Growth ingrained in wood and laminate flooring for foreseeable future

The global wood and laminate flooring market is expected to reach US$92.64 billion by 2020, according to a recent study by Grand View Research. Increasing demand in the new construction and home improvement sectors is expected to be the key driving force for the wood and laminate flooring market over the forecast period, while the volatile prices of wood and other raw materials and the increasing costs of production are expected to challenge growth in the sector.

Concern over environmental impact has considerably affected the market as governments across the world have employed strict laws and regulations against deforestation creating the need to import raw materials which, in turn, affects manufacturers’ profits.

Engineered wooden floors have increased in popularity over the last number of years due to their favourable cost, exclusiveness and dimensional stability. Solid wood is also in demand despite the fact that installation and finishing increases the total time and cost requirements.

In regard to the Irish market, recent statistics have reported a 95% rise in planning applications granted for new dwellings in 2015 compared to 2014. In terms of square footage, the total for planning permission granted on new home dwellings equates to nearly three million square feet, an increase of 57% on 2014. These statistics, coupled with close to 30% of an increase in home completions in the first two months of 2016 point to a robust flooring market (source Department of Environment, based on ESB connections).

Laminate-specific brochure

Whiteriver Group has seen positive sales growth for its flooring ranges in the first quarter of 2016, according to Whiteriver Sales Director, Iain Wogan. He attributes this success to good service along with product training and marketing material. Whiteriver has also published the first laminate-specific brochure to be put on the market place. “Display layout continues to be very important in creating an environment that makes it easy for consumers to make their choices. With many stores now looking at revamping and upgrading their stores, Whiteriver can offer its marketing experience to maximise your store’s display potential with bespoke designs,” said Mr Wogan.

Laminate floors have again performed very well with an increased demand for high quality 10mm/12mm laminates in grades AC4 and AC5. Whiteriver Group has responded to this demand with increased ranges following growing demand for white and grey tones. Whiteriver plans to continue investing in its business and its new website will provide customers with added information and product images. The company also plans to release a new upgraded engineered brochure in June 2016.

Canadia focuses on customer choice

Canadia Flooring seeks to give retail partners a complete range of flooring to ensure that the customer’s need for choice can be satisfied. The company is conscious that consumers are moving away from the basic laminates and are happy to trade up when offered good value and good advice. “We are also seeing real wood winning back market share, particularly in living areas. The warmth and natural feel of wood is preferred in the main living space,” said Charles Hamilton, MD of Canadia Flooring.

Canadia understands that the homeowner wants options, with choices ranging from their Premium Primo natural oiled 10” wide plank floors to an alternative laminate offering.

Diversity in price is a key area of focus for the brand as Canadia realises that consumers may not always have a high price bracket but respect that they want quality with an exclusive look. Therefore, their retail partners can offer an alternative wood or laminate with the same trending style and finish. “Our industry has evolved significantly over the last few years. Trends are changing much more quickly. The homeowner has researched the latest look and wants to see the very latest designs in our Canadia Flooring Centres,” Mr Hamilton concluded.

The new ‘neutral’

Interior design trendsetters have been praising grey as the ‘new neutral’ as it doesn’t overpower other colours which makes it as versatile to work with as natural and beige tones. Grey wood flooring brings out the grain in flooring and the style has become increasingly popular. DS Supplies Ltd has added two grey laminates to its range of Trojan V-Grove AC3 Class laminate flooring, Titanium and Toscana. This laminate flooring is 8mm thick and the overall plank width is 142mm. It comes with a licensed Uniclic locking system which makes it quick and easy to install.

The AC3 Class rating means it is suitable for living areas with intensive use and for commercial areas with light use. The product has a 15-year warranty and the laminate flooring is EU Timber Regulated (EUTR) meaning that under this regulation, any illegally harvested timber or products derived from such timber is prohibited from the EU market. The regulation applies to wood and wood products being placed for the first time on the EU market. “The Trojan V-Grove laminate flooring is resistant to stains and household chemicals, and is impact resistant and non-abrasive. It can also be easily maintained with our Trojan Magi Mop and Spray Cleaner,” a company spokesperson said.

The company also has a floor gloss available which can be applied with a cloth in a thin layer and allowed to dry, it claims, to give an outstanding shine with no buffing required.

Clean up with new Everbuild product

Everbuild, a Sika company, has launched its new product, SikaBond Wood and Laminate Floor Cleaner, a ready-to-use floor cleaner which aims to keep wood and laminate floor in top condition. “As a spray cleaner this product is suitable for use on laminate, wood, ceramic, polished stone and vinyl floors and is ready to use with no need for dilution in just three easy steps,” a company spokesperson said.

“Simply sweep the area, spray SikaBond Wood and Laminate Floor Cleaner directly onto the floor and wipe with a mop or cloth to leave behind a clean and smear free finish.”

This product is available in one-litre spray bottles, with the company stating that the fast acting, acidfree formula of SikaBond Wood and Laminate Floor Cleaner is safe and effective and won’t damage treated wood or glued joints.

Larsen sticks to product promises

Larsen SLC 1550 flex is a renovation product which claims to be fast-drying with a high bond strength and low shrinkage, allowing application of up to 50mm over a wide variety of common surfaces. The company states that every bag contains millions of reinforcing microfibres and, therefore, it can be used on almost any floor with confidence. The product claims to be self-levelling and can also be used on timber floors.

The company recently held a product training day to showcase the types of common materials the product can be used on, how deeply it can be applied and how simple it is to use.

BIG INCREASES IN PLANNED FLOORING

According to planning permission statistics, in the fourth quarter of 2015, the total floor area planned was 1,468,000m2. Of this, 40.9% was for new dwellings, 46.8% was for other new constructions and 12.3% was for extensions. The total floor areas planned increased by 94.7% in comparison with the same quarter in 2014 (754,000m2 in Q4 2014). In the period Jan-Dec 2015, a total of 4,861,000m2 of floor area planned was granted permission, representing an overall increase of 53% on the same period in 2014. (Source: Tegral)