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Latest cushion products promote performance enhancements

March 19/26, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 20

By Nicole Murray

As consumer flooring trends continue to lean toward hard surfaces—specifically LVT, WPC and SPC—underlayment manufacturers are innovating to stay ahead as well as provide dealers with upsell opportunities. During Surfaces earlier this year, a host of underlayment manufacturers exhibited their latest products made for all types of flooring.

Amorim showcased its underlayment for LVT and WPC applications. “We have tweaked what we are offering to now include other products for WPC constructions,” said Larry Lyons, director of sales and marketing. “For our hard surface underlayment program, we have a lightweight product that’s very specified and everyone is using it because it is easier for laying down WPC.”

Lyons explained the benefits to using the product. “On the LVT side, if you have a connection with a property management client, there is an education opportunity for a retailer. A lot of the property management clients want LVT but don’t know about the potential sound issues. We have tools for retailers to help educate the end user about why they need the underlayment.”

Floor Muffler is also riding the wave of LVT/WPC growth with its new Floor Muffler LVT underlayment. The product is 1mm thick and features acoustical and moisture barrier properties.

“Once we started seeing LVT grow popular in apartment buildings, there grew a need for sound reduction,” said Collen Gormley, national marketing coordinator, Floor Muffler. “LVT is growing in the industry; therefore, it is growing for us. The underlayments that are already attached to LVT products may be more convenient, but then you are not using the best quality product with the best ratings available.”

Pak-Lite showed its one-of-a-kind fan fold underlayment applications made specifically for the vinyl and laminate industry. One of its key selling points is its ease of installation. “It is one of the easiest products to install and we have heard that from flooring experts themselves,” said Kimberly Liemkeo, marketing manager. “It is a doable installation process for those who are not very experienced, and the process itself takes out imperfections that exist within the flooring.”

WE Cork highlighted underlayment made for various floors. New to Surfaces was the company’s Warm and Quiet Plus, a 6mm cork underlayment that offers sound control under carpeting, wood and laminates.

Being that it is made from cork, this underlayment is lighter than other products with similar thicknesses. It also has no off gassing and offers a new level of comfort, especially when applied underneath hardwood flooring.

“Cork consists of 200 million closed air cells per cubic inch,” said Ann Wicander, president. “When you walk on cork, it will take a bit more concussion and will be that much more comfortable. While rubber is being used for a lot of multifamily situations, cork overall has a better performance and is more affordable.”

MP Global’s new addition, Quiet Walk Plus, was promoted throughout the show as a “one-stop-shop” underlayment billed as an upgraded version of its original Quiet Walk. Quiet Walk Plus has greater acoustic performance, compression resistance, moisture protection and longevity due to its fiber composition. It can also be paired with more flooring categories and types of installation.

“Quiet Walk Plus becomes your Swiss army knife that can handle being nailed, floated or glued down,” said Deanna Summers, marketing manager, MP Global. “The material is dense enough to support vinyl planking or WPC products and will not crush over time like we have seen with foam underlayments.”

Among the higher-end releases was Laticrete’s new Strata heat floor warming line, designed to be used under tile flooring. It’s controlled by a thermostat that can be adjusted through a smart phone app.

“A wire is placed throughout a mat that goes underneath the tiles, so the material will heat much faster,” said Maria Oliviera, corporate marketing manager, Laticrete. “This technology is best designed for bathrooms or kitchens and offers yet another level to upsell because of its ease for installation during an already existing project.”

To provide dealers with upsell opportunities is DriTac’s new “all-in-one” Total Sound Reduction System, which includes the 8301 Impact underlayment made for resilient and 8302 Double Impact underlayment for wood and laminates. The package comes with a lifetime warranty, enhanced moisture control of up to 10 pounds calcium chloride and 95% relative humidity. All the products come from one supplier. 

“We are marrying our underlayments with our adhesives to offer an enhanced system package that we can get fully behind,” said John Lio, vice president of marketing, DriTac. “It avoids any finger pointing because we know this package inside and out. It gives us all the more reason to stand behind these products because we make it a point to only release premium-level options.”

Similar to a few manufacturers, Centaur Floor Systems not only manufactures a variety of finished products mainly for commercial interiors, but it also provides the underlayment that goes underneath the flooring. Case in point is its Sound Reducer line, which is engineered to provide exceptional impact sound insulation results, even under hard surface flooring for concrete or wood-framed construction.

Also available with a waterproof membrane, Sound Reducer can be installed under most types of grouted, glued and floating floors—including hard tile, hardwood, engineered wood, laminate, LVT and carpet. It’s available in 48-inch-wide rolls in a variety of both standard and custom thicknesses (vapor barrier option available upon request).

Some of Centaur Floor Systems’ products already include the underlayment as a pre-attached backing. This includes the company’s Triple Threat line, which consists of a vinyl wear layer with a 7mm-thick recycled rubber underlayment. According to the company, the product saves time and money because installers only need to put down one material. “We fusion bond the vinyl to the recycled rubber backing so only one material is getting installed as opposed to two different products being laid on top of one another,” said Garnet Sofillas, public relations and communications manager. “Underlayment is always suggested for vinyl, so you can glue down our Triple Threat product directly over the subfloor, saving an installation step.”

Triple Threat’s maximum potential, according to Centaur, is utilized when applying the product to areas designed for exercise and physical activity—gyms or basketball courts, for example. “The material is very forgiving on the hips and joints,” Sofillas added.

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MP Global event celebrates 20th anniversary

August 28/September 4: Volume 32, Issue 6

Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 12.03.29 PMNorfolk, Neb.—MP Global recently commemorated 20 years in the business by holding a special “employee appreciation” event to mark the milestone. The event included a golf outing, special recognition of longtime workers as well as food, fun and activities.

Beyond the fun-filled festivities, the event provided an opportunity to reflect on the company’s storied history. When Al Collison, founder and president of MP Global Products, inserted the key for the first time into the large vacant building that is now the headquarters, he stopped before pushing the door open and asked himself out loud, “Well, I wonder how this one will turn out?” Having just sold his shares to his cellulose insulation company he ran for many years, he felt there was more he could be a part of and build.

Fast forward 20 years, MP Global Products has stood the test of time, positioning itself as a leader in the underlayment industry. Starting out, MP Global made carpet padding, which Collison admits now that floating floor underlayments were the farthest product from his mind. “QuietWalk was discovered almost by accident,” he recalled. By his account, a former colleague said he was onto something with this thin, dense pad with a vapor barrier on it that could be installed under laminate, a product category that was soaring in popularity in the late ’90s. Once the new product was tested and developed further, it quickly became the underlayment many installers preferred under floating floors.

“What makes QuietWalk so different than other underlayment products out there is it’s made from 94% recycled textile content,” said Jack Boesch, MP Global’s marketing director. “We like to say we were green long before being green was popular.”

Because of the natural fiber makeup of the product in the patented manufacturing process, MP Global’s fiber-based underlayments inherently have zero off gassing and are third-party certified for clean indoor air quality, passing all California requirements for clean air.

Legacy of innovation
Since the early days, MP Global has evolved products into what flooring trends have demanded. The company recently launched QuietWalk Plus, which—unlike like its older sibling, QuietWalk—can be used under floating applications. QuietWalk Plus also offers one universal underlayment that can be floated, glued or nailed down. The secret is in the vapor barrier, which is engineered to accept glue or a mechanical fastener. “So many things have changed in recent years with flooring innovations, we realize we need to adjust to those changes as well,” Collison said.

Having many new innovative products to offer, MP Global is positioned to be the one-source underlayment provider for all dealers’ or distributor needs. “Because of our vast assortment of underlayments for virtually any type of flooring on the market, we can mix one truck with all the different products,” Boesch added.

More importantly, MP Global cited the teamwork employees exhibit day in and day out as its greatest asset in the last 20 years. “We are all in this together,” Collison said. “It is pretty special that we have enjoyed success, and it could not have happened without every member of our team.”


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Installation: Innovations serve up solutions

April 10/17, 2017: Volume 31, Issue 22

By Nicole Murray


Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 11.34.21 AMSuppliers of installation accessories, adhesives and subfloor prep materials are not only developing new products that aim to ease installation; they are also seeking to improve the performance and longevity of the various flooring surfaces they support.

Many of these installation products, which run the gamut from underlayments to self-leveling materials, are designed to address common installation challenges. Case in point is DriTac’s new Hybrid Palmer 51 system, an adhesive that can execute the same functionalities that would usually take multiple products to complete. The goal, according to the company, is to allow installers and contractors to minimize the inventory they must bring on various jobs while still being able to have a product that can outstandingly perform.

“Hybrid Palmer 51 acts as a five-in-one tool,” said Sean Pisani, marketing associate. “With this product you eliminate your ‘adhesive graveyard’ and ultimately save yourself money.”

Other new products were created to combat another issue that can ruin an installation: excess moisture. One such innovation is VentiLayer from MP Global Products. This new underlayment, according to Jack Boesch, marketing director, aims to attack the problem at the source. “Moisture, especially over concrete, has become a major problem. VentiLayer allows for air to flow underneath to dissipate any moisture coming from the cement. By simply covering up with laminate floors will formulate a prime spot for mold and mildew.”

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 11.34.27 AMIn that same vein, Future Foam introduced a new product called Prime Elegance, which has a double barrier designed to prevent moisture from the top and bottom. It also provides a comfortable cushion underfoot. “This product will sell itself because of its top performance,” said Jeff Katz, regional manager. “We are setting up retailers with the tool to sell it so all they need to tell their customer is, ‘Go for a walk.’”

Future Foam provides retailers with booklets to be used as a selling tool that unfolds and can be laid flat on the ground for customers to walk across. Retailers will be able to customize their booklet with their own personal good, better and best underlayment products that highlight Prime Elegance’s comfort on top of its functionality.

Not to be outdone, Schönox showcased its moisture mitigation system created to speed up the actual installation process and reduce the risk of moisture-related problems before the floor is even laid down. By ultimately reducing the amount of equipment and the number of steps for each job, the installing field can still be maintained by those who are less qualified.

“Our EPA and EPA Rapid products can allow for only a two-hour window to go by before being able to lay your floor,” said Karen Bellinger, business development manager, Schönox. “We also have 400 RH, which allows you to only have to put down one coat for the job to be done fast but well.”

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MP Global: 20 years old and still innovating

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

By Lindsay Baillie


Screen Shot 2017-02-20 at 3.48.37 PMDuring its first year of operation in 1997, MP Global—then known as Midwest Padding—employed 10 people. Today, the company has grown to about 145 employees and runs three shifts, 24 hours, seven days a week.

While MP Global had its start in carpet and futon padding, the company is most known for its wide range of underlayments. Interestingly, it used the same patented technology it developed 20 years ago to create the innovative range of floor covering padding products it offers today.

With the U.S. laminate industry boom, MP Global’s QuietWalk carpet padding evolved to become its primary underlayment brand. “I clearly remember the very first truckload of QuietWalk underlayment rolling away from our loading dock on its way to a well-known laminate flooring manufacturer,” said Jack Boesch, director of marketing, MP Global, recalling the beginning of the company’s shift into underlayments. “I remember the excitement and suggested popping open a bottle of champagne to celebrate such a large sale of our new product. Little did we know at the time QuietWalk would soon become our core product with multiple trucks of it shipping daily.”

QuietWalk contains 94% recycled materials comprising fibers that are too short to go back into textile operations. Noting QuietWalk’s success, MP Global has evolved its product to solve different installation issues. “We’ve taken QuietWalk innovation and improved it, specifically for over concrete where large amounts of vapor emissions may exist,” said Deanna Summers, marketing specialist. “This new underlayment called VentiLayer uses the same recycled fibers in our patented manufacturing process, but we’ve added a plastic mesh beneath it to elevate it off the ground and encourage airflow.”

This elevation, according to the company, creates venting to eliminate water vapor or hydrostatic pools of moisture under the underlayment. The new product will meet NALFA standards and provides sound absorption and moisture protection.

MP Global keeps its pulse on the market to stay in lock-step with industry-wide trends and developments. To that end, the company is working on a brand new, pressure-sensitive product called Sound Buffer Self-Adhere which aims to provide faster installation solutions for LVT products.

“[Sound Buffer Self-Adhere] is a 100% virgin latex material so it’s very dense, very supportive to luxury vinyl in particular,” Summers said. “We’re developing a niche-type product that goes one step further. For example, a large mall-type store wants to replace flooring but doesn’t want to sacrifice business hours for flooring installation hours. Using Sound Buffer Self-Adhere speeds up the installation time by skipping out on the glue drying process. It is a direct install product. The pressure sensitive adhesive already on the product allows the flooring to be stuck directly onto the underlayment.”

Rebranding initiative

PrintMP Global has rebranded itself as a “One Source” for retailers and consumers as a means to match its innovative products for all types of flooring. “We want [our customers] to think of us as the underlayment source,” Summers explained. “When a distributor or retailer thinks of underlayments, we want him to think MP Global. Many think of us as a fiber manufacturer and QuietWalk, but we have evolved into other products as well. We can source all underlayments, not just fiber. We are more of a solutions provider, really.”

As the industry expanded to offer innovative floor covering materials such as LVT and WPC, MP Global has likewise evolved to broaden its solutions of underlayment products to address these new flooring materials. “Having a reliable partner like us can offer peace of mind and also be more cost effective,” Summers explained. “We can consolidate trucks to fit a program of needs, which saves money—everyone wins.”

To complement its innovative products and rebranding, MP Global also plans to launch a new website at the end of the first quarter.


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MP Global introduces Sound Buffer acoustic underlayment

sound mufflerNorfolk, Neb.–MP Global Products has introduced Sound Buffer, a high performing competitively priced universal acoustic underlayment made from 100% virgin latex rubber. Designed for use under luxury vinyl, laminate, engineered wood, and hardwood flooring, it can be floated, nailed, stapled, or single- or double glued. Its versatility in installation methods enable specifiers to use one SKU for many types of hard surface floors in residential and commercial projects.

Sound Buffer has strong physical properties including 1.2mm thickness, a density of 25 lb/ft3, and a compression set of 16%—a carefully engineered combination that helps minimize impressions and indentations that can occur with luxury vinyl flooring. It also has a thermal resistance of 0.205, and anti-microbial properties. And IIC and STC sound tests have achieved excellent ratings. For example, the IIC Test: 6-inch concrete subfloor with no ceiling assembly with luxury vinyl planks floor covering, result: 52, a rating that exceeds the standard for high-rise installations.

Sound Buffer also carries Green Label Plus Certification for Low-Emitting Materials from the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) and can contribute to earning LEED Credit EQ 4.3 (low-emitting materials), LEED Credit MRc5.1-5.2 for Regional Content 20=30%; and LEED Credit IEQp3 Minimum Acoustical Performance. And post-consumer use, it is 100% recyclable. Sound Buffer is available in 36-inch wide 200/sq. ft. rolls, with or without seam tape.

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MP Global introduces Sound Buffer

Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 4.33.53 PMNorfolk, Neb.—MP Global Products has introduced Sound Buffer, a high-performing universal acoustic underlayment that offers full subfloor coverage while soothing impact sound and floor-to-ceiling noise. Its carefully engineered properties enable installers to use one SKU for many types of hard surface floors in residential and commercial projects.

Made from 100% virgin latex rubber, Sound Buffer is approved for use under luxury vinyl tiles and planks, laminate, engineered wood and hardwood flooring, and can be floated, nailed, stapled or single- or double-glued.

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MP Global repurposes plastic bottles in LuxWalk

image004Norfolk, Neb.—MP Global Products has expanded the scope of recycled resources used in its manufacturing processes to include fibers from discarded plastic beverage bottles. The company recently introduced LuxWalk, a high performing acoustic and insulating underlayment engineered especially for use under new luxury vinyl flooring (LVF).

Containing 31% post-consumer materials, LuxWalk uses plastic fibers from discarded water bottles diverted from landfill, helping preserve the environment. The underlayment is LEED compliant and will contribute to MRc 4.1–4.2 credits.

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Perfectly Warm Radiant Heat Film offers multiple advantages

Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 10.17.50 AMNorfolk, Neb.—MP Global Products’ Perfectly Warm Radiant Heat Film is a gentle electric radiant heat film designed specifically for use with floating engineered wood and laminate floors as well as some floating tile floors. It can be installed easily over a subfloor or acoustic underlayment and can provide supplemental heat to rooms at the end of heating zones.

The lightweight, roll-out line voltage system features gradual supplemental warmth from low wattage resistance heating, using just 12 watts per square foot. Unlike forced air systems, it does not blow around irritating allergens and no generated heat is lost in ducts.

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LuxWalk delivers impressive sound ratings

Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 2.15.30 PMNorfolk, Neb.—LuxWalk, a new high-performing underlayment engineered specifically for floating or glue-down LVT that effectively soothes impact sound and floor to ceiling noise, has delivered impressive numbers in IIC and STC tests.

In a recent IIC test designed to measure the impact sound transmission performance of LuxWalk installed under 5mm floating LVT over 6-inch concrete with no ceiling, the assembly achieved an excellent sound rating of 52, appreciably higher than the rating of 50, which the International Building Code (IBC) suggests.

In addition, a recent STC test that evaluated the ability of LuxWalk installed under 5 mm floating LVT with no ceiling achieved the same outstanding rating of 52.

With thinner LVT, the numbers are even higher. In the IIC test, 4.2 mm luxury vinyl planks installed over LuxWalk and 6-inch concrete with a suspended ceiling achieved a noteworthy sound rating of 72. In the STC test, 4.2 mm luxury vinyl planks over LuxWalk and 6-inch concrete with a suspended ceiling achieved a noteworthy rating of 66.

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Insulayment: Perfect match for today’s hardwood options

image002Norfolk, Neb.—MP Global Products’ Insulayment is a high performing acoustic underlayment engineered specifically for installation under glue-down or nail-down hardwood and engineered wood floors. The roll-out fiber underlayment is designed to dampen impact noise and decrease airborne sounds from traveling to the room below.

Insulayment is a very appealing choice for installations where concern for the environment is a consideration. Insulayment keeps floors warm in the winter and cool in the summer, minimizing energy demands. In addition, the underlayment is Made in the USA, which eliminates overseas shipping costs and minimizes transportation costs, and made from 100% pre-consumer recycled textile content. It also helps to smooth out little subfloor imperfections.