Despite a sluggish recovery, particularly in the commercial sector, the resilient category is one area performing quite well. A value proposition paired with easy maintenance and installation makes resilient flooring a natural choice for commercial locations.
Because the sense of application fits especially well in healthcare and retail, Mannington Commercial has experienced a lot of growth there in sheet and LVT specifications, said Zack Zehner, vice president, commercial hard surfaces. “One particularly bright spot is growth in senior and assisted living, for both LVT and heterogeneous sheet goods.” He continued that the year to date is up single digits and he expects to see moderate growth through the remainder as the economy recovers. “Acute care renovation in healthcare is healthy, as is senior and assisted living. Retail is also growing but K through 12 is still challenged due to local and state funding issues.”
Armstrong Commercial also found notable growth in the healthcare sector, as funding becomes available for projects that were postponed in the recession and work picks back up. “Our Imperial Texture continues to be the biggest part of the market and the biggest part of our business,” said Dominic Rice, vice president, Armstrong Commercial flooring sales and marketing. “I would also cite linoleum, primarily because of three key attributes: sustainability, expansive color process, and durability and easy maintenance.” He credited the new CEO, Matt Espe, with drawing attention toward interior solutions for the commercial segment, calling his efforts rejuvenated and focused.
Luxury vinyl tile is still excelling as the category over-achiever. “LVT is growing and expanding into many markets that traditionally used other types of flooring,” said Thomas Trissl, president, Centiva.
Though areas like healthcare and education are logical applications reaping the benefits of resilient flooring, less obvious areas like government are also piquing an interest. “We still see a very large demand for LVT in retail,” said Casey Johnson, national sales manager, Forbo, “but we have seen an increase in public and military housing for our acoustic and textile products.” He added the mill’s Flotex Tile is finding a home in many areas that want the look and feel of carpet with the ease of maintenance of resilient.
While suppliers like Centiva see a proportionate rise in stone and wood looks that corresponds to market increases, other suppliers reported a pull away from stone and tile looks. “Specifiers are responding to a more sophisticated, original design that is not trying to replicate something in nature,” said Natalie Jones, vice president of commercial brand development and creative product, Mannington.
Forbo also continues to see growth in marbleized visuals but “the significant increase has been in striated and textured looks,” Johnson said.
Size variations are also finding favor, particularly with Mannington’s Create Collection which, in addition to squares and planks, comes in circles and diamonds in colors like smoky blue and purple. The result of a product collaboration with renowned architectural firm HOK, the line won the Good Design award last winter.
Armstrong’s Rice also noted the trend, particularly with its Natural Creations line. “The design trends our customers love are larger sizes, lower gloss, unique patterns and textures. The updated designs of Natural Creations and multiple tile and plank sizes provide another creative tool for designers to mix and match colors and collections.”
Above all, value is the biggest trend sought out by specifiers. “In this competitive market, we are seeing more requests from our general contractors and floor covering contractors for options to reduce costs while still providing quality to their clients,” Johnson said. “With the rising costs of traditional offerings we have seen Marmoleum become a first cost solution that does not compromise the system service life and performance of their standard products.” He believes this advantage has helped Forbo stay competitive in the slower market segments.