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Resilient: Rigid core continues to set new standards

April 2/9, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 21

By Ken Ryan

 

Even seasoned flooring executives are stunned at the growth of the rigid core subsegment that burst onto the scene less than two years ago and has morphed into a super cell of flooring.

Jimmy Tuley, vice president, residential resilient business, Mannington, just returned from Domotex Asia where he saw scores of new entries. “We saw combinations of wood on rigid core; some with mineral core to give it different properties... there is a lot of innovation happening. The pace of change right now is just amazing, unbelievable really.”

Jeff Francis, resilient category manager, Shaw Industries, and a 14-year industry veteran, added, “The rate of change in resilient rigid core is so significant it is challenging just to stay ahead of the pace. Based on the velocity of growth, I don’t see it receding at all.”

Francis said he sees rigid core continuing to take market share from soft surface as well as hard surface—laminate, wood and even glue-down LVT. “We see growth accelerating, and in the next 12-24 months, even as fast as the innovation is coming, we see more of it.”

David Sheehan, senior vice president, product management, Mohawk resilient, said he has been “astounded” by the growth of rigid vinyl. “It is definitely a product that has become the darling of the industry. Just as LVT in general was the go-to product for RSAs and dealers, rigid has become that go-to product.”

Rigid core, or SPC (solid polymer core), is made of a composite core construction, a step up from solid LVT, with a higher filler content and higher density without any foaming agent creating air bubbles in the core. The result is a thinner, harder and stiffer plank. Rigid core products are primarily suitable where higher indentation resistance is required and extensive exposure to sunlight/heat can occur.

This broad definition does not stop flooring companies from putting their own marketing spin on their iterations.

Following is a look at some of the newest offerings in rigid core flooring.


Armstrong
Rigid Core Vantage from Armstrong Flooring includes such features as registered embossing in elongated 9 x 60 and 7 x 60 planks and accentuated painted bevels. The line comes with a commercial-specified 20-mil wear layer and urethane coating, and is noted for its dent resistance thanks to a solid polymer core. Vantage is supported by a premium natural cork underlayment for reduced sound transmission. Armstrong said installing Rigid Core Vantage has been made easier with a new drop-lock system. It has been tested for use in fully enclosed three-season rooms where the expected post-installation temperature range falls between 32°F and 100°F. Rigid Core Vantage will be available to retailers in June.

CFL/FirmFit
FirmFit XXL boasts long and wide planks featuring synchronized embossed-in-register technology. “FirmFit was one of the first to launch long and wide rigid core planks that feature an extremely realistic embossed and register synchronized texture in a large way,” said Thomas Baert, CFL president. “The rigid core category is moving forward extremely fast and improving style and designs, which is bringing the category closer to real wood looks and textures. FirmFit XXL is the next step.”

FirmFit XXL, which will be in stores early summer, is backed by warranties on performance on massive installation surfaces without use of transition moldings. It is dent resistant and sun proof.

Congoleum
Triversa’s triple-layer construction delivers exceptional durability with a 20-mil wear layer, stability through a waterproof rigid core and versatility with cork backing for sound mitigation. A SmartLock clic system allows for easy floating installations. Triversa ID offers extensive design options, including mixed-width woods, longer planks, enhanced edge treatments and tile visuals.

Dixie Group
Dixie is one of the newest entrants into the rigid core space but is determined to make a lasting impression, according to Dan Phelan, vice president of marketing and hard surfaces. For 2018, the Dixie Home and Masland brands are coming out with 16 new offerings, all Stainmaster PetProtect with action traction. “We are filling in some gaps in colorations,” Phelan said. “We have fashion-forward colors in gray and taupe, and we are now adding heavier distressed looks.” New size options in Dixie Home (7 x 60) and Masland (5 x 60) are in addition to a 9 x 60 offered by both. Masland’s Big Sky line offers a 28-mil wear layer.

What’s different here is the company’s path to market is through limited retail distribution. As Phelan explained, “Do you want to enter the market for the sake of entering, or do you want to enter with something special? Stainmaster adds to our position in the marketplace. It’s working for us, and our limited distribution model is very powerful. We’re off to a really good start.”

EarthWerks
Noble Classic Plus SPC from EarthWerks boasts an array of high-dimension oak patterns with EIR. The assortment comes in 8 x 48 planks as well as a 9.5 x 60 tile for an even more dramatic appearance—each with cushion backing.

For customers looking for a glue-down application, these same designs and sizes are also available in a 3mm x 20 mil dry back version called Wood Classic II.

Inhaus
Sono is Inhaus’ latest innovation in waterproof dimensionally stable flooring. The German-made product comes with proprietary technology and features high-definition digital printing. The printing process enables vastly improved color variations and a 5% plank repeat, the company said, resulting in a uniquely appealing installation. The core is highly resistant to heat and cold, is waterproof and has an angle fold locking system for ease of installation. The patented ceramic composite core is free of PVCs, formaldehyde and all other additives.

IVC
Urbane, which will be launched in the second quarter through distribution, will be part of IVC’s rebranded Waterproof Solutions display, which replaces Moduleo. Sheehan explained the company is trying to communicate the inherent waterproof nature of the offerings with the three-product display that also includes Horizon and Embellish. Described as a classic flexible offering, Horizon is a 20 mil, 4.5mm construction available in click and glue down. The trade up is Embellish, a flexible LVT that Sheehan called a very significant offering. “We’re not labeling the products, we’re creating a good/better/best trade-up story,” he said.

Urbane is a rigid offering that IVC expects will drive a lot of traffic and enthusiasm. Glass is used to make the product more dimensionally stable. All three products are suitable for three-season rooms capable of handling extreme temperatures.

Mannington
Tuley said he sees the WPC and SPC segments “splitting” as new technologies emerge to create separation. AduraMax Prime is an SPC targeted at the builder/multifamily segment. AduraMax Apex offers a long and wide plank and is embossed with a painted bevel. Mannington also plans to launch Adura Rigid, an SPC with pad attached. “For the most part, these products are variations or improvements on LVT to solve very particular problems,” Tuley said.

Marquis
Marquis’ newest rigid core product offering, Geneva, provides a print with great color movement and depth. Featuring multi-width look patterns representing a new urban twist to a rustic look, Geneva comes in a 7 x 48 board with a 4mm SPC core and 20 mil ceramic bead wear layer finished with a 1.5mm closed-cell IXPE attached cushion.

Metroflor
Engage Inception, Metroflor’s new SPC product, expands the company’s portfolio of LVT flooring solutions that address all relevant categories—glue down and a variety of floating platforms such as Grip-Strip (Konecto), Solid Vinyl Clic (Engage), WPC (Engage Genesis) and now SPC (Engage Inception).

The new Engage Inception line is intended to serve as an entry-level, SPC product suitable for multifamily, residential and commercial environments dependent on the wear layer chosen. It is stiffer and denser than WPC, offering favorable dimensional stability characteristics, thereby enabling greater resistance to temperature changes and indentations. Beyond improved dent resistance, the premium attached high-density polyethylene foam underlayment provides sound absorption, reduces transmitted sound and foot fatigue and helps to conceal subfloor imperfections.

Mohawk
2018 promises to be a big year for Mohawk in the area of rigid core. Starting with SolidTech, its flagship line with less than one full year in the market, Mohawk is readying a slew of new rigid offerings from its U.S. production facility that will be a fully integrated rigid core plant. “Customers are getting in line for this,” Sheehan said. “Mohawk has invested a huge amount of capital toward this category. We feel we have the right products and are positioned well in each of our channels.”

Due out soon is True Design, a collection of neat visuals with features such as EIR, painted bevels and longer planks. Within the collection, Blended Tones boasts a 22-mil wear layer with a painted bevel. “The reason we do embossed in register is not to prove to the market that we can do it, but to make the product look real,” Sheehan explained. “We feel we have done that with the True Design collection.”

Both the second and third quarters will be active for Mohawk as it aggressively expands its rigid portfolio. As Sheehan explained, “If rigid is the fastest growing segment, the only way to keep pace and grow your market share is to aggressively invest in your category. We are going to aggressively expand our offering and grab market share with the right product along with the right visuals and price points.”

Karndean
Korlok Select, the company’s rigid core line, took two years to develop but was worth the wait, according to Emil Mellow, director of public relations. “Everything we put in there is top end.”

Korlok’s rigid core line comes fully equipped with K-Core technology, a pre-attached acoustic underlayment, K-Guard+ surface protection, HoldFast 5G locking mechanism and warranty. Its 9 x 56 plank matches that of other suppliers. “We found that anything longer than that logistically doesn’t work for a couple of reasons,” Mellow stated. “The box size becomes too heavy and unwieldy to handle, the retail shelf bins are not big enough to accommodate the planks, and the installation becomes very difficult. You need two people and that defeats the whole purpose of easy assembly.”

While most companies, including Karndean, attach numerous bells and whistles to their rigid core products, occasionally they dial back the features to hit a desired price point. That was the case with the Reserve line, which comes out in May. It launches with a stacker option or waterfall display for dealers.

Novalis
Its newest rigid core product, Serenbe, is part of the NovaFloor line with high density core (HDC) technology. It has 24 styles in planks and tiles—including a new 12 x 36 tile. Serenbe also features Novalis’ newest advancement in protection, patent-pending NovaShield.

NovaFloor HDC is an extruded solid vinyl that provides all the popular attributes of rigid core: waterproof, dent resistance and ease of installation over common subfloor imperfections. “We equipped it with an attached foam underlayment as a sound barrier and added comfort underfoot,” said Steve Erlich, vice president of sales and marketing. “So, if you’re a dealer, you will want this product line on your retail floor. It’s the whole package.”

Phenix
Bold Statement from Phenix is a Stainmaster PetProtect SPC in seven colors, five planks and two tile options. Velocity is a 9 x 60 SPC rigid core that combines Corex technology with an EVA foam backing to eliminate additional underlayment. “Both products have some unique features and benefits,” said Chris Johnson, senior vice president of sales. “Our Bold Statement is [among] the only PetProtect SPCs on the market. It also has the Stainmaster PetProtect finish, so it provides superior scratch resistance and pet action traction.”

Velocity is a 22-mil product that is extra wide and long but is also available in a 12 x 24 tile. “We have worked hard to develop a rich and diverse color palette for both products, so just about any home can find something within Velocity that fits their space,” Johnson said.

Quick-Step
EnduraTek and EnduraTek Ultra, the company’s newest rigid core offerings, will be sold through distribution. These unique tile visuals are constructed of an internally routed grout line that renders the product incredibly real, according to the company. “It gives the visual appearance of a 12 x 24, when in fact it is a 12 x 48 plank.” EnduraTek Ultra is slated for the second quarter. “We have rigid flowing everywhere,” Sheehan said.

Raskin
Raskin Industries is promoting its eight-layer rigid construction in which each layer is engineered to provide more stability. “It’s the best of both worlds—waterproof rigid with no air or foam, and no adhesives since we fuse the layers as we use heat and pressure,” said Michael Raskin, president. “It’s critical to have multiple layers.”

A new product, Solid Gencore, is made from Raskin’s proprietary acrylic composite structure used as its core layer to provide maximum stability and impact resistance. “Acrylx has no foam or air, making it denser than a WPC-type multilayer product. We use advanced technology-grade resins that are used specifically to provide stability against heat and cold temperatures.”

New to the market is Acrylx Select, available in five colors. The line is meant to be price competitive with the added benefits of soundproof backing and anti-mildew. It is 100% waterproof as well. Lumination Velocity, another new offering, will have 10 colors in a 4mm with a 1mm Gcore backing. This collection will include registered embossing and will be showcased in a new display with large boards. The line consists of stone, multi-plank looks and 60-inch planks. “It’s hard to differentiate, so it’s important to sell the latest and best technology that will stand up to the hype,” Raskin said. “We feel our product construction and ability to design the colors and styles that sell will offer customers the right products.”

Shaw
Shaw Industries is another major mill that has invested heavily in the rigid core business primarily with Floorte.

Floorte Pro, a new tile rigid core product, launched with 20 SKUs. The waterproof, click product features a lacquer bevel. “There is a trend toward smaller grout lines, which we can do with this product,” Francis said. “The response has been great. This opens it up to mud rooms and bathrooms.”

Overall, Floorte Pro offers a diverse portfolio of visuals ranging from hardwood to tile looks. Mineral Mix, for example, strikes a balance between contemporary concrete and linear metal looks for a chic aesthetic. Each tile has visual grout applied for a quick installation that does not require traditional grout. Blue Ridge Pine is a rich heart pine visual that captures the contrast, character and uniqueness found in natural hardwood.

Tarkett
Tarkett’s new ProGen collection is the next generation of rigid core luxury vinyl flooring that provides superior impact and indentation resistance. The product also demonstrates superior durability over traditional WPC, according to the company.

ProGen’s unique compact core design makes installation easy by providing the flexibility to adjust to tight spaces, while maintaining enough rigidity to allow for installation over imperfect subfloors. This new collection has a 20-mil, commercial-grade wear layer and enhanced polyurethane layer that allow ProGen to resist scratches and the rigors of modern life. In addition, its high-density foam backing reduces unwanted noise.

USFloors
Piet Dossche, founder and CEO, said there were 65 Chinese manufacturers exhibiting rigid core products at Domotex Hannover in January, a testament to the incredible momentum of the subcategory. “This is not a fad, this is just the beginning,” he said at a recent symposium. “Composite waterproof flooring will be the high double-digit growth engine in hard surfaces for the next five years.”

To that end, USFloors is striving to keep its market-share-leading position among suppliers. The company launched COREtec Pro Plus in Q4 2017 and COREtec Pro Plus Enhanced in January. Both are of SPC construction. USFloors will introduce COREtec Stone in the summer with upwards of 40 SKUs. “Attention to detail and design is what makes Pro Plus and Pro Plus Enhanced stand out from the crowd,” said Jamann Stepp, director of marketing and product management. COREtec Pro collections include a double extrusion process with a 1mm cork attached pad. Pro Plus Enhanced also incorporates a four-sided enhanced beveled edge for added realism. As for the forthcoming COREtec Stone, attention to detail will again be key. “The decors, including the tech and spec data that is employed in the Pro Plus collections, along with a proprietary protective coating to prevent scratching and abrasion, will set COREtec Stone apart from the rest,” Stepp said. “We see COREtec Stone as tile reinvented.”

Wellmade
Wellmade continues to expand its Nouveax en vogue HDPC vinyl plank collection. The rigid core features Wellmade’s co-extrusion technology and includes standard and wide/long plank options. Wear layers are available in 8-, 12-, and 20-mil options. Wellmade has added new design options for 2018, including character-driven muted gray and brown tones with enhanced texturing on the hardwood side, and contemporary travertine looks in stone. “Dealers have pleased with our competitive pricing, ease of installation and superior overall performance,” said Steve Wagner, director of marketing.

Posted on

Rigid core continues to set new standards

April 2/9, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 21

By Ken Ryan

 

Even seasoned flooring executives are stunned at the growth of the rigid core subsegment that burst onto the scene less than two years ago and has morphed into a super cell of flooring.

Jimmy Tuley, vice president, residential resilient business, Mannington, just returned from Domotex Asia where he saw scores of new entries. “We saw combinations of wood on rigid core; some with mineral core to give it different properties… there is a lot of innovation happening. The pace of change right now is just amazing, unbelievable really.”

Jeff Francis, resilient category manager, Shaw Industries, and a 14-year industry veteran, added, “The rate of change in resilient rigid core is so significant it is challenging just to stay ahead of the pace. Based on the velocity of growth, I don’t see it receding at all.”

Francis said he sees rigid core continuing to take market share from soft surface as well as hard surface—laminate, wood and even glue-down LVT. “We see growth accelerating, and in the next 12-24 months, even as fast as the innovation is coming, we see more of it.”

David Sheehan, senior vice president, product management, Mohawk resilient, said he has been “astounded” by the growth of rigid vinyl. “It is definitely a product that has become the darling of the industry. Just as LVT in general was the go-to product for RSAs and dealers, rigid has become that go-to product.”

Rigid core, or SPC (solid polymer core), is made of a composite core construction, a step up from solid LVT, with a higher filler content and higher density without any foaming agent creating air bubbles in the core. The result is a thinner, harder and stiffer plank. Rigid core products are primarily suitable where higher indentation resistance is required and extensive exposure to sunlight/heat can occur.

This broad definition does not stop flooring companies from putting their own marketing spin on their iterations.

Following is a look at some of the newest offerings in rigid core flooring.

Armstrong

Rigid Core Vantage from Armstrong Flooring includes such features as registered embossing in elongated 9 x 60 and 7 x 60 planks and accentuated painted bevels. The line comes with a commercial-specified 20-mil wear layer and urethane coating, and is noted for its dent resistance thanks to a solid polymer core. Vantage is supported by a premium natural cork underlayment for reduced sound transmission. Armstrong said installing Rigid Core Vantage has been made easier with a new drop-lock system. It has been tested for use in fully enclosed three-season rooms where the expected post-installation temperature range falls between 32°F and 100°F. Rigid Core Vantage will be available to retailers in June.

CFL/FirmFit

FirmFit XXL boasts long and wide planks featuring synchronized embossed-in-register technology. “FirmFit was one of the first to launch long and wide rigid core planks that feature an extremely realistic embossed and register synchronized texture in a large way,” said Thomas Baert, CFL president. “The rigid core category is moving forward extremely fast and improving style and designs, which is bringing the category closer to real wood looks and textures. FirmFit XXL is the next step.”

FirmFit XXL, which will be in stores early summer, is backed by warranties on performance on massive installation surfaces without use of transition moldings. It is dent resistant and sun proof.

Congoleum

Triversa’s triple-layer construction delivers exceptional durability with a 20-mil wear layer, stability through a waterproof rigid core and versatility with cork backing for sound mitigation. A SmartLock clic system allows for easy floating installations. Triversa ID offers extensive design options, including mixed-width woods, longer planks, enhanced edge treatments and tile visuals.

Dixie Group

Dixie is one of the newest entrants into the rigid core space but is determined to make a lasting impression, according to Dan Phelan, vice president of marketing and hard surfaces. For 2018, the Dixie Home and Masland brands are coming out with 16 new offerings, all Stainmaster PetProtect with action traction. “We are filling in some gaps in colorations,” Phelan said. “We have fashion-forward colors in gray and taupe, and we are now adding heavier distressed looks.” New size options in Dixie Home (7 x 60) and Masland (5 x 60) are in addition to a 9 x 60 offered by both. Masland’s Big Sky line offers a 28-mil wear layer.

What’s different here is the company’s path to market is through limited retail distribution. As Phelan explained, “Do you want to enter the market for the sake of entering, or do you want to enter with something special? Stainmaster adds to our position in the marketplace. It’s working for us, and our limited distribution model is very powerful. We’re off to a really good start.”

EarthWerks

Noble Classic Plus SPC from EarthWerks boasts an array of high-dimension oak patterns with EIR. The assortment comes in 8 x 48 planks as well as a 9.5 x 60 tile for an even more dramatic appearance—each with cushion backing.

For customers looking for a glue-down application, these same designs and sizes are also available in a 3mm x 20 mil dry back version called Wood Classic II.

Inhaus

Sono is Inhaus’ latest innovation in waterproof dimensionally stable flooring. The German-made product comes with proprietary technology and features high-definition digital printing. The printing process enables vastly improved color variations and a 5% plank repeat, the company said, resulting in a uniquely appealing installation. The core is highly resistant to heat and cold, is waterproof and has an angle fold locking system for ease of installation. The patented ceramic composite core is free of PVCs, formaldehyde and all other additives.

IVC

Urbane, which will be launched in the second quarter through distribution, will be part of IVC’s rebranded Waterproof Solutions display, which replaces Moduleo. Sheehan explained the company is trying to communicate the inherent waterproof nature of the offerings with the three-product display that also includes Horizon and Embellish. Described as a classic flexible offering, Horizon is a 20 mil, 4.5mm construction available in click and glue down. The trade up is Embellish, a flexible LVT that Sheehan called a very significant offering. “We’re not labeling the products, we’re creating a good/better/best trade-up story,” he said.

Urbane is a rigid offering that IVC expects will drive a lot of traffic and enthusiasm. Glass is used to make the product more dimensionally stable. All three products are suitable for three-season rooms capable of handling extreme temperatures.

Mannington

Tuley said he sees the WPC and SPC segments “splitting” as new technologies emerge to create separation. AduraMax Prime is an SPC targeted at the builder/multifamily segment. AduraMax Apex offers a long and wide plank and is embossed with a painted bevel. Mannington also plans to launch Adura Rigid, an SPC with pad attached. “For the most part, these products are variations or improvements on LVT to solve very particular problems,” Tuley said.

Marquis

Marquis’ newest rigid core product offering, Geneva, provides a print with great color movement and depth. Featuring multi-width look patterns representing a new urban twist to a rustic look, Geneva comes in a 7 x 48 board with a 4mm SPC core and 20 mil ceramic bead wear layer finished with a 1.5mm closed-cell IXPE attached cushion.

Metroflor

Engage Inception, Metroflor’s new SPC product, expands the company’s portfolio of LVT flooring solutions that address all relevant categories—glue down and a variety of floating platforms such as Grip-Strip (Konecto), Solid Vinyl Clic (Engage), WPC (Engage Genesis) and now SPC (Engage Inception).

The new Engage Inception line is intended to serve as an entry-level, SPC product suitable for multifamily, residential and commercial environments dependent on the wear layer chosen. It is stiffer and denser than WPC, offering favorable dimensional stability characteristics, thereby enabling greater resistance to temperature changes and indentations. Beyond improved dent resistance, the premium attached high-density polyethylene foam underlayment provides sound absorption, reduces transmitted sound and foot fatigue and helps to conceal subfloor imperfections.

Mohawk

2018 promises to be a big year for Mohawk in the area of rigid core. Starting with SolidTech, its flagship line with less than one full year in the market, Mohawk is readying a slew of new rigid offerings from its U.S. production facility that will be a fully integrated rigid core plant. “Customers are getting in line for this,” Sheehan said. “Mohawk has invested a huge amount of capital toward this category. We feel we have the right products and are positioned well in each of our channels.”

Due out soon is True Design, a collection of neat visuals with features such as EIR, painted bevels and longer planks. Within the collection, Blended Tones boasts a 22-mil wear layer with a painted bevel. “The reason we do embossed in register is not to prove to the market that we can do it, but to make the product look real,” Sheehan explained. “We feel we have done that with the True Design collection.”

Both the second and third quarters will be active for Mohawk as it aggressively expands its rigid portfolio. As Sheehan explained, “If rigid is the fastest growing segment, the only way to keep pace and grow your market share is to aggressively invest in your category. We are going to aggressively expand our offering and grab market share with the right product along with the right visuals and price points.”

Karndean

Korlok Select, the company’s rigid core line, took two years to develop but was worth the wait, according to Emil Mellow, director of public relations. “Everything we put in there is top end.”

Korlok’s rigid core line comes fully equipped with K-Core technology, a pre-attached acoustic underlayment, K-Guard+ surface protection, HoldFast 5G locking mechanism and warranty. Its 9 x 56 plank matches that of other suppliers. “We found that anything longer than that logistically doesn’t work for a couple of reasons,” Mellow stated. “The box size becomes too heavy and unwieldy to handle, the retail shelf bins are not big enough to accommodate the planks, and the installation becomes very difficult. You need two people and that defeats the whole purpose of easy assembly.”

While most companies, including Karndean, attach numerous bells and whistles to their rigid core products, occasionally they dial back the features to hit a desired price point. That was the case with the Reserve line, which comes out in May. It launches with a stacker option or waterfall display for dealers.

Novalis

Its newest rigid core product, Serenbe, is part of the NovaFloor line with high density core (HDC) technology. It has 24 styles in planks and tiles—including a new 12 x 36 tile. Serenbe also features Novalis’ newest advancement in protection, patent-pending NovaShield.

NovaFloor HDC is an extruded solid vinyl that provides all the popular attributes of rigid core: waterproof, dent resistance and ease of installation over common subfloor imperfections. “We equipped it with an attached foam underlayment as a sound barrier and added comfort underfoot,” said Steve Erlich, vice president of sales and marketing. “So, if you’re a dealer, you will want this product line on your retail floor. It’s the whole package.”

Phenix

Bold Statement from Phenix is a Stainmaster PetProtect SPC in seven colors, five planks and two tile options. Velocity is a 9 x 60 SPC rigid core that combines Corex technology with an EVA foam backing to eliminate additional underlayment. “Both products have some unique features and benefits,” said Chris Johnson, senior vice president of sales. “Our Bold Statement is [among] the only PetProtect SPCs on the market. It also has the Stainmaster PetProtect finish, so it provides superior scratch resistance and pet action traction.”

Velocity is a 22-mil product that is extra wide and long but is also available in a 12 x 24 tile. “We have worked hard to develop a rich and diverse color palette for both products, so just about any home can find something within Velocity that fits their space,” Johnson said.

Quick-Step

EnduraTek and EnduraTek Ultra, the company’s newest rigid core offerings, will be sold through distribution. These unique tile visuals are constructed of an internally routed grout line that renders the product incredibly real, according to the company. “It gives the visual appearance of a 12 x 24, when in fact it is a 12 x 48 plank.” EnduraTek Ultra is slated for the second quarter. “We have rigid flowing everywhere,” Sheehan said.

Raskin

Raskin Industries is promoting its eight-layer rigid construction in which each layer is engineered to provide more stability. “It’s the best of both worlds—waterproof rigid with no air or foam, and no adhesives since we fuse the layers as we use heat and pressure,” said Michael Raskin, president. “It’s critical to have multiple layers.”

A new product, Solid Gencore, is made from Raskin’s proprietary acrylic composite structure used as its core layer to provide maximum stability and impact resistance. “Acrylx has no foam or air, making it denser than a WPC-type multilayer product. We use advanced technology-grade resins that are used specifically to provide stability against heat and cold temperatures.”

New to the market is Acrylx Select, available in five colors. The line is meant to be price competitive with the added benefits of soundproof backing and anti-mildew. It is 100% waterproof as well. Lumination Velocity, another new offering, will have 10 colors in a 4mm with a 1mm Gcore backing. This collection will include registered embossing and will be showcased in a new display with large boards. The line consists of stone, multi-plank looks and 60-inch planks. “It’s hard to differentiate, so it’s important to sell the latest and best technology that will stand up to the hype,” Raskin said. “We feel our product construction and ability to design the colors and styles that sell will offer customers the right products.”

Shaw

Shaw Industries is another major mill that has invested heavily in the rigid core business primarily with Floorte.

Floorte Pro, a new tile rigid core product, launched with 20 SKUs. The waterproof, click product features a lacquer bevel. “There is a trend toward smaller grout lines, which we can do with this product,” Francis said. “The response has been great. This opens it up to mud rooms and bathrooms.”

Overall, Floorte Pro offers a diverse portfolio of visuals ranging from hardwood to tile looks. Mineral Mix, for example, strikes a balance between contemporary concrete and linear metal looks for a chic aesthetic. Each tile has visual grout applied for a quick installation that does not require traditional grout. Blue Ridge Pine is a rich heart pine visual that captures the contrast, character and uniqueness found in natural hardwood.

Tarkett

Tarkett’s new ProGen collection is the next generation of rigid core luxury vinyl flooring that provides superior impact and indentation resistance. The product also demonstrates superior durability over traditional WPC, according to the company.

ProGen’s unique compact core design makes installation easy by providing the flexibility to adjust to tight spaces, while maintaining enough rigidity to allow for installation over imperfect subfloors. This new collection has a 20-mil, commercial-grade wear layer and enhanced polyurethane layer that allow ProGen to resist scratches and the rigors of modern life. In addition, its high-density foam backing reduces unwanted noise.

USFloors

Piet Dossche, founder and CEO, said there were 65 Chinese manufacturers exhibiting rigid core products at Domotex Hannover in January, a testament to the incredible momentum of the subcategory. “This is not a fad, this is just the beginning,” he said at a recent symposium. “Composite waterproof flooring will be the high double-digit growth engine in hard surfaces for the next five years.”

To that end, USFloors is striving to keep its market-share-leading position among suppliers. The company launched COREtec Pro Plus in Q4 2017 and COREtec Pro Plus Enhanced in January. Both are of SPC construction. USFloors will introduce COREtec Stone in the summer with upwards of 40 SKUs. “Attention to detail and design is what makes Pro Plus and Pro Plus Enhanced stand out from the crowd,” said Jamann Stepp, director of marketing and product management. COREtec Pro collections include a double extrusion process with a 1mm cork attached pad. Pro Plus Enhanced also incorporates a four-sided enhanced beveled edge for added realism. As for the forthcoming COREtec Stone, attention to detail will again be key. “The decors, including the tech and spec data that is employed in the Pro Plus collections, along with a proprietary protective coating to prevent scratching and abrasion, will set COREtec Stone apart from the rest,” Stepp said. “We see COREtec Stone as tile reinvented.”

Wellmade

Wellmade continues to expand its Nouveax en vogue HDPC vinyl plank collection. The rigid core features Wellmade’s co-extrusion technology and includes standard and wide/long plank options. Wear layers are available in 8-, 12-, and 20-mil options. Wellmade has added new design options for 2018, including character-driven muted gray and brown tones with enhanced texturing on the hardwood side, and contemporary travertine looks in stone. “Dealers have pleased with our competitive pricing, ease of installation and superior overall performance,” said Steve Wagner, director of marketing.

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Karndean challenges guests to ‘see flooring differently’ at Surfaces

Export, Pa.—Karndean Designflooring marks the start of the 2018 show season at The International Surface Event in Las Vegas, Jan. 30-Feb. 1. Equipped with an expanded luxury vinyl product portfolio (including Korlok rigid core), a dedicated commercial space and a busy demonstration schedule, Karndean challenges guests to “see flooring differently,” not only in terms of design, product, partnership and support, but in terms of how the Karndean philosophy will grow their businesses in 2018 and beyond.

Karndean’s three formats—gluedown, LooseLay and Korlok—allow the company’s partners to “design flooring differently.” By blending multiple products into one design, incorporating wayfinding and zoning, and the use of design components and inlays within the gluedown ranges, these capabilities enable retailers, architects and designers to create a floor that aesthetically enhances spaces while adding functionality.

The ability to “design flooring differently” allows retailers to “sell flooring differently.” Each Karndean display board is designed to take the guesswork out of selling by giving a visual representation of the impact of Designflooring.

Demonstrations to show guests how to “install flooring differently” will be held on Jan. 30-31. See just how easily “Everything Clicks with Korlok” at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. in booth #4507. Additional product demonstration and design clinics include “Increase Margin with Designflooring” at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and “Minimum Installation Time, Maximum Impact” at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

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Spotlight: Karndean Designflooring makes it easier to sell more

November 20/27, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 12

By Lindsay Baillie

 

Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 1.31.47 PMFor retailers navigating the sea of LVT products, diversity is the key to success, experts say. This differentiation can be found in product design and development as well as experiences with a particular manufacturer. Karndean Designflooring aims to provide retailers with opportunities to increase their business via exclusive designs, top-notch customer service and creative marketing materials.

“At Karndean, we see flooring differently,” said Emil Mellow, director of public relations and communications. “We seek out expressive and intriguing forms in the natural world to influence our unique floor designs and combine these original features with cutting-edge design.”

Karndean Designflooring prides itself on its components-based flooring system, which was created to give consumers total control over the look and feel of their floors. Using this system, homeowners can choose the pattern of their floor with the option to blend products together or incorporate certain designs as inlays.

“Designflooring is a protected way for retailers to grow their business and prevents Karndean dealers from being out-shopped by competitors down the street,” Mellow explained. “As luxury vinyl specialists, we offer more than 200 products featuring internally developed designs and produce premium luxury vinyl across glue down, loose lay and rigid core formats so there is a Karndean-quality floor to fit any installation scenario.”

Retailers like Brenda Barber, president, Barbers Floors & More, Saint Johns, Mich., gets the concept. “Karndean outsells everything in our store—even carpet, which has always taken the lead. The close ratio for Karndean is 100% with people coming back at a later date for additional rooms. It is an easy sell for young, active families with children and pets; older couples want it because it takes the place of hardwood without the expense. I believe in it so much that [several of my family members] have Karndean and love it.”

Dealers say Karndean’s in-house designs coupled with selective distribution help the manufacturer provide its retailer partners with an edge over other flooring stores. As John Wright, vice president, Wright Furniture & Flooring, Hannibal, Mo., puts it: “Karndean’s vast selection in products, colors and different installation options—as well as the fact that its products are hassle free with no claims—make it easier to do business.”

Selling tools
To help retailers sell its products, Karndean provides dealers with various merchandising vehicles and marketing materials. This includes retail displays that showcase products on large-format boards to demonstrate detailed designs and color variation within the individual pieces, as well as ways to enhance a layout by incorporating design strips and inlays.

“Our platinum-level dealers are also equipped with our design table, which not only houses full-size product samples but allows designers and homeowners the opportunity to lay products on top of the table to experiment with different design options,” Mellow explained. “Retailers can also expect to frequently see their dedicated sales representative to provide the latest product knowledge and best practices.”

In addition to design-focused products and marketing materials, Karndean retailers can take advantage of qualified leads driven to their store through the “Find A Retailer” (FAR) tool found on the manufacturer’s website. Consumers can find their nearest Karndean Designflooring retailer, ranked by tier, by entering in a city, state or zip code, and filling out a form to have the retailer get in touch.

Another advantage to partnering with Karndean Designflooring is the company’s customer service team, which is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST. According to the company, it’s not uncommon for Karndean’s retailers and customer service representatives to be on a first-name basis.

For Richard Akel, manager, Akel’s Carpet One, Little Rock, Ark., Karndean’s customer service and employees help make the difference. “[As a corporation] Karndean has great people. They take your calls and answer your questions and are on top of any requests instantly.”

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Karndean expands hurricane relief program, donation drive to victims of Hurricane Irma

Karndean-Designfloor_logo-2-col-on-white-background-1024x270Export, Pa.—As the devastation wrought by Hurricane Irma is uncovered, Karndean Designflooring will expand its Hurricane Harvey relief program to include those affected by Irma as well.

After offering free freight to customers in Texas, Karndean will extended free freight to include customers in the state of Florida through Oct. 31, and is in the process of reaching out to dealers throughout the state to assess showroom damage and provide assistance.

In addition to the company’s current Hurricane Harvey donation drive to benefit the Houston Food Bank and City of San Antonio Animal Care Services, the company will also be accepting donations for United Way of the Florida Keys, who will distribute funds to nonprofits throughout Monroe County, Fla., who may not have the capacity to generate their own funds.

“At Karndean Designflooring, ‘people matter’ is one of our core values,” CEO Larry Browder said. “After watching the devastation unfold in Texas, Florida and the Caribbean, we feel compelled to provide support to our customers, retail partners and residents in those areas in any way that we can.”

Karndean Designflooring will continue to match monetary donations from employees.

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Karndean Designflooring introduces Vantage program

Karndean-Designfloor_logo-2-col-on-white-background-1024x270Export, Pa.–Karndean Designflooring has announced the introduction of its online retailer platform, Karndean Vantage. The program, a new support system for continued growth, is designed to provide its retail partners with access to qualified sales leads, a more detailed “Find A Retailer” store profile, online ordering and marketing materials. All aspects of the Vantage program will be live in early 2018.

Karndean Vantage gives retailers the tools they need to connect with consumers at every point in the buying process, beginning with the search for a local retailer. Karndean Designflooring’s Find A Retailer (FAR) tool, accessible to homeowners on the Karndean website, enables homeowners to search for their nearest retailer. The new Vantage program will allow Karndean retailers to create a personalized store profile, including photos, store hours and point of sale information. This improvement will provide consumers with the necessary information to choose a retailer that best fits their needs, and will provide retailers with qualified sales leads.

The Vantage portal will also allow retailers to access their Karndean business account and place orders online. Through the Vantage Support hub, retailers will also have marketing materials available for download to promote their business.

“Since the early days of Karndean Designflooring, we have always worked closely with and relied on the relationships we have with our independent retailers,” said Larry Browder, CEO. “Karndean Vantage allows us to provide additional support materials to our retail partners, streamline store operations through our online ordering platforms, and give retailers a bigger presence on our website with the updated Find A Retailer tool so that we can drive even more homeowners to their stores.”

The Karndean Vantage program is currently in the process of registering interested qualified retailers.

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NeoCon 2017: Exhibitors report uptick in attendee quantity, quality

July 3/10: Volume 32, Issue 2

By Steven Feldman

 

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 2.34.43 PMChicago—NeoCon 2017 played to rave reviews last month, with just about every flooring supplier extolling the virtues of a show that saw increased traffic from 2016, matched only by the quality of those visiting their spaces. Their sentiments were confirmed by show management which reported an uptick of 7% in attendance shortly after the close of the event.

“Our take is that NeoCon is busier this year,” said Michel Vermette, president, The Mohawk Group, whose third floor space was bustling from start to finish over the first two days. “This year there are more end users. Major players. A lot of tech companies and financials—major groups that have big projects,” and it all has to do with the economy. “There are substantial projects out there. I think everyone wants to take advantage of these better economic times to catch up on some things they may have left behind for some time.”

Ralph Grogan, president and CEO of Bentley Mills, which showed product in its 10th floor space as well as its Kinzie Street showroom located within steps of the Merchandise Mart, went so far as to say this was the “best show ever for us.” Or at least since Grogan took the helm four years ago. “The traffic has been great. It seems like we’ve seen more people than we have had in years past. We definitely have seen more end users come by who are working on big RFPs.”

Even exhibitors on the 7th floor, which houses the temporary space, were pleased. Milton Goodwin, vice president of commercial sales for Karndean, agreed the show was busier than last year. “We looked at leads generated over the first two days, and they were significantly more than last year. That’s how we initially gauge it, and down the road how much business we got.” He added that Karndean saw a blend of attendees. “You have people coming with projects as well as some tire kickers. We love the ones who are doing the immediate-gratification jobs.”

What bodes well for the contract side of the flooring business is the fact that projects are coming from all segments. “Corporate was a bit soft last year but seems to have rebounded a good bit this year,” said David Jolly, CEO, J+J Flooring Group. “We are still very strong with our Kinetex product as well as carpet in both education and healthcare. Those are the three segments we focus on and this year they all seem to be pretty robust. It’s especially nice to have more interest and energy in corporate because that is 50% of what we do.”

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 2.35.24 PMBentley’s Grogan also welcomes the corporate rebound, which he attributes to greater profits. “We are bigger into the corporate market vs. some others. We have always thought corporate profits are the biggest indicator as far as how people are spending money. Most companies over the last two quarters have been doing really well. Stock prices are up for a lot of companies. So we are seeing people spend money. Millennials want good workstations, so people are investing in that.”

Russ Rogg, president of Metroflor—which markets its Aspecta brand to this audience—told FCNews every commercial segment in which the company plays has been positive. “Certainly retail has been a big part of our success. Healthcare and hospitality are growing very fast, maybe a little less on the corporate and education sides.”

Mohawk’s Vermette has seen strong demand in corporate and hospitality thus far in 2017. “But education this summer should be strong with the extra bond money in Texas and California, among others. We are very optimistic.”

What specifiers want

Designers come to NeoCon seeking, well, good design. Of course, service and price are also key components. But the good news is price, while still important, is less of a driver than it was coming out of the economic downturn. But there are other hot buttons for this audience on which manufacturers must deliver.

“You are seeing more projects with multiple SKUs on it,” Vermette said. “You see some custom projects, but less and less. You see more designers using multiple components to create a custom layout or custom office space or hospitality area, so they are very creative with your running-line pieces.”

He added that it’s not just carpet anymore; rather, it’s a hard/soft combo. “We make sure we can meet that requirement across the board. That gives us an edge over some of the carpet-only mills. It’s something we have been doing for over four years now, where our carpet tile matches up to our resilient tile. You don’t need a transition of any type. We make sure we have some products that color coordinate and also complement each other in size. We also make sure the life cycle of our products match up. If we decide to do something with a particular carpet tile or resilient tile, we still make sure there’s a coordinate that replaces it with a fresher, newer look.” As for price, Vermette said you always have to be relevant, “but it’s definitely not the concern it was during the downturn.”

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 2.35.09 PMRandy Merritt, president of Shaw Industries, noted that designers want product, service, innovation and, yes, price. “Is price the most important thing? Probably not. But everybody has a budget. There are a lot of projects where the design firm specifies one thing and when it is time to start doing the project they talk about value engineering. That’s the big term. That means lower price for a cheaper product.”

Jolly believes the big focus at NeoCon is always design. “That’s where it always starts, but every designer will tell you his or her project budgets matter. So I’ll still argue it’s design, but it’s design with value. It doesn’t just mean low-end pricing. Also, knowing what will enhance their customer’s brand or work experience.”

Karndean’s Goodwin is finding visitors want testimonials, like where a particular product is being used and whether they have peers using it as well. As for cost, “In this arena, price is important, but they are usually talking in terms of a general price. For the audience here, it is predominantly design that is the driver.”

Positive pulse

Ask any executive about business in the first half of the year, and most will agree it has been good, not great. J+J’s Jolly called the first six months of the year “very good” driven by product design. “We introduced 36 products last year, which is a lot for us. We really worked hard on corporate and education and it’s paying off for us this year. Those segments are still very strong.”

At Shaw Contract, Merritt was a little less bullish. “Healthcare has been pretty good still. Hospitality has been pretty good. Retail is a battle, and corporate is OK, not great.”

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 2.35.16 PMKarndean’s business is up in every commercial category, according to Goodwin, but multi-family is what’s really driving the success. “Healthcare is also a great category; there is lots of upheaval in that marketplace. And with education, colleges just let out and have a three-month window to get the business done.”

The numbers also bode well for Metroflor, but Rogg cautioned that Aspecta is a relatively new brand so posting high-percentage gains is easier at this stage. “We created this Aspecta brand to go specifically after contract opportunities only four years ago. So when a brand and a collection is this new for a manufacturer, incrementally our percentage of increase year over year is pretty nice. The first quarter was good, April and May a little slower, but we have seen orders in late May and June pick up.” He cited Iscocore as driving the lion’s share of the brand’s growth.

Meanwhile, over at Bentley, the company is enjoying a good first half but still is trying to overcome the perception the company is strictly high-end, expensive broadloom. “We completely reinvented the company the last four years, but we still need to educate our customers that we can compete with anybody in terms of styling, product pricing and just making sure people are aware we are big players in the carpet tile market,” Grogan explained. “We have doubled our carpet tile business in the last three years. We are doing a $2.5 million expansion to double the capacity on our tile line. We need to educate our customers on what Bentley has to offer.”

 

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Karndean expands portfolio with rigid core rollout

March 27/April 3, 2017: Volume 31, Issue 21

Screen Shot 2017-03-31 at 11.42.07 AMExport, Pa.—Karndean Designflooring has taken the wraps off Korlok, a new rigid core floor that was more than three years in the making. The new line features several elements that are meant to enhance speed and ease of installation; in this case, the objective was to construct a floor that would be suitable for projects that needed to be completed quickly.

“We took the time to perfect the technology and create designs that fill a need within our existing product catalog,” said Larry Browder, CEO of Karndean, noting the company approaches every project with a design mindset. In this case, the design team searched for natural materials that would be either too costly or impractical for everyday living and then meticulously brought out the true character of these materials in the new collection.

Korlok comes with a 5G drop and lock technology, which requires minimal subfloor preparation. Likewise, no adhesive is needed. The proprietary, waterproof K-Core technology behind the product provides a rigid core that allows for installation over most existing hard floors. Plus, the pre-attached premium foam backing saves on time, cost and labor since there is no need for a separate underlayment. It also makes Korlok quieter to walk on, making it ideal for upstairs rooms in the home where noise transfer is a concern.

Browder said every prospective Karndean product is put through the rigors of testing to ensure it performs to the company’s high-quality standards. “Korlok is composed of layers of premium performance, from our waterproof K-Core, to the 5G locking mechanism, to our K-Guard+ surface protection. Nowhere else will you find a rigid core product with the quality designs and performance.”

The collection offers 12 colors from woods sourced across North America and Europe, including Texas ash and butternut, which is hand selected from the East Coast to the cross-sawn grays of reclaimed French oak. Korlok is finished with Karndean’s K-Guard+ surface protection, which provides a hygienic, durable surface that is easy to clean, according to Browder. Korlok also carries a lifetime residential warranty and 15-year commercial warranty.

A complete package
Korlok is the latest entry in Karndean’s total flooring solutions package, which encompasses gluedown, loose lay and rigid core formats. In the portfolio are six glue down ranges along with two floating floor solutions—Karndean LooseLay and Korlok—each of which solves a different problem, the company said.

With the addition of Korlok, Browder said Karndean has a format to fit any type of subfloor scenario, be it an imperfect or uneven subfloor or a concrete slab in areas with high humidity. “Regardless of the install method, consumers and retailers can rely on every product we developed. Our mission is to develop the truest, most authentic designs possible across all installation options, which is why we offer more than 200 products across our total flooring solutions.”

Browder encourages Karndean’s existing flooring dealers to round out their assortments by carrying Korlok. As of press time, Korlok displays have not yet reached the retail marketplace. In fact, only a handful of dealers have seen the product. One of them, Bob Caputo, owner of Carpetland USA of Dothan, in Dothan, Ala., was impressed. “We are very excited about Korlok—the visuals are great. Karndean does a great job with style and color. This product is designed to be installer friendly, which is always a plus. This will be a great product for us.”

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Karndean Designflooring gets a makeover

Newly revamped showroom and warehouse facility support customer, end-user needs.

October10/17, 2016: Volume 31, Number 9
By Lindsay Baillie

screen-shot-2016-10-03-at-5-14-08-pmExport, Pa.—Karndean Designflooring recently invited scores of its retailer, distributor and A&D customers to celebrate the official grand opening of its expanded headquarters and warehouse space here. The special event entailed a tour of the facilities along with installation demonstrations and new product previews.

According to Larry Browder, CEO, the new showroom and expanded warehouse facilities are central to Karndean’s strategy to support the needs of its growing U.S. customer base. “It’s allowing us to really solidify our commitment to the U.S. market, to carrying the type of inventory that we do and be able to service the market within [24 to 48 hours.] It solidifies even further our commitment to our employees here in the Pennsylvania area and as a key partner within the community.”

One of the most dramatic improvements is the increase in storage space. With the renovation, Karndean has tripled its warehouse space to 60,000 square feet. While the company has traditionally inventoried sufficient quantities of product, the additional space allows the company to stock even more volume. “We are absolutely adamant about putting stock on the shelves to make sure our customers never have to worry about getting product,” said Emil Mellow, vice president of marketing.

The benefits of the improvements don’t end there. The expansion has created new job opportunities within the company. Nearly 90 people now work at the Export, Pa., office, while Karndean employs nearly 200 workers nationwide. “We have more than doubled the size of our sales team in the past five years,” Browder said. In addition, the expansion and subsequent investment has given Karndean the capability to move production of sample boards and custom cutting from the U.K. to its U.S. headquarters. More importantly, the change brings everyone under one roof, which Browder said has been great for morale.

Karndean’s customers appreciate the company’s efforts. Bill Greene, owner of Affordable Interiors in Indiana, Pa., already features Karndean’s full display system in his store. But he also utilizes Karndean’s showroom when necessary. “We’re within an hour of the showroom and it allows our designers to come in and actually bring clients down here,” he explained.

Beyond the obvious aesthetic and functional improvements to the new showroom and warehouse space, Greene applauds Karndean’s new custom design platform: Kaleidoscope. The program includes six different modular shapes—apex, cubix, hexa, pennon, pyramid and tripoint—that allow customers to create custom chevron designs that are engineered to work together. “I’m really excited about Kaleidoscope because it’s something we can use to create different looks for our clients in commercial and residential.”

User-friendly design

screen-shot-2016-10-03-at-5-14-27-pmThe newly expanded showroom—which features a sample wall, design reference books and tables—gives consumers, retailers, architects and designers the tools and the space to help them bring their concepts to life. Here, customers can look up different designs and patterns and pair them with the many samples provided.

The showroom also features an area that displays the different ways the full array of Karndean products can be displayed within a retail environment. This section also highlights what Karndean calls a ‘Gold dealer’ or ‘Gold package,’ which includes three displays of products from the company’s entry-level 12 mil products all the way up to its 30 mil offerings. It also includes merchandisers that contain the company’s new LooseLay Longboard, which comes in 12 new designs measuring 59 inches long.

The displays include visuals ranging from basic to more advanced designs. Depending on what the customer wants, she can choose a basic straight lay, a diagonal lay or a combination of straight or diagonal with design strips and/or a decorative border. According to Karndean, the displays serve as a silent salesperson of sorts when the customer is browsing.

Positioned across from the Gold package offerings is Karndean’s Platinum dealer display, a traditional wing format that aims to create a destination, “a kind of a showroom within a showroom,” according to Browder. The main feature of this display is the design table, which includes every single SKU Karndean carries. The idea, Browder notes, is to direct the consumer or designer over to the table and start pulling out product and laying it out. Once the customer gets involved in creating her own floor, the sales representative is on her way to sealing the deal.

“This is what [the retailer] would have in her store; it’s a lot of real estate, but when you have a product that’s unique, that can add that type of value and profit proposition, this is what it takes,” Browder explained. “What we try to do here is show this in a way that speaks to Mrs. Jones. The whole idea is this ‘Simply beautiful floors for when life happens,’ which speaks directly to her, to what’s going on in her life every single day. Within that you see the waterproof, kid-friendly, pet-friendly, lifetime warranty and then [the words] ‘since 1973.’ That reinforces to her, even if it’s subliminally, this is a company that has been around for a while.”

The new expansion also includes a new customer service area manned by more than 10 representatives. This visible presence is in line with Karndean’s overall objective to fortify its customer service capabilities. As Mellow explained: “Five years ago, we started 8 a.m. to 8.p.m., in which we put customer service people out in Dallas and in Vegas. We have a rolling 8-to-8 schedule. Here in [Pittsburgh] it’s until 5 p.m., in [Dallas] until 6 p.m. and up to 8 p.m., in Vegas. When they process their orders they pick and pack, and out they go.”

The new showroom and expanded warehousing facilities are not just window dressing. Rather, Browder states, it’s about putting the focus on premium design, quality, service and availability. “Ultimately, its about being partners with our customers.”

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Karndean to participate in webinar about natural daylight

Karndean's warehouse space lit with daylight harvesting and controlled LEDs.
Karndean’s warehouse space lit with daylight harvesting and controlled LEDs.

Export, Pa.—Karndean Designflooring will participate in an upcoming webinar for architects and facility managers called, “Natural Interior Daylight: Decisions & Results.” The forum is sponsored by Acuity Brands and recounts the results of a Natural Interior Daylight (NID) Advocacy report by Eneref Institute, which studied Karndean’s environmental stewardship through the lighting systems installed in their newly expanded distribution facility.

Hosted by Gary Parr, editorial director of Commercial Architecture magazine, guest speakers include Bill Anderson, senior vice president of operations at Karndean; Seth Warren Rose, founding director of Eneref Institute; and Pete Shannin, vice president of daylighting product solutions at Acuity Brands. The webinar will be held at 2:00 p.m. (EDT) on Wed., June 22.

Through its NID initiative, Eneref Institute examined the lighting installed in Karndean’s newly expanded warehouse and production facility at their headquarters outside of Pittsburgh here. As part of Karndean’s U.S. headquarters expansion project, a well-lit warehouse space was created with daylight harvesting and controlled LEDs. Overall, the expansion doubled the size of Karndean’s headquarters, including warehouse, light production and office space. With the project, Karndean has created a model distribution center by bolstering its environmental stewardship and social responsibility.

Designed to provide facility owners with ideas to build earth-friendly facilities, Eneref Institute’s report encourages best-in-class sustainable solutions. Eneref Institute examined the Karndean facility as part of its initiative to promote a greater use of natural interior daylight, or daylighting.

“Karndean’s new facility is a demonstration of well-designed human-centric warehouse lighting,” Eneref’s Rose explained. “The company benefits from a reduced energy load and at the same time enjoys a significantly better working environment.”

Using a combination of IBL LED light fixtures, Sunoptics prismatic skylights, a GR 2400 control system and daylighting sensors, Karndean’s new facility provides significant energy and cost savings in addition to a welcoming atmosphere.

The Eneref Institute Report is accompanied by an illustrative two-minute video that further explains the benefits of the new holistic, human-centric lighting in Karndean’s facility. The video features employee testimonials and compelling visuals to supplement the report’s comprehensive findings.

“We looked for opportunities to leverage best practices within budget that are environmentally conscious and give our employees the best working environment to do their jobs,” Karndean’s Anderson said. “And we definitely made the right decision.”

To register for the webinar, visit bit.ly/28IZ2WU. To download the report and view the testimonial video, click here.