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Spring introductions: New products, innovations blossoming

Much of the U.S. may still be struggling to escape winter temperatures but the calendar says it’s officially spring. A time of rebirth and hope, not just in nature, spring is when consumers air out their homes and take a look at how to get the glum out of the house. One historical way has been to redecorate, with new floors and furniture and a fresh coat of paint. Spring traditionally marks one of the industry’s busiest selling times.

Despite the economy growing slower than most hoped, it hasn’t deterred manufacturers from rolling out new goods and technologies to help retailers capture as many sales as possible. FCNews takes a category-by-category look at some of the products hitting retail stores this spring.

Hardwood bucks the trends

Though the season typically conjures imagery of nascency and verdure, this spring’s introductions are going for more of an aged, retro appeal. Antiquing and worn visuals are the decided trend, with a more refined finish than in seasons past. From proprietary anti-wear finishes to revolutionary warrantees, visual and value-added longevity is the key to the consumer’s category demands while still providing looks that inspire creativity and unique styling.

Lauzon

The mill is putting fashion first with a new line, Designer Elements, and product enhancements to the Line Art, Antique and Reserva collections.

Developed for the designer market, Designer Elements uses hard maple to reinvent the look of red oak, said Daniel LeDuc, vice president of marketing. “Sophistication with flair for contrasts and maximum impact, to soothing influences from nature personalize each décor.”

Additionally, a mineral blue color has been added to Line Art; a white tone in Camarillo complements Palomino in the Antique collection, and Cerralvo, a stain-free, torrified white oak was added to Reserva.

“The goal is to elevate the in-store experience, making the selection of flooring enjoyable so consumers will share with their neighbors,” LeDuc said. The new products appeal to the emotional connection consumers have with color and enable her to make the right design choice for her lifestyle. “The most exciting part of it all for the consumer is she can express herself with collections from Lauzon, making flooring an exciting design element in the transformation of any house into a home.”

The spring introductions feature the Polynium Plus with Titanium Traffic, a nanotechnology finish that provides transparency with resistance to wear. The mill’s FSC-certified wood also features Sunshield, a treatment that prevents yellowing due to UV rays, and Ultra-Fresh antimicrobial protection against microorganisms that cause odors, staining and deterioration.

Mohawk

The company that most recently dabbled in specialty flooring like bamboo and reclaimed hardwood is bringing out Greyson for spring. Combining subtle distressed character with a low-luster, the multi-stain, antiquing process creates a timeworn visual, said Tammy Lawson, assistant brand manager, Mohawk Hard Surfaces. “Casual, aged styling hides blemishes that may occur over time, giving Greyson a lasting, timeless beauty.” An engineered product, it is manufactured with Mohawk’s PureBond Technology, eliminating additional formaldehyde emissions associated with UF adhesives. PureBond Technology produces flooring with lower formaldehyde emissions that may contribute to better indoor air quality compared to traditionally manufactured engineered hardwoods, Lawson added.

Mullican

A recent unveiling of a new solid hardwood collection, Meridian Pointe defines Mullican’s spring highlights. When coupled with its proprietary Aqua Shield installation system, the line carries a lifetime moisture warranty, resisting the effects of moisture that lead to warping, buckling or cupping. To qualify, consumers must install the mill’s Moisture Mat, a Meridian Pointe product, and provide Mullican with the job site’s environmental conditions such as room temperatures and humidity levels.

“Meridian Pointe carries the hardwood industry’s first lifetime moisture warranty for a solid floor,” said Brian Greenwell, vice president, sales and marketing. “The floors are designed so that each plank can expand at the bottom if exposed to moisture without affecting the surface.”

Released after four years of development, Mullican technicians tested the product for a year before spending another two in a university’s wood products research department. Greenwell said 2009 was spent on field studies of installations in high-risk humidity locations to see how the product performed.

Meridian Pointe is available in 3-, 4- and 5-inch widths and five shades of oak.

“Mullican’s new collection is a tremendous benefit to consumers, who, for the first time ever, are guaranteed a floor replacement if a Meridian Pointe product warps, buckles or cups over the life of their home,” Greenwell said. “Retailers benefit by being able to offer consumers an extremely reliable hardwood floor that is far less likely to generate customer complaints or installation callbacks.”

Shaw

Building on the success of its Epic hardwood line, Shaw is introducing additions and new widths. The new Landscapes collection comes in 7-inch widths of hickory and maple, four colors each. Three 5-inch selections are also available.

“Capitalizing on the momentum from 2010, Epic’s already harder, denser, greener and tougher plank is widening appeal to the increasing interest and demand for wider boards,” said Kevin Thompson, Shaw’s hardwood category manager. “The combination of 7-inch widths and 59-inch lengths makes for an ultra-premium, high-end flooring product at competitive prices.”

Acadian Heights and Panorama are also new to the Epic lines. Panorama features a multi- stain process and surface textures that portray the color variation and grain of hickory. Acadian Heights is a satin finish maple with Shaw’s ScufResist Platinum sealant.

Shaw has also released two solid hardwoods: Mineral Bluff and Cape Ann. Both wire brushed, Mineral Bluff is an oak in reclamation visuals with competitive pricing for the remodel and new construction arenas, while Cape Ann is a hand-sanded oak in four colors.

-Emily Hooper

Carpet mills sprouting with new textures, patterns

With spring comes renewal, a time to experience and experiment with what’s new, innovative and exciting. Broadloom producers from coast to coast not only know what time it is, they’ve come to the table with a wide range of new offerings and options for retailers and end users alike.

Beaulieu of America

Bliss by Beaulieu HealthyTouch addresses two desires of today’s carpet customer: softness and durability. Featuring the mill’s SoftSense polyester fiber technology, the consumer can now have both, noted Jeff Meadows, CMO. Also built into the 20 HealthyTouch styles is Beaulieu’s Magic Fresh odor-reducing treatment and Silver Release technology that inhibits the growth of stain-causing bacteria, mold and mildew.

Meadows pointed out that these proprietary features handle another important consumer concern: a fresher indoor environment. “This is an important concern because almost $5 billion is spent annually on air fresheners and room deodorizers alone.”

All Bliss HealthyTouch carpets carry 3M Scotchgard Protector, lifetime stain protection and Beaulieu’s “You’ll love it or we’ll take it back” guarantee. “No one has ever brought to market carpet collections this advanced, this consumer-solutions oriented or this attractive on the sales floor,” Meadows said. “Healthy never felt this soft.”

Some of the newer products in the collection include Bliss Tuscan in 12 colors, Bliss Style in 36 colors and Bliss Manifest in 28 colors.

Dixie

New to the company’s Masland brand is Inverness, a classic basket weave with subtle striations, while new Stainmaster additions to the Masland Avenue collection—using the company’s proprietary tufting technology to create the look and feel of tufted wool—are also now available.

The big news for the mill’s Fabrica brand includes additions to the Chez collection. With the Ultra Chic pattern, the yarn is used to create what Paul Comiskey, president of Dixie Home/The Dixie Group-Residential business, called “the ultimate pindot” backed by a 48-color line. Another Fabrica highlight is the development of a new fiber that helps recreate the look of wool and viscose.

“We started to explore the opportunity to recreate those looks in alternate fibers that offer better performance,” he explained. “This new fiber features a really soft hand the high-end customer wants.”

The new fiber is featured in three spring introductions.

With Dixie Home the mantra, as Comiskey noted, is affordable fashion. Canoe Ridge is a Stainmaster product that uses different luster levels at a more moderate price point, while with Charleston Place, “the pindot is taken to a new level by not just using a cut and loop construction, but by using different yarns and luster levels.”

Gulistan

The mill recently debuted eight Gulistan carpet styles and 11 American Lifestyles products. The introductions include 13 Stainmaster carpet styles under the Luxerell, Tactesse and Soft brands, and six American Lifestyles styles using Gulistan’s new 6,6 continuous filament nylon system with Scotchgard carpet protector.

“2011 is about ‘soft,’ as part of our continuing commitment to bring distinctive carpets to the market,” said Tony Prestipino, executive vice president of sales and marketing. “Our goal this year is to give consumers the best choices in the soft categories—Luxerell, Tactesse and Soft, as well as our own new soft nylon. The 2011 styles are a diverse mix of on-trend textures, contemporary friezes and striking patterns.”

Nine new styles are crafted using Stainmaster Luxerell type 6,6 continuous filament nylon. The products include the Plaza good-better-best textures; Paradise Touch, a texture with wool-like luster; and a good/better /best offering in an ultra-soft contemporary freize in natural tones with a berber-fleck accent—Dakota Berbers (good), Pleasant Field (better) and Richfield (best).

Richton, a new Stainmaster Tactesse style, is a contemporary continuous filament texture with a frieze look. Its hues share a common palette with the mill’s Park Avenue texture.

Fairlane and Kailey have debuted as two new entry-level Stainmaster Soft casual friezes, with Kailey available as one of two roll specials. Windly, a classic cut-and-loop pattern made with Stainmaster ExtraBody II 6,6 BCF nylon, also has been launched as a roll special with its nine colors comprising the best of the Windridge line.

Under its American Lifestyles brand, Gulistan has introduced six styles built with type 6,6 continuous filament ‘Soft’ nylon and finished with the 3M Scotchgard carpet protector system.

Mohawk

The mill continues its rollout of the first and only branded PET BCF in the carpet industry. Wear-Dated Revive gives retailers a highly competitive collection of products in the PET BCF category, with a unique advantage in the consumer’s eyes, noted David Duncan, vice president of marketing.

“Differentiation and innovation in the PET BCF market are critical to helping retailers maximize the value they bring to consumers while maintaining and growing their store margins,” he said. “Mohawk’s new Wear-Dated Revive program gives retailers a softer, cleaner and longer lasting PET BCF carpet with one of the most powerful consumer brands in the flooring industry.”

Before PET BCF fiber could be branded Wear-Dated, it had to be “tough tested” to ensure it met the brand’s performance certifications, noted Duncan. “A Wear-Dated Revive product is required to meet a higher performance standard in its construction, which includes weight, density and twist.”

Additionally, Mohawk adds an extra step to Wear-Dated Revive carpet production called scouring. “Scouring is a fiber cleaning process during manufacturing that removes process residue, rough fibers, particles and oily residue resulting in improved strength and durability, improved soil protection, and improved softness and fiber body,” he explained. “Plus, it locks-in the Scotchgard Protector Advanced Repel technology, improving longevity of soil protection. This process is what separates Revive from many other PET BCF providers and allows Mohawk’s PET BCF fiber to meet the standards necessary to qualify for Wear-Dated performance certification.”

Shaw

Combining the success of its sleigh displays and the Anso nylon colorwall selling system, Shaw has introduced the 2011 Cleartouch Colorwall. This display shows each traditional and casual substrate in large feeler blankets cascading down the front of the display, allowing the customer to see the visual and feel the products’ softness. The system will feature take-home swatches, providing an easy way for the consumer to match and confirm color selections, noted Jason Green, Shaw Flooring Network brand manager.

Featured on one side of the new Colorwall is See the World (S), a good/better/best collection of solid-color traditional tailored products that represent the softest ClearTouch yarn Shaw has ever introduced. In addition, the colorwall features See the World (T), a good/better/best collection of similarly constructed visuals combined with today’s popular tweeds.

All products presented on the Cleartouch Colorwall are continuous filament (no shedding), treated with Shaw’s patented R2X soil and stain treatment, and backed with Softbac Platinum. The solids are offered in 40 colors while the tweeds feature eight.

In addition to the ClearTouch Colorwall, several products have been added to the ClearTouch collection. Shaw has launched two good/better/ best traditional textures in Secret Escape and Whatever Your Mood.

Shaw’s premium Clear Touch card display has been be enhanced with the addition of French Meadows Tonal and French Meadows Accent. A casual frieze construction, French Meadows offers three distinct visuals: six low contrast tonal colorations, nine medium contrast accent colorations, and nine high contrast accent colorations. Shaw has also introduced several products that are not necessarily packaged as updates, but complete Cleartouch programs where more regional styling is desired. All ClearTouch introductions are treated with R2X stain and soil repellent, providing easy maintenance.

Stanton

In 2010 shags became successful for Stanton and for 2011 the company is ready to continue the “hottest trend” with Shagtastic, Shagariffic, Shaggy Bliss, and Spectacular, said Jonathan Cohen, COO. “For shags with a shine, Shaggy Luxe and Shaggy Radiance are ready to take the spotlight.”

Just in time for summer, he added, the Lake Collection with three new styles, all made of 100% Royalton polypropylene, offer “beautiful new patterns at the same great value.”

-Louis Iannaco

Ceramic producers spring forward

The calendar says it’s spring even if the weather says otherwise, so it’s time for manufacturers across the land to spring forth with exciting and innovative introductions. Fresh off shows like Cevisama in Spain and Coverings in Las Vegas, ceramic manufacturers have produced a plethora of product in different sizes, including the ever- popular planks and textures that run the gamut and colors in varying shades of the spec- trum.

The following are just a few of the latest and greatest offerings now available.

American Olean

The company is introducing four product lines for residential and commercial applications. Each collection—Belmar, Infusion, Kendal Slate and Montego—embodies the quality, style and design that come standard with the American Olean name, noted Lynda White, the company’s brand marketing manager.

Belmar is a residentially focused, glazed line featuring a vivid stone texture which complements the rich collection of color and style options—including wall and mosaic tile elements—providing the opportunity to create a cohesive contemporary design, she noted.

Infusion is one of the brand’s most significant product launches to date for the commercial space, White said. “Its chic fabric visuals meld a perfect blend of contemporary and sophisticated style reminiscent of artisan tweed and rich linen.” Infusion is available in two visuals: Fabric, designed to mimic a tweed pattern, and Wenge, reminiscent of linen. These visuals are complemented through a wide range of color options.

The look of natural slate is captured in the Kendal Slate collection. Available in three colors with high shade variation and enhanced with Reveal Imaging, the collection is the choice for realistic, classic design, she noted. Microban antimicrobial technology is infused into the product’s glaze, offering protection against odor-causing bacteria. The line is made in the U.S.

Earthy hues that mimic the look of travertine are captured within the Montego collection. Products are available in three complementary shades with textured surfaces. Montego features two modular field tile sizes as well as a 3 x 12 bullnose providing a designer finish.

Crossville

From the porcelain producer celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year comes Bluestone. Inspired by the natural stone from which it derives its name, Bluestone features a field of soft earthen tones, enhanced by fossil-like impressions and the subtle pearlescence of embedded shells. In both natural and semi-polished finishes, Crossville said Bluestone porcelain stone tile imparts a classic, time-honored elegance to any space. Designed for both commercial and residential installations, Bluestone contains a minimum of 20% recycled content and is manufactured using processes that have been certified by Scientific Certification Systems. It’s available in four color- ways—Colorado Buff, Arizona Brown, Pennsylvania Blue and Vermont Black—and a variety of sizes.

Also new from the company is its Color by Numbers wall tile featuring “16 neutral and saturated colors created to work in tandem with other elements in a design scheme,” said Frank Douglas, Crossville’s vice president of business development. “The Color by Numbers palette includes six colors created to correspond with bestsellers from our Color Blox floor tile collection. And, to further expand design possibilities, Crossville has joined with Benjamin Moore to offer paint selected with Color by Numbers in mind.”

Emser

The company has launched several lines:

  • Bombay, a glazed porcelain designed to simulate slate in five sizes ranging from 7 x 7 to 20 x 20;
  • Cordova, a glazed ceramic tile recreating the look of travertine featuring a mélange of neutral colors within each tile;
  • Country, a  wood look which comes in 6 x 24 and 4 x 24 planks in four colors, and
  • Landscape, a glazed through-body, which creates a natural slate look with variation and realism.

Florida Tile

New from the company is the Pristine series, which combines a classic natural stone look with a modern large-format wall tile, noted Sean Cilona, director of marketing. Created in a Crema Marfil, the tile has a light background with delicate veining in subtle grays and oranges unique to the stone. Available in a natural finished porcelain floor tile and a shiny ceramic wall tile, the smooth texture and subtle veining give the rich look of marble with none of the maintenance associated with natural stone, he said. Available in a 9 x 18 ceramic wall tile, 12 x 12 and 18 x 18 porcelain floor and a 12 x 12 mosaic, color offerings include Alabaster and Classic Beige.

The latest in Florida Tile’s high definition porcelain series is Grandeur. This line features the company’s fine marble look in three floor tile sizes and two wall tile sizes.

Mannington

Drawing on the architectural inspiration of ancient Egypt, the company’s new Cairo series offers a vibrant mix of natural color variation and realistic texture, noted Jim Dougherty, director of ceramic business. Cairo combines modern technology and ancient beauty to form three exotic-inspired color palettes—a beige, a blend of browns and reds, and a mix of brown, gray and blue.

“Its design options are almost endless with size options for any space,” Dougherty said. “Contrary to popular belief, large-size tile helps make a room look more spacious— there are fewer grout lines to interrupt the continuity of the flooring. In addition, using a variety of shapes and sizes—like rectangles and large-format squares—adds visual interest and a more custom, personalized look to the room.”

Mohawk

The mill’s ceramic tile introductions for 2011 take advantage of new technologies to enhance their visual appearance and performance. The company continues to expand the use of Reveal Imaging, a design process that creates one-of-a-kind realism and provides a wide pattern variation, color definition, detail and veining for a realistic emulation of natural stone.

Villarreal, the company’s newest addition, is a porcelain floor tile that uses this technology to create the look of natural travertine. Available in three colors and three sizes, the collection incorporates Microban antimicrobial protection.

Orchid Ceramics

After spending months traveling the world visiting artisan villages for inspiration, Orchid has created Carissa, the newest line from its Expressions decorative tile collection.

This new line of tile, composed of mostly glass and some porcelain, emulates the artisan lifestyle and look, noted Tena Woolridge, marketing manager. “It has a hand-crafted, no-two- pieces-are-exactly-alike look and feel, similar to artisan hand- made jewelry.”

Orchid’s other new collection, Cubix, is already generating quite the buzz, she noted. “Cubix showcases the art of glass mosaics. It’s composed of frosted and colored glass with a splash of metal.”

Shaw

Porcelain and technology highlight the company’s latest tile and stone introductions. Three of the seven introductions incorporate Clarity Digital Imaging, the latest technology in tile decoration, noted Jason Kyzer, Shaw’s tile and stone category manager. “Digital imaging opens new doors of possibilities and has improved three areas: three-dimensionality, sharpness and depth of color.”

The mill’s spring introductions include:

  • Metropolitan Slate, a porcelain tile that is made in the U.S. and consists of 40% recycled materials;
  • Ridgestone, designed to emulate quartzite and appropriate for indoor and outdoor living areas;
  • Eris, a porcelain tile with marble-like veining that “crosses the subtle hints of stone” with a high luster finish;
  • Capri, an antique travertine visual with chiseled edges;
  • Domus, sporting the look of designer leather in a porcelain tile in five colors;
  • Padova, a coordinated floor and wall tile collection, which incorporates beiges, browns and greys into four color lines, and
  • Classico, a floor/wall tile featuring a vein-cut travertine visual in two light colors for a more formal décor.

-Louis Iannaco

Resilient hatches addition

The resilient category has been one of the main categories to experience growth over the last few years, but manufacturers seem to be playing it safe with the introduction of spring products. As such, mills are using the season to expand on current collections and fill the gaps of current offerings, both in sheet and tile products. Lines with great stone looks are rounding out with proliferated wood visuals, maintaining the integrity of material quality and installation methods. Ultimately, producers in the category are positioning to offer the consumer everything she wants from a price and design standpoint.

Armstrong

Coming off its greatest product launch ever, (FCNews, Dec. 6/13), Armstrong invested $26 million in updating the products in its new resilient display, encompassing felt-backed, fiberglass-backed and Stratamax goods.

New to the builder market is Duality, a fiberglass product with ToughGuard Flex backing with lifetime limited and 15- year light commercial warranties. The collection also features MasterWorks print technology for realistic, 3-D visuals. “Like a high-definition television, MasterWorks Technology 3D with VTx captures the depth, definition and dimension of natural materials, so stones look and feel like stones, and wood looks and feels like wood,” said JoLynne Brew, product manager, Resilient Sheet. The mill has also refreshed its CushionStep fiberglass and StarStep felt collections with new designs and colors.

“From the unique markings of dramatic slate to modular designs that mimic the look of a ceramic installation, the stones collections captures the beauty of natural material and provides warmth and comfort underfoot,” Brew said. Similarly, the wood collection captures graining and color variation of exotic and reclaimed flooring. “Alternatives is visually exotic, combining floor and fashion from the stylish look of leather to modern designs that add drama and sophistication to any room.”

Armstrong vinyl also comes with CleanSweep, the coating that protects against everyday spills, scratches and scuffs with minimal maintenance. Certain floors are also eligible for an antimicrobial layer to help guard against stain and odor-causing bacteria.

Congoleum

DuraPlank II is the season’s highlight from Congoleum. In addition to Dura-product construction, the update contains three new wood looks, a rustic handscraped texture on select patterns and an enhanced wear surface.

Added benefits to DuraPlank II include a patented, low-gloss, stain-resistant surface glaze with Scotchgard protector, silver antibacterial protection, aluminum oxide for scratch resistance, and sus- pended nylon particles that guard against wear, said Dennis Jarosz, senior vice president, sales and marketing. “Extra thick overall limestone composite construction provides stability and excellent impact resistance, and it can be combined with DuraCeramic or Options for a custom-designed floor.”

He continued that DuraPlank II’s moisture resistance makes installation ideal in rooms where water might cause problems for real wood, especially in kitchens and baths. It also will not splinter, crack, warp, cup, crown, scratch or fade and there is no need to add 7% to 10% overage to a job for waste like wood. Manufactured in the U.S. and FloorScore certified, the product is available now.

Mannington

Both sheet and tile goods were updated for the spring. The SobellaOmniHD collection grew from the addition of Colorado, a rectangular modern slate look with rectified grout lines in five earth tones, and Veranda, a weathered and rustic French-style terra cotta in four colors.

“All SobellaOmniHD patterns feature Nature Form HD technology for incredible realism and clarity with images that are 200% sharper, and colors that are richer and deeper than could ever have been achieved before,” said David Sheehan, vice president, Resilient Business. Both additions also come with a 20mil wearlayer with ScratchResist Guardian and Mannington’s GottaLoveIt guarantee.

SobellaSupreme saw the addition of Alloy, a modern 9 x 18 pattern in four colors with metallic hints, and Cantina, a 12-inch terra cotta in four colors. The collection also features NatureForm Optix, ScratchRe- sist Guardian and the mill’s NeverYellow Warranty.

SobellaClassic gained Encore, a 12-inch slate look with grout lines in four colors, and the features and benefits of Sobella Supreme.

In tile, Adura was grown with the additions of Vibe, Casa and Calypso. Vibe is a textile visual in six colors that can be blended for a customized look; Casa takes a terra cotta look when grouted, a painted concrete without, and Calypso, is a marble look in four colors.

All collection updates are available now.

-Emily Hooper

Laminate mills energize with new products, innovations

Despite the fact winter continued into spring across most of the country, the new season has officially arrived and with it a host of new laminate products and technology as mills seek to help retailers regain the enthusiasm once afforded to the category.

The recession may have put a crimp on sales, but it hasn’t stopped manufacturers from investing in technological advancements to create products that look more realistic than ever before, perform better than their predecessors and even install quicker and easier.

The following is a roundup of what some mills will be shipping out in the coming months:

Alloc

Utilizing two locking systems, the new Prestige collection is being hailed as a line that will revolutionize the business, said Bengt Rasin, CEO. Alloc is the first laminate producer to use Välinge’s new 4G aluminum locking on the long side and new 5G-S (side-push) locking system on the short side. Constructed using high-pressure laminate (HPL) technology, Prestige comes in two formats: a 5-inch-wide plank and an extra wide 12-inch plank.

Cindy Thornton, U.S. marketing manager, said the handscraped embossed narrower product features an authentic looking natural wood floor with micro-beveled edges, while the 12-inch product is showcased in both stone and wood visuals giving it a “new design perspective to the entire industry.”

Berry Floor

The company has enhanced its Lounge collection while adding a wider Lounge-Plus line and more designs to its Tile offering. Bengt Rasin, CEO, said along with adding 11 designs to complete the original 3.3-inch-wide Lounge collection, the mill included micro-beveled waxed impregnated sealed edges to the product. Lounge now “hosts the high-end design embossed-in register (EIR)/hand-scraped finishes with the strength of laminate floors.”

Available in 10 colors the new Lounge-Plus is equal to the original line except it is a 4.7- inch-wide plank.

Both collections feature an enhanced drop-lock installation system. “We thickened the short end drop lock for ease of use,” Rasin explained. “No longer do you need to angle/angle your plank in the installation process. No need to tap or pound your ends together; simply slide to the past plank and drop down tight.”

Berry is also launching three random 16-inch-wide designs into its existing Tile collection. The random-format profile features an EIR finish to capture the texture of real tile, he noted.

Eternity Flooring

Eli Shawat, president, said the company is adding the Impeccable Collection to its “long list” of products. The line features five oak colors with a micro press bevel and, according to Shawat, a special finish that makes each product look as authentic as possible.

“I feel these products will be as close as any have ever been to real wood,” he said. “We anticipate this will be a very popular collection and definitely be our attention grabber. As we have done since day one, we will continue to introduce new trends and value in the laminate industry to our customers.”

Lamett

While the company was concentrating its introductions on the expansion of its offerings into luxury vinyl tile (see Domotex asia story), Perry Coker, president, North America, said it had not forgotten its laminate products. As such, the mill continued to focus on its extra long, 7-foot planks by filling out the collection with a hickory look. “It’s something we didn’t have last year and have seen become popular on the wood side.”

Mannington

To help “restore” excitement in laminates, the company is introducing the Restoration Collection, a line “that uses the technology of today to achieve the beauty of yesterday,” noted Besty Amoroso, director of corporate communications. Available in Historic Oak and Black Forest Oak with a total of seven colors in a 12mm construction, she said the products are geared toward consumers seeking products that provide value.

This is a thickness that “appeals to consumers because it provides a quieter floor.”

Historic Oak features “unique embossed in-register technology giving it all the character and depth of a reclaimed wood floor with realistic saw marks and nail holes for a one-of-a-kind feel,” Amoroso noted. It is available in three colors.

Black Forest comes in four hues and has a unique surface texture that creates a 3-D effect, she explained.

Along with Restoration, Mannington is introducing Jakarta Teak, the first product in its Coordinations collection to feature the company’s proprietary NatureForm embossed-in- register technology.

Mohawk

Kincade is the latest laminate offering under the Mohawk brand to hit stores this spring, noted Nicki Osborn, director of public relations. The 5⁄16-inch-thick floor comes in four colors—two rustic maple finishes, plus a rustic American cherry and jatoba, and has an authentic looking oil-rubbed finish that offers

an alternative to high gloss products, she explained.

Kincade also features Mohawk’s GenuEdge Technology. “This is a revolutionary development that delivers the most realistic hardwood edge visual ever seen in laminate flooring,” Osborn said. “This technique allows the plank’s surface design and color to literally “roll over the edge,” creating the same edge visual found in a real wood plank.”

By incorporating this edge treatment to the “already authentic” surface designs, she said Kincade achieves a level of realism that is “unmatched” in the industry today.

Quick•Step

As a result of the success of its GenuEdge Technology and recognizing that consumers will continue to be price conscious, Roger Farabee, senior vice president of marketing, Unilin, said the company has expanded the innovation to its Veresque Collection. Two maple and two cherry smooth furniture finish designs make up the initial offering.

“Veresque’s new products provide a lower gloss that is reminiscent of traditional furniture-finish hardwood, lending a high-end, refined look to a room,” he explained. “Furniture-finish products are becoming the logical successor to high-gloss finishes.”

In addition to expanding the use of GenuEdge, the company launched the Modello Collection, which includes both exotic and traditional designs. The exotic side features wengé and merbau looks while five traditional rustic oak designs ranging from light to dark along with two decors with slight metallic accenting make up the rest of the collection.

All Modello designs are 6 1⁄8-inches wide by 54 inches long, single and constructed on a 8mm HDF platform. They feature “authentic surface texturing that mirrors the pattern of the floor’s woodgrain,” Farabee said.

Lastly, Quick•Step’s Sculptique Collection is getting two hickory products that “provide style that is unique at the mid-range price point.” He said the French bleed on these new decors set them apart from the rest of the Sculptique Collection.

Shaw

OptiGuard, a new, high-gloss, durable laminate finish, is being included on the company’s latest products, which include a range of hickory designs in Timberline and three birch decors in Plaza. Scott Sandlin, Shaw’s vice president of hard surfaces, said OptiGuard is highly scratch resistant and “will dramatically increase detail, beauty and realism in laminate floors.”

Eric Erickson, laminate category manager, added, “Consumers often shy away from high- gloss laminate fearing marring and scratching. OptiGuard is pliant and adaptable, guarding against blemishes in even the toughest environment, offering quality and value that consumers can see.”

To back up its claims, Shaw tested products with the OptiGuard finish against an 18,790-pound forklift. “The laminate endured 1,500 passes,” Erickson said. “The OptiGuard technology represents innovation that takes our laminate offerings to the next level. And, the high-gloss, realistic visual and unmatched durability is a true differentiator for retailers.”

-Matthew Spieler

Rug rollouts range from classic to floral to casual

Spring has sprung, and with it comes cleaning and redecorating. The area rug industry is responding with a host of new collections. FCNews spotlights a few of those.

Colonial Mills (CMI)

For more than 30 years, the New England-based manufacturer has offered braided rugs and accessories with designs ranging from traditional to modern. “Through a collaborative vision to think outside the typical braided rug marketing concepts, we were able to incorporate new photography and layouts, allowing the customer to focus on the textures, fibers and construction of each rug,” said Meredith Thayer, product and design manager. The line adds seven new collections to its existing 25 in the standard line.

“It’s the perfect blend—a collage of innovative, fresh designs that still incorporate the traditional durability and comfort you expect from a braided- texture rug,” said Lynne Michello, director of marketing.

Harounian

For over four decades David and Lee Harounian have designed and manufactured area rugs touting up-to-the-minute fashions, classic interpretations and antique reproductions. Among the 12 collections being introduced this year, the Bentley and Pars Kashan lines represent the epitome of modern to classic designs.

The Bentley collection is constructed of wool, viscose and polyester fibers that are hand tufted in dense stripes of texture. Each is colored in subtle tonal shades, hand finished and inspected by craftsmen in India. Available in three colorways and sizes, the suggested retail price for a 5 x 8 is $479.

The Pars Kashan collection has been dubbed “a classic Persian design with a modern twist” by recreating a Kashan design without a traditional border. The product is hand tufted with a special blend of Indian wools. Available in six colorways and three sizes, suggested retail for a 5 x 8 is $399.

Nourison

“There is no better way to bring spring indoors than the addition of a floral rug to the décor” said Joyce Lowe, national director of area rug sales, Nourison. The popular Tropics collection is unveiling its newest design, TS13 Mocha.

The entire collection is handtufted of 100% wool, certified Green Label Plus. “The warm, neutral color palette of grays, ivories, golds and mocha tones coordinates with any interior, warm or cool, making our newest product a perfect addition to any space in the home,” Lowe said. Sizes range from 4 x 6 to 8 x 11.

Oriental Weavers

With the increasing popularity of the indoor/outdoor rug, the company is introducing the Montego collection, with up to five colors in each rug. “The colors of our Montego collection were inspired by the fresh, bright hues of nature,” said Aaron Gray, marketing director. The rugs’ textural effects add to the surface interest and stain- resistant fibers offer durability. The polypropylene rugs retail at $129 for a 5-foot, 3-inch x 7- foot, 6-inch.

Shaw Living

Tommy Bahama Home expanded with four designs inspired by the “timelessness of antique design and colors naturally found along the coast.” Rugs are constructed of Shaw’s Evertouch nylon, which can be recycled back into new carpet fiber.

Five sizes range from 1-foot, 10-inch x 2-foot, 9-inch to 7-foot, 9-inch x 10-foot, 10-inch. Suggested retail for a 5-foot, 5-inch x 7-foot, 9-inch is $879.

-Melissa McGuire