February 13/20, 2017: Volume 31, Number 18
By Lindsay Baillie
During its first year of operation in 1997, MP Global—then known as Midwest Padding—employed 10 people. Today, the company has grown to about 145 employees and runs three shifts, 24 hours, seven days a week.
While MP Global had its start in carpet and futon padding, the company is most known for its wide range of underlayments. Interestingly, it used the same patented technology it developed 20 years ago to create the innovative range of floor covering padding products it offers today.
With the U.S. laminate industry boom, MP Global’s QuietWalk carpet padding evolved to become its primary underlayment brand. “I clearly remember the very first truckload of QuietWalk underlayment rolling away from our loading dock on its way to a well-known laminate flooring manufacturer,” said Jack Boesch, director of marketing, MP Global, recalling the beginning of the company’s shift into underlayments. “I remember the excitement and suggested popping open a bottle of champagne to celebrate such a large sale of our new product. Little did we know at the time QuietWalk would soon become our core product with multiple trucks of it shipping daily.”
QuietWalk contains 94% recycled materials comprising fibers that are too short to go back into textile operations. Noting QuietWalk’s success, MP Global has evolved its product to solve different installation issues. “We’ve taken QuietWalk innovation and improved it, specifically for over concrete where large amounts of vapor emissions may exist,” said Deanna Summers, marketing specialist. “This new underlayment called VentiLayer uses the same recycled fibers in our patented manufacturing process, but we’ve added a plastic mesh beneath it to elevate it off the ground and encourage airflow.”
This elevation, according to the company, creates venting to eliminate water vapor or hydrostatic pools of moisture under the underlayment. The new product will meet NALFA standards and provides sound absorption and moisture protection.
MP Global keeps its pulse on the market to stay in lock-step with industry-wide trends and developments. To that end, the company is working on a brand new, pressure-sensitive product called Sound Buffer Self-Adhere which aims to provide faster installation solutions for LVT products.
“[Sound Buffer Self-Adhere] is a 100% virgin latex material so it’s very dense, very supportive to luxury vinyl in particular,” Summers said. “We’re developing a niche-type product that goes one step further. For example, a large mall-type store wants to replace flooring but doesn’t want to sacrifice business hours for flooring installation hours. Using Sound Buffer Self-Adhere speeds up the installation time by skipping out on the glue drying process. It is a direct install product. The pressure sensitive adhesive already on the product allows the flooring to be stuck directly onto the underlayment.”
MP Global has rebranded itself as a “One Source” for retailers and consumers as a means to match its innovative products for all types of flooring. “We want [our customers] to think of us as the underlayment source,” Summers explained. “When a distributor or retailer thinks of underlayments, we want him to think MP Global. Many think of us as a fiber manufacturer and QuietWalk, but we have evolved into other products as well. We can source all underlayments, not just fiber. We are more of a solutions provider, really.”
As the industry expanded to offer innovative floor covering materials such as LVT and WPC, MP Global has likewise evolved to broaden its solutions of underlayment products to address these new flooring materials. “Having a reliable partner like us can offer peace of mind and also be more cost effective,” Summers explained. “We can consolidate trucks to fit a program of needs, which saves money—everyone wins.”
To complement its innovative products and rebranding, MP Global also plans to launch a new website at the end of the first quarter.