Tarkett's Lisa Farthing (left) and Cari McCanless display a product sample from the Nafco line that is designed to recreate the look of hardwood. The plank format product is included in the company's entensive new product launch.

Although an extensive tour of Tarkett's manufacturing facility in Florence, Ala., revealed no workers chiseling away at wood beams, the company's new line of luxury resilient flooring may have some consumers guessing otherwise. New entries being added to the Nafco from Tarkett collection include what the company touts as the "first hand scraped luxury wood plank visual."

New products baring a remarkably authentic, hand-crafted hardwood look were the highlight of a product introduction held recently at the company's plant in the northern tip of Alabama. In addition to the Hand Scraped Collection, three new products in the plank format are also designed to replicate wood floors: Savannah Oak, Latitudes and Good Living Plank. Rounding out the company's extensive product introductions are marble and slate visuals that have also been crafted to take authenticity a step further.

Company officials at the rollout said Tarkett's ability to advance its resilient flooring came as the result of several internal and external factors. At a time when raw material costs are soaring and domestic manufacturers are being challenged anew by offshore suppliers, Tarkett executives said they have picked up the pace. In addition to upgrading its expansive Alabama manufacturing facility to accommodate new design demands, the company said it is retooling its marketing and merchandising efforts.

A dining room scene featuring the new hand scraped look.
"Our biggest challenge is to communicate the features and benefits of these products," said Pierre Lefort, the gm and vp of Tarkett's residential division. "We'd sell three or four times more if we did."

David Cassady, marketing director of the residential division, added that the commitment to making product in Alabama gives the company a competitive edge on two fronts. "We are very proud to put 'Made in the U.S.A.' on our products and I think that really resonates with many consumers. We also don't have problems related to importing product. Our product does not get stuck at the port."

He noted that the focus on advancing the category is a byproduct of innovations created with the help of the 189 employees working at the plant. The Hand Scraped Collection, for example, is described as "a breakthrough in luxury tile technology." The company touts it as the only product in its category that "accurately depicts authentic hand scraped hardwoods" adding that the product offers the "unmatched character and texture of genuine hand scraped wood flooring." It is available in six natural tones: Espresso, Brandy, Saddle, Sierra, Mocha and Barley.

Also new is Modena Marble, which is designed to recreate Italian marble and Appalachian Slate, which offers the texture and look of natural slate. Both feature Nafco's exclusive GroutFit that is designed to give the floors a seamless look.