What are you walking on?! - Floors that meet all requirements
Most people like it practical, if possible paired with inexpensive. How else could one explain that laminate is now one of the most frequently installed floor coverings throughout Europe? But what about the alternatives? Whether wood, silk, vinyl, ceramic, linoleum or polished concrete: for a perfect ambience, the floor should meet current requirements in more than one respect if possible.9 Aug 2022
If you look at the possibilities, you will discover that they are more diverse than you might initially suspect. Moreover, that's not all: materials that have been used rather rarely up to now create room for further individualization. In the run-up to DOMOTEX 2023 in Hannover, we take a brief look at the floor and carpet trends that could be at your feet in the future.
Rapid growth paired with positive CO2 balance
Wooden floors and new flooring trends - does that even go together?! Yes of course! Even though wooden floorboards are among the oldest known floor coverings ever, the classic still plays an important role. Whether as parquet in herringbone look or in the form of oiled solid wood planks - the natural material can be perfectly combined with almost all types of furnishings. This also applies to the environmentally friendly alternatives that are increasingly expanding the market, for example bamboo. It is not only its rapid growth and the associated positive CO2 balance that make this raw material so sustainable and interesting; it also offers a new, natural look. As always with wood, the feeling underfoot is extremely pleasant and its enormous hardness makes bamboo floors not only hardwearing, but also easy to maintain.
Specialized suppliers such as MOSO International from Zwaag in the Netherlands develop and create bamboo products for indoor and outdoor use that meet the highest technical requirements and quality standards and enhance the beauty of the applications. In particular, living trends such as the Scandinavian-Japanese "Japandi" like to rely on natural raw materials such as bamboo as well as wood in general, thus combining minimalism and homeliness into a style of furnishing that is increasingly in demand in Central Europe.
Don’t smoke your carpet
Pleasant on the feet, sound absorbing, visually diverse and made of natural materials that are particularly sustainable: textile floor coverings, like wood, are among the perennial favorites among the trendsetters in the industry. The materials are generally well known. In addition to hardwearing wool, fine silk, soft felt, inexpensive synthetic fibres and robust sisal, however, there is a material that has increasingly joined almost everything in the last few years: hemp. In this case, the usefulness can hardly be denied. Mankind has been using the many positive properties of hemp for a long time. As one of the oldest useful plants of all, hemp provides particularly robust and resistant fibres that used to be popular for making ropes, sails or sacks. With the advent of industrially produced synthetic fibres and politically motivated anti-cannabis movements, however, the plant was sidelined.
For some time now, however - in the course of a general return to natural fibres - the use of hemp has been increasing again in Europe. Even cultivation has ecological advantages: because the plants completely shade the soil after just a few days and thus do not allow weeds to grow, there is no need for herbicides. In addition, hemp, like bamboo, is a very fast-growing plant.
The products available on the market usually consist of mixtures of different natural fibres. Hemp is usually joined by other yarns made of new wool, jute or cotton, which gives the carpets woven from it individual characters and special properties.
One or the other disadvantage should not be concealed here either. Suppliers specializing in the trade with hemp carpets, such as URBANARA or Grüne Erde, point out in particular that their products can react sensitively to moisture. The dealers therefore recommend using their carpets exclusively indoors, and there preferably in living rooms, bedrooms and children's rooms.
Marble, stone and...
So if not hemp, how about natural stone tiles for the kitchen or bathroom as an alternative to tiles? However, it is not only there that natural stone floors or ceramic tiles are increasingly providing a new texture and a pleasantly reduced look. The sheer endless choice of colours, shapes and structures, from marble to granite to slate, is able to inspire even pragmatic laminate disciples and lead them to a second career as interior designers. The desire for individuality, or even better, exclusivity, is often fulfilled by natural inclusions, not infrequently ornate mosaics and sometimes even firing defects that have been jazzed up to singularity. The rediscovered terrazzo design also enables a high degree of lively uniqueness. Suppliers of exclusive natural stone floors such as Steinlese from Krefeld usually offer comprehensive service and in-depth advice in addition to the actual product.
Incidentally, there are also practical reasons that speak in favor of the almost indestructible natural stone variant: In the course of the nationwide switch to heat pumps, for example, it is good to know that the natural material is particularly compatible with underfloor heating. As you might guess, so many good things often come at a price. Depending on the supplier and exclusivity, the costs for natural stone floors can be quite high.
Hopefully it's exposed concrete
Those who like it cheaper, but still mineral, end up with a real trendsetter: exposed concrete. The screed has long since freed itself from its existence as an unappreciated subfloor for other floor coverings and has been setting design accents ever since. Regardless of whether it is polished or polished, seamless exposed concrete has a timelessly modern effect and lends the desired industrial charm to spacious living areas in particular. In addition, for those who are worried that it might look a little dull in the long run, a final sealant can be applied to create various degrees of gloss or even colour the exposed screed. From bright white to strong colours or patterns, the sky is the limit.
Take good - and walk on it
An important future topic for floor coverings, which has already been mentioned several times in this article, is sustainability. This leads us, at the end of our little overview, to a rather classic-looking solution that not everyone immediately believes to be ecologically conscientious: linoleum. Developed by the English chemist Frederick Walton in 1860, the fibre-reinforced floor covering, which essentially consists of linseed oil, cork flour and jute fabric, meets all the criteria of a sustainable product from today's perspective and is therefore perhaps more modern than ever.
Linoleum also has many positive properties that predestine it as a floor covering. The main advantage of linoleum is certainly its resistance to mechanical and chemical stresses. For example, pressure marks caused by high loads almost completely disappear after some time. Furthermore, linoleum is antistatic, slightly fungicidal and bacteriostatic. This is due to the permanent emission of small amounts of various aldehydes, which originate from the practically never-ending linseed oil oxidation in the air or are residues of the oxidation reaction in the manufacturing process. This effect has led to linoleum being preferred as a floor covering in buildings with increased hygiene requirements and is still being used today.
Thanks to suppliers such as forbo flooring from Paderborn, who are spicing up linoleum with fresh colours and designs, this incredibly practical and appealing floor is once again cutting a fine figure even in our living spaces.
MOSO International B.V.
Contact: Erkan und Erdem Kaya, General Manager
Forbo Flooring GmbH
Contact: Martin Thewes, General Manager
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