In today’s busy world, there are seemingly endless things to get accomplished, and homeowners everywhere are looking for ways to cut down on maintenance tasks. With durability taking an increasing prominence in design and construction projects, we asked the experts what materials they see stepping into the spotlight in the coming years. From concrete coatings to the prevalence of porcelain, here’s what they had to say.
OC Construction | Don Oscai
When it comes to durable materials, it’s hard to beat the Hardie board that is popular right now. I’m also seeing a trend where masonry is making a bigger push. People are investing more in masonry, and it’s comprising more and more of a home instead of serving a smaller capacity such as around the foundation or as an accent. I wouldn’t go as far to say it’s industrial, but we’re definitely seeing a step away from delicate finishes and fixtures, especially when it comes to lighting. Durability here is key. For a while now, people have been making the move to composite decking over standard lumber, but homeowners are starting to take it a step further. Out of the handful of custom homes I’m working on right now, they all want concrete decks. With all the stains and stamps on the market, this is a long-lasting choice than can still be personalized.
Concrete is a great, durable surface. Unlike wood, concrete doesn’t rot and is easy to clean and maintain. The problem with concrete is that it’s gray and can become dingy over time. The solution is a concrete coating. The best option for concrete coating is a system that includes a base coat, color chips, and a durable top coat. Polyurea is a coating material that is used in industrial applications, and in more recent years, has become available for residential applications. Concrete coating is not a DIY project. A trained professional should use industrial-grade equipment to prepare the surface, then properly mix and apply the coating materials. Unlike paint, stain, and epoxy, polyurea forms a bond to the concrete. Its flexibility allows the coating to last without cracking or peeling! Now homeowners can enjoy concrete’s durability, ease of use, AND a great looking, permanent finish to make the space beautiful.
Porcelain slabs are really starting to grow in popularity, and they are a great balance of functionality and beauty. Porcelain slabs are resistant to chipping, scratching, and cracking, which makes them a great option for countertops. They are also heat resistant so you can set hot pans directly on them without fear! They hold up well with day-to-day wear and are easy to maintain and care for. They look beautiful and luxurious in a bathroom and will leave you with very little grout to clean. Porcelain slabs are also a great option for fireplace surrounds because of the thinness of the material and the way they hold up to heat. I am excited to see more availability with porcelain slabs and think that their durability over other materials is going to make them a staple in construction and design in the coming years!
When it comes to trim and doors, the products that have been the standard for decades are still great, viable products when it comes to today’s building practices. One product that has really come into its own, however, is fiberglass doors. When they first started coming out, there were just a handful of styles, but now homeowners can easily find a front door that fits their personal taste. There are a lot of beveled glass and privacy glass options out there now! Not only have the options improved, but the durability is just getting better and better, and a fiberglass exterior door will hold up much better than its wooden counterparts when it comes to weather and daily life.
A trend I see continuing to expand is the acceptance of engineered and LVP flooring versus traditional sand-in-place flooring. Both options offer a sustainable solution that can provide a more durable and lasting finish over traditional sand-in-place hardwoods, as well as a wider variety of widths, styles, and colors. Due to its composition, both LVP and engineered flooring have superior tolerance to ambient moisture. They also offer a reliable installation compared to traditional hardwoods, which require extended periods of acclimation and are still susceptible to cupping and warping. LVP can provide a lifetime of wear out of a single application, while trends in engineered wood products are now offering multiple sandings (two or more in some cases).