Buying a new home or remodeling in Arizona? Flooring has come a long way.By Sally Cashman, Cashman Partners | Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty
I LOVE to follow the newest trends for our clients. Many of our buyers and sellers ask us for recommendations for their installations and remodels, and we are always excited to share products that are innovative. Following the “flooring timeline”, we can see that the industry standards have changed over the years.
1980’s | We were breaking into the ceramic world with 8″ square tiles and heavy grout, away from linoleum thank goodness. Carpeting, of course continued its roll into 80’s decor. Also prevalent during this time was our own southwestern Saltillo. Many homeowners now are opting to retain this signature Arizona flooring because of its beauty. It works well in Territorial, Santa Fe, and Hacienda style homes and can even segue into contemporary decor in the right doses, but the shape and finish must be right. Some choose to flip it over for the less polished more textured feel.
1990’s | The ceramic tiles got larger, with 12″ becoming the industry standard, and carpeting remained. The ceramic products of the 80’s were replaced with more stone-mimicing products, offering a more natural looking floor, and if you were really avant-garde, you would go 16″ on your tile and lay it diagonally. Berber carpeting at this point was the higher end carpeting of choice, with both cut and looped styles.
2000’s | The cutting edge of travertine arrived. Imported and polished, the concept of “real stone” brought a new level of elegance. Travertine and yes, carpeting…still. During the last half of the decade we saw hardwoods making inroads as well, due to our Arizona community drawing residents from the midwest where hardwoods are widely used. Arizonans are enamored with wood flooring since many of us remember it fondly from our home towns, and it’s funny but when I show mid-westerners homes with wood, they don’t understand our love affair with it.
2010’s | Early in this decade, tumbled travertine made its entrance for both indoor and outdoor uses, since it offered greater durability than its polished more cultured cousins. Mexico began to produce travertine more affordably than Italy or Turkey, so it continues to be the natural stone choice today. But the tumbled product caters to a more “Old World” style, moving in Tuscan, Mediterranean and Southwestern architectural directions. As the contemporary craze is upon us, this flooring choice may not appeal and homeowners are going for a more clean, sleek look. Also during this time we’ve seen a stronghold of engineered hardwoods, which offer greater durability and style than their ancestors. The hand scraped wide plank woods have been a favorite and are available in many varieties, and can go in any style direction.
2010’s Continue with Innovation | And here we are today. I was inspired by my friends at Est Est Interior Design this morning to write this article. It was originally to be simply shared to our Facebook readers but then I realized how far we’ve come on this Yellow Brick Road, and the topic became blog-worthy. Travertine tiles have become larger, 18″ – 24″, with creative borders and inlays adding interest. But now another newcomer on the flooring scene is the ever-so-durable bulletproof porcelain tile. Porcelain has always been a more costly option, but those who have it in their homes swear by its beauty and low maintenance. We have polished travertine and hand scraped wood in our home after redoing our entire flooring scheme just a few short years ago. Today I would be tempted to change all of it out again for Porcelain. There are of course the square porcelains that mimic natural stone which have been around for a while. More recently, porcelains have offered up wood-lovers a more easy-care alternative with absolutely gorgeous rectangular installations that look like hard wood, available in a multitude of varieties and colors ranging from dark walnut to light ash. These look stunning in a more contemporary setting. But what to do for those who favor the more traditional hardwood look with a little bit of a rustic flair? Have the porcelain tiles abandoned those who are not modern decor fanatics? Not today. Thanks to Est Est’s share this morning, this gorgeous imported Italian porcelain tile is nearly 30″ square and is a dead ringer for delicate wood inlay work. Sheer genius! This product is available for superior installation through Est-Est Interiors. I’m keeping my eye on what’s coming next, but really love what we have available to us today.