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Quality glues make installations stick

October 28/November 4, 2019: Volume 35, Issue 9

By Lindsay Gonzalez


A good-looking floor at a fair price is only half the battle. To ensure a customer is completely satisfied with her new floors, top quality must be achieved at every level—especially the installation phase. That’s why it’s so critical that the right adhesive is specified for the project at hand.

“Every flooring system is only as good as its weakest link,” said David Clarkson, vice president of sales, Eastern U.S., DriTac. “Utilizing a premium-grade flooring adhesive increases the likelihood for a successful installation. Utilizing superior products will always assist in achieving superior results.”

In addition to providing top-of-the-line results, high-quality adhesives can also help installers save time and money. “The quality of an adhesive contributes to the long-term performance of the entire construction project,” said Jay Conrod, senior product manager, Laticrete. “Additionally, they can reduce overall carrying costs on the construction site for the developer. To ensure top performance, high-quality adhesives must undergo a variety of performance tests before they can be accredited with a classification, including the ability to perform well in demanding applications.”

To ensure a top-quality installation for all flooring types, adhesive manufacturers are doing their part to create high-performing products. Following are some must-have adhesives for professional installers.

Henry 647 is a water-based acrylic polymer adhesive designed for fast-track installations in both commercial and residential settings. Applied via roller, the adhesive is ready to receive flooring in as little as 10 minutes when applied over Ardex Feather Finish compared to waiting for 30 to 40 minutes—or even an hour—for a typical vinyl flooring adhesive, the company said. Additionally, with 647 PlumPro, an installer may open up the new floor to traffic immediately vs. requiring the end-user/customer to wait 12-24 hours. Its resistance against initial slippage makes Henry 647 ideal to use for tile and plank installations. The adhesive is also well suited for sheet vinyl installations by offering ultra-fast project turnaround time, thereby eliminating the possibility of adhesive trowel-ridge telegraphing, according to Ardex.

125 Tri Max is a three-in-one adhesive, sound control and crack isolation product that eliminates the need for sound and anti-fracture mats and membranes, allowing for faster, more effective tile and stone installations, according to Laticrete. “Thanks to its three-in-one versatility and lightweight nature, 125 Tri Max saves construction professionals money on labor, storage, freight and logistics,” said Jay Conrod, senior product manager.

125 Tri Max contains 36% post-consumer recycled materials to contribute to LEED points and is Greenguard certified for sustainable building.

Schönox Protect, the newest addition to the company’s adhesives lineup in North America, is suitable for bonding vinyl floor coverings—sheet vinyl, LVT and VCT—as well as rubber, cork and artificial turf. Schönox Protect provides a moisture-resistant, non- shrinking, solvent-free adhesive layer for porous and non-porous interior and exterior floors, the company said. What’s more, Schönox Protect is a one-part silane modified polymer adhesive that is ideal for heavy load areas and critical physical and climatic environments.

DriTac 7800 Supreme Green is a sound and moisture control wood flooring adhesive solution for installations of engineered plank, solid plank, recycled rubber flooring, underlayment and more. Supreme Green provides subfloor moisture control with no testing required and a lifetime warranty.

Manufactured in the U.S., Supreme Green is a single-component, multifunctional hybrid polymer wood flooring adhesive also designed to isolate old cutback glue residue and suppress concrete subfloor cracks. According to DriTac, the adhesive allows an installer to apply the product to the substrate and attain as many as five installation solutions with one adhesive application—bond, sound control, moisture control, crack suppression and old adhesive isolation.

DriTac 7800 was created without the use of isocyanates, VOCs or solvents, and has been independently tested and certified by CRI for indoor air quality.

Ultrabond Spray RFA is a universal spray adhesive for resilient flooring. The spray adhesive comes in a 22-ounce aerosol cannister, which provides about the same amount of coverage as a one-gallon pail that is troweled on the floor, according to Mapei. What’s more, the adhesive boasts excellent bond strength and is ready for immediate traffic after installation.

“Installers should be interested in this product because it gets them off their knees and allows them to stand and quickly apply adhesive from a standing position,” said Jeff Johnson, floor covering installation systems product manager. “Trowels are no longer required, which will save cost long-term. It also allows them to install LVT/P on concrete slabs with elevated moisture conditions without the need for additional moisture mitigation, also saving them time and cost.”

Taylor Adhesives
Resolute is an adhesive, moisture vapor barrier and sound reducer in one, now requiring no moisture or pH testing. With its advanced moisture-curing chemistry, Resolute will not re-emulsify or lose bond strength even when fully submerged—making it an ideal choice for challenging environments, according to Taylor.

Resolute self-levels into an elastomeric membrane. Its one-part, one-step application can speed up construction timelines by days or weeks, saving valuable time and money, according to Taylor. With reduced traffic times, Resolute offers rapid occupancy at an attractive price. With its dual-direction protection it can withstand punishing substrate vapor and topical liquids. Taylor now backs up its moisture capabilities with a 10-year performance warranty.

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Installation: With underlayments, silence is the golden rule

September 2/9, 2019: Volume 35, Issue 6

By Megan Salzano


Flooring underlayments don’t often get their due when it comes to the successful completion of a flooring installation. However, without these sundry products consumer needs can often be left unmet, including the need for sound abatement. Sound abatement is not often top of mind for consumers when looking to install or upgrade their flooring, but it should be a key selling point for retailers.

According to Deanna Summers, marketing manager, MP Global Products, sound abatement brings noticeable comfort and privacy to precious living spaces. “Shoring up every part of the home is important to ensure pesky noises from neighbors or guests are non-existent. Choosing quality materials for underneath flooring that reduce footfalls or airborne noises are strong pieces to the puzzle of increasing comfortable living within the home.”

Several factors have led to the increased need for sound abatement in recent years, including the growth of multi-story dwellings. “Increasingly our society is living in multi- story buildings—apartments and condos where a pin drop can cause a neighborly dispute,” said Ann Wicander, president, We Cork. “Where fences made good neighbors in the suburbs, good sound control makes good neighbors in the city.”

Shifting consumer preferences in terms of flooring type is another major factor adding to the need for sound abatement within the home. The trend toward hard surface flooring styles, for example, is one main factor contributing to the need for sound-abatement products in today's living environments. “It’s easy to understand the appeal of a beautiful, waterproof flooring product like LVT or ceramic tile, but owners have unintentionally created noisier living spaces for their families,” said Andy Stafford, marketing director, Healthier Choice. “Hard surface flooring systems are more prone to noise transmission compared to carpeted flooring installations.”

In addition, while today’s hard surface flooring—particularly newly launched resilient products such as LVT—often include attached pads, manufacturers agree they’re not up to snuff. “Although the attached-back resilient flooring category has grown exponentially, the sound control value of these products has been greatly diminished due to inferior-grade pad utilization,” said Wade Verble, vice president of business development, underlayment division, DriTac Flooring Products. “Flooring underlayment used independent of the flooring provides a much more enhanced sound-abatement solution. Recent trends have indicated the use of an independent underlayment in combination with attached-back pad on resilient flooring products has produced superior sound abatement results.”

In order for retailers to provide a complete solution for their customers, sound abating underlayment is key. Manufacturers noted, however, underlayments must perform and meet stringent in-home requirements.

“A product must be able to retain its thickness over time to continue to deliver results,” said Randy Dye, product/marketing manager, Leggett & Platt. “Many products, we found, simply compress and/or collapse under the weight of the installed floor or soon after under the weight of furniture as the family begins enjoying their new flooring.”

Following is a curated selection of top-quality, sound-abating underlayments to help any retailer complete the sale. 

DriTac 8501 RecycUL is a sound- and moisture-control felt underlayment for glue-down, floating and nail-down
wood and laminate flooring installations. Made from 100% recycled fibers, the thick plastic moisture barrier provides enhanced acoustical abatement and can be used for the installation of laminate flooring, multi-ply engineered plank, solid plank, bamboo and more.

WE Cork
We Cork’s Silently+ offers sound control under floating floors and includes an attached moisture barrier. Silently+ will meet typical building codes under laminate and hardwood flooring using a low-profile, sound-dampening cork and rubber combination.

Leggett and Platt
Whisper Step underlayment is made of high-density rubber and is suitable for use under most flooring types.  “Not only will Whisper Step fully support the floor as time goes on, but it will provide the long-lasting benefits of reducing sound heard between floors as well as in- room noise,” said Randy Dye, product/marketing manager.

Healthier Choice
Sound Solution is GreenGuard Gold certified and suitable for installation under laminate, engineered wood or hardwood flooring.

“This shift toward hard surface flooring has created a major challenge for building owners to achieve the building code requirements for IIC & STC ratings,” said Andy Stafford, marketing director. “Products like Sound Solution acoustical underlayment were created to allow architects and acoustical engineers to overcome the challenges of unwanted noise.”

Foam Products
Silencer LVT is suitable for all LVT, WPC, SPC, EVP vinyl planks for both floating or glue-down installations and is GreenGuard Gold certified. It also meets the IIC/STC sound requirements by multi-story and single-story residences.

Ultra-Set SingleStep2 is a high-performance adhesive, moisture control and sound-reduction membrane in one. It contains 1% recycled rubber material, has zero VOCs and does not contain water. It also provides a premium sound-reduction barrier over the substrate.

The Renotex 3D System comprises three products: AP Rapid Plus; Renotex 3D (a multi-dimensional glass fiber fabric); and a sound insulation sheet (a light, flexible, mineral wool layer).

“With the increased interest and development in multi-family living, the demand for better sound control grows daily,” said Doug Young, executive vice president. “Schönox is in the solutions business, so naturally we developed a system to meet the demand.”

MP Global
QuietWalk underlayments utilize a recycled fiber blend formulated through a patented process while offering a host of benefits to the underside of flooring materials. QuietWalk offers a unique, dense composition, blanketing the underside of the floor to provide a sound-dampening layer that dissipates sound from traveling to other rooms.

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Moldings find their match in multi-layer flooring products

August 5/12, 2019: Volume 35, Issue 4

By Megan Salzano


Multi-layer flooring has impacted the flooring market greatly as its quick acceptance by consumers has driven growth within the home. While it has taken share from other flooring categories such as laminate and hardwood, there is one subcategory that has welcomed the newcomer with open arms: moldings.

For some in the moldings game, the explosion of multi-layer flooring—including LVT, WPC and SPC—has opened new possibilities in design and, in turn, new channels of revenue. “The vinyl plank flooring category has basically introduced a completely new category for us,” said Tim Tipton, senior vice president of sales, Zamma. “While the laminate flooring business has been relatively flat the last few years, and we’re seeing a slow decline in hardwood, this has been a breath of fresh air for us.”

Even those manufacturers previously focused on categories outside of multi-layer flooring have opened their doors to the new opportunity. “As primarily a wood accessories manufacturer, sales on the majority of our wood profiles has remained flat,” said Bill Treiber, technical sales and education manager, Artistic Finishes. “The introduction of our Enduracor line of WPC accessories has allowed us to increase our sales. Now in its third full year in the market, Enduracor has continued to grow. The impact has been real.”

Treiber added that growth is becoming very diverse in the molding business due to the introduction and success of multi-layer flooring products. “It’s not just T-molds, reducers, stair nosings and square nosings,” he noted. “Today, we have to provide the complete package of accessories. The new trends are asking for treads, risers, millwork and floor vents also. With all the new multi-layer flooring products sprouting up in the flooring industry today, this task has become monumental in size and scope.”

Haley Plank, marketing manager at Flexco, noted the company’s product evolution in an effort to answer challenges unique to multi-layer flooring. “It has required us to develop products that are compatible with the flooring and wide enough to complete an installation successfully. We have introduced the new Base Sculptures Profile Wall Base with a 1⁄2-inch toe that covers the gap between the floor and wall, at the request of our customers.”

With the category continuing to grow in both style and design, matching moldings to the increasing number of product lines entering the market can be tricky. However, some molding manufacturers have found success with a variety of strategies while expecting to implement new techniques in the near future.
Plank noted Flexco’s 61 colors that can be used to match different multi-layer flooring products. “We have just introduced three new white colors,” she added. “Profile moldings will be added to the Flexco portfolio as customers expand their use of the category.”

Pennwood Products has its own in-house tooling that allows it to match just about any size flooring needed with the exact tongue-and-groove configuration, making a perfect match for the molding to the floor. The company also has plans to add new ways of matching in the fourth quarter of 2019. “At the moment we have been using all solid wood products to match the multi-layer flooring, but we are soon going to be offering WPC digital-wrapped moldings, WPC veneer-wrapped moldings and also MDF digital and veneer as well,” said Kraig Coxon, owner. “Pennwood will always focus on the hardwood flooring market whether that be engineered, WPC/SPC with a veneer or solid hardwood flooring. With that being said, we have watched WPC/SPC/LVT grow and haven’t captured near enough market on these floors. That is why we have decided to get into the wrapped moldings/digital print side of the business and try and capture some of this market as well.”

Artistic Finishes’ Treiber said that while the company’s Enduracor line stains a wood veneer to coordinate to the different floors, the company’s next finishing process will include a completely different process that will allow it to get very close to the look of the different multi-layer flooring designs. “Look for that in the near future,” he said. “Then, similar to our wood profiles, we can custom blend to the product being paired up.”

When it comes to Zamma’s strategy, Tipton said plainly, “We don’t match.” Rather, the company procures the actual decorative film that is used to manufacture the flooring. “This is the same process for any vinyl or vinyl composite flooring,” he added. “We don’t change our process or raw components, even though the flooring manufacturers do with PVC, SPC, WPC, etc. We then thermally fuse a commercial wear layer and wrap around a 100% pure PVC extruded profile.”

Looking ahead, molding suppliers said the possibilities for their products that match multi-layer flooring are endless—for those who can keep up. “The evolution into multi-layer flooring will never end,” Treiber said. “Quality increases will drive the market growth. From the moldings side of the industry only the highest quality and the best performing products will survive. Price remains a big factor also, but the technological advancements cannot be overlooked when it comes to long-term performance and aesthetics.”

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Installation: Floor layers ‘stick’ to their favorite adhesives

July 8/15, 2019: Volume 35, Issue 2

By Lindsay Baillie


Ask any flooring installer what makes a successful installation, and he or she will likely tell you it all depends on what is used to secure the flooring material to the substrate.

Flooring adhesives come in all shapes and sizes—many of which are created and used for specific types of flooring. To use the incorrect adhesive is to risk the entire job and potentially anger the customer, experts say.

FCNews spoke with several installers to find out what types of adhesives they prefer to use. Following are some of their recommendations.

Adhesive tape systems.Mark Olsen, flooring instructor, Carpenters Training Institute, has found great success using adhesive tape systems. The main reason? The flooring can be installed immediately after using the tape. “All the required ASTM testing must be done prior to using the adhesive tape system,” Olsen explained. “And the substrate needs to be properly cleaned—cleaned so well you can eat off the substrate.”

Pressure-sensitive adhesives. A key selling point for many installers is many pressure-sensitive adhesives are moisture resistant up to 95% relative humidity. “A pressure-sensitive adhesive is typically used for carpet tile, and it must be completely dry to the touch for the material to be installed,” explained David Gross, instructor, INSTALL. “Pressure-sensitive adhesives take the guess- work out of the equation. The fact that it can be rolled on or troweled on as opposed to any singular method of application is key.”

Carpet adhesives. When he was a younger installer, Dave Garden, owner and operator, Installation Services of Michigan, used only one manufacturer’s adhesive for almost every carpet installation he completed. These days, he tries to use adhesives made by the manufacturer that produced the flooring he is installing.

“I really began to understand adhesives differently when I started installing specialty carpets,” Garden explained. “I learned to always request an adhesive made by the manufacturer for the product I was installing. I understand many do not actually make their own adhesives. However, I know using their labeled products will make any claim I might have simpler to deal with. When installing carpet today, I will switch adhesives at times when I am working with patterns. I will use a contract grade is I need more open time to correct patterns.”

Ceramic adhesives. When using adhesives for a ceramic installation, Garden looks for products that mix well and “give a crisp install.” He also looks for adhesives that have simple instructions on the label, which makes it easier for Garden to find what he needs based on the tile he is setting.

Clear-spread VCT adhesive. According to Gross, clear-spread VCT adhesive is a similar product across all manufacturers. The main reason he looks to use this type of adhesive is because the product is user friendly. “You can spread the adhesive and then you let it rest until it’s completely dried and there is no mistake when to apply the flooring material,” he explained. “It is very user friendly when it comes to knowing when the adhesive is properly set up to install the flooring. That’s what makes it so attractive. There is no gray area of ‘Is the adhesive tacky enough? Is it ready enough? Has it been open enough? Has it been spread long enough?’ It’s completely dry to the touch.”

LVT, sheet vinyl adhesives. When installing LVT or homogenous sheet vinyl, Dave Ansbro Jr., vice president, Aldrich Rugg Interiors, Bradenton, Fla., looks for adhesives that are installer friendly, have great workability, are low-VOC and meet the projects’ needs. What’s more, he looks to partner with adhesive manufacturers that stand behind their products.

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Schönox enters radiant heating market with ComfortSafe

July 8/15, 2019: Volume 35, Issue 2


FLORENCE, ALA.—HPS Schönox, known for its innovative spirit in bringing subfloor solutions to the flooring industry, has entered a new frontier with the introduction of the ComfortSafe electric radiant full-surface floor heating system.

“ComfortSafe is just another example of the innovative products offered HPS Schönox,” Thomas Trissl, HPS Schönox principal, told FCNews.

ComfortSafe can be installed on its own or as a system with Schönox underlayment products. The end result, the company said, is a comfortable and environmentally friendly underfloor heating system. The company said ComfortSafe is appropriate for both residential and commercial settings, providing luxury for residents at home while enhancing safety and comfort in commercial building. In addition, the system will lower construction and operating costs.

Regarding commercial applications, Schönox ComfortSafe electric radiant floor heating system will provide added value for industrial loss-prevention departments who may utilize ComfortSafe to address moisture from buildup of water, ice and slush commonly associated with building entryways. When embedded in Schönox AP Self-Leveling compound, the ComfortSafe system offers a clear, efficient, continuous and easy-to-use heat source for more rapid moister evaporation, thus reducing opportunities for claim-generating slip and fall incidents, according to Trissl.

Schönox ComfortSafe also guarantees fast, direct surface heating of areas. This heating system operates at maximum steady stated temperatures by using a programmable on/off control power switch. It should also be noted that for larger areas, more than one system can be employed.

For residential applications, Schönox ComfortSafe electric radiant floor heating system can be used in conjunction with the Schönox AP Self-Leveling compound in common areas such as bathrooms, kitchens, walk-in closets and dressing rooms. Because it is a radiant design, the ComfortSafe system maximizes energy savings by minimizing heat loss. It comes with a residential kit to provide warmth and comfort underfoot, which is ideal when walking on

bathroom floors during the winter. The company said many homeowners are seeking these floor heating systems as the newer technology provides a more cost-effective level of comfort compared with older systems.

The basic requirements for the ComfortSafe heating system are as follows:
•ComfortSafe film supplied in roll form
•35 inches wide for commercial and industrial building entryways
•30 inches wide for residential flooring
•PowerTrack 3.15 inches wide in roll form
•Power supply 120VAC single phase 3KW
•Electric Time Switch Tork SA399 40A for controlling heaters on/off
•An OJ Electronics thermostat with floor sensor for residential applications
•T4 and T5 crimp connectors
•Installation area 100 square feet

Features and benefits of the ComfortSafe heater system are as follows:
•Easy to install
•Energy efficient due to full surface heating
•Helps abate moisture from flooring surfaces to aid in evaporation
•Helps protect substrate from moisture penetration
•Reduces heat loss to the substrate and improves floor warming response time
•Can be used with all types of flooring materials
•Provides even and consistent warmth in any room
•Provides subfloor thermal insulation (R=0.5)
•Anti-microbial resistance to mold and mildew

The ComfortSafe system will be sold through TMT America in Florence, Ala., as well as through Schönox distribution partners. The system will be available in the middle of the third quarter this year.

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Installation: Underlayments = solutions + add-on opportunities

June 10/17, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 26

By Megan Salzano


Sundry products such as underlayments and subfloor levelers are often overlooked by the consumer but play a vital role in the successful completion of any flooring installation. Furthermore, they also provide the retailer with upselling opportunities.

As such, it is squarely on the shoulders of the retail sales associate to convey the pivotal role these products play when it comes to the final outcome of a project. “The underlayment is a very important add-on sale,” said Jim Wink, vice president of sales and marketing, Foam Products. “It generates much greater profits with high margins over the low profit margins of the actual flooring.”

Current flooring trends have also made room for upselling opportunities. For example, as hard surface flooring has grown in popularity, the importance of underlayments has grown as well. “Many families who have been accustomed to the benefits of carpet with a separate cushion are now finding out their new hard surface floor isn’t as quiet as what they were used to,” said Erik Kempf, president, Leggett & Platt Flooring Products. “For consumers who are making the switch from soft surface to hard surface, the retailer should explain the reasons why a good quality underlayment is needed. Carpet has an obvious companion product, which provides a profit center. When you move to hard surface flooring, not only are you taking a customer out of the market for a longer period of time but oftentimes no underlayment is used. That is a tremendous profit opportunity for the retailer.”

In order to land that add-on sale, retail owners and their sales associates should first be well informed on the benefits underlayments provide and then relay those benefits to suit the needs of the customer. “It is always essential to assist customers in researching what best fits the needs of any particular installation,” said Wade Verble, vice president of business development – underlayment division, DriTac Flooring Products. “If sound control is the primary concern, the focus should be abatement qualities. If moisture control proves most important, research the moisture mitigation attributes of the underlayment.”

Adam Abell, market manager, tile and stone installation systems, consumer and construction business unit, Bostik, agrees retailers must embrace their role as industry experts. “Stay savvy and educate your customer with the proper techniques, the reasons why conformance with our industry requirements will result in longevity and quality of the completed project.”

However, offering underlayment is not only about making a sale. It can also help add value to a retailer’s customer relationships. “When retailers use underlayments to address subfloor issues, they then become a solution provider—not just a salesperson,” said Shane Jenkins, senior technical coordinator, Schönox, HPS North America. “This is the greatest opportunity for retailers to gain the trust of the consumer as an expert. This added trust can lead to a successful sale without lowering the cost or compromising on the quality of the project.”

For some sales associates, adding underlayments to the final cost can be daunting. However, manufacturers agreed, oftentimes the opportunity to upgrade the customer with an underlayment sale naturally presents itself. “In many situations there is an obvious need for a solution, and just pointing out that there are underlayments that offer a remedy is a path to a better installation for the customer and higher profits for the dealer,” said Ann Wicander, president, We Cork. “So often the dealer rep is afraid to add more cost to a project estimate—they miss the opportunity to upgrade the customer to a better situation.”

Other industry experts agree. Jack Boesch, director of marketing, MP Global, said adding a premium acoustic underlayment is as easy as a fast food restaurant asking if you want to “super-size” your drink. “Consumers look for guidance from sales staff on what to purchase. When the customer service rep explains the benefits of a premium underlayment, the additional cost doesn’t seem unreasonable.”

Manufacturers, likewise, agree that profitable opportunities in today’s market should never be overlooked or underutilized. “There are financial benefits to promoting and upgrading your customer,” Bostik’s Abell said. “If you omit this discussion with said customer you are leaving an opportunity untapped and, in today’s marketplace, your savvy competitors won’t likely pass on similar opportunities they encounter.”

When it comes to merchandising techniques, Leggett & Platt’s Kempf said countertop, point-of-purchase units used at key locations in showrooms are useful. They not only showcase the underlayment but they can also illustrate the key reasons why underlayments are used, he said. “The one mistake some make is having too many choices. There are so many flooring options that consumers may get frustrated. Don’t over complicate the underlayment pitch. Keep it simple.”

In the end, establishing your brand as one of quality installation and service is critical in today’s marketplace, and underlayments can help accomplish this. “If retailers begin with a solid foundation, then finished flooring will look and perform as intended,” Schönox’s Jenkins said. “The end goal is to have a completed project all parties can all be proud of, and that starts with a sound and smooth subfloor.”

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Installation: Välinge pushes innovation with latest offerings

June 10/17, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 26

By Ken Ryan


With more than 2,600 patents to its credit and another 5,300 in the pipeline, Välinge Innovation AB continues to burnish its credentials as an R&D company par excellence.

“Innovation is in our DNA,” Lennart Thålin, region manager - North and South America, told FCNews. “Lately we’ve launched a few more groundbreaking innovations.”

Whether it’s the company’s legacy 5G locking system or a new innovation like wood powder technology, Välinge’s objective is to push through any barriers and deliver technological solutions to the market. In many instances, it requires a new way of thinking, Thålin said. Case in point is the company’s wood powder technology—a production and material innovation in which Välinge uses a mix of wood powder that comes from recycled laminate flooring, melamine, aluminum oxide and pigment. “With this powder mix we create two types of flooring: ceramic composite featuring the Nadura surface and hardened wood featuring Woodura surface,” Thålin said. “The former has a ceramic look and feel, and the latter features a wear layer of real wood which is infused with the powder mix and thereby increases the hardness and impact resistance three times compared to the original species.”

According to Thålin, ceramic composite flooring is harder and more scratch resistant compared to normal ceramic or porcelain tiles, but still feels warm and comfortable to walk on due to the wood fiber content. “It also withstands impacts much better and can be installed as a floating floor using our 2G/5G locking system.”

The wood powder technology uses a thinner wood wear layer (0.6mm) that enables production of wider planks at an affordable cost. “You get an automated filling of knots and cracks in the process thanks to the penetration of the powder when heated and compressed in the production cycle,” Thålin explained. “It also withstands impacts much better than similar flooring and can be installed as a floating floor using our 2G/5G locking system.”

Välinge plans to license the wood powder technology as well as set up its own production of flooring.

In recent years Välinge has stepped up its introduction of market innovations, especially as the resilient flooring segment has soared on the strength of LVT, WPC and SPC offerings. The sheer weight of these types of flooring can prove challenging for installers. To remedy this, Välinge created a technology and process called Liteback to remove some of the material from the back without affecting the properties of the floor. By removing material, users can achieve a weight reduction of 15%-20%. As a result, all handling of the product becomes easier and more efficient—from delivery out of the production unit to the time of the purchase and during installation. In addition, the removed material can be recycled, and new flooring can be produced.

How it works: by using a grooving unit, groovers are milled on the backside of the floorboard. The material that is removed in the process is recycled back into the production process, thereby reducing material consumption by up to 20%. Terry Barbree, global director of sourcing, hard surfaces, Shaw Industries, said the company has been using the Välinge locking system for many years. “We appreciate the great technical support and the new features Välinge has brought to the flooring industry. We’re excited to see where the newest innovations like Liteback and powder technology will evolve.”

5G is the well-known Välinge brand for the globally recognized fold-down installation system used by more than 100 flooring companies around the world. The unique feature about this technology is the flexible tongue that enables a much easier and faster installation process. “We have fine-tuned the 5G system so it also works with thin materials (down to 4mm) such as LVT and SPC by using an alternative version of the plastic locking tongue—stepnose—that also makes the installation easier and the locking stronger,” Thålin said.

Anett Nemeth, deputy CEO at Graboplast, a Győr, Hungary-based vinyl flooring manufacturer agreed that the 5G system facilitates and significantly shortens the time of installation, adding, “The prefabricated wood floor with shock absorbing underlay together with 5G fold-down installation system is a perfect match. Our customers like it very much.”

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I4F broadens its scope to cover rigid core platforms

June 10/17, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 26

By Reginald Tucker


Early glueless locking systems mostly targeted laminate and hardwood flooring categories. But with the rising popularity of rigid core platforms, developers of these systems are expanding their portfolio of technologies to offer licensees and manufacturing partners even more options.

To that end, I4F has announced new partner- ship agreements with rigid core flooring manufacturers CFL Flooring and KingdomFlooring.

In the case of CFL, the patent partnership agreement pertains to a new engineered stone, wood veneer composite base flooring board. The breakthrough magnesium oxide, veneer board addresses the disadvantages currently associated with natural wood flooring by reducing moisture intake and flammability on any floor level or room type. The new sound-absorbing board provides a stone-wood composite base that keeps the wood veneer level dry and heat resistant by substantially retaining moisture and heat with-in the stone-wood base.

“We are excited about working with I4F to promote this breakthrough technology,” said Thomas Baert, president, CFL. “This technology, developed by Mondo Pallon, is the beginning of many more to come over the next months and years.”

John Rietveldt, I4F CEO, was equally enthusiastic about the partnership. “This latest partnership with CFL underscores our strategy to seek out and market flooring technologies that have a profound impact on today’s flooring landscape.”

As part of I4F’s recent partnership agreement with KingdomFlooring, I4F receives exclusive sub-licensing rights for KingdomFlooring’s new patented polymer core floor panels enhanced with grout features. The new panels enable aesthetically pleasing, visible joints by introducing a grout-shaped recess close to the surface of the panel on at least one of its edges.

“This new partnership agreement takes our cooperation with KingdomFlooring to the next level and further supports our strategy to partner with innovation-focused manufacturers,” Rietveldt added.

Davord Dai, chairman of KingdomFlooring, echoed those sentiments. “We are excited about the prospect of working with an expert in the field to promote this new design-enhancing floor panel.”

Cost-saving innovations
Beyond innovative locking technologies, I4F is offering a patented technology enabling manufacturers to save up to 10% on materials during the production of rigid polymer boards. The technology also enhances productivity by optimizing the extrusion process during the production of rigid polymer boards, including SPC and expanded polymer core (EPC) panels.

“Sustainable material savings are good for the industry and our planet,” Rietveldt noted. “Manufacturers can now benefit from increased productivity gains during the production of rigid boards and have the opportunity to make significant savings on material costs.”

All this dovetails nicely with I4F’s Patent Cluster Concept (PCC), enabling partners to pick and choose the platform they require. More importantly, PCC also provides full transparency on the composition of license fees to obtain the best return on investment while avoiding unnecessary payments for unused patents.

Clustered patents represented by I4F cover the following:


•Surface finishing

•Materials and panel composition

•Manufacturing processes

•Board/wall panels

I4F’s PCC means manufacturers can select the intellectual property that best suits their business needs. Additionally, they can regularly evaluate which cluster provides them with optimal patent protection.

“We will continue to work in partnership with the world’s leading and most innovative companies to find more exciting innovations that truly make a difference,” Rietveldt noted.

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Installation: Self-levelers smooth over rough subfloors

April 29/May 6, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 24

By Lindsay Baillie

For a consumer to get the most out of her floor, the product must be installed properly. As retailers, installers and contractors know, the success of any installation starts with a properly prepped substrate.

To help installers with this important step, manufacturers are developing new self-levelers to shorten prep time and create better working environments for all on the construction site. Here is an overview of some of the latest products hitting the market.

Ardex – Ardex K13
Ardex K13 has a dual water ratio, allowing installers to choose a high flow or standard flow option for their installation. When choosing the standard flow option, the product can be installed up to 1 1⁄2-inch without aggregate and tapered to meet existing elevations. The high flow option has outstanding fluidity and coverage. It can be installed as thin as 1⁄16-inch but still maintains ideal self- leveling properties in these thin applications.

The Ardex K13 unique dual water ratio allows installers the flexibility to adjust to the jobsite requirements with a single product. The installation crew can change water ratios from job to job or even bag to bag on any install to cater to their preference. The product still maintains a 16-hour dry time at both water ratios for most floor coverings. These features are said to provide reduced cost and rapid turn-around fitting any timeline.

Custom Building Products – CustomTech TechLevel WSF
CustomTech TechLevel WSF is a fiber-reinforced, self-leveling underlayment for wood subfloors. Due to its fiber reinforcement, lath is not required for plywood or OSB substrates. What’s more, WSF is compatible with radiant heating systems and can be used in place of backerboard over most applications. It can also be used over non-wood floors, providing one product for all types of subfloors.

CustomTech’s low-prep technology requires no mechanical prep for suitable substrates. It helps installers save time by eliminating the labor involved in installing a wire lath before leveling. “This is a high-flow formula with excellent handling and exceptional flow retention properties that helps production rates,” said Eric Carr, senior director of product and channel management.

Schon̈ox – Renotex 3D System
Schon̈ox’s new Renotex 3D System is designed to exceed the material standards of new and remodeling projects. This versatile and customizable system combines Renotex 3D, a sound and insulation sheet, Schon̈ox RS 50 foam tape and Schon̈ox AP Rapid Plus to provide a fast and cost-effective subfloor renovation system.

First, the sound and insulation sheet is cut to size and loosely laid, sheet to sheet, on the wooden substrate. The high density of this underlayment allows for walkability at any time. Any gaps around the perimeter should be closed adhering the RS 50 foam tape to any vertical structure. The Schon̈ox Renotex 3D reinforcement fabric is then cut to shape and flattened lengthwise to overlap approximately 2 inches. Finally, the Schon̈ox AP Rapid Plus self-leveling compound is poured. The system cures in as little as 24 hours to a completely decoupled, floating and self-bearing system.

MAPEI – Polyplan RSL Rapid Self-Leveler
Polyplan RSL is a two-part self-leveling compound. It is provided in a 30 lb. bag of powder and a 1-gallon bag of liquid latex. Due to this configuration, no on-site water is needed other than wash water, and the compound cannot be over or under watered.

Polyplan RSL does not require the use of a primer over non-porous substrates, making it a time saver for installers. It also has a very fast cure time and is ready for the installation of vinyl flooring three hours after application.

“We chose to put Part B of Polyplan RSL in a plastic bag rather than 1-gallon plastic jug,” explained Jeff Johnson, FCIS product manager. “The reason being if you are using Polyplan RSL on a job of any size you would have a mountain of gallon jugs to get rid of. By using a plastic bag, you will reduce the volume of waste generated and it is actually less plastic by weight as compared to a plastic jug.”

Sika – Sika Level-425
Sika Level-425 is a dust-reduced, high-flow, high-strength self-leveler. Sika Level-425’s dust-reduced technology allows for a clean installation in areas such as medical facilities, libraries, domestic properties, industrial environments and cafeterias. It is a very low-shrinkage, smooth self-leveler that allows most floor coverings to be installed in as little as 16 hours. Apply Sika Level-425 from as little as 1⁄16-inch up to 1⁄2-inch.

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Installation: Underlayments put moisture protection to the test

March 18/25, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 21

By Megan Salzano


While a seemingly ancillary product, underlayments have become increasingly more important to the flooring industry. Not only do they help boost the bottom line for retailers and contribute to successful installations across product categories, but the segment also provides protection against a growing consumer concern: moisture incursion.

Subfloor moisture that can adversely affect the integrity of a flooring system may have always been a key issue for some consumers, but the evolution of home and product trends has created an increased focus on the issue. The rising popularity of multilayer engineered flooring, for example, is one factor contributing to the increased utilization of underlayments as protective measures, Wade Verble, vice president of business development and underlayment at DriTac Flooring Products, told FCNews.

“The nature of multilayered flooring, particularly
when installed over concrete, demands a
vigilant defense
against potential subfloor moisture damage,” he said. “As the multilayer flooring category continues to grow, underlayments will likely be seen as an increasingly valuable solution.”

More specifically, LVT has exploded onto the scene with new surface visuals that continue to grab consumer attention, and underlayments have become increasingly more important in these applications. “What’s happening in the market is a lot of these LVT planks are coming with pre-attached underlayment,” said Deanna Summers, marketing coordinator, MP Global. “Those products are marketed as waterproof—and the planks may be waterproof, or the products that they’re made from—but you still have to waterproof the substrate.”

Colleen Gormley, sales and marketing, Diversified Industries, added, “Along with the growth of hard surface flooring installations, consumer’s education on the subject has grown as well. Consumers have learned that underlayment is not just for sound abatement, but an integral part of protecting your flooring system’s joints, providing comfort and of course protecting against moisture problems. Consumers want to do an installation job once, the right way, and be supported by their underlayment in all facets.”

Another key factor in the need for underlayments is the growing trend toward con- sumer utilization of basement spaces, a location often plagued by moisture. “More and more people are turning basements into living spaces,” said Steve Sennik, president, DMX Plastics. “They are either creating income properties that help them pay for the mortgage or they want additional living space—they make a gym, study or living area. It’s a much more active area than it was 15 or 20 years ago.”

Following is a curated selection of moisture-mitigating solutions in the market.

MP Global
QuietWalk Plus+ advances the fiber blend technology of the original, featuring more versatile applications with the special attached vapor barrier allowing floating, glue- or nail-down applications. Boasting the same performance characteristics as the original, reducing unwanted traveling noise and superior moisture protection and proper compression to support tongue and groove, QuietWalk Plus+ is the universal underlayment covering all installation applications. This underlayment can be installed over wood or concrete subfloors.

DriTac EnviroTread rubber underlayment and acoustical barrier is ideal for glue-down and floating installations of hardwood, carpet, carpet tile, ceramic tile, ceramic stone and laminate flooring.
It also offers DriTac’s Dual Force, Silent Fuse technology when utilized
with approved DriTac flooring adhesives
in “double-stick” glue-down applications.The resulting Total Sound and Moisture
Reduction System (SRS) features an
enhanced lifetime warranty. Further, when
used with DriTac MCS 7000 two-part, concrete
moisture control system, the SRS offers moisture mitigation up to 25 pounds per ASTM F 1869 and 100% RH per ASTM F2170

Healthier Choice
Being very aware of the need for moisture vapor mitigation, Healthier Choice has offered solutions for the issue for over 20 years. The company’s Sound Solution Vapor Bloc product, seen here, is extremely effective at handling extreme vapor emissions and is warranted for 10 lbs per 24 hours per the calcium chloride test. In recent years, the company has also developed a similar product called OmniChoice Vapor Bloc that is ideal for floating installations under vinyl floors.

Schönox SDG Plus is a rapid drying, ready-mixed acrylic moisture mitigation system suitable on cement-based substrates with residual moisture up to 96% RH or 18 lbs per 1,000 square feet per 24 hours in interior areas before applying Schönox underlayment.

DMX Plastics
DMX 1-Step underlayment is available for a variety of flooring types, including carpet (seen here), area rugs, LVT and laminate and engineered hardwood. DMX 1-Step Carpet is designed for areas where moisture is a problem, such as basement installations. It features a unique dimple design that allows air to flow under the floor so vapor moisture can evaporate. This process prevents mold and mildew from building up under the floor. The dimples are also encapsulated in a closed-cell foam, which is waterproof and keeps floors warm. It has a compressive strength of 6,000 lbs per square foot to help support comfort underfoot.

As part of Diversified’s Premium collection, FloorMuffler LVT Encore is ideal for most
direct attach LVT/P flooring installations.
It can also be used in floating installations and is available with and without
the UltraSeal self-sealing lip and tape
system. It features a built-in moisture
barrier that exceeds industry standards
with no additional films required. It also features superior acoustic protection, comfort and durability. It is fully recyclable, mold and mildew resistant and surpasses indoor air quality emissions requirements for CA Section 01350.

Foam Products
All of Foam Products’ underlayments have a moisture mitigation film to help prevent fluids from reaching the flooring planks. Eco Ultimate Silencer, for example, is ideal for laminates and wood flooring. It has a polyester film bonded directly to the premium acoustical polyurethane foam during the manufacturing process. This process eliminates any potential delamination from the foam so there is a 100% moisture vapor film coverage on the subfloor to prevent the moisture from reaching the actual installed flooring and the above surface. The same technology is available in the company’s Silencer LVT, which is ideal for all LVT, WPC and SPC installations.

The Hydro Ban cementitious waterproofing membrane is a single-component, polymer-fortified cement-based waterproofing material for both interior and exterior applications that requires only water for mixing. It is formulated to be Greenguard certified and LEED compliant for sustainable building, equipped with anti-microbial technology and is solvent-free and non-flammable.

Silently+, a two-in-one product, offers a vapor barrier and sound control under floating floors, including engi- neered wood, laminates and LVT. Silently+ is a low-pro- file, easy-to-install rubber cork product with attached moisture barrier, which offers superior and economi- cal sound control in a 2mm thickness. Its high density provides a solid but resilient underlayment, which absorbs footfall sounds in the room while preventing moisture issues commonly found in basements and on-grade structures.