February 2/9, 2015; Volume 28/Number 16
By Jenna Lippin
(First of two parts)
Experts project the resilient category will continue to grow 15% every year through at least 2019, which is good reason for manufacturers to continue to invest in new facilities and develop product innovations.
This year is shaping up to be the year of WPC, or wood plastic composite, with more and more companies launching products that follow in the footsteps of USFloors’ widely popular COREtec offering.
In terms of design, the indiscernible wood/stone visual remains hot, with many companies developing looks that can lean in either direction, meaning they can appeal to an even broader customer base.
Wider, longer and generally larger is still hot in both LVT and LVP formats, while embossing has picked up steam to enhance realism. Sheet is growing as well, offering easy, fast installation and durability with visuals just as strong as those available in tiles and planks.
Armstrong at Surfaces fortified its most successful products. For example, LuxePlank with FasTak now has an updated display with changes made to modular units so products can be showcased in a more linear fashion, making samples easily removable.
New Alterna styles were previewed in Armstrong’s showroom off the show floor in advance of their spring launch. The line, which has seen success with authentic stone visuals, has been updated to include more contemporary designs that are a mix of both wood and stone in grays, beiges and creams.
Armstrong’s StrataMax sheet, targeting the property management and multi-family market, features a good/better/best system based on varied finishes and thicknesses. All products include the ToughGuard inner layer that is a limestone/felt blend. StrataMax Value and StrataMax Value Plus received new additions with the latter including a urethane finish. Options within the line range from 55 mil to 65 mil.
After taking a 12-year hiatus from the show floor, Congoleum exhibited its recent “transformation” via revamped products, displays and a butterfly theme.
First on the list was the Timeless collection, which has been revamped with the creation of a cohesive good/better/best line: Endurance, Impact and Structure at 8mm, 12mm and 20mm, respectively, offered in a dry back tape system and click.
Timeless is the “big one” for Congoleum this year, followed by Armorcore, a new sheet line. ArmorCore’s options are easy to navigate: ArmorCore is a PVC felt-backed base product offered in perimeter glue down; ArmorCore Pro includes Ultratech with loose lay and perimeter glue down installation options; ArmorCore UR with urethane is available in perimeter glue down and ArmorCore Pro UR comes with both urethane and Ultratech, offered in loose lay and perimeter glue down installation options. The line includes 24 designs, all available in each construction.
DuraCeramic gets a new display system as well as new SKUs. Along with updated branding, including a new logo, the DuraCeramic display is now more user friendly. The updated products include 10 new SKUs in 12 x 24 and 10 in 16 x 16.
Airstep also has a new display, helping create a better shopping experience for the target female consumer in terms of size and navigability. The display is clearly color-coded so products can be easily found and samples easily removed from racks to lay on the floor. There is room for both best-selling staple products and the 15 new SKUs, which feature an emphasis on wood and few repeats.
EarthWerks’ primary message this year is emphasizing its three-decade history as a trusted LVT supplier.
New products include Trenton, offered in 18 x 18 and 18 x 36 formats with designs that address gray color trends through a blended wood and stone visual, and Park Hill, a wood polymer composite offered in 7 x 48 planks that range from gray tones to traditional browns.
Also new is Cocktail, a 7 x 48 plank in bold colors—such as blues and greens—and Regalia, offered in 12 colors and two plank sizes, 9 x 60 and 7 x 48, with Välinge’s 5G locking system. What differentiates Regalia is its deep registered embossing, making the product realistic looking in both trendy and traditional colors.
The company updated its original Choice display with additional towers. Avante, Aurora and Regalia are standout products in the display, but offerings can be mixed and matched as each individual retailer prefers.
Despite being off the main floor, IVC’s Surfaces space was bustling. While the company decided to be a bit more understated at the show, both because its new LVT factory isn’t quite ready yet and it had a major sheet vinyl launch last year, it did unveil its new Embellish collection, its first complete embossed-in-register LVT within the Moduleo line.
Embellish features 11 wood SKUs in an XL plank format of 9.5 x 59 with either click or glue down application for either residential or commercial use. Embellish rounds out Moduleo’s good/better/best/premium collection, joining the new Caliber (a slightly thinner option available in click) at good, Vision at better, Horizon at best and Embellish at premium.
Building upon the successful unveiling of its Luxury Vinyl Sheet line and Color Select selling system at Surfaces 2014, Mannington has decided to convert the program to the felt side of its business. With traditional felt-backed vinyl the company will now offer 40 patterns in three performance levels designed around lifestyle. Some new patterns have been added in conjunction with the new selling system, including Stone Harbor, which features what seems to be the hot visual for 2015: a blend of wood and stone.
In Adura, the theme for Mannington this year is getting back to basics. Arriving this spring are five new designs that range from trending visuals to classics. Some new patterns were reintroduced, such as Vibe, which was a top seller for Mannington but now includes more muted color tones.
Raskin Gorilla Floors
With the LVT business in constant growth mode, Michael Raskin, president and CEO, decided to round out the entire portfolio with the company’s biggest launch ever.
Interwoven was the hit of the show. A woven vinyl product that is laminated on an LVT backing, Interwoven has the same backing as the company’s successful Elevations line, allowing end users to mix and match products, creating seamless transitions and custom designs.
R9 LVT was the big introduction from Raskin Gorilla Floors, featuring unique patterns created by Raskin himself. The line is geared toward the A&D community, mainly in fashion-forward, urban areas like Miami, Chicago and Manhattan. All offerings are offered in 18 x 36 with some in 36 x 36 and one in an extra large 59-inch plank.
New from the hot COREtec line is COREtec One, which is set to come out this month. With a 3 mil construction, One is lined up to go “head-to-head with IP pirates.” It doesn’t have cork on the back like COREtec Plus, but it has all of the other features including water resistance, easy installation and dimensional stability.
COREtec Plus HD is USFloors’ first embossed-in-register offering. The line includes eight SKUs and wider, longer planks with some of the same features as COREtec Plus XL but with graining and embossing that will create a more realistic appearance. It is set for release later this year.
Some visuals will carry over across the COREtec line, allowing for consistent options in different constructions.