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Underlayment: Suppliers serve up solutions for multi-family applications

June 5/12, 2017: Volume 31, Issue 26

By Reginald Tucker

 

Screen Shot 2017-06-09 at 11.04.52 AMUnderlayment suppliers are focusing more of their attention on the all-important multi-family sector of the housing market. Specifically, they are developing products that aim to meet or exceed the stringent building code requirements for multi-family dwellings while complementing the vast array of flooring products designed to coordinate with them.

That’s certainly the focus of companies like MP Global Products, maker of the well-known QuietWalk brand of sound-deadening underlayment products designed to quiet noisy floating floors such as laminates. “Our company has concentrated on acoustic underlayment almost since our founding 20 years ago—which incidentally is exactly the same year the North American Laminate Flooring Association (NALFA) was formed,” said Jack Boesch, director of marketing. “Together with NALFA, we helped the manufacturers of laminate flooring establish standards for underlayments with regard to several attributes, including sound attenuation.”

QuietWalk, MP Global’s hallmark product, is branded as such for its ability to draw sound in and deaden it. “The original train of thought was to help deaden the ‘clicky’ sound of laminate flooring within the room and make it sound more like solid wood,” Boesch explained. “During that process we also discovered that architects and designers loved our underlayments for use in condominiums and apartment buildings.”

Other major suppliers of underlayment products are busy at work tackling the noise-transfer issue in multi-family applications. For example, Diversified Industries, manufacturer of the popular FloorMuffler line of products, is looking to make sure it has all the bases covered in that respect.

“While flooring suppliers are working to develop products with better sound characteristics, the best solution for noise reduction is a quality underlayment,” said Colleen Gormley, national marketing coordinator. “We are continuously testing our products with the most up-to-date building code requirements to ensure flooring suppliers have a proven underlayment to partner with their flooring.”

Due to the advances in sound-reduction technology, Gormley is seeing the use of hard surface flooring becoming much more prevalent in multi-family construction than ever before—which is guiding much of the new product development within the company. “We have developed an entire line of products to provide superior noise reduction for every type of hard surface flooring installation. This includes our new line of rubber underlayments, FloorMuffler FLEX, which can be used under anything from tile to hardwood flooring.”

Dan Davis, national retail business manager, multi-family sector, HPS Schönox North America, also sees the multi-family market moving away from carpet and toward LVT. For its part, Schönox has developed several underlayments to address this trend. Chief among them is Schönox TS, an impact, sound-deadening underlayment made of cork and recycled urethane granules that not only provides impact and sound attenuation but also comfort underfoot. “This is used underneath LVT floors so the residents living below won’t hear anything,” he explained.

Schönox takes it a step further by focusing on the condition of the substrate prior to the application of a sound-deadening underlayment. To that end, the company offers AP, a dust- reduced synthetic gypsum compound that’s suitable over gypsum-based cement floors common in multi-family applications, and APF, a fiber-reinforced self leveling compound. “These are high-performance products that are proprietary to us and designed to go with these gypsum subfloors,” Davis said. “Our products are specifically designed to bond with gypsum subfloors, not separate or push away from them.”

Future Foam is also keeping a close eye on trends in the multi-family sector and is responding accordingly. “Multi-family is a very interesting sector for carpet cushion companies, including Future Foam,” said Mark Foster, regional manager. “We are often challenged by economic hurdles with carpet cushion, but we have seen an uptick in interest for sound abatement and comfort under LVT flooring.”

Builders, Foster notes, often lose sight of the advantages of providing a cushion under LVT floors. “Acoustical properties play a big role in deciding what is to be used in multi-family dwellings today, so Future Foam provides sound ratings for applications under numerous hard surface products. A cushion that provides comfort and sound absorption are the keys to these projects.”

Soundseal, which offers a range of underlayment products specifically for certain flooring categories, is also keenly focused on the red-hot LVT segment. “As new products become available we endeavor to find suitable products to use under them,” said Dale Asp, business development manager, Impacta Floor Underlayments. “We developed VC300 and Probase Vinyl to be used under LVT products in multi-family dwellings. We also offer our Cerazorb and Probase Rubber underlayments, which can be used under a broad base of flooring products.”

In that same vein, the increasing popularity of LVT has led WE Cork to its latest introduction, Silently-LVT, which provides a low-profile sound solution under floating and glue-down LVT. According to Ann Wicander, president, “Silently-LVT can also be used as a single-stick method over hard-to-glue to substrates—such as lightweight concrete or surfaces that are expensive to remove like asbestos tile—by loose laying the Silenlty-LVT over the floor and gluing directly on it. This method saves time and money during installation, and is the perfect underlayment for apartments offering a high sound insulation rating of Delta IIC 20.”

WE Cork has a long track record of developing products for the multi-family sector. Back in 1978, when condominium development began to take off, WE Cork initially offered sound-control products for ceramic tile applications under the WECU (WE Cork Underlayments) brand. That paved the way for Soundless +, a product Wicander called “the highest performing product under ceramic tile applications in a concrete structure without a suspended ceiling.” WE Cork then went on to introduce the Warm & Quiet product line for use under hardwood and laminates. “This offers an easy-to-install, lightweight yet highly insulating solution that meets all requirements in the U.S.”

 

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Installation: Innovations serve up solutions

April 10/17, 2017: Volume 31, Issue 22

By Nicole Murray

 

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 11.34.21 AMSuppliers of installation accessories, adhesives and subfloor prep materials are not only developing new products that aim to ease installation; they are also seeking to improve the performance and longevity of the various flooring surfaces they support.

Many of these installation products, which run the gamut from underlayments to self-leveling materials, are designed to address common installation challenges. Case in point is DriTac’s new Hybrid Palmer 51 system, an adhesive that can execute the same functionalities that would usually take multiple products to complete. The goal, according to the company, is to allow installers and contractors to minimize the inventory they must bring on various jobs while still being able to have a product that can outstandingly perform.

“Hybrid Palmer 51 acts as a five-in-one tool,” said Sean Pisani, marketing associate. “With this product you eliminate your ‘adhesive graveyard’ and ultimately save yourself money.”

Other new products were created to combat another issue that can ruin an installation: excess moisture. One such innovation is VentiLayer from MP Global Products. This new underlayment, according to Jack Boesch, marketing director, aims to attack the problem at the source. “Moisture, especially over concrete, has become a major problem. VentiLayer allows for air to flow underneath to dissipate any moisture coming from the cement. By simply covering up with laminate floors will formulate a prime spot for mold and mildew.”

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 11.34.27 AMIn that same vein, Future Foam introduced a new product called Prime Elegance, which has a double barrier designed to prevent moisture from the top and bottom. It also provides a comfortable cushion underfoot. “This product will sell itself because of its top performance,” said Jeff Katz, regional manager. “We are setting up retailers with the tool to sell it so all they need to tell their customer is, ‘Go for a walk.’”

Future Foam provides retailers with booklets to be used as a selling tool that unfolds and can be laid flat on the ground for customers to walk across. Retailers will be able to customize their booklet with their own personal good, better and best underlayment products that highlight Prime Elegance’s comfort on top of its functionality.

Not to be outdone, Schönox showcased its moisture mitigation system created to speed up the actual installation process and reduce the risk of moisture-related problems before the floor is even laid down. By ultimately reducing the amount of equipment and the number of steps for each job, the installing field can still be maintained by those who are less qualified.

“Our EPA and EPA Rapid products can allow for only a two-hour window to go by before being able to lay your floor,” said Karen Bellinger, business development manager, Schönox. “We also have 400 RH, which allows you to only have to put down one coat for the job to be done fast but well.”

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Future Foam awards top sales performers

Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 10.05.38 AMCouncil Bluffs, Iowa—Future Foam, a leading producer of premium carpet cushion, recently acknowledged its top regional performers for 2016, at the company’s national sales meeting.

The company recognized five regional territory managers for their outstanding 2016 sales and customer service. Among those awarded were: Steve Wax, Northeast; Larry Smith, Southeast; Laurie Deignan, North Central; John Darby, South Central; and Rick Saunders, West.

Future Foam also presented its prestigious Spirit award to Rachel Miller. The Spirit award recognizes the sales person that best reflects Future Foam’s values of ownership, accountability, integrity, respect and team success over individual success. Mark Foster, regional manager noted, “Rachel exemplifies Future Foam’s values every day. She continues to earn business from her customers by demonstrating our core values in her everyday actions.”

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Knudtson elected PFA president

LOUDON, TENN.—The Polyurethane Foam Association (PFA) announced that Lynn Knudtson of Future Foam, Council Bluffs, Iowa, was elected to serve as president of the PFA, the trade association of U.S. flexible polyurethane foam manufacturers and suppliers. His term began at the PFA Fall Business and Technical Session in Phoenix, Ariz. this month. Continue reading Knudtson elected PFA president