February 16/23, 2015; Volume 28/Number 17
By Jenna Lippin
(Second of two parts)
The resilient category has maintained its prominence with consumers who want the look of wood or natural stone with all the benefits luxury vinyl has to offer. With that, suppliers continue to deliver the latest and greatest, many updating collections with trending colors and formats (bigger is better). In addition, composite products are on the rise, offering water resistance and increased dimensional stability. Following are some additional highlights from Surfaces 2015.
The Mira collection was updated with larger tile formats, some wood looks and travertine visuals, all to elicit a more contemporary feel. Several traditional styles remain in Mira, but in terms of color the company is doing more with fashion-forward grays and taupes. Samples are shipping this month.
American Biltrite also previewed its UltraCeramic product at the show, which was successfully launched last year in Canada. The company considers it an alterative to ceramic but not LVT as it is heavier and more resistant to wear.
The new Pure collection was the star of Beauflor’s showroom off the show floor. With 12 x 24 and 24 x 24 tiles, in addition to 8 x 52.2 and 8 x 72.28 planks, the company’s goal is for end users to create unique designs as all options from the line can be combined thanks to Beauflor’s proprietary locking system, Dream Click. One of the main advantages of this installation method, according to the company, is the floor can be installed without extensive subfloor prep. Pure is a 5 mil LVT for added stability with 16mm and 22mm wear layers, the latter coming with a 10-year commercial warranty, making it ideal for health care, multi-family, assisted living, etc. In total, Pure includes 15 SKUs—11 planks and four tiles.
After years of taking up prime real estate on the Surfaces main floor, this year the company moved to a private showroom as part of its Family Reunion regional events. “We’re able to see a lot more dealers and there are a lot more salespeople who can come to regional shows,” said Stan Bouckaert, director of hard surface. “Sharing this room with Beaulieu Canada has kind of magnified the amount of people. We’ve been packed every day.”
COREtec One from the company’s Bliss brand took center stage, particularly because its unveiling came on the heels of the announcement of Beaulieu’s licensing agreement for the product with USFloors. “The main thing we’re excited about with COREtec is the brand [name],” Bouckaert said. “It’s well known, and it’s a huge name in the marketplace so that gives us some price protection. It’s a great differentiator.”
What makes Beaulieu’s product different from USFloors’ offering? Color options, for one. Beaulieu has 12 exclusive colors. Also, soundproof backing is optional; COREtec Plus and COREtec Plus XL automatically come with attached backing. “We know some people want that sound absorption, so we have an underlayment that is competitively priced that [retailers] can include in a package and still sell.”
After experimenting with its version of WPC LVT over the last year, Happy Feet showcased its Stabilicore offering. The product has been particularly popular in commercial applications thanks to its 20mm wear layer and antimicrobial feature, according to Casey Johnson, president. The collection now includes a 12 x 24 profile, a WPC with a slate look. Stabilicore offers 13 SKUs in total.
Happy Feet’s IronMan commercial line was also highlighted at the show. It’s a 3mm glue down, antimicrobial product offered in nine colors with beveled edges and a 20 mil wear layer. The gray/brown blend of color is particularly popular.
Novalis is launching Birkdale, which features extra large planks measuring 9 x 16, along with extra large tiles in an 18 x 36 format. Multi-width planks are also available, measuring 5, 6 and 7 inches. “All [options] come in the same box, so it is very easy for an installer to use and create flooring designs for end users,” said John Wu, president and CEO. Birkdale is also commercially rated, helping retailers capture sales in the Main Street, builder and specifier markets.
“Retailers are more educated about the commercial business now,” Wu said. “Not every commercial job is for the A&D community or large specifiers; there are plenty of small jobs, and that market is best served by specialty retailers.”
In its third year promoting the iSelect selling system, Tarkett is maintaining its goal of simply helping dealers make more money. “We must speak a different language,” said Kaye Gosline, creative director, residential. “We must differentiate ourselves as independent retailers from the big box. That’s the way retailers are going to win long term. Consumers have much higher standards than they used to; the approach with iSelect will help create a better customer experience, period.” According to company research, retailers who have taken on Tarkett’s entire iSelect system have sold 25% more product than those who kept previous displays and simply updated the products.
Tarkett’s space on the show floor included in-person room scenes reflecting color families across its collections within its Specifi program, which encompasses three different constructions for LVT and LVP. Colors and visuals are offered across the board, allowing customers to simply select the products that will meet their individual needs. Color families also coordinate, allowing end users to create unique, seamless designs.
Specifi has been updated with six new SKUs added to “change it up” without a big launch for 2015. With FiberFloor—Tarkett’s resilient sheet product—refreshed last year, the line was on display but without updates.
PermaStone has been revamped for 2015. Featured designs include Sandstone, offered in 12 x 24 and 16 x 16 formats; Rush, a 16 x 16 that includes movement across stone visuals; Borealis Pine, a rustic yet refined look in a 6 x 48 plank; and Repose, which comes in 12 x 24, 12 x 12 and 6 x 48 formats with blended wood and stone visuals and an embossed look to add realism.
Adding to its collection of wood and bamboo products, Wellmade has launched Palazzo luxury vinyl tiles in addition to planks and tiles from outside the new collection. With the popularity of groutable LVT the company has designed a registered embossed grout joint to its vinyl tiles, making them look even more like real stone and ceramic. With wood visuals Wellmade is focusing on reclaimed American species, including walnut, oak, cherry and maple. Planks are character grade with wider widths and longer lengths in trending grays and browns.
The company is also offering WPC products, noting the importance of a construction that is less “flimsy” than LVT, making it easier to install.