“You can talk all you want about how great Hybrid is, but seeing and feeling is believing,” said Harvey Johnson, vice president of Miami-based Mastercraft Flooring Distributors, which carries the product.
Craig Folven, vice president of sales and marketing at Herregan Distributors, Eagan, Minn., agreed, adding the company has received “fantastic response” since launching the product to about 120 dealers more than a month ago. “It came streaming out of the gate. It has all the bells and whistles you could want in one product. You don’t need any underlayment or subfloor with Hybrid.”
This is all music to the ears of Michael Raskin, president and CEO of Darien, Conn.-based Metroflor, which supplies Hybrid. He told FCNews this is yet another example of his company’s mission to bring innovative products to the market that have both function and purpose while boosting margins for independent dealers.
“These products are a brand-new concept,” Raskin said. “What’s unique about Hybrid is we took the best from laminate and the best from LVT. In laminate we took the click system, which was already established in the market. As for the LVT, this product has a perfectly smooth HDF sub-floor already attached to the back. It’s connected to a floating plank, which is where the market is going. Plus, LVT is a hot product. All we have done is make it better.”
Raskin said among its advantages, Hybrid is more water resistant than typical laminate products. No adhesives are required. “In addition, the consumers like the 12mm thickness because it has a lot of substance,” meaning it provides a denser sound with foot traffic than traditional laminate floors.
Todd Thomas, senior vice president of sales at William M. Bird, Charleston, S.C., noted that Hybrid “is proof that MetroFlor strives to stay on the leading edge of product innovation in the LVT category.” He said the product represents “a new concept that combines the beauty of wood, the warmth of LVT, and the durability and value that traditional laminate flooring provides.”
Hybrid’s price points are higher than laminate flooring but Raskin believes consumers will see the value. “We never tell the retailer what to charge for a product,” he said. “But our retail customers can add value and make real money with this product.”
Herregan’s Folven said the price points with Hybrid are similar to that of higher-end hand-scraped laminates. “It’s an easy story to tell when you can sell an LVT plank without underlayment, and it is a great value,” he said.
Metroflor markets Hybrid and Hybrid Plus as a better/best option. Hybrid features a 12 mil wearlayer with ceramic bead finish and an 8mm high-density fiberboard. Hybrid Plus has a 20 mil wearlayer with micro-beveled edges. Boards are 71⁄2 inches wide by 48 inches long. Both Hybrid and Hybrid Plus have a hand- scraped surface and a 25-year residential limited warranty. Hybrid has a 7-year commercial limited warranty and Hybrid Plus a 10-year commercial limited warranty.
Mastercraft’s Johnson said Hybrid’s durability is so demonstrable he challenges anyone to test it. “I tell people to just dump stuff on it,” he said. Johnson said soup cans are good for demo purposes as well as canned vegetables. He has seen the demo enough times to know the floor will show no ill effects.
“What we will witness is the durability of the product,” he said. “At the end of the demo there is no damage to the floor, and even if there should be a slight dent from a corner hitting perfectly, the dent disappears within a very short time since we’re working with a resilient floor.”
Johnson said Mastercraft asks dealers if they have a laminate floor they would like subjected to the same test. “[The laminates] don’t do as well. Additionally, we have applied iodine, wine, mustard among other things to stain the [Hybrid] floor, and all are easily cleaned.
“The upshot is the retailer has a new, unique product the installer is familiar and comfortable with. The retailer doesn’t find himself trying to match the lowest price. He can make a profit selling this product.”
MasterCraft stocks matching trim in all colors to provide retailers with the complete package to sell. “We are in the business for one reason: to make our customers profitable,” Johnson said. Asked if Hybrid was one of those products, he said, “No doubt.”