Since this is for FCNews’ statistical issue I thought we’d look at some statistical information relevant to performance, plus some general information.
In case you didn’t know, polyester is now the hottest carpet fiber on the market. Some of you may cringe when you hear that because of past bad experiences but the new polyester really is a better product. You just have to be sure to sell a higher quality wherever it’s going to be used. The new Mohawk triexta using DuPont Sorona is polyester and one of the best fibers on the market today, with the best attributes of nylon and polyester rolled into one. Again, make sure you use the best quality carpet offered for better performance.
Polyester is giving nylon a run for its money in the residential market but in commercial nylon is still the leader. The fibers used to make carpet in both residential and commercial are: nylon, polyester, polypropylene and wool. In very expensive carpet you’ll also find some silk and viscose and an occasional exotic fiber.
The number of wood floors and the possible configurations are amazing. Most popular now are darker, hand scraped products with a time worn appearance. Wide-width wood boards are definitely the rage with 4-, 5- and 6-inch planks. And, reclaimed wood such as barn wood, wine casks and lumber from old buildings is being used. Strand bamboo and even bamboo mixed with cork is something newer you’ll see. More engineered wood is being used with the addition of aluminum oxide finishes. They increase wearability but can only be done in the factory. The only thing harder than aluminum oxide are diamonds.
This is still hot today. It can be made to look like hand scraped wood with the appearance of different species. Laminate can also be made to look like stone and some types are very difficult to distinguish from actual wood flooring or stone.
The third-most-used flooring material in the world—and the oldest—ceramic tiles date back to the Roman Empire. With more and more use, it gets better looking. Surfaces can be made smooth or with texture so products can be used in a home or outdoors. Porcelain is one of the hardest materials you can use and one of the most beautiful.
This is still popular, particularly luxury vinyl tile. LVT is extraordinarily beautiful and allows for endless design possibilities. In my opinion, it is one of the most beautiful floors you can have. Domestically made LVT has a legitimate green story to tell and can be used as a commercial product though it can make a tremendous impact when used in residential applications. LVT is one of the most popular floorings in use today.
The floor covering industry is starting to pick up overall. Dealers we talk to are reporting increased activity, especially in the remodel market, with commercial projects still not all that big. Things are still spotty with manufacturers, who reported good activity one week and slow business the next. Finishers, the people who put backings on carpet, shear the face and apply topical applications are busier since late last year with activity increasing monthly.
Don’t look for business to be like it was before; that was an inflated and false economy whose demise was inevitable. “Slow and steady as she goes” is what we need now.