Designing with imported wood flooring and decking goes beyond style and color. Consumers are selecting products that match their lifestyle, along with the desire for authenticity. Flooring and decking choices reflect what is most important to the buyer. Whether one cherishes history, rare beauty or the environment, today’s flooring and decking manufacturers are meeting those desires with quality products and a wide palette of wood species to boot.
Handscraped, wide-plank and distressed floors continue to be favorites because there is no time to clean and polish floors. They hide imperfections and dirt much better, and can handle the activity of children and pets. Consumers also see gouges, nail holes and saw marks as scars of authenticity. These styles replicate historical flooring from early America when homeowners were less rushed and floors were worked by hand with draw knives. Today’s color choices are plentiful with exotic wood species. Hardwood flooring and decking doesn’t have to be a sea of brown. The light tones of amendoim or darker shades of wenge, and anything in-between, authentically express the style and sense of the owner.
Green and other environmental attributes remain important. When consumers buy exotic wood flooring and decking, they want to know they have made a sustainable choice. The growing trend for exotic wood species reflects consumer awareness for green, natural and sustainable. The A&D community recognizes these roles in wood product usage. By specifying tropical species, the A&D community is proving that forests have value as forests, driving conservation and sustainable forest management, a winning message for today’s environmentally conscious consumer.
The growing design trend for indoor-outdoor living challenges architects and designers to find new ways to create a smooth transition for these traditionally separate living spaces, particularly in cold regions. In many parts of the country you will find outdoor kitchens for year-round dining and gardens set up as parts of living rooms inside. More importantly, spaces are not just designed to be pretty, but they are designed around a lifestyle. With an ipé floor, as example on page 24, one could walk barefoot from the bedroom floor to an outside ipé deck and gaze at the stars without putting on slippers. With exotic woods, there are a multitude of species that serve in similar functions. Cumaru, massaranduba and garapa are just a few examples of exotic wood species that can play dual roles.
Technology and Design Innovation
Architects and designers not only specify exotic species for floors and decks, but for other purposes. There is a growing trend in the use of wood planks along walls and on ceilings in both residential and commercial buildings. This trend reflects the desire to bring outside natural surroundings to the inside. Authenticity and durability are always fashionable, and the technological innovations in floor manufacturing allow consumers to have both. Recent advances in finishes and in flooring engineering mean more color, style and overall design choices, better value, longer durability, and a little extra time for a busy lifestyle.