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AVA by Novalis launches PVC-free sheet flooring at NeoCon

Chicago—Novalis Innovative Flooring has added a PVC-free sheet flooring to its repertoire under its AVA commercially specified brand. The company showcased the new flooring June 11-13 at NeoCon, here.

“There are some applications, such as healthcare spaces, that require a PVC-free flooring solution and we wanted to be able to offer that solution as well as all of our other great LVT products,” said Melissa Quick, product and marketing manager for AVA. “We’ve created what we believe will stand up with the best in class, in terms of styling, quality and environmental certifications.”

AVA’s collections of glue-down, PVC-free sheet flooring include: NTRGE (wood-look design) and SNRGY (stone-look design). Both collections include eight colors to choose from and are available in 4.59 x 65 rolls with a transparent wear layer that includes antimicrobial protection. They also have color-coordinated welding beads.

NTRGE and SNRGY are made to meet rigorous environmental standards. In addition to being PVC-free, they are also halogen, red list, plasticizer and phthalate free.

All third-party tests and certifications, such as FloorScore, Declare and GreenGuard Gold are in process, according to Novalis.

For more information, visit, contact an AVA representative at 877-861-5292 or email Quick.

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Opportunities aplenty in Main Street market

May 28/June 4, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 25

By Ken Ryan


Main Street has been growing in importance as a strategic channel for flooring dealers and manufacturers for the past several years, thanks in large part to a healthy small business climate that is fostering growth. Along with that demand, observers say, comes the need for versatile flooring materials.

There are many theories as to why Main Street has risen in importance. Some executives cite the versatility of the Main Street channel in which small business owners are now exposed to a greater array of affordable flooring alternatives.

Al Boulogne, vice president, commercial resilient business, Mannington, believes Main Street is dynamic because of the vast amount of “touches” it gets in the market. “Any retail location, regardless of size, has the chance to be a hub of profitable commercial sales locally,” he explained. “Commercial spaces also have a huge variety of requirements. Offering a diverse portfolio of flooring types is critical to win.”

Getting residentially focused store owners and salespeople to see the opportunity that Main Street commercial presents takes a concentrated effort to educate, train and re-educate. At the retail level, this requires a sales team committed to guiding the customer to the right product for the application, experts say.

Brandon Kersey, hard surface and commercial brand manager for Engineered Floors, said the continued rapid movement in Main Street toward carpet tile and away from broadloom is the single largest factor in the segment’s recent growth. “As Main Street customers who have traditionally used broadloom get more exposure to carpet tile, they begin to understand the key advantages such as ease of installation, less disruption to end users’ business, ease of removal, styling options from carpet tile’s inherent modularity and high-performance backing systems,” he said.

Steven Erhlich, vice president of sales and marketing, Novalis Innovative Flooring, suggests the growth has more to do with macro trends. For example, he sees three factors driving Main Street: the home office, a stronger economy and greater design versatility.

“More people are working from home than ever before, so they are turning bedrooms, bonus rooms, garages and basements into workspaces in need of flooring solutions that are more business-oriented in performance and design. Second, there is a healthy small business climate; and third is greater design flexibility. The growing availability and promotion of business at the retail level is in turn driving the demand and sourcing for these solutions by small business with retailers.”

In just the last two years, several mills have jumped headlong into the Main Street space, in some cases offering multiple products. Phenix Flooring, which had considered the Main Street market for a few years, finally took the plunge in January. “We saw a natural fit for our brand and therefore created a full-home flooring solution through both our traditional hard and soft surface offerings,” said Jason Hair, vice president of hard surface. “We saw a successful launch of our first collection—Phenix on Main—at this past Surfaces and continue to hear good things about the products we’re offering in this space.”

The Phenix collection features olefin and nylon products in broadloom, carpet tile and carpet plank solutions as well as a complementary hard surface offering. The collection will be displayed in nine architect folders. In total, the collection includes 10 carpet options and Point of View, a luxury vinyl hard surface offering that comes in both plank and tile in 15 colors.

Stanton Carpet entered the commercial Main Street market in January with Stanton St. Decorative Commercial. The line features 17 products, including four carpet tile offerings, a first for the company.

“We always liked the idea of getting into commercial, but it had to match our identity,” said Jonathan Cohen, CEO. “This fits for us. We can be competitive with price, and as long as we stay decorative we feel like we can have a place within the market.”

Foss Flooring said it is doubling down on offering products for the home or business. Its signature carpet tiles feature a unique peel-and-stick installation with no VOCs, “which makes a quick turnaround for any small business installation possible, so they can get back to generating revenue,” Brian Warren, executive vice president of sales and marketing, explained.

Foss’ new style, Manhattan, has been the most successful new product launch in its history, Warren noted. Available in 24 x 24 tiles, as well as broadloom, the line is positioned as an ideal Main Street product.

By offering a broad portfolio of choices, observers say Main Street retailers are uniquely positioned to provide a one-stop shop for commercial products. “We offer that portfolio of products that are crafted with purpose,” Mannington’s Boulogne said. “That means those products are made with a relentless focus on design, uncompromising quality and a [range] of options for the best solution to fit the need. We aren’t pushing a single category. We have the ability to listen to customers who come to Main Street, understand their challenges and then consult with them to pick the best solution for the space.”

While the USFloors’ sales teams primarily focus on specialty retail, the Main Street jobs may — and do — happen. “We do not focus or drive marketing/ merchandising in that category,” said Jamann Stepp, director of marketing and product management. Among the COREtec collections that have Main Street applications are Pro Plus and Pro Plus Enhanced with SPC cores, he noted. Engineered Floors’ commitment to the steadily growing carpet tile market is most evident in its new state-of-the-art carpet tile plant, which will serve all commercial applications including Main Street. Meanwhile, the mill will continue to launch nylon products with styling and performance characteristics that are equivalent to products that are priced significantly higher than its commercial Pentz offerings.

Novalis has made a strong push in Main Street with a bevy of new offerings. Its NovaFloor line has a definite Main Street flair, and Abberly has tile designs and accents suitable for retail spaces. Likewise, its Davidson and Birkdale collections are designed for public spaces, offices and shops with high styling and durability. Novalis’ new rigid core products, including Serenbe HDC, Lyndon HDC and NovaCore HPC, are also finding interest from Main Street customers who have praised the offerings for their styling and ease of installation over imperfect subfloor conditions.

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Contract: State of the industry—Key end-use sectors drive specifications

May 28/June 4, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 25

By K.J. Quinn


In many ways the commercial contractor flooring market is like an onion—as you delve into each sector, one layer at a time, you start uncovering macro issues impacting flooring choices that go beyond traditional metrics. Sustainability, wellness principles and environmental impacts are among the major factors affecting facility design across the board, experts say.

“Manufacturers have increased focus on the impacts of their products on occupant well-being and productivity, offering a wider range of aesthetic and functional solutions to deliver against the requests of designers’ clients,” said Matthew Miller, president, Interface Americas.

Industry projections indicate the commercial market is on pace to experience similar growth as last year, with some segments faring much better than others. To put it in perspective, soft surfaces generated an estimated $3.6 to $4 billion in sales and upwards of 300 million square yards last year, according to industry estimates. Carpet tile claimed approximately 50% of volume and 60% of the value over broadloom—increases of 9% and 10%, respectively, over 2016.

Many trends that impacted commercial segments last year are carrying over into 2018. “I think the market for carpet will continue to lose share to hard surfaces,” said Brenda Knowles, vice president of marketing for Shaw Industries’ commercial business. “We’ll continue to see an emphasis on product design across all segments and more offerings that combine soft and hard surfaces.”

Nonetheless, there is still a good amount of broadloom being sold into commercial spaces, especially in sectors that demand a luxurious look and feel underfoot. “We still see some higher-end broadloom sold to the hospitality, legal and financial services sectors,” observed Richard French, vice president of sales, Bentley Mills. “At the high end of the spectrum, carpet tile is still not able to meet aesthetic needs.”

Hard surface seizes share

The market size for hard surfaces is nearly as much as carpet, estimated at $3.7 billion in sales. But that’s where the similarities end. Sales and volume grew by double digits, led by ceramic tile and stone ($1.45 million in 2017 sales), rubber ($650 million) and luxury vinyl tile ($600 million), according to industry estimates.

LVT is the fastest growing sector, with sales rising by double digits and usage expanding across all segments. “Hard surface growth in the commercial segment is being driven by LVT and ceramic,” Jeff Fenwick, president and COO, Tarkett North America, told FCNews. “LVT is showing up in more commercial spaces and design features of ceramic are taking it out of the ‘back of the house’ and letting it be utilized in other spaces.”

VCT, estimated at $250 million in 2017 sales, and sheet goods, which generated about $300 million, remain viable options. Healthcare and education, long strongholds of the sector, are reportedly losing market share. Hardwood, laminate flooring and linoleum are being specified for certain niches, although each category accounts for only a small percentage (less than 5% apiece) of the overall commercial market, statistics show. “For people who want that visual a little different and want to make more of a statement than a neutral gray floor, then linoleum is your answer,” said Denis Darragh, vice president, North America, Forbo Flooring.

While LVT dominates the headlines, one category maintaining steady growth is ceramic. While it’s difficult to determine sales and volume due to fragmented distribution channels, anecdotal research indicates tile commands approximately 15% of total commercial flooring sales and volume, with specified contract accounting for about 70% of the business. Growth rates are projected to mirror last year, when the category grew an estimated 6% in sales and 5% in square footage.

End-use activity

There are diverse applications for flooring within the five major sectors of the commercial business, the majority of which (an estimated 70% to 75%) is specified contract and the remainder Main Street commercial applications. Each has its own set of issues, trends and requirements which, in some cases, are unique to specific areas. As such, flooring choices and volume are expected to vary this year in some segments while remaining constant in others, industry watchers say.

“Traditional hard surface markets like retail and healthcare still are very strong, and non-traditional markets such as offices and hospitality are shifting toward hard surfaces in many areas they did not consider before,” said Robert Brockman, segment marketing manager, commercial, Armstrong Flooring.

The largest sector remains corporate/offices, representing roughly 40% of commercial flooring sales. Design strategies have traditionally centered on integrating natural elements into work spaces that help energize employees, encourage collaboration and make them feel more at home. “The goal is to leave work at the end of the day feeling recharged,” said Sharon Steinberg, AIA, LEEP AP, a principal architect at Stantec’s Houston office. “The design of the space, including flooring materials, can contribute to these feelings.”

Carpet tile has emerged as the top flooring choice, representing an estimated 55% to 60% share of the segment. “Carpet tile reduces sound transmission and provides underfoot comfort,” Interface’s Miller stated. “Carpet tile is also easy to upkeep and maintain—and since it is modular, it can easily be replaced or redesigned, providing the flexibility to update or refresh flooring as needed.”

Industry observers report the use of hard surfaces such as LVT, hardwood, porcelain tile and polished concrete is expanding beyond coffee and bar/break areas and into more diverse office environments. “While tile usage is typically limited to areas such as lobbies, bathrooms and kitchenettes, we predict there will be more tile being used in traditionally unexpected spaces,” said Gianni Mattioli, executive vice president, product and marketing, Dal-Tile. He cited advancements in the tile printing technology space as one of the primary reasons.

Another sector to watch is healthcare, which some believe represent the greatest growth potential for LVT. “Slip/fall issues help LVT vs. other hard surface options as well as infection control,” said Paul Eanes, vice president of new business development, Metroflor. “The segment is now more receptive to LVT in most places except operating rooms.”

Ceramic, porcelain and terrazzo tile are commonly found in hallways, making it easier to maneuver rolling equipment and mobile aids. “The health benefits and low maintenance of tile makes it ideal for this space, and our advancements in manufacturing have allowed us to make tile slip resistant through our proprietary StepWise technology, catering to residents’ safety needs,” Dal-Tile’s Mattioli said.

Fashion and function are paramount in hospitality, an industry reportedly investing millions of dollars to remodel their properties. It is expected to remain a bedrock segment for broadloom in particular as high-end products are the norm for guest rooms and public areas. “People still want to feel a soft surface when they hit the floor,” Shaw’s Knowles pointed out. “So even though the trend is towards hard surface, we’re seeing a combination of the two—and we’re providing solutions for that.”

LVT is reportedly growing at a faster rate than broadloom as the product gains wider acceptance, especially in guest rooms. “Most of these hospitality end users are also looking to make a change to something more timeless in terms of pattern and color,” observed Al Boulogne, vice president, commercial resilient business, Mannington Commercial. “That, coupled with the easier maintenance requirements, make it an ideal product for these environments.”

Further fueling usage is hotel owners’ interest in switching to interior decorating products that blend with the latest design styles and last longer—a big reason why ceramic is making inroads. “Designers in the hospitality space demand unique designs, and we are taking style and design to the next level through our latest introductions,” Dal-Tile’s Mattioli said.

One segment at the forefront of design is retail as end users not only seek products that are trendy, but also address performance/functional issues.

“You can create a pattern in a hardwood or stone look that leads you into different departments of the retail store,” noted Milton Goodwin, vice president of commercial sales, Karndean Designflooring. “There’s a lot of mixing and matching of SKUs.”

Even the education sector is getting a little more sophisticated in terms of the design aesthetic, observers report. “It’s copying what we’ve seen in other public segments by trying to become a little more trendy with their looks,” Mannington’s Boulogne stated. “So that pushes more and more business to the LVT category, where there are more design opportunities.”

R&D efforts center on beefing up performance levels to ensure flooring meets the varying needs of each space. “Designers can take LVT into places that maybe they hadn’t considered before,” added Melissa Quick, product and marketing manager, AVA by Novalis Innovative Flooring. “All of this has contributed to more confidence in the use of LVT in Main Street and specified spaces.”




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Wade’s Distributors, Novalis partner to makeover children’s shelter

Toronto—NovaFloor Elite Dealer, Wade’s Distributors of Mobile, Ala., partnered with the Junior League of Mobile for a room makeover for St. Mary’s Home, a legendary children’s shelter in Mobile. Novalis Innovative Flooring donated 1,400 square feet of LVT to the project that was completed last week, and Wade’s donated the installation services.

“We always try to help the communities that we service,” said Angie Alexander, national sales manager, Novalis. “Our ability to assist Wade’s in this worthwhile project was a real privilege for us.”

St. Mary’s Home has been providing care for children since 1838, serving as the oldest child welfare agency in the State of Alabama and one of the oldest in the country. For more information, visit



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Novalis awarded SCS Indoor Advantage Gold certification

Toronto, Canada—Novalis Innovative Flooring received notification from SCS Global Services that its products have qualified for Indoor Advantage Gold Indoor Air Quality, certified to SCS-EC10.3-2014 v4.0. This means Novalis flooring conforms to standards for private office, school classroom and single-family residence parameters.

“We are proud to add the SCS Indoor Advantage Gold certification to our growing list of environmental standards,” said John Wu, president and CEO, Novalis Innovative Flooring. “Just as our trade partners do, we see these certifications as further evidence of product quality and our concern for customer well being and satisfaction.”

According to the SCS website, “The Indoor Advantage and Indoor Advantage Gold standard aligns with both ANSI/BIFMA M7.1 and X7.1, and CA 01350. It is recognized by the EPA and GSA, and qualifies for many building rating systems, including LEED v4, BREEAM, WELL Building and Living Building Challenge.”

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Novalis taps Ehrlich as VP of sales, marketing

Toronto, Canada—Novalis Innovative Flooring has tapped industry veteran Steve Ehrlich as vice president of sales and marketing for its North American operations.

Ehrlich most recently directed new business activity at Invista for the Stainmaster brand in the hard surfaces flooring category. Prior to his post at Invista, Ehrlich held executive positions with The Home Depot, where he was merchandiser for hard surfaces, and Hoboken Floors, where he was senior vice president of sales and marketing.

“We are extremely fortunate to find someone with Steve’s qualifications and industry knowledge to take our brand to the next level,” siad John Wu, president and CEO for Novalis Innovative Flooring. “He understands the LVT category and that expertise will be a real asset to our customers as we continue to grow our residential business.”

Visit Novalis Innovative Flooring at Surfaces 2018, booth# 629.

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Novalis invests in the future of flexible, rigid core LVT

Novalis Plant ExpansionToronto, Canada—Novalis Innovative Flooring completed a landmark deal with Zhenjiang City to purchase a 35–acre tract directly across from its existing manufacturing facility. The company plans to erect a new state-of-the-art LVT plant—doubling the size of its current facility.

In addition to new LVT production lines, the new facility will house the company’s new headquarters and administrative offices, expanded R&D and Design facilities, and a new Customer Experience Center to share and educate the Novalis vision of sustainability. The design and construction of the new space will be LEED and WELL certified. Completion will occur in three phases over the next 36 months, with Phase One completed by Q1 of 2019. The total investment will be approximately $35 million.

“After looking at a variety of options and scenarios, we determined that building literally across the street from our existing plant made the best sense for servicing and supplying our customers, both in the U.S. and around the world,” said John Wu, president and CEO, Novalis. “Our combined operation and expanded corporate campus will afford us amazing design and production synergy that we just couldn’t duplicate anywhere else.”

Novalis will be putting its new and expanded facilities to good use, according to Wu. “We are currently working on the next generation of LVT in both flexible and rigid core, so the timing of this investment couldn’t be better for us. We are committed to remaining a global leader in LVT, therefore we have to continue to innovate with styling, construction and features.”

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AVA by Novalis gains distribution partner in Canada

PrintToronto, Ontario, Canada—Novalis Innovative Flooring has chosen LSI Floors to be its distribution partner in Canada. LSI Floors is based in Toronto, Ontario, and has offices in Hong Kong, New Zealand, Turkey and United Kingdom.

“We are very pleased to have LSI Floors as the Canadian distributor for our AVA Commercial Specified LVT,” said John Wu, president and CEO of Novalis Innovative Flooring. “LSI carries only the highest quality flooring and our association with them represents that commitment.”

Rick Moffatt, creative director and president, LSI Floors, expressed similar thoughts about being a Novalis distribution partner. “Having a friendship with John Wu that spans many decades, it is now our privilege to represent AVA in Canada. Our two product lines complement each other in ways that allow us to expand our product range and our price points in this market.”

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AVA by Novalis will have its first showcase at NeoCon

Screen Shot 2017-06-06 at 4.32.39 PMChicago—Novalis Innovative Flooring will, for the first time, show its AVA Commercial Specified LVT at NeoCon. The entire line of AVA flooring will be on display at the new Spartan Surfaces Chicago Showroom, just a short walk from The Mart, during the show hours on June 12 and 13. The showroom is located at 162 W. Hubbard, Suite 300.

Spartan Surfaces is a sales and consulting group specializing in commercial flooring and represents the AVA line by Novalis.

Among the AVA collections on display will be SPRK, the company’s newest creation for the healthcare and education segments. It is comprised of an assortment of 38 color ways with an AMP antimicrobial coating that has increased scratch and scuff resistance.

“We are very excited to be a participant in this event experience and, at the same time, to be part of Spartan Surfaces’ grand opening of their showroom space,” said John Wu, president and CEO of Novalis. “We introduced AVA almost three years ago and have come a long way in a very short time to reach this important milestone.”

AVA has been a regular exhibitor at NeoCon East but this will be the first time at NeoCon in Chicago. AVA is specifically designed and manufactured to meet the needs of the commercial space, whether it is corporate, retail, education, healthcare, multifamily or other types of projects.

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Melissa Quick to head product development, marketing for AVA brand

Melissa QuickToronto, Ontario, Canada—Melissa Quick has joined Novalis Innovative Flooring as the new commercial product and marketing manager for the AVA LVT brand.

“Melissa brings over 30 years of experience with an extensive background in national accounts, customer service, relationships with designers across the country, brand marketing and LEED expertise,” said Mark Hansen, VP North America, Novalis. “Our commercial customers will most certainly benefit from her tremendous depth of talent, leadership and experience.”

Quick will lead product and marketing development for AVA, the fast-growing Novalis brand targeted to commercial markets. AVA was introduced in 2015 and is adding more collections and expanding its reach in 2017.

“I am so excited about getting the opportunity to work for Novalis,” said Quick. “They are a great company who has positioned themselves to make a major impact on the ever-changing market by offering quality products, great service and a selection of flooring beyond compare.”

More can be learned about AVA at