While the choices in applications have remained constant in the world of flooring, there have been some significant advances regarding allergens, pet odor, stain resistance, installation and refinishing, as well as green processes.


  • Stains beware. Now, it’s possible to get a very long-wearing pile that is extremely stain-resistant, and it comes in a loop or a twist. Carpeting has a greater resistance to things like red wine.
  • Could Mother Nature tell? More porcelain tiles now have the look of natural stone, but they’re far less porous than stone and far more scratch- and chip-resistant.
  • Heat with ease. Heated floors used to be water-filled pipes as part of a regular heating boiler system. Now, it’s a heated wire mesh that’s placed between the floor and tile.
  • Not afraid of water. A hot, new application that I recommend is a plank vinyl floor system called FreeFit that resembles stone tile or hardwood flooring but without the liabilities of moisture damage.


  • A rustic flair. Wider planks that are handscraped, which is a prefinished product that provides a rougher finish that can be applied to any type of wood, are very much in demand.
  • Don’t be afraid of the dark. Darker, rich finishes on hardwood floors are becoming popular again, with some preferred colors including ebony, mocha and rosewood.
  • Ease of maintenance. A benefit of some of the new vinyls available is that if they get wet, they can be removed, dried out and re-installed, which can be fantastic for a lower level.


  • The mighty oak. With new wood floors, 80 percent are oak—most everyone loves it.
  • White-glove approved. When refinishing a wood floor, dust containment has improved. The dust used to be billowed out through something that was like a smoke stack. Now it’s contained, bagged and vacuumed—it’s a lot better situation for homeowners.
  • The wider, the better. The widths of the planks in wood floors are getting wider. The most popular right now is 3 1/4 inches—the standard used to be 2 1/4 inches. Some are even going to 4- and 5-inch planks for a cleaner look.
  • Environment-friendly. The industry also is changing over from oil or polyurethane to waterbased coatings. And it’s just as hard and durable as what was available in the past.