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Patterns and Bold Colors Making A Comeback in Carpet

November 21st, 2012| Author:koydol 1 comment

Do you think you’re seeing more patterns and bright colors in carpeting lately? You’d be correct. According to several sources, patterns and vibrant colors have become a hot selling trend in carpet. The Associated Press (AP) reports in September 2011 that “after years of being ripped out and kicked to the curb…carpet is making a comeback and not just in the neutral-toned colors of recent years, but ones that are boldly colored or patterned”.

A senior salesman from a large carpet distributor in Georgia confirmed that his company is selling more patterns, and that there are more patterns being created by manufacturers for sale to both the residential and commercial worlds. He estimates that there has been 25-35% increase in new offerings in the last two years. “It’s as much patterned carpet as I’ve ever seen in my lifetime” he remarked. “I think people are beginning to see the appeal of patterns and how they can lend themselves to many possibilities”. He thinks some of the increase in pattern sales is tied to the strong sales of frieze carpet in the last four years (frieze is a cut pile rug with twisted, short fibers).

While hardwood or tile can be great for entryways or other high traffic areas, “some rooms cry out for carpeting” said Eric Ross, an interior designer in Franklin, Tennessee. “Carpet is really trending up…You’re going to see more of it.” he said. Manufacturers have responded by creating carpets with rich colors, patterns and textures designed to be a focal point, rather than just a muted backdrop, AP notes.

Another indicator is the trending experts. One respected prognosticator, Shelley Pond, Creative Director of Opus Scarlett, has written: “A vast meeting of minds is occurring, a solidarity which could reshape our world. Standing together, embracing a world community…We arrive at the Spring/Summer 2012 season looking at things from a different perspective, a new stand point of positivity and determination to set things right. A global re-boot!”

Pond further elaborates by stating “the styles for the upcoming seasons will be seductively sensorial; sound waves of patterns, high pitched colors, sharp fractured shapes. A season of change, chaos, contradictions; products that soothe us, schemes that shake us up, patterns that reassure us, colors that alarm us”.

Carpet seems to be reflecting the world. Stay tuned.

Carpet is Getting Greener (Really)

December 13th, 2011| Author:koydol 4 comments

There’s good news for the planet when it comes to carpeting. The way carpet is processed and the materials that go into it are cleaner than they were a decade ago. However “going green” is serious work. “It’s a commitment to a total review of the product and how it is manufactured” according to Home Improvement Madison (HIM), an independent information service.

“Although it is easy to say you are green, it’s not easy to actually be green. You just can’t snap your fingers and, voila, you are green” notes HIM. “The carpeting industry as a whole is following a green track. It is putting into place a foundation for even larger steps in the future. You can see that in every area—manufacturing, distribution and disposal”. Some have termed this the “green ripple effect”. Sierra Club even agrees: “The industry has cleaned up; products are healthier,” it says in a 2009 report. And that’s important because…(drum roll, please) carpet accounts for roughly half of all flooring sales worldwide for the past 40 years!

Improvements in Carpet Processing Around the World: Something to Cheer About

In Canada: Since 2008, PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) are not allowed to be used in manufacturing, and their import, sale and use are prohibited by the Canadian government. PBDEs are often present in flame retardants that are applied to carpet fibers, backing and pads. A growing body of research in laboratory animals has linked PBDE exposure to an array of adverse health effects including thyroid disruption, learning issues, and behavioral changes.

In Belgium: Carpets have been created there since the middle ages and they’ve always been concerned about what this does to the water. Belgium has some of the toughest requirements on what containments can be released into the ground. Also, Belgium has the distinction of having the first solar-powered carpet factory. Recently built by Balta Industries, this 88,000 square meter facility is dedicated to fabricating broadloom carpet.

In Australia: Inspired by founder Ray Anderson (author of Mid-Course Correction), InterfaceFlor Australia is a good model for how carpet manufacturers can save money and reduce their carbon footprint. InterfaceFlor Australia decided that they would be totally responsible for all the waste associated with their products. Rob Coombs, InterfaceFlor’s Asia-Pacific president, says that being green has increased the company’s international and Australian profits. Since 1994, when it began to address the sustainability question, the company has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 24%; reduced energy consumption by 56% and cut water intake by 48%. These measures have saved $40 million in Australia and $400 million globally.

In a future article: An update on the various “green” aspects of carpet itself

Health is Front and Center in Commercial Flooring Choices

November 2nd, 2011| Author:koydol 11 comments

Human health concerns are becoming more important in commercial builds. Surfaces which are easy to clean are being considered over the appearance of a facility. For example, flooring such as sheet vinyl, bamboo, cork, and wood are being selected for the very reason that debris is easily observed on them, making removal of it efficient. Flooring that “shows” the allergens, such as dust and animal dander, is a becoming fashionable. The old notions that dirt must be “hidden” by putting in dark colors, etc., are giving way to that fact that serious and chronic health issues, such as allergies or “sick building syndrome”, must be addressed in new construction or in renovations to existing facilities.

Europeans Help to Drive Innovations in Global Flooring: Laminate Sales Up

October 26th, 2011| Author:koydol 7 comments

The world’s top manufacturers of flooring have begun to offer a better quality product in laminate. Since 2009, 11 of the top 25 have introduced several new laminate floors that feature glueless options, lower moisture, and improved recycled materials according to Global News, Inc. Nine of these manufacturers are European, the other 2 are American. This fact is not a surprise to those who follow the flooring industry, as generally Europe has often blazed the way in terms of new approaches and design trends.

“Europeans are flexible,” says Rachel Faraday of The Flooring Support Center located in Florida. “Maybe it’s because they have so many different cultures residing together on the European continent, or the fact there is a huge number of political parties, even in one small European country and those in power come and go so fast. I don’t know what it is exactly, but Europeans like to change their flooring more than Americans”.

Laminate flooring originated in Europe, in Sweden, in the 70’s, by a company called Perstop. Actually the company has been making laminate surfaces since 1923, but only created a commercial flooring product for sale to the public in 1984. The method used to produce laminate is called “lamination”–a fusing together of various materials that results in a highly durable material. Laminate flooring was not sold in America until 1994, 10 years after it first appeared in Europe, says NALFA (North American Laminate Flooring Association). During the initial years, laminate floors were not of a particularly high quality, but continuous development and research has produced a more robust product. Today laminate is one of the most popular floorings installed and fabricated in several countries around the world.

Recently, Europe’s laminate floor producers had their second best year ever, in 2010, with sales of 479 million square meters according to Lesprom, a membership organization of over 50,000 worldwide that follows the timber-industry and related goods. In Western Europe, sales in core markets remained stable, while in Eastern Europe, sales of laminate jumped, making it one for the record books. 104 million square meters were sold in Eastern European countries, with Poland coming in at the top spot with 28 million square meters of laminate purchased, and Russia following close behind. During the same time period, North America purchased 41 million square meters and South America bought 18 million square meters of laminate flooring.

Note: 1 meter is 3.28 feet or 39.37 inches long.

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