Peter Kelsey, managing director of one of the UK’s largest flooring contractors Designer Contracts, looks at current flooring trends and why both housebuilders and buyers have never had so much choice
As one of the UK’s most sensitive economic indicators, the housing market – particularly the new build sector – has experienced a turbulent few years. But now with the recent introduction of stringent financial safeguarding of the mortgage application process, the recovery of the market could once again be threatened.
The government’s Help to Buy Scheme contributed towards kick starting the market and succeeded, almost overnight, in reviving the depressed sector. Developers swung back into action and the buyer-seller seesaw once again tipped towards the seller.
As business picked up so did demand down the supply chain. Great news for many, but the sudden switch from slow to go brought its own problems. Companies that had cut back during the lean times and didn’t have the financial clout to invest in stock levels simply floundered and went to the wall.
For reassurance and stability, housebuilders should be looking to work with reliable suppliers with experience who can guarantee:
- In depth financial stability
- In depth stock availability
- Breadth of service
- National buying power and local service levels
- Big name brands
As the housing market begins to pick up, so do house buyers’ spending habits, which is why it is crucial for the housebuilder to be prepared with a range of floorcoverings to meet the demands of the more discerning purchaser.
Keeping ahead of the times is crucial to any business. Homeowners are increasingly looking for quality products, leading to a rise in the demand for real wood flooring. Rustic, oak finished planks are the most popular choice, creating a vintage look, which complements both contemporary and classic furniture styles.
Amtico’s popularity continues to grow. It allows homeowners to create an individual feature within their property and works particularly well in the hallway, generating a statement. On a practical level it is a warm alternative to carpet and can be easily cleaned – especially useful in high traffic areas of the home.
Carpet is still the most popular choice of flooring in the home, with beige, neutral and ‘greige’ palettes being the tone of choice. Neutral colours work well in both modern and traditional homes, can make rooms appear larger and work well with most furniture.
Environmental credentials are also an important factor to be embraced. With the stringent regulations surrounding sustainability and recycling, carpet recycling schemes are available that can save tonnes of unfitted carpet from landfill.
The demand for a more refined finish on flooring has become increasingly sought after. With a rise in the open plan, multi-zone living concept, a streamlined carpet appearance is essential to the overall look and feel of a room. Four and five meter width carpets are available to ensure carpet can be fitted throughout a property with minimal seams.
Excellent underlay is crucial to the overall appearance of flooring. Many people try to scrimp on this, when realistically a good quality underlay will enhance a carpet as well as reducing sound and providing excellent insulation – essential for multistorey buildings.
There are not many sectors more changeable or vulnerable than that associated with the housing market, so it’s important to constantly review the state of the market and respond and adapt to changes to remain relevant and up-to-date at all times.