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Better Tools unveils new knee pad covers TISE

Centerville, Ohio—Better Tools, a blade and flooring installation tool manufacturer, has introduced a new product to help extend the life of knee pads worn by flooring installers. Better Tools featured the BT130 Kneepad Protector at this year’s 2019 International Surfaces Event.

The new BT130 Gorilla Guard Knee Pad Protectors cover over most knee pads. These covers act as a barrier against jobsite glue, mud and grime that can transfer from unprotected, dirty knee pads to new surfaces.

“Knee pads get messy,” said Lori Rhoads, inside sales manager, Better Tools. “Installers wear knee pads for comfort and support. They also require knee pads that don’t damage their work area. Our goal is to provide an affordable, efficient alternative to the time-consuming task of tapping knee pads to create a barrier. The BT130 Gorilla Guard Knee Pad Protectors are easy on and off, inexpensive, reusable and washable.”

For more information, contact Rhoads directly at 800.798.6657 x2210 or visit


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Belknap, Haines grow relationship

Mansfield, Mass.—The Belknap White Group, a privately held, full-line flooring distributor in the Northeast, has announced an expanded equity investment in the JJ Haines Co., of Baltimore. The deal was finalized Feb. 14, 2019.

In 2017, Belknap and Haines entered into a strategic partnership with Belknap making an initial equity investment in Haines. The partnership allowed both companies to collaborate and work together to build an East Coast flooring distribution platform.

Recently, Belknap increased its equity investment and now holds a controlling interest in JJ Haines. Haines will continue to operate as a separate entity based out of Baltimore.

“This significant equity investment further enhances the synergies achieved through our partnership with Haines that started more than a year ago,” said Raymond Mancini Jr., CEO, Belknap. “This trend of strategic alignment is one that most flooring companies—including Haines and Belknap—have pursued over the last several years.”

Hoy Lanning, the CEO and president of Haines, will report to the Haines board of directors. The board, which will be chaired by Mancini, will oversee and set overall direction for the company.

“As flooring distributors begin to consolidate, it is critical that distributors achieve a certain level of critical mass,” said Lanning. “This investment from Belknap is a win/win for both companies as we strive to build a larger and more stable distribution platform.”

Haines, which has been in business since 1874, operates in the mid-Atlantic with their distribution territory stretching to Florida. They are Armstrong’s longest serving distributor partner.

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Domotex asia/ChinaFloor increases floor space for 21st edition

Shanghai, China—The flooring industry will soon meet to see the latest products and innovations at Domotex asia/ChinaFloor in Shanghai, March 26 to 28. This year’s show has attracted over 1,500 exhibitors from 40 countries spread out in 15 exhibition halls covering a total gross exhibition area of over 1,883,684 square feet.

InnovAction will hold its 7th edition in 2019 covering new products from 18 companies which will compete to win one of the 2019 Best Products Awards. The other professional forums include events such as the World Flooring Forum, Luxury Brands Carpet Show, Chinese Original Carpet Design Show and MaterialDistrict.

One day before the official opening of its 21st edition, the organizers of Domotex asia/ChinaFloor along with China National Forestry Industry Association are hosting the international Wood Flooring Forum 2019. The forum will give wood flooring manufacturers, buyers and associations an overview of the opportunities and obstacles in the international wood flooring market addressing topics such as legal, trade and environmental issues affecting the flooring industry.

International quality buyers
The dedicated international buyer delegations underline the show’s international importance in the global flooring industry. A hosted buyer program for wood and bamboo flooring will bring professionals from all around the world to conduct B2B meetings with exhibiting manufacturers. Co-organized by Treniq international interiors network, the international crew of 20 flooring buyers will also tour the carpet and wood halls.

Wood flooring (Halls E1-E4)
The wood flooring sector will present the latest innovations in solid wood, engineered wood, laminate, cork, bamboo and WPC flooring. International companies like Swiss Krono, Classen, Kaindl, Faus, Parador, Alsapan, Balterio, Berry Alloc, Quickstep, Granorte, Home Legend are gathering in Halls E1 and E3 to expand their business in Asia Pacific. At the same time, Nature, the famous domestic wood flooring brand, returns to the Shanghai show. Last, but not least, the solid wood heating flooring pavilion will have brands such as Teclic, Bloor, Yanni, Jinyi, Linchang, Minghe, Nuogao, Moganshan and Jinxiang in its premiere appearance.

Carpet (Halls W1-W5)
The country pavilions from Iran, Turkey and India are returning to the show with a significantly increased space. In addition, the Afghanistan pavilion is expanding from 1,840 square feet to 3,821 square feet. Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands are also coming back to the show to present a large variety of products including machine-made carpets and rugs.

Resilient flooring (Halls E6-E7/N3-N5)
In 2019, the resilient sector is expanding to a total of five halls with international brands like Gerflor, Armstrong and LG Hausys returning to the show. The SPC flooring market continues to grow with even more attending exhibitors compared to last year’s show. Another highlight of Domotex asia/ChinaFloor will be E7 which was specifically created for sports flooring.

FloorTech asia (Halls E5-E6)
The FloorTech asia display area has more than doubled in size and will occupy over 226,042 square feet across two exhibition halls this year. In Hall E5 specifically, domestic companies such as Qingsu, Zhisheng Machinery and JWELL will be launching their newest products at the exhibition.

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Armstrong Flooring awards winner of VCT design contest

Lancaster, Pa.—Armstrong Flooring has named Jenna Niemann of Klingner & Associates, Quincy, Ill., the winner of its See the Possibilities VCT design contest. In her winning entry, Niemann incorporated the bright colors of Armstrong’s VCT to help students navigate their way around Lincoln-Douglas Elementary School in the Quincy Public School District.

“Jenna captured the right balance of energy, creativity and safety—three elements of design that are critical for a productive learning environment,” said Morgan Lucente, Armstrong Flooring design manager. “She used our VCT products in an innovative way and extrapolated the floor design to every surface of the school, resulting in a comprehensive and powerful finished product.”

Niemann is a registered interior designer and architectural designer who has worked for Klingner & Associates for seven years. She said one aspect of the elementary school project was to avoid the feeling that the building was too large and institutionalized.

“This challenge inspired the design team to use the floor plan to create a tight-knit school community,” Niemann said. “Two wings, or ‘neighborhoods,’ are grouped by developmental stage: grades K-2 and grades 3-5. At the center of each wing is a multiuse media center with corridor branches to each grade level pod, or ‘family.’

“Clear wayfinding was a key design piece and was established through the use of bright colors and shapes assigned to each grade,” Niemann said. “There is also a color stripe to provide wayfinding to the gymnasium, which doubled as the tornado shelter, and also a dashed line, that led to the school nurse.”

Launched in October 2018, Armstrong Flooring’s design contest invited architects and designers to submit their designs using Armstrong VCT for a chance to win the grand prize: a trip for two to Palm Springs, Calif. The contest drew entries from designers across the country.

“Our contest was meant to show how designers are pushing the boundaries of color and pattern using our VCT collection as their palette,” Lucente said. “The contest entrants didn’t disappoint. Bright and vibrant schools, healthcare facilities bursting with positive energy, retail shops showcasing eye-popping color—these are the types of spaces that came to life through Armstrong Flooring’s VCT. Congratulations to Jenna and the many others who submitted creative, innovative designs.”

To see Niemann’s winning entry as well as other submissions go to the See the Possibilities page on the Armstrong Flooring website.

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Emser Tile awards 2018 Platinum Partner of the Year

Los Angeles—Emser Tile has named Johnson Floor & Home Carpet One as the company’s Platinum Partner of the Year for 2018. The award was announced during The International Surface Event 2019 in Las Vegas.

In its fifth year, the Emser Tile Platinum Partner of the Year Award program celebrates its network of premier tile retailers and their industry leadership, achievement and innovation. Platinum Partner of the Year companies demonstrate a commitment to promoting Emser Tile products—driving sales and profits through expert marketing, merchandising and overall collaboration.

“Johnson Floor & Home Carpet One takes pride in treating their customers like family, which resonates with Emser Tile fundamentally,” said Patrick Warren, senior vice president - sales for Emser Tile. “We congratulate them on their recognition as a Platinum Partner, and we look forward to growing our relationship and providing the latest in residential tile design in 2019.”

Johnson Floor & Home Carpet One has grown to nine locations throughout the greater Kansas City area, the greater Tulsa area and lastly, Joplin, Mo., in the last 20 years. They also operate an outlet store in the Tulsa market, as well as RD Mann Commercial Flooring based out of Kansas City. As a part of the Carpet One Floor & Home cooperative, the company specializes in a wide array of flooring materials, expert advice and installation services.

“We are honored to accept this year’s Emser Tile Platinum Partner of the Year recognition,” said Paul Johnson, owner of Johnson Floor & Home Carpet One. “Emser Tile’s customer service is unrivalled, and we are proud to offer the latest in residential tile design through our partnership.”

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No PFCs used in EF’s PureColor PET products

Dalton—Engineered Floors (EF) does not use fluorocarbon, also referred to as perfluorocarbon or PFC, topicals on its PureColor solution-dyed polyester products. From the company’s inception in 2009, EF’s residential carpet has never contained PFCs. Since 2018, all EF carpet across all brands and divisions, including J+J and EF Contract, are PFC free.

PFCs are chemicals that have been used in the carpet manufacturing process for decades. PFCs are not natural, but rather manmade by combining the chemical fluorine and carbon, making the C-F bond. This bond is very strong, and subsequently, PFCs are bio-accumulative and do not break down rapidly in nature, which causes long-term negative impacts on the environment.

PFCs are applied topically during manufacturing to help provide soil and stain release. Commonly known as the “waxy” coat on top of carpet, PFCs are what causes the “Lotus Effect” when a liquid is poured onto carpet that has been treated with a non-natural chemical.

“It is one thing to transition away from the use of PFCs,” said Russ Delozier, director of environmental innovation, EF. “But it is an entirely different thing to have never used them to start with. I am extremely proud of Engineered Floors for having begun its residential polyester business with never using topical PFCs. Such leadership in the omission of the chemical is a real benefit to consumers as well as the planet.”

This aligns with the company’s mission to make the best carpet in the world, which also means making the best carpet for the world. According to the company, Engineered Floors has always felt that stewardship and responsibility for the product it produces doesn’t stop once it leaves the manufacturing facility, but even after the product has been in the home for years to come.

“Using no PFCs is just the latest addition to the Engineered Floors green story,” stated Mike Sanderson, vice president of marketing, EF. “Recently we won the Best of Surfaces Award for sustainability for using 30% less energy, 42% less greenhouse emissions and 87% less water than traditional carpet manufacturing.”

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Tarkett launches the Woven Fringe collection

Solon, Ohio—Tarketthas launched the Woven Fringe collection, a new product the company is calling the result of a happy accident.

When the team set out to create a refined matte, flatweave surface, they were challenged to eliminate uneven color streaks. During early production trials, they were pushing the loom wire mechanism to its limits and caused the wire repositioning to misfire. Though the result was unintended, its visual stopped them in their tracks.

The misfiring wires created a line of long, uncut face fiber—or fringe—across the weft. This effect mirrored the fringe selvedge edge that a velvet weaving loom produces on every carpet it weaves—and became a source of inspiration the design team has used as a muse for years.

Though the visual was inspiring, they struggled to reproduce its effect in a predictable, safe way. Finally, after multiple trials, they have honed this technique and discovered a way to safely recreate the fringe effect in a consistent manner—paving the way for Velvet Fringe broadloom. Velvet Line, a complementary pattern,is a more streamlined, coordinating version to complete the series. Made with solution-dyed yarn to conserve water, the collection is well suited for workplace and hospitality environments.

For more information, visit:

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Tile of Spain companies present latest designs at Cevisama

Miami—Cevisama, the international fair for ceramic tiles and bathroom furnishings, held its 37th edition from Jan. 28 to Feb. 1, 2019 at the Feria Valencia center in Valencia, Spain. Five hundred and forty-two Spanish exhibitors showcased their latest products and innovations to over 94,000 industry professionals from more than 65 countries.

The 37th edition of Cevisama saw a noticeable shift in ceramic tile trends. New designs allow for a myriad of possibilities for walls and floors, resulting in strikingly different offerings combined with the functional characteristics that make ceramic tiles a favorite among users. Following are some of the new trends and innovations showcased at Cevisama.

Color and movement: Bright hues complemented by rhythmic textures are making its way back into the forefront of design.

Cement tile reproductions: The traditional patterns lend unique color and design that enhance any project with its decorative elements.

Dramatic marble veining: Marble looks are back once again, but this time with bold veining that allows for a design as elegant as it is dramatic.

Handcrafted and artisan: Uneven surfaces are strongly evocative of bygone times and are enhanced by visuals that are updated for a modern touch.

Innovative wood looks: The new wood looks create a lived-in feeling that brings out the unique beauty of each space it graces, while also allowing for a sense of continuity.

Stone imitations: Ranging from clean and neutral to weathered and worn, stone looks are the best bet for both interior and exterior projects that require the durability of porcelain.

Subway tiles: First appearing in New York City in the early 1900s, subway tile has quickly grown into one of the world’s favorite design elements. Some companies are taking traditional subway tiles one step further with vibrant colors, mixed finishes, intricate patterns and eye-catching reliefs.

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Daltile debuts perennial porcelain roofing tile

Dallas—With over seven decades of experience working with tile and stone, Daltile is now extending its product offerings into the roofing industry. Daltile’s new Perennial porcelain roofing tile is officially launching at the International Roofing Expo in Nashville, Tenn., at the Daltile booth (#1759).

Perennial provides the ideal roofing solution for contractors, builders, interior designers, architects and homeowners who are seeking beauty, durability and ease of installation in their roofing tiles, at a very competitive price. Available in six colors and designs, the new line realistically replicates the look of slate, timber and clay, but provides the strength of porcelain tile.

“At Daltile, we are bringing the innovation of porcelain roofing tile to market,” said Doug Pedersen, national director of roofing sales for Daltile. “Porcelain roofing tile will be a game-changer for the specialty roofing products segment—destined to soon outsell the current slate, clay, concrete and metal roofing options.”

Made in the USA, Daltile’s Perennial tiles offer all of the inherent advantages of porcelain tile: resiliency, longevity, resistance to frost, high breaking strength, imperviousness to water, 110 mph wind rating, Class A fire rating (fire resistant), Class IV hail impact rating and walkability.

Installation of Perennial takes about the same time and effort as concrete tiles do. It is simply nailed to the deck using traditional roofing installation methods. The low overall weight of Daltile’s Perennial porcelain roof system also adds to the speed of installation.

Daltile’s Perennial porcelain roofing tiles are available in three collections: Oulent Slate, Lavish Clay and Classic Timber.

For more information, visit

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NWFA kicks off new marketing campaign

‘Real wood. Real Life’ slogan is the focal point of consumer/retailer educational initiative

By Reginald Tucker


The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) is rolling out a new effort to help retailers’ customers—the homeowners—learn more about the characteristics and benefits of real wood floors while differentiating the product from so-called “look-alikes.” The newly launched campaign, dubbed “Real Wood. Real Life,” which is sponsored by Mannington Mills and Maxwell Hardwood Flooring, provides information on choosing the right wood floor, selecting a professional for the job and conducting proper maintenance, among other points.

According to Michael Martin, president and CEO of NWFA, the flood of wood-lookalike products like laminate, tile, plastic composite and vinyl plank flooring has created a lot of confusion about what is and what is not a real wood floor. Hence the timing of the new campaign.

“At the end of 2017 we published a research study on consumers to get their insights and perceptions about wood floors,” Martin told FCNews at TISE 2019. “What we discovered was two-thirds of consumers want wood floors. However, we found many consumers don’t know the difference between wood floors and other products. The intent was to take that research and design a campaign around it.”

But before the NWFA could proceed, it realized it first needed to devise a formal definition of what constitutes a real wood floor. So late in the fourth quarter of 2018, the association published an official release describing real wood flooring as follows: “Any flooring product that contains real wood as the top-most, wearable surface of the floor.” (This includes solid and engineered wood flooring, as well as composite engineered wood flooring.)

“The first two definitions are pretty self-explanatory—solid vs. engineered—with the third being engineered composite,” Martin explained. “We also felt we could not ignore any floor that had a real piece of wood on the wear layer—no matter what’s on the back, whether it’s composite, plastic, resin or otherwise. As long as it has a real wood surface, it falls under the definition of a real wood floor. What doesn’t fall under that definition is a photograph of wood on a piece of paper that’s then sealed onto a piece of plastic—that’s not wood.”

Campaign vehicles
The NWFA is looking to reach consumers with this information via the new Homeowner’s Handbook to Real Wood Floors and WoodFloors.Org. Whether a homeowner is trying to decide between solid or engineered wood or looking for ways to protect floors from their pets, the handbook and website are a one-stop shop for wood flooring tips.

“The entire supply chain needs to make the most out of the consumer’s desire to have wood floors and ensure that we’re all doing our part to provide a quality product to the end user,” added Chris Zizza, NWFA chairman and president of Westwood, Mass.-based C&R Flooring.

Along with the new handbook and website, NWFA has produced a campaign “toolkit” for retailers and contractors to make it easier for them to tailor the “Real wood. Real Life” marketing message to their unique businesses. By visiting the site, members can click on a dedicated link and download all of the essentials they need to carry out the campaign. This includes: creative assets such as digital and print ad materials; campaign logos; trade show tabletop signage; media outreach materials; and product fact sheets. NWFA has also provided retailers with social media posts they can use in their online marketing efforts—efforts that are supplemented by NWFA’s own social media posts.

“Members can essentially drop in their logo and all of a sudden they have a co-branded piece with the credibility of NWFA’s name,” said Libby Johnston, NWFA director of media and advertising. “These plug and play, ready-to-go templates materials are designed to simplify the process and make it easier for retailers to participate in the campaign.”

To help dealers get started on the campaign, Johnston provided additional tips:

  1. Decide how to tell your story. “Invite the local press to tour your facility or submit an op-ed piece. You can also choose a combination of elements from the toolkit.”
  2. Choose an engaging spokesperson. “Identify a leader, a marketing person or someone else within your company who’s on the front lines who’s very passionate about your company.
  3. Create a media kit. “Include a press release, photo, logos, marketing materials and product information and share it with the media.”
  4. Develop a media list.“Pull together a list of local or talk morning radio shows or local TV affiliates and local newspapers and media outlets and even online-only media. Find out the names of the home improvement editors working at the different media outlets.”
  5. Make a compelling pitch. “This is your opportunity to grab the reporter’s attention and point out why you should matter to them and their readers. Make it local and relevant to the community.”
  6. Follow up.“Touch base with your contacts to find out when the story is going to run, then share it with your team, post it on your website, etc. Remember, an op-ed piece might run a few weeks after you submit the materials.”

For more information on the “Real wood. Real Life” campaign, visit and click on the dedicated link.