Feb. 17/24 2014, Volume 27/number 21
By Jenna Lippin
(Second of two parts)
Resilient products had a major presence across the expanse of the two Surfaces halls. Some come from familiar names, while others are new to the category, seeking to capitalize on this segment’s ever-increasing popularity. And, thanks to advanced technology, products within the category mimic natural visuals, adding to resilient’s appeal. Introductions from the larger resilient suppliers appeared in the Feb. 3/10 issue of FCNews; the remainder follows.
Celebrating its first anniversary and second Surfaces appearance, Happy Feet is building its brand on customer service and extensive, readily available inventory, according to Casey Johnson, president.
The Iron Man collection features a 3mm dryback product with an antimicrobial, anti-slip, anti-scratch polyurethane finish. And, with six new colors and a beveled edge, Johnson believes Iron Man is the “best value in the marketplace for commercial use with its 15-year warranty.”
With the LVT Stone line, Happy Feet has added three colors in a 12 x 24 click tile. “We’re trying to emulate the stone look, but the nice thing about LVT Stone is the labor is a third of the price [of the real thing],” Johnson explained. “Plus, you can take it up without a challenge.”
The main LVT attraction at the Home Legends space was Nú Elements, a luxury vinyl line of tiles and planks that has been enhanced with 12 new colorways streamlined from its original 20 visuals. “The original line did well, but there were a few [designs] that weren’t such good sellers,” explained Tiffany Davis, marketing brand and product manager. “We’re hearing from retailers that gray—especially lighter grays— are big sellers.”
Along with the patented floating click-lock technology installation system, each design includes a 20 mil wearlayer, which means they can all be used in commercial applications. Nú Elements has a 25-year residential warranty, 10-year light commercial and 5-year standard commercial.
“This collection is ready to ship,” Davis added. “Retailers have already gotten samples, and we’ve taken some orders at the show. We’ve gotten good feedback with our new products.”
MP Global Products
While MP Global is known primarily for its underlayment, the company was alaso showcasing its Luxury Vinyl Flooring (LVF) collection along with its Perfectly Warm Floating Floor Heat.
Launched in early 2013, LVF is available in plank (wood) and stone visuals, both in 2mm, 3mm, 4.2mm and 5mm thicknesses. Planks come in a variety of wood looks, all measuring 6 x 36. The 2mm and 3mm options are gluedown, while 4.2mm and 5mm feature locking technology. Each plank includes five layers: a balanced backer, recyclable core, decorative design, wearlayer and UV coating. The 4.2mm and 5mm options include a reinforced fiberglass sheet for dimensional stability.
Stone visuals are 2mm and 3mm thick; the 12 x 12 tiles feature dryback installation, while 4.2mm and 5mm are 12 x 24, feature locking technology and a fiberglass layer. All selections include a 12 mil wearlayer except the 5mm, which offers a 20 mil wearlayer. Matching moldings for MP Global’s LVF are available for 4.2mm and 5mm constructions.
Also highlighted at Surfaces was Perfectly Warm Floating Floor Heat. The thin, flexible radiant heating product warms floating floors with low energy consumption. With an easy three-step process, Perfectly Warm is an appropriate choice for floating laminate and floating wood floors, engineered and solid wood floors, SnapStone, ceramic tile, porcelain tile, cork and bamboo. It cannot be installed under carpet, vinyl, or glued or nailed hardwood floors.
The success of Raskin’s Elevations Floors, released in 2011, has led the company to take the wraps off Loft by Elevations, a new LVT with loose lay technology and Gravity Grip non-skid backing. The line includes 6 x 48 planks and 18 x 18 tiles.
“Distributors have been asking for a product like Loft,” said John Hunter, national sales manager. “They’ve all enthusiastically committed to the product once they saw it. The benefit to them is it captures more residential consumers, where Elevations has had a strong penetration in the commercial markets.”
Loft features several installation options, including grouted, edge-to-edge, gluedown or loose lay. “The consumer has options from one retail store display,” Hunter added. “Loft is priced competitively so that it hits the magic price points for distributors to sell.”
Another Surfaces highlight for the company was Loom Plus, a woven vinyl product with Raskin’s Gravity Grip system. “It’s the same size as Elevations, so you can mix it,” Hunter said. “This is a product everyone has been gravitating toward. One dealer from the Pacific Northwest said he came specifically to the show to look for woven vinyl.” Loom will be ready to ship in the second or third quarter of 2014.
The Sweden-based company continues to gain popularity thanks to its numerous licensing agreements and product innovations. At Surfaces, Välinge highlighted its locking systems for resilient floors.
“[Resilient products] are very sensitive to temperature, and LVT is especially sensitive to light or heat,” explained Laetitia Kimbland, key account and product manager. The company’s 2G and 5G locking systems “give very good strength horizontally, so you don’t get ugly openings or any height differences.”
Also helping the company earn recognition is its ACTiO2 technology for hard surface floors, more notably used by Lauzon in its Pure Genius “smart” hardwood floor.
ACTiO2 is a compound containing titanium dioxide, that, when activated by light, helps break down organic substances including VOCs and bacteria, thus creating a better indoor environment.
“People buy flooring for aesthetic reasons, but a surface should also be selected for functional reasons, like creating a better indoor environment,” Kimbland said. “ACTiO2 has been used on ceramic tiles and outside applications for a while, but now we want to bring it indoors. We are licensing this technology to help people start utilizing it.”