Posted on

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.

Posted on

Guest column: Flooring plays critical role in today’s training facilities

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

By Garnet Sofillas

 

Screen Shot 2017-06-09 at 11.28.33 AMToday’s health clubs look drastically different from the traditional gym of 30 years ago. In the 1980s through the early 2000s, mainstream clubs had it all: selectorized machines, cardio equipment, aerobics, group X, massage and tanning. Nowadays, functional training is the focus and many traditional gyms are eliminating equipment to create dedicated, functional training spaces.

“The focus is now on strength and conditioning—jumping, sprinting, throwing, crawling—things you would find in a collegiate or professional strength and conditioning program,” said Jim Launer, managing director of athletic operations at Spooky Nook Sports, Manheim, Pa. Opened in 2012, the $25 million, 700,000-square-foot facility—billed as the largest sports complex in North America—is part of a 14-acre site that features eight hockey pitches, 10 full-length volleyball/basketball courts, a 200m indoor running track and 14 batting cages, among other amenities.

In the past, Launer said, fitness facilities were focused on fitness alone, and the emphasis was on machines and how many owners could cram into a space. Fast forward to the present day where modern fitness facilities focus on training the body for activities performed in daily life. Functional strength tools common in health clubs today include suspension training rigs, racks for squats and pull-ups, battling ropes, kettle bells, medicine balls, sand bags, plyometric boxes and sleds.

Naturally, flooring surfaces have become an integral part in the design of these modern exercise facilities. With a new focus on members using their bodies, surfaces are of paramount importance. To that end, facility/project managers and designers are seeking flooring products that satisfy several basic criteria: safety, comfort and ergonomics. All of these requirements must be taken into consideration when selecting a floor in order to protect members’ bodies, ensure they have an optimal experience and to keep neighbors content. These include those working out in classes in adjoining spaces or tenants situated below the exercise facility.

Of course, any flooring material selected for use in an exercise facility shared by thousands of people on a daily basis must be relatively easy to clean and maintain. “If you are truly going to train on a floor, the surface will need to be cleaned daily,” Launer said.

Durability was another requirement that’s high on the list for the Spooky Nook Sports facility, which not only features a functional weightlifting and training area, but also a turf field, sled lane, running track, infinity spa, three pickleball courts and an “American Ninja Warrior style” course. “The floor needs to be able to handle heavy weight drops, ropes, medicine ball slams and jumping…and still provide a surface that is comfortable.”

Lastly, the surface needs to be visually appealing and appropriate for the application. In Spooky Nook’s case, the sports flooring product it chose featured bold, blue colors as well as custom logos and pictures. “The right look and color help to motivate and train people,” Launer said. “Our customers expect us to provide them with the best surfaces possible.”

 

Garnet Sofillas is the communications and public relations manager for Centaur, which provides performance flooring solutions for commercial applications. With a background in journalism, she has both agency and corporate PR experience.