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Latest bamboo, cork intros stir visual interest

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

By Lindsay Baillie

 

Touting qualities such as durability, comfort underfoot and water resistance, cork and bamboo products provide the industry with eco-friendly flooring suitable for both residential and commercial applications.

Following is an overview of some of the newest cork and bamboo innovations that promise to captivate consumers not only with updated visuals, but also with reasonable price points.

Bamboo Hardwoods

Bamboo Hardwoods’ new Symphony line features a hybrid of rigid core with a natural strand woven bamboo wear layer. The line combines the natural beauty of authentic bamboo floors with a waterproof rigid core allowing for installations in even the most undesirable locations.

Symphony is available in 72 x 51⁄8 x 9⁄32 planks and features a four-sided Uniclic locking system. Its 1.2mm strand woven bamboo veneer is wire brushed and stained. Symphony will be available in June in two colors: anise and currant.

Torlys

CorkWood brings together the look of wood, the durability of laminate and the comfort of cork. It comes in two collections: CorkWood Designer, which features 6-foot planks in nine colors, and CorkWood Elite, available in planks spanning nearly 4-feet long and five colors. CorkWood is engineered with a HDF smart core for dent resistance and a 3mm (Designer) or 2.5mm (Elite) thick top layer of compressed cork. It also includes the Torlys CorkPlus attached underlayment for added warmth and sound insulation.


WE Cork

WE Cork’s Corkoleum is a 3mm rolled cork flooring with a rubber and cork base and a cork veneer. Ideal for glue-down applications, Corkoleum is a very low, thin product. Made up of mainly cork, the flooring is marketed as being quiet, comfortable, warm and water resistant. Corkoleum is ideal for wet areas in both residential and commercial settings.

Also from WE Cork is a line of wall panels available for both residential and commercial applications. Available in two different visuals—brick, which comes in three different colors, and bark—WE Cork’s line of wall panels can be used for decorative purposes as well as a sound insulator.

Wellmade

Wellmade unveils a variety of new bamboo looks as part of its Opti-Wood flooring collection. Opti-Wood couples the performance virtues of rigid core flooring technology with real bamboo or hardwood wear layer veneers. The product features Wellmade’s Hydri-HDPC technology, a moisture protection system that seals out topical moisture and boasts a 100% waterproof HDPC core.

Wellmade’s new bamboo flooring is just over 5 inches wide, 48-plus inches long and 8.5mm thick, and features the Uniclic locking system. Colors range from traditional carbonized to multi-color and character-driven glazing options.

Cali Bamboo

Cali Bamboo has launched GeoWood, an engineered hardwood floor combining real timber layered over GeoCore—Cali’s stabilizing limestone composite foundation. The design layer atop each GeoWood plank is up to 1.2mm thick and features sustainably farmed bamboo and lumber from Lacey Act-compliant managed forests.

Made with AquaDefy technology, GeoWood boasts proven moisture protection, making it ideal for bathrooms, kitchens and below-grade spaces such as basements. Shielded by a 10-coat scratch resistant finish, GeoWood is ideal for spaces with heavy traffic, large dogs and the wear and tear of everyday life.

USFloors

USFloors’ current Cork Canvas collection is a digitally enhanced cork floor that features travertine decors. Digitally enhanced cork floors provide the beauty, depth and texture consumers expect in a natural stone or hardwood floor while maintaining the advantages of cork.

This flooring uses digital print technology to capture the colors, nuances, grains and textures of real stone and hardwood. These visuals are printed directly on a cork top layer, which is applied to an HDF core. A durable, embossed hot coat finish is applied to the cork top layer, while additional cork is added as an attached underlayment.

Wicanders

Wicanders Cork GO is a budget-friendly floating floor made with the company’s cork double layer. The collection comes in 10 cork visuals and contains all the signature Corktech benefits found in Wicanders’ products. Cork GO acts as a noise buffer between the floor and the rooms underneath and reduces walking sound up to 53%. The floor also acts as natural thermal insulation.

Cork GO provides a unique comfort in movement, even when walking barefoot. It also has a longer life span due to its elasticity, compressibility and ability to absorb high shocks

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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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Cork: Retailers position product as environmental option

August 14/21: Volume 32, Issue 5

By Lindsay Baillie

 

Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 4.20.00 PMCork continues to present itself as an environmentally friendly product with a multitude of benefits and performance characteristics. In addition to being a “green” product, cork provides warmth and comfort underfoot, sound and noise reduction as well as long-term performance. The product’s green story is especially important for retailers looking to position cork as an alternative to other types of flooring.

Where retailers position cork in the showroom varies depending on certain factors including the store’s location and consumer demand. Overall retailers suggest there is no one place for cork; however, they agree selling the product requires it to have significant presence in the showroom.

Linoleum city in Hollywood, Calif., displays cork in multiple places around its showroom. “We have our cork displays set up next to the hardwood, bamboo and linoleum,” said Patricia Walters, sales and office manager. “We figured the best way to feature it is as a natural, sustainable product. We also stock some cork in our store and we have laid cork floors next to the cork displays. We also have an office in our store with cork flooring to show how well it wears in a light commercial application.”

Green Home Solutions in Seattle showcases cork in two separate spaces. “When you walk into our showroom the first floor you walk on is cork,” said Cameron Reith, a partner. “We actually use that as an example to show how durable it can be for commercial traffic. We [also] have a whole section for cork and its about 15-20 feet long.”

MicMar Wood Flooring & Design in Phoenix also displays cork at the main entrance of its showroom. The idea, according to Lenny Blier, sales representative, is to bring “it to our customers’ attention who might not know about cork flooring and its multitude of great qualities.” In addition, the dealer showcases cork on a large wall in the showroom behind some of its cork displays.

For many dealers cork is positioned near other hard surface offerings. Case in point is America’s Carpet Outlet in State College, Pa. “Cork is positioned in its own area in our showroom—near to the sheet vinyl, laminate and the wood displays,” said George McMurtry, owner. “We feel it is a unique and separate product line and should not be integrated into another flooring type or display.”

For Long Leaf Lumber of Cambridge, Mass., cork pairs well with the company’s already established wood business. “It sort of complemented what we did—everything we make is solid wood flooring,” said Alice DeGennaro, owner. “We thought it could be an option for someone looking for a prefinished product.”

Cork’s renewable qualities and easy installation make it an easy product to sell, DeGennaro added.

Emphasizing the attributes
A flooring store’s success with cork is dependent not only on its presence in the showroom, but also how retailers position the product to customers. For many dealers the consumer does not always come in the store looking for cork, which makes its product story and characteristics even more important.

“We feature cork as natural and sustainable flooring,” Walters explained. “The fact that it is sound absorbing and insulating also helps when selling to a customer in a high-rise condo. The green factor is the main selling point. Depending on the brand and construction of the cork, we offer it as a residential to light commercial product.”

Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 4.20.12 PMThe Vertical Connection Carpet One in Columbia, Md., also utilizes cork’s green story. “As many do, we position it as an environmentally friendly product that has lots of great attributes including softness under foot, warmth and acoustical benefits,” said Adam Joss, co-owner. Joss’ flooring store positions cork at the front of its showroom to help spark conversations about the product’s unique characteristics.

In certain areas consumers are seeking out cork. Retailers say that those looking for the product have usually already done their research online and are interested in its sustainable properties.

“Typically it’s a very small segment of the population that is going to be interested in cork and it’s typically someone who has done research on environmentally friendly products,” said Scott Gaulden, general manager, Designer Showroom of Texas, Austin. “When they come in asking those [types of] questions we take them over to the cork display.”

McMurtry explained customers will occasionally ask for cork if they have looked at sites such as HGTV, Houzz, Better Home and Gardens, etc. The product is often viewed as a trendier flooring option. “We generally will offer cork to the customer as an alternative to other hard-surface products,” he added.

Most, if not all, specialty retailers agree that their main concern is educating the consumer about flooring regardless of whether or not she comes into a store looking for cork. And while it doesn’t happen all of the time, cork—in certain situations—still presents itself as the most viable option.

“Ultimately, all we’re trying to do is help [the consumer] navigate toward what is going to be the best floor,” Reith explained. “We are here to educate the consumer. A lot of the time [with cork] it can be a cost-saving choice.”

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Obit: Americo Amorim

AmorimAmerico Amorim, known as the King of Cork for building his fortune on cork stoppers and believed to be Portugal’s wealthiest man, has died. He was 82.

Amorim’s fortune was recently estimated by Forbes at 4.4 billion euros ($5 billion). His company, Corticeira Amorim, is the world leader in cork production.

The board of directors of his Corticeira Amorim Group announced his death, adding a statement to their website to pay “homage to this man of vision, hard work and causes, who dedicated more than six decades of his remarkable career to development of the Group and the Portuguese economy.”

Corticeira Amorim was founded by Americo’s grandfather in 1870 and the business still processes about one quarter of the world’s cork today. Americo remained chairman of the board of the Grupo Amorim holding company, which owns Corticeira Amorim, among his other interests in the energy and banking sector.

As one of the largest companies in Portugal, the family-owned Amorim has been selling cork products globally for 145 years. Now in its fourth generation of leadership, the company started as producer of wine stoppers, which today still accounts for 60% of the business. It expanded significantly in the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s.

Today, there are five business units that collectively operate in more than 100 countries: wine stoppers (4 billion sold annually), raw materials (Amorim doesn’t own the forests from which it sources its cork; this division is responsible for buying the cork and distributing to the other divisions), floor and wall coverings (a $130 million business), composite cork and insulation cork.

Amorim Flooring North America is based in Baltimore with warehouses in both Baltimore and California. The company sells to retailers through a national network of 13 or 14 distributors, most of which are among the top 25 flooring wholesalers.

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Torlys launches new CorkWood product

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 11.30.30 AMToronto, Canada—Torlys has launched a new type of flooring called CorkWood. The product is a specially engineered floor that has been created to bring together all the best features and benefits of other types of floors in one superior, all-inclusive product—combining the look of wood, the durability of laminate and the comfort of cork.

The top layer of Torlys CorkWood is made of a high-definition digitally printed compressed layer of cork in realistic patterns of oak and walnut. This new program is offered in two collections: CorkWood Designer, featuring extra-long 6’ planks in nine on-trend colors, and CorkWood Elite, in planks almost 4’ long and in five colors.

CorkWood is engineered with a durable HDF smart core for dent resistance and a 3mm (Designer) or 2.5mm (Elite) thick top layer of compressed cork. The polyurethane finish is equivalent to AC4 laminate and the sophisticated printing process makes CorkWood more fade resistant than its traditional counterparts. This means it will perform like laminate and retain the hardwood look for years to come.

Along with the compressed cork top layer, the new product includes the Torlys CorkPlus attached underlay for added warmth and sound insulation. The CorkPlus underlay is infused with Microban antimicrobial product protection that inhibits the growth of mold and mildew. This program, along with all other Torlys cork collections, is FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified, ensuring the wood and cork used in the manufacturing process comes from responsibly managed forests.

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Bamboo, cork intros offer flair for the dramatic

March 27/April 3, 2017: Volume 31, Issue 21

By Ken Ryan

 

As sub-segments of the hardwood flooring category, cork and bamboo are heralded for their eco-friendly attributes. Beyond their notable green characteristics, however, new cork and bamboo products are also renowned for their stunning visuals, durability, comfort underfoot and water-resistant properties.

Following is an overview of some of the latest products cork and bamboo suppliers have to offer.

Screen Shot 2017-03-31 at 10.54.16 AMBamboo Hardwoods
Bamboo Hardwoods’ Manor Clove flooring (pictured) features engineered strand woven bamboo with a multi-ply core. Strand woven bamboo ranks over 3000 on the Janka Hardness Scale and is a great option for both residential and commercial installations. Each plank of Manor Clove has a unique appearance due to its handscraping. The product is FloorScore certified.

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2017-03-31 at 10.54.21 AMCali Bamboo (cork)
Cali Bamboo offers GreenClaimed cork flooring, which is comforting to the body and warm to the touch underfoot. Its visuals range from Shoreline (natural) to products made to resemble more natural wood looks (Silverwood and Driftwood). Pictured is Sandalwood, an engineered cork. A total of eight colors are available.

 

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2017-03-31 at 10.54.26 AMCali Bamboo (bamboo)
Cali Bamboo offers a complete line of solid and engineered bamboo offerings. Cali Bamboo is ultra-low VOC with no added urea formaldehyde and features the company’s proprietary Fossilized manufacturing process that boasts twice the density of typical hardwood flooring products. Twenty colors encompassing unfinished, distressed natural, to cognac and vintage java (pictured) are available.

 

Screen Shot 2017-03-31 at 10.54.32 AMUSFloors (bamboo)
Muse Strand (pictured) from USFloors is the ideal strand bamboo floor for homes located in a wide range of climates. Muse Strand’s cutting-edge design features distressed and chiseled surfaces, hand sculpted scraping and wire-brushed enhanced grains. Fashion-forward stains and washes evoke a sense of artistry and inspiration. These bamboo floors are Greenguard Gold-certified for indoor air quality.

 

 

Screen Shot 2017-03-31 at 10.54.38 AMUSFloors (cork)
Natural Cork (pictured) floors from USFloors are made from the bark of the Portuguese cork oak. No trees are cut down to harvest the bark and cork trees produce new cork for re-harvest every nine years making cork a sustainable, environmentally friendly and rapidly renewable resource. Cork floors are quiet, warm and comfortable underfoot, durable and resilient. Natural Cork floors naturally resist mold and mildew, fire and pests.

 

Screen Shot 2017-03-31 at 10.54.46 AMWE Cork
Sunset Acacia, from the Serenity collection of digital print on cork, provides comfort, thermal and sound insulation from the sustainable cork base. This cork base is then cloaked with wood or stone visuals that extend the design options beyond the regular cork visuals in the Serenity collection stocking line. It is finished using a hot coat finish with an AC rating that the company said exceeds LVT in wearability.

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2017-03-31 at 10.54.51 AM

Wellmade
Wellmade’s Strata composite bamboo plank couples the performance features of rigid core HDPC (high-density plastic composite) technology with the natural warmth and character of eco-friendly bamboo. Featuring a solid strand bamboo top layer, Strata (pictured) bamboo outperforms traditional engineered flooring while remaining stable and extremely water resistant in the most demanding environments. Quality performance features include HDPC rigid core, HardMax nano finish and Uniclic floating installation system.

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2017-03-31 at 10.54.58 AMWicanders
Wicanders’ Hydrocork offers a low thickness floating solution with the benefits of floors with Corktech, a technology that helped create the innovative core board made of composite cork. Hydrocork is water resistant and stable while maintaining the resilient properties and comfort rendered by cork. Wicanders’ Hydrocork comes in 10 wood look visuals, including Arcadian Rye Pine (pictured).

 

 

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Amorim Revestimentos invests 10 million euros in Hydrocork

Industry_AROSão Paio de Oleiros, Portugal—After only two years of Hydrocork’s launch, Amorim Revestimentos is taking a significant step and investing 10 million euros in its production infrastructure and procedures. This new production unit will increase the response to a growing and more enlightened demand, increasing Amorim’s throughput capacity in over 43 million square feet of flooring per year.

“This investment aims to increase capacity to produce Hydrocork but also to create a range of new agglomerated cork composites with features that don’t exist in the market yet,” said Antonio Cruz, CEO of Amorim Revestimentos. “These products will be truly unique in the market, not only because [they] will be waterproof but also free from PVC.”

Present in more than 70 countries, Amorim Revestimentos closed 2016 with a turnover of around 124 million euros. Cruz admits he is extremely confident that the investment “represents a game changing in the company and a paradigm shift on how it operates in the market.”

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Spring introductions unseen at Surfaces

March 13/20, 2017: Volume 31, Issue 20

By Ken Ryan

 

Surfaces served as the staging area for the bulk of new flooring introductions for 2017. However, there were many other noteworthy introductions of the spring that were not shown at the big show.

Following are some of the spring introductions unseen at Surfaces.

American OEM
The company introduced 10 SKUs in its Covelo Canyon collection and eight offerings in Casa Bonita through Hemisphere Hardwood, an importer out of Paraguay. Inspired by the natural beauty of California wine country, the refreshing looks of Covelo Canyon pioneer a new design style—“modern rustic”—by combining fashion-forward styling with hand-crafted textures and natural character. The combination of modern colorways, a low-gloss finish and tailored edges create a sophisticated floor made from premium, FSC-certified materials for wood that’s both sustainable and appealing to the consumer.

Anderson
Mystique from Anderson is a distinguished-looking painted maple hardwood floor that incorporates a caulk paint visual with contrasting high and low lights to create an outstanding visual movement. In addition, the aesthetic charm and sophistication of the extra-long 96-inch planks create a dramatic visual impact. The Mystique line is a 5 x ½-inch ply core engineered maple available in five colors: Shadow, Starlight, Fog, Nightfall and Eclipse.

Mirage
Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 11.48.07 AMMirage expanded its product lineup to meet ever-more-stringent quality and design requirements. Its new board lengths—up to 82 inches—make rooms appear bigger due to the fact fewer boards are needed. Another plus: Fewer joints are visible, yielding a more even look. The new lengths represent an average increase of 25% on Mirage’s engineered products in 5- and 6½-inch widths.

Gelato and Peppermint, two new floors with notes of gray, were added to the Sweet Memories collection. Gelato is a beige-gray that imparts a distinctive, luxurious look ideal for minimalist modern décors. Peppermint is a pure ash gray that brings a touch of minerality. Gelato and Peppermint are offered in Maple in 31⁄4 and 41⁄4 widths, in engineered in 5, 6½ and 73⁄4 widths and in lock technology in a 45⁄16 wide format.

Mullican
Devonshire is one of Mullican’s newest engineered products. This 3⁄8-inch-thick, 5-inch-wide product is available in seven selections of hickory and oak. Made in the U.S. and offered in random lengths up to 4 feet, Devonshire offers a classic hardwood flooring look that has been enriched with a lightly wire-brushed matte finish. The product is protected by the company’s Alpha A’Lumina Real World Finish.

Wexford, a second new offering, comes in a 5-inch width and random lengths up to 7 feet. Wexford is a European-inspired line that combines three traditional North American sawing techniques to create a classic European look. This collection features the company’s patented Aqua Shield system.

Shaw
Shaw Floors has introduced a bevy of products across all segments.

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 11.48.12 AMThe company called its 2017 tile collection the most significant in company history. Among the introductions are larger 18 x 36 sizes that improve the speed of installation and enhance the visual appearance with fewer grout lines. New introductions include contemporary visuals, such as concrete, metallic and other cutting-edge looks, as well as decorative accents.

Other introductions include Stellar, a porcelain tile reflecting a fusion of ancient bedrock and modern stained concrete available in large-scale options. Tessuto is a porcelain style made in the U.S. that features the warmth and elegance of an aged fabric enriched by a technology called clarity digital imaging. Tessuto is available in a modern five-color palette and full range of trim pieces. In Hacienda, Shaw used its clarity digital imaging to emulate one of Anderson Hardwood’s most distinctive wood styles. This glazed porcelain plank, with special staining and hand-scraping techniques, is made in the U.S. with 40% recycled content.

In carpet, TruAccents is a collection of Anso nylon and ClearTouch Platinum styles on a single display. The 2017 collection includes friezes, loops, LCLs and tonals in both fiber systems for an exceptional range of styles and price points. The TruAccents display is a compact, rotating unit allowing for easy placement on the showroom floor. It comprises four quadrants—two with ClearTouch Platinum styles and two with Anso nylon products.

Epic Plus Extreme Nature hardwood is available in a 91⁄4 x 82½ wide x ½-inch thick format. In its Extreme Nature collection, Shaw offers three species in four textures including Landmark Maple (three colors) that emulates the unique complexity of an authentic timeworn surface.

Shaw Floors’ newest laminate collection, Repel, has been specially designed to take laminate to the next level in water-resistance technology. Repel provides ample time to clean spills and offers the added scratch, stain and fade-resistance benefits of laminate.

In resilient, Floorté now comes with an antimicrobial attached pad to provide a healthy dose of noise reduction in the following styles: Classico Plus, Premio Plus, Alto Mix Plus. Featuring the latest technology in resilient flooring, Shaw introduced Alto HD in four high-definition visuals and six new styles in the Alto Mix line including multiple lengths and widths.

Tuftex
Tuftex Stainmaster PetProtect, Tuftex Signature and Tuftex Classics styles are new for 2017. Tuftex Stainmaster PetProtect products resist soil accumulation and prevent the absorption of difficult pet stains. These styles are constructed of SuperiaSD nylon fiber, which is resistant to fading from aggressive cleaning or exposure to light. Tuftex’s Signature collection draws on West Coast inspiration with a range of styles—from high-end textures and elegant patterns to exotic cables and shags. Its sophisticated color palette is woven through key collections including Naturals, Impressions and Architecturals. Classics offers retailers tried-and-true nylon products available branded or unbranded.

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Torlys brings its innovation lab to Surfaces 2017

screen-shot-2017-01-11-at-11-11-03-amLas VegasTorlys will launch three new technology-driven collections at its Innovation Lab themed booth (#6033) at the 2017 Surfaces show in
Las Vegas: CorkWood digital print cork, EverWood Designer luxury vinyl and SuperSolid 6 hardwood.

CorkWood is an engineered floor that offers the beauty of hardwood, the durability of laminate and the comfort of cork all in one floor. The top layer is made of hi-definition digitally printed compressed cork in hardwood looks, has a durable HDF smart core and is backed by CorkPlus attached underlay with antimicrobial product protection. This floor has the equivalent of an AC4 rating, is Forest Stewardship Council certified and is offered in two collections: CorkWood Designer in long and wide planks measuring 68-3/4” x 7-1/2”; and CorkWood Elite in planks measuring 45-13/16” x 7-1/2”.

The EverWood Designer collection features the latest in styling along with a pet proof warranty and has Microban antimicrobial product protection in its WPC core and CorkPlus attached underlay. These floors feature ultra-tight Uniclic joints and realistic wood grains in 72” x 7” wide planks.

Torlys’ SuperSolid hardwood is all hardwood containing no softwood filler or fiber. The construction is a patented innovation called E-Lock, a cross-joined, compression-locked structure that uses the same species of hardwood for its bottom, core and wear layers, and is finished with highest quality KLUMPP top coat for remarkable durability and performance. The SuperSolid 6 is the third collection in the line-up and features planks in 6” widths by random lengths. The SuperSolid 7 and 5 collections have also been updated to include new colors and textures.

Designed to recreate the feelings of creativity, ingenuity and triumph that goes into developing new technologies and flooring systems, Torlys’ booth will feature a 12 ft. high EverWood waterfall to demonstrate the waterproof nature of the product, along with the Innovation Lab area designed to showcase new products and technologies.

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Cork: Product positioning is key to optimizing sales opportunities

August 22/29, 2016; Volume 31, Number 5

By Reginald Tucker

The benefits and performance attributes of cork are well documented: The product provides comfort underfoot, sound/noise reduction and impact resistance. Plus, its reputation as a renewable resource makes it an environmentally friendly product category. However, the product cannot sell itself; it requires product knowledge, creativity and a consultative sales approach. Following are some tips from cork manufacturers.

“The most successful dealers are the ones who are more educated about the product,” said Ann Wicander, president of WE Cork. The more RSAs know about cork, she said, the more they can recommend the product to fulfill a customer’s specific needs. “Those who have the most success selling cork are the ones who don’t wait for people to ask for the product; they offer cork as part of their repertoire as part of a solution.”

Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 3.20.24 PMScreen Shot 2016-08-29 at 3.20.45 PMTo that end, Wicander advises RSAs to look for certain “clues” from shoppers when they walk into the store and ask about product attributes and how those features fit their design needs and functional requirements. “Whether consumers are looking specifically for wood, or if in conversation the shopper mentions that her kids have allergies, or if she is looking to replace the flooring in her kitchen and she’s worried about cold, uncomfortable floors—all those are clues for the salesperson to offer cork as a solution. RSAs who wait for consumers to ask for cork are only going to sell it a half dozen times a year and that’s it.”

Other cork experts recommend retailers position the product in close proximity to other “green” flooring options, namely bamboo. “We advise combining the cork and bamboo together because they are two renewable resources,” said Philippe Erramuzpe, COO of USFloors. “In order to facilitate this for the retailer, we put them in the same display, which we call Sustainable Living. This strategy appeals to the consumer who wants to save the world, so to speak.”

Product positioning is key, Erramuzpe notes, given the strong competition from other hard surfaces on the showroom floor. “The cork category is under a little bit of stress right now due to the fact that LVT specifically is taking more share. That’s because of the specific type of applications where cork used to be prevalent, namely kitchens, are increasingly using LVT; for some LVT is a better solution because it’s waterproof.”

In light of this trend, Erramuzpe suggests retailers expand the opportunities for cork by recommending it for areas beyond the kitchen. “The applications we are pushing today are playrooms for kids, a study in the home or even basements—as long as you insulate the floor from the subfloor by using a moisture barrier. We also see great opportunity in the bedroom because the trend is moving toward less and less carpet.”

Some manufacturers believe the most effective means of selling cork entails a consultative approach. Sometimes, however, this requires that salespeople shift their focus away from price. “I think it really comes down to retailers understanding their sales force,” said Zach Adams, director of U.S. operations, for Amorim, which makes the Hydrocork brand. “We advise retailers to talk about the features/benefits as they look to provide solutions for the customer. But they have to be trained in that regard.”

Part of that training, Adams said, is contingent upon how specific product lines are structured. “For example, in taking the consultative approach, I would put our Hydrocork and our cork visual lines together and then sell the customer on the underlying CorkTech technology. But if a retailer’s sales force is more reliant on the price and product differentiation, then I would separate the Hydrocork into the WPC/LVT areas and then put our cork visuals into the wood or specialty wood sections. It really all depends on how the retailers train their sales forces.”

This is where effective sales aids come in. Amorim, for instance, providers a two-page flyer and brochure that provides quick and simple benefits of CorkTech technology. It also provides a “demo board” that allows consumers to see hear and feel how cork differs from other categories. “This turns it into a more sensory type of sales approach,” Adams said. “When people hear how great a product is it becomes numb to them because everybody says their product is the greatest. The demo board delves specifically into CorkTech technology.”

Another option, experts say, is to complement wing displays with installed product underfoot right on the showroom floor. As WE Cork’s Wicander states: “When selling cork you’re primarily focusing on the features and benefits. Well, there’s no better way to convey that message than having a display floor down.”

Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 3.20.56 PMSometimes space limitations won’t allow for that. “Seeing the floors laid out is always a good selling point, but it’s difficult in this day and age because a lot of times people don’t have the room in their stores to do that given all the products they are inundated with,” Adams said.

In those situations, experts advise strategic placement of sample boards on wing rack displays. “If you’re dealing with limited space on the floor, then the cork display needs to be near wood,” Wicander said. However, that might not work for everyone. “Technically—and categorically—cork really falls under the resilient heading. But it really identifies more with wood because, like wood, you’re going to care for it using the same maintenance methods and the price point is going to be closer to wood. Take our digitally printed Serenity Collection, for example; for the customer who likes the performance attributes of cork but not necessarily the natural cork visuals, this gives them a great solution because the [screen] visuals mimic natural wood.”

At the end of the day, experts say the best approach is to keep it simple. “If you can train your salespeople into becoming solution providers and fill the void in terms of what people need, that will deliver results,” Adams said. “Don’t inundate the customer with too many products and avoid lumping cork in with commodity type products.”

Perhaps the biggest incentive for salespeople to sell cork is to focus on the profit opportunity. “Cork is perceived by the general public to be a higher-end product that’s more expensive than today’s laminate and even LVT,” Erramuzpe explained. “Cork would be an upsell from the LVT category. Cork is certainly a category where the retailer can make a good margin.”

Quick facts about cork

Cork comes from the bark of the cork oak tree. It’s harvested by hand when the tree is 25 years old and occurs every nine years from then on leaving the tree undamaged and able to regrow new bark.

Cork is ideal in terms of the ever-increasing demand for conservation of natural resources. It has unique qualities and characteristics that make it suitable for both residential and commercial applications. It’s made of millions of cells resembling a honeycomb structure that protects the tree from sharp weather temperature changes. Each cell functions as a miniature natural thermal insulator and also provides above average sound insulation and shock-absorbing properties.

Through technological development and investments in innovation and research, new applications using cork are increasingly being discovered. Architects and designers are increasingly turning to natural and ecological materials and finding new discoveries and applications. This usage ranges from special effects in action films to high tech accessories in various industries.