Today’s consumers are looking to create homes that feel truly “them,” with special design touches that are unique or unexpected. When it comes to walls, that can often mean accent paint colors or wallpaper.
Today’s consumers are looking to create homes that feel truly “them,” with special design touches that are unique or unexpected. When it comes to walls, that can often mean accent paint colors or wallpaper. But in recent years, more customers have taken to installing flooring products to match existing décor, to bring a touch of texture or simply to add a pop of color to their living space.
Flooring that is rated for wall installation can be anything from tradition-al options like tile to hardwood, laminate and vinyl options. For example, Shaw Floors offers a variety of formats, said Chris Mason, hard surface and wall category manager for Shaw Residential, which includes Shaw Floors, Coretec and Anderson Tuftex (AT).
“Shaw’s residential product portfolio offers a wide variety of products suit-ed for wall installation, including tile and stone, hardwood, laminate and select LVT (luxury vinyl tile) styles from brands our customers love and trust, like Anderson Tuftex, Coretec and Shaw Floors.” Coretec is the latest addition with its recent announcement of a new wall product, Coretec Walls.
In order to install product on the wall, it must meet certain requirements, but those requirements vary from format to format, Mason add-ed. “Some products, like hardwood and laminate, are limited to walls smaller than 10´≈ 40´ due to weight restrictions, but mosaics and most LVT products are warranted for larger surface areas on the wall. In some cases, checking with local laws or ordinances is also required.” He also noted that Shaw has quality and technical teams to ensure it is providing the most beautiful and durable products possible to the consumer.
I4F does not make its own wall products, but it does license technology to help install any material on the wall in 3D designs which, according to the company, are countless. Matthieu Dekens, COO for the company, said in order to be installed on a wall, materials need to be both fire and water resistant, the latter allowing them to be installed in bathrooms and other such water-prone areas.
Verçade Wall Fashion is Metroflor’s wall installation product. Made specifically for installation on the wall, it is a lighter version of the company’s Isocore WPC, but still maintains the product’s rigidity, dimensional stability and water-proof capability. Said Gary Keeble, vice president of marketing for Metroflor Corp., “Verçade products have a much thinner wearlayer because its vertical position doesn’t need to withstand foot traffic. But like a lot of our flooring products, it has the Ultra-Fresh antimicrobial treatment built into the ceramic bead finish. This is especially useful for home-owners with small children who are prone to rub their hands on the walls.”
As well, Keeble explained, “Verçade features popular woodgrain from rustic and clean tight grains to trending cerused looks that highlight the grain against the heartwood for a high-contrast appearance, in 18 plank designs measuring 6˝≈ 48˝. The six tile designs are in the popular and versatile 12˝≈ 24˝ format.” In both plank and tile, the product features pillowed edges to aid in the realism of the design, he added.
And because the formats that can be installed on the wall are so varied, so too are the design capabilities. For AHF, designs span matte textures to handscraped or wire-brushed visuals. “While it’s what most consumers want on the floor, when applied to the wall as an accent piece, it creates a true, bespoke work of art. It’s a wonderful design option for the DIY consumer who wants a one of a kind look in their home,” said director of design for AHF Products Sara Babinski.
Making flooring that is able to be installed on walls is a smart business choice because it increases margins without much effort. “Retailers al-ready are in the flooring business; no need to invest in different products or more inventory. It opens new opportunities to sell more products and become an even more valuable resource to customers,” said Babinski. In addition, it helps create differentiation in commercial environments, she said, noting, “Flooring on walls is increasingly popular in commercial and Main Street applications, driving the residential trend.”
Agreed Mason, “Retailers should take advantage of any and every opportunity to upsell the consumer and position themselves as design and/or flooring experts. Showing consumers how to use LVT as a cost-effective feature wall for a home office or how to pair the perfect accent tile with their new or existing floor helps give consumers the confidence they need before committing to purchase.” He advised now is the time to be “innovative and bullish” in the home improvement sector.
On the retail sales floor, I4F’s Dek-ens noted, “We need to remember that when consumers choose their walls they often match their walls to their floors (specifically in bathrooms and kitchens).” Because this is often the case with ceramic tile, we should ex-pand to offering vinyl for the walls as well, Dekens said.
“Incremental sales are the motivating factor for retailers adding wall fashion to their product offering. Whether for statement walls or accenting particular areas, typically the consumer will not be doing an entire room, so it’s an unplanned, relatively inexpensive purchase that a consumer may make,” added Keeble.