Lew Migliore, the Industry's Troubleshooter and President of LGM & Associates Technical Flooring Services. LGM specializes in the practice of consulting on and trouble shooting all flooring related complaints, problems, and performance issues having experts in every category as well as related educational services.
Surfaces was a busy place this year for everyone. All the exhibitors I spoke with said the first day alone made the trip worth being there. The floor covering industry is slowly but surely crawling back from the depths of a business downturn the likes of which have not been seen for many years. Attitudes were positive and business was being done.
We had great response to our Floor Covering Inspectors Symposium held on Monday and Tuesday and, according to plan, the attendees spanned flooring dealers, distributors, manufacturer's technical people and inspectors. The first day of the program dealt with soft surface goods; carpet. Chris Davis, President and CEO of the World Floor Covering Association kicked off the program with a presentation with a state of the industry overview. We then covered what's new in the carpet industry relative to consolidation, new technologies in backing and installation, challenges in the marketplace, the downturn of the inspection business and the upturn in the flooring business. We also covered the new S800 Standard and Reference Guide for Carpet Inspection of Textile Floor Covering and how it was linked to the new S600 Installation Guidelines, both of which will be new ANSI standards.
Next we had a presentation on onsite textile and flooring inspections, followed by field and laboratory testing. This last item focused on integrity of the carpet structure, the most common issues, and soiling and staining. We finished up with the art of writing a report, an area so many are challenged with.
The second day, Tuesday, focused on hard surface flooring. Dean Thompson, President of the Resilient Floor Covering Institute discussed the state of the Resilient Flooring Industry. Included were sustainability issues, the increasing strength of resilient flooring including categories of the products.
Substrate and adhesive issues were covered next where new adhesives, changes and challenges were discussed as well as how new adhesive and adhesive systems work, what causes them not to, the appropriate adhesive for the application and the most common adhesive failures and problems. This category of information alone was worth the price of admission as installation failures due to a variety of compromising substrate issues are an epidemic in the industry and grossly misunderstood.
Wood and laminate flooring issues were covered including the types, installation, performance of these products, what makes them fail and what the most common defects and performance complaints and concerns are.
We had an excellent presentation on ceramic, tile and stone issues and problems which is rarely shared with the flooring industry. This is information that could be had nowhere else. Also on this second day of hard surface flooring there was information on vinyl, rubber, and linoleum tile and sheet goods issues. And the last subject was on the cleaning and maintenance of hard surface flooring. One of the comments in writing we received was the following:
"I wanted to take a moment to let you know how much I enjoyed and appreciated the valuable information given at the Floor Covering Inspectors Symposium in Las Vegas. I am not an Inspector, but the information that was discussed was information that all Retailers such as myself should know.
In retail "making the sale" is the driving force behind all of the advertising, marketing and merchandising we do. In reality, as was mentioned several times during the symposium, installation and true product knowledge is where the rubber meets the road in our industry. With all the new installation systems coming out in the near future, it worries me that installation will continue to lose its value to the consumer. With every Big Box and Retail Dealer advertising FREE LABOR and new easier installation systems coming into play, we as an industry cannot afford to allow installation value to erode."
Plan on attending next year when we'll have an even better program already in the works.