May 15th, 2013

There have been some interesting trends in the world of flooring over the last year. Some of the most notable advances have been in the ease of maintenance and installation.

Oiled Wood Floors
The realm of “what’s old is new again” can be seen in the development of oiled wood flooring. In this country, we decided to put the hardest finishes we could find on the surfaces of wood floors. These finishes protect the floor by forming a wear layer, in effect a plastic-type film on the surface of the floor. They scratch and get dull over time and cannot be spot repaired. A costly recoating of the entire floor is necessary every so often for complete rejuvenation. An oil finish, on the other hand, penetrates the wood fibers to harden them, while not altering the natural beauty of the wood. With no visual film on the surface, oiled floors are distinguishable by their elegant patina. They are easy to care for and are repairable. An oiled floor never needs to be sanded — only regular applications of maintenance oil is necessary to nourish the wood and bring back the floor’s original luster.

65CastleFloor

USFloors Castle “Combe” flooring.

Green It
Green offerings have also seen advances. Teragren offers strand bamboo with Xcora™ technology, which is manufactured under a process that fuses bamboo fibers with an environmentally safe adhesive under extreme pressure to form homogenous, high-density sheets. The sheets are sliced and milled into flooring planks. As a result, Synergy® with Xcora™ technology is 154% harder than red oak. Strand bamboo, which is close to impossible to nail, now comes in a drop and lock floating version.

US Floors has come out with a cork flooring in an even easier “5G” click together system. Basic 5G locking systems lock the floor panel both vertically and horizontally and enable fast installation in a single motion; the panel is just folded down and no additional angle or snapping movement is necessary.

US Floors will be updating their New Dimensions Natural Cork collection, introducing digitally enhanced cork flooring that uses high definition optics to produce amazing images. The images will be printed directly onto the cork substrate and will provide the look of marble and travertine tile. This will give all the benefits of cork with many design choices. Wicanders is reportedly coming out with similar cork floor technology.

Vinyl Sheet and Tiles
Another recent advancement is luxury vinyl tiles. In the past, vinyl tiles needed to be glued down; now they come in the popular easy-to-install click format. Vinyl tile flooring is now more stylish than ever. The tiles are available in a variety of patterns, colors, and styles that closely resemble natural products like wood, stone, and ceramic tile. All the products I’ve seen lately have been commercially rated and could be flooded without damage.

Another vinyl product grouping that is growing in popularity is a sheet vinyl called Fiber Floor® by Tarkett. Fiber flooring is designed with woven fiberglass, foam and tough, resilient wear layers that stand up to real-life water, moisture, scuffs, scratches, and indentations. The flooring is hypoallergenic and certified asthma and allergy friendly. It comes in either 12’ or 13’2” wide rolls. You can glue it down, but most people just cut it to size and roll it out. You have to leave a small expansion gap around the perimeter, but that’s about it.

Carpet Tiles
The biggest development in carpet has been the explosion of carpet tiles, in both style and choice. In the past, carpet tiles were fairly expensive and not all that attractive (think hotel hallways). Costs have come down and the new designs are very fashion forward.

The advantage of tiles to the homeowner is multifaceted. First of all, carpet tiles can be installed by homeowners, while wall to wall carpet, most of the time, has to be installed by a carpet installer. Second, good portions of the carpet tiles on the market are commercially rated, so they are remarkably tough. But if you do manage to stain or damage a tile, you simply lift and replace it (provided that pressure sensitive adhesive is used). Another nice aspect is that many of the products contain recycled material and can also be recycled.

More about John Hill
 

May 3rd, 2013

“Translucent, see-through colors are big these days, milky greens and frosted blues showing up on everything from desk accessories to kitchen appliances. How do you achieve that luminous color effect on a larger scale? Simple. Pick a lighter shade of your chosen green or blue as a base coat to paint on the wall. Then glaze over it with a slightly darker shade, mixed with Benjamin Moore’s® Glazing Liquid—for a more translucent look, use more glazing liquid; for a more opaque effect, use less. Dab or blot off the excess with cheesecloth or sponges. The light undercoat showing through creates a luminous, glowing effect that’s appealing and contemporary. “

May 3rd, 2013

DALTON—For the last three years, four if you count 2011, Shaw Industries and HGTV have had an ever-building partnership as the manufacturer has been the exclusive flooring provider for the HGTV Green Home giveaway. That relationship took a big leap forward with the announcement of a co-branded, exclusive flooring collection labeled “HGTV-Home Flooring by Shaw.”

The licensing partnership includes all types of flooring— carpet, hardwood, laminate and area rugs. Not surprisingly, it will comprise green choices in each category including Shaw’s Anso nylon and Epic hardwood products.

Along with products, Shaw will introduce a full marketing program in support of the launch. HGTV will also execute advertising and public relations activities to support the program.

Kathy Young, Shaw’s director of marketing, said the HGTV line, which will be available this spring, will be offered to Shaw retailers who meet the predetermined qualifications to be an HGTV dealer, saying the two companies “worked closely together on developing the line. The program took about over a year to complete.”

Randy Merritt, Shaw’s president, added, “A co-branded product line that incorporates the popularity and credibility of HGTV presents retailers a differentiated offering and consumers a very attractive buying choice. This is the most exciting launch our industry has seen in years, and it will be a real game changer for specialty retailers.”

Young pointed out the reasons behind Merritt’s enthusiasm. “HGTV is an exciting, established consumer brand with instant recognition and credibility with end users. HGTV is America’s leader in home and lifestyle programming, and is distributed to more than 99 million households across the U.S. and is one of cable’s top-rated networks.”

Beyond its TV presence, she point to its website, HGTV.com, as being the nation’s leading online home-and-garden destination that attracts an average of four million unique visitors per month. “That’s why Shaw is thrilled to partner with HGTV and [give] retailers a premier brand to feature in their stores.”

Ron Feinbaum, senior vice president and general manager of consumer products for HGTV, added, “Consumers trust HGTV to help them make informed decisions for the home. The HGTV Home [brand] is all about creating smart and stylish products based on our years of experience informing and inspiring consumers both on-air and online. Marrying the HGTV know-how with the great HGTV Home flooring products produced by Shaw, we’ll help consumers better navigate the flooring purchase process.”

When it comes to the initial offering, Young said more details will be announced in the coming weeks, but she told FCNews it is a limited, but complete collection of products. “Our goal, backed by consumer research, was to offer consumers enough product to select from with a variety of choices without being overwhelming. It is easy to give a consumer too many choices which can cause confusion and frustration. We wanted to offer the best-of-the-best products in each category.”

Young said the HGTV Home flooring line is more than a collection of products, rather a complete program that includes merchandising and marketing.

For instance, the HGTV collection will be showcased in its own display system “but has the versatility to be grouped as a boutique or integrated within categories,” she explained, adding for dealers who carry the Kathy Ireland flooring by Shaw, “both collections are designed to live together on the retailer’s floor.”

To support the comprehensive program, Young said Shaw will introduce a dealer toolkit with a variety of marketing materials from local advertisings, to “cutting-edge interactive offerings.” Additionally, the mill will be supporting the program through national advertising and public relations that begin in the summer, including television and online ads as well as social media outreach.

By cutting edge, she explained, the HGTV brand “will be integrated in a powerful way on Shawfloors.com and in the Shaw Web Studio offerings for retailers. Additionally, Shaw will launch an HGTV Home Flooring by Shaw microsite with exciting features including a space for consumers to upload photos of their new flooring.”

Young added, more interactive offerings will be launched later as well. “Shaw designers, with input from the HGTV team, are currently solidifying program details.”

The HGTV Home-Flooring by Shaw collection is not the first co-branded line of products for the cable network. In mid 2009, HGTV contracted with a branding firm to create a strategic brand extension into licensed home and garden products.

The first products from this effort were announced early last year and included fashion bedding and window treatments by Victoria Classics, utility bedding by Natura World and select bathroom accessories by Ginsey Home Solutions.

At the time, Feinbaum said, “These strategic partnerships will help drive future growth for the HGTV brand in the home and garden space.”

He also explained the network’s strategy behind the licensing effort. “By providing consumers with smart solutions backed by education and design inspiration, HGTV Home products will help deepen the loyal relationship HGTV has with its viewers.”

The HGTV Home line of products, Feinbaum added, is designed to be both functional and stylish, providing consumers with the right blend of form and innovation with an aesthetic that is rooted in great design and aligned with current marketplace trends.

May 3rd, 2013

For as long as Shaw Industries has been in business, the tenets of sustainability and continuous improvement have been part of our DNA. In fact, virtually all our capital investments are driven by a commitment to “Sustainability Through Innovation” and a corresponding belief that sustainability fundamentals provide a business model which drives our corporate performance, growth and productivity.

While not all our sustainability projects require major capital expenditures, in the past three to four years alone, we’ve invested over $100 million in unique recycling, reclamation and alternative energy projects all contributing to Shaw’s success.

As is widely known, more than 5 billion pounds of carpet are sent to U.S. landfills each year and, as the world’s largest carpet manufacturer, we feel a strong sense of responsibility to help decrease—and one day eliminate— this number.

That said, in addition to designing and manufacturing cradle-to-cradle products that can be recycled back into themselves at the end of their useful lives, Shaw also operates the largest postconsumer carpet reclamation and recycling program in the world.

This multi-faceted program is accessible to both commercial and residential customers and integrates a broad network of partners who regionally collect used carpet, then transfer the material to Shaw facilities where it can be recycled or repurposed.

For example, carpets made with type 6 nylon can be recycled at Shaw’s Evergreen Facility in Augusta, Ga. This unique plant employs a sophisticated depolymerization process that converts type 6 nylon into its chemical building block, caprolactam. This monomer is then converted back into new nylon and used to produce residential and commercial carpets.

Since 2007, we have recycled more than 300 million pounds of postconsumer carpet at this facility.

Shaw has learned a great deal through the various sustainability initiatives and established specific corporate objectives that are measured and updated on an annual basis. For instance, Shaw has established the following long-term goals for energy, water, landfill waste, safety and green house gas emissions:

• Reduce our energy intensity by 25% by 2017 using 2007 as a baseline—a goal created in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy Save Energy Now Leader program.
• In addition to the significant reductions made in water consumption since 1999, we will further reduce our water intensity by 25% by year end 2010 and by 40% in 2016 using year end 2006 as a baseline.
• Reduce waste to landfill by 90% prior to year end 2011 using 2008 as a baseline.
• Having a target OSHA incidence rate of less than 1 by year end 2010.
• Measure and publicly report greenhouse gas emissions as a Founding Reporter of The Climate Registry. Our specific commitment is to achieve a 20% intensity reduction by 2017.

May 3rd, 2013

By John Hill, Ecological Coordinator at Interstate Flooring
Now that the green movement is driving the vast majority of new flooring products toward sustainability, it’s time to discuss the use of floating floors that can be installed over the top of existing floors without adhesive.

Marmoleum Click
There are several ecological advantages to this approach. First, you are not tearing out material and transporting it to a landfill. Second, the lack of adhesive minimizes the possibility of off-gassing into the living area. Third, the majority of areas being replaced are older, traditional dry-backed, glue-down sheet vinyl that makes a strong substrate for these floating floors. The slang term for this type of vinyl is “plastic death,” which is, unfortunately, well deserved, partly because of how it breaks down in a landfill. Finally, all of the floors I discuss in this article can be reused.
The first group of floors is a sheet vinyl product called Fiberfloor. It is similar to old-style vinyl in terms of width and wear layer, but because of a fiberglass backing you do not have to use glue except in larger installations and in stairs. The flooring can be put over most existing floors that are relatively smooth and solid. Popular manufacturers are Tarkett, Flexitec, and Mannington.
A lot of people are familiar with sheet linoleum. This almost always requires a new subfloor, has to be glued down, and requires professional installation. However, there are “click” versions of this flooring that come in 1’ x 3’ panels and 1’ x 1’ tile squares, and both have a cork backing. You simply click it together: no glue, perfect for the DIYer. Marmoleum by Forbo comes in 24 colors that can be mixed and matched to create a design that would be extremely expensive to have a professional installer create.
The newest development is a product called Vinyl Concept by Cork Concepts, which is a solid luxury vinyl tile (LVT) that also comes in a click-together format with a cork underlayment that comes attached. You can install it the same way you would Marmoleum Click. Again, this is good product for DIYers.
One of the newest developments in vinyl is Avaire, an interlocking floating porcelain tile. It lays out in a grid system with no mortar or underlayment needed. You can install and grout it the same day. One study showed it took about a fifth of the time to install Avaire compared to regular ceramic tile.
Last are the “click together” cork products. These are incredibly durable products, sometimes referred to as “hundred-year floors.” Cork is temperature-neutral, so it is never hot or cold to the foot. This type of floor is installed in the same manner as the other click floors and is also naturally resilient and returns to its original form if indented. (Stiletto heels, etc., are excluded.) Some of the better-known brands are WE Cork, Wicanders, US Floors Natural Cork, and APC Cork.
In general these products conform to the strictest indoor air quality standards, and when professionally installed these floors cost less because they are easier and quicker to install. Depending on the situation, if the floor does need to be repaired it will be less expensive and less damaging to do so. Many of these materials are commercially rated, an indication that they are more durable and can be used in wider array of applications.
John Hill is an Ecological Coordinator for Interstate Flooring Co., located at 4075 N Interstate Avenue, Portland, OR 97227. For more information call 503-473-8689 or visit www.interstateflooring.com.

May 3rd, 2013

Good information on sustainability and health issues you should consider when choosing flooring. Check it out!

http://perfectcube.wordpress.com/2009/02/16/sustainable-floors-for-eco-conscious-homes/

May 2nd, 2013

Richard Crimi of Portland writes:

Hi Debbie and John,

The new floors are stunning! The Almada cork is fabulous, I am delighted every time I walk into the house and see it. And the Anso carpet and Valencia pad are wondrous to walk on, what I imagine walking on a cloud is like. Everyone who’s seen them loves it! The crews did a great job.

Thank you both for all your help.

Regards,
Richard Crimi

Almada Cork and Anso Carpet

Almada Cork
Anso Carpet

May 2nd, 2013

We at Interstate Flooring found this very informative article on cork and thought we would share it. It discusses what cork is, its history as an agricultural product, it’s application as a flooring option that combines sustainability with excellent characteristics and much more. If you are considering cork flooring or are simply interested in cork this is a great read. Come on in and see our great selection of cork flooring options and talk to our cork flooring experts!

Here’s the link to the article:

http://www.usfloorsllc.com/products/natural-cork-collection/why-natural-cork

May 2nd, 2013

Need Flooring? Shop Smart!

The world of floor covering and the customers who are shopping for it is evolving at such a rapid rate that it requires a different approach to navigate the retail environment. First, the public is becoming more interested in sustained value than the lowest price possible. That being the case, sales that are not really sales, 70% off prices that aren’t really 70% off, and similar tactics have much less effect on the consumer.

Because of the vast array of products on the market, what people seem to be looking for now is guidance and education. An experienced and knowledgeable flooring specialist should take a more consultative stance with his or her clients, offering expert guidance on the best options to suit their needs and inform them of the positives and negatives of the various products. A good example is bamboo. A premium bamboo will easily last 25 years in a home, but even though it is not a wood, it performs like wood. Basic bamboos have a very pristine appearance, so if a home has children or dogs, bamboo may not look good for very long. Knowing this, many people turn to cork from trusted manufacturers like WE Cork, Natural Cork and Wicanders Cork. Known in the green and sustainable community as “the hundred year floor”, cork is naturally resilient and has a much more intricate look that will hold its appearance much longer.

Homeowners have a similar experience choosing carpet. While many people feel that nylon carpet is more affordable and practical than wool, in many cases, wool, from quality manufacturers like Godfrey Hirst, is the better value and has a much nicer feel underfoot. Whereas entry-level to mid-range nylon will look poor in 5 to 10 years, most wools will hold their appearance 30 years or longer. Generally speaking, wool can cost quite a bit more than the synthetics, but because they last so long they can turn out to be a better buy. Among other things, wool increases indoor air quality, is naturally flame retardant, and has built in resistance to crushing.

For more information, you can call Interstate Flooring Company, located at 4075 North Interstate Ave. in Portland, at 503-473-8689 or visit us online at www.interstateflooring.com. Interstate Flooring offers an extensive variety of green and sustainable products and can help you find a product that will make your life better and that you can enjoy for decades.

John Hill

June 19th, 2012

Soft handed carpets are important to people who spent a lot of time on the floor. Families with young infants crawling around the house and small animals will thank you for this new line from Shaw! There are ten new colors to choose from.


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