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New options available in flooring

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Friday, Oct. 25, 2013, at 2:34 p.m.
  • Updated Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013, at 8:15 a.m.

When people decide to replace their flooring and remodel, they will find new options whether they go for carpeting or a hard surface, Ben Henwood of Designer’s Home Gallery in Wichita said.

“We’re changing a lot of carpet back to hard surfaces, whether tile, wood or luxury vinyl tile. There’s a strong push going back to the hard surfaces,” Henwood said. “But there’s a lot of people that are redoing carpet, and they are truly enjoying some of the new fiber systems in carpet where they can raise a family and have a pet but not worry about the stain factor.”

Here are some new and recent improvements in flooring to keep in mind:

• Stain-free carpet fibers. Henwood compares old carpet fibers to a radish, where the color is on the outside but not the inside. But new solution-dyed carpets are like a carrot, he said: The color is inside as well as outside. “You can pour a gallon of Clorox and … the carpet will be the same exact color,” Henwood said. “With active homes, people with pets, you can truly enjoy carpet.”

The solution dyes can be found in all kinds of carpeting, including plushes, textured plushes, friezes and Berbers, he said.

Patterned carpets are becoming more popular, Henwood said. “It’s not necessarily the sculpted style, but a lot of very, very nice pattern pieces.”

• Hand-scraped woods. Many model homes feature the wood floors that are not satin-smooth but have texture as if they were made by hand. “A lot of people like that styling,” Henwood said.

• Luxury vinyl tile. Even though it’s been around for years, many people still don’t know about the improvements in vinyl, Henwood said. “Most people like the looks of tile but the standard complaint is it’s hard, it’s cold and they hate cleaning grout.” The new luxury tiles can solve all those problems, he said.

His company, for example, loves the Alterna tile by Armstrong, which is made of a limestone composite with a high-resolution photo over the top and then a protective coating over that. “The thing that’s cool about it” is actually something warm, Henwood said: The limestone takes the ambient air temperature and warms the floor to room temperature.

In addition, it has a bit of give to it. “If a home settles, it’ll roll with the house. It’s not very high-maintenance.”

And the acrylic grout is like color caulking that is virtually stain-proof, Henwood said.

“The exciting thing with the Armstrong is the depth of realism to the line. Sixteen to 32 tiles have to be installed before you get a duplicate. Their competition is about four.” There are also five sizes to choose from, Henwood said. The Alterna tile will be featured in Designer’s Home Gallery’s booth at the Wichita Fall Home Remodeling & Decorating Expo by RJ Promotions next weekend at Century II, he said. Hours will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 2 and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 3; admission is free.

Reach Annie Calovich at 316-268-6596 or acalovich@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @anniecalovich.

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