What's hot in the Tristate flooring market this season?

"Hardwood is a big player in today's market; hardwood surfaces are gaining ground," says Mike Runyan, sales manager for McSwain Carpets and Floors.

The family-owned company, led by President and CEO Jason McSwain, has been in business for more than 70 years. With nine stores in Greater Cincinnati and two near Dayton, McSwain sells and installs flooring from bamboo to luxury vinyl.

You need only to check out real estate listings to see the value homeowners place on hardwood floors. "It's the preferred flooring," always noted in descriptions of homes on the market, Runyan says.

Customers are pulling up carpet and replacing it with a new generation of hardwood, which features wider planks and a variety of treatments and options. Styles have gone from the 2.25-inch strips to wider pieces of wood. Textures, including "hand-scraped" options, are challenging the familiar glossy smooth look as a way of adding interest and depth to a room.

"French bleed" is used to describe hardwood floors featuring dark, often black, edges "so that the definition of each plank is very, very strong," Runyan says. It's distinctive and attractive. Generally, when the homeowner installs hardwood, they are putting down a 20-year floor.

Easy Care

Luxury vinyl tiles are taking over the laminate market, says Runyan, offering easy-care vinyl type flooring with a lot more options including tiles that look ceramic or wood grain planks that leave people hard pressed to tell it from a hardwood floor. These floors have warranties of 20 to 25 years. "It's a floor that's going to hold up and last."

Ceramic-look tiles can be laid edge-to-edge or grouted. An array of details can be added to create a custom design for the home. The vinyl provides the look of ceramic, but it is softer under foot and not as cold.

However, a distinctive and very popular option as an accent piece or for one room is the combination cut and loop carpets, which provide a three-dimensional look on the floor. Perfect for an office or sitting room, these carpets come in different patters including floral, basket weave and polka dot.

Step by Step

Runyan suggests homeowners start with a visit to the showroom to talk to salespeople and look around. It's best to take a couple of floor samples home and see how they look in the room under the lighting and in combination with the rest of the décor.

It's also important to consider how the room is used as well as foot traffic, pets and children.

McSwain's website also offers these tips:

"¢ Draw a simple outline of the room, including entrances.

"¢ Measure the room, including closets and other areas needing flooring.

"¢ Note the flooring on adjoining rooms.

"¢ If possible, note what is under the existing flooring.

"¢ Decide what to do with existing baseboards and moldings.

"¢ Bring along a photo of the room.

"¢ Bring swatches and samples of fabrics and colors so design experts can help coordinate the perfect match of flooring to complement your home.

Information:

McSwain Carpets and Floors,
(513) 326-4242,