Armstrong flooring at one time “… owned more than 50 percent of the wood flooring business,” according to Trivers. In 2019 it sold its entire wood flooring line for almost pennies on the dollar.

If consumers aren’t buying something, it’s safe to say that it is no longer popular.

Carpet

If you’re thinking of selling your home and will be adding updated flooring, avoid carpet. Since we’re using sales as a measure of a product’s popularity, let’s take a look at Home Depot.

Last year the company saw a 7.5% decrease in sales of carpet. Lowe’s also “struggled” in carpet sales, according to Trivers.

In an attempt to raise sales volume, both stores offered free or “kinda free” carpet installation. Sales didn’t improve.

If you like carpet and don’t plan on selling your home soon, by all means, buy it. Now is a great time, with carpet prices at all-time lows.

Laminate flooring

For some time, laminate flooring was among the most popular. It was the ideal way to get the look of real wood at a substantial savings.

With the explosion in the popularity of luxury vinyl floors, laminate has lost its luster among consumers.

One of the chief complaints about the flooring is that it’s high maintenance. Surprised?

Manufacturers and retailers love to tout that the flooring is low maintenance. However, sweeping it is not recommended because the dirt particles may scratch the flooring. Mopping must be done with care for the same reason. Moisture intrudes and can buckle the planks.

Yes, it undoubtedly requires vastly less maintenance than a hardwood floor, but with the introduction of new types of flooring, which give the same look as laminate yet cost less and offer waterproof options, laminate became less popular.

Tile floors

Once the best choice for “wet areas,” such as the laundry room, kitchen and bathroom, tile can now be found in every room in the home. And, because it can be manufactured from a number of different materials, the colors and styles available are almost unlimited.

Tile flooring’s popularity varies by region. Homeowners in warm climates choose it because it remains cool; cold weather homeowners eschew it for the same reason.

Stone is durable, holding up to the abuse from a busy family with pets. But they’re expensive floors and homeowners complain that they’re not only cold, but very slippery when wet.

In 2021, look for stone floors to take a backseat to ceramic tile floors. New methods of manufacturing ceramic tile allow it to mimic natural stone. In fact, some brands offer high-end looks that are impossible to find with real stone, according to Jessica Chevalier at floordaily.net.

Luxury vinyl flooring

There was a time when folks would laugh at the thought of using the word “luxury” anywhere near “vinyl.” But not anymore.

Known in the industry at LVT, for “luxury vinyl tile,” the flooring’s popularity grows every year. Expect 2021 to be no different.

In its infancy, homeowners avoided the product because of the VOC emission problem. That’s been cured and several manufacturers’ flooring actually carry the Indoor Air Quality Certification.

Luxury vinyl tiles and planks are easy to install, with a glue-down, self-adhesive or snap-together process, making them popular with the DIY crowd.

Finishes include wood- and stone-look, among others. Other reasons for the flooring’s explosion in popularity include:

  • It’s easier and softer on the feet than stone
  • Many styles are waterproof, making it ideal for families with kids and pets
  • Luxury vinyl floors are easy to maintain

When it comes to trends, designers, home builders and bloggers can only guess what will be popular in the year ahead. A more reliable method to choose trends is to track a product’s sales over several seasons.

In the case of flooring, ceramic tile and vinyl will continue to attract the interest of homeowners and homebuyers in 2021.

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