By Sarah Zimmerman
Fueled by the increasing popularity of glueless products across multiple flooring segments, Armstrong is putting its hat in the floating luxury vinyl tile (LVT) arena with Luxe Plank. The product is currently being previewed to distributors and is set for an October launch.
To this point, the category has been owned by Metroflor via brands such as Konecto, StarLoc and M9. Mannington became a player in 2008 with LocNGo. But now Armstrong is seeking to rise to the top of the LVT floating floor hysteria with Luxe Plank.
“We looked closely at competitive products already in the marketplace and made sure to fix existing problems,” explained Yon Hinkle, product manager. “We’re dipping our foot in the water to make sure we do it right. This will be the best-performing and most stylish floating LVT out there.”
Recommending the product for residential and light commercial, Hinkle said one of the keys to Luxe Plank will be its beauty-first position. Donning it the most original looking product on the market, he explained the differentiator: Luxe Plank is developed with a custom approach.
“We make sure unique designs are carried through every product by taking an individual approach to each plank’s styling.” For example, he noted the design team might start with a traditional oak, then add a more rugged embossing with a matte finish versus a semi-gloss visual and microbevel.
“This floor looks great,” agreed Scott Roy, vice president of sales for J.J. Haines & Co., one of the distributors already introduced to the product. “Luxe Plank provides some of the most sought-after wood visuals in the market today. Because of Armstrong’s style leadership with wood, it was able to collect some of the top visuals and include them in the Luxe Plank assortment.”
However, fashion is not the floor’s only innovation, Hinkle noted. “Luxe Plank obviously starts with great design, but also includes Lynx Technology, which is the next generation of floating floors.”
Lynx Technology is a rigid film with sensitive adhesive that grows in bond strength over a period of three days, which not only allows for installation over a variety of subfloors, but also increases the product’s static load strength. And, its thicker top layer/thinner backer combination prevents sagging and vinyl memory.
“You can continue moving the planks until happy with the floor without compromising the integrity of the installation,” Hinkle explained. “This kind of technology leads to installation that performs how it is supposed to, and leaves retailers and end users with a peace of mind that the installation is how it should be—the first time.”
The platform, which can also be applied to other products, increases consistency across the entire Luxe Plank collection— good, better, best— and features increased warranties at every price point. Each box is also packaged with two transition strips to make closet installation, for example, easier. More strips are available upon request.
“The Armstrong Luxe installation system has been well tested and is very easy for the installer with regards to working time and ability to correctly position product so a tight seam is achieved the first time,” Roy stated. “And, certainly the durability appears to be very strong, though we haven’t launched the product yet.” He noted Luxe Plank is recommended for several installations where the competition is not.
“This should be an easy sell to retail partners and end users,” Roy continued. “It offers a value-oriented price point with superior visuals and a possible DIY application. Consumers looking for a great-looking product that is durable and easy to install will find favor in Luxe Plank great.”
Hinkle summed it up: “We and our customers are going to win where it counts—better visuals; better warranties; a thicker top layer; better performance; and easier, more accurate installation. Our partners will be able to sell the visual and performance story with the confidence of a great product.”