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Surfaces shows it’s not your grandmother’s flooring

by Celia Payne

Call it retro, call it a throwback, but resilient continues to gain market share. What once may have been considered an outdated, cheaper alternative to the “real deal,” consumers are seeking ways to integrate the versatile faux looks into every part of their home.

“Consumers are turning to resilient and realizing it’s not the same as in their parents’ homes growing up,” said Steve Olsen, certified flooring executive for Foremost Interiors in Salt Lake City.

“Resilient is now more than a second-best alternative. It’s the design choice for the home with all the benefits that come with it.” Resilient offers the design appeal with the added stain-resistant, softer, quieter, warmer features that only this category can provide.

“As the residential replacement business continues to fall, I look for products that offer flexibility in the showroom for DIY and property management alike,” said Bill Johnson of Johnson Floorcovering in North Hollywood, Calif. “As the massive rental population continues to expand, consumers start to renegotiate their leasing contracts with new flooring requirements. Resilient provides the benefits tenants are looking for with the durability property managers expect.”

Whether a do-it-yourselfer or property manager, resilient is making a big comeback in the industry with leading styles and true-to-life characteristics of sought-after tile and hardwood products at a fraction of the cost. Manufacturers continue to introduce the gamut, from tile to hardwood look-alikes with endless installation alternatives.

This year only proves that resilient is set apart by a new day and age of technology, replicating hand-scraped wood facades and tile replications with simple click installation to realistic groutable options.

Armstrong

Rather than introducing something for the act alone, Armstrong is focusing on educating the retailer on its notable products already in the market. The education ranges from the product itself to how retailers can differentiate Armstrong products from the competition and close the sale.

Among Armstrong’s most notable products are Alterna and Luxe Plank. Alterna, introduced in 2009, still stands as the premium groutable luxury vinyl with realistic visuals and 32 variations for a no repeat look. Luxe Plank, also introduced in 2009, possesses Lynx Technology that allows for fast installation along with repositionable forgiveness and bonding strength.

Congoleum

DuraCeramic and Airstep Flexible Flooring expansions top the 2012 initiatives for the resilient-only manufacturer. DuraCeramic offers the look of ceramic, stone and wood while providing the warmth and comfort of luxury tile. Grouted or ungrouted, DuraCeramic tiles can be combined for unique designs. AirStep Evolution, meanwhile, represents a new generation of flexible flooring as a better alternative to fiberglass, according to the company. AirStep Evolution features Scotchgard protector for exceptional dirt and spill resistance along with natural silver for antibacterial protection.

Cryntel

Style, value and color options exude from the introduction of AdvantX, the platinum series under the Millennium tile collection, now offering both tile and plank. “We continue to gain market share in the industry,” said John Hunter, national sales manager. “With AdvantX, we feel the commercial market is the next step.”

Earthwerks

After the successful debut of LinkWerks in 2011, Earthwerks compliments its Rapid Clic technology with Accu Clic floating luxury vinyl plank and tile. Among the introductions possessing the technology is Legacy, a 4mm, beveled edge plank collection with multiple ‘species’ in 17 rich colors. Legacy features the company’s exclusive TuffShield coating made of aluminum oxide and silicone for durability. “Our clic products are taking charge, proving to the DIYer that resilient can offer the beauty of tile and wood products but installed in a fraction of the time and price,” said Jonathan Train, vice president of product development.

Elevation Floors

Elevation Floors, a Best of Surfaces winner in the Innovation category, marries design and technology for fashion-forward looks with better durability than competing loose-lay floors. Boasting 5mm quality, fiberglass construction, a non-skid Gravity Grip backing and 75% recycled content, Elevation Floors reignites the steadfast Raskin brand. Loose-lay luxury vinyl tile tests the boundaries in resiliency and creativity—expanding the realm to woven-inspired tile later this year.

Estrie

Gleaming from a successful introduction in 2011, Estrie expanded its Tec-Care floating floor system offerings with six new visuals that offer a more rustic appeal. Unlike snap or click technology, TecCare uses a peel and stick methodology for a unique, easy to lay, vinyl plank system that raises the bar for ease of installation and resiliency in some of the most de-manding environments in the world. “We’re making luxury vinyl tile not only more affordable, but easier to install, maintain and design savvy,” said Charles Lamoureux, marketing director.

Nox

Nox brings an exclusive twist to the marketplace as the only vertically integrated luxury vinyl manufacturer with no outsourcing. “The company’s goal is to be the manufacturing source for brands or private label marketing,” said Dan Koh, CEO and president. “Because of our unique setup, we control end-to-end quality assurance. The glass fiber included in our products alone sets us apart. Instead of mesh or net, the glass fiber bonds with the product for more stability and resiliency.”

Tarkett

In a world of “i-Things,” Tarkett hits the target with a new iSelect program that presents five pillars of choice, including sustainability and durability. “We want to change the dynamics of how consumers pick flooring—change from an overwhelming showroom of thousands of samples to a holistic approach of whole-home decorating,” said Gary Finseth, vice president of marketing.

From wall coverings to baseboards, the company now brings six distinct color families into a one-stop design guide based on the floor to be changed in the home. The guide will not only present a unique flooring choice but will show how it will mesh seamlessly through the home. “The goal is to give the consumer a better shopping experience; likewise giving the retailer a better selling experience.”