Laminate: Fall products build on earlier intros

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It may still be summer according to Mother Nature, but with kids going back to school and Labor Day around the corner fall is in the air. As such, laminate manufacturers are in the process of restocking retail displays with new collections, new designs and new colors to help dealers capture consumers searching for ways to spruce up their homes.

The following is just a sampling of the latest products hitting the market. For the progressive retailer, some of these may already be in stock but there are sure to be a few discoveries in the list.

Armstrong

This has been the year of the “long plank” in laminate. Yet Milton Goodwin, vice president of laminate and ceramic, said while this style is gaining in popularity, many consumers “get locked out of this look because of price.”

Enter Armstrong’s Rustics Premium New England Long Plank. He noted it features a hand-scraped, oiled finish hard- wood looks and the mill’s exclusive Lock&Fold mechanical locking system which allows for easy installation of the over- sized—more than 7 feet long— planks.

Consumers seeking a real stone look can turn to Armstrong’s new Stones & Ceramics collection. The 8.3mm construction offers a limestone and slate looks as well as Weathered Way, which replicates the look of tumbled stone, in a random block format.

Bruce

Sapele Long Plank has been added to the brand’s Reserve Premium collection, Goodwin said. The hand-scraped, tropical exotic Sapele has rich reddish-brown colors in a 7-foot long plank format.

“This is a floor that commands attention,” he noted. “She can create the illusion of a tropical hardwood floor without the impact on the forest. All at a price she can afford.”

Hickory, a traditional 5-inch wide rustic, is the newest design in Bruce’s Reserve collection. This floor has an aggressive scrape that Goodwin said would take years to appear naturally, and “adds character to the wood’s beautiful grain and natural color variations. Consumers want beauty. So, we’re focused on providing the best, most realistic-looking laminate floor— and one that is easy for the retailer to sell offering unique selling propositions.”

Formica

Quintessa has been the company’s go-to product since its introduction a couple of years ago. In fact, Fred Giuggio, vice president, said the recently added Valhalla Birch quickly became “the leader” in style and design in the long-board category as Formica’s No. 1 selling displayed product.

To help keep the momentum going, he said two SKUs are being added to the popular collection. Both are oak visuals, and will feature an embossed-in-register and high/low gloss finish with high cathedrals. These features help give the 6-foot long planks a “remarkably realistic look and texture.”

Lamipro

While the overall market is “still soft,” Pete Ciganovich, executive vice president and co- owner, said “there are regional dealers that have been increasing their market share and the reason is purely having the right inventory.”

As such, the company will be introducing a commercial embossed-in-register product to its growing collection of laminate offerings. “It’s a well styled, laminate in an 8.3mm construction,” he noted, “and features our licensed Valinge locking system.”

Though this section is about laminate flooring, Ciganovich told FCNews the company is expanding into two other flooring categories this fall—engineered wood (15 SKUs) under the Woodpro brand, and a 10 SKU commercial and residential luxury vinyl tile (LVT) line under the Vinpro brand.

Accordingly, he said the Trimpro brand of moldings will be expanded to market both laminate and harwood.

Mohawk

Three of the company’s most popular value laminate lines— Carrolton, Celebration and Festivalle/Festivalle Plus—are getting additions this fall, said Nicki Osborn, manager of business development/residential marketing.

Carrolton gets two new exotics—Natural Cumaru and Spalted Maple—Celebration’s additions include a domestic exotic, Natural American Cherry complemented by a character oak, Barnwood, and Festivalle/ Festivalle Plus is getting two three-strip styles featuring visuals with traditional oak and hickory designs.

Osborn added the new styles are matched with trim using Mohawk’s revolutionary new InstaForm multipurpose profile that includes a reducer, universal edge and T-molding all in one piece.

Shaw

Having received a “great response” to its Maple hand scraped 5-inch collection in January, Eric Erickson, Shaw’s laminate manager, said the company is following it up with a companion collection this fall in Left Bank.

The narrow 3-inch format in Left Bank not only has a “great, realistic and natural look,” he explained when it is installed in conjunction with the Maple collection, it offers “a very upscale and unique, rich look.”

In wood, Erickson noted, “you have to be able to offer a mixed width installation and now we are offering the same installation opportunity in these collections. Both bring more color variation and natural looks—our most realistic looking laminate ever—and follows the hot trend in wood at a much better value with no installation concerns.”

-Matthew Spieler

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