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Take a peek at the average real estate listing and you get a pretty accurate idea of what’s currently popular with homebuyers.

 Each listing typically highlights stainless steel and granite in the kitchen and ceramic tile in the bath. There’s also a good chance the listing will mention the presence of hardwood flooring, which is little surprise. Wood flooring has long been a favorite in the real estate market.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) says wood is so popular that the majority of home buyers are willing to pay more to have it. In the NAR’s 2017 Remodeling Impact Report , refinished hardwood or a new wood floor is one of the interior items with the highest recovered cost at resale.

According to market research and product testing group Home Innovation Research Labs, there’s a similar trend in new-home construction.

“Over the past 12 years, Home Innovation has been closely tracking the many changes in the popularity of flooring types in new homes,” the group writes. “The biggest winners have been solid hardwood and engineered hardwood.”

During that time, hardwood’s share in new-home living rooms went from 15 percent to 59 percent, 31 percent to 69 percent in the dining room, 14 percent to 50 percent in the family room, and from 23 percent to 50 percent in the foyer.

The popularity of wood flooring has given rise to a broader “woodlook” trend, evident in the growth of engineered wood, laminate, and ceramic wood-look products. Tile makers say this wood-look style is the fastest-growing segment of their business.

The exciting thing about wood is that there’s also innovation happening in the category: You can now get heat-treated wood flooring that’s dimensionally stable; wood flooring that helps purify the air; and organic-looking flooring that follows a tree’s natural growth, using more of the tree with less waste.

Manufacturers in other categories can learn a lot from this approach.


This story originally ran in the May/June 2018 issue of PRODUCTS magazine. See the print version here.