At the CCA Global summer convention in Montreal, Piet Dossche, USFloors' president and Shaw's executive vice president of hard surfaces, said that the biggest opportunity for retailers for the next two years will be waterproof polymer core products. In fact, by 2020, the wood polymer composite (WPC) and stone polymer composite (SPC) category will be valued at $2 billion dollars [wholesale], Dossche said.

“This category didn’t exist in 2012,” he said. “By 2020, WPC, SPC will be more than 50% of the market.”

The market has boomed because the products are such problem solvers for consumers. Technology has made the floors waterproof, dimensionally stable and a solution for active lifestyles.

“Consumers have been brainwashed: from now on, floors must be waterproof—just like in the 90s when Scotchguard and Stainmaster came on the scene and carpets became stain resistant.”

He encouraged retailers that it is possible to sell both WPC and solid polymer core SPC products in a profitable way.

“This is a very, very exciting period for us in our industry when you have something new,” Dossche said. “Don't screw it up! Don't break margins on this product. Buy it right and sell it high.”

WPC is a product that provides comfort and sound abatement because of the air pockets. It is best suitable for residential and light commercial applications. SPC, on the other hand, is dense product that provides superior dent resistance, which makes it suitable for high-traffic and commercial applications.

“When a consumer walks into your store and she says, ‘I need a floor for my hair salon because I need a waterproof floor that performs well and all of my customers are coming in on their high heels, and I want my floor to perform, guide her towards SPC,” Dossche said. “If she comes in and says, ‘I have an active household and three kids, and I want a floor that is warm and comfortable, and I have neighbors below me,’ guide her towards WPC because the foam core will provide all of that.”

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