Soaring energy costs have prompted four major manufacturers to announce wholesale price hikes in recent weeks. Armstrong Floor Products, Congoleum, Mannington Mills and Tarkett Commercial all offered similar reasons for their respective decisions: The spiraling cost of petroleum-based chemical. Manufacturers say they have been hit with sharp increases in manufacturing and transportation costs. Details from the four companies are as follows:

Armstrong Floor Productssaid it has increased prices, beginning Sept. 1, by an average of 5 percent that will affect resilient and commercial resilient sheet and tile, ceramic tile and several laminate flooring lines. The company said it also plans to include an "energy surcharge" tax on select products. Paul Murfin, vp sales, said. "In recent months we have absorbed cost increases through productivity and manufacturing efficiencies, and have held pricing as long as we could. We cannot offset the full cost impact of these increases, making this price increase and energy surcharge necessary."

Congoleumannounced a 2 percent price increase on its resilient flooring products (except commercial tile), effective Sept. 1. VP sales and marketing, Dennis P. Jarosz said, "While raw materials have not risen as dramatically as they did a year ago, there have been increases. For instance, the plasticizer we use has risen significantly in cost over the past several months. The price we all pay for the energy we use has risen dramatically over the past two years."

Mannington Millsannounced it plans to increase prices from 5 to 7 percent on all resilient products. The company said the increase is needed to offset "steadily rising prices of oil and natural gas, which impact both manufacturing and transportation costs." The new pricing structure took effect Sept. 5.

Tarkett Commercialhas raised prices by 4 to 6 percent on commercial tile products including commercial sheet vinyl and linoleum flooring. Company president Gilles de Beaumont said, "The continual rise in price of crude oil dramatically affects not only our production costs but escalates freight expenses. Considering how these factors influence our costs, Tarkett will issue a moderate price increase to go into effect Sept. 1 on all commercial flooring."