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By Staff | Mar 17, 2019

Matt Armon stands in front of a flooring display in his store located in Blue Earth on Main Street. Armon says hard surface flooring has become more popular in recent years although his business still sells and installs a lot of carpet. The most popular solid woods to use on floors are oak and hickory. There are many different wood look floorings available and Armon now has almost a fourth of his large store devoted to those options.

It was not so long ago that any home remodeling project would include carpeting.

That might include installing carpet over old wood floors.

Now days, the trend is the opposite. The carpet is coming out and hard surface floors are being installed.

“Yes, when I started here 12 years ago, we sold and installed a lot of carpet,” says Matt Armon, manager at Armon Decorating in Blue Earth. “Now we still do a lot of carpet but we are doing a lot more hard surface flooring, of several different types.”

That is reflected in the amount of space in the store which is now devoted to samples of all the different types of wood or wood look flooring available. Nearly a fourth of the large store is filled with those flooring options.

The top of the line is the solid wood, which is a solid piece of wood and is real all the way through.

“The most popular solid woods are oak and hickory,” Armon says. “But we have exotic styles, like African Ebony, too.”

The one advantage to solid wood is that it can be refinished many times as the years go by. The drawback is the higher cost both for the product and the installation of it.

Engineered wood is similar, but it is layered with the top layer being the actual wood. An advantage to this, besides a lower cost, is that it won’t contract and expand as much as real wood, so there is less chance of any gaps.

The drawback is that it cannot be refinished as many times as real wood can be.

Laminate is very popular, Armon says, because of the price and the look.

“It is a wood composite which has particles of real wood in it, pressed tightly together,” he says. “It is very dense and less likely to gouge.”

Advantages are the price and that it is quick and easy to install.

Another product becoming very popular is luxury vinyl plank flooring.

Somewhat similar to the linoleum everyone is familiar with, this product is thicker, more dense, and comes in planks.

“We sell so much of this because it can be used anywhere in the home,” Armon explains. “It is easy to clean and it is 100 percent waterproof, so it is great for basements, bathrooms, kitchens, or anywhere else.”

And people have been impressed with its realistic wood look and may not even realize it is luxury vinyl plank flooring, Armon adds.

“It is comparable in looks to laminate and comes in a wide range of wood-look styles,” he says. “And it comes as either a glue down type or a floating style that locks together.”

The floating kind is an easy do-it-yourself project for many people, Armon says.

“This is definitely the fastest growing product in flooring right now,” he says. “There is such a wide range of qualities, styles and prices on it. Something for everyone.”

There is another new flooring idea available at Armon’s however.

It is wood-look ceramic tile. While Armon says they have not sold a lot of it yet, but it is definitely an option for some people.

“It is the most durable product out there,” he says. “For some people, who plan to have the flooring for years, this is an option. It is more labor intensive to install, because it is ceramic tile, but it will last forever.”

Armon adds that it is an option for shower floors and walls, for those who would want a wood look in their bathroom.

Another new trend is using wood flooring, whether real wood, engineered wood, laminate or luxury vinyl planks, on walls.

“We have been doing a few of those projects lately,” Armon says. “The luxury vinyl planks can be installed either horizontally or vertically. It usually is done as an accent wall and looks good.”

Most wood flooring, of course, ends up on the floor, not the walls.

The new style is to have the same hard surface flooring throughout the whole main floor, or even the entire house.

“We are definitely doing a lot of hard surface flooring installs,” Armon says. “I think these new products are starting to look more realistic plus they are durable and hold up better. It is certainly a very nice look for a flooring option.”