By Ken Ryan
Jeff Striegel, president of the Owings Mills, Md.-based distributor, said he regards Välinge Flooring as among the first true innovations in wood flooring since aluminum oxide was developed in the mid-1990s. Striegel noted that while there have been advancements in staining, wire brushing and handscraping, the new line stands out for its construction. “We didn’t need another wood line—we have Mannington, Lauzon and Somerset,” Striegel said. “However, we did have a specific void for waterproof wood with a higher-quality click configuration.”
The innovative wood flooring is manufactured using Välinge’s Woodura surface technology. The product is made by fusing a thin sheet of real wood with a wood fiber core through a powder mix layer. How it works: The powder mix fills the natural openings of the wood, thereby enhancing the wood’s appearance while increasing its overall strength and durability. In combination with the powder, the product line is said to be three times harder than regular wood.
“You have a product that is becoming more indestructible,” Striegel said. “You have real wood from the face plate all the way to the bottom of the product. We’ve been looking for a meaningful waterproof, good-looking wood product for two years. Until seeing Välinge, what we saw simply didn’t look like wood. It literally is a no brainer, and without a doubt is one of the hottest new introductions in the past decade.”
Välinge Flooring, which uses the tagline “real wood reinvented,” features Välinge’s 5G fold-down locking system and includes the company’s 5G Dry waterproof technology. “We are an innovative company and have over the years put our many game changers on the market for other companies to license,” said Niclas Håkansson, CEO. “For us, creating a product that contains several of our unique innovations was a natural next step to take. I dare say, [Välinge Flooring] might be the best work we have done so far.”
The new line launches with 11 designs and three species: oak, walnut and ash. “From a differentiation standpoint, Woodura technology really gave us something unique and brings a high level of differentiation,” Striegel added. “[The line also] hits on the wider and longer formats; is priced right at $6 retail, which puts us in a desirable place, and has an eco-friendly aspect to it. It addressed every consideration we had.”
Elias Wilf is in placement mode now with full launch and rollout coming in the December/January time frame.