Armstrong has expanded its hardwood flooring assortment significantly in what the company calls its “most comprehensive hardwood launch ever.” The launch, which includes 126 new SKUs across 13 product collections, features traditional, hand-scraped and exotic/specialty visuals.
“We are in effect resetting the Armstrong Hardwood brand,” said Shiva Menon, product manager, Armstrong Hardwood. “It’s a launch of new products, displays systems and programs exclusively for the specialty retailer channel.”
A highlight of the rollout is Barrel Creek, a collection of solid hardwood flooring designed to resemble staves from vintage wine barrels. The flooring even features authentic stamps from cooperages in Hungary, France and Napa Valley, Calif., according to Sara Babinski, Armstrong principal designer. “The authentic cooper stamps are burned into the product, giving it an almost warehouse feel,” she said. Barrel Creek is offered in three colors, from light to dark.
In traditional looks, the company has added Highgrove Manor 3/4” solid, in 4” and 5” wide planks and 13 colors. “We are going with tried and true colors, but have also added two new whites for a coastal look, and a number of grays to round out the collection,” Babinski, noted.
Rural Living, an engineered hand-sculpted hardwood, is available in 5” widths in 10 colors. “This product represents the trend toward texture,” Babinski said. “People want to see knots and cracks and mineral streaks. It’s highly textured but also scraped, and we add distressing and chatter marks for a whole new dimension.”
The company’s hand-sculpted Century Farm hardwood is also receiving an update. “We introduced Century Farm four years ago and it was due for a color update,” Babinski stated. “We added some dark browns, darker colors, some gray, and a nice whitewashed walnut.”
Century Estate is a hand-sculpted engineered product in a 6” width and offered with a higher gloss level. “The sculpting on this one is done differently,” Menon said. “There’s hand-scraping, hand-sanding and hand-rubbing. It makes the pillow look come out more.” Additionally, the product is available in herringbone and parquet formats.
Exotic Fusion is a collection of thermally treated domestic engineered hardwood. Babinski said that cooking the wood brings out a lot of details. “Sometimes it ends up a little pearlescent; sometimes it adds a little color variation. My favorite is red maple, because it has a lot of wormholes and a lot going on in the surface.”
Manon noted that dried wood is still incredibly durable. “It does not change the hardness of the specie – it remains very stable and strong,” he said.
Armstrong also offers Global Exotics, a 5/16” engineered exotic collection offered in five species. Manon called it “a more affordable, entry price point in the tropical collection.”
As part of the launch, Armstrong also unveiled two new selling systems: the Select Showcase and Choice displays.
Select Showcase features four wing modules and two towers designed to display 212 boards. The 26’ wide, by 7’ high, by 2’ deep display features oversized 20” by 27” wing and 18” by 18” tower product samples.
The Choice Display features two wing modules and a 96-board capacity. It measures 11 1/2’ wide, by 7’ high, by 2’ deep, and takes oversized 20” by 27” samples.-Michael Chmielecki