April 1/8, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 22
By Ken Ryan
With so much attention focused on the LVT category and its growing WPC/SPC sub-segments, the sheet vinyl segment has managed to fly under the radar as perhaps the most multi-functional, economical, waterproof floor in the industry today.
Once deemed a commodity—and a substitute for other flooring options—sheet vinyl has elevated its stature on the strength of improved visuals and construction. Some flooring observers call sheet the best value of any flooring product on the market today, citing its versatility, eco-friendly properties and price.
“Sheet vinyl is an amazing product—it is the pioneer of waterproof flooring,” said Mary Katherine Dyczko-Riglin, product manager, residential sheet vinyl and sundries, Mannington. “Sheet provides a seamless installation in many residential settings, creates stunning visuals in the home and has outstanding performance and superior comfort underfoot. And it does all of that while typically being much more budget friendly than a WPC/SPC competitor.”
Angela Duke, director of brand marketing, Mohawk, added, “Waterproof is one of the hottest buzzwords in the flooring market right now, and many consumers have always known that [sheet] vinyl is the original waterproof flooring made right here in the United States.”
Sheet vinyl has gained traction over the past few years in many different segments of the industry. Sheet continues to be an especially popular resilient choice in the builder and property management channels despite the continued growth of LVT.
“The opportunity for sheet is definitely apparent in builder, where entry glass is making a stand,” Dyczko-Riglin said. “Another market demographic we continue to see opportunity with is the millennials. With less exposure to sheet vinyl in the past, they don’t have a negative connotation of ‘Grandma’s floor.’”
Kieren Corcoran, director of performance markets, Patcraft, a commercial brand of Shaw Industries, said sheet vinyl products are typically installed within certain areas of healthcare settings mitigated against concerns regarding infection control. Sheet products can be welded at the seams, and homogeneous sheet can also be repaired. Even in applications where sheet was often left out, new opportunities are emerging as more realistic designs and expanded visual capabilities are developed.
“Small retail spaces and certain areas within hospitality are finding this material to be a great solution due to the updated aesthetics and ease of maintenance,” said Ben Korman, senior product manager, Tarkett.
While sheet vinyl is not growing anywhere near the rate of WPC/SPC, it is nonetheless experiencing modest low- to mid-single-digit growth across both residential and commercial settings, with the greatest growth potential in commercial, observers say.
Rejuvenations with Diamond 10 technology is Armstrong Flooring’s latest sheet launch. The product merges commercial and residential aesthetics, offering numerous color and texture choices for applications ranging from healthcare to retail. For residential sheet, Armstrong is launching a number of new wood and stone designs in its premium Diamond 10 CushionStep and Duality collections for independent retail. Design highlights include Ceruse oak, a multi-width ceramic- and wood-look plank in a variety of colors. Hillborn Run, a 5 x 27 stone plank design, and Venetian Marble, a modern hexagon tile design in two attractive colors, are other new intros.
Beauflor’s Blacktex HD has been developed and designed based on the demand of today’s consumer. Blacktex HD utilizes the TexStyle backing system to assist in ease of installation which will also provide attributes such as additional comfort underfoot and added sound reduction. “Blacktex HD not only delivers superior quality but is at the forefront with the most up-to-date and realistic visuals,” said Tami Stahl, senior marketing manager, Beauflor USA.
Mannington has gained a well-earned reputation over the years for pushing the boundaries in style and design, and that expertise carries over into sheet vinyl. Morocco, one of the new patterns in its Revive collection, features a 6-inch encaustic tile pattern in a variety of decorative motifs that create the look of a custom tile installation with the design filling the entire width of the sheet without repeating. “However, from a practical standpoint, the economy match on the pattern is simply one of those 6-inch tiles, making the entire sheet usable without creating excessive waste in smaller or more complex installations,” Dyczko-Riglin explained.
Mohawk is looking to change the conversation surrounding sheet vinyl with the launch of its VersaTech collections of more than 50 new waterproof styles that feature next-level stone and tile design and refocused merchandising to enhance the consumer experience. The new products encompass wood and tile styles in a variety of weights so consumers can choose the option that best suits their room, including basements and high-moisture areas.
Coordinating VersaTech merchandising displays will showcase the VersaTech, VersaTech Plus and VersaTech Ultra collections’ trade-up story around product weight and warranties. “Our retailers can use the VersaTech collections and trade-up strategies to completely change the way sheet vinyl is presented to residential consumers,” Duke said. “It is not the vinyl of 20 years ago.” The EcoSystem collection is Patcraft’s first PVC-free resilient style, an important breakthrough in the specified commercial market. Within the collection, Enrich is available in coordinating sheet and plank in classic and modern wood visuals.
Tarkett’s most recent launch of Performa heterogeneous sheet combines strength, visuals and value in one comprehensive solution for commercial interiors. Performa includes a polyurethane coating and 25-mil wear layer. It is available in both 6- and 12-foot rolls for added speed and flexibility during installation.
Congoleum’s AirStep collections feature 16 new SKUs across the three quality levels—Plus (good), Evolution (better), Advantage (best). In addition, ArmorCore added eight new SKUs across all five constructions.
“Recognizing that even the best-performing product categories won’t stand a chance in today’s competitive marketplace without exceptional design, we made signification changes to the designs in both our residential remodel AirStep product as well as in our ArmorCore,” said Kurt Denman, chief marketing officer and executive vice president of sales. “In an effort to best-in-class presentation at retail for the AirStep line, we also introduced a new display that features mounted samples, including inspired room scenes to help consumers envision the designs in their space.”