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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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Silence is music to the ears of underlayment producers

How they create serenity while adhering to regulations

by Lou Iannaco

In acting as the ambassador of silence in the flooring industry, reliable underlayment is crucial, especially in multi-family and office environments. Underlayment producers strengthen their reputations and help make sales by keeping things quiet.

How exactly is underlayment manufactured? What needs to be done to create the best product and reduce noise? How does technology play a role in the world of underlayment? Continue reading Silence is music to the ears of underlayment producers

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Underlayment: The softening of hard surface flooring

by Louis Iannoco

Every salesperson in the industry should know the importance of underlayment on the soft surface side, but with more and more hard surface products gaining popularity and market share, the emphasis and focus have shifted.

But what exactly should sales associates know when it comes to underlayments and hard surfaces? Does it really make a difference what is used beneath them? Continue reading Underlayment: The softening of hard surface flooring

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Underlayments: Making the ‘sound’ choice

By Louis Iannaco

The sound of silence was not only a hit song that propelled Simon & Garfunkel to musical prominence in the mid-1960s, it is also the ultimate goal of underlayment companies everywhere.

Whether it’s for commercial spaces where unwanted noise is considered public enemy No. 1 or for residences where attempts to make the home a fortress of solitude doesn’t quite work when you can’t hear yourself think, underlayments with effective sound deadening qualities are what end users and flooring dealers desire. Continue reading Underlayments: Making the ‘sound’ choice

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Underlayments: Educating the customer

As any successful retailer or salesperson knows, selling flooring is never only about just selling, well, flooring. There’s more to it than that. As far as underlayment executives are concerned, the buying process for today’s consumer is not the total experience it should be without what lies underneath. There is an art to adding value and underlayments can provide a critical revenue stream to dealers currently operating businesses in such a difficult economic climate. Continue reading Underlayments: Educating the customer

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Pregis, licensees seek to prevent patent infringement

LAS VEGAS—Underlayment companies have traditionally been a relatively quiet bunch. Maybe it stems from the nature of the product they produce.

But just like every other product sector, the use of technology to help make products perform better and install easier has grown at a rapid pace in recent years. And while some companies have chosen to compete using ethical business practices and follow U.S. law when it comes to intellectual property rights, there are others trying to capitalize by infringing on patents and making false claims to make the sale. Continue reading Pregis, licensees seek to prevent patent infringement

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Padding profits via education, transparency

As preposterous as a basement in the Alamo or a pig with wings is a floor covering installation without underlayment. Essential for noise reduction, moisture control, insulation and cushioning, retailers would do well to include underlayment in each sales pitch in the store. Continue reading Padding profits via education, transparency

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Pak-Lite bringing Europe’s leading underlayment to U.S., Surfaces to be coming out party

UWANEE, GA.—In the early to mid 1990s, a European phenomenon, laminate, came across the Atlantic and revolutionized the U.S. flooring industry. Pak-Lite, Inc. (PLI), a leading private label manufacturer of foam underlayments in North America is hoping for a repeat through a strategic agreement with German manufacturer Selit to produce and market its well-known Selitac pad with XPS foam in the U.S. Continue reading Pak-Lite bringing Europe’s leading underlayment to U.S., Surfaces to be coming out party