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June 09, 2017
Volume 31, Issue 26
By Ken Ryan
Luxury vinyl tile has clearly found a home in the commercial flooring market where its footprint is exhibited in all settings and applications. And with the advent of WPC and rigid core offerings flooding the market, specifiers have more options than ever to complete their projects.
Prior to taking over as Tarkett’s director of product management and marketing for LVT, Jeremy Salomon spent seven years on the commercial side overseeing sheet goods and VCT. He saw firsthand how the market was transitioning to LVT. “What we found is while there is a lot of application for sheet vinyl in commercial the quality of installers is dwindling,” he explained. “Sheet is a different skill trade; many installers haven’t been working with sheet goods and don’t have the skill to master it. And the ones who do know sheet are nearing retirement. In contrast, anyone can install tile or plank.”
Salomon said that while VCT is less expensive to install than LVT, there is a cost to maintain VCT that makes LVT the more cost-effective solution for the long term. “You have LVT costs coming down and you also have all the aesthetics that VCT couldn’t provide. LVT is so much easier to work with.”
Commercial clients are looking for a durable product that can withstand heavy foot traffic and rolling load environments and still provide an aesthetically pleasing design. “Like the residential market, there is a need for realistic visuals in wood and stone, but commercial clients are also looking for alternative designs that include woven, textile or wood and stone blends that can function as transitional elements in a space,” said Amanda O’Neil, product manager for Armstrong.
Al Boulogne, vice president, commercial resilient business for Mannington Commercial, added that this “aesthetic freedom” comes with the security of a product that performs in even the toughest commercial applications. “High-performance wear layers, balanced constructions and a huge variety of installation options complete the package to make LVT an easy choice in any application.”
Screen Shot 2017-06-09 at 11.13.18 AMThe competition within the LVT category has pushed manufacturers to improve print designs, color offerings, in-register embossings, wear layers and larger sizes. Gary Keeble, director of marketing for Metroflor, said manufacturers are adding new platforms “above and beyond traditional glue-down products. Floating platforms can be either loose lay or commercial resilient vinyl click, which offer speed of installation and reduced cost without the costly floor prep required with glue-down products.”
Christy Schofield, director of commercial hard surface for Mohawk, said the overall value of LVT, the flexibility of the visuals, performance and ease of maintenance combine to make it a natural fit for the commercial market. “It has opened doors and allowed us to provide the entire flooring solution for commercial and hospitality projects.”
LVT/LVP wasn’t always the product de jour for the commercial segment. However, concern over constant maintenance, scratches and moisture have—in some cases—dissuaded some commercial establishments away from real wood, observers say. “As wood imagery becomes more authentic, faux wood alternatives have become more attractive,” said Laura Nieto, communications and marketing specialist for Cali Bamboo. “The high-end LVP options today are more beautiful than the vinyl of years past, which was typically seen as the run-of-the-mill industrial option. Today’s LVP also carries improved durability and waterproof properties—an absolute must for many commercial spaces like restaurants, grocery stores, gyms and medical centers. That extreme durability translates to very little upkeep and no sanding, refinishing or polishing.”
Mannington’s Boulogne said LVT “is in play” in virtually every commercial segment today. “Traditionally, we’ve seen LVT in retail, healthcare and education but now the category is breaking new ground in hospitality, multifamily and corporate. Because of the features and benefits there are compelling attributes of LVT that can drive the product through each one of the main commercial sectors.”
Cost and time spent on a project are key factors when specifying products. LVT and its iterations provide a significant savings compared with other products and save time on the installation end. “The product itself often comes at a lower price point than hardwood, and is lightweight and easy to install with less underlayment prep,” Nieto said. “Businesses see a faster, less-expensive turnaround and they save money on labor. They also don’t have to shut down for too long a period to accommodate lengthy acclimations or installations. Due to vinyl flooring’s dimensional stability, expansion is not a major concern and therefore requires fewer transition pieces. Depending on the product’s construction, indoor air quality is not compromised—a common concern with laminates and lower quality products.”
Screen Shot 2017-06-09 at 11.12.00 AMUSFloors’ COREtec is on the road to becoming a consumer brand, but the many variations of COREtec expand into the commercial space. Its 2017 introduction, Plus XL Enhanced, for example, is offered in 18 hardwood decors with an embossed grain pattern, an attached cork underlayment and a four-sided enhanced bevel edge that works well in light commercial environments. The patented COREtec technology allows easy handling and installation, making COREtec Plus XL Enhanced an alternative to glue-down LVT, locking LVT or laminate flooring. The company said the rigid core platform—which is constructed of recycled wood, bamboo dust, limestone and virgin PVC—provides a 100% waterproof floor that can be installed in wet areas and will not swell when exposed to moisture or excessive amounts of water.
Metroflor took a major step forward in the rigid core category with the introduction of its proprietary Isocore technology in Aspecta Ten and Engage Genesis. Isocore’s solid PVC cellular core gives it strength and rigidity, along with an LVT top layer and an attached pad to help mitigate sound transmission, according to the company. Aspecta Ten and Engage Genesis are specified for most commercial segments including retail, hospitality, assisted living, education and corporate.
Karndean’s glue-down products, which include Kaleidoscope—a collection of modular designs custom cut in compatible geometric formats—offer a variety of designs, sizes and technical specifications to address the needs of any commercial sector. Larry Browder, CEO of Karndean, said the company’s components system allows designers to create wayfinding and zoning to make the best use of the space, no matter the commercial specification. “Whether it’s a hospital looking to facilitate patient flow, highlight key areas or walkways in educational environments or separate areas of an open office plan, we can meet each of these requirements.”
Novalis Innovative Flooring continues to make a big push in commercial. The company is touting its two newest AVA collections—SMPL and SPRK. SMPL is floating floor with a click locking system and an attached cork underlayment for improved acoustical performance. AVA SPRK is available in 18 x 18 tiles in a variety of brights and neutrals with built-in antimicrobial properties.
Mannington launched more than 200 visuals into the market in 2016 and continued that trend in 2017. Featured are bold colors in its new Color Anchor line, along with a relaunch of Mannington Select premium LVT and rigid core products seen in City Park and Crown collections for commercial applications.
In May Johnsonite unveiled Transcend with SureSet technology. Salomon said the product is unique in that it is a loose-lay design but includes a pressure-sensitive adhesive that allows the floor to remain steadily in place. “Most of the market is glue-down because of rolling traffic. This product is exceeding expectations. There is no wait time for the glue to dry and all acoustics are intact.”
Specifiers have cited Raskin Industries’ Elevations loose lay because of its weight and stability, citing the ability to loose lay a vinyl floor without having to deal with either gluing the strips together or clicking boards together. In addition, Elevations offers environmental benefits (no adhesives or VOCs). Elevations comes with an anti-skid rubber Gravity Grip backing system and double-sided perimeter fastening tape that firmly secures it to the subfloor without any additional tools or materials.
Cali Bamboo’s operations team spent months fine-tuning custom HiFi imaging technology to precisely capture the authentic look and feel of real hardwood grains. The result was Cali Vinyl. The collection includes imagery for three of Cali Bamboo’s most popular solid bamboo floors—Java, Antique Java and Natural. A specialized quality control process ensures all Cali Vinyl styles include twice the number of unique planks.
Lineate by Durkan, one of Mohawk’s latest enhanced resilient tile collections, drew inspiration from two of the hottest trends in surface visuals: ombre/gradient and striated textile looks. “The color ebbs and flows across the plank to give the illusion of depth on a flat surface,” Mohawk’s Schofield said. “Lineate’s loose-lay construction allows for quick installation and immediate occupancy.”
Schofield said the designation of LVT as a product category is falling away at Mohawk and being replaced by ERT (enhanced resilient tile) “because we believe that all Mohawk products are all enhanced in some way.”
Armstrong’s newest commercial LVT collection, Natural Creations with Diamond 10 technology, promises a longer life cycle that translates to fewer replacement costs thanks to its scuff and stain resistance. New Natural Creations offerings for 2017 include Spettro and Mixer. Spettro captures the textural and visual softness of carpet, while Mixer offers a palette of colors. Both feature Diamond 10 technology.
On May 6th, 2017, We will be having our Grand Opening at 5530 State Rd 50 Delavan,WI Midlakes Village shopping plaza. We will be showing New products,Design tips, Food, Giveaways also you may stop in anytime to enter for a chance to win Tim McGraw and Faith Hill tickets! Drawing will be at 11am and you must be present to win! Stop in and see the Gorgeous New Store. 9am to 3pm
One of the many reasons LVT has established itself as the industry’s fastest growing category is its versatility. Not only can it be produced in several different formats and designs, its different installation options of dry back, loose lay and click provide a solution for any need. Industry insiders told FCW that the versatility of loose lay LVT is one reason consumers are gravitating toward the subcategory.
Emil Mellow, vice president of marketing for Karndean Designflooring, touted that few, if any, products can match loose lay LVT’s ability to handle the potential challenges of such a wide variety of interior environments.
“From imperfect subfloors to rooms where humidity is a factor, loose lay is the ideal flooring solution. Our own Karndean LooseLay has been used in spaces such as basketball courts and gyms,” he said. “Karndean LooseLay crosses over into every segment of our business. It’s suitable for nearly every room in a home, in addition to commercial settings, such as corporate, hospitality, retail, education, multifamily and healthcare.”
Armstrong’s vice president of resilient product management Jamey Block explained that when it comes to installation, the company has seen success with its proprietary easy-to-install structures — including Luxe Plank with FasTak.
John Wu, president and CEO of Novalis, explained that as long as the environment has a smooth subfloor, loose lay LVT can simply be dropped down tile by tile or plank by plank for a complete installation.
“If you want extra security, you can perimeter glue or tape the installation. Loose lay LVT is uniquely constructed with a thick glass fiber layer that makes each individual tile dimensionally extra-stable and temperature resistant to minimize expansion and contraction,” Wu explained.
However, he noted that environments with uneven subfloors are not suitable for loose lay LVT if it is not properly patched and fixed.
“In those cases, we would recommend using a rigid core product such as our NovaCore HPC,” Wu said.
Mellow noted that although loose lay LVT offers a faster and easier installation process, subfloor preparation is paramount to the success of the finished result.
“We recommend that consumers use professional installers to ensure that the subfloor is properly prepared for the floor covering,” he said. “Their experience with a variety of factors, such as relative humidity, underlayments and uneven surfaces, is a critical piece to any successful installation.”
For Novalis, supplying a large variety of LVT, including glue-down, click, rigid core and loose lay LVT, is important to serve the residential, light commercial and full commercial markets properly.
“Loose lay LVT still represents a small portion of our total LVT business. However, it is on the very high end of the spectrum and is growing very rapidly,” Wu at Novalis noted. “We foresee loose lay LVT representing 20 percent of our total LVT portfolio within three years.”
While loose lay LVT is not new to the product category, Wu explained that it is a very difficult product to manufacture well.
“There is a growing acceptance of this product by end users, contractors and installers, because they are all seeing the benefits of fast installation and easy repair and replacement. Just lift one up and put one down,” he said.
Novalis’ loose lay LVT collection was chosen for Magnum Ice Cream’s movable “pleasure stores” in China. According to Wu, loose lay was selected as the flooring choice because it’s durable, easy to maintain, looks great and can be reused easily over and over.
For Karndean, loose lay LVT is a rapidly growing segment because of the versatility and cost savings that it offers to both residential and commercial customers.
“It provides all the beauty and easy maintenance of glue down products, but in the easiest and fastest installation format available. It checks off all the boxes,” explained Mellow. “[Karndean’s] LooseLay is durable, waterproof, kid-friendly, pet-friendly, soft underfoot, easy to repair, compatible with underfloor heating, and has enhanced acoustical benefits. For commercial customers, especially store owners, the faster installation means minimal downtime for the business — this is a tremendous advantage.”
Nationwide housing starts rose 4.8 percent in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.19 million units, according to newly released data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Commerce Department. Overall permit issuance increased 1.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.15 million.
“This month’s uptick in production is an indicator that the housing market continues to move forward,” said NAHB chairman Ed Brady. “At the same time, builders are adding inventory at a cautious pace as they face lot shortages and regulatory hurdles.”
Single-family housing starts rose 4.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 778,000 units in June while multifamily production ticked up 5.4 percent to 411,000 units.
Regionally in June, combined single- and multifamily starts increased in the Northeast and West, with respective gains of 46.3 percent and 17.4 percent. The Midwest registered a 5.2 percent loss and the South fell 3.4 percent. However, single-family production rose in all four regions.
“The June report is consistent with our forecast for a gradual but consistent recovery of the housing market,” said NAHB chief economist Robert Dietz. “Single-family production should continue to strengthen throughout the year, buoyed by job growth, new household formations and low mortgage interest rates.”
Both sectors posted permit gains. Single-family permits edged up 1 percent to a rate of 738,000 while multifamily permits rose 2.5 percent to 415,000.
Permit issuance increased 9.4 percent in the Northeast and 8.3 percent in the South. Meanwhile, the Midwest and West registered respective losses of 2.8 percent and 10.1 percent.
Courtesy of: www.floorcoveringweekly.com
No Competition Between Luxury Vinyl Flooring vs. Ceramic
The comparison of vinyl tile vs. ceramic tile represents yet another instance of luxury vinyl flooring’s ability to masterfully replicate the look of any other flooring system and improve on it. As the technology behind luxury vinyl flooring develops, it becomes less and less distinguishable from the real product. And often, luxury vinyl tile offers more attractive qualities than the real thing.
So, can LVT stand up to a time-tested flooring solution like ceramic? Absolutely.
To best illustrate the comparable characteristics of luxury vinyl tile vs. ceramic tile, let’s break flooring down into five quantifiable qualities: Look & Style, Durability & Stability, Environmental Impact, Applications, and Cost.
Look & Style
Ceramic floors last forever. While that may sound like a selling point, as a fashion-conscious designer, you may see the flaw. Fashion changes quickly. However, if you have ceramic floors, changing with fashion just isn’t an option. Ceramic flooring is expensive, messy, and time-consuming to install and remove. Conversely, luxury vinyl flooring is extremely easy to install and reinstall. And with a vast selection of looks and styles, LVT is limitlessly customizable.
As for ceramic, customizing, while possible, can easily become wasteful and expensive. Cutting ceramic tiles requires expensive tools and skills—that means costly hours for professionals. Luxury vinyl flooring, on the other hand, can be cut easily with a straight edge and utility knife. Any number of designs are possible with a well-thought floor plan and a sharp blade.
- Ceramic floors last forever, but fashion and design trends change quickly; ceramic flooring is expensive, messy and time-consuming to install and remove.
LUXURY VINYL TILE
- Vast selection of designs and styles, LVT is limitlessly customizable.
- Luxury vinyl flooring is extremely easy to install and reinstall with changing trends.
Durability & Stability
Before discussing the durability and stability of luxury vinyl tile vs. ceramic tile, we should define the terms, as they seem similar.
Durability: Hardness of the flooring—especially its topmost wear layer. The more durable a flooring solution is, the more use it can take.
Stability: Governed by the thickness of the whole and/or makeup of layers and quality of materials. Stable flooring material holds its shape and size against moisture and/or climatic changes.
Yes, ceramic, if taken care of, will last forever. However, in the all too common event that it is damaged—ceramic is quite a hassle to repair. Although ceramic is a hard, durable material, many circumstances can cause significant damage. If tiles are not installed correctly (i.e. improperly set mortar or incorrect grouting) the grouting will fail, the tiles will separate, come loose, and crack.
Ceramic’s strongest characteristic in this section is in its stability. Moisture and environmental changes will not affect the flooring. It will not expand or contract. However, the stability of ceramic is also its main crux. Because there is no flex or give in ceramic flooring, it is far more prone to cracks and other damages than luxury vinyl flooring. While LVT is extremely hard and durable—well-suited for heavy commercial use—it has a degree of flex. This flex allows it to absorb and dissipate the force from some dropped heavy object. Ceramic simply relies on being hard enough and installed properly. However, this is not always the case.
- Ceramic’s strongest characteristic is in its stability.
- No flex or give in ceramic flooring, far more prone to cracks and other damage.
LUXURY VINYL TILE
- LVT has an extremely durable wear layer and is less prone to cracking and breaking.
- Has a degree of that absorbs and dissipates the force from heavy objects.
The impact of luxury vinyl tile vs. ceramic tile comes down to their lifecycles. The argument is simple. Because of the method used to remove ceramic tiles (smashing into pieces) this type of flooring is not recyclable. To reuse the ceramic, every speck of mortar would need to be removed—a process not worth anyone’s time. And even then, you are left with broken bits good only for fill. So ceramic is usually just thrown into a landfill. In addition, the removal of ceramic tile directly impacts the environment of the area in which it was laid. Thick clouds of toxic dust are harmful to breath and nearly impossible to prevent.
Luxury vinyl tiles are both recyclable and made from recycled material. In addition, luxury vinyl made by Parterre uses one of the most abundant materials on earth as the main ingredient: salt. In using salt, Parterre reduces ecological impact tremendously making our LVT a green choice.
- Ceramic is not recyclable, it is usually just thrown into a landfill.
LUXURY VINYL TILE
- Parterre LVT is made from 45% recycled material and is 100% recyclable.
In the likely event that a ceramic tile becomes compromised, action must be taken right away. Jagged edges threaten trips or cuts and allow moisture and other foreign material to move under and between tiles. But the cons to ceramic application do not end here.
Anyone who has ever installed or removed ceramic knows how amazingly messy it is. No amount of plastic, fans or precautions will stop the dust from penetrating every inch of a work zone. Extremely fine dust particles are created during the average project—material that makes its way into cabinets, on top of and under appliances or equipment and anywhere else you can imagine. The removal and installation takes days, but the clean up can take weeks. Even minor, one or two tile replacements require large hammers, chisels or power tools and the complicated mixing of and setting mortar and grout. A job of this magnitude would certainly hinder the use of any commercial space.
Luxury vinyl tile is exactly the opposite. Installing LVT is a simple process that requires little more than a straight edge and a utility knife. Your professional installers will have no trouble quickly and efficiently installing the flooring.
As for luxury vinyl tile flooring vs. ceramic tile functional application, there is also little competition. Whether in a high-traffic commercial setting, in-home and high moisture, sports flooring or healthcare space luxury vinyl tile performs perfectly. It is not loud or uncomfortable to walk unlike ceramic and has all the style you may be looking for in hassle-laden alternative. While ceramic can be used in some of the same applications as LVT like high moisture and in-home settings (although ceramic is quite slippery when wet), luxury vinyl tile offers a much higher value. Ease of installation, removal, and repair, easy groutless cleaning, lower cost, more reliable durability and a wider range of looks and design options are just a few of LVT pros that ceramic simply doesn’t offer.
- Ceramic is limited by its installation, removal, customization costs and time.
LUXURY VINYL TILE
- Ease of installation, removal and repair.
- More reliable durability and a wider range of looks and design options.
The prices of luxury vinyl tile flooring vs. ceramic tile are comparable at some levels and quite unequal at others. Depending on the size, color and quality of the tiles, ceramic falls within and far above the price of LVT.
With such high prices, you could say designers are buying ceramic for the high-end look and longevity. However, with the amazing photographic technology and durable wear layer texture printing available to luxury vinyl tile makers, LVT is nearly indistinguishable from the real thing and stands up to time as well.
- Depending on the size, color and quality of the tiles, ceramic falls within and far above the price of LVT.
LUXURY VINYL TILE
- LVT is not only less expensive than ceramic, it offers a much higher value.
Courtsey of: parterreflooring.com
Daltile, with the acquisition in 2013 of Italy’s Marazzi Group, is the world’s largest ceramic flooring company, manufacturing and distributing ceramic and porcelain tiles and natural stone products to the global market. Industries, Inc., Daltile manufactures plant based flooring in the USA, Mexico, Spain, France, Italy, Russia and China.
Together with its parent company, Mohawk Industries, Inc., Daltile manufactures floor coverings from plants based in the USA, Mexico, Spain, France, Italy, Russia and China. Importing raw materials and finished product from over 25 countries and exporting finished products to end customers around the world, Daltile’s relationship with Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A. (MSC) has enabled the company to manage a global supply chain with precision and achieve increased efficiencies and flexibility in origin countries and ports.
Mark Widner, Director of Transportation and Customs at Daltile, commented, “In a world where so much of business is moving towards a faceless information or margin-focused approach, it’s refreshing to do business with a company that still values traditional interactions.” He continued, “MSC has helped us maintain consistency in our supply chain in service, cost and equipment availability. Through the tireless support of Mr. Formisano, Rosalie Jimenez and their team, they’ve helped us maintain our dominant position in the stone export market in Brazil, in addition to the sizeable business we do from many other markets where MSC dominates.”
One of the largest exporters of stone slab from Brazil, in the past Daltile has faced difficulties securing equipment or vessel space from this origin. MSC has enabled Daltile to overcome these challenges on an ongoing basis through its regular reliable service out of Vitoria, Brazil. Through offering consistent support, the MSC team has maintained open communication with Daltile regarding vessel space and equipment availability from this origin, making it a more straightforward operation.
Mr. Formisano, Senior Vice President at MSC, commented, “We have many customers who tell us they’ve experienced difficulties securing equipment or vessel space out of certain origins. Due to the size and scale of our operations, in most cases we’re able to help our customers find the right solution which helps them overcome their challenges. We’re really pleased to have been able to helpDaltile find a solution which provides them an efficient export process from this origin as part of their global operations.”
Mark Widner concluded, “It’s due to the support from the MSC team that exporting not only from Brazil, but also Med, Asia and many other corners of the globe is a painless experience for us. The relationship between Daltile and MSC has been developing for over a decade – longer than I’ve been at Daltile – but it’s a relationship that has proven itself many times over. We’re very grateful to the team at MSC who have been by our side and supporting our needs for more than ten years.”