As one of the few categories excelling in the soft economy, resilient manufacturers are taking greater risks with fall releases and it is of little surprise that most are focusing on luxury vinyl tile (LVT) and sheet products, as the value-perceived products in the category. Whether producing niche visuals or releasing mass volumes of new products, autumnal trends are dictated by the buyer’s preference for performance and visuals that enhance her home’s environment.
Just in time for fall, the company is preparing to launch hundreds of new SKUs that include new designs and products not currently seen in the marketplace, said Ed Sofia, channel marketing manager, Armstrong Flooring Products.
“Our refreshed resilient line boasts amplified design and increased performance,” he said. “Retailers will have design driven product from the leader in vinyl flooring with SKUs unique to the independent channel, as well as new merchandising that makes shopping and selling easy.”
The new products are the result of a $25 million investment in its Lancaster plant to convert the facility for fiberglass-backed sheet production. Executives claim it is one of the most technologically advanced sheet vinyl manufacturing facilities in the world and the first in the U.S. to produce fiberglass-reinforced sheet products via a single, continuous, U-shaped production line.
Stay tuned to FCNews for specific details on the collections as they are released.
The manufacturer is plowing forward with an update to its DuraCeramic products, including DuraCeramic Options and DuraPlank, thanks to a joint venture with 3M. All DuraCeramic products now feature Scotchgard Protector, as well as anti-bacterial silver.
“We have been putting Scotchgard and silver in the wear surface since early in the fourth quarter of 2009 in preparation for this major change,” said Dennis Jarosz, vice president of sales and marketing.
Samples of the new design as well as a POP kit for the Scotchgard Protector and silver anti-bacterial were sent to DuraCeramic retailers the second week of August. Congoleum Retail Marketing Program (RMP) and Congoleum Advantage Program (CAP) retailers are also eligible to participate in the mill’s Big Deal promotion that runs through October. Purchases of Xclusive or Ultima sheet flooring at a discount can lead to premiums like an iPad, a Kindle, or a 50-inch plasma TV. Promotion participation also locks in special cut order pricing.
The mill is updating its Legacy collection, a 48-inch-long, 5- inch-wide vinyl plank with beveled edges on all four sides. A 4mil aluminum oxide shield for optimal wear and a lifetime residential limited warranty are available in six designs and colors with either smooth or textured embossing.
The other big change for the collection is a brand new display. “It really makes it stand out,” said Don Evans, vice president of sales. “This is in-stock right now and ready to go.”
Earthwerks kicked off the launch on Aug. 23 with distributors across the country.
The mill is updating its Sobella line, with SobellaSelect, a newer selection of the fiberglass sheet collection new for fall. With features such as its patented NatureForm technology and a urethane wearlayer, 20 new SKUs include new visuals from terracotta to slate and limestone to wood.
Its other resilient lines are also getting an update, ranging from natural to slight whimsy. “Patterns include a sophisticated metallic tile, a hand-set terracotta, and slate and stone looks that round out their respective collections,” said Paul Mixon, manager, resilient business, adding there is even a NASCAR- inspired checkerboard look.
The manufacturer’s Permastone collection features five new designs in 19 updated colors for the third quarter.
“We’ve added a number of patterns to our premium PermaStone LVT collection and these reflect an influence to where we see the next generation of natural stone and tile heading,” said Lise LeBreton, creative director, Tarkett Residential. “Many of our new designs are very clean looking, yet they combine both classic and contemporary elements, more consistent with the overall trend of homeowners choosing patterns that reflect a distinct North American persuasion.”
Those visuals include Travertine, classic and pitted in four colorways; Limestone in four warm, earth-inspired tones; Firenze, Tarkett’s take on the concrete trend; Modern Slate, a modern look in three color tones, and Indian Slate, four shades of contrasting natural tones.
“When you stand on these floors and look down, you’d be hard pressed to tell that it isn’t really limestone, travertine, concrete or slate. Our creative team has designed the perfect aesthetic,” said Erica Hubbard, director of marketing, Tarkett NAFCO.
In addition to the three installation options—GroutFit, GroutFil, Groutless—PermaStone flooring is FloorScore certified and has upgraded to a lifetime limited residential and 5-year light commercial warranty.
Vinacork is the supplier’s new, unique LVT with cork infusion. Cork layers in the middle and bottom of the tiles increase resilience and add both thermal and acoustical insulation. A glueless installation format comes at a slightly higher price than other LVTs on the market, but there is much less time and preparation required for the job.
“With Vinacork you get the added benefits of cork which include comfort underfoot, warmth, reduced foot traffic noise and natural resistance to mold and mildew,” said Gary Keeble, marketing manager.
The line is available in six wood plank looks and three stone tile visuals with a lifetime residential wear and structural warranty, as well as a 15-year commercial warranty.