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MFA, SCS launch pilot flooring certification program

Calhoun, Ga.—The Multilayer Flooring Association (MFA) and SCS Global Services announced a pilot certification for new resilient flooring products in the multilayer format with rigid polymer cores. Focusing on performance and sustainability, and by bundling existing standards, the collaboration has created an all-encompassing platform for safety, quality, performance and sustainability for multilayer flooring.

The motivation for developing the certification resulted from the increasing flood of self-defined multilayer flooring products entering the U.S. marketplace. “The MFA needed a standard to promote the industry at large, providing both manufacturers and end users with an agreed-upon standard for multilayer rigid polymer core flooring,” said Harlan Stone, president of the MFA. “With urgency on our side and working hand in hand with our members and SCS, we achieved the format for certification in record time—one year from start to finish.”

MFA selected SCS—a leader in flooring and sustainability certifications which manages the FloorScore program for the RFCI—to develop this pilot and manage the program. SCS leveraged all synergies to launch and scale the MFA program and collaborated with its members to evaluate and approve independent testing labs to be utilized by manufacturers. “The goal was to develop a program that will communicate integrity, transparency and independence to commercial and residential end users while fostering universal integration of the multilayer flooring standard,” said Stanley Mathuram, P.E., vice president of SCS. “Independent validation from trusted third parties is crucial to its success.”

MFA looked to ASTM to develop the criteria for baseline product attributes. These include rigidity, surface wear layer, backing types and performance requirements. The new ASTM standard F3261-17, published December 2017, is the standard specification for resilient flooring in modular format with rigid polymeric core.

SCS will promote and list all products in its Green Products GuideORIGIN (just recognized by USGBC as an open source platform) and Mindful Materials.

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MFA finalizes category names

Calhoun, Ga.—Rigid core vinyl products have gained massive market reception over the past few years. Rapid growth, technological advancements and many new products in the market have contributed to significant retailer and consumer confusion. The Multilayer Flooring Association (MFA) was organized in 2016 to set performance and safety standards for this emerging category as well as clear up the confusion for the flooring industry.

After multiple meetings and considerable industry consultation, the MFA board of directors, with unanimous agreement, has aligned on two category names to describe rigid products in the multilayer vinyl flooring category. The categories are defined by the type of core in the product:

  • “WPC” products represent the class of rigid vinyl flooring products with an expanded or foamed polymer core.
  • “SPC” products refer to the class of rigid vinyl flooring products with a solid polymer core.

WPC and SPC products may still have significant differences within each category. For example, the type of surface, the formulation of the core, production methods and type of backing. The MFA is continuing to work on further definition and the establishment of ASTM standards for performance. Its goal is to enable continued trust for consumers, retailers and specifiers in this growing product category.

For more information, visit multilayerflooringassociation.com.

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MFA completes first annual general meeting

MFA_photoCalhoun, Ga.—The Multi-layer Flooring Association (MFA) welcomed new members at its first annual general assembly meeting in Dalton. The newly formed association gathered to define the innovative, robust category of multi-layer polymer composite flooring as well as discuss the need for industry standards regarding performance, terminology, safety and sustainability.

“The MFA meeting was extremely productive with very robust discussions highlighting the pressing need for clear standards and industry terminology for all to use in this fast growth category,” said Harlan Stone, MFA president. “It was hard to believe it was only our first annual general assembly.”

Peter Barretto, president and CEO of Torlys, an MFA member, also serves as MFA’s marketing committee chairman. During the general assembly meeting, he outlined several goals and objectives. Among them: 1.Have the first ASTM standard for WPC products established and in place by the end of the year; 2. Create identifiable category names for the new rigid core LVT sector; and 3. Expand MFA’s marketing committee to help communicate the aforementioned standards and agreed-upon names.

In addition, MFA announced plans to create a new sustainability committee to develop environmental standards for the category. Metroflor’s Rochelle Routman will serve as sustainability committee chair, while David Sheehan (Mannington), Troy Virgo (Shaw Industries) and Amy Costello (Armstrong Flooring) will serve as members on the committee.

The MFA, as an association, is developing very fast, which is needed in this fast-paced segment,” Barretto said. “This new association already represents the majority of the industry in terms of the top brands and sales volume. We expect the few remaining players will join shortly to make MFA the unequivocal voice of the new rigid polymer flooring category.”

The association comprises 15 of the most influential flooring suppliers, including: Armstrong, CFL, EarthWerks, IVC, Karndean, Mannington, Metroflor, Mohawk, MP Global, Novalis, Pak Lite, PLI, Shaw, Torlys and USFloors. Board members are as follows: Harlan Stone (president) Metroflor; Philippe Erramuzpe (vice president) USFloors; Jamey Brock (secretary) Armstrong; and Mark Hansen (treasurer) Novalis.

 

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MFA seeks to set the pace for WPC

New association created to establish standards for nascent composite core category

FCNews Ultimate Guide to WPC: July 17/24, 2017

 

Screen Shot 2017-07-31 at 9.55.36 AMThe laminate flooring industry has NALFA, while NWFA sets standards in wood manufacturing and installation. RFCI covers the resilient sector; carpet has CRI. So when it came time to launching an association that would begin setting standards for the WPC/composite core segment, several industry leaders took the lead in creating MFA—the Multilayer Flooring Association.

Officially launched in February by seven founding companies—Armstrong Flooring, CFL, Mannington, Metroflor, Novalis, Torly’s and USFloors—MFA has grown to include Karndean, Mohawk and Shaw, as well as three associate members: MP Global, Pak-Lite and SELIT, N.A. Peter Barretto, president and CEO of Torlys, serves as marketing chairperson of MFA. Joining Baretto on the board is MFA president Harlan Stone, CEO of Halstead International/Metroflor Corp.; Barron Frith (CFL) as vice president; Mark Hansen (Novalis Innovative Flooring) as treasurer; Jamey Block (Armstrong Flooring), secretary; Philippe Erramuzpe (USFloors), membership chairperson; and Jimmy Tuley (Mannington), serving as member at large.

Barretto cited the impetus for the founding of the association, noting the rapid rise in popularity of polymer composite rigid core floor products, first introduced in 2012, and the lack of existing standards. This situation, he said, presented an opportunity for a new association to rise and fill a void in the market by creating a stronger and better controlled flooring segment for the benefit of retailers and consumers. This is particularly critical with relatively new categories such as WPC—a segment in which products are not always constructed the same way or use the same materials.

MFA held a meeting during Surfaces 2017 to discuss the organization’s initial goals and objectives. Among the key topics discussed were category standards, membership and third-party certification. “This meeting was about getting new members, talking about the ASTM standards we are trying to create and the speed at which we want to do it,” Barretto told FCNews. “We already have a first draft of the standards to get that ball rolling.”

The initial standards Barretto referred to were created within the ASTM framework to first better define the multilayer flooring category for the benefit of retailers and customers. “It’s a new category; we don’t have the standards here that we have in other categories such as LVT, laminate and wood—all of which are established,” he explained. “It’s a hybrid category so we need to make sure we have a hybrid standard.”

Why the sense of urgency in developing a standard? Primarily to avoid confusion in the marketplace—a consequence of a new category that’s growing rapidly. For instance, WPC is viewed by many as a segment of luxury vinyl tile (LVT), the fastest growing product in the industry. However, there are differences in the construction of WPC vs. LVT. For instance, WPC is a composite material made of thermoplastics, calcium carbonate and wood flour. Extruded as a core material it is marketed as being waterproof, rigid and extremely dimensionally stable. (In the case of COREtec Plus, USFloors’ product, a veneer of luxury vinyl is layered on top of the coreboard and core underlayment is attached at the base for sound abatement and enhanced comfort underfoot.)

Second, the creation of uniform standards ensures products that fall under the WPC umbrella (including subsequent iterations of “WPC-type” floors) establishes a threshold in terms of product quality, construction, performance, etc. Novalis’ Hansen, for instance, said many WPC products in the market today would not pass the basic ASTM F 1700 test, which is the specification used for solid vinyl flooring. ASTM F 1700 classifies solid vinyl tile in three categories: Class I Monolithic, which means through color tile with no backing; Class II Surface Decorated, which usually means an “inlaid” type tile with a backing; and Class III, Printed Film Vinyl Tile, which is a photographic print film with a clear vinyl wear layer and a backing system.

“WPC is really a new product and concept, and we need to have proper specifications for this product so the retailer and ultimately the consumer can better understand the product,” Hansen explained. “We need to put the proper information in consumers’ hands so they can make an informed decision about what they are purchasing.”

MFA is quickly—albeit carefully and methodically—making progress in those areas. The association, based in Calhoun, Ga., recently wrapped up its first official “general meeting,” where members provided an update on the group’s initiatives over the past six months. (FCNews will share details of that meeting in the weeks to come.)

After the initial standards have been finalized and published, MFA will explore different types of certifications for association members. “We are looking at creating performance and safety standards for the product with third-party certification,” Barretto explained, adding these standards will be categorized according to residential and commercial specifications.

As the composite core flooring category evolves, MFA seeks to keep in lockstep with its development. “The association is moving at the same speed as the subcategory itself,” Barretto stated. “It has come from nothing to over half a billion dollars in four years.”

 

MFA membership has its privileges
The newly formed Multilayer Flooring Association (MFA) is seeking to build on its membership ranks. To encourage participation, the group has established two membership tiers: “regular” and “associate.”

According to Philippe Erramuzpe, membership chair, regular membership shall consist of any non-consumer facing manufacturer or manufacturer with an OEM that sells or distributes multilayer modular flooring. All members shall maintain a significant operational presence in North America. Note: Regular members have voting privileges, and its appointees may hold office.

Associate membership shall consist of members who are affiliates of or provide ancillary services or products to multi-layer flooring with polymer composite core. Associate members shall not have voting privileges.

For membership inquiries, contact Philippe Erramuzpe at philippe@usfloorsllc.com. Additional information is also available online at multilayer flooringassociation.com.

 

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FCLC taps Blochinger as chairman, welcomes new member

Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 12.05.03 PMChicago—The Floor Covering Leadership Council (FCLC) added Robert Blochinger, president of the National Institute of Certified Floorcovering Inspectors, as its new chair starting immediately. Blochinger will help lead FCLC through a strategic planning process this year designed to develop an industry-wide plan for tackling the shortage of qualified installers in the industry.

Blochinger is the owner of Blochinger & Co., based in Boca Raton, Fla., where he has worked as a certified flooring inspector since 1990. He has been a flooring contractor for 35 years and is also a forensic investigator of flooring failure, consultant, expert witness and training instructor in addition to supporting a variety of industry organizations and initiatives.

FCLC also welcomes the Multilayer Flooring Association (MFA) as its newest association member. Based in St. Calhoun, Ga., this newly formed industry trade association has a mission to establish standards to insure the performance and safety of polymer composite core products for indoor residential and commercial environments, as well as monitor compliance of its members’ products through third party certification of these standards. In addition, the MFA will actively promote sustainability throughout both the life cycle of the product and the supply chain.

FCLC’s next meeting will be held in August during the Certified Floorcovering Installers Convention & Expo in Orlando, Fla.

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MFA outlines near-term goals, objectives

February 13/20, 2017: Volume 31, Number 18

By Lindsay Baillie

Screen Shot 2017-02-20 at 3.38.27 PMLas Vegas—The newly formed Multilayer Flooring Association (MFA) held a meeting during Surfaces 2017 to discuss the organization’s initial goals and objectives. Among the key topics discussed were category standards, membership and third-party certification.

“[This meeting] was about getting new members, talking about the ASTM standards we are trying to create and the speed at which we want to do it,” said Peter Barretto, MFA marketing chairperson and president and CEO of Torlys, one of the group’s founding members. “We already have a first draft [of the standards] to get that ball rolling. By May we want to have the next round of meetings.”

The standards Barretto is referring to will be created within the ASTM framework to better define the multilayer flooring category for the benefit of retailers and customers. “It’s a new category; we don’t have the standards here that we have in other categories such as LVT, laminate and wood—all of which are established,” he explained. “It’s a hybrid category so we need to make sure we have a hybrid standard.”

After creating standards, the MFA will look into different types of certifications for association members. “We are looking at creating performance and safety standards for the product with third-party certification,” Barretto explained, adding these standards will be categorized according to residential and commercial specifications.

Barretto believes the MFA has to continue developing to keep up with the ever-evolving subcategory. “The association is moving at the same speed as the subcategory itself. It has come from nothing to over half a billion dollars in four years.”

Thankfully, the association already has dedicated members who are willing to work hard to achieve the primary objectives. “We’ve got a group of people who are all rolling up their sleeves and just doing it,” Barretto said, noting each original member provided a number around $25,000 for membership fees.
The next meeting is scheduled to take place in the second quarter. Anyone interested in membership should contact Philippe Erramuzpe, membership chair, at philippe@usfloorsllc.com.

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New group formed to develop WPC standards

By Ken Ryan

screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-2-13-32-pmSeven North American flooring companies have come together to form the Multilayer Flooring Association (MFA), with the goal of creating standards for the burgeoning WPC segment. The founding companies are: Metroflor, Armstrong Flooring, USFloors, Torlys, Novalis, Mannington and CFL.

Polymer composite rigid-core floor products, introduced in 2012, have seen robust growth. Heretofore, there are no set standards in place to define the category. The association’s objective is to enable a stronger and better controlled flooring segment for the benefit of retailers and consumers.

Peter Barretto, president and CEO of Torlys, who is serving as marketing chairperson of MFA, told FCNews, “For now, we are still organizing details for MFA. The intention is to follow it up prior to Surfaces with added information.”

Joining Baretto on the board is Harlan Stone of Halstead International/Metroflor Corp., president; Barron Frith, CFL, vice president; Mark Hansen, Novalis Innovative Flooring, treasurer; Jamey Block, Armstrong Flooring, secretary; Philippe Erramuzpe, USFloors, membership chairperson; and Jimmy Tuley, Mannington Mills, member at large.

Hansen, vice president of North American operations for Novalis, said the group is looking to attract new manufacturer members. “We are reaching out now to people to see if there is interest,” he said. The MFA’s next meeting is scheduled for Surfaces week (time and date to be determined).

WPC is viewed by many as a segment of luxury vinyl tile (LVT), the fastest growing product in the industry. However, there are differences in the construction of WPC vs. LVT. For instance, WPC is a composite material made of thermoplastics, calcium carbonate and wood flour. Extruded as a core material it is marketed as being waterproof, rigid and extremely dimensionally stable. In the case of COREtec Plus, USFloors’ product, a veneer of luxury vinyl is layered on top of the coreboard and core underlayment is attached at the base for sound abatement and enhanced comfort underfoot. Not all WPC products are constructed the same way, thus the desire for standards.

Hansen said many WPC products in the market today would not pass an ASTM F 1700 test, which is the specification used for solid vinyl floor. ASTM F 1700 classifies solid vinyl tile in three categories: Class I Monolithic, which means through color tile with no backing; Class II Surface Decorated, which usually means an “inlaid” type tile with a backing; and Class III, Printed Film Vinyl Tile, which is a photographic print film with a clear vinyl wearlayer and a backing system.

“WPC is really a new product and concept, and we need to have proper specifications for this product so the retailer and ultimately the consumer can better understand the product,” Hansen said. “We need to put the proper information in consumers’ hands so they can make an informed decision about what they are purchasing.”

The MFA will be headquartered in Calhoun. Its website (multilayerflooringassociation.com) is still under development. Membership will consist of both regular members and associate members. For membership inquiries, contact Philippe Erramuzpe at philippe@usfloorsllc.com.

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New industry association formed for multilayer flooring

Calhoun, Ga.—The Multilayer Flooring Association (MFA) was recently formed by seven of North America’s leading flooring companies to serve the North American flooring industry. The seven companies involved are: Armstrong Flooring, CFL, Mannington, Metroflor Corp., Novalis Innovative Floors, TORLYS and USFloors.

Introduced in 2012, polymer composite rigid-core floor products have seen explosive growth across the flooring industry. Consumers, purchasers and specifiers expect a discernible set of standards for this new category; and because these new multilayer floors do not properly fit into existing resilient or laminate standards, there is a need for a new industry association to define the quality and performance standards to sustain its future. The goal of the association is to enable a stronger and better controlled hybrid flooring category for the benefit of all stakeholders.

The initially elected board of directors will consist of:

  • Harlan Stone, Halstead International/Metroflor Corp., president
  • Barron Frith, CFL, vice president
  • Mark Hansen, Novalis Innovative Floors, treasurer
  • Jamey Block, Armstrong Flooring Inc., secretary
  • Philippe Erramuzpe, USFloors, membership chairperson
  • Peter Barretto, TORLYS Inc., marketing chairperson
  • Jimmy Tuley, Mannington Mills Inc., member at large

The next MFA meeting will be held at Surfaces 2017 in Las Vegas. Membership will consist of both regular members and associate members.

For membership enquiries, please email Philippe Erramuzpe at philippe@usfloorsllc.com

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