Looking for a distinctly American look for your home? A new Armstrong flooring line showing at the International Builders' Show, American Scrape, is a richly textured floor that comes in domestic hickory and oak. Inspired by "the American landscape," as the company claims, the wide-plank solid- and engineered-wood floors attempt to invoke our nation's heritage. A portion of sales also benefits veterans.
American Scrape sells in five-inch planks with a choice of stains named for different regions of the country, such as Red Rock Canyon. The solid plank is stapled and costs about $4 to $5 per square foot, uninstalled. The engineered costs $3 to $4 uninstalled and can be glued or floated as well as stapled. Both solid and engineered floors should be available nationally by the spring.
The manufacturer is also devoting some of the profits from its American Scrape sales to Homes for Our Troops, a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that builds specially adapted homes for severely injured veterans. Armstrong is the charity's flooring supplier and will donate floors, using a portion of the sales, for about 30 homes to be built across the country in 2013.
Among other Armstrong flooring products on display are recently announced laminate floors, available now. Laminate floors are generally made of dense fiberboard with a photo beneath a clear plastic protective layer. Armstrong's Coastal Living Patina line, characterized by marine themes, comes in three varieties: the scraped, driftwood-inspired Weathered, in 7.6-inch widths; the steel-colored Sea Wall, in random widths of 3, 5, and 7 inches; and the copper-hued Ore, in the same random widths as Sea Wall. All cost about $2.50 to $3.50 per square foot, uninstalled.
In Consumner Reports flooring tests, both solid- and engineered wood floors tend to resist both wear (from foot traffic) and stains. Still, other types such as laminate and vinyl tend to do the best overall. Armstrong floors, while not always the top scorers in our Ratings, made it into our picks in every category.
Before hitting the Ratings, check out our buying advice for flooring.
For more news and trends from the Builders' Show including videos of new products, see our full coverage.