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LVT, WPC, SPC—which is right for your customer?

October 14/21, 2019: Volume 35/Issue 8

By Lindsay Gonzalez

 

As the resilient category continues to expand into various subsegments, flooring dealers have had to stay abreast of where each product—once installed—will truly thrive. LVT, WPC and SPC—arguably the three most popular resilient products today—all have different nuances that make one better than the other for different projects.

When helping a consumer find her ideal floor, experts say retail sales associates need to consider several factors, including the consumer’s lifestyle and the room in which the flooring is being installed. For instance, areas with direct sunlight could benefit from an SPC product. That’s according to George McMurtry, owner, America’s Carpet Outlet, State College, Pa., who explained flooring near “a porch or deck entrance with a southern exposure, a wall with full length windows or in a home without UV protection in the windows is typically in direct sunlight. A WPC product could be more susceptible to movement caused by the direct sunlight than a product with an SPC core.”

SPC can also be the ideal product for a consumer looking for a high-performing floor. “SPC is a home run for those wanting tough, dent-resistant hard surface, especially if they don’t want to remove their existing ceramic or porcelain tile,” said Marjorie Benson, president, Friendly Floors, Port Charlotte, Fla. “WPC is great for some of the older population where a bit softer, resilient floor is helpful for hips, ankles and knees.”

For Cathy Buchanan, co-owner, Independent Carpet One, Westland, Mich., SPC is the go-to for three-season rooms. “A rigid core product would be the first direction shown to the consumer due to fade and ever-changing temperatures and the water aspect of this product,” she noted.

Buchanan said she also believes situations calling for rolling chairs and extreme traffic could benefit from SPC’s performance attributes. “SPC is a sure bet due to its strength, flexibility in application, temperature allowance and price for budget.”

While WPC and SPC flooring have become the go-to products for residential projects, they are also making their way into the commercial space. “I recommend LVT products in any situation that a customer may be looking at hard surfaces, and more than ever in baths and wet areas,” said Chris Kemp, owner, Kemp’s Dalton West Flooring, with three locations in Georgia. “I like to use SPC in commercial areas.”

Craig Phillips, president, Barrington Carpet, Akron, Ohio, has seen his custom builder, commercial and retail business all shift over to SPC products. “SPC offers many advantages over traditional LVT—no acclimation, better sound absorption, in addition to being more forgiving of imperfect subfloors. We have actually seen some of our property accounts switch to SPC where their budget permits. The SPC products offer very realistic visuals and are built for today’s active households.”

Despite WPC and SPCs’ strong hold on most of the market, traditional LVT is still being specified in various commercial projects. As Benson explained, “Glue-down LVT is better for commercial applications where chairs, carts, etc., may be rolling over them. In Florida, we have more concrete slabs in poor condition than not, so we prefer floating floors residentially.”

Phillips said he sees LVT being installed mainly in property management projects. “It’s aggressively priced but allows the property managers any opportunity to upgrade their common area flooring within the apartment to a better-looking, durable, easily repairable flooring.”

While it is clear most dealers have their top product categories for different installation projects, many stress the fact that they don’t push the consumer to one specific product.

“Typically, for most homeowners we would not make any significant distinction among the different construction types of LVT,” McMurtry said. “In more residential environments, our experience is the final selection should be based on color, traffic type and volume and general appearance.”

McMurtry is not alone. Tim Schoolfield, owner, Countryside Carpets Flooring America, O’Fallon, Mo., said his staff keeps it simple. “This gets way too complicated, and as sales professionals we can get too far out in the weeds. I tell them to pick the look and feel they like; take the samples home and see how they look. If they like it and it fits their budget—buy it. In most residential applications, it doesn’t matter what acronym it is. Most household moisture cleaned up properly isn’t going to hurt it.”

To help dealers meet the needs of all consumers, manufacturers have brought various innovative LVT, WPC and SPC products to market. Following are several of those flooring lines from some of the top resilient manufacturers in the industry.

Cali Vinyl Longboards
Longer, broader and better looking. That’s the gist of the new Cali Vinyl Longboards collection. The coastal-inspired launch offers extra-large planks—70 7/8 x 9—for natural-looking floors that install faster and create spaces that feel open and serene. Improved hardwood visuals (North Shore Oak seen here) come with specialized embossing—grains and knots can be felt as well as seen. Planks are 100% waterproof, according to the company, and geared for commercial grade durability with a GeoCore limestone composite foundation. An ultra-thick, 20-mil wear layer delivers scratch protection from pets, kids and party-people, while built-in acoustic padding offers boost- ed sound insulation.

Inhaus – Sono
Sono is a German-made, waterproof, PVC-free, floating resilient plank product that competes directly with PVC products such as LVT, SPC and WPC. Sono is engineered with indoor air quality as a top priority as its core consists solely of two ingredients: polypropylene and mineral pow- der. The result, the company said, is Sono is manufactured without the use of plasticizers, contains no phthalates or formaldehyde and has an ultra-low VOC emissions rating. High-definition digital printing makes possible a 1 in 18 plank repeat on Sono’s 26 decors. The product is finished with four coats of hard-wearing (AC5), natural lacquer that gives the product an authentic look, comfort underfoot and can be easily repaired. The product comes equipped with Megaloc, the company’s standard, easy to use, fold-down installation system, and can be cut by scoring and snap- ping, making the installation process simple and quick.

 

Mohawk
Now in select specialty retail stores across the country, Pergo Extreme provides Mohawk’s Edge partners an exclusive luxury vinyl collection. Consumers can choose from 60 authentic designs including wood-looks, stone-looks, and—for the very first time—tile, each inspired by nature and built to last. According to Mohawk, Pergo Extreme’s superior construction and performance attributes produce one of the best rigid warranties in the industry: dent-proof, 100% waterproof and 100% kid- and pet-proof.

 

MSI – Bayhill Blonde LVT
Bayhill Blonde luxury vinyl tile from the Everlife rigid core collection offers light cashew brown tones with subtle knots and graining for an authentic wood look. This 7 x 48-inch luxury vinyl plank is 100% water- proof, the company said, and protect- ed with a 20-mil, commercial-grade version of CrystaLux, a wear layer designed to guard against everyday scratches, spills, pet accidents, indentations and sun damage. It also comes with a custom-designed beveled edge, a pre-attached backing to ensure comfort under foot and an easy-install locking system.

 

 

NovaFloor by Novalis – Maybree
According to NovaFloor, its latest collection, Maybree, features a portfolio of styles and colors that are as resilient as they are beautiful. Ultra-realistic and on-trend visuals pair with an extra-thick, 6mm high-density core, 20-mil wear layer and NovaFloor’s NovaShield protective coating. What’s more, Maybree’s waterproof construction allows it to be installed in any space, including wet areas such as laundry rooms and bathrooms. An attached foam underlayment for a softer step and a fold-down locking system for easy installation round out the product attributes that make Maybree an ideal flooring option for the home.

Shaw Floors – Distinction Plus
Distinction Plus, one of the newest luxury vinyl introductions from Shaw Floors, features 10 light-toned contemporary visuals in oak, maple, pine and eucalyptus to meet increasing consumer demand for lighter wood visuals. Part of the Floorté Classic Series, Distinction Plus is a WPC construction designed with classic style and amplified comfort in mind. Its 100% waterproof core has added foaming agents for enhanced comfort underfoot, the company said, combined with an attached Soft Silence acoustical pad for sound absorption. Additionally, Distinction Plus features a 12-mil wear layer and Armourbead finish for protection against spills and daily foot traffic.

 

Tarkett – NuGen
When Tarkett customers asked for a rigid core flooring with more flexibility, easy installation and beautiful designs for any room, the manufacturer said it respond- ed with NuGen. Combining the enhanced performance of rigid core with the authentic look of hardwood, Tarkett said NuGen handles anything kids and pets can spill or drop on it. NuGen is available in the most popular colors, styles and sizes. With easy, no-mess installation, guaranteed long-term wear and authentic- looking wood designs, NuGen aims to deliver a better flooring experience.

 

USFloors – COREtec
USFloors’ original COREtec patented Waterproof Foamed Core (WPC) flooring provides a combination of beauty, durability, comfort and sound-insulating performance. Its 100% waterproof COREtec WPC core is a rigid core composition manufactured with foaming agents to reduce surface tension. The “Plus” is the attached cork underlayment, which provides added sound dampening, absorbs subfloor imperfections and resists mold and mildew. COREtec The Original products consist of a layered construction for optimal performance. A 20-mil wear layer protects against excessive wear and stains while the luxury vinyl top layer features on-trend designs. WPC is designed for residential applications, but is suitable for light to medium commercial installations.

Wellmade – Opti-Wood
Wellmade’s Opti-Wood HDPC rigid core flooring is now available in a premium plank, featuring 7-inch widths and extra-long, 84-inch lengths. The real hardwood wear layer focuses on top-selling oak variations with dynamic cathedral graining, along with a variety of popular hickory and birch wood species. Color options range from mainstream gunstock brown and muted grays to neutral crème, finished in low-luster, wire-brushed textures. Opti-Wood’s waterproof performance makes it suitable for most residential or commercial installations.

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Kennedy launches Revolution Mills

From left: Chris Williams, Charlie and Zach Kennedy

Huntersville, N.C.—Residential carpet may be stagnant in a waterproof world, but don’t tell that to Charlie Kennedy. The longtime Gulistan and Phenix executive has launched Revolution Mills with a focus on innovation and performance.

Kennedy began his career at Bigelow in Greenville, S.C., before moving to Pinehurst, N.C., to begin working with JP Stevens, later named Gulistan. After more than 30 years in product development he became president. Five years later, he sold his interest and launched Phenix Flooring in Dalton.

Since its inception in 2016, Revolution Mills has strived for quality. The company currently offers high performance, soft solution-dyed polyester along with carpet tile and SPC. It is headquartered here, with product distribution out of Dalton.

Zach Kennedy, Charlie’s son, and his son-in-law, Chris Williams, run the day-to-day operations. Zach Kennedy, who heads up sales and marketing, most recently spent nearly 14 years at Phenix selling to national accounts, distributors and local dealers. Williams, who heads up the company’s operations, brings extensive knowledge to Revolution Mills from his 23 years at Lowe’s, notably serving as the hardwood flooring, area rug and paint merchant. His most recent role was overseeing Lowe’s global sourcing team while based in Shanghai.

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Brodsky receives International Business Award

Howard Brodsky

Kigali, Rwanda—Howard Brodsky, co-founder, chairman and co-CEO of CCA Global Partners, Inc., received the 2019 International Rochdale Pioneers Award. The award was presented by the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA), a consultative organization of the United Nations, here on Oct. 16 during the biennial ICA Global Cooperative Conference.

Recognized as the "Nobel Prize of Cooperative Business,” the Rochdale Award is given out every two years to an individual who has made the greatest impact across the world through the innovations of shared ownership, specifically through the cooperative business model that anchors value with members, employees, customers and their communities.

In its history, the ICA has recognized only 16 individuals with Rochdale Awards for their commitment to cooperatives around the world. “Throughout my career, I have felt that businesses should be more than profit centers,” said Brodsky. “While profit is important, it is equally if not more important that businesses be a force for good. The cooperative business model epitomizes capitalism with a conscience. A more inclusive future is in our grasp. Shared ownership advances shared opportunity, shared wealth and ultimately shared hope. I am honored and humbled by this recognition.”

This recognition highlights Brodsky’s career of innovation by re-envisioning conventional business through shared ownership. Dedicated to what he calls the contemporary cooperative business model, Brodsky has fundamentally transformed family businesses in the U.S. in an array of industries by structuring the companies as cooperatives–where putting people first, not profit, and leading with values is the task of every day.

“As a visionary leader and entrepreneur, Howard has a passion for invention. He does not simply talk about the future–he leads through his actions,” said Trebor Scholz, director of the Platform Cooperativism Consortium. “Howard is a rare leader that combines vision, innovation, gumption and connectivity in all aspects of his work.”

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Somerset receives NWFA/NOFMA certification

St. Louis—Somerset Hardwood Flooring has earned NWFA/NOFMA Mill Certification from the National Wood Flooring Association. NWFA/NOFMA certification assures a manufacturer’s wood flooring meets or exceeds industry standards for grade, configuration, moisture content and average board length.

“NWFA is pleased to welcome Somerset as the newest NWFA/NOFMA Factory Finished member,” said Michael Martin, NWFA president & CEO. “It’s encouraging to see the factory finished segment of the NOFMA Program grow right alongside the increased demand for factory finished products in the marketplace. This is a clear indicator of the unification of our domestic manufacturers, and the continued value they see in the NWFA/NOFMA Program.”

Certified mills must meet rigorous production standards, and are inspected a minimum of two times per year to ensure consistent grade standards are maintained.

“Somerset Hardwood flooring has a balanced product portfolio of both solid and engineered wood flooring products,” said Paul Stringer, Somerset vice president of sales & marketing. “We continue to see great potential in the solid sector, and certifying our factory finished products to the NWFA/NOFMA Program is an effective way for us to add value to our line and to communicate that to our customers.”

A full list of NWFA/NOFMA certified manufacturers can be found on the NWFA website.

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AHF Products’ Jerry Sporich, founder of LM Flooring, to retire

Mountville, Pa.–Jerry Sporich, founder and president of the North American business unit of LM Flooring, which merged with AHF Products in July, will retire effective Oct. 31. Following Sporich’s retirement, Andy Piwonski will be promoted to vice president & general manager and Kevin Whaley will be promoted to vice president of sales and product.

Sporich created the Dallas-based wood flooring company in 2001 to service the LM Flooring business in the U.S. and Canada. During Sporich’s tenure, the company said he led with vision and innovation, guiding the company in its mission of bringing exceptional styling and value to the hardwood flooring industry.

“Jerry has 18 years of tremendous industry impact growing the LM Flooring business in North America, innovating fantastic products and creating long-lasting, personal connections with our customers,” said AHF Products President and CEO, Brian Carson. “These products and relationships have built the company’s reputation as a leader in the hardwood flooring industry. I want to personally thank Jerry for his dedication to serving and creating value for our customers. I am grateful for his willingness to extend the date of his retirement to support the partnership with AHF Products creating a seamless transition.”

Sporich, who had been planning to retire just prior to AHF Products’ acquisition of LM Flooring, said, “It’s been rewarding to see this company grow and develop, and to help build a team dedicated to providing world-class service and great products that will continue to drive the business forward. The marriage of LM Flooring with AHF Products is a wonderful move that will allow the businesses to grow to the next level."

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Tarkett to unveil NYC Atelier showroom, event space

Tarkett's New York Atelier will serve as a flooring showroom as well as a destination for a series of curated exhibits.

New York— Tarkett is set to launch its New York Atelier, located adjacent to one of the main design districts on Madison Avenue. Designed by Huntsman Architectural Group, this 10,000-square-foot space is designed as a modular, sophisticated, co-creation workspace. It is meant to inspire collaboration and creativity and encourage the design community to use it as a destination for hosting events and presentations.

Through a partnership with trend studio Edelkoort Inc., the space will also be a destination for a series of curated exhibits. With a larger footprint in New York City, the Atelier offers the opportunity to experience all Tarkett solutions in one space and will house a variety of flooring platforms, including LVT, broadloom, modular carpet, Powerbond, rubber, Lino, VET, SVT and vinyl sheet.

“We listened to the NYC A&D community about what they wanted out of a space,” said Chris Stulpin, chief creative officer for Tarkett North America. “They wanted a space where they could be inspired and perhaps learn something (Edelkoort revolving exhibits), they wanted a space where they could work and lay out projects (co-working area), they wanted a space to socialize (communal dining table, open kitchen and staircase), that was really flexible (mobile conference rooms) and they wanted a space where they could easily interact with our brand (accessible samples—help yourself). All these considerations were embedded into the design for our customers’ experience. You can come to our space to work, play, meet up and be inspired.”

Tarkett will celebrate the grand opening of its New York Atelier October 30, with an invitation-only panel discussion called Circular by Design, curated by trend studio Edelkoort Inc., and featuring Jessica Schreiber of Fabscrap, Dhruv Raina of Tarkett and designers Suzanne Tick and Zero Waste Daniel, moderated by trend analyst Philip Fimmano of Edelkoort.

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Xpress Global Systems expands into eastern Pennsylvania

Allentown, Pa.–Xpress Global Systems (XGS) has expanded into eastern Pennsylvania by opening a new service center, near here. The facility is located on the banks of the Lehigh River in the nearby borough of Fountain Hill. The company said it expects to employ office personnel, warehouse workers and truck drivers on both a full-time and part-time basis.

“I am very excited about opening this strategic location in eastern Pennsylvania,” said Jeff Null, vice president – operations. “We continue to see strong growth in our company, and this facility is necessary to provide increased capacity to our network. We look forward to welcoming our new associates to the XGS team and to continue delivering excellent service to our customers.”

In addition to offering LTL (Less-Than-Truckload) transportation solutions, the company also provides warehousing and distribution services across the country with more than a million square feet of storage in key demographic locations.

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Daltile launches porcelain pavers, coordinating tile

Daltile's Assemble line.

Louisville, Ky.—Daltile officially launched its new Tread line of 2cm outdoor porcelain pavers this week at the Hardscapes North America (HNA) tradeshow, held here. Also featured are Daltile outdoor vertical porcelain tiles that coordinate with Tread products to create stunning outdoor living spaces.

Daltile’s new Tread program offers the looks of wood, quartzite, assorted stone, slate, French limestone and Belgian bluestone in durable porcelain pavers that are said to be fade-proof, stain-proof, scratch-resistant, fade-resistant, fire-resistant and slip-resistant.

“In recent years we have seen the continued growth of outdoor living spaces, signifying that this trend is here to stay,” said Phil Graves, sales director for Daltile. “Porcelain tile is well-suited for outdoor areas, due to the unsurpassed durability of the material and its inherent ability to withstand the harshest of conditions. Porcelain is also easy to maintain, outperforming many other outdoor materials.”

The new Tread Porcelain Paver program is made up of six collections, including two new assortments and four popular existing collections. New for 2019 are Commissary and Assemble. Commissary brings the rustic beauty of natural wood to exterior floors and is available as 24 x 24 or 16 x 48 porcelain pavers. The Assemble assortment of porcelain pavers offers unique, stone-look visuals for a contemporary, modern offering. Available in a large-format, 32 x 32 paver, Assemble can be coordinated with the new Assemble interior flooring tiles to create a seamless look from indoors to outdoors.

The existing porcelain paver collections that are now part of the Tread line include Ambassador, Diplomacy, Delegate and Dignitary. Ambassador is inspired by fine-grained quartzite found in the Swiss Alps, and is available in a 16 x 48 size and two distinct colors. Deftly delivering the quiet strength and visual beauty of quarried Belgian bluestone, Diplomacy is available in two hues. Two sizes of porcelain pavers–24 x 24 and 20 x 40–pair with a coordinating brick-joint mosaic and trim package. Delegate is a sedimentary slate-inspired design offering a rich graphic with depth and gentle color movement, available in a 20 x 40 size. The 24 x 24 Dignitary replicates French limestone embedded with fossil layers and natural veins.

“Our new Daltile Tread Porcelain Paver collections are by far the best-looking outdoor paving materials on the market today,” said Laura Grilli, lead product designer for Daltile. “Combining our porcelain pavers with their coordinating vertical porcelain tiles easily creates outdoor living spaces that are every bit as luxurious and high-style as today’s indoor living spaces.”

Assemble, Ambassador, Diplomacy, Delegate and Dignitary offer coordinating vertical porcelain tiles and mosaics, ideal to use as the feature wall behind an outdoor barbecue, the backsplash of an outdoor kitchen or the face of an outdoor fireplace, creating a cohesive look in exterior living spaces.

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Mannington Commercial’s Jack Ganley to retire

Jack Ganley

Salem, N.J.—Jack Ganley, president of Mannington Commercial, will retire on December 31, 2019. He joined Mannington in this capacity in 2004. Upon Ganley’s retirement, Tom Pendley, Mannington Commercial’s senior vice president of marketing, will be promoted to the role of president, Mannington Commercial.

Ganley has led the way for Mannington Commercial’s growth over the years and leaves a legacy of leadership and innovation for the business. During his tenure, Ganley implemented the “Choices” strategy and upgraded sales, marketing and products resulting in steady organic growth. He also directed the integration of Burke and Amtico into the Mannington Commercial business.

Previously, he had been with Lees Carpets, where he began as a manufacturing trainee in 1976 fresh out of Villanova University, and rose through the organization to become president of Lees in 1995 and Burlington House in 1998.

“Jack’s leadership and thoughtful, innovative approach to how he conducts business have left an indelible mark on Mannington,” said Russell Grizzle, president and CEO. “His commitment to the company, its values and our customers were always at the forefront and we wish him much health and happiness in his retirement.”

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Laticrete realigns sales team to enhance customer experience

Ron Nash

Sean Boyle

Bethany, Conn.—Laticrete, a leading manufacturer of construction solutions for the building industry, has promoted Ron Nash to the newly formed position of senior vice president of sales and marketing and Sean Boyle to the newly formed position of vice president of market intelligence and channel management. The promotions are an integral part of the company’s multi-year restructuring to realign the sales teams to focus on specialized business segments that enrich the customer experience.

"The markets and clients we serve evolve rapidly,” said Edward Metcalf, Laticrete North America president and chief operating officer. “We must continually assess our approach to ensure all human and material assets are optimally allocated to anticipate and satisfy our customers' increasingly complex needs. Ron and Sean are proven, effective and energetic leaders. Both have made major contributions in keeping Laticrete and our clients relevant and competitive. These important organizational enhancements reflect ongoing improvements across many functions including product innovation, technology and marketing strategy. We are excited about the future and look forward to the immediate positive impact these leadership changes will bring to our innovation efforts."

Nash’s responsibilities will directly encompass the sales, marketing and technical services departments. His new role will optimize and align all outwardly directed activities and increase the focus on anticipating and meeting current and future customer needs.

Boyle will lead all corporate activities regarding the collection, interpretation and dissemination of market intelligence. He will work with Laticrete teams to identify the most effective approach for each sales channel, provide mentorship and guidance to the innovation team and offer insights into future marketing and sales planning.