In much the same way that bomber jackets, fedoras, and (for some unexplained and delightful reason) flood pants have crawled their way back into fashion from the early to mid-20th century, so to have the wonders of vinyl. Not only snug in album covers once again and tucked back under the tattered leather sleeves of hipsters everywhere, vinyl is also championing the flooring industry: making even the use of vinyl in your home a trend for 2014.
Ultimately replacing linoleum in the 1960’s due to its superior ease of maintenance, vinyl slowly but surely started showing up in every North American kitchen because of its unbeatable resistance to abrasions, water, and fire. Development in manufacturing and design took advantage of the bright and translucent qualities vinyl, opening up a realm of untapped and limitless pattern and color possibilities.
Now offered in a veritable selection of styles, prints, and patterns including a hyper-realistic wood look and feel, vinyl has made a name for itself in the industry at the turn of this century as the leading choice for hard surface flooring in the United States. In other words: vinyl is so hot right now.
So, what does 2014 have in store for the most popular PVC at the party?
Embossed In Register finish
Ever run your eyes and fingers along a piece of vinyl flooring and think to yourself, “that just ain’t right.” Well get over it, because that problem is so 2013. Only very recently offered on the vinyl scene, embossed in register technology is sure to make its mark this year.
That aforementioned off-kilter feeling resonates from an inconsistency between the design pattern printed on the plank, and the texture with which it’s finished—a common trait of composite and synthetic wood. Embossed in register flooring, however, molds embossing plates to exactly mirror the design print imposed on each board.
This creates an unbelievably realistic wood-like quality that finishes each floorboard with a consistent look and feel.
Although this feature has recently been introduced in other types of synthetic wood planks, no other style of flooring offers the superlative waterproof and low maintenance qualities of vinyl. Newly offered with an easy-to-install click lock method, EIR is a huge win for home owners and DIYers who have been yearning to finish their bathrooms with the comforting-yet-regal quality of authentic wood (which, incidentally, is another trend to watch for in 2014). This is a feat nearly implausible in high-moisture spaces until now with the uncanny wood look of wonderfully waterproof vinyl flooring.
The revolutionary ripple made by the introduction of embossed in register technology for vinyl flooring will continue to make waves with wood look prints in 2014, allowing popular wood flooring trends to trickle over to the vinyl realm: most notably with white oak patterns.
Sparking popularity in solid wood flooring in the latter half of 2013, the subtle graining pattern and versatile décor possibilities of the species have made white oak an up-and-comer in the design world. Fewer rings and knots contribute to an overall uniform and subdued look that can easily streamline a modern décor theme, or add warmth and familiarity to a contemporary one.
Not only fun to say (and a sure fire way to up your cultural street cred just by saying it) the recent “faux bois” trend found in wood print placemats, textiles, dishes, and the like will begin making a name for itself in interior design. Riding the coattails of this recent resurgence of wood-look patterns, wall paneling will certainly be making a comeback this year. You might even say it’s…faux sho’.*
Typically found in vertical installations, 2014 will see an inversion of this arrangement into horiztonal layouts that contribute to a rustic or patina look –a décor trend that also promises to be big in the coming year. Vinyl is an ideal product to work with for wall applications because installation is fast and easy with any variety of peel and stick vinyl planks. Ideal for moist areas, the water resistant properties of PVC core vinyl allow you to bring that pastoral look to areas previously unhospitable to real wood products –great for creating cozy cabins and country kitchens.
*Author’s note: I realize that only I, in fact, would say such a thing.
Editor’s note: And if you want to read more about how to install vinyl flooring, read this article by Lee Wallender