By Megan Salzano Las Vegas—While the show floor at the 2021 edition of the International Surface Event (TISE) may not have been as chock-full of flooring suppliers as we’re used to, there certainly was no lack of innovation in the space. Resilient flooring suppliers pulled out all the stops for this year’s event, showcasing everything from new stone looks that lend an unprecedented realism to rigid core’s visual appeal to unique installation opportunities that allow for intricate designs previously unattainable in the resilient category.
It’s no wonder resilient flooring suppliers came to play at TISE 2021, as the category garnered a jaw-dropping 20% gain in sales last year and doesn’t show any signs of stopping in 2021. The category’s meteoric rise is due, in large part, to the rigid core subsegment, which has grown by leaps and bounds in both dollar sales and consumer demand. That’s largely because “waterproof” is the name of the game in today’s market and rigid core options tap that trend perfectly, among others.
The category did hit some roadblocks in the first half of the year, with supply challenges forcing both suppliers and their retail/distributor partners to devise unique strategies that would marry supply with growing demand. However, the category has yet to lose its steam. As such, resilient flooring suppliers offered up a variety of stylish and technologically advanced product lines for attendees at this year’s event.
Following are four trends in resilient flooring that stood out.
Rigid core reigns
It’s no secret that the rigid core subsegment of the resilient category has taken the industry by storm. SPC, in particular, has captured the consumer’s attention and driven RSAs to shout its benefits from the rooftops.
This year, Mohawk refreshed its entire SolidTech lineup. Every SKU in the line was upgraded from a WPC to a truly rigid core SPC. “One of the things that we’ve seen with WPC is that wood tends to compress,” said Ed Sanchez, vice president of product management, resilient. “Though it was a great product and served the industry well, the density of the SPC stone core means you don’t get that indentation. We felt this really provided the consumer value.”
Republic Floor claims to have the best SPC on the market. Here’s why: “It’s a patented core that makes the product more durable,” said Rotem Eylor, CEO. “Most products on the market use limestone, which is a very soft stone—it’s cheap. Today, there is a race to the bottom. It’s no wonder there are so many claims in the market and so many things are going wrong.”
At the show, Create introduced 12 new SKUs of its MSPC scratch-proof SPC. “To me, everything has been driven by the pet industry—80% of households have pets,” said Amy Watkins, director of operations and sales. “So, rigid core makes much more sense when there are accidents, nails, etc., to worry about. The scratch-proof MSPC is definitely geared toward that. SPC, as a whole, just makes more sense and is more practical than some other options.”
LW Mountain might fly under the radar, but the supplier has been in the flooring business for over 20 years servicing the retail channel. Its vinyl lineup was front and center at the show, including its click SPC lines in wood and stone looks available in varying color options. But there’s more. “One thing that sets us apart is the fact that we make all of our own matching transition pieces—all in East Dundee, Ill.,” said Tom Miessler, COO and technical advisor.
Wood looks win
Hardwood looks in non-hardwood flooring categories are nothing new. What is new is the level of realism the resilient category is now able to achieve in these styles today.
At this year’s show, suppliers decided it was time to take that design prowess even further and offer up nuance style formats previously limited to the hardwood category.
“We are challenging ourselves to come up with new ways to add more design elements in a very structured format that doesn’t stem from creativity but from convenience, and then focusing on how you make it creative,” said Jenne Ross, marketing director, Karndean Designflooring.
Stunning in stone
As resilient flooring continues to take share from categories like hardwood and ceramic, it has begun to emulate more of the mainstay visuals from those product segments. Wood-look resilient flooring has been going strong, but this year stone looks got their day in the sun. While some consumers may be tiring of wood look-alikes, stones are gaining traction as resilient flooring printing technologies continue to advance.
“Everyone has been asking for more stone and tile looks,” said Larry Purcell, director of sales, Midwest/Northeast, Provenza. “LVP is doing very well for us, and I don’t see that changing in the near future—especially as the visuals keep getting better and better.”
Large lives on
Large format has been in vogue for both the hardwood and ceramic categories for years now. But it’s resilient’s time to shine.
At this year’s show, resilient suppliers offered up sizes ranging upwards of 60 x 10 in plank sizes in their efforts to more authentically mimic the look of wood planks.
“I think SPC has already reinvented itself multiple times in the past two years,” said Jerry Guo, president, Lions Floor. “As manufacturers and designers, we are catching up to the newest trends in the market and renewing our product portfolio. Consumers are devoted to it. SPC can deliver the benefits of their ‘real’ counterparts better than those choices even can.”