The resilient flooring category is on course to have another stellar year of growth, thanks in part to the excitement surrounding WPC and SPC products.
However, some resilient manufacturers say much of the new growth will stem from SPC instead of WPC sales. As WPC gets its own dose of cannibalization, SPC is expected to continue taking market share from just about everywhere and every product category.
“Rigid core is taking share from almost all hard surface sectors,” said Derek Welbourn, CEO, Inhaus. “Its growth is clearly due to it being a great product, but also because it is a great fit for a lot of uses, from commercial to any room in a residential space.”
Isaac Lee-San Leandro, branch manager, Eternity, saw the strength of rigid core firsthand when the company launched its SPC collections. “We were anticipating that it would do very well. However, we did not expect it to grow so rapidly and seize the entire resilient flooring category. It has become the top choice in resilient flooring luring many consumers away from other flooring categories such as carpet, laminate and hardwood mainly because of it being a 100% waterproof product.
Residentially, SPC’s waterproof attributes make it an ideal product for practically every room in the home, manufacturers say. Bedrooms, bathrooms, living rooms, kitchens, basements, laundry rooms, mud rooms, home offices and even gyms are all taking part in the rigid revolution—and for different reasons.
SPC vs. everything else
As the industry’s latest darling product, it is no surprise that SPC is taking market share from almost every flooring category—including other resilient products. The reason, experts say, is because of rigid’s various attributes and visuals.
“Rigid has been impacting products across hard and soft surface,” Mohawk’s Sanchez explained. “For instance, when you think about tile, people are moving toward rigid because of its dent resistance and inability to chip. When you think about wood, those with an active lifestyle are moving toward rigid because of that dent resistance along with its waterproof feature. Rigid delivers embossed-in-register looks that provide more realism—even better than real looks—that attract people who are fashion-conscious and are looking for unique designs.”
The beauty of rigid core, according to Yon Hinkle, director, product design and innovation, Armstrong Flooring, is it combines some of the greatest features from multiple flooring categories. “First, rigid core flooring can bring to life the exacting detail of natural wood looks, and it is built to maintain its beauty—even under high traffic, high moisture and high impact. Second, the construction of rigid core includes a dense, solid core that hides subfloor irregularities and provides superior resistance to indentation, an important consideration to help keep floors looking newer longer. Third, thanks to its dimensional stability, installers do not have to acclimate rigid products in most installations.”
A major reason for rigid core’s success, observers say, is it solves a lot of challenges for the consumer. As CFL’s Baert explained. “It can be installed over most existing floors. It is low maintenance and can be wet-mopped. And, with increasing innovation providing differing widths, lengths, embossed-in-register, etc., consumers can get the look they want at a price they can afford in a product that performs well in the home.”
In terms of tariffs, Denman sees the added cost as a positive. “One of the benefits of the tariffs has been a narrowing of the price gap between imported and domestically produced goods. If we’re honest about it, the single greatest benefit of any of these import products has been price.”
Cali’s Belprez does not believe tariffs will impact the growth of SPC. However, he does see it affecting how products will be sourced. “A product that is predominantly sourced in China will surely drive manufacturers and importers to find partners outside of China,” he explained.
Mannington’s Tuley also sees the tariffs as an issue for companies solely manufacturing in China. “I think U.S. rigid manufacturing will become a premium. We’re excited to be getting into that game as we build our rigid plant in Georgia. And I think the market overall will respond with cost reductions and efficiency improvements to keep the tariff impact to a level where we can continue to show a value with these products above other products.”
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