Distributors laud ‘game-changing’ luxury flooring
Jan 18/25; Volume 30/Number 15
By Jenna Lippin
Lancaster, Pa.—We all know the idea of the calm before the storm—certainly in the economic climate of the last decade—and Armstrong’s recent activities reflect just that. While the company has continued to find great success as a supplier of hard surface offerings, the market has adjusted to its most desirable options like the exceedingly popular Alterna LVT, Luxe Plank with FasTak, Architectural Remnants laminate and its Bruce hardwood brand, to name a few.
The storm is coming to the industry in the form of Armstrong’s “game-changing” Vivero luxury flooring product, which will launch at Surfaces with the company returning to the show floor.
“In recent years LVT has become this homogenized pool of sourced product,” said Jeremy Kleinberg, Armstrong’s product manager for residential LVT. “It’s the same offering with different brands on them. We really want to differentiate from this sea of products, so we’re calling Vivero luxury flooring instead of LVT.”
Vivero—a mash up of Latin roots “viv” and “vero” meaning “life” and “truth”—is notable for its composition, specifically its rigid core made of limestone and PVC, and the Diamond 10 technology used in its coating—a patent-pending, diamond-infused layer for extra durability. Diamond 10 allows for “unprecedented” scratch and stain resistance in addition to cleanability. The product is also waterproof; liquid will bead on Vivero’s surface, making it easy to wipe away.
The 41 fresh designs featured throughout Vivero are inspired by nature, including rustic, traditional, exotic and some natural stone looks. The four collections within Vivero—Rustic Rediscovered, Traditional Transformation, Exotic Escapes and Stunning Stone—each include a good/better/best program with varieties of sizes, colors and realistic visuals. Diamond 10 technology is used on better and best products, which have 12 mil and 20 mil wear layers, respectively. Good selections have a 6 mil wear layer.
A major differentiator for products within Vivero’s collections is the installation options. All “good” SKUs come with simple and secure angle-angle locking technology while “best” and “better” both feature the IntegriLock system, which utilizes 5G technology from Välinge. All Vivero products are also offered in glue-down options.
“Our goal is to be market aligned on price with the LVT category but with a better luxury flooring product,” Kleinberg said. “Vivero is dedicated to specialty flooring retailers. It will not be in big box stores. We are not focusing on property management, builder or multi-family.”
With that, Armstrong will take the focus off its Luxe Plank with FasTak in an effort to make Vivero the “core” of its LVT. “[Luxe Plank] will be a specialty product from an installation standpoint,” Kleinberg said. “It has been our only merchandised LVT product at retail for the last year with the main story being its easy, loose lay, stable installation. We met the needs of those customers. There is a much broader base of customers looking at other solutions.”
As for where Vivero will stand next to Alterna, Kleinberg said Vivero is “unrelated” to Alterna from a retail standpoint. “Vivero is planks; Alterna is engineered stone.”
Vivero inventory, made in Armstrong’s Lancaster manufacturing plant, is being produced now with displays on the way.
Distributors who have previewed the collection see much promise with Vivero as it will be something truly unique in the marketplace.
“Armstrong has something with this Diamond 10 technology that is demonstrably different in wear and stain resistance,” said John Sher, president of Adleta. “I think they are on to something huge. It is a game changer. There is a story to tell for retailers. They can command a premium for this product. It is new and exciting and will get us out of the 6 mil, 12 mil, 20 mil price race to the bottom.”
Scott Roy, senior vice president of the Armstrong division and customer service for Haines, said Vivero is “in a class by itself. No other product will have the Diamond 10 technology, and no other wear layer can match its performance and durability.”
He added the benefits of the location of Vivero production, noting that the Lancaster plant is an advantage for distribution thanks to quick delivery and it appeals to the consumer who wants a domestically made product.
“It isn’t often a major manufacturer launches a product that is a real game changer,” Roy added. “I believe Vivero has the features and benefits to do this. And it carries with it a great brand name and great reputation with Armstorng.”
Scott Rozmus, president, FlorStar, also lauded Diamond 10. “There were two factors that impressed me the most about Armstrong’s Diamond 10 technology. First, the product utilizes actual diamonds in its construction. What can be cooler than that? Everyone grows up learning and understanding that diamonds are the hardest [material] one can find. Now we have Armstrong synthesizing this time-proven and revered mineral for use in flooring. The marketing possibilities are almost endless.”
Second, he said, are the demonstration possibilities with Diamond 10. “In two minutes or less practically anyone can demonstrate its superiority to any competitive offering. That’s powerful.”