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Armstrong Commercial Flooring joins NALFA

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 4.37.44 PMChattanooga, Tenn.—Armstrong Commercial Flooring has joined the North American Laminate Flooring Association (NALFA) as its newest Regular Member.

NALFA offers three levels of membership: Regular Manufacturing Membership, Associate Membership and Testing House/Lab/Academic Membership. NALFA Regular Members are manufacturers, importers or marketers that offer laminate flooring for sale within North America. Other NALFA Regular Members include Columbia Flooring, Mannington Mills, Mohawk, Pergo, Quick-Step, Shaw Industries and Torlys.

“Armstrong is an important standard bearer for the laminate flooring industry and a welcome addition to NALFA,” said Bill Dearing, president of NALFA. “Like our other members, Armstrong has long demonstrated an aptitude for product and manufacturing innovations that drive a healthy laminate flooring trade.”

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NALFA Certification provides quality, CARB compliant laminate

Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 9.56.11 AMWashington, D.C.—In light of recent news stating Lowe’s has halted sales of some of its Chinese manufactured laminate flooring products, the North American Laminate Flooring Association (NALFA) assures retailers that laminate flooring products carrying the NALFA Certification Seal of approval have passed rigorous ANSI performance tests for quality and are also CARB 2 compliant.

“Ultimately, we want consumers to have peace of mind that the products they place in their homes are safe,” said Bill Dearing, president of NALFA. “When retailers place NALFA certified products on their shelves that goal is achieved and both retailers and their customers can rest assured that a good decision has been made.”

Prior to earning the NALFA Certification Seal, laminate floors must pass a series of 10 rigorous performance tests including static load, thickness swell, light resistance, cleanability and stain resistance, large ball resistance, small ball resistance, water resistance, dimensional tolerance, castor chair resistance and surface bond. An independent laboratory completes the testing and submits the results to the NALFA board for final approval.

For a complete list of NALFA certified products, visit nalfa.com.

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NALFA tackles worries of formaldehyde following ‘60 Minutes’ exposé

Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 2.46.30 PMWashington, D.C.—The North American Laminate Flooring Association (NALFA) offered some points of differentiation for retailers who carry NALFA-certified products, in light of a recent “60 Minutes” report regarding the dangers of high formaldehyde content in Lumber Liquidators’ Chinese-manufactured laminate flooring, to help assure customers that not all laminate flooring carries the same danger.

  • NALFA is the only ANSI-­accredited trade organization exclusively dedicated to the North American laminate flooring industry and representative to the International Standards Organization (ISO).
  • NALFA-­certified products must pass 10 rigorous tests conducted by an independent third party laboratory, including meeting or exceeding CARB 2 emission standards, to be approved to carry the NALFA Certification Seal.
  • This seal serves as verification that a product will provide the retailer and consumer a safe flooring option.
  • Laminate flooring products bearing the NALFA Certification Seal must undergo laboratory testing that affirms compliance with applicable federal and state regulations pertaining to formaldehyde content.
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Mohawk, Quick-Step, Pergo, Columbia to be featured in NALFA booth at TISE 2015

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 3.07.48 PMDallas—Mohawk, Quick-Step, Pergo and Columbia will be featured prominently in the North American Laminate Flooring Association (NALFA) booth #S7371 during the upcoming International Surface Event (TISE) 2015 tradeshow at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas Jan. 20-23.

The NALFA booth is designed to serve as a showcase for NALFA certified products. Only laminate flooring that meets the strictest criteria regarding quality can achieve NALFA certification. All Mohawk, Quick-Step, Pergo and Columbia floors are NALFA certified.

“When purchasing our brands, consumers can have full confidence they are bringing flooring of the highest quality into their home,” said Paij Thorn-Brooks, vice president of brand marketing for Unilin.

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Suppliers look for market opportunities with innovative styles, designs

December 8/15, 2014; Volume 28/Number 12

Laminate

By Ken Ryan

Flooring manufacturers and association members are forecasting growth of between 1% and 5% for laminate in 2015. While not headline-grabbing numbers, it does represent an increase for a segment that has been hurt by competing products and big boxes. Laminate continues to grow by offering high performing, visually appealing characteristics at affordable prices.

Derek Welbourn CEO, Inhaus

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 2.45.03 PMOverall we see the market as a bright spot. We have seen continuous success for ourselves and for our competitors. There is definitely a little wind at our back with market demand, and we believe this will continue. It doesn’t seem to us that the market is growing at a pace that will create a bubble, but rather slow, steady growth that is benefiting the industry as a whole both now and in the longer run. This is our outlook for North America.

However, being part of the Classen Group based in Germany, the European market is important to us and we see some weakness there. One note of caution is that if Europe slides into a recession it could be bad for North America. We are all tied to the global economy; I believe that the saying is, “If Europe catches the flu, best case scenario, North America gets a cold.”

We see the laminate market in North America continuing to grow—5% in dollars and even higher numbers in volume because of lower and mid-priced laminate taking a larger share of the market. We see the mid and upper end of the laminate market growing but getting increased competition from other categories, mainly LVT. There is also tremendous growth in hybrid products that combine strengths of multiple categories such as wooden-based composite products. We have made a major investment in this growing category that will be making its debut at Surfaces.

Laminate is continuing to grow as it offers value with high performing and visually appealing attributes at a very affordable price point relative to other categories. For this reason the low- and mid-end laminate segments continue to claim share.

We continue to be successful and enjoy the laminate category. It is our focus. 2014 will be the third year running that Inhaus has posted a strong double-digit growth. This is due to our customers having success with our unique laminate line, leading to an increased focus on our offerings. We also continue to expand geographically, and have an ongoing focus on new designs and innovations. Our laminate line is not for everyone as we center on design-oriented products. We find that consumers who are looking for something unique that fits more with their personal style often choose Inhaus. We will not be changing this strategy and we will be launching six new, totally unique laminate designs in 2015. We see more steady growth in 2015 for both Inhaus and the industry.

Roger Farabee Senior vice president, marketing, Unilin NA/Mohawk Hard Surfaces

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 2.45.09 PMWe are forecasting laminate to be up about 1% in dollars for 2015. This growth will continue to be driven by sales outside of specialty retail. All category growth will come from home centers, warehouse clubs and national retailers such as Lumber Liquidators. We anticipate floor covering retail [for laminate] to be down again in 2015 as in 2014.

Weakness in Europe impacts the U.S. market for laminate in that it allows for more low-cost goods to come in, adding to the imports from China. This is putting pressure on all domestic producers, particularly at some of the opening price points.

We have a lot of exciting new products coming in 2015 for both Quick-Step and Mohawk. We will introduce the new Mohawk products at the Solutions convention [in early December] and the new Quick-Step products at Surfaces.

Barbara June Marketing manager, Kronotex USA

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 2.45.16 PMLaminate has been steady in 2014 and we expect modest category growth in 2015. Homeowners and businesses alike have numerous flooring options today, more so than ever before with the new tile and vinyl wood looks. Laminate is still a superior choice for the discerning owner who wants durable wood flooring without the expense and mess of traditional hardwood installation. Trendy decors are invigorating the category as well, from end planks to wood grains in vibrant art colors. Laminate can give the consumer the exact look she wants—quickly and economically.

As for us, the initial response to our new American Concepts collection has been outstanding, and we anticipate continued growth in 2015. We have a few changes in store for next season, but for now let’s just say that we are listening to customer demand and industry-wide feedback.

Bill Dearing President, North American Laminate Flooring Association

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 2.45.24 PMLaminate overall will improve but not double digits or anything [major]. I see a small increase, no more than 5%; if that happens, I will be happy.

I expect the industry will dovetail to the recovery of the real estate market. Laminate remains predominately a remodel product and the economy is now progressing enough that all flooring materials are benefiting. Laminate flooring is no exception and consumers appear to appreciate the value option with the styling that laminate flooring provides.

I am bullish on 2015. If you look at the West Coast market, where I am located, it was up, it was down, and now it is up again. That is a good sign, hopefully too for the rest of the country. I think [consumers’] pocketbooks will open up for more exotic and decorative laminate floors. That market will progress in line with the improving housing market.

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State of the industry: Laminate holds its own at the sweet spot

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

By Jenna Lippin

The expression “no news is good news” proves to be true when considering the laminate flooring market in 2013. The consensus among industry executives suggests the category posted low single-digit increases in both dollars and square footage, contradicting the sentiment on the part of some that laminate is about to be placed on the endangered product list.

Thanks to improvement in the U.S. housing market, refreshed product design and rising hardwood prices, laminate is firmly holding its place in the market. “There’s been a revitalization of the category,” said Dan Natkin, Mannington’s director of hardwood and laminate. “We’re doing things with visuals that we weren’t doing five to 10 years ago. Also, price increases in hardwood have helped create a spread between upper-end laminates and low-end woods. From my own experience, from retail or builder, you can get entry-level oak or a nice laminate at one price, and on the showroom floor people are choosing laminate.” Continue reading State of the industry: Laminate holds its own at the sweet spot

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NALFA certification seal is stamp of approval

Consumer Awareness of Laminate Quality Grows with NALFA Certification Seal

Washington, D.C. — More than one hundred years ago, a popular women’s magazine started testing household products to see if they lived up to their promises. Those that did could stamp an elliptical logo on their packaging and earn the trust of a nation of consumers. Today, more than 5,000 products later, the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval remains an emblem that testifies to a product’s value. Continue reading NALFA certification seal is stamp of approval

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Surviving in laminate (or any flooring) sales

Succeeding in flooring sales in a tight market requires expertise

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The economy is tougher, competition is tighter and consumers have a firm grip on their wallets. But when it comes to closing a sale, an attractive price tag is not all that matters. It’s what you know that counts.

A knowledgeable sales representative who can expertly guide a shopper toward a purchase she’ll be pleased with is arguably the most valuable tool in the laminate sales arsenal, says Bill Dearing, president of the North American Laminate Flooring Association (NALFA). Continue reading Surviving in laminate (or any flooring) sales

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Defining quality to consumers

by Matthew Spieler

In recent years, manufacturing has gotten to the point where some low-end products have a high-end look and feel. This is especially true in laminate. In fact, there are products that if brought back in time to just 10 years ago, they would qualify as mid- to high-end goods. So what’s a retailer to do to show consumers the differences between a quality product and one constructed not to perform very well? Continue reading Defining quality to consumers

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New NALFA Advanced Installer Certification class is May 8

Higher income and increased business exposure are two of the potential benefits of the new Advanced Laminate Installer Certification class offered by the North American Laminate Flooring Association (NALFA). The next one-day class will be presented May 8 in Dallas, TX. Continue reading New NALFA Advanced Installer Certification class is May 8