By Ken Ryan
Quick-Step, the Mohawk brand that made a name for itself first in laminate and later in hardwood through its Q-Wood collection, announced its entry into the crowded—albeit still-fast-growing—luxury vinyl flooring segment.
Quick-Step is in the process of launching 16 SKUs nationwide through specialty flooring stores in August and September. Quick-Step said it is combining “innovation with art” in creating what it calls “a new kind” of luxury vinyl flooring.
“Quick-Step is a well-established and highly respected brand name in the flooring industry,” said Roger Farabee, senior vice president of laminate and
hardwood products for Mohawk Laminate & Hardwood, North America. “Retailers know that the Quick-Step name symbolizes products offering cutting-edge innovations, the industry’s best designs, consistent quality, and excellent customer service/product availability—all at an attractive price.
Quick-Step said its new offerings would be “waterproof,” not “water resistant” like many other LVT products on the market. According to the company, in controlled lab testing, Quick-Step LVF products were submerged underwater for three weeks and had less than 0.5 grams water gain, whereas competitors’ products experienced 7 grams of water gain and noticeable warping under the same conditions.
The waterproof angle is just one marketing advantage Quick-Step is touting with its new luxury vinyl flooring introduction. Farabee said the company’s luxury vinyl flooring overcomes “the number one challenge experienced by other LFV floors on the market today,” namely susceptibility to temperature extremes that can cause some luxury vinyl floors to expand and contract in direct sunlight resulting in waving, curling and gapping.
Quick-Step’s luxury vinyl floors are said to resist heat and sunlight. “The dimensional stability designed into Quick-Step’s luxury vinyl floors keeps them stable up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit and as low as 32 degrees Fahrenheit, so Quick-Step floors won’t warp or gap like many other vinyl floors,” said Jurgen Goessens, product director of luxury vinyl flooring for Mohawk Laminate & Hardwood, North America. “Our floors are a great choice for homes with windows that allow constant sun exposure.”
Another critical advantage that Quick-Step is marketing is a so-called “flat” production process as opposed to a “rolled” process employed by some other manufacturers. Farabee asserted that Quick-Step’s flat production “does not break the proprietary fiberglass layer, resulting in a finished product that ‘wants to lay flat’ once installed, unlike competitor floors that ‘want to curl up’ on the edges.”
Quick-Step’s 16 SKU line features only in-house developed decors to ensure unique, proprietary designs, with no variation from product run to product run, and a low repeat pattern of 10 planks per design.
An industry executive who has seen the Quick-Step product believe the company will have success despite a plethora of entrants already entrenched in the market. “The category is certainly feeling some congestion with multiple players, but in a world of sameness, in which 20 people offer the same stuff, there is always room for someone like Quick-Step to be the innovator,” said Jeff Striegel, president of top 20 distributor Elias Wilf, which will carry the Quick-Step product.
Striegel said the Quick-Step foray into a packed field reminds him of the time Mannington entered a saturated laminate market and yet succeeded with truly innovative offerings.
He noted that Quick-Step is already a step ahead of many LVT players with its heat-tested product that can be installed in direct sunlight. “There is a difference to the Quick-Step product right out of the gate, and then you add the expertise they have on the bevel and that you can install horizontally, vertically, or on an angle, and you already have a recipe for success. You peel back this onion and you see layer upon layer of differentiation.”