Flooring companies make the grade in Consumer Reports

Home Inside FCNews Flooring companies make the grade in Consumer Reports

Armstrong, Teragren score in multiple categories

July 22/29, 2013; Volume 27/Number 7

By Louis Iannaco

Armstrong’s Coastal Living
White Wash Walnut took the No. 1 spot in the laminate category.

The results are in, and a number of flooring manufacturers have much to boast.

The July issue of Consumer Reports published its annual hard surface flooring ratings across five categories, with overall scores based mainly on resistance to foot traffic, scratches, dents, stains, sunlight, moisture and slips. In the end, Teragren, Armstrong, Harris Wood, Congoleum and Avaire were at the head of the class in their respective categories.

Teragren’s Portfolio Naturals Wheat was the highest-ranked prefinished solid wood floor, while the company’s Synergy Strand with Xcora Java stood at No. 2 in engineered wood. Both categories encompass cork and bamboo. A high-quality and high-value product is the result of numerous factors, said Mike Boshart, president, Teragren, who noted the company has worked closely with the same factory partner for 20 years to source the highest-quality raw materials and refine its preparation and manufacturing processes.

“The number of times Teragren has been recognized by Consumer Reports is worth noting,” he explained. “Other players may come and go in the bamboo space, but Teragren offers a consistently compelling value proposition in combination with strong brand recognition—all key factors when homeowners and commercial specifiers are making an investment decision for their projects.”

The fact Teragren products came in first and second in a hardwood category is further proof of the impressive advancements in bamboo manufacturing technology over the past two decades, Boshart noted. And, he reiterated how the improvements “make bamboo flooring today a legitimate option for the hardwood buyer.”

Teragren was not the only flooring manufacturer to gain recognition in multiple categories. Armstrong, for the second year in a row, took top honors in the laminate category by a sizeable margin with its Coastal Living White Wash Walnut. “Not only are you getting performance, but you’re also getting the look of a custom, white washed walnut floor with a scraped embossing,” said Mara Villanueva-Heras, vice president of marketing.

Armstrong’s Alterna Mesa Stone Canyon Sun once again ranked No. 2 in vinyl behind Congoleum’s DuraCeramic. “Not only is vinyl selling well at the retail level,” Villanueva-Heras noted, “but according to CR [Consumer Reports], it also stands up to the battery of everyday abuse better than any other type of flooring.”

Although two of its product lines came up as big winners, Armstrong does not cite Consumer Reports results in any marketing material. “CR is an expert, independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to work for a fair, just and safe marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers to protect them,” Villanueva-Heras explained. “Neither the ratings nor the reports may be used in

SnapStone in Beige
was CR’s highest ranked
ceramic tile flooring.

advertising or for any other commercial purpose without permission.”

Other winners

Harris Wood’s Traditions Spring-Loc Red Oak Bridle was ranked No. 1 in the engineered wood category. According to Jason Webb, product manager, producing quality hardwood flooring with a commitment to superior materials and craftsmanship has been a pledge the company has made to its customers for over 115 years. “While we all know we strive to provide a high-value, Made in the USA product to our customers,” he explained, “[Consumer Reports] gives confirmation we’re moving in the right direction.”

DuraCeramic Sierra Slate Golden Greige from Congoleum ranked No. 1 in the vinyl floor category. That should come as no surprise, according to Mike Sansone, vice president of sales, noting this is the fifth consecutive year DuraCeramic has scored the highest rating in Consumer Reports, not only in the vinyl category but its score of 95 was higher than the top-ranked wood, laminate or linoleum product.

Manufacturers cannot request CR to test their products, Sansone noted. “In fact, mills don’t even know when they’re being tested. CR purchases product on the open market; it is not preselected by the manufacturer for testing purposes. This ensures product being tested is the same product used by the average consumer.”

SnapStone Beige ranked No. 1 in the ceramic tile category, and Jonathan McIntosh, president and CEO, wasn’t surprised. “We inherit all the positive aspects of porcelain—durability, hardness, scuff-resistance, stain-resistance and UV stability—but the product dramatically simplifies the floor prep and installation process. Our SnapSys InterLoc family of products are well engineered and perform as advertised. CR confirmed this through its tests.”

Consumer Reports is an independent product evaluation re-source for more than 8 million subscribers and countless others who refer to its ratings before making any major purchase. High rankings in the magazine have proven to be beneficial to many companies, including SnapStone. “Having our product score 94 out of 100, ranking No. 2 of 51 flooring products evaluated, and receiving the ‘Consumer Reports Recommended’ designation speaks volumes to prospective consumers and retailers—much more effectively than anything we can say as a company.”

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