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HPS Schönox adds multiple distributors

Florence, Ala.—HPS Schönox has added new distribution partners to assists the company in meeting its goal to increase the ease of doing business. Distributors including David C Greenbaum Co., Jon Don, Carpet Shoppe, Bixco and ALA Round Flooring were added as authorized distributors and value-added resellers of Schönox products in North America.

“We see great potential with the new distributors because each are forging new roads across all market segments,” said Dave Lepird, Sr., HPS Schönox vice president of sales. “Additional availability and expanded product knowledge are essential for substantial growth.”

Thomas Trissl, HPS Schönox principal, explained the company is proud to be collaborating with the new distributors. “We are impressed by the wide portfolio of customers, quality of their work as well as their commitment to our company.”

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HPS Schönox reveals Worst Subfloor Contest winners

Las Vegas—The winners of the HPS Schönox Worst Subfloor Contest were announced during a ceremony at the International Surfaces Event in Las Vegas. The company’s annual contest seeks to answer the question, “What lies beneath?”

Contestants are installers who choose to partner with Schönox materials to tackle extreme subflooring challenges. They are encouraged to take photos during the process and submit these photos along with description of Schönox products for consideration.

“We are always interested to see how our customers use our product line in their projects,” said Doug Young, executive vice president. “It is a great feeling knowing our systems can be solutions to rough and ugly scenarios.”

HPS Schönox asked three well-known people in the industry to serve as judges for the contest entries: Kimberly Oderkirk, executive vice president, The Flooring Contractor Association; Dean Thompson, president of resilient, Floor
Covering Institute; and Peter Craig, concrete floor specialist and consultant, Concrete Construction. The judges were asked to evaluate the projects based on the severity of the original subfloor’s condition, the skill and attention to detail taken in executing the project, and the quality of the finished subfloor.

First, second, and third place winners were chosen and awarded prizes including Schönox dollars, a trip to Las Vegas, Apple watches and YETI coolers.

Iowa Wall Sawing won first prize with a renovation of a room in a 100-year-old building. The team used Schönox US on the 2,200-square-foot space.

Floorz Denver took second place with a restoration of an oncology level at a hospital. A combination of Schönox products were used including Schönox VD, AST and SL. They primed with Schönox SHP, leveled with AP and skimmed with APF.

Tim Hogan’s Carpet–Lakeland gained third place with their repair on a multilevel home. They worked to cover existing plywood, concrete and trenching areas. They repaired some of the holes in the slab with Schönox VD, RR and SL. Then primed the floor with Schönox VD and poured US. They did some final patching with Schönox SL before installing flooring.

The first honorable mention was awarded to Floor to Ceiling Carpet One for their work on an unlevel residence. After beginning the project, they also discovered a moisture problem. After scraping off all existing tile and glue they used Schönox KH Fix to prime and then pumped ZM.

Second honorable mention was achieved by Vortex Commercial Flooring for their efforts overhauling two levels of a school. There was tile removed by abatement and further abatement was required to remove old patch compound. Multiple Schönox products were used including SHP, KH-Fix, AP, APF and Renotex.

“We would like to thank everyone who participated in our annual Worst Subfloor Contest,” said Thomas Trissl, principal, HPS Schönox. “We’re so proud that this contest was well received for the fourth year in a row. Congratulations to all of our winners.”

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Executive interviews: Brand Building

How Piet Dossche and Thomas Trissl created the most recognized names in their categories

 

January 22/29, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 16

By Ken Ryan

 

It has been said that a company’s brand is its lifeblood, its reason for existing, its greatest success and, potentially, its biggest failure. Few flooring industry executives understand that principle better than Piet Dossche, president and CEO, USFloors, and Thomas Trissl, president, Schönox–HPS North America.

This year’s Surfaces marks five years since COREtec was introduced to the flooring industry, albeit with a mere 13 SKUs. Since then, USFloors’ WPC has become the most talked-about product in flooring. There are now 650 COREtec SKUs blanketing the market. This is just the beginning, according to Dossche, as he now pivots his marketing approach straight to consumers to elevate COREtec as the consumer brand of choice for waterproof vinyl flooring.

Trissl’s quest to build Schönox began shortly after he sold Centiva. Admittedly not one who can sit still for very long, Trissl learned from previous experience he had with Schönox in Germany through his family business to launch the brand in North America. Leveraging his hands-on knowledge of Schönox products and his business acumen for building companies, he has led Schönox to its position today as a leading subfloor prep company in North America.

USFloors
Speed to market, ‘plactivation’ and exposure  helped build COREtec into an epic flooring brand
First we wanted the recognition that we were participating in the LVT category. We had a desire to find a unique product instead of a “me-too” product. We discovered the WPC core in China and made the [decision] to use this as a waterproof core instead of an MDF core. We perfected the product to 95%; for us, speed to market was more important [than completing it 100%]. Get it out of the gate, the starting blocks, was our goal. We knew we had a winner, a beautiful product bringing a solution to an existing category. Then it was about putting the resources together from a small organization that we were to get it launched. We then applied for a patent, which put our competition on notice. All of a sudden people were like, “Whoa!”

Next, we wanted to give it a catchy name. With COREtec, the technology and the uniqueness is in the core. Then we went all out in hiring salespeople to take the product to market as fast as possible and capture real estate at retail. We knew we had to go fast. We were flexible with the cost of the displays, but we insisted on activation or what we called “plactivation” (place and activation). We set lofty goals and aimed high.

We engaged the trade press to talk about it, create awareness, informing the market and competition about the strength of the patent. We advertised heavily to expose the product, plastering it all over the trade press.

Our goal was to be a disruptor. We said “yes” to interviews, “yes” to all opportunities to present and tell the story. We made our sales team drink the Kool-Aid and turn customers into raving fans.

I became a spokesperson for the product/category—the source customers trust for authenticity, quality and knowledge. All along we wanted to stay ahead of the competition through product innovation. We accelerated product innovation to create second-, third- and fourth-category products while the competition was scrambling to get to the first stage.

We protected the margins for all and made sure all channels were profitable. The worst thing you can do is create a brand and see its margins eaten up like we have seen with other categories. With COREtec, we breathed, ate, drank and lived for the product and brand. We wanted to be a fanatic, passionate believer.

If you look at the competition behind us, it is a relentless pursuit for creativity. We need to be first, and we will be first again in Vegas [this year].

How would you advise flooring dealers to build their own brands?
You have to advertise, you have to recognize what’s important in your market, know your market and your customers. If you are in, say, the Houston market, where they had all these floods, you need to go online and talk about it—not talk about your products—but about the problem at hand and how you can help people out. Be in tune with the local community, be seen as a community leader. It’s important to be a spokesperson for what’s important in your market. Show and take leadership. Be the expert and, most importantly, be authentic.

 

HPS Schönox
Innovation and differentiation, coupled with passion, experience and resources, helped expand the Schönox brand in North America
I began to research those companies in North America that might be competitors, many of whom I already knew from Germany. Seeing the opportunity to innovate and differentiate in the subflooring business, I put together a business plan to present to Schönox. It didn’t take long to pique their interest, and shortly thereafter we partnered. The fact that we had the resources, the passion and 15-plus years of American flooring industry knowledge gave Schönox [investors] a comfort as it didn’t have U.S. experience. Once we agreed to move forward, we formed HPS North America (known as HPS Schönox) and began to execute the plan.

By combining outstanding products with expertise in sales and marketing we were able to transform a new, unrecognized brand into an industry leader. That is especially underlined with our new 2018 campaign “Ön It,” which sums all aspects of our daily business. We build trust, not just through fantastic products but also through some unique services. We keep our promises. We act with honesty, integrity and transparency in everything we do. We believe serving our customers builds long-lasting relationships. We are folks who are not driven by a quarterly P&L or EBITDA. We drive innovation to transform flooring. We use science and technology to drive solutions that move flooring forward through innovation. We never rest. We ensure sustainability by using products that are environmentally responsible and promote sustainable construction practices.

You must have a vision for what you want to do that is driven by a passion for it. You must assess the opportunity for success honestly and then develop a plan for your success. You must build a culture of people who share your passion and commitment to excellence. You must continue to innovate to become better. You must cultivate an environment of shared knowledge and shared success. You must differentiate by standing out because you are outstanding.

By growing up in my family’s business I was taught one of my father’s basic principles: You either do it right or you don’t do it at all. That requires a sense and passion for high-performance products that exemplify excellence and enduring value. Success is nothing other than never making the same mistake twice.

How would you advise flooring dealers to build their own brands?
Many flooring retailers truly neglect to build their own brand. Instead they bow to large manufacturers who dictate products, styles, practices and price. I can only advise that no matter what size of company one is running, as an entrepreneur you should always create value in your own brand instead of relying on the manufacturer. Once you diligently work to become best in class or best in town, your value will emerge eventually to be appreciated by customers, vendors and employees. That creates the platform necessary to build a long-term, sustainable brand.

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HPS Schönox launches new brand campaign

Florence, Ala.—HPS Schönox strives to provide unparalleled support and advanced flooring solutions. Their 2018 brand campaign, Ön It, will show that HPS Schönox does business differently and is committed to doing it right.

The campaign will debut this month on all the company’s advertising, branding and marketing collateral, as well as internal and external communications. They will kick off at both World of Concrete and The International Surfaces Event in Las Vegas.

The mission of HPS Schönox is to move the flooring industry forward through innovation, solutions and service. “Our passion for science and technology combined with our experience and expertise in construction helps to build better floors, better spaces, better relationships and better communities,” said Thomas Trissl, principal, HPS Schönox.

The new campaign aims to communicate the HPS Schönox difference to its audiences with the following messages:

  • “When you need the most technically advanced subfloor systems in the industry, Schönox is Ön It.”
  • “When you have questions about how to level a floor from hell, our team is Ön It.”
  • “When you’re up against an insane deadline, count on us to be Ön It.”
  • “Wherever you seek innovation, reliability and lasting results, we’re Ön It.”

The campaign creative was jointly developed by HPS Schönox and partner agency Luckie & Co. The team worked to reposition the brand, build brand identity and execute the new campaign. “This was one of those times when the right client and the right opportunity came together to create an ‘aha!’ moment for us,” said Brian Conley, director—strategic engagement at Luckie. “There’s nothing in the marketplace like Schönox products, and we’re excited to launch something that will position HPS Schönox several levels above its competitors. With strong sales and distribution already in place, we anticipate tremendous growth for the brand.”

For more information, visit hpsubfloors.com.

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Schönox ‘Worst Subfloor Contest’ focuses on fixing what lies beneath

August 28/September 4: Volume 32, Issue 6

By Lindsay Baillie

 

Schönox on June 1 formally opened this year’s annual Worst Subfloor Contest with the theme, “What lies beneath?” It’s a question that, according to Schönox, reflects a common worry flooring professionals often have when tackling a challenging flooring project.

“With Schönox, our approach is to develop subfloor products that can address even the most challenging conditions, knowing that success in extreme circumstances bodes well for all subfloor projects where Schönox is used,” said Thomas Trissl, principal, HPS Schönox. “The contest allows us to see the worst subfloors out there so we are staying ahead with the best subfloor answers.”

The Worst Subfloor Contest asks participants to submit entries featuring their most challenging subfloor projects and how they renovated those tough subfloor conditions using Schönox products. The worst subfloor challenges paired with the best renovation performances win. The entries, which are reviewed and scored by three independent judges, are ranked based on the severity of the original subfloor’s condition, the skill and attention to detail taken in executing the project and the quality of the finished subfloor.

Prizes are divided into two categories: the winning company and installation team members. Last year’s first-prize company received $7,000 in Schönox dollars, while three installation team members were awarded a weekend in Las Vegas, which included a three-night hotel stay, airfare and a $500 hotel gift card. The second-place winner received $4,000 in Schönox dollars, and its three installation team members were awarded a DeWalt 20V Max XR lithium ion brushless 3-speed drill/driver kit and a DeWalt ToughSystem music radio and charger. The third-place winner was awarded $1,000 in Schönox dollars, while three members from its installation team received a Yeti Roadie 20 cooler and engraved Yeti Rambler 36-ounce bottle.

“Each year the number of entries increases along with national attention on the contest which points to the strong desire to do exceptional work in the flooring industry,” said Doug Young, executive vice president, HPS Schönox.

Those entering the contest are asked to photograph the subfloor conditions before and after the subfloor renovation project and submit the photos along with some project information at hpsubfloors.com/worstsubfloor. Entries can also be submitted using the Schönox app.

Projects completed from Dec. 23, 2016, through Dec. 22, 2017, are eligible for entry. The winners will be announced at the 2018 International Surfaces Event in Las Vegas.

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Guest column: Bridging the gap

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

By Laurie Baatz

 

Screen Shot 2017-06-09 at 11.08.31 AMOne of the most common issues plaguing the installation of flooring today is moisture in concrete. Yet, the chronic headache has not helped to change the behavior of the teams involved. Sound familiar?

The architect or interior designer writes the project’s flooring specifications. The construction documents state that moisture testing be conducted following ASTM F2170. Specifications also state the contractor follow the manufacturer’s installation methods for the flooring specified. This should be enough information for the contractor to bid the job for a successful installation, right?

Fast forward to the contractor preparing his bid. He knows to bid the cost of conducting the moisture testing; this has been included in the specifications. However, he cannot accurately predict what those readings will be. How will he bid a moisture mitigation system that may be needed and still compete with the other flooring service providers?

Keep in mind that neither party has control of:

  • When the concrete is poured.
  • When the building is “buttoned up.”
  • If the HVAC is running and maintaining a consistent ambient building temperature of 68-72 degrees for a minimum of 28 days.

Industry standard flooring adhesives are now water based and will not perform well in high moisture environments. These circumstances will not change, and most of the new build projects are on a fast track schedule. Isn’t it time to bridge the gap between the specification community and the flooring experts during the planning stages for a project, create a plan together and execute based on the collective expertise of the teams?

It is imperative that flooring be designed as a system from the substrate up just as the building is designed as a system. Architects and engineers collaborate to design the architectural, mechanical, electrical and control systems in an effort to create one cohesive building. Each person has a particular building expertise and, as a result, brings value to the design and function of the building. The interior finishes are dependent on the proper construction and system operations of that structure. The same can be said for the flooring “system.” The substrate, its design and condition, dictate the necessary system specification to provide for the finished floor covering. Without this system design, many problems can (and do) occur regularly. What preventative measures can be taken to eliminate these challenges?

Consulting with the flooring contractor and manufacturer experts early on in the design process is a must. These consultants must understand the flooring goals of the project including budget, functional and aesthetic desires. Working together to create a solution that can be specified and competitively bid to support those goals is ideal. The design team’s vision becomes reality, the contractor doesn’t have to guess at what to quote or how to compete and, more importantly, the owner gets the end result he invested in.

Engaging with your flooring experts early on in the design process will help to establish a clear and concise plan in creating your desired solution and minimize problems down the road. Working together provides the opportunity to enhance and improve the overall experience of what the finished floor should look like without compromise.

Raise the bar of expectation by working together. It will do wonders for the industry brand along with satisfied customers. Satisfied customers become repeat customers which brings more business opportunities for everyone.

 

Laurie Baatz is the director of market development for HPS Schönox  North America.

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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: Schönox recognizes ‘Worst Subfloor’ contest winners

January 30/February 6, 2017: Volume 31, Number 17

By Nicole Murray

Screen Shot 2017-02-03 at 4.32.54 PMLas Vegas—Schönox announced the winners of its 3rd annual Schönox Worst Subfloor Contest at TISE 2017, reporting the highest number of entries received since the inception of the competition.

First-place winner Carpets Direct of Walton, Ky., took on a 70-year-old building with an engineered hardwood floor that would be glued in place. The major challenge was the massive amount of subflooring that existed underneath. “A combination of Schönox products were used to level the subfloor allowing the client’s chosen flooring specification to be installed successfully,” said AJ Roberto, territory sales manager, CDC Distributors.

Sprague Floor Covering, based in Dover, N.H., earned second place by attacking severe moisture issues that were originally addressed with patching and VCT. By using Schönox’s moisture fail-mitigation systems, the subfloor conditions were able to be restored.

Third place was awarded to Greer’s Flooring America from Evansville, Ind., for a 5,500-square-foot commercial real estate project in which installers had to contend with loose quarry tile, lightweight concrete and trenches. However, with Schönox’s self-leveling compound, a strong and smooth subfloor was able to provide a strong base for the new project.

The goal of the program, according to the company, is to bring awareness to what horrible subfloors can do to the product installed on top of a poor substrate. “We want to bring awareness to everyone in the market of what we are putting underneath because everyone’s first instinct is to simply put a patch down when there is an issue,” said Karen Bellinger, business development manager, Schönox. “It is important to have a nice and new subfloor that can support the gorgeous LVT that goes on top.”

Two second-time judges participated and rated each project impartially by not being told who completed which entries but by solely being educated on the facts of the before and after of each project. First-, second- and third-place winners were awarded Schönox dollars and their corresponding installation teams won Dewalt tools, Yeti coolers and weekend trips to Las Vegas.

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Herregan to carry full line of Schönox subfloor products


Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 6.42.03 PM
Eagan, Minn.—Herregan Distributors and HPS Schönox have formed a strategic partnership to roll out the full line of Schönox subfloor products.

“The agreement with Schönox in our 50th year of operation is a clear example of Herregan’s continuing commitment to product innovation and customer support,” said Craig Folven, vice president of sales and marketing, Herregan’s Paramount division. “Schönox has never stopped improving its subfloor products through impressive R&D efforts, and similarly Herregan is consistently making moves to further support our customers.”

The product rollout will include primers, moisture mitigation systems, subfloor repair products, floor leveling compounds and adhesives. “Herregan is such a strong strategic partner that will further our critical objective of providing availability to those seeking Schönox products, while elevating the quality of each flooring project that Herregan’s end customers complete using Schönox,” said Doug Young, executive vice president, HPS Schönox.

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Gates joins Schönox as VP sales, business development

Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 9.39.06 AMFlorence, Ala.—Todd Gates has joined HPS Schönox as vice president of sales and business development for the Western United States. In his new role, Gates will be responsible for furthering the development of distribution and support opportunities for Schönox across one of the fastest growing mega regions for the company.

Gates was most recently with Karndean as vice president in charge of sales, distribution, exports and technical support and served on the executive management board. Before his 19-year tenure with Karndean, Gates worked in a variety of management positions in the building services, commercial and retail flooring sectors.

“Todd’s extensive experience in the LVT flooring sector pairs so well with our Schönox products which are ideal for use with the resilient category and others where subfloor preparation is even more critical to installation success,” said Doug Young, executive vice president, HPS Schönox.