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© Copyright 2007 Work-4 Projects Ltd.
Floorward Thinking
A step beyond the ordinary

By Judy Penz Sheluk

It doesn't matter whether they have money or not: Today's consumers want to be different from their neighbours. Gone are the days when everybody wanted slate blue plush carpeting, green-gold shag rugs or honey-coloured hardwood. Yet when it comes to flooring, sometimes it seems as though the only thing "new" is a change of colour. That's why we were refreshed by the discovery of three products, new to Canada in 2007, which demonstrate what we like to call "floorward thinking".

Custom-ers first:
Accents of Distinction

Until now, custom-designed natural stone flooring accents and medallions were an upgrade reserved for the decidedly affluent. Enter Accents of Distinction, a new product designed and manufactured in Mississauga, Ontario, by DAVID G. MILUM, a custom waterjet cutter since 1988 who has cut thousands of custom-designed flooring accents and medallions for casinos, hotels and high-end homes across Canada.
Unlike pre-made medallions and borders currently available in DYI stores, Accents of Distinction offers the homeowner an almost endless variety of choices. Here's how it works:
There are currently 12 designs, such as Starburst, Sun or Lotus, available in two sizes: 17" and 25-5/8" diameter. Each design offers a minimum of 20 pieces. Each piece can be cut from one of 16 shades of high-quality natural stone. Colours include Black Granite, Tuscany Gold and Travertine Noce, a rich brown neutral. The medallions can also be framed with eight-segment rings, providing additional customization opportunity. A natural stone "square-up kit" makes installation into new or existing hardwood or tile floors easy.
Prices start at $350 for a small circle, and $550 for a large circle. The medallions are pre-assembled and packaged in wooden crates for individual shipping to virtually any location in the world.
Accents of Distinction can also be used with backsplashes in the kitchen or bath. Custom-cut and designed natural stone borders are also available and can be designed to harmonize with the medallions. The company is currently testing Accents of Distinction in cork tile and porcelain.

Let the sun shine in:
Glasswalk™ IBP Glass Floor Systems

Looking for a way to show floors in an entirely new light? That's just what Glasswalk(tm), an engineered floor system from IBP, promises to do. Introduced to Canada for 2007, specially designed 6" or 8" GlassBlock Pavers or Structural Glass Units (available up to 4'x4') allow light to filter down to the space below.
Installation of both varieties follows a similar process. Each system is shipped as a kit with structural members pre-cut to customized specifications, designed to be set in a containment opening with a support ledge capable of supporting the floor's self-weight and live loads.
The GlassWalk System can be used as a full-length floor space, mezzanines, stairs and landings, or as an accent inserted into hardwood, laminate or ceramic tile - sort of like a skylight for floors. But while these floors require little or no special care, at $150 to 250 per square foot, GlassWalk is definitely meant for ICI and high-end residential applications. Of course, that's not to say that homeowners can't select a "skylight highlight".

Bringing the indoors out:
interlocking ceramic flooring

Floor tiles outside? That's just what Vanguard Premier Home Products, Inc. plans to introduce to North America in 2007. According to managing partner and owner ELLERY DYKEMAN, these UV-protected interlocking flooring tiles are ideal for transforming decks, patios, condominium green spaces, terraces and balconies into outdoor living space; the non-slip frosted or ceramic series is ideal for use around hot tubs and swimming pools.
An easy-to-install open grid and groutless design interconnects firmly and securely with the use of a patented HDPE grid: There is no need for special tools, equipment, drying of adhesives, costly surface preparation or underlay treatments. This open grid design allows for the fast drainage of water and improved air circulation.
Tiles can be cut and trimmed to fit all area contours. And because there is no grout, nails, filler or adhesives, the tiles are semi-permanent, allowing for easy repair or removal to another location. Transition pieces come in square, corner or sloped to ensure the smooth flow of people from floor to installed height.
These interlocking patio tiles are available in ceramic (10 styles), wood (2 styles), granite (14 styles), slate (6 styles), and frosted (9 styles). Prices start at $4.50/sq.ft.

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