Ceramic: Boosting demand through style and design

While the flooring industry may have an uphill battle in 2023 as it faces a slowdown in Q1-Q2 due to inflationary and housing pressures, the tile category is ready to boost its numbers via its No. 1 draw—style and design.

From eye-catching visuals that expertly mimic natural materials to XL formats and even indoor/outdoor functionality, suppliers say these stylings are the key to the category’s success in 2023.

Visually appealing

Wood-look tile formats, like Daltile’s Emerson Wood Butter Pecan, are in high demand.

The tile category’s top selling points is its style and design. The industry would be hard pressed to find another flooring category with similar design capabilities—and tile suppliers aren’t afraid to show it off.

For today’s market, tile suppliers say natural looks still reign supreme as they meet many a consumer desire to bring the outdoors in while flaunting high style. “Wood plank tile formats remain our most popular flooring product in the single-family space, across all price levels,” said Patrick Warren, vice president of residential sales, dealer & showrooms, Dal-Tile. “Marble designs to continued grow in popularity this year, with versions featuring both cool or warmer veining tones. Series that were trending in 2022 were those that offered these marble designs in polished and matte finishes as well as in a variety of formats, in wall tile, and as unique mosaics.”

Larger than life

style and design
Large-format tile has been growing in popularity. Seen here in Emser’s Terazio polished line.

Large-format tile has been hitting home with consumers for several years now, and suppliers say the trend is not waning. What is new are the applications and shapes of these larger product lines.

“Large-format ceramic tile has been steadily growing in popularity, particularly in residential spaces new construction and renovations alike,” said Rich Rose, vice president, sales support and special projects, Emser Tile. “The focus on outdoor living spaces that grew during COVID-19 continues and large-format tiles allow for a seamless transition from interior to exterior areas.”

Dal-Tile’s Warren agreed, noting, “While the 12 x 24 format remained popular, we saw increased activity with products that feature hexagon shapes and wider/longer shelf options. Although 12 x 24 formats still made up a large share of the square footage being sold, we saw builders move toward large, square formats or other large-format rectangular formats such as 15 x 30.”

Taking it outside

Tile has no problem taking it outside—and that’s where you’ll find it. Suppliers across the board are unveiling new product lines in the form of porcelain pavers with enhanced slip resistance and matching indoor/outdoor visuals. These new product lines are enticing consumers back to the category as they continue to renovate their homes amid a slowdown in new home sales.

“Leveraging outdoor space to the fullest has become increasingly important in recent years,” said Rocamador Rubio of Tile of Spain. “The ability to seamlessly transition from indoor out with a unified flooring creates the illusion of more space. For example, 2cm pavers allows for quick, easy and less costly installs for exterior hardscapes than traditional mortar applications. Thanks to its technical properties, ceramic tile can withstand the passing of time, resisting temperature changes, humidity and inclement weather, making it a preferred material for outdoor living spaces.”

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