We’ve banged on and on here on this blog about how solid hardwood flooring is a big resale asset for a residence. But, according to this article in Construction Week Online, commercial contractors and designers are also gravitating towards solid wood.
Basically, the choice for flooring in commercial spaces have been largely driven by practicality. And you can understand why this is so in some ways. Floors in commercial spaces see more foot traffic than those installed in a residence. So, tile and natural stone have been the go-to choices for this reason. But, tastes have shifted as such that many commercial locations want a warmer feel, a more ‘homey’ atmosphere. So, wood flooring is beginning to pick up a bit more attention.
The prevailing issues of course are in place. Designers are still having to ask themselves ‘which species should I choose?’, just as homeowners have to do. Some of the solutions that they’re coming up with involves choosing natural stone and tile floors as accent pieces, to bolster the durability angle which I think is a great idea. But, there are a number of floors out there which are virtually comparable to stone for durability, particularly among exotic species like Jatoba and Ipe, among many others.
I should say that the article is a little harsh on laminate flooring as a solution to the question of atmosphere and visual effect. It puts forward that laminate is a ‘temporary solution’, only good for less than five years. This depends entirely on the laminate product in question, of course. There are plenty of choices in laminate floors which are designed for commerical foot traffic, rated AC4 and higher, with extensive warranties that are good for decades, not just years.
I dunno. This angle the article takes may or may not have to do with the fact that the interviewee owns a solid hardwood company who doesn’t sell laminates. You be the judge.
To that point, I know I work for a building materials company that sells a lot of discount hardwood floors and everything. But, I’m really encouraged by this trend on an aesthetic level. I really do think that wood flooring adds a certain warmth to an interior. As beautiful as a lot of tile and natural stone flooring is, wood communicates a unique first impression that says ‘welcome’.