From floors to furnishings, rich, dimensional textures and bold patterns stole the spotlight at last month’s Neocon design exhibition in Chicago. Here are three ways to take advantage of the trends.
As always, we came away from this year’s Neocon excited, inspired and ready to explore fresh new takes on spaces that are high on function and form. Among the year’s biggest trends, we saw rich, dimensional textures and bold patterns stealing the spotlight from floors to furnishings.
Whether it’s taking a leaf from nature and using color variation and pattern to build depth and texture, or going big with bold color and pattern for an up-front statement, here are three simple ways to use flooring to articulate these style directions in your next space.
1. Create textural and visual interest in large spaces by pairing contrasting flooring materials in complementary tones. (Think hardwood and modular carpet tile, or Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) and broadloom in related colorways and tones. Get inspired with our Transcend LVT in Dovetail with ReVamp Think Twice broadloom in Transcend grey.
2. Bring rich texture and dimension to a calm, sophisticated environment with a single commercial broadloom, modular carpet tile or luxury vinyl tile featuring tone-on-tone variations. Explore our Surface Works collection to get going.
3. Energize retail, education and other public spaces with bold colors and patterns. Choose modular carpet tile or luxury vinyl tile and play with installation variations to create a custom look and feel. Start with our new Color Washed LVT.Read More »
Last month, we announced that all our commercial carpet manufacturing operations are carbon neutral – that means we’re not creating a carbon footprint (by adding CO2 emissions) when we make our carpet.
To achieve carbon neutrality, we reduced our energy consumption, switched to cleaner fuels, and incentivized additional renewable energy development and usage through the purchase of renewable energy credits – including using renewable energy produced on site at some of our facilities, plus energy from the 1 MW solar array we installed on the roof of our carpet tile manufacturing facility in Cartersville, Georgia in 2013.
As a result, we’ve also reduced our company wide Greenhouse Gas emissions by approximately 25 percent since 2010 – and we’re working towards reducing our company’s total energy and GHG emissions (per pound of finished product) 40 percent by 2030.
So what does that mean for you?
First of all, choosing carbon neutral products helps reduce the environmental impact of your project. Whether you’re designing a single room or a whole facility, carbon neutral carpet and carpet tile are a great way to further limit the environmental impacts of your project.
Better yet, carbon neutral products are a long-term contribution to improving the health of our planet. While the challenge of climate change and other environmental issues might be global in scale, but many of the ways to address it start at home. Carbon neutral products are a positive way you can ensure the materials and products you select aren’t adding to the problem.
Learn more about our sustainability commitment – including carbon neutral products – here.Read More »
Luxury vinyl tile (LVT) is the fastest growing commercial interior flooring. This versatile type of flooring offers the best of both worlds – aesthetic variety and affordable cost. Its benefits don’t stop there, but also include a long lifecycle, simple installation and easy maintenance. Because of this, LVT is quickly leading the charge to become the flooring of choice. Not sure of how to get started choosing the perfect product? Here’s how you can choose the right type of resilient flooring for your space.
The anatomy of a high performing floor
LVT is made of many layers that affect its durability and aesthetics.
1. The backing and core layers provide needed performance as well as durability and impact resistance.
2. The image layer is where the design comes in. If it can be thought of, it can be imaged and installed – meaning any aesthetic is achievable, including some of the most popular stone and hardwood designs.
3. The top layer, and probably the most important layer, is the wear layer. The biggest benefit of the wear layer is the protection it provides, so your floors stay looking as good as the day they were installed.
4. The proverbial icing on the cake is the performance finish. This urethane topcoat is often infused with various types of minerals and provides essential protection against scratching and staining.
How does your floor measure up?
It helps to be familiar with two different measurements when it comes to LVT – mm (millimeter) which measures the total thickness of the product and mil (one thousandth of a millimeter) which measures the thickness of the wear layer.
Total Thickness – The product thickness is really just how thick the plank is. The thicknesses range from 2 mm (about the thickness of a nickel) to 8 mm and beyond. Total thickness also determines certain profiles and aesthetic limitations. Generally click and loose lay products will be much thicker than direct glue products. This added weight helps the product securely stay on the floor without the use of adhesives. A thicker product also means you can get more detailed with embossing and beveling for a more realistic floor. Thinner products will require more subfloor prep so subfloor imperfections are not visible once the product is installed.
Wear Layer – Think of the wear layer as a “screen protector” for your floor. Just like the one on your phone, if you have a thin screen protector, it works, but it only protects against minor scratches. Now, if you have a heavy-duty screen protector, such as a glass one, your screen can withstand a lot more wear and tear. Similar to screen protectors, the wear layer comes in different thicknesses, depending on how much wear the floor is expected to endure.
6 mil – 12 mil: Residential and private areas in student housing, senior living and office spaces 20 mil +: High traffic commercial spaces such as retail, education facilities, and healthcare.
Wear layers come in thickness above 20 mil, but how thick is thick enough? You might think that thicker is always better, while under extreme traffic that can be true, but normally you will trade off some aesthetic value and incur more cost than you really need.
Installation designed with your space in mind
Not only does LVT come in various thicknesses, it also comes designed to install a certain way to address specific needs.
• Click installation is a floating floor made possible by a “tongue and groove” mechanical locking system built into the planks. This process is the simplest and easiest option since it requires no adhesive and minimal subfloor prep – the tiles simply “click” into place and there’s no waiting time for adhesive to dry. You can install directly over most subfloors and existing hard surface floors.
• Loose lay installation uses minimal adhesive, the weight of the planks and raised areas on the back of the planks to securely hold them together and on the floor. Just like the click installation this type requires little subfloor prep and can be installed over most subfloors and existing hard surface floors.
• Direct glue installation is the best option for heavy traffic areas. Unlike click and loose lay, this type of installation requires perfectly clean, smooth and dry subfloors. Since the planks are directly adhered to the floor, direct glue LVT will perform better under heavy rolling loads than loose lay or click installations.
Whether it’s new construction or renovation in a school, hospital, or living space, LVT offers a variety of options to fit your needs. But most importantly, LVT floors will give you the peace of mind that it can withstand day-to-day traffic for years ahead. To learn more about LVT flooring and check out some options for your space, visit philadelphia-commercial.com contact or a Philadelphia Commercial sales representative today.Read More »
Carpet tile is the fastest growing product category. Want to know why? Here are 6 reasons you need carpet tile in your life!
1. Ease Of Installation
2. Selective Replacement
3. Less Waste
4. Design Flexibility
5. Long Term Value
6. Easier Shipping & Transportation
Want to learn more about carpet tile? Visit our website www.philadelphia-commercial.com.Read More »
We’ve all been there. We’re trying to catch up on some reading or settling in after a long day when the noise starts up. Maybe it’s the downstairs neighbor’s too-loud T.V. or the trample of footsteps from above. Dealing with noisy neighbors is distracting at best and downright disruptive at worst. For property managers and builders, addressing sound control has quickly become one of the most important issues to solve. In fact, too much noise is one of the top reasons a person moves from an apartment.
At the heart of the matter is the growing trend of hard surface flooring throughout units. Consumers are expecting upscale, on-trend interior finishes, and as architects, contractors, and property owners renovate or begin new construction, they need to accommodate. Hard surface floors look great; they’re on trend; and they help rent units. The problem is that hard surface flooring is also one of the main culprits in noise complaints.
The challenge then is to meet consumers’ expectations while creating a comfortable living space. The good news is there are a handful of sound control options to decrease noise throughout a building without sacrificing style.
Sound Control with Style
As rental properties begin showing their age, management companies are renovating to provide a better experience for their tenants. Renovation is also a great opportunity to address any sound control issues.
There are options available to help you get the floor you want, with the sound control you need, such as through the use of underlayment or resilient with an attached acoustical pad. Resilient with an attached acoustical pad is an all in one approach to adding an extra layer of sound deadening protection to your floor. On the other hand, an underlayment is added before the flooring is installed and acts as a layer of sound insulation that sits between the subfloor and flooring that works to dampen noise. An underlayment – typically felt, foam, cork, or some combination of those – is used during the renovation process and helps reduce a lot of the noises that come from above or below units.
Another solution that is too often overlooked is carpet. While the originally installed carpets may be outdated, the advances in both performance and design mean that carpeting again has its place in more upscale properties. Not only does it cost significantly less than hard surface flooring solutions, carpet provides natural sound control without the need for an underlayment or other sound control measures. It’s hard to find another flooring solution that works as well as carpet for sound control.
Get a Fresh Start
When designing new construction, architects are in a unique position to provide better sound control from the ground up – literally. By building control measures into the foundation, architects and contractors can solve a lot of the issues normally associated with noise.
A construction project also allows contractors and property managers to use the most up-to-date flooring designs and technology. Coupled with the foundational controls, the end result is a building that not only looks great, but provides a comfortable living environment as well.
Build Today for a Better Tomorrow
In addition to building in sound control measures, renovation and new construction projects also allow a great opportunity to reevaluate the environmental impact of the flooring. Using flooring solutions and installation materials that have been assessed for human health impacts and certified as Low Emitting products are two great ways to ensure a project meets the standards of a green building.
Besides being a leader in sustainable flooring solutions, Philadelphia Commercial also provides a host of consultative services that range from new construction jobs to renovation projects.Read More »
As part of a new series called “On Trend“, we will explore trends curated by our very own Creative Director, Debbie Houston. Debbie travels the world to attend conferences and trade shows, interviews designers across the United States, searches the internet for information, reads magazines about fashion and furnishings; all in the pursuit of color and design trends. Enjoy this series written personally by Debbie!
Don’t you love handmade, one of a kind pieces of pottery, textiles, furniture, basketry or jewelry. I know I do. I have several pieces of pottery that reflect the skill and artistry of the modern day craftsman. In each piece I see attention to detail, carefully selected materials and years of devotion to the process of creating beautiful design. This shared appreciation for one of a kind, hand-made items is the influence behind a trend I called Crafted.
Products and spaces that seem to be made by hand exemplify Crafted. Highly textured surfaces, irregular textures, distinctive materials and attention to detail characterize the trend which is also found in massed produced products that appear to be one of a kind. While color can really be anything, I think of medium value colors and saturated neutrals that are warm and inviting. They have the earthy appeal of natural dyes, exotic spices and glazed pottery. Even a worn denim would fit into the Crafted color palette.
I am teaching myself how to make art dolls. I’m not sure if what I do is called art or craft, but I lose track of time when I am looking for the right materials, stitching the last detail or shaping the clay to create the face I see in my mind. I think this is what I love about the Crafted trend. Whether the item is truly made by hand or not, I can imagine another person lovingly creating something that is meant to be enjoyed for years.
There are many beautiful products on the market that appear to be made by hand. We introduced a tile collection called Threads in 2015 which was inspired by the irregular textures and threads used in a hand woven textile. While the product is not made by hand, the end result exemplifies the qualities found in a hand-crafted item. Kristie, the stylist who led the project is a painter and the color line she created really shows off her artistic approach to color. I would love to hear what you think of the Threads collection. Did we capture the spirit of Crafted?Read More »
When designing and installing flooring solutions on a large scale, form and function are as important as style. This is especially true when considering the movement of large groups of people (not to mention the wear and tear of large groups of feet). In many cases, function tends to win out over style. There doesn’t have to be a choice, though – a fact perhaps best illustrated through the use of Philadelphia Commercial’s flooring in the recent upgrade to the Memphis Grizzlies’ FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tennessee.
A Complete Flooring Refresh
At 10 to 12 years old, the FedEx Forum’s carpets were wearing thin and the hard surfaces had begun to show their age.
Going into the project, there were existing finishes that designer Graham Reese had to work around. In the Club Level hallways, blonde doors were the one carry over from the original look of the arena. In the suites themselves, that same blonde theme was expanded on to include the cabinet finishes. Reese used these existing colors as a starting point for his design.
Design and Movement
The design at the Club Level exemplifies style working in tandem with function. Reese used a three-layered design with various patterns and colors that bring a sense of movement to the flooring. The result is a classic look that also brings life and depth to the hallway flooring.
At various points throughout the concourse, solid colored carpeting is used to break up the pattern and create mini-focal points that guide people to the entrances of the suites. Vinyl flooring is used in a similar fashion in the concession area and some of the seating sections. It’s a style choice that also reduces the wear and tear on the flooring in the spots where people are most likely to congregate.
Watching the Game in Style
The Club Level suites retained most of the original elements – specifically the blonde wood theme of the suite doors. As a result, the design shifts from the layered pattern in the concourse to a much more sophisticated design and color palette. The lighter color scheme and subtle pattern make the suite feel like a destination rather than the journey of the Club Level concourse.
Function Has Its Place
Function trumps form in the back-of-house designs found in the media and locker rooms, which are rarely seen by visitors but heavily traveled by the people who use the space.
Here, the flooring design moves to a dark, muted blue in the locker rooms and interview space, and a charcoal in the hallways. The pattern is subtler than in the Club Level hallways and suites. The flooring solutions used in these areas are built to stand up to heavy use while preventing the buildup of heavy soiling often associated with so much activity.
Economical and Long Lasting
For Graham Reese and the FedEx Forum, Philadelphia Commercial’s line of flooring solutions represent the best of form, function, and style. The wide range of design choices allowed Reese to develop a classic style that will remain on trend for many years to come. And Philadelphia Commercial’s products are built to last, standing up to the wear and tear of a large, active arena.
If you have a space that needs both durability and design, learn more about how Philadelphia Commercial’s wide range of products can get you both. Visit our website at philadelphia-commercial.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.Read More »
As part of an ongoing series called Things We Like, we’ll take a look at some interesting innovations in the design and flooring industry. In this post, we discuss an iPad app that gives designers and caregivers an in-depth look at some best practices for safe and comfortable design for people living with Alzheimer’s.
There are always special considerations to take into account when designing a home or living space. That is especially true when designing for people that need support throughout their home – be it for those with limited mobility in senior living communities, or those with dementia or Alzheimer’s.
In an effort to help caregivers better understand the challenges facing those living with dementia, Alzheimer’s Australia recently developed an iPad app, The Dementia-Friendly Home. For patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia, even familiar surroundings can become confusing. That fact, coupled with heightened anxiety they may feel, means it’s vitally important that their living space is as welcoming as possible.
The Dementia-Friendly Home works to help caregivers look at their house from a practical design perspective and to provide solutions throughout the home. Through its easy-to-use interface, users are able to make simple changes to their virtual home that will make the living space safer, more comfortable, and provide a familiar a space.
Through the app, the user is able to “walk” through a virtual house and make alterations at various points. Users can make adjustments to things like the floor color or appliances. At each point, the app describes the challenge a person living with dementia might encounter, and how to best overcome them using a variety of design elements.
These tips include pure design decisions like pairing darker flooring with white walls to help create a clear sense of space. Or they skew towards more practical changes such as moving the stove top knobs to the front or replacing light switches with green and red “on” and “off” labels.
The goal of the app is to not only provide caregivers with simple improvements they can institute in their own homes, but teach them why those updates are important. By following the app’s suggestions, a caregiver can create a home that is as inviting as it is safe.
With our extensive range of flooring solutions, we’re able to help you design a living space that fits your needs. To learn more about how Philadelphia Commercial can create a comfortable and safe living space, visit our online catalog or email us at email@example.com.Read More »
When the Designing Spaces team called a few months ago to ask if we’d take part in a very special makeover episode for the Neva King Cooper Educational Center in Homestead, Florida, we didn’t need to think twice.
Helping create a better future for our customers and our communities is a commitment shared by our whole Philadelphia Commercial team, and our entire company, so working with Designing Spaces to transform two of the school’s most critical classrooms was a perfect fit.
Originally opened as an elementary school in 1913, Neva King Cooper Educational Center became a special educational center for Miami-Dade County in the mid-1980’s, when it began focusing on providing educational programs for students between the ages of three and 22 with severe intellectual disabilities.
While extensive renovations in the 1980’s helped prepare the center to support students with special needs, it recently became clear that further updates would better help the school fulfill its goal of giving all students the tools needed to communicate independently and grow and develop to their maximum potential.
That’s where Designing Spaces stepped in and called on us for help.
With two of the Center’s most important classrooms in need of renovation, the Designing Spaces team needed to find the flooring that delivered high performance and durability without compromising on the aesthetics and style designer Kalyn Rothaus and her team envisioned.
First, we worked with Kalyn to select our Multiplicity carpet tiles in six complementary colors for the Center’s Sensory Room, a tactile, multi-sensory, playful space designed to help students engage in a variety of experiences and lessons, from color and touch to music and light.
When we learned the students interact with the sensory space in a multitude of ways – from sitting on bean bags to playing on the floor – we knew soft surface flooring would be an important way of helping create a warm, welcoming feel while also enhancing the room’s vibrant energy. Busy foot traffic, heavy rolling chairs, classroom furnishings and equipment, and the high potential for drops or spills were equally important considerations, making our Multiplicity modular carpet tile with EcoWorx backing the ideal combination of style, comfort and high performance.
In addition, glue-down installation and the tiles’ modular nature make them a smart choice for long-term maintenance. While it’s pretty tough to stain or damage our tiles, if a section does need to be replaced, the school can simply swap out the individual tiles in question instead of replacing the entire floor.
Long overdue for an update, the Center’s Home Economics classroom was also on the makeover list.
With a full kitchen, washer and dryer and other household appliances, flooring for this room also needed to withstand the additional challenges of a high moisture environment.
One of our luxury vinyl products, In the Grain, offered the perfect option for this busy classroom.
Featuring the texture and warmth of hardwood floors but with high moisture resistance and fast, easy cleanability (a must for a kid-filled kitchen!), In the Grain fit perfectly with Kalyn’s vision for an engaging, home-like space. Better yet, it paired beautifully with some custom-designed cabinetry, up-to-the-minute appliances and our own white ceramic subway-style wall tile.
Best of all, though, was the joy shared by students and teachers alike when they saw the newly designed spaces for the first time. Our brand and our company have a long history of helping others and helping our communities, and when doing so helps create an even brighter future for kids in need of an extra helping hand, it means more than ever.
Watch the full episode below or on the Designing Spaces site!Read More »
As soft flooring product manufacturers, we have a responsibility to our customers, our employees, and the environment to embrace sustainability in our business practices – from sourcing raw materials to reclamation of products at the end of their useful lives.
It can be challenging to navigate the sustainability landscape with its various (and occasionally conflicting) standards of measurement and certifications. Here is an overview of the four key areas companies must consider when choosing a flooring product.
1. Material Health
The soft surface flooring industry is making significant progress in identifying and removing harmful substances from its products. In principle, most agree it’s important to source raw materials and use chemicals that are not harmful to people or the environment. But there is no universally agreed way to measure success.
In the U.S., the most common standards either address just the hazards associated with the materials used in making a product or they address the health and safety of th
e finished product. Health Product Declaration (HPD) and Declare Labels fall into the ‘ingredient hazard’ disclosure category. These two programs rely on manufacturers to disclose what they know about the materials they use to make a product, with no independent third party review of the information disclosed. These programs document the health hazards associated with the materials used.
Cradle to Cradle (C2C) is a comprehensive certification of the health impacts of a product. Manufacturers require their raw material suppliers to disclose detailed formulation information to an independent third party for assessment. This results in a deeper understanding of a product’s health hazards than relying only on a product manufacturer’s raw material knowledge.
Additionally, C2C certification performs a risk evaluation of the disclosed hazard information to determine whether or not a route of exposure is likely to exist during the use of the product. The result of this two part assessment of both ingredient hazards and exposure potential is that C2C certification provides more meaningful and relevant information to the end user than manufacturer self-disclosure programs.
2. Recycled Content & Recyclability
Manufacturers have a responsibility to minimize the amount of building materials that end up in
overburdened landfills, so it is important to design and manufacture products that contain recycled materials and are easily recyclable. It’s also important to avoid using recycled content that contains harmful materials, so specifiers should inquire about the source of recycled content and whether or not it contains hazardous materials like phthalates or heavy metals.
When carpet reaches the end of its useful life, reclamation options include the following:
3. Environmental Impacts
As manufacturers, we must do everything we can to use fewer resources. This extends to the energy and water resources used in the manufacturing processes.
Investing in energy reduction and efficiency projects makes good economic and environmental sense, as it leads to energy and financial savings. As a best practice, manufacturers should invest in using renewable and lower carbon-intensive energy sources energies. Finally, manufacturers can also purchase Renewable Energy Credits (REC) and Carbon Offset Credits to offset their energy use and carbon emissions respectively. Just make sure the credits are purchased from a reputable source (e.g., Green-E).
Reducing incoming water consumption in manufacturing is just the beginning. In addition to water reduction opportunities, manufacturers can also evaluate ways to reuse water internally and reduce the impact of their wastewater discharges. Best sustainability practices include monitoring factory wastewater to ensure it can be safely discharged, working with community groups to protect watersheds and help maintain the quality of water supplies, and ensuring future business plans take downstream water users into consideration.
Companies should also conduct a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to determine the potential overall environmental impacts of their products and processes throughout production, usage, and disposal. The LCA should follow ISO 14040 and 14044 and result in an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) that identifies relevant environmental impacts, such as the potential for global warming, acidification, and smog creation.
4. Social Fairness
The Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Product Standard sums up social fairness as manufacturers that “ensure that progress is made towards sustaining business operations that protect the value chain and contribute to all stakeholder interests including employees, customers, community members, and the environment.” Companies also must invest in fair treatment of workers and carefully evaluate the social practices of their suppliers to ensure their sourced goods are created in a way that is socially just.
As a Shaw Company, We Take Sustainability Seriously
We are committed to minimizing our environmental impact. As a Shaw Industries company, we strongly embrace Cradle to Cradle certification and provide HPD and Declare Labels on many of our products.
Through our commercial take-back program and reclamation partners across the U.S., we help customers keep carpets out of landfills. Shaw companies have recycled more than 800 million pounds of carpet since 2006 – and we’re still counting.
We constantly seek innovative ways to limit our water impact, including increasing water reuse wherever possible. In 2014, our Tuftex plant in Southern California (where water conservation is especially critical) increased the use of recycled water to 76.3 percent, up from 25.9 percent in 2012. And of our total water consumption in 2014, we recycled or reused 13.4 percent of the water we brought in.
To minimize our consumption of natural resources, we are leveraging alternative energies to power our plants. In Dalton, Georgia, two manufacturing plants use waste carpet to power their operations; in Cartersville, Georgia, Plant 15 uses solar panels that can power up to 10 percent of the plant’s peak energy load. Since 2007, our company has invested more than $37 million in capital projects that have reduced energy, generated savings in excess of $20 million (and counting), and reduced harmful emissions. In 2014 alone, Shaw created greenhouse gas emissions reductions equivalent to taking 4,593 passenger vehicles off the road.
Throughout our entire process, we ensure all of our human resources are treated fairly. Talent optimization, leadership skills development, and associate, customer, and community engagement are critical components of our diversity efforts. And we’ve recently developed two affinity groups – one that focuses on attracting and retaining talented women (WiN) and ShawVET, a program that advocates for military service members, veterans, and their families – to affect noteworthy, systemic change.
Learn more about how Philadelphia Commercial and our parent company Shaw Industries, Inc. are leading the way in sustainable business practices on philadelphia-commercial.com or by downloading our Sustainability Report.Read More »