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CLL: Linoleum flooring installers can pour

Corques Liquid Lino system makes North American debut

October 23/30, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 10

By Reginald Tucker

 

Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 2.08.43 PMDallas—It pours like creamy buttermilk pancake batter, but dries like solid linoleum.

That’s how several people who were on hand here earlier this month to witness the first U.S. demonstration of Duracryl’s Corques Liquid Lino (CLL) describe how it goes down on the job site. Already in widespread use in Europe—particularly the Netherlands—CLL is billed as the first ever applied liquid linoleum floor covering product for North America.

How it works: CLL is applied as a seamless, wall-to-wall, self-levelling liquid mixed with a biopolymer binder and is rolled on the substrate. When fully dried, the product cures to a total thickness of about 2–2.5 mil. Designed for both residential and commercial applications, CLL—which is packaged in buckets—is manufactured from a combination of natural products including resins, linseed oil, wood, cork flour, limestone and natural pigments. CLL is essentially a mixture of the same ingredients as linoleum, but it has different characteristics than the traditional product.

Extremely durable, chemical resistant and elastic, CLL is suitable for use in many different applications including schools, hospitals, retail outlets, offices, museums, homes and apartments. According to Duracryl, the product is particularly suited to high-traffic areas where a hygienic, seamless floor covering with a natural look and feel is required.

“This is a great alternative to sheet products,” Jeroen van den Berg, Duracryl’s managing director, told about 40 distributors, retailers, architects and designers who were on hand for the first-ever U.S. demonstration. “We started with the first liquid-applied flooring in the 1950s, and with the knowledge we gained over the decades we saw this as a direct path to develop liquid-applied systems.”

CLL is far from an untested product. Duracryl reports CLL has been installed in the Netherlands for nearly 10 years in high-traffic installations such as hospitals, hotels, educational facilities and retail applications. Given that track record and the product’s documented performance in Europe, the company’s marketing partners are confident CLL will quickly gain traction in the U.S.

Dallas-based InstaFloor, which has formed a strategic alliance with Duracryl to facilitate CLL’s entry into the U.S. market, is a believer. “Some of what you’re hearing and seeing here today may be too good to be true,” Bas van Genderen, managing director of InstaFloor, told attendees during the dazzling product demonstration. “We’ve heard that before when we introduced our InstaLay underlayment line, and that product also proved to live up to high expectations.”

Duracryl and InstaFloor are not at all shy about the product’s claims. From an installation standpoint, they claim CLL offers several advantages over traditional sheet goods. Compared to rolled linoleum, for example, Duracryl claims there is a 50% reduction in installation time. In addition, there are no seams so there is no welding or welding materials required on the job site, thereby saving cost and installation time. And once the product fully cures, a special surface wearlayer, Protecshield, can be applied via roller to provide additional protection.

“Traditional linoleum, which is delivered in fixed rolls or tiles, is expensive to transport and heavy for the installer to carry,” van den Berg explained. “It’s just not ideal for transport. The sheet has to be cut, glued, welded, etc. With our product, there are no seams.”

Other key attributes of CLL: There is no cutting loss, no pattern direction instructions required for installation and no need for pre-application of adhesives, as the product is self-adhering. More importantly, the product is suitable for installation over existing resilient, tile and even some hardwood floors, provided the proper subfloor preparation steps are followed. And when combined with InstaFloor’s InstaLay underlayment, the result is a durable floor that’s both quiet and comfortable underfoot. CLL also scores high marks on the environmental front. According to Duracryl, it produces no VOCs and is formaldehyde free, making it one of the most environmentally friendly and hygienic floor covering products available on the market today.

CLL picture school

Seeing is believing
Many of the distributors, retailers and designers in attendance were impressed with the CLL demonstration. “It’s not every day that a product like this comes along,” said Paul Clark, territory manager with Jaeckle Wholesale. “CLL offers several installation advantages. You really don’t need someone skilled at welding seams to do this. We see a lot of potential for this in the commercial market. It’s very exciting.”

Candee Smith, account manager with Dallas Corp. Flooring, an architectural firm, agreed. “I’ve been in the business since 1976, and I haven’t seen anything like [CLL]. Our clients want custom products, not something from a spec book. I think they will be excited about it. And when designers are excited, the product is going to move.”

Pamela Bolton, president and CEO of Creative Flooring Solutions, Addison, Texas, is another believer. She sees the product being used in retail, hospitality and senior care facilities. “It’s such a beautiful floor. It’s impervious to all chemicals in medical arenas, slip resistant and sustainable. It’s an amazing product, and we’re very excited to have it on the market in the U.S.”

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My take: The next big thing is more than a century old

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

By Steven Feldman

 

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 3.46.11 PMEveryone is always seeking “the next big thing.” It’s the way of the world. In the mid-’90s it was laminate. Years later it was Konecto and click LVT. Then came the soft carpet craze. More recently it was USFloors and WPC. These days everyone is trying to build a better WPC mousetrap, whether that means rigid core or some other take on the innovation.

But the next big thing may actually be an old thing—150 years old to be exact. That’s when Forbo introduced the world to an innovative product called linoleum, and today the company, which basically owns the U.S. healthcare and education segments with the product, is refocusing on the residential side for a number of solid reasons.

OK. I already know what you’re thinking. I’m insane. Possibly, but not in this case. You’re thinking linoleum has a bad connotation. People associate it with those outdated, inexpensive floors that hearken back to the days of sitting around your grandmother’s kitchen table. Yes, the word is lost in American vocabulary. Yes, the average flooring dealer defines linoleum as cheap vinyl with a felt or asphalt back. But I’m going to share with you a little secret that Denis Darragh, Forbo’s general manager of North America, told me recently: If someone invented linoleum today, people would think it’s one of the coolest products ever made. But because it was created 150 years ago, that is not the case. There are no plasticizers. It has been phthalate free for 150 years.

Many of the top retailers in the country are having success selling linoleum in 2017. These include members of the National Floorcovering Alliance. The secret: training retail sales associates on the benefits—and unique attributes—of linoleum and conveying those qualities to the consumer. Done successfully, this is a viable product with which store owners can make a healthy margin.

Most people understand linoleum as a sustainable product. And that has been a driver on the commercial side. But the question you need answered is, how does linoleum bring value residentially?

Forbo, which markets its linoleum as Marmoleum due to the aforementioned connotation, has a clear understanding of why consumers are buying, the result of extensive consumer research. The two main selling points:

  1. Color and design. If I walked into your showroom I would find a litany of gray and beige. Linoleum offers a whole lot more.
  2. Health. Linoleum is arguably the healthiest floor you can install, especially as it relates to children with allergies.

So what’s the problem? In a word, education. Tim Donohue, who heads up residential sales for Forbo, told me the key is helping dealers understand the difference between linoleum and LVT. Many people think they are interchangeable. But because retail salespeople don’t understand the differences, they have a hard time taking customers to a Marmoleum display; rather, they take that consumer to LVT because it is the path of least resistance.

So educating all of you will be a focus for Forbo this year. You will learn of linoleum’s durability; even commercially there is a 30-year wear warranty. Because, just like concrete, the product becomes more durable over time.

You will learn the many issues linoleum can solve for the consumer with respiratory issues or with small children who want to avoid some of the possible dangers with other types of products.

At the end of the day, it is the lack of knowledge that drives people away from linoleum. As Darragh said, “We know every sale we get is because the consumer wants it.”

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Spartan Surfaces enters distribution agreement with Tarkett

spartan-surfaces-exteriorBel Air, Md.—Spartan Surfaces has entered into a distribution agreement with Tarkett in its Mid-Atlantic footprint. Starting Jan. 1, 2017, Spartan Surfaces will be a distributor of the Tarkett commercial focused brands including the Tarkett Collection (homogeneous, heterogeneous, LVT and linoleum flooring), Johnsonite (rubber flooring, stairwell systems, wall base and accessories) and the Azrock Collection (VCT, VET and SVT). Spartan Surfaces will distribute these Tarkett brands in southern New Jersey, central and eastern Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and Northern Virginia including Washington DC.

“We are excited to be associated with an innovative and design focused flooring manufacturer that provides impactful solutions for our architectural and design focused clients,” said Kevin Jablon, owner of Spartan Surfaces.

Spartan Surfaces will be carrying significant inventory of each of Tarkett’s brands at its headquarters and main warehouse in Bel Air, Md. “The Tarkett family of products provides the perfect complement to our Spartan product portfolio that includes design oriented product solutions and dependable flooring supply products, which will lead to a very successful business relationship for 2017 and beyond,” Jablon said.

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Resilient’s green message keeps growing

by Matthew Spieler

While the carpet industry gets the bulk of the headlines when it comes to environmental stories, it doesn’t mean the rest of the flooring industry is standing by and watching. The resilient category, for instance, has plenty to offer in the way of eco-friendly programs, from incorporating various types of post-consumer materials into products to using alternative energy sources to power factories, the industry is leading by example and architects and designers in general are taking notice. Continue reading Resilient’s green message keeps growing

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Armstrong's linoleum line now NSF/ANSI 332 Gold level certified

Armstrong Commercial Flooring, manufacture of floor products with a focus on innovation, design and environmental sustainability, has been awarded NSF/ASNI 332 Gold Level certification for its Linoleum product line from NSF International, an independent, not-for-profit organization that provides standards development, product certification, auditing, education and risk management for public health and the environment. Continue reading Armstrong's linoleum line now NSF/ANSI 332 Gold level certified