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Gold Nugget Award honoree features Armstrong floors

ABCLancaster, Pa.—The 2017 Gold Nugget Awards honored ABC (Affordable, Buildable, Certifiable) Green Home 3.0 with “Best Zero Net Energy Home Design” during its 54th annual competition. The contest honors architectural design and planning excellence in community and home design, green-built housing, site planning, commercial, retail, mixed-use development and specialty housing categories. Featured in the award-winning home is Armstrong Flooring’s U.S.-made American Scrape Hickory engineered floors.

“Armstrong Flooring’s commitment to sustainability means we produce innovative and eco-friendly products for homes and buildings,” said Christopher Moore, senior product manager. “Our American Scrape hardwood offers long-lasting hardwood beauty and durability. Manufactured in the USA, a portion of the sales from the American Scrape collection supports Homes for Our Troops.”

The ABC Green Home 3.0, located in Fullerton, Calif., is the third iteration of its kind, which was used to educate and train builders, students, industry groups and thousands of visitors before being made available to a deserving veteran and his family. The design of the home, created by Danielian Associates Architecture + Planning, has a simple mission: create a series of net-zero-energy homes that serve as examples of high-performance, energy-efficient homebuilding as California marches towards implementation of its net zero regulations in 2020.

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Carpet pushes back against hard surface

July 3/10: Volume 32, Issue 2

By Ken Ryan

 

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 2.29.45 PMCarpet’s share of the overall flooring market has dropped from 50.9% of dollars in 2006 to 41.5% in 2016, according to FCNews estimates. While the downward trend has not been dramatic, it has been steady and consistent.

Carpet mill executives don’t need to look at statistics to know what is happening in the marketplace. The big ones (i.e., Mohawk and Shaw) have already transformed into total flooring solutions companies, well positioned to take advantage of any flooring trend. As Seth Arnold, vice president of residential marketing for Mohawk Industries, explained, “We are not working to stem the tide on anything. Our business is about meeting consumer demand wherever that may be.”

The smaller mills have options, too. Some have entered the hard surface category; others are contemplating such a move. And there are some who have stuck to their soft surface knitting, redoubling their efforts to deliver differentiated product.

So what are carpet mills to do about combating the inexorable gains of hard surface? Some advocate promoting the benefits of carpet. “It’s softer, warmer, more comfortable, quieter and safer than hard surfaces,” said T.M. Nuckols, executive vice president of the residential business for Dixie Home. “We also make beautiful styles and designs that can complement the many looks available in hard surfaces.”

Rodney Mauter, executive vice president, Lexmark Residential, has his own ideas. “We must keep driving the positives of carpet; after all, no one takes a nap on a hardwood floor, no one plays with the baby or puppy on a tile floor.”

Others say it is the carpet industry’s duty to continue to explore innovation and technology. “Whether it’s through style, design or performance, soft floor covering will continue to evolve and develop and ultimately remain a viable flooring option to consumers long into the future,” said Mike Sanderson, vice president of product marketing, Engineered Floors.

Soft, durable carpet provides a healthy profit margin for flooring dealers, especially when sold with pad. Some observers say the industry needs to drill down on that. “First and foremost, we need to put an end to the continuation of the race to the bottom in terms of PET pricing and overall devaluation of the category,” said Brad Christensen, vice president, soft surface category management, Shaw Floors. “The industry collectively needs to do more to promote the many benefits of soft surfaces, none more tried and true than its value compared to other surfaces. We don’t need to give it away.”

Other mills find focusing on a particular niche is beneficial. Stanton, for example, has grown its business by being selective about its patterns and offerings. “It’s about being thoughtful about the design part of it,” said Jonathan Cohen, CEO. “You can use existing technology that is out there to create something fresh. We can step it up a couple notches and produce something that is really good looking.”

Indeed, executives say there is no substitute for continually innovating to create new and compelling products. “Homeowners are no longer interested in 50 shades of beige,” Mauter said. “They demand every room of the home to denote personal style while providing comfort and performance. Easy care and maintenance is also important; products must clean easily and last.”

Ongoing initiatives
Research indicates that consumers shop by look and feel rather than fiber type. To that end, carpet mills are developing products that look great and can withstand high-traffic areas. That is no easy feat, but driving innovation is the only way to keep carpet relevant, executives say. “Carpet can be on the cutting edge of home décor,” Dixie’s Nuckols said.

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 2.30.06 PMTo address the hard surface opportunity for soft surfaces, Phenix has introduced a line of products that speaks to specific needs and that provide unique solutions for the consumer. In 2017 it introduced more patterns and textures to address the fact that carpet is often being used within individual rooms—as opposed to the entire home. “It allows the consumer to use carpet as a focal point of the room’s design,” said Mark Clayton, president and CEO of Phenix Flooring. “We also recognize the fact that broadloom carpets are often being used to create one-of-a-kind area rugs that can be used in conjunction with hard surfaces, so this provides additional opportunities to expand pattern and textural designs.”

Other companies are combining hard surface and soft surface in the same display systems to create a coordinated look for the home. Shaw’s TruAccents carpet collection pairs bold styles and patterns with hard surface visuals on a single merchandiser. “We understand that consumers want both hard and soft surface products in their homes, and this gives them a convenient, one-stop destination for ease of shopping and comparison,” Christensen said.

Mohawk is a total flooring company, and within that scope carpet remains a very significant piece of business. “How do we keep carpet part of the conversation?” Arnold asked. “The relentless focus we have on innovation, which is true of all our categories, is really true of carpet. We invest to stay competitive. The success we have with SmartStrand and all the innovations we brought to market has allowed us to keep carpet a profitable category.”

For companies that don’t have the depth and breadth of a Mohawk or Shaw, there are still niches to fill. Foss, for example, has focused on promoting non-woven, needle-punch broadloom and carpet tile products as an appealing and affordable accessory—or outright alternative—to traditional flooring. “Many consumers who prefer hard surfaces are attracted to our products because of their beauty and warmth combined with the attractive look and durability of a low-pile floor,” said Brian Warren, senior vice president of sales and marketing. “Not to mention, our products provide the consumer with a higher level of affordability and versatility because they work in virtually any application or market.”

Advice for dealers
While carpet manufacturers continue to explore ways to recoup market share, executives also believe flooring dealers can do their part to help combat the growth of hard surfaces. Strategies range from offering custom rugs made of broadloom to creating vignettes showing stairs with carpet inserts to upselling customers to better goods.

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 2.30.16 PMLexmark’s Mauter, for example, said his company coaches its retailers to think outside the norm by using different patterns with the same colorway to create subtle differences throughout the home without the need to change paint color or furniture. He also suggested making custom rugs out of broadloom to facilitate room size and dimensions and to create additional revenue.

Mohawk, for its part, emphasizes “X-plusing,” which is educating and selling the consumer on why trading up makes sense. As Arnold explains: “A consumer walks in and is planning to spend ‘X’ and instead of being traded down to lower priced goods—which are often lower-quality goods and reinforces the notion that carpet isn’t made well—offering a smaller selection of better quality product rather than a sea of sameness would be a better option. It’s about great marketing and storytelling. If you provide that customer with a compelling reason to trade up to a premium product like SmartStrand Silk you can X plus them 10%, 20%.”

Arnold said the successful retailers understand that less is more and having the right product at the right price point is key. “You have to set up your showroom for trade-up possibilities and allow consumers to feel the difference. Telling compelling stories and presenting extraordinary product is the formula for retailers.”

Clayton advised retailers to remind the consumer of the true benefits of carpet and hard surfaces and be sure they understand the potential challenges of each product. “Some consumers and their lifestyles would actually benefit from the utilitarian benefits of soft surfaces, not to mention the design opportunities.”

Shaw’s Christensen suggests retailers can help drive excitement by touting the many styling benefits and performance features. “Carpet today has a compelling performance story while also offering breathtaking visuals in a wide array of styling options. Retailers can continue listening to the needs and concerns of consumers and establish credibility by suggesting the right flooring solution for every space and every consumer appetite. There is no doubt that carpet will continue to play an important role for consumers. People forget that carpet is the largest category and still has a dominant position in peoples’ homes, and carpet remains a very import product to help drive this.”

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Fiber report: Soft, durable and cleanability lead checklist

May 8/15, 2017: Volume 31, Issue 24

By Ken Ryan

Screen Shot 2017-05-15 at 2.06.57 PMAdvancements in technology and manufacturing have allowed carpet mills to make significant improvements in fiber construction. The result: carpets that are soft, durable and resistant to stains and soils. Mill executives say today’s demanding consumers are driving these innovative breakthroughs.

“Performance-based fibers seem to be a big trend,” said Ayme Sinclair, marketing director, Stanton. “The biggest influence is an increased need from a more informed consumer base on making sure they are selecting goods that will stand up to the challenges of their active lifestyles.”

Susan Curtis, senior vice president, product development for Phenix, agreed. “We are seeing demand for innovative fibers that provide a high degree of performance tied to active lifestyles and exhibit a diverse array of color and luster options.”

Increasingly these innovative fibers are found in polyester; executives say manufacturing techniques have fueled the PET market, which has overtaken nylon as the preferred carpet fiber. “Consumers are very happy with the quality and performance of PET and request it when choosing their new carpet,” said Brian Warren, senior vice president of sales and marketing, Foss.

Beyond fiber type, the macro trends that have driven the fiber market for years are still dominant today, according to Seth Arnold, vice president of residential marketing for Mohawk Industries. “What that means is consumers want carpet that is easy to clean and will last a long time. With carpet being an infrequent, high-end purchase, for consumers it often boils down to cleanability and durability. We don’t see that trend going away.”

Observers point to another trend that’s holding its own: the desire for luxurious soft carpet. “We thought we had seen the top of the mountain with premium soft,” Arnold said. “We spent a lot of time this past year on soft. We spoke to 300 consumers in 10 different markets and looked at seven different fiber types. Consumers voted for softer, which is what led to SmartStrand Silk Reserve. We are raising the bar again in soft.”

Active segments
The dominance of hard surfaces in the home has opened the door for innovative ways to use carpet. Curtis noted that since the consumer is now using carpet in selected areas of her home, she often chooses multiple styles with specific features and benefits that fit the intended use of a room. “Traditionally, consumers may have chosen a solid or more generic aesthetic but are now seeking unique textures and colors they can mix and match with other flooring materials. A soft touch and comfort are still important attributes, but we have seen the need for products with unique patterns and colorations grow significantly.”

Screen Shot 2017-05-15 at 2.07.10 PMThe multifamily segment remains carpet’s greatest salvation within residential. That’s partly due to the fall in homeownership rates (which are at their lowest level since 1965, according to the U.S. Census Bureau), which means more people—especially millennials—are renting. Executives note that builders and property managers are increasingly looking to carpet as a way to combat sound issues associated with hard surfaces. “The shift towards hard surfaces remains a continued trend across all business segments, particularly multifamily,” said Brad Christensen, vice president-soft surface portfolio management, Shaw Floors. “However, we are seeing more consumers looking to incorporate higher quality soft surfaces with bolder patterns and styles in bedrooms and other specialty areas of the home, making residential an opportunity for growth in carpet sales.”

Residential retail remains steady, executives say, and with the influx of higher end, luxurious soft products hitting the market, dealers have more opportunities to trade up consumers. “We encourage our retailers to ‘X plus’ every customer,” Mohawk’s Arnold said. “Our premium soft products give them reasons to upsell.”

Product initiatives
In response to consumers’ insights for stylish, high-performing carpet that complements their living spaces, Shaw created the TruAccents display. This new compact, rotating display houses both nylon and PET carpet styles and pairs them with hard surface products for easier consumer shopping and convenient retail selling options. “For those consumers who prefer to purchase strictly nylon, we’ve also expanded our LifeGuard technology to the Anso Color Wall in our Titanium platinum product collection,” Christensen said.

Phenix recently introduced its Opulence HD solution-dyed PET polyester fiber featuring a finer denier yarn that is low luster with well-defined tips that give off a suede-like finish. “We developed this new fiber from the ground up by working with our extrusion division to create a yarn that provides great bulk with a soft very luxurious hand,” Curtis explained.

Stanton recently launched a line with Scotchgard 3M, pairing high style with high performance, Sinclair said. “This new line gives consumers assurance when they see a name they recognize, so it makes perfect sense for us to partner with them.”

Screen Shot 2017-05-15 at 2.07.18 PMAmong Mohawk’s biggest initiatives in 2017 is Airo, made of 100% premium PET fiber. As Arnold explained, “Airo is really our attempt to say, ‘What if we completely started from scratch; what would we come up with?’ This innovation is less about enhancing an existing fiber and more about looking at a fiber to create a construction advantage. Airo was a completely new way to approach product development.”

In the same vein as completely new is Foss’ Cashmere, which the company touts as a new category of affordable wall-to-wall carpet that looks and feels like wool but has the durability of commercial tiles and indoor/outdoor broadloom products. Warren said “the secrets” behind the carpet’s style and performance are its exclusive NaturalTouch fiber that can create a wool-like softness using PET and the company’s DuraKnit technology that prevents fraying, unraveling or zippering.

Engineered Floors has enjoyed big success with its PureColor Fiber system and its family of brands, especially within its residential PureColor Nylon collection—Your Retreat. “It features our PureColor Soft Nylon with Cationic technology,” said Mike Sanderson, vice president of product marketing. “We are essentially offering what is widely recognized as a premium fiber system in a collection of stylish yet affordable products.”

The residential division of Dixie has been an active partner with Invista/Stainmaster. In 2017, Dixie is launching six new styles as part of the Stainmaster LiveWell program. T.M. Nuckols, the new executive vice president of Dixie Residential, noted, “We have a good mix of styles in the solution-dyed nylon PetProtect program as well as many piece-dyed products.”

 

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Engineered Floors breaks ground on new carpet tile plant

EF-TILE-PLANT-050317-1Dalton—Engineered Floors recently broke ground on a new carpet tile manufacturing facility in Dalton, Ga. The initial phase of the plant will total 520,000 square feet and is expected to open January 2018.

“This plant is sign of continued growth and marks the beginning a new era for Engineered Floors,” said James Lesslie, executive vice president of sales and marketing. “As the popularity of modular carpet tile has grown, especially for Main Street applications, Engineered Floors is answering this need with a new state-of-the-art facility.”

In 2016, Engineered Floors launched its Pentz Commercial Flooring Solutions brand to be sold through its dealers and with collections that offer modular as well as broadloom styles.

“Our commitment to the modular carpet segment continues our commitment to be the flooring brand of choice now and in the future,” Lesslie said.

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Executive Forecast: Carpet—Mills predict rebound as improving economy takes hold

December 5/12, 2016; Volume 31, Number 13         

By Ken Ryan

 

While 2016 was less than stellar for carpet mills—due in part to the acrimonious Presidential election that some believe hurt consumer spending—executives are looking to bounce back in 2017. Buoyed by an improving economy that many see gaining significant traction, mill executives are forecasting anywhere from a 2%-5% gain, which, if true, would easily eclipse 2016 figures.

Mark Clayton, president, Phenix
screen-shot-2016-12-16-at-9-31-09-amWhat is your projection for category growth next year?
We anticipate the soft surface category will experience modest improvements with a more robust opportunity in the mid-upper ends of the market. There is pent-up demand and we are hopeful that continuing favorable economic indicators will result in a more confident consumer.

What is the “X factor” that will impact business next year?
From a carpet perspective, I think it will be the continued popularity of hard surface and the manufacturers’ ability to create and bring to market soft surface products that are compelling enough to maintain and take back market share. Obviously the state of the economy will also be an “X” factor.

Where do you see opportunities for next year? Challenges?
There will continue to be wonderful opportunities for those who are able to bring unique styling, solutions, simplification and differentiation to the consumer. We will continue to be challenged with the increase in popularity in hard surfaces. Our response is to develop products and programs to support those opportunities and leverage the unique attributes of soft surfaces.

What are some of your biggest initiatives for 2017?
We will introduce several new product platforms at Surfaces 2017. This will represent our most dynamic launch of new programs to date. In addition, we will follow up on our successful 2016 hard surface launches with the introduction of several new products and programs. These products will offer a unique technology to help simplify consumers’ lives.

 

Steve Hillis, president, Beaulieu Group
screen-shot-2016-12-16-at-9-31-14-amWhat is your projection for category growth next year?
The projection for 2017 overall flooring industry growth is 3%-5%. We feel that we could experience greater growth at Beaulieu because we are investing in new products, new displays and a major focus on marketing and branding.

What is the “X factor” that will impact business next year?
The biggest factor is interest rates. Many owners and developers have been waiting to see what the interest rates do, and many expect to see rates rise in the first quarter of 2017. We feel economic conditions will remain strong and could gain steam if the new administration is able to lower corporate tax rates and keep jobs in America.

Where do you see opportunities for next year? Challenges?
We see opportunities with our hard surface business for the residential and commercial markets as well as growth opportunities in the upper end of residential and corporate markets. The challenges will be maintaining a strong housing increase and stable economic environment. Adding labor in the plants could be a challenge as the flooring industry in North Georgia has low unemployment and the competition for labor is fierce.

What are some of your biggest initiatives for 2017?
Some of our top initiatives at Beaulieu for 2017 are to focus on expanding our residential and commercial product offerings with many stylish and innovative carpet and hard surface products. Updating our brands, investing more in marketing, and training the sales team will be key initiatives.

 

Doug Jackson, vice president of sales, Tuftex
screen-shot-2016-12-16-at-9-31-20-amWhat is your projection for category growth next year?
In 2016 we gained market share in soft surfaces, staying a few points ahead of the industry. We remain conservatively optimistic and expect to perform similarly in 2017. We have to continue to deliver unique looks to consumers and dealers while offering the best quality and service.

What is the “X factor” that will impact business next year?
The industry continues to innovate and create more flooring options. The consumer is bombarded with options, information and sometimes distraction. The manufacturer who can capture the attention of a consumer who seeks immediate inspiration and needs transparency in all transactions . . . will lead the way in 2017 and beyond.

Where do you see opportunities for next year? Challenges?
The shift from soft surface to hard surface is both an opportunity and a challenge. No soft surface manufacturer can expect the average order to be what is has been these past five to 10 years. Our Signature Collection product mix and especially our newest introductions featuring sophisticated 3-Color Point technology are a timely response to the smaller carpet install but of a higher end product.

What are some of your biggest initiatives for 2017?
We will continue to support the Tuftex Classics collection with fresh updates for 2017. The “heart of Tuftex,” our Signature collection, will be fortified with a strong offering of new Anso Caress textures and level-cut-loop patterns; 2017 will be defined by some of the most innovative yarn blends, constructions and designs ever introduced.

 

James Lesslie, executive VP – sale, Engineered Floors
screen-shot-2016-12-16-at-9-31-26-amWhat is your projection for category growth next year?
Post-election we have seen positive momentum. We believe that momentum will carry into 2017 for a positive year of growth in the carpet industry. We also recognize that 2%-3% top line growth in 2017 would basically allow the industry to recover to 2015 levels.

What is the “X factor” that will impact business next year?
The biggest “X” factor for the overall economy is our new President. Can he build coalitions in the House and Senate to encourage U.S. manufacturing investment and improve our economy? Specific to carpet, suppliers who bring new innovations in styling, performance and value to the consumer will be rewarded and continue to grow.

Where do you see opportunities for next year? Challenges?
We see a number of opportunities for growth in the year ahead especially in Main Street and modular carpet with the addition of our Pentz Commercial Solutions line. We are also in the process of developing some additional products and features for 2017. As for challenges, they’re no different than any rapidly growing business, and they’re all good…plant expansion, personnel additions, increasing territory, etc.

What are some of your biggest initiatives for 2017?
Engineered Floors has experienced rapid growth over the last six years, and we expect that to continue into 2017 as one of the fastest-growing carpet companies in the world. We have grown to 3,000 employees since our inception in 2010. We see our role as leading the way for growth in carpet, whether it’s in residential, new construction, multi-family or Main Street.

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Carpet: Style and performance define 2016 intros

November 21/28, 2016: Volume 31, Number 12

By Ken Ryan

Carpet mills ratcheted up their R&D efforts in 2016 like never before to deliver to the market a constellation of compelling products that cover all the important bases: style and design, durability, softness, and stain and pet protection.

Following is a closer look at the some of the top introductions and innovations from 2016:

Beaulieu Group
screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-2-53-20-pmSo Suede and Mulberry have been successful additions to Beaulieu’s Stylish Beauty collection featuring 24 new PermaSoft fiber offerings. These products incorporate Beaulieu’s patented Precision Control Twist (PCT) technology, which creates dimensional color and texture throughout the yarn bundle to produce unique surface characteristics when manufactured. “The art is our ability to combine a variety of fibers with different colors, sizes, lusters and dye abilities which then blend together in varied twist capacities creating a unique face canvas,” said Tom Ellis, chief marketing officer. “We enhance the beauty of the fiber with tuft technology to highlight the organic nature of the stria.”

Ellis noted the organic nature of the technology minimizes the appearance of soil, stain and wear. He said the response to the collection has been “tremendous with So Suede and Mulberry resonating with our customers in a phenomenal way. Our customers have featured this product in all their displays because the consumer acceptance has been so great.”

Two 2016 introductions, Scenic City and Cornerstone, offer what Ellis termed “a sophisticated alternative to what they have seen on the market at an affordable price point.”

Engineered Floors
Bolstered by new introductions in both the commercial and residential markets, 2016 has been a year of unprecedented growth for Engineered Floors.

screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-2-52-42-pmPentz Commercial Flooring Solutions is being marketed as a “bold new day” for Main Street. According to company executives, Pentz promises maximum performance, leading warranties and features, backed by competitive pricing. The three collections, Essentials and Formation (modular) and Prismatic (modular and broadloom), are made with the company’s Encore SD Ultima Nylon with Nexus backing. The products are available via QuickShip.

FlexBac is the first premium backing system offered within the entry-level residential product category. FlexBac is noted for its flexibility and dimensional stability. Another plus is its anti-delamination warranty. “FlexBac has no latex, thus increasing the ease of installation by being lighter, more flexible and softer while saving time, energy and money,” said Mike Sanderson, vice president of product marketing.

Engineered Floors’ Dream Weaver made news with its lifetime pet warranty, which promises “a lifetime of relief for you and your pet.” The distinctive purple shield assures the polyester or nylon carpet is warranted against accidental stains caused by dogs or cats.

Marquis Industries
screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-2-52-51-pmMarquis Industries continues to enjoy success with its soft yarn program, led by Soft Luxury, an 80-ounce solution dyed PET fiber that is the mill’s largest volume producer. The company introduced junior versions of Soft Luxury during the summer, in 60- and 45-ounce weights.

Other new introductions: Natural Wonder, also an 80-ounce weight that incorporates a natural shield stain protection fiber; and Naturally Soft, a 60-ounce product that combines the best colors from other lines. “Soft Luxury is our No. 1 product and has a beautiful finish and luster level,” said Mike Lindberg, executive vice president, Marquis Industries. “Dealers are asking for soft yarn and ours is as soft as anything in the industry.”

Marquis Industries’ secret sauce is its extrusion plant that produces millions of pounds of continuous filament solution-dyed polyester and nylon. These cones of yarn are then processed in a computer-controlled twisting and heat set plant. Every yarn SKU is regulated to ensure products are made to the same high-quality specification every time.

Mohawk
screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-2-52-27-pmSmartStrand Forever Clean, installed in more than 7 million homes and heralded for its durability, stain resistance and comfort, has become an even “smarter” choice for active families with pets. In 2016 Mohawk enhanced this popular carpet with All Pet Protection, a warranty and protection system that covers all pets, all accidents, all the time.

“We continue to build on the success of the incredibly soft and durable SmartStrand fiber we introduced 10 years ago,” said Seth Arnold, Mohawk’s senior director of soft surface brand. “SmartStrand has evolved into SmartStrand Forever Clean, a carpet that employs Nanoloc technology to lock out spills and make the carpet even easier to clean. And now we are introducing the All Pet Protection warranty because we believe SmartStrand Forever Clean carpet can handle all pets, all accidents, all the time.”

SmartStrand Forever Clean carpet has been tested in zoo habitats for animals of all types. While built-in stain and soil protection that never wears or washes off is inherent in the SmartStrand fiber, there is more to the SmartStrand story, according to Arnold. Nanoloc’s advanced spill-resistant shield, he said, is made from nanoparticles that seamlessly lock together, preventing dirt and spills from settling into the carpet. With SmartStrand Forever Clean, soil is released at three times the rate of other carpets, allowing for a carpet that is easier to clean and requires less vacuuming.

SmartStrand Forever Clean has the added advantage that liquids cannot absorb into the fiber. Compared to nylon carpet, which absorbs up to 5% of its weight in liquid, SmartStrand Forever Clean offers 0% absorption—a huge advantage in a family with pets. “For families who want to make sustainable choices for their homes,” Arnold said, “this carpet is made in part with annually renewable plant-based materials that minimize our usage of limited natural resources. It is also the only carpet fiber certified free from harmful substances by Oeko-Tex.”

Phenix
Phenix added three new products to its Stainmaster PetProtect line this month—Lyrical, Poetry and Narrative. These multi-color patterned carpets employ innovative technology that allows for varying pile heights, ensuring each carpet has a unique combination of toned neutrals that come together to create a fresh contemporary palette. All three products feature cut patterns so dogs, cats and other household pets won’t snag their claws on loops and cause pulls.

Shaw Floors
screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-2-52-34-pmShaw continues to develop products featuring its exclusive LifeGuard waterproof backing system, which responds directly to consumers’ need for ease of maintenance combined with the comfort and softness of luxurious carpet. “As we’ve expanded the styles available with LifeGuard—starting with Life Happens, and subsequently with Anso Living—we’ve been able to offer this stylish, high performance product at a variety of price points to meet customers’ purchase decisions,” said Brad Christenson, director of category and product management, Shaw Floors.

Shaw’s research and development teams collaborated to design the waterproof LifeGuard backing system with its R2X stain and soil protection technology built in. This combination works to stop liquid spills and inevitable accidents from reaching the cushion and subfloor, preventing potential odors, wicking and subfloor damage. “LifeGuard successfully elevates our carpet collections making the upgrade a no-brainer for our customers who are searching for the cleanability and durability LifeGuard provides,” Christensen said. “In turn, it provides an easier sales process for our retailers by combining a variety of features into one carpet option they can easily explain and confidently sell, and an innovative, unmatched solutions for their customers’ homes.”

Christensen said LifeGuard has been widely accepted as the go-to product for pet owners and busy families who don’t want the stress of high-maintenance carpet. “With LifeGuard, our retailers have been able to tell their customers that stains and odors can now be 100% removed.”

Shaw plans to deliver more LifeGuard-enabled products to the market in 2017.

Stanton
screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-2-53-14-pmThe newest styles from Stanton’s Atelier Icon collection—part of the hot-selling Stainmaster PetProtect program—are made with nylon 6,6, making it an ideal choice for rooms with heavy traffic.

The abstract designs and neutral colors of Aspire Waterfall and Aspire Concept overlay each other, creating an artistic blend of random shapes and cross hatched patterns accented by tip sheering. According to Stanton, Aspire Network’s all loop trellis design and interlocking shapes merge to create a double-layered effect; Aspire Compass is a multi-edge look, outlined with diamonds.

Other 2016 introductions include the Relax collection, which provides an avant-garde style with vibrant color accents; and Garden of Eden and Centered, which are treated with antique effects to keep these designs modern, abstract and transitional.

Tuftex
Tuftex is known for natural, solution-dyed and barber-pole yarns that combine with the latest tufting technologies to create differentiated products. This was illustrated with Colorpoint, its first cut and loop line.

screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-2-53-07-pmColorpoint technology allows the precise placement of color with the combination of finely controlled yarn feed systems and sophisticated software. “You can get closer to the woven looks yet produced with efficiencies and speed of today’s tufting machines,” said Jim Cusick, director of manufacturing, who explained the cut and loop construction allows for greater diversity of products by blending yarns, densities, texture and construction. “With a finer gauge machine we are able to use softer more luxurious yarns for greater sophistication and still retain superior performance characteristics.”

The first Colorpoint introductions were two-color solution dyed products. This year Tuftex utilized blends of barber poles, natural and over-dyeable yarns to create distinctive, high performance and fashionable looks.

“These Colorpoints are not easy to make but we are committed to respond to the market demand for a new and innovative soft floorcovering product,” Cusick said. Tuftex is able to combine the unique use of yarns with tufting and proprietary dyeing technology to service a full offering of colors and looks that are hard to replicate.

 

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Engineered Floors continues to expand SAM facility

samDalton—Engineered Floors’ Whitfield County carpet plant, SAM, is in its fifth phase of a major expansion, FCNews has learned. After the addition is complete the SAM facility will measure about 2 million square feet, making it one of the largest buildings in Georgia.

According to James Lesslie, assistant to the chairman, the expansion will increase the company’s productivity and further support Engineered Floors’ residential and commercial endeavors. “This expansion will allow us to accommodate some additional tufting and yarn capacity,” he said, adding that work on the facility is steadily moving with steel up in 30 to 45 days.

Since the inception of its first plant in 2009, Engineered Floors now operates four different facilities. SAM is on track to become the company’s largest carpet mill.

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Joel Martin to head Engineered Floors’ western division; new manager hires

joel-martinDalton—Engineered Floors appointed floor covering executive Joel Martin to the newly created position of regional vice president, western division. With over 16 years of industry experience, Martin previously served as Engineered Floors’ central regional manager.

Martin’s appointment is a result of Engineered Floor’s continued sales growth and the addition of more sales personnel and regional management. Martin’s new responsibilities include overseeing company growth in Engineered Floors’ West Coast, Pacific Northwest, Central U.S., and Canada regions and utilizing the company’s new distribution center in Fullerton, Calif.

In addition, Engineered Floors has hired Brian Johnson as the new central regional manager, and Mark Korshavn as regional manager for the West Coast region. Johnson has been in the industry for over 20 years, most recently at Mohawk Industries. Prior to joining Engineered Floors, Korshavn worked with Shaw Industries for 25 years.

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Engineered Floors' merger with J+J Flooring completed

engineered floors logoDalton–Engineered Floors has announced that the merger with J+J Flooring Group has been completed.

“We are excited about the opportunities that the merger of these two companies will create,” said Bob Shaw, chairman and CEO of Engineered Floors. “During the due diligence process, we were impressed with their service levels, product quality and the overall performance of the J+J organization.”

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Engineered Floors merges with J&J Industries

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Dalton—Engineered Floors has merged with J&J Industries. The closing is expected to finalize on or before Feb. 29, pending regulatory and shareholder approvals.

“J&J Industries has, for over 60 years, demonstrated strong support for Northwest Georgia, while producing commercial carpets of outstanding quality,” said Robert Shaw, chairman of Engineered Floors. “They are a perfect fit to complement our residential focused manufacturing business and, as such, we plan for J&J to operate as a separate, commercial division of our company.”

Engineered Floors and J&J are both family-owned businesses with similar values of commitment to their employees, their customers and their communities. “These common values and business practices will facilitate the combination of our two excellent companies,” said Jim Jolly, chairman of J&J. “We are excited to join Engineered Floors and provide the commercial expertise and production to their rapidly growing residential business.”