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Flooring trends for 2022

What's hot, what's not
0203 homes-flooring ab CC
Bahar McLin, co-owner of Alberta First Flooring, explained the solid hardwood floors that revive the classic look are very popular in St. Albert. ANNA BOROWIECKI/St. Albert Gazette.

Whether you design a new home or renovate an older home, two of the most important aspects are style and function. When shaping the design and overall tone of any home or room, start with the floor. 

Every homeowner wants material that is visually stunning but practical. The options are staggering when you consider types, looks, colours, layouts, and patterns, textures, and finishes. It all comes down to personal style, lifestyle, and budget. 

“It’s a bit overwhelming, but that’s my job to educate people,” said Bahar McLin. She is co-owner of Alberta First Flooring, a St. Albert-family-run business since 2008. 

Although smaller than the big-box stores, the 1,500-square-foot flooring service displays samples of solid hardwood, engineered hardwood, cork, laminate, vinyl, and porcelain tiles. 

Natural looks are without a doubt one of the biggest trends for 2022.  

“We’ve been used to seeing a lot of grey in the last few years. We’re now moving into more of taupe or grey-taupe,” McLin said. 

Due to improvements in technology that give materials the look and feel of real wood, one of the most popular choices in St. Albert is vinyl plank flooring. 

“It is versatile. It is waterproof. It can go through the whole house and it’s very durable. A lot of our clients lead a very busy life and a very busy house. Vinyl plank flooring is easy to clean and take care of. You’re not worried about pets or spills,” said McLin. 

Vinyl plank flooring is not to be confused with vinyl sheets, popular a decade ago. 

“Vinyl sheets came in 12-inch widths, but I haven’t sold any in five years. That's when vinyl planks came in. They have a more even feel and texture. It doesn’t have a shiny, glossy look. The technology is more advanced with a matte finish. And there’s more colours, more variation — even a wood look. 

Click-and-lock wide-plank laminate, with its warm, affordable, and stylish appeal, is also high on the popularity scale. 

“Vinyl has a more plastic look, but laminate has a natural feel. It looks more like real wood and has a more real feel.”  

Another trend that is all the rage among homeowners is engineered hardwood with a wire-brushed finish. It looks and feels similar to reclaimed or barn wood but is more durable. 

“It’s a type of floor surface that undergoes scraping. The goal is to achieve a texture. It pulls out the grain so it’s not soft and smooth.” 

McLin adds that solid wood, with its timeless look, is preferred in many homes. 

“It’s still extremely popular. People are comfortable with the three-quarter-inch-wide by three-quarter-inch-thick wood. Those are the classics, and they never go out of style. We do a lot of renovation of houses built in the 1970s and people like the traditional look.” 

In addition, solid wood floors are unaffected by variable climates throughout the four seasons. 

“It’s a stable flooring. You’re not worried about humidity. It’s so dry in Alberta during the winter you sometimes see gaping holes in wood. Solid wood is very adaptable.” 

Imported European porcelain floor tiles are extremely durable and can be purchased to mimic the look of slate, travertine, marble, and hardwood. 

“We have done a house with tile flooring that looks like hardwood. It’s very easy to clean and maintain. If it’s done right, it lasts a lifetime.” 

European tiles can be purchased ranging from $4 to $13 per square foot. North American wood products range anywhere from $7 to $12 and peel-and-stick tiles can be purchased at $2. 

She cautions against purchasing the least expensive flooring. In her experience she has come across cheap engineered hardwoods with veneer so thin it scratched and separated easily. 

“People look at the price and buy it. Yes, price matters. But if you have to spend $1 more, it’s worth it to avoid the headaches and expenses you will have later. Do it right and do it once.”