Jan 18/25; Volume 30/Number 15
By Ken Ryan
Salem, N.J.—Mannington has always used the grand stage of The International Surface Event (TISE) to show off its style and design talents. As the company proudly celebrates its 100th anniversary, it is gearing up for perhaps its most impressive new product introduction to date at Surfaces 2016.
“We’re doubling down on our R&D,” Ed Duncan, president of Mannington residential, told FCNews during a product preview at the Mannington design showcase center here, which opened in the middle of 2015 at Mannington’s headquarters. “It reinforces to me that style and design is in our DNA; it’s how we will win.”
Joe Amato, vice president of residential styling, along with his team, have been working on the new line for more than a year. Because Mannington is in the enviable position of being in all hard surface categories, Amato stated: “We have a big advantage—we can copy ourselves.”
The theme of Mannington’s new introductions is Centennial (for obvious reasons), and many of the product introductions play into that concept. Amato said Centennial could mean many things, from retro looks to restored or historical. “There is an authenticity to it, an artisan feel. A lot of looks have that retro, reclaimed feel; it’s a hot trend today, so it fits in perfectly with our strategy.”
Mannington’s Surfaces introductions include 50 Adura LVT SKUs, its largest such launch of Adura offerings, along with its entrée into the burgeoning WPC category. “[WPC] is an important subcategory to LVT,” Duncan said, “but we are not calling it WPC; it’s more like enhanced vinyl plank.” It will be marketed under the Adura Max brand.
Here’s a closer look at Mannington’s Surfaces introductions:
Mannington, which considers LVT its own category, will introduce a bevy of products with wire brushing and oak visuals. Included in the new Adura collection is Margate Oak, which Dan Natkin, senior director of residential products, said is based on the best-selling laminate Fairhaven, which gained popularity on the strength of distinctive patterns and wire brushing.
Seaport (eight SKUs) is a whitewashed worn plank that is offered in gray, muted brown and white in a 6 x 48 format.
Mannington is upping the ante with its successful Adura LVT line with 50 news SKUs, in what it calls its largest Adura launch to date. The company has high hopes for Meridian, an Adura product with a weathered concrete look offered in five colors and four formats: 6 x 48, 12 x 24, 16 x 16 and 6 x 18. The 6 x 18 format can be used as a herringbone or subway tile, allowing Mannington to create variation with lighter colors. “No competitor has anything like Meridian,” said Jimmy Tuley, director of residential LVT.
Mannington’s foray into WPC, or engineered luxury vinyl, is Adura Max. It will be offered in eight patterns and 24 SKUs. Selling points include the product’s dimensional stability—a hallmark for WPC-type floors— and a core that is purportedly resistant to bowing and expanding. “It will be the quietest product on the market,” Tuley said.
The product includes a ScratchResist urethane finish to boost performance. Mannington executives envision the product in multifamily settings or in residential homes with multiple floors. “We have a product that isolates sound better than any [floors] on the market,” Natkin said. “We feel we’ve designed a better mousetrap.”
Two years ago luxury vinyl (fiberglass) sheet was the big Mannington introduction at Surfaces. This year, the company is coming out with a specific Centennial collection. Part of the inspiration behind the collection, according to Natkin, comes from the remodeling side of the business. “This is a contemporary take on a classic look,” he said. “When someone is remodeling, they may not be changing everything out; they may just be looking for a refresh. With sheet vinyl, we took the word Centennial and put together a collection that showcased some popular looks of the past.”
Other sheet introductions include Filigree, a hand-painted decorative tile look offered in a patterned look that is popular in porcelain tile that is now moving to sheet vinyl; Union Way reflects the look of hand-laid brick that is worn to where you can see grout lines fused together; and Penny Lane comes in a mosaic pattern using hexagon to make the mosaic. It has a throwback 1950s-1960s feel.
“We’re [aiming] for the most realistic looks in sheet vinyl,” Amato explained. “We’re seeing more modular, larger formats and planks.”
In the last four years the Restoration Collection has defined Mannington’s laminate story. Noted for realistic looks, thicker construction and performance attributes, Restoration is carrying the majority of laminate sales. “We have grown for the last several years despite people saying the laminate category is flat or shrinking,” Natkin said, adding that the styling and embossing in the new Restorations collection “blows you away.”
Beyond hitting the right notes in terms of style and product performance, being in the right channel has also paid dividends. “As wood prices were increasing, we began to program laminate with builders as a substitute for wood,” Natkin said. “Restoration is priced comparable to entry-level wood. Wood is the No. 1 callback for builders. [As a result] we have gotten several large builders to take on laminate.”
New this year is an 8-inch- wide plank that the company hopes will build momentum. Hillside Hickory, for example, is distinguished by many knots, saw marks and embossing. It comes in four colors.
Mannington also continues to experiment with different formats, such as variable widths; case in point is Keystone Oak. “I think this is going to be a home run with the random widths,” Natkin said. Because the laminate manufacturing process is highly automated, companies normally have two choices: have a worker manually do the sorting on the production line, which is costly; or have the installers mix the planks to create the various widths onsite. “So we have 8-inch-wide planks and then we have created multiple widths within the 8-inch plank,” Natkin explained. “The challenge is to make the grout line look authentic.”
As with the other hard surfaces, Mannington’s new wood lines come in random widths as well as the popular 5-inch widths. Of note is Mountain View Hickory, a rustic visual with traditional handscraping and hand staining. “The product is red hot,” Amato said.
Speaking of hot, Smokehouse Oak, Smokehouse Hickory and Smokehouse Maple speaks to the trend of smoky colors, be they smoky browns or grays.
Amato said the goal with Smokehouse is to take oak, hickory and maple and create three different stains within a single SKU (dark brown, light brown and orange brown) that gives off a random color appeal on each product.
With its existing entry-level American Oak line, Mannington has updated the color palette for the first time since 2008. Two colors were dropped, and three new colors were added (bark, leather and smoke).