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Time to Give Credit Where it’s Due


Armstrong Alterna Athenian Travertine Honey Onyx
Ok, I have mentioned LVT (luxury vinyl tile) before.  But only briefly:

But considering how quickly this portion of the industry is growing (especially in the Central Maryland/Greater Baltimore area from what I have seen), the performance, and the styling, I really have not talked about it enough.

Armstrong Alterna North Terrace Terra/Clay

What is LVT?

LVT or Luxury Vinyl Tile is, to keep it simple, halfway between ceramic and vinyl.  Each tile is actually an individual tile and is made of a mix of limestone and vinyl.  So, you have the heft and durability of a ceramic but with some of the give and warmth of vinyl.  Armstrong’s Alterna LVT line has even been highly rated by the Consumer Reports!


Armstrong Alterna Allegheny Slate Copper Mountain
Yes, believe it or not, the above picture is indeed vinyl.  Both Mannington and Armstrong take pictures of the actual piece they are trying to emulate and then randomize those pictures in the computer.  And of course, they only use naturally occurring colors so you have lots of flexibility with what you pair it with. 

Mannington Adura Cascade Rectangles Harbor Beige 

Most of the looks are going to be stone, however there are plenty of wood looks…

Mannington Adura Distinctive Plank Heritage Buckskin
And more abstract looks like stamped concrete and this read-like design…

Mannington Adura Linea Graphite
And considering the hundreds of options, you’re sure to find what you need!

Of course, the wood looks are going to come in planks of various widths but leaning to wards the 3 1/4″ wide planks and wider as is the current hardwood styling.  The tiles and abstract looks are going to come mostly in 16″x16″ tiles (which you’ll be surprised at how flexible that size is regarding the size of the room it goes in), though there are an increasing amount of other sizes available such as 12″x12″, 12″x24″, 8″x16″, and 8″x8″!


With Lifetime Residential Wear Guarantees and what I’ve seen people try to do to these floors, I am willing to say that these floors require absolutely no worry.  
  1. Stain proof – the tiles themselves are non-porous so there is nothing for stains to grab onto.  (And if you decide to have them grouted, only acrylic grout is used which is almost completely non-porous itself!)
  2. Highly resistant to dents and scratches (and I have seen people try!)
  3. Guaranteed by the manufacturers not to wear out through normal traffic for as long as it is installed in your home.
  4. Water proof as anything comes – because of it’s non-porous nature, it cannot be damaged by a flood or leak.  Worst case scenario, the tiles will have to be glued back down if the glue loosens due to sitting water.
Now, there are currently only two manufacturers that I will personally recommend: Mannington and Armstrong.  There are others out there, but the performance history and customer service of those others isn’t up to my standards like Mannington’s and Armstrong’s are.  

Plus, both Mannington and Armstrong are American companies!  In fact, Mannington is still a family owned and managed company (in transition between the 5th or 6th generation, I believe).


But where would this be good in the home?  Typically people are looking towards kitchens and bathrooms due to the higher moisture content and wear and tear (yay!  I’m not the only clumsy cook!)  But I have also had clients choose it for entryways, basements, family rooms, recreational rooms, and hallways.  (In fact, thanks to Mannington’s new Adura Tread line, I have had someone choose to have it installed on a set of stairs!)

Mannington Adura Dockside Pier

So, if you have a space in your home that gets lots of traffic and oopsies, luxury vinyl tile like Mannington’s Adura and Armstrong’s Alterna would be a great option to consider (Pst! Both of those lines are currently 40% off at Mercer’s!).

Do you have a luxury vinyl tile in your home?  What is your take on it?  (I’d love to see before and after pictures!)

And, as always, if there are ANY questions, please let me know!

Have Fun!

Katlin Farrell
Flooring Consultant
Ellicott City, Maryland
O: 410-480-0087
As always, if there are any questions (or ideas), please let me know! Katlin@nullMercerCarpetOne.com Facebook.com/MercerCarpetOne Twitter.com/MercerFloors

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The Story Behind the Floor: Cork Flooring


I am a lover of stories.  Always have been.  It probably started with my mom and grandfather who would read out loud to me before I could even play with phonics.  She used all of the voices and inflections that sucked you right into the story.  His rich voice made even the most dull poetry sound magical.

And yes that love has continued today even in my flooring world.  Sometimes it amazes me the richness of the stories behind the floor.  Today I want to tease you somewhat with the stories behind cork flooring.

Generational Family Project:

That’s right, I’m pulling in the family side of things (maybe I’m a bit biased).  When planting a cork tree (much like an olive tree), you’re planting for the next generations not your own as it takes approximately 50 years before you can harvest usable bark for various cork products (bottle stoppers, shoe soles, knife handles, floors, etc).

It’s considered a great investment because once active, cork trees can be harvested approximately every 10 years equaling a regular income for future generations.


I’ve already mentioned how eco-friendly cork is (probably one of the ‘greenest’ options available), but here’s some more information.

First of all, they don’t harm the tree when harvesting it’s bark.  In fact, the trees are healthier for it (when harvested correctly, of course).

Second, most cork products (including flooring) is actually made from the leftover cork from making bottle stoppers for the wine industry!

AND, it also encourages sustainable forestry and business practices to support an unique eco-system!

But, of course, stories aren’t everything when it comes to what floor you choose.  Performance, beauty, and value are paramount.  Here are a few pictures of cork floors installed in homes to give you an idea of it’s aesthetic potential:

In regards to performance and value, check out this post and contact me with any and all questions!

Warm Wishes,

Katlin at Mercers
As always, if there are any questions (or ideas), please let me know! Katlin@nullMercerCarpetOne.com Facebook.com/MercerCarpetOne Twitter.com/MercerFloors

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[Industry Spy] “Stranded” Leather Flooring


No, I’m not kidding…there is such thing as leather flooring.  And it is actually VERY durable!

What they do is take previously used leather…

  • Leather belts
  • BMW leather seats
  • Leather shoes
  • Leather jackets
  • Leather upholstery
And recycle them into a highly durable floor suitable for even heavy traffic commercial situations.

They take the leather, grind it down (like they strand bamboo), mix it with resin, and bake under high pressure and heat. 

It’s available in 7″ wide planks (like hardwood) or tiles and can be either glued down or floated.

The flooring comes available in multiple different textures (smooth, distressed, and alligator texture) and many good neutral colors.  Plus, the manufacture will also create custom sizes, textures, and colors.

Oh!  And look at this!

Tiles are also available with stitching around the edges!  And yes, they also can cover walls!

Some of the benefits include…
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • High Durability
  • Very Unique Look
  • Sound Absorption
  • Warm Feel Underfoot
  • Easy to Maintain
  • Able to Install over Radiant Heat
  • Custom Options Available

And, you’re in luck, because Mercers is now carrying this new and unique flooring option!  Plus, it isn’t nearly as pricey as one would think.  Give me a shout out if this might be an option for you.

Also, if there are any questions, please let me know.  The comment section is below and, if you would like a quick and direct response, email is best (Katlin@nullMercerCarpetOne.com).

What do you think about leather flooring?  Do you think it’ll be the next big thing?  Is it for you?
As always, if there are any questions (or ideas), please let me know! Katlin@nullMercerCarpetOne.com Facebook.com/MercerCarpetOne Twitter.com/MercerFloors

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Have You Ever Thought About Cork Floors?


I just realized that the only time I’ve posted about cork flooring is when I told you that Martha Stewart put it in her kitchen! Am I totally loosing it or what?

Well, now that I think of it, you’re probably thinking that I’ve completely lost it by even thinking cork can be made into a good floor covering option.  I mean, come on, isn’t that what they make cork boards out of?

Yup, we’re talking about the same ingredient here!  And, no, I’m not going crazy.  Cork is a great option for a floor!  Did you know there is a cork floor in the Library of Congress?

And, thankfully, there are many different design options than this…

or this…

Like isn’t this room stunning?

Or this one?

But what about the durability?  What if I told you there was a beautiful cork floor available that was backed by a Lifetime (for as long as you have it in your home) Residential Warranty and a 5 Year Light/Medium Commercial Warranty?

I’m not kidding. Almada Cork by USFloors is that high of a quality (and still less costly than many hardwoods)!  I bet I have your attention now, right?

Now, why would you possibly want cork in your home over…

  • carpet?
  • hardwood/laminate/bamboo?
  • ceramic/porcelain/stone?
  • vinyl?
Here are just some of the unique benefits of cork.
  1. Softer underfoot – because of the resiliency of cork you have a much softer floor underfoot.  This increases the comfort (and safety if you’re thinking about a children’s rec room or a kitchen).
  2. Highly sustainable – when harvested, the tree is not harmed at all and will be able to produce again very quickly PLUS all cork floors are actually made from the left over cork from the wine bottling industry.
  3. Very healthy – remember that Almada cork I told you about from USFloors? That holds a v.3 LEED rating and the highest Greenguard certification.
  4. Bug repelling – insects such as mites and termites (not to mention mold) really don’t like this floor.
  5. Fire resistant – due to its natural waxy characteristic (Suberin), it is very difficult to burn cork and when it does combust it doesn’t release any harmful gasses.
  6. Insulation – because of the pockets of air trapped by the unique cell structure of the cork, it is the best hard surface floor for insulation. If you like the look of hardwood/bamboo and other benefits of hard surfaces but are concerned about warmth and insulation, take a look at cork. The average R value (measure of insulation) of carpet is 1.4 and the average R value of cork is 1.2 while the average R value of hardwood/bamboo is 0.7 and ceramic is 0.25. This same property helps the floor feel warmer underfoot (or cooler in the warm months) and helps insulate against sound (hence why it is often used for music and entertainment rooms).

But where can cork be used? Anywhere in a home (restaurants also like it!)  Due to its durability it can be placed in high traffic areas of the home such as the kitchen.  And due to its high moisture resistance (remember, they use it to seal wine bottles!) it can also be used in half baths (we’re cautious about showers and bathtubs though a sheet of cork would be a good option), mudrooms, utility rooms, and entryways.

So, what are your thoughts?  Is cork an option for you?
Oh, and so you know about it’s popularity in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States (especially Central Maryland/the greater Baltimore region); I have now worked with 5 people who were considering a cork floor since November 2011!  Two of those clients have already had it installed (and it looks beautiful, they are completely thrilled), one just started her project but is dead set on cork, and the other two are between cork and hardwood.

If there are any questions, please feel free to leave a comment, call me at the office (410-480-0087), or send me an email at Katlin@nullMercerCarpetOne.com!
As always, if there are any questions (or ideas), please let me know! Katlin@nullMercerCarpetOne.com Facebook.com/MercerCarpetOne Twitter.com/MercerFloors

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[Did You Know] That Chairs with Wheels Void All Manufacturer Warranties?


Yes, it’s true.  And it’s because they are horrid on wear layers and other durability factors.  Here’s why:

1: The repetitive and frequent grinding of the floor when in use
2: The dust and other debris that gets caught on the wheels

If you have wheeled furniture, please put it on casters and/or remove the wheels!  And if you absolutely must have wheeled furniture, be careful with what plastic mat you put down.  If it isn’t made to high enough standards it could permanently discolor your floor!
As always, if there are any questions (or ideas), please let me know! Katlin@nullMercerCarpetOne.com Facebook.com/MercerCarpetOne Twitter.com/MercerFloors

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