Resilient: Where glue down fits in a float-heavy market
By Megan Salzano—TThe booming flooring industry is brimming with high-quality and innovative products aimed at tapping into the unprecedented growth in demand that began in 2020. From rigid core SPC to a resurgence of hardwoods and even laminate and carpet, it seems there is no shortage. of options available to consumers.
In fact, the resilient flooring market once again took the industry by storm as it posted a stunning – and industry-leading – 21.3% sales increase in 2020 over 2019. Most of that growth was felt in the SPC sub-segment of the LVT flooring. category of resilient floors. However, approximately 20% of resilient home sales still remain in the flexible LVT category, including dryback products (glued). And in the commercial market, that number is much higher, with flexible LVT making a whopping 62% of its $1.7 billion in market revenue.
So that begs the question: where does glued-down flooring fit in today’s rigid core-obsessed market and what are the features and benefits that make it a viable flooring option? According to glued LVT/P suppliers, the benefits are countless.
“The two main advantages adhesive offers over interlocking products are design and pattern options and the ability to individually replace damaged pieces without disturbing the surrounding planks or tiles,” explains Jenne Ross, marketing director of Karndean Designflooring. “Consumers can work with their retailer to choose a layout and design that makes the home more stylish and functional, while remaining affordable and faster to install than other types of hard floors.”
David Sheehan, vice president of residential resilient businesses, Mannington Mills, agreed, adding that alternative installation options are also the draw. “Speed of installation or the ability to go over an existing floor are the main advantages of floating floors,” he explains. “That said, the condition of the subfloor can have a big impact on whether it’s appropriate to install a floating floor. Glued/flexible products do not require transition profiles. For these reasons, flexible options are well received in Main Street and commercial applications where foot traffic and daily rigors require a higher performing installation. For tile visuals, glued products can be applied with or without a joint.”
There is, of course, the thorny discussion about costs. “Glued LVT offers greater affordability compared to locking systems, making it a more economical choice for placing beautiful designs in multi-family spaces,” explains Dave Thoresen, senior vice president, product and innovation, Armstrong Flooring. “The same goes for Main Street and commercial, where it offers better performance for heavier rolling loads and more foot traffic.”
In retail, many flooring installers prefer the bonding method given their familiarity with this installation option, making it a “safe” choice for floor installers. “The material itself is less expensive and our guys actually enjoy installing it more,” said Jeremy Winges, co-owner of 3 Kings CarpetsPlus, Fort Wayne, Ind.
So, where in the house – or in the office – does LVT shine with glue? “As with any rigid-core HDPC/SPC product, glued/dryback performs well almost anywhere in the home, while excelling in areas prone to moisture and spills, such as undersized kitchens, bathrooms, and basements,” explains Steve Wagner, director of marketing. , Well made.
When it comes to commercials, Adam Ward, vice president of resilient product management at Mohawk, noted that adhesive LVT/P holds up better in high-traffic areas and places where heavy loads are moved. “In addition, because it is glued, it is also more suitable for larger open spaces than for a floating floor such as SPC/WPC,” he added.
Given the versatility and cost-effectiveness of the product, suppliers agree that bonded floors are an asset to any dealer’s product range. “Glued LVT allows retailers to differentiate and diversify their showroom in a crowded, rigid market and showcase products that are not so easy to buy on the street,” said Karndean’s Ross. That offers more margin options. “Most homeowners are willing to pay a little extra for subfloor preparation if they can have the layout best suited to their home,” she added.
Mannington’s Sheehan noted that consumers don’t really care about the installation method. For her, he noted, color and pattern are the main characteristics, followed by the performance characteristics of the product. “Knowing this, dealers should be excited to offer flexible solutions to meet their customer’s needs.”