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This comprehensive study examines the US hard surface flooring industry. Hard surface flooring includes resilient and nonresilient flooring. Carpets and rugs are excluded from the scope of this study.
Types of resilient flooring include:
luxury vinyl tile (LVT)
vinyl composition tile (VCT)
other resilient flooring
Types of nonresilient flooring include:
saturated paper laminate
other nonresilient flooring
Demand is also segmented by market:
residential – new and replacement and remodeling application for single-family, multifamily, and manufactured housing types
commercial – new and replacement and remodeling applications for office, trade, and lodging; institutional; industrial; and other commercial buildings (e.g., government buildings, athletic facilities)
transportation equipment and other nonbuilding construction:
recreational vehicles and boats
nonbuilding structures (e.g., decks, docks)
Historical data for 2009, 2014, and 2019 and forecasts to 2024 and 2029 are provided for hard surface flooring demand in both area terms (square feet) and value terms (US dollars).
Data from the US Census Department were consulted in the preparation of this study and a list of related codes is presented here for informational purposes. However, these codes may not include all products covered in this report or may exclude some products of interest and the data have thus been adjusted accordingly.
US demand for hard surface flooring is somewhat insulated from economic variations in new construction activity because of the large replacement demand in residential and commercial building construction applications:
There exists a large base of installed flooring, much of which is subject to high levels of wear and thus will eventually require replacement.
Moreover, because flooring also serves a decorative purpose, it may be replaced before the end of its lifespan if a consumer desires to change the appearance of the structure in which it is installed.
Demand is also partially protected from cyclical construction patterns because of the use of flooring products in the transportation equipment market, which tends to have different sales cycles.
Hard surface flooring overtook carpets and rugs as the leading floor covering material installed in the US in 2018 and saw gains in market share in 2019, reaching 51% of demand. Over the historical period, hard surface flooring has been increasingly been specified by home and business owners looking to improve the appearance of their properties (such as by adding hardwood flooring or porcelain and natural stone tile) or reduce maintenance and replacement costs (such as by installing ceramic tile or vinyl flooring).
In terms of demand for hard surface flooring, by market, the following are key points:
The residential market will remain the largest end use for hard surface flooring, and will post the most rapid demand gains, spurred by strong interest among homebuilders and homeowners in installing hard surface flooring.
Hard surface flooring demand in the commercial market will rise more slowly as commercial building construction – especially in the key office, trade, and lodging segment – struggles to recover from declines caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the transportation equipment and nonbuilding market, increasing production of trucks will support demand for hardwood and vinyl sheet flooring, while rising shipments of RVs will support use of hardwood and decorative tile flooring.
While recycling has not traditionally played a large role in the hard surface flooring industry, in recent years, hard surface flooring manufacturers have worked to develop programs to recover older or worn flooring and either reuse the materials in new flooring or divert the materials into other end uses. As more consumers cited environmental concerns as influencing purchasing decisions, manufacturers had to consider the effects of their floor coverings on the environment and work to mitigate the role their products play in generating wastes and carbon emissions.
Indoor Air Quality Concerns
Hard surface flooring has seen increasing use in a wide range of structures because of concerns about how carpets and rugs affect IAQ:
Carpets and rugs can retain dirt, pet dander, and other particulates that cause allergies and other illness.
More recently, concerns about spreading the COVID-19 virus – in addition to other biological pathogens – have become a concern for many users, as these agents of disease can be trapped by carpet and rug fibers.
In contrast, hard surface flooring does not trap particulates, making it easier to remove dust and pet dander from the surface of the floor material. Such products as vinyl flooring and decorative tile often have nearly impermeable surfaces that facilitate the removal of particulates. This has promoted the use of these materials in medical and educational facilities, as well as in laboratories and other structures where a sterile environment is seen as a necessity.
US demand for hard surface flooring is projected to advance 1.6% annually through 2024 to 12.5 billion square feet valued at $19.8 billion. Gains will be supported by:
the overall shift among consumers and end users to installing hard surface flooring instead of carpets
rising interest – especially among homeowners – in installing luxury vinyl tile (LVT) because of its low cost and favorable aesthetic and performance properties
continuing preference for flooring materials that provide a wood look to floors, supporting demand for both hardwood flooring and materials that can re-create that look, such as LVT and decorative tile
Commercial Markets Affected by COVID-19 Pandemic More Than Residential Market
The COVID-19 pandemic negatively affected both residential and commercial flooring demand in 2020:
The commercial market was more harshly affected, as many businesses closed or cut back on operations. This drop in revenues caused many firms to cancel flooring replacement projects in that year. Furthermore, the commercial flooring market will continue to be negatively affected in 2021, as changing work and consumer patterns will mean fewer office buildings, retail sites, and restaurants will need to be built.
In the residential market, heightened consumer interest in home improvements and repairs – a number of which included installing new flooring, especially products that could be installed as part of a DIY project – nearly offset the declines in the spring.
Consumers Continue to Specify Hard Surface Flooring
Hard surface flooring has overtaken installed carpeting as the leading installed flooring in the US. Consumers opt for hard surface flooring because of its longer lifespan compared to carpeting and its superior resistance to stain and damage caused by moisture and wear. In many cases – especially in the residential market – hard surface flooring will also be specified because of its favorable aesthetics. Many people prefer the look of wood or stone flooring because of its warmth or natural appearance, and it is now commonly installed in parts of the house (such as living areas and bedrooms) where carpeting traditionally dominated.
LVT Will See the Fastest Growth of All Hard Surface Flooring Materials
Demand for LVT surged over the past decade to become the leading hard surface flooring material installed in the US, and it will post the strongest demand gains going forward. Use of LVT has been spurred by its low cost, ease of installation, and favorable performance properties. Through 2024, demand for LVT – in both residential and commercial markets – will be promoted by:
its ability to resemble such materials as hardwood and natural stone flooring
manufacturer efforts to offer products more suited in commercial structures, such as those with stone or wood-plastic composite backings