SALEM, N.J.—Every technological breakthrough will eventually be improved upon. Such is the case with floating LVT, which has already gone through multiple generations since the launch of Konecto in 2007. The newest generation of floating luxury vinyl tile comes courtesy of Mannington, and the intent to raise LVT to the next stratosphere.
Adura with LockSolid technology takes the best attributes of a floating LVT and marries them with an industry first: a completely adhesive-free installation. A patented mechanical locking system, similar to the laminate flooring concept, is said to solve any of the drawbacks associated with the adhesion of adjoining planks.
“You are going to see, in the next year to three years, the market migrate to click and away from adhesive-based floating systems,” said David Sheehan, vice president of resilient and laminate. “Those will all go away and be replaced by a new mousetrap that is easier to install and better performing.”
Sheehan referenced some of the issues associated with the many floating systems on the market today. For example, it is recommended that these floors avoid direct sunlight because as that begins to warm up the floor, and heat deactivates the adhesive and the result is seam separation. Also, it is not advised to install floating LVT in a large space where there could be significant expansion and contraction that could cause buckling. And some of the LVT-laminate hybrid products on the market could be susceptible to water damage.
This was the impetus for LockSolid. “We were not satisfied with having to make stipulations on the type of environments in which you could and could not install floating LVT,” Sheehan said. “We wanted a situation where you could install floating LVT in the same environments as traditional glue- down LVT.”
Mannington believes it has come up with the answer in LockSolid. The company leaned on its laminate group to transfer that mechanical locking technology to LVT. The use of proprietary equipment ensures a precisely milled tongue and groove joint. “We believe it revolves around our core competency in milling products,” Sheehan said. “We are a multiple category supplier. We are heavily involved in engineered hardwood and laminate, and we could transfer that technology into LVT faster than single-category suppliers that know nothing about click joints and milling lines.”
The result is what Sheehan calls the best performing floating LVT on the market. Why? Because of joint strength. “We measure joint strength in two areas: shear strength, where you try to pull the product apart, and then basically a pull test, where you measure the amount of force it takes to pull the product apart. In all those tests, we outperform all competing products as well as those we know are about to enter the market.” Mannington is so confident in LockSolid’s joint strength that it is offering the industry’s first no-gap warranty for 20 years.
Sheehan said a few companies are trying to bring to market a similar product utilizing an existing laminate locking system but “have been unable to make it right.” He pointed out that the joint is the result of Mannington technology. “The competitors are all LVT players. They don’t know anything about milling joints.” As such, Mannington distributors and retailers will have a three-to-six-month head start with the LockSolid products as samples ship immediately.
Aside from performance, installation of LockSolid planks is quick and easy. Simply align the planks and rotate the products into position. No glue, no muss, no fuss.
Distributors are excited to hit the streets with LockSolid just in time for the fall selling season. Jeff Striegel, president of Elias Wilf in Owings Mills, Md., which is already posting 25% gains in Adura year to date, said it is products like this that can help the specialty flooring dealer. “If you look at the marketplace, dealers need innovative products to differentiate themselves. It’s a company like Mannington that continues to challenge an existing product and through creativity and innovation bring tomorrow’s products, today.”
Striegel believes this technology truly elevates the LVT category. “We have seen where the product has been fastened to the carrier sheet, and unfortunately the product has not performed. We’ve seen other products that have the adhesive strip as part of the product, and that’s a very cumbersome process. It’s like going back to the point where you took a glue bottle to the edge of the laminates. Here, the lock is an integral part of the product, so you have the best of two worlds: the highest performance attributes and ease of installation.”
The initial thrust will be at specialty retail, although Mannington knows LockSolid will find favor in other segments as well. “After we get out to market, there will be opportunities with multi-family,” Sheehan said. “Every single customer we’ve shown it to— builder, multi-family—has visualized instant application.”
- LockSolid technology launches in 24 Adura SKUs: 13 4 x 36-inch planks and 11 5 x 48-inch planks. Handscraped looks come in the fourth quarter and tile designs are targeted for 2011.
- LockSolid leverages Mannington’s existing retail footprint. In other words, the products simply replaces Adura LocNGo items, which are being phased out.
- Warranties span 20 years for residential; five years for light commercial.
- LockSolid brings a 10-cent premium over traditional gluedown planks.
- Adura with LockSolid can be installed over just about any subfloor. Of course, the substrate needs to be dry and smooth.