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Made in the USA: The advantages of domestic manufacturing

Volume 27/Number 26; April 28/May 5, 2014

By Ken Ryan

Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 3.18.57 PMWhen Mannington holds its next shareholders meeting—a gathering of 25 key executives—it will not be held in its hometown of Salem, N.J., or New York or Las Vegas, or some swanky venue. Rather, it will be held in Madison, Ga., home to the company’s new commercial LVT facility.

The choice is synonymous with the company’s Made in the USA message: Madison was built from the ground up, and the click installation system that will be made there represents a first for a U.S. flooring company. Continue reading Made in the USA: The advantages of domestic manufacturing

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MP Global launches LuxWalk underlayment

Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 9.21.18 AMNorfolk, Neb. — MP Global Products has introduced LuxWalk, a new underlayment engineered specifically for underneath floating or glue-down luxury vinyl flooring.

According to the company, LuxWalk provides full subfloor coverage and effectively soothes impact sound and floor to ceiling noise.

At 25/1000” thickness and featuring a engineered heavy duty design, LuxWalk adds cushioning under LVF and is sturdy enough to smooth out minor imperfections in the subfloor without perceptibly raising the finished floor height. It also retards movement of LVF installed over it, helping reduce abrasion of the underside of the LVF and minimizing impressions and indentations that can occur in the finished floor, the company said.

Made from polyethylene film that incorporates blended recycled polyester fiber (derived from soda bottles diverted from landfill) with hot-melt adhesive, LuxWalk, with 31% post-consumer recycled content, is LEED compliant.

Made from polyethylene film that incorporates blended recycled polyester fiber (derived from soda bottles diverted from landfill) with hot-melt adhesive, LuxWalk, with 31 percent post-consumer recycled content, is LEED compliant and will contribute to MRc 4.1-4.2 credits.

LuxWalk’s excellent sound test results provide irrefutable documentation that can be shared with building inspectors at commercial or multi-family housing projects who are evaluating sound suppression, whether or not the manufacturer of the LVF has, independently, tested for sound reduction.

LuxWalk also improves the way LVF handles potential harmful moisture, carrying an excellent Water Vapor Transmission Rate of 0.273 grams per 100 sq. inches per day.

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Promoting the value of underlayment

Volume 27/Number 21; March 3/10, 2014

By Louis Iannaco

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 11.16.50 AMThe industry has been promoting warranties for hard surface flooring products for what seems like forever. Warranties are a major selling point and a way of letting potential customers know the manufacturer stands behind its product. In-store, warranties are usually featured in POP signage and are always top of mind with savvy retail associates.

With that said, shouldn’t the same methods of warranty promotion be applied to what lies underneath flooring? When it comes to underlayment, what are the most effective ways for potential buyers to learn about its benefits? What attributes should be prominently supported? Continue reading Promoting the value of underlayment

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Resilient: Cutting-edge products ignite 2014's trending category

Feb. 17/24 2014, Volume 27/number 21

By Jenna Lippin

(Second of two parts)

Resilient products had a major presence across the expanse of the two Surfaces halls. Some come from familiar names, while others are new to the category, seeking to capitalize on this segment’s ever-increasing popularity. And, thanks to advanced technology, products within the category mimic natural visuals, adding to resilient’s appeal. Introductions from the larger resilient suppliers appeared in the Feb. 3/10 issue of FCNews; the remainder follows.

Happy Feet

Celebrating its first anniversary and second Surfaces appearance, Happy Feet is building its brand on customer service and extensive, readily available inventory, according to Casey Johnson, president.Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 3.46.16 PM

The Iron Man collection features a 3mm dryback product with an antimicrobial, anti-slip, anti-scratch polyurethane finish. And, with six new colors and a beveled edge, Johnson believes Iron Man is the “best value in the marketplace for commercial use with its 15-year warranty.”

With the LVT Stone line, Happy Feet has added three colors in a 12 x 24 click tile. “We’re trying to emulate the stone look, but the nice thing about LVT Stone is the labor is a third of the price [of the real thing],” Johnson explained. “Plus, you can take it up without a challenge.”

Home Legend

The main LVT attraction at the Home Legends space was Nú Elements, a luxury vinyl line of tiles and planks that has been enhanced with 12 new colorways streamlined from its original 20 visuals. “The original line did well, but there were a few [designs] that weren’t such good sellers,” explained Tiffany Davis, marketing brand and product manager. “We’re hearing from retailers that gray—especially lighter grays— are big sellers.”

Along with the patented floating click-lock technology installation system, each design includes a 20 mil wearlayer, which means they can all be used in commercial applications. Nú Elements has a 25-year residential warranty, 10-year light commercial and 5-year standard commercial.

“This collection is ready to ship,” Davis added. “Retailers have already gotten samples, and we’ve taken some orders at the show. We’ve gotten good feedback with our new products.”

MP Global Products

While MP Global is known primarily for its underlayment, the company was alaso showcasing its Luxury Vinyl Flooring (LVF) collection along with its Perfectly Warm Floating Floor Heat.

Launched in early 2013, LVF is available in plank (wood) and stone visuals, both in 2mm, 3mm, 4.2mm and 5mm thicknesses. Planks come in a variety of wood looks, all measuring 6 x 36. The 2mm and 3mm options are gluedown, while 4.2mm and 5mm feature locking technology. Each plank includes five layers: a balanced backer, recyclable core, decorative design, wearlayer and UV coating. The 4.2mm and 5mm options include a reinforced fiberglass sheet for dimensional stability.

Stone visuals are 2mm and 3mm thick; the 12 x 12 tiles feature dryback installation, while 4.2mm and 5mm are 12 x 24, feature locking technology and a fiberglass layer. All selections include a 12 mil wearlayer except the 5mm, which offers a 20 mil wearlayer. Matching moldings for MP Global’s LVF are available for 4.2mm and 5mm constructions.

Also highlighted at Surfaces was Perfectly Warm Floating Floor Heat. The thin, flexible radiant heating product warms floating floors with low energy consumption. With an easy three-step process, Perfectly Warm is an appropriate choice for floating laminate and floating wood floors, engineered and solid wood floors, SnapStone, ceramic tile, porcelain tile, cork and bamboo. It cannot be installed under carpet, vinyl, or glued or nailed hardwood floors.

Raskin Industries

The success of Raskin’s Elevations Floors, released in 2011, has led the company to take the wraps off Loft by Elevations, a new LVT with loose lay technology and Gravity Grip non-skid backing. The line includes 6 x 48 planks and 18 x 18 tiles.

“Distributors have been asking for a product like Loft,” said John Hunter, national sales manager. “They’ve all enthusiastically committed to the product once they saw it. The benefit to them is it captures more residential consumers, where Elevations has had a strong penetration in the commercial markets.”Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 3.49.44 PM

Loft features several installation options, including grouted, edge-to-edge, gluedown or loose lay. “The consumer has options from one retail store display,” Hunter added. “Loft is priced competitively so that it hits the magic price points for distributors to sell.”

Another Surfaces highlight for the company was Loom Plus, a woven vinyl product with Raskin’s Gravity Grip system. “It’s the same size as Elevations, so you can mix it,” Hunter said. “This is a product everyone has been gravitating toward. One dealer from the Pacific Northwest said he came specifically to the show to look for woven vinyl.” Loom will be ready to ship in the second or third quarter of 2014.

Välinge

The Sweden-based company continues to gain popularity thanks to its numerous licensing agreements and product innovations. At Surfaces, Välinge highlighted its locking systems for resilient floors.

“[Resilient products] are very sensitive to temperature, and LVT is especially sensitive to light or heat,” explained Laetitia Kimbland, key account and product manager. The company’s 2G and 5G locking systems “give very good strength horizontally, so you don’t get ugly openings or any height differences.”

Also helping the company earn recognition is its ACTiO2 technology for hard surface floors, more notably used by Lauzon in its Pure Genius “smart” hardwood floor.

ACTiO2 is a compound containing titanium dioxide, that, when activated by light, helps break down organic substances including VOCs and bacteria, thus creating a better indoor environment.

“People buy flooring for aesthetic reasons, but a surface should also be selected for functional reasons, like creating a better indoor environment,” Kimbland said. “ACTiO2 has been used on ceramic tiles and outside applications for a while, but now we want to bring it indoors. We are licensing this technology to help people start utilizing it.”

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MP Global debuts QuietWarmth Film

MP Global.Floating Floor 2.QuietWarmth.Film
MP Global’s newest product, QuietWarmth Film is designed specifically for floating wood and laminate floors.

Norfolk, Neb.—MP Global Products introduces QuietWarmth Film, a gentle radiant heat system designed specifically for floating wood and laminate floors that installs easily over a subfloor or acoustic underlayment. The roll-out line voltage system features gradual supplemental warmth from low wattage resistance heating of ultra-thin, flexible radiant heat film, using just 6 watts per square foot to accomplish the same outcome as wire products that expend 12 watts per square foot, conforming to warranty requirements of many floating floors. Continue reading MP Global debuts QuietWarmth Film

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Comfort priority for cushion, underlayment manufacturers

September 2/9 2013; Volume 27/number 10

By Louis Iannaco

Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 4.57.16 PMToday’s underlayment and cushion manufacturers are currently focused more than ever on comfort. Whether it’s cushion for broadloom or underlayment for hard surface flooring, mills are producing quality product using state-of-the-art technology with end users’ comfort being top of mind. Continue reading Comfort priority for cushion, underlayment manufacturers

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MP Global's QuietWalk passes golf ball test

MPglobalproducts.logoNorfolk, Neb.—An MP Global Products customer (a homeowner) recently used the golf ball test to evaluate the reduction of sound transmission capability of two different acoustic underlayments—one of which was QuietWalk—under a new floating wood floor to be installed over a wood subfloor. Continue reading MP Global's QuietWalk passes golf ball test

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Quality control: Key advantage to local mill production

Volume 26/Number 25; April 29/May 6, 2013

By Matthew Spieler

With production in Barnwell, S.C., Kronotex is able to check for quality control, something extremely important for producing goods under the Formica brand.

Dalton—Mohawk is hitting the road this year and taking its SmartStrand with DuPont Sorona with it. The mill will continue to prove SmartStrand’s performance attributes in the coast-to-coast “License to Spill” carpet showdown tour in partnership with the nationally syndicated lifestyle television show, “The Better Show.”

The tour, which will make at least 12 stops, will showcase the cleanability and performance of SmartStrand at festivals and home show events. Attendees are invited to spill everything from ketchup and Kool-Aid to wine and coffee on SmartStrand carpet to see if it will clean with just water or mild detergent. Mohawk will promote its local Floorscapes and ColorCenter members at each tour stop and encourage consumers to visit their nearest aligned retailers to take advantage of promotional offers. Continue reading Quality control: Key advantage to local mill production

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Industry starting to tout Made in the USA message

Volume 26/Number 25; April 29/May 6, 2013

By Matthew Spieler

Marketing Made in the USA has become an important component to manufactuers’ promotional activities.

Style, performance and price are still the main drivers of consumer purchases, but as more Americans express a desire for domestically produced goods it is becoming increasingly important for companies that make their products in the U.S to market that fact.

Flooring is no different, and the industry is starting to take that message to heart with more companies making Made in the USA part of their marketing initiatives.

“Does the industry as a whole do a good job promoting Made in America? asked George Kelley, president and CEO of Kronotex, maker of Formica branded laminate floors. “No. Our job is to market this more aggressively. The Formica brand is celebrating 100 years of U.S. roots; we have to get the distribution and retail community excited and proud to emphasize Made in America as a positive when working with their customers. We strongly believe consumers are looking for reasons to buy American-made products.” Continue reading Industry starting to tout Made in the USA message

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Made in the USA: Domestic doesn’t have to mean more expensive

Volume 26/Number 25; April 29/May 6, 2013

By Matthew Spieler

For companies like Armstrong, which has 14 U.S.-based factories, local production provides numerous cost benefits, such as greater speed to market.

One of the main reasons companies have cited for exiting the U.S. in favor of making or sourcing their products internationally is price, namely the cost of labor and regulations, which they say hamper their ability to effectively compete with products coming from countries that do not put a value on either.

While this is something with which it is hard to argue, many flooring companies point out the cost differential is not as steep as most think, allowing them to offer products and services equal to or better than those that are imported. Continue reading Made in the USA: Domestic doesn’t have to mean more expensive