Top Flooring Trends for 2008

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European Styling and New Uses for Flooring lead this year's trends

It used to be that anyone buying a new Mercedes or BMW was looking for a dark interior, but they have seen a growing demand in Europe for lighter colored car interiors which is influencing trends in building materials as well.

When it comes to style and design European trends lead the way, and in the first quarter of 2008 that's definitely the case in new flooring trends. Lighter colors that have dominated the European market are now gaining popularity in North America, with more buyers seeking out flooring that has a faded or distressed appearance.

"If you looked around at this year's Surfaces trade show you saw the influence of European design everywhere," said Rob Banks, executive vice-president, sales for BuildDirect. "Across different flooring categories you saw everything fading to lighter colors, and gray-washing and white-washing of all different types of flooring materials". This trend is reflected in a number of BuildDirect's new product offerings such as their Siam Teak Toklo laminate flooring, and the company expects to launch several more products like this in coming months.

"Something interesting I found out when I spoke with the European flooring manufacturers at Surfaces is that their color choices are often influenced by what's happening in the European luxury car market," said Banks. "It used to be that anyone buying a new Mercedes or BMW was looking for a dark interior, but they have seen a growing demand in Europe for lighter colored car interiors which is influencing trends in building materials as well."

Another interesting new trend is the use of flooring in non-traditional settings. "I remember several years ago, when we first started this business, how surprised I was to get a call from a customer asking questions about putting bamboo flooring on her ceiling", said Banks. "These kinds of uses are really starting to hit the mainstream now." People are putting flooring onto walls and ceilings to achieve a certain look. And it's not just bamboo; the same thing is happening with stone, porcelain and slate flooring tiles as people look for new ways to make their interiors unique.

Of course there is also a continuation of some important trends from last year. The demand for green building products is still strong and is expected to increase. "In terms of growth in sales this year, we have seen some of our biggest increases so far from cork flooring", said Banks. Cork flooring has a number of unique benefits that customers are starting to pick up on. It's softer under foot than wood flooring and does a great job at retaining warmth. It's also a renewable product that is harvested sustainably. All these factors make it a great choice for kid's rooms and popular with an aging population, and BuildDirect expects it to continue to be a strong seller this year.

"I think the other big trends you will see are oil finishes on hardwoods that provide a very unique look, an increase in sales for luxury vinyl tiles that are going to start moving from commercial applications to becoming more popular for residential use, and more use of wood grain porcelain tile that gives some of the advantages of hardwood while being easier to maintain and more durable", said Banks. BuildDirect has launched a number of wood grain porcelain flooring tiles recently, and plans to launch hardwoods with oil finishes and a line of luxury vinyl tiles later this year.

To find out more about the latest flooring trends, visit our flooring page or BuildDirect's new building products blogs written by the company's flooring experts.

About BuildDirect
BuildDirect is the world's leading online manufacturer/wholesaler of building materials. Since its start in 1999, the company has established a reputation for offering quality building supplies at the lowest pricing possible. BuildDirect currently operates in 60 countries on six continents. BuildDirect has developed the single most cost effective distribution channel in the building products industry for products such as flooring, roofing, decking, siding and countertops.

BuildDirect is based in Vancouver, Canada with distribution sites all over the United States, and is a member of the Canadian Green Building Council and the US Green Building Council.

BuildDirect: Costs Less. Same Quality. End of Story.


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David Brodie

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