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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
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.

Bostik
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.

Schönox
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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Leggett & Platt: It’s all about high service, solutions

August 19/26, 2019: Volume 35, Issue 5

By Steven Feldman

 

Ft. Worth, Texas—When Leggett & Platt captured FCNews’ Award of Excellence in the cushion/underlayment category this year, in essence ending Carpenter’s three-year streak, the victory was eye- opening. After no more than 25 votes separated the two companies for three years—a statistical anomaly indeed—Leggett’s victory this year was sizeable.

So what changed?

Not much, according to Erik Kempf, president of Leggett & Platt’s flooring division, which operates 13 plants around the country. “We have always aimed to service our customers,” he said. “Not much has changed in our 130 years of doing business. We have a very wide product assortment, and I believe we are under hard surface a little bit more than most other carpet cushion companies. That has helped us as the LVT category has grown.”

According to Kempf, who took over as division president nine months ago, Leggett & Platt strives to be the easiest people to do business with. “We work very hard every day to make it as easy as possible on all our customers. When they win, we win. Our customers need to know we really see this as a partnership.”

Customers like Kyle Hynden, president of KW Flooring in Cincinnati, can attest. “We’ve been with Leggett & Platt for more than 10 years. The key to our relationship is really the people—how they work with our team and how responsive they are to our needs. When the product and delivery go perfectly everyone is happy, but I think when a relationship really shines is when issues come up, which come up all the time in any aspect of business. [Leggett & Platt’s] ability to respond to our team and provide a solution quickly and fairly gives us more confidence that we can do the amount of business we do with them and know we’ll be taken care of.”

Tina Tomei, president and CEO of Homesite Services, San Ramone, Calif., concurs. “We’ve been selling Leggett & Platt for nearly 15 years. It’s been a real nice partnership—one that doesn’t give me headaches. The service Leggett & Platt provides is like shop- ping at Nordstrom’s. They go above and beyond. We only sell their products—that’s how much confidence we have in the company.”

Leggett & Platt’s winning formula essentially boils down to three points:

1. Convenience. “We try to make it as easy as possible for our customers to order as many things as we offer,” Kempf explained.

Jerry Hosko, president and CEO of Redi Carpet, Houston, has been one of those satisfied customers for 20 years. “Along with having good quality products, they have especially excelled in keeping loyal customers supplied when shortages have occurred,” he said. “This has been a very important attribute for us as we are committed to next-day installation to our customers in the apartment sector. They have outstanding sales representatives and a management team that listens to our needs and actually delivers solutions.”

2. Create opportunities for profit. Offering underlayment for rigid core/waterproof flooring, the hottest category, for example. “If you sell a piece of carpet, you sell cushion and installation,” said Chris Palmer, vice president of Leggett & Platt. “When you sell LVT, if you’re taking out that underlayment part you may not be making the type of money you need to on the install.”

Kempf agreed, adding, “Acoustically, you need to have it, you need to get a better foundation under the product. A lot of people weren’t doing that—they missed this opportunity to sell another product as they were selling LVT. They lost a category of product, and frankly they’ve probably sold down from carpet. So this was an opportunity to gain some of that back.”

With retailers selling it for $0.79 to $0.89 a foot, retailers can sell it for double what they paid, Kempf noted.

3. Provide a quality product. Whisper Step, which was in development for 18 months, can go under LVT, wood or laminate. “It has great sound qualities, but we wanted the densest product out there and one that’s easy to install,” Kempf said.

Flexibility is also a hallmark as the product can be double glued, single glued or loose laid. “It’s such a dense, heavy product that when the installer kicks it out, it doesn’t curl up. Just the ease of the product going down has been the best feedback we’ve gotten.”

Whisper Step is not the cheapest product on the market, but unlike some imports it will maintain its state, whether it’s down six months or 10 years, according to Kempf. “Our ratings aren’t going to change. I think a lot of people are recognizing that our product is better because it provides the sound quality they want and it’s going to remain that way for as long as it’s down.”

While underlayment is a growing part of Leggett & Platt’s flooring division, it represents less than 10% of the overall business. Carpet cushion is still the cash cow. “Over the last 10 years we have seen a migration toward better carpet cushion, and I think we’ve done a good job of educating people as to why you want a better carpet cushion—like the one that has the PetProtect-type moisture films on it, and brand names like Stainmaster and Scotchgard,” Kempf said. “We try to provide those values where a retailer can sell a better product.”

The art of trading up
Leggett & Platt goes the extra mile to help the retailer explain to the consumer the value of better carpet cushion by demonstrating the difference in comfort and durability. The company recommends retailers start with the best cushion, which incidentally carries a 3X profit margin for the dealer.

High-end cushion is not for every customer—it’s hard to convince someone who just purchased an FHA carpet to spend a buck per foot on cushion that may cost more than the carpet itself. But if somebody’s willing to spend on a higher-end carpet the purchase makes sense because the carpet will last longer. “If you have this wonderful cushion that’s being sold as part of the package, they’re never going to say, ‘Well, let’s do a basic installation with a lesser cushion,’” Kempf explained. “Nobody’s going to want to downgrade themselves, right?”

Simplicity is the key to selling, Kempf said. “Talk about the benefits. We’re big believers in antimicrobial in cushion, so explain those benefits. But more importantly, just put it under a piece of carpet and have them walk on it.”

DuraPlush is Leggett & Platt’s premier product line, but the company also markets a Stainmaster- and Scotchgard-branded cushion within the DuraPlush collection. “Stainmaster’s big thing is a breathable moisture barrier, breathe,” Kempf said. “Scotchgard is a repellent, so it helps bead the water. They’re both antimicrobial treated, and they’re both powerful brands.”

Kempf touted DuraPlush for two reasons: comfort and durability. “No other product in the marketplace walks like it, so the comfort is there. And you have to back that up with durability, so even under stairs and hallways, we offer a lifetime warranty. So you have an extremely nice walk, but it’s also going to last as long as you want it to.”

Carrie Patterson, vice president of Carpet World Carpet One in Lexington, Ky., is a big fan. “DuraPlush is a great product for us because we sell a lot of higher-end goods such as natural fiber wool and sisal. We like DuraPlush because it’s a virgin product and it’s a lower-profile thickness so it can go under a lot of lower-profile carpet and allow for better seaming. We’re the only specialty retailer in the central Kentucky area that’s selling that pad, so that’s an advantage for us.”

Continuous improvement
Going forward, Leggett & Platt will continue to build on everything that has been set in motion over the past six or seven years. That doesn’t mean the company won’t adapt with the times.

“Erik’s willingness to change is one of his big attributes,” Palmer said. “We’re going to be here for a long time. We look at what’s next and how can we do things differently and better.”

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DMX Plastics tackles moisture issues

November 26/December 3, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 12

By Lindsay Baillie

DMX Plastics manufactures dimpled underlayments used primarily in applications where moisture is a problem. The company first started manufacturing dimpled membranes used to protect foundations from water in 2004, and then expanded its portfolio to include flooring underlayments.

“Our knowledge in protecting concrete foundations from water has helped us to protect flooring systems from water,” said Steve Sennik, president. “We are now the premier supplier of dimpled underlayments for flooring applications, too.”

Unlike some underlayments that trap incoming vapor moisture and prevent evaporation, DMX 1-Step Carpet Pad, which is patented (U.S. Pat. No. 9,869,100), is designed to allow vapor moisture to evaporate, according to Sennik. This helps minimize the chances of mold growth. The secret to DMX 1-Step Carpet Pad’s success is its unique design, which features a dimpled plastic core that is covered on both sides with a closed-cell foam that is both waterproof and comfortable. “The dimples create an air gap of a ¼ inch between the concrete slab and the finished floors,” he added. “This air gap allows the vapor moisture to evaporate. No moisture equals no mold.”

DMX 1-Step Carpet Pad is among a handful of carpet pads in the market with an air gap to help evaporate moisture. What’s more, the product’s dimples have a compressive strength of 6,000 pounds per square foot, which allows the pad to hold furniture equal to that weight. In addition to being 100% waterproof, DMX 1-Step Carpet Pad comes in rolls of 100-square-feet and boasts an easy installation—needing only vapor tape.

“At the end of the day, it is about creating a high value proposition for our customers,” Sennik said. “Most people want carpet in their basements for obvious reasons—it gives a warm, cozy feel that you cannot get with laminate, vinyl or tiles. We feel DMX 1-Step Carpet Pad gives customers this choice without worrying about mold/mildew in their carpet pad. Contractors will find that DMX 1-Step Carpet Pad installs quickly and easily.”

DMX Plastics will be exhibiting its patented dimpled carpet pad at TISE 2019 (booth# 457).

For more information about the product, visit dmx1step.com.

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Installation: For underlayment suppliers, silence is golden

Sound-deadening padding provides noise-control solutions

September 3/10, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 6

By Reginald Tucker

In today’s fashion-centric world of flooring, a lot of emphasis is placed on style and design. But it’s important to not overlook what lies beneath the flooring—specifically underlayments. Not only can these innovative, functional products extend the life of the flooring materials they support, but they also provide numerous benefits for end users, especially noise suppression.

Centaur

Centaur Sound Reducer is a composition rubber sound-control underlayment engineered for use directly under most floor finishes. Available in 48-inch-wide rolls and a variety of standard and custom thicknesses, Sound Reducer yields exceptional impact sound insulation results, even under hard surface flooring for concrete or wood-framed construction. Sound Reducer is backed by more than 400 independent laboratory and field tests.

Also available with a waterproof membrane, Sound Reducer can be installed under most types of grouted, glued and floating floors, including hard tile, hardwood, engineered wood, laminate, LVT and carpet. Product installs easily and is compatible with radiant heat systems.

Diversified Industries

FloorMuffler Ultraseal has been the gold standard for flooring underlayment, offering the highest sound ratings in the industry for the past 14 years. The polypropylene formula used to create FloorMuffler not only provides optimal sound abatement attributes, but it also features a built-in moisture barrier. FloorMuffler is an all-in-one underlayment for use under laminate, engineered and solid hardwood flooring and boasts IIC ratings up to (74) dB, an STC up to (73) dB and a delta IIC up to (25) dB.

FloorMuffler LVT Ultraseal is also made of polypropylene. The product is 1mm thick, providing a more dense product for use under luxury vinyl tiles and planks and boasts IIC ratings up to (71) dB, an STC up to (66) dB and a delta IIC up to (25) dB.

Dri-Tac

DriTac introduces DriTac 8501 RecycUL, a sound and moisture control felt underlayment for glue-down, floating and nail-down wood and laminate flooring installations. Made from 100% recycled fibers, this thick plastic moisture barrier provides enhanced acoustical abatement and can be used for the installation of multi-ply engineered plank, solid plank, bamboo and more. American made, RecycUL provides moisture vapor blocking technology, with improved foot-fall sound performance.

DriTac also offers two premium-grade foam acoustical abatement underlayments: DriTac 8301 Impact for resilient floor installations and DriTac 8302 Double Impact for wood and laminate floor installations. Both provide enhanced acoustical abatement properties and a total sound reduction system when used with approved DriTac flooring adhesives.

Foam Products

Foam Products introduced one of the first acoustical underlayments, The Silencer, back in the mid 1990s. Today, it produces premium acoustical underlayments for all laminates, wood and vinyl plank flooring using the Silencer brand name.

The company offers Eco Ultimate Silencer/Eco Silencer HD FOF premium acoustical underlayments for use with laminates, bamboo, engineered wood and hardwoods. They are intended to reduce noise transmission in two- to three-story residential homes, condos, apartments or other high-rise buildings. This product has acoustical ratings of up to IIC 73, STC 70 and Delta IIC 22, depending on the subfloor and installed flooring composition. These acoustical underlayments eliminate the hollow, “clicky” sounds inherent in many laminate floors.

Silencer LVT premium acoustical underlayment is designed for a range of vinyl plank flooring products (LVT/LVP/WPC), including the 2mm – 3mm glue-down planks used in many apartments. This underlayment has all the sound control, acoustical rating and moisture protection benefits available with the aforementioned Eco Silencer products while adding comfort underfoot when walking on the thinner vinyl planks. The Silencer LVT is extra dense to protect the thin locking edges on the vinyl planks from breaking.

Foam Products’ underlayments are constructed to minimize the noise associated with hard surface flooring and are GreenGuard Gold certified. Foam Products’ underlayments are made with high-density polyurethane foam, which rebounds from applied pressure and is designed to last the lifetime of the installed flooring.

Laticrete

Laticrete Fracture Ban is a high-performance, pliable, lightweight, peel-and- stick membrane designed for use under thin-bed adhesives for ceramic tile, stone and other hard surface installations. This reinforced, high-strength membrane performs as a crack isolation and an acoustical underlayment system that eliminates the transmission of stresses from the substrate, while dampening the transmission of impact and airborne noise through the floor to the room below.

Laticrete 125 Sound & Crack Adhesive is a superior crack prevention/sound isolation adhesive mortar designed to achieve high Delta IIC ratings and independently tested to ASTM E2179. Laticrete’s 125 Sound & Crack Adhesive provides sound transmission protection while simultaneously protecting the surface finish from any cracking in the substrate. Equipped with lightweight technology and reinforced with Kevlar to provide maximum strength and durability, 125 Sound & Crack Adhesive is an alternative to time-consuming, thin-set membrane or mat combinations and allow for a more cost-effective tile and stone installation.

MP Global

QuietWalk Plus, MP Global’s signature underlayment, literally does it all. It is versatile in its application and can be used under floating, nail-down and glue-down floors. QuietWalk Plus is made from recycled fibers in a patented process that offers excellent sound reduction at a very affordable upgrade option when compared to cork and rubber options. The product is popular in high-rise multifamily applications as it helps diminish the transfer of impact and airborne noises from traveling to rooms below. IIC ratings are 71 dB and STC 66).

QuietWalk Plus also boasts a factory-attached vapor barrier, which protects hard surface floors against harmful moisture emissions found in concrete subfloors.

Insulayment, a cousin to QuietWalk, is made from the same recycled materials, but is denser and offers more support under glue- and nail-down hardwood applications. It has good sound ratings as well and boasts an FIIC of 60 and STC of 53, making it suitable for multifamily and single-family dwellings.  Due to their fiber makeup, both Insulayment and QuietWalk products inherently offer insulation value, and there are no harmful off-gassing or VOCs. Furthermore, the products are GreenGuard certified.

WE Cork

WE Cork’s latest addition to its family of sound-control products is WECU Silently-LVT, a high-density rubber and cork underlayment specifically designed for use under glue-down LVT. WECU products are ideal for use in single-family homes as a better and best upgrade under flooring for step sound within the room as well as transmitting sound from rooms above. WE Cork has also test results using the DELTA IIC ratings, with performance up to Delta 26.

WE Cork’s cornerstone product is WECU-Soundless (1⁄4 inch) and Soundless+ (1⁄2 inch), one of the most dense cork underlayments on the market. It is ideal for use directly under ceramic tile and stone with an IIC rating of 53 dB, based on laboratory testing for 6-inch concrete structure (without suspended ceiling) and one of the highest performing products on the market. WECU-Soundless products also meet or exceed building code requirements in wood-joist buildings for use under hardwood and stone flooring.

WE Cork also offers Warm&Quiet (1⁄8) and Warm&Quiet+ (1⁄4), a medium- density product line for use under hardwood and carpeting. WECU-Warm&Quiet+ provides an IIC 59 rating under hardwood and significant thermal insulation as well.

QEP

Roberts Consolidated Industries, a division of QEP, offers SoundBarricade Universal Sound Control Underlayment featuring advanced rubber foam technology that delivers enhanced sound absorption and antimicrobial protection. The ratings are IIC 69, STC 63, Delta 25 under luxury vinyl tiles and plank, and IIC 68, STC 63, Delta 22 under laminate and wood products.

Schönox

Schönox TS improves impact sound insulation by up to 17 dB. This impact sound insulating underlayment is available in a thickness of just 1⁄8 of an inch. Schönox TS is made of cork and recycled urethane granules for sound reduction and provides additional thermal insulation as well. It is suitable for installation under resilient floor coverings such as vinyl and cushioned vinyl or carpet. It’s also made for all wood flooring, floating laminate floors or on wood substrates such as plywood, oriented strand board or well-bonded floor coverings such as ceramic.

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Underlayment: Eco-friendly materials give dealers ammunition to sell

July 9/16, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 2

By Nicole Murray

 

In keeping with offering customers a more environmentally friendly flooring package, underlayment manufacturers are developing the latest acoustical, sound-absorbing products out of various recycled materials, including fibers and rubber tires—to name a couple. These eco-friendly underlayments often tout low volatile organic compounds as well as indoor air quality and Greenguard certifications.

What’s more, these products are being created for various types of flooring—providing environmentally conscious options for all consumers. Following are a few of the latest green underlayments to hit the market.

Diversified Industries
The Floor Muffler One line from Diversified Industries is made from recycled rubber and tire crumbs. The product boasts high acoustical properties and is ideal for multi-unit, multi-floor and high-rise applications.

With Floor Muffler One, “sound travel, especially from floor to ceiling, is minimal; this gives multi-unit homes the allusion they are living in their own space with a sense of privacy,” said Colleen Gormley, national marketing coordinator.

What’s more, Floor Muffler One comes with an optional moisture barrier for below-grade applications. It can also be floated or glued down as well as put on top of all substrates and under all types of flooring.

“This is a fan favorite because it requires the installer to only bring one underlayment to the job site as opposed to many,” Gormley explained.

Also new is Diversified’s Eco Natura Elite, which is constructed in the U.S. from recycled needled fiber. It is deal for applications such as hospitality markets where temperature stabilization is a key consideration.

DriTac
DriTac Impact 8301 and Double Impact 8302 are the company’s latest eco-friendly polyurethane underlayments. The products complement the manufacturer’s adhesives, are compatible with radiant-heated floors and are part of the company’s Total Sound Reduction System.

DriTac Impact 8301 is 1mm thick and works best with LVT and resilient products. Double Impact 8302, which is 2mm thick, is geared toward wider boards and thicker materials such as hardwood or laminate flooring. Both products have very low VOCs, are hypoallergenic and are mold, mildew and bacteria resistant. They also boast high impact isolation and sound abatement with respect to typical floor to ceiling sound travel.

“Our entire package is green from top to bottom,” said Wade Verble, vice president of underlayment and business development. “There is only one source to question for any issues, and because there is no ability to finger point another source, issues [are kept to a minimum].”

Ecore
Ecore has combined its environmentally friendly underlayment, EcoSilence, and new luxury vinyl tile collection, Attain, to create AttainSilence, a resilient flooring system available in five configurations. The aim is to solve common acoustical challenges associated with multifamily or hospitality environments.

Then there’s EcoSilence, available in 2mm and 5mm thicknesses—ideal for wood—and also a 10mm option, which works best under tile. The underlayment is created by turning ground-up recycled rubber truck tires into underlayment.

“Rubber is the perfect material because its quality never fades,” said Bob Racioppi, director of sales commercial products portfolio. “So instead of existing in a landfill forever, the material is being put to good use.”

EcoSilence can be installed under virtually any type of finished flooring, has a crack isolation up to 1⁄8-inch and is compatible with radiant heat flooring systems.

Healthier Choice
SoundSolution and OmniChoice are acoustical underlayments made with soy-based polyurethane as well as other natural, recycled resources. Both products are Greenguard Gold certified for indoor air quality, contain anti-microbials and are hypoallergenic.

“These underlayments are protected from top to bottom,” said Andrew Stafford, director of marketing. “The microbials are infused while the products are in a liquefied state, which means it is practically impossible for mold, bacteria or mildew to grow after the flooring has been installed.”

Sound Solution is best used with laminates, engineered woods and hardwoods; and OmniChoice is designed to go under ceramic, stone, vinyl and wood. In addition, both OmniChoice and SoundSolution come with a “never crush” guarantee, which states the products will maintain 90% of their thickness. Consumers are also given the option of adding a Vapor Bloc, which is a laminated moisture barrier for an extra layer of protection.

MP Global
Quiet Walk Plus is the latest iteration of MP Global’s signature Quiet Walk brand of underlayments. The product made from small pieces of blue jean, carpet, cotton and polyester fibers, which are often too short to use in the manufacturing process and would have otherwise ended up in a landfill.

“We have developed a patented process of repurposing what normally would have been deemed as trash into a high-performing underlayment product,” said Deanna Summers, marketing coordinator. “MP Global is repurposing 20 tons of raw materials a day because what others see as garbage, we see as a flooring opportunity.”

Quiet Walk Plus also touts acoustical features, compression resistance, moisture protection and longevity. It is also certified for low chemical emission and has just recently been Indoor Air Quality certified with Greenguard and Greenguard Gold standards.

“This material can be nailed, floated or glued down, and it can be paired with a range of products including vinyl planking or WPC products,” Summers explained.

Schönox
Schönox’s signature “manmade gypsum” technology is twice as hard as concrete, doesn’t promote the growth of mold or mildew, and doesn’t shrink or crack, according to the company. This technology can be poured over all types of substrates and is found in Schönox’s AP and APF leveling compounds.

Products containing the synthetic gypsum leveling compounds have been verified for LEED credits including low-emitting material, building reused and recycled content. Another benefit is a minimal amount of dust emits when poured into a barrel.

“There is less mess and less time spent because this technology is made to go over the worst of the worst,” said Doug Young, executive vice president.

Schönox’s Hybrid Active Dry technology combines the speed and temperature tolerance of cement with the versatility of synthetic gypsum to form a fast and strong underlayment.

AP Rapid, which contains this technology, can be poured up to ½ inch. The product has low shrinkage and allows for flooring to be laid down approximately six hours after it’s poured.

WE Cork
WE Cork’s Warm & Quiet and Warm & Quiet Plus are made of cork from the bark of trees, which means these products have no off gassing, renew themselves every nine years and are moisture resistant.

Warm & Quiet is an 1⁄8-inch thick and is lighter than rubber underlayment of the same size weight. It is best used under laminates or in situations where thermal installation and sound control is required.

“You won’t hear residents walking or high heels clicking,” said Ann Wicander, president. “This product can even make a fake floor sound real. The density absorbs the reverberation of footsteps so the sound does not travel within the room or from floor to ceiling.”

Warm & Quiet Plus is ¼-inch thick and should be paired with laminates and hardwood floors. It is best suited for multifamily and second-story applications.

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Underlayment: Proper education is the key to closing sales

April 2/9, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 21

By Lindsay Baillie

 

Arming retail salespeople with the knowledge to prescribe and sell the right underlayment for the job is the key to success, suppliers say. Once a retail sales associate is properly trained on the latest products, he or she must make it a point to educate the consumer.

Following are a few key points to remember when selling underlayments.

Look for trade-up opportunities. Underlayments offered on a good/better/best platform provide retailers with twice the opportunity to upsell—once, when the consumer decides whether to purchase underlayment along with her floor, and again when she has the option to choose between underlayments of different qualities.

As Jeff Bonkiewicz, channel manager, Laticrete, explained, “Underlayment products are valuable accessories that help increase margins and generate higher ticket sales for retailers. Upselling from an entry-level product to a specialty underlayment is achievable through comprehensive product education. This focus on education starts with the dealer outlining the   benefits of using an underlayment before installing materials.”

Focus on the benefits, not features. Once a consumer learns about the characteristics of underlayment, the product will no longer seem like an accessory but rather a necessity. As most underlayment suppliers point out, qualities such as sound absorption and comfort sound great to a consumer who is looking to install new flooring.

“Sound absorption is extremely important in multi-story, single-family homes, condos, apartments and multi-story office and hotel buildings,” explained Jim Wink, vice president of sales and marketing, Foam Products. “In terms of comfort for hard surface flooring, a high-quality foam underlayment can soften the feel of walking on the floor, especially with thinner laminates and vinyl plank flooring.”

Underlayments complete the installation. When a consumer enters a store looking for flooring, she is typically only interested in the style and color of her new floors. Suppliers believe it is crucial for the retailer to slow her down and force her to think through the function of her entire application, including hidden problems that can occur within the life of the flooring materials.

“For example, when it comes to floating floors, most consumers and contractors know they need an underlayment,” said Deanna Summers, marketing coordinator, MP Global. “Problem solved, right? The trick is to understand the full installation and match the right performing underlayment that will be best suited for the entire makeup of the floor, not just the floor covering materials.”

In addition to its other characteristics, underlayments also  reduce the amount of floor preparation required for a successful installation. As Wade Verble, vice president of underlayment, DriTac, noted, “The associated labor savings will typically offset the cost of the underlayment and labor needed to install the pad.”

Padding extends the life of the floor. Since underlayment can protect installations in various ways—such as limiting water intrusion, damages and cracking as well as aiding in sound reduction—this accessory helps to present a better overall surface to adhere finished flooring. “Adding an appropriate underlayment could mean the difference between a three- to five-year installation and a durable lifetime installation,” Laticrete’s Bonkiewicz said.

Providing consumers with the proper underlayment can also create consumer trust. As DriTac’s Verble explains, “Peak performance for any flooring system is always optimal and underlayment is critical to achieving the highest level of results and customer satisfaction.”

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Proper education is the key to closing sales

April 2/9, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 21

By Lindsay Baillie

Arming retail salespeople with the knowledge to prescribe and sell the right underlayment for the job is the key to success, suppliers say. Once a retail sales associate is properly trained on the latest products, he or she must make it a point to educate the consumer.

Following are a few key points to remember when selling underlayments.

Look for trade-up opportunities. Underlayments offered on a good/better/best platform provide retailers with twice the opportunity to upsell—once, when the consumer decides whether to purchase underlayment along with her floor, and again when she has the option to choose between underlayments of different qualities.

As Jeff Bonkiewicz, channel manager, Laticrete, explained, “Underlayment products are valuable accessories that help increase margins and generate higher ticket sales for retailers. Upselling from an entry-level product to a specialty underlayment is achievable through comprehensive product education. This focus on education starts with the dealer outlining the   benefits of using an underlayment before installing materials.”

Focus on the benefits, not features. Once a consumer learns about the characteristics of underlayment, the product will no longer seem like an accessory but rather a necessity. As most underlayment suppliers point out, qualities such as sound absorption and comfort sound great to a consumer who is looking to install new flooring.

“Sound absorption is extremely important in multi-story, single-family homes, condos, apartments and multi-story office and hotel buildings,” explained Jim Wink, vice president of sales and marketing, Foam Products. “In terms of comfort for hard surface flooring, a high-quality foam underlayment can soften the feel of walking on the floor, especially with thinner laminates and vinyl plank flooring.”

Underlayments complete the installation. When a consumer enters a store looking for flooring, she is typically only interested in the style and color of her new floors. Suppliers believe it is crucial for the retailer to slow her down and force her to think through the function of her entire application, including hidden problems that can occur within the life of the flooring materials.

“For example, when it comes to floating floors, most consumers and contractors know they need an underlayment,” said Deanna Summers, marketing coordinator, MP Global. “Problem solved, right? The trick is to understand the full installation and match the right performing underlayment that will be best suited for the entire makeup of the floor, not just the floor covering materials.”

In addition to its other characteristics, underlayments also  reduce the amount of floor preparation required for a successful installation. As Wade Verble, vice president of underlayment, DriTac, noted, “The associated labor savings will typically offset the cost of the underlayment and labor needed to install the pad.”

Padding extends the life of the floor. Since underlayment can protect installations in various ways—such as limiting water intrusion, damages and cracking as well as aiding in sound reduction—this accessory helps to present a better overall surface to adhere finished flooring. “Adding an appropriate underlayment could mean the difference between a three- to five-year installation and a durable lifetime installation,” Laticrete’s Bonkiewicz said.

Providing consumers with the proper underlayment can also create consumer trust. As DriTac’s Verble explains, “Peak performance for any flooring system is always optimal and underlayment is critical to achieving the highest level of results and customer satisfaction.”

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Underlayment: Education is the key to sales success

By Lindsay Baillie

 

Arming retail salespeople with the knowledge to prescribe and sell the right underlayment for the job is the key to success, supplier say. Once a retail sales associate is properly trained on the latest products he or she must make it a point to educate the consumer.
Following are a few key points to remember when selling underlayments:

Look for trade-up opportunities. Underlayments offered on a good, better, best platform that provides retailers with twice the opportunity to upsell—once, when the consumer decides whether or not to purchase underlayment along with her floor; and again when she has the option to choose between underlayments of different qualities.

As Jeff Bonkiewicz, channel manager, Laticrete, explains, “Underlayment products are valuable accessories that help increase margins and generate higher ticket sales for retailers. Upselling from an entry-level product to a specialty underlayment is achievable through comprehensive product education. This focus on education starts with the retailer outlining the many added benefits of using an underlayment before installing materials.”

Focus on the benefits, not features. Once a consumer learns about the characteristics of underlayment, the product will no longer seem like a simple accessory but rather a necessity. As most underlayment manufacturers point out, qualities such as sound absorption, comfort and protection all sound great to a consumer who is looking to install new flooring.

“Sound absorption is extremely important in multi-story, single-family homes, condos, apartments and multi-story office and hotel buildings,” explained Jim Wink, vice president sales and marketing, Foam Products Corp. “In terms of comfort, for a hard surface flooring a high-quality foam underlayment can soften the feel of walking on the floor, especially with thinner laminates and vinyl plank flooring. The underlayments Foam Product Corp. produces also act as a protector and offers a high degree of moisture vapor protection. This moisture vapor can pass up through concrete and wood joist floor and can severely damage laminates and wood flooring.”

Underlayments complete the installation. When a consumer enters a store looking for flooring she is typically only interested in the style and color of her new floors. Suppliers believe it is crucial for the retailer to slow her down and force her to think through the function of her entire application, including hidden problems that can occur within the life of the flooring materials.

“For example, when it comes to floating floors, most consumers and contractors know they need an underlayment,” said Deanna Summers, marketing coordinator, MP Global. “Problem solved, right? The trick is to understand the full installation and match the right performing underlayment that will be best suited for the entire makeup of the floor, not just the floor covering materials.”

1In addition to its other characteristics, underlayment also serves to reduce the amount of floor preparation required for a successful installation. As Wade Verble, vice president of underlayment, DriTac Flooring Products, noted, “The associated labor savings will typically offset the cost of the underlayment and labor needed to install the pad.”

Padding extends the life of the floor. Since underlayment can protect installations in various ways—ad such as limiting water intrusion, damages and cracking as well as aiding in sound reduction—this accessory helps to present a better overall surface to adhere finished flooring. “The addition of an appropriate underlayment may mean the difference between a three- to five-year installation and a permanent, durable lifetime installation,” Laticrete’s Bonkiewicz explained.

Providing consumers with the proper underlayment can also create consumer trust. As DriTac’s Verble explains, “Peak performance for any flooring system is always optimal and underlayment is a critical component to achieving the highest level of results and customer satisfaction.”

 

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Latest cushion products promote performance enhancements

March 19/26, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 20

By Nicole Murray

As consumer flooring trends continue to lean toward hard surfaces—specifically LVT, WPC and SPC—underlayment manufacturers are innovating to stay ahead as well as provide dealers with upsell opportunities. During Surfaces earlier this year, a host of underlayment manufacturers exhibited their latest products made for all types of flooring.

Amorim showcased its underlayment for LVT and WPC applications. “We have tweaked what we are offering to now include other products for WPC constructions,” said Larry Lyons, director of sales and marketing. “For our hard surface underlayment program, we have a lightweight product that’s very specified and everyone is using it because it is easier for laying down WPC.”

Lyons explained the benefits to using the product. “On the LVT side, if you have a connection with a property management client, there is an education opportunity for a retailer. A lot of the property management clients want LVT but don’t know about the potential sound issues. We have tools for retailers to help educate the end user about why they need the underlayment.”

Floor Muffler is also riding the wave of LVT/WPC growth with its new Floor Muffler LVT underlayment. The product is 1mm thick and features acoustical and moisture barrier properties.

“Once we started seeing LVT grow popular in apartment buildings, there grew a need for sound reduction,” said Collen Gormley, national marketing coordinator, Floor Muffler. “LVT is growing in the industry; therefore, it is growing for us. The underlayments that are already attached to LVT products may be more convenient, but then you are not using the best quality product with the best ratings available.”

Pak-Lite showed its one-of-a-kind fan fold underlayment applications made specifically for the vinyl and laminate industry. One of its key selling points is its ease of installation. “It is one of the easiest products to install and we have heard that from flooring experts themselves,” said Kimberly Liemkeo, marketing manager. “It is a doable installation process for those who are not very experienced, and the process itself takes out imperfections that exist within the flooring.”

WE Cork highlighted underlayment made for various floors. New to Surfaces was the company’s Warm and Quiet Plus, a 6mm cork underlayment that offers sound control under carpeting, wood and laminates.

Being that it is made from cork, this underlayment is lighter than other products with similar thicknesses. It also has no off gassing and offers a new level of comfort, especially when applied underneath hardwood flooring.

“Cork consists of 200 million closed air cells per cubic inch,” said Ann Wicander, president. “When you walk on cork, it will take a bit more concussion and will be that much more comfortable. While rubber is being used for a lot of multifamily situations, cork overall has a better performance and is more affordable.”

MP Global’s new addition, Quiet Walk Plus, was promoted throughout the show as a “one-stop-shop” underlayment billed as an upgraded version of its original Quiet Walk. Quiet Walk Plus has greater acoustic performance, compression resistance, moisture protection and longevity due to its fiber composition. It can also be paired with more flooring categories and types of installation.

“Quiet Walk Plus becomes your Swiss army knife that can handle being nailed, floated or glued down,” said Deanna Summers, marketing manager, MP Global. “The material is dense enough to support vinyl planking or WPC products and will not crush over time like we have seen with foam underlayments.”

Among the higher-end releases was Laticrete’s new Strata heat floor warming line, designed to be used under tile flooring. It’s controlled by a thermostat that can be adjusted through a smart phone app.

“A wire is placed throughout a mat that goes underneath the tiles, so the material will heat much faster,” said Maria Oliviera, corporate marketing manager, Laticrete. “This technology is best designed for bathrooms or kitchens and offers yet another level to upsell because of its ease for installation during an already existing project.”

To provide dealers with upsell opportunities is DriTac’s new “all-in-one” Total Sound Reduction System, which includes the 8301 Impact underlayment made for resilient and 8302 Double Impact underlayment for wood and laminates. The package comes with a lifetime warranty, enhanced moisture control of up to 10 pounds calcium chloride and 95% relative humidity. All the products come from one supplier. 

“We are marrying our underlayments with our adhesives to offer an enhanced system package that we can get fully behind,” said John Lio, vice president of marketing, DriTac. “It avoids any finger pointing because we know this package inside and out. It gives us all the more reason to stand behind these products because we make it a point to only release premium-level options.”

Similar to a few manufacturers, Centaur Floor Systems not only manufactures a variety of finished products mainly for commercial interiors, but it also provides the underlayment that goes underneath the flooring. Case in point is its Sound Reducer line, which is engineered to provide exceptional impact sound insulation results, even under hard surface flooring for concrete or wood-framed construction.

Also available with a waterproof membrane, Sound Reducer can be installed under most types of grouted, glued and floating floors—including hard tile, hardwood, engineered wood, laminate, LVT and carpet. It’s available in 48-inch-wide rolls in a variety of both standard and custom thicknesses (vapor barrier option available upon request).

Some of Centaur Floor Systems’ products already include the underlayment as a pre-attached backing. This includes the company’s Triple Threat line, which consists of a vinyl wear layer with a 7mm-thick recycled rubber underlayment. According to the company, the product saves time and money because installers only need to put down one material. “We fusion bond the vinyl to the recycled rubber backing so only one material is getting installed as opposed to two different products being laid on top of one another,” said Garnet Sofillas, public relations and communications manager. “Underlayment is always suggested for vinyl, so you can glue down our Triple Threat product directly over the subfloor, saving an installation step.”

Triple Threat’s maximum potential, according to Centaur, is utilized when applying the product to areas designed for exercise and physical activity—gyms or basketball courts, for example. “The material is very forgiving on the hips and joints,” Sofillas added.

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MP Global event celebrates 20th anniversary

August 28/September 4: Volume 32, Issue 6

Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 12.03.29 PMNorfolk, Neb.—MP Global recently commemorated 20 years in the business by holding a special “employee appreciation” event to mark the milestone. The event included a golf outing, special recognition of longtime workers as well as food, fun and activities.

Beyond the fun-filled festivities, the event provided an opportunity to reflect on the company’s storied history. When Al Collison, founder and president of MP Global Products, inserted the key for the first time into the large vacant building that is now the headquarters, he stopped before pushing the door open and asked himself out loud, “Well, I wonder how this one will turn out?” Having just sold his shares to his cellulose insulation company he ran for many years, he felt there was more he could be a part of and build.

Fast forward 20 years, MP Global Products has stood the test of time, positioning itself as a leader in the underlayment industry. Starting out, MP Global made carpet padding, which Collison admits now that floating floor underlayments were the farthest product from his mind. “QuietWalk was discovered almost by accident,” he recalled. By his account, a former colleague said he was onto something with this thin, dense pad with a vapor barrier on it that could be installed under laminate, a product category that was soaring in popularity in the late ’90s. Once the new product was tested and developed further, it quickly became the underlayment many installers preferred under floating floors.

“What makes QuietWalk so different than other underlayment products out there is it’s made from 94% recycled textile content,” said Jack Boesch, MP Global’s marketing director. “We like to say we were green long before being green was popular.”

Because of the natural fiber makeup of the product in the patented manufacturing process, MP Global’s fiber-based underlayments inherently have zero off gassing and are third-party certified for clean indoor air quality, passing all California requirements for clean air.

Legacy of innovation
Since the early days, MP Global has evolved products into what flooring trends have demanded. The company recently launched QuietWalk Plus, which—unlike like its older sibling, QuietWalk—can be used under floating applications. QuietWalk Plus also offers one universal underlayment that can be floated, glued or nailed down. The secret is in the vapor barrier, which is engineered to accept glue or a mechanical fastener. “So many things have changed in recent years with flooring innovations, we realize we need to adjust to those changes as well,” Collison said.

Having many new innovative products to offer, MP Global is positioned to be the one-source underlayment provider for all dealers’ or distributor needs. “Because of our vast assortment of underlayments for virtually any type of flooring on the market, we can mix one truck with all the different products,” Boesch added.

More importantly, MP Global cited the teamwork employees exhibit day in and day out as its greatest asset in the last 20 years. “We are all in this together,” Collison said. “It is pretty special that we have enjoyed success, and it could not have happened without every member of our team.”