Trends

October 12, 2017

Under Foot: Trends in Single-Family Flooring

The flooring market in new homes has been in flux in recent years, and some notable trends have emerged—carpeting is retreating to bedrooms; resilient flooring is losing its already dwindling share to tile; and hardwood finish flooring is now dominating the main living areas of new homes. The biggest winner among all flooring types in the past decade has been engineered hardwood, capitalizing on the style trend toward wood finishes and the need for quick and trouble-free installation.

Flooring Trends in New Single-Family Homes

Source:  Home Innovation Research Labs, Inc.; Annual Builder Practices Survey

Ceramic Tile and Natural Stone have taken most of Vinyl’s share. At the same time, Hardwood has made inroads at the expense of Ceramic Tile. Hardwood is now the most popular flooring in new home kitchens.
 
In the past 12 years, Hardwood floors—Solid and Engineered combined—have grown from 11% of all flooring in new single-family homes to 31%. Ceramic Tile, on the other hand, has grown from 15% to 21%; displaying a much slower growth rate. Hardwood (all types) has become more popular in virtually every room in the house except the bedroom and bathroom. It now represents 65% of all flooring installed in new home dining rooms, half of all flooring in living rooms, and about 45% of all floor installed in kitchens. Within the Hardwood category, Engineered wood has been the biggest gainer, especially in production and semi-custom homes.
 
Most notable is where market movement is not happening. Laminate and, more recently, Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) have not caught on in new homes like they have in the flooring replacement/remodeling market. Builders have told us that, after figuring in installation cost, Laminate is not much less expensive than Hardwood so, “you may as well buy the real thing.” The jury is still out as to whether LVT will penetrate the new home market like it has remodeling.

So, what does the future hold for new home flooring? In this category, trends very often originate in the Luxury home market before going mainstream and trickling down to Move-up and Starter price-point homes. Based on what’s happening with Luxury home flooring, I predict that growth in hardwood finish flooring has a lot of steam left. Demand for Carpeting and Vinyl Sheet will continue to soften in new homes. Tile and Natural Stone flooring are holding steady and may grow moderately. The real unknown is whether LVT will begin to capture share in new homes like it has in the replacement market. I predict, like Laminate, it will make inroads into the lower end of the market rather than becoming established in its namesake Luxury home segment. Laminate will continue to maintain a small share in the Starter home market, benefitting from the market preference for wood-finish flooring. In Luxury homes, natural materials like Solid Hardwood, Tile, and Stone will continue to do well. Engineered Hardwood will continue to see an increasing share as the production building segment responds to the growing demand for wood-finish flooring.

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