A wholesaler finds the right click installation technology for herringbone floors
Herringbone has long been one of the most popular flooring installation patterns in markets around the globe. Not only is it a design that has stood up to changes in styles and tastes over decades, herringbone has even seen a growing resurgence in recent years. However, while the popularity of this traditional pattern is undoubtedly on the rise, today’s DIY consumers and installation professionals are looking for solutions that don’t come with the traditional drawbacks. For sellers of flooring products, it can often be challenging to find the right modern technologies that are suitable for this classic style. We spoke to Vivafloors, one company that has recently found a proven solution to this important market demand.
A fast-growing market leader
Based in the Dutch city of Goor, Vivafloors is a wholesale supplier of PVC flooring. The company specializes in click and glue-down products available in long planks, tiles, and herringbone formats. Founded in 2010, Vivafloors has around 35 employees today and sells across Europe. In addition to their domestic market in the Netherlands, they serve Germany, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, and Lithuania.
“Vivafloors is growing very fast,” says Jolanda Looman, the company’s Product Manager. “In just 10 years, we have grown to become the Netherlands number three supplier in terms of turnover. In 2020 and again in 2021, we won the Gazelle Award – a prize given to the fastest growing companies in the Netherlands. We are very proud of this achievement.”
The right technology to meet market needs
Herringbone floors are a growing trend in the Netherlands, where more people are turning to classic styles that can successfully complement contemporary interior design tastes. However, while they may find appeal in a vintage look, consumers still want all the benefits that come from modern manufacturing to ensure simplicity and ease of installation and long-term care. This duality posed a unique challenge for Vivafloors as they set about finding a new solution to expand their product range.
“We were looking for a click system for herringbone,” Looman explains. “Our supplier made samples of click herringbone floors using traditional technologies, but we were not completely satisfied with either solution. So, we got in touch with our contact at Välinge Innovation, Andreas Nilsson. He recommended their 5G® Fold Down technology for herringbone.”
Sweden-based Välinge Innovation AB introduced their first version of the 5G Fold Down mechanical locking technology onto the market in 2005. Thanks to a patented design that uses a flexible plastic tongue insert, the solution offers both fast installation and dependable locking vertically and horizontally, preventing gap openings and height differences to appear between the panels. The proven success rate of the solution has resulted in it being used on more than one billion m2 of flooring worldwide. For resilient flooring products, like those sold by Vivafloors, the latest version of 5G Fold Down can be used on panels as thin as 4mm.
“One thing that sets the 5G technology apart from other glue-less click installation systems is the ease with which it can be adapted to flooring panels for flexible pattern installation – including herringbone varieties, square basket, and more. The 5G locking tongue is inserted on the long side of the panel rather than the short side. It is as easy to assemble and to disassemble if needed, thanks to the use of a simple dismantling pin that opens up the flooring”, says Andreas Nilsson, Key Account Manager at Välinge Innovation.
Test for success
Upon receiving samples of herringbone flooring with the 5G solution, Vivafloors set about conducting testing to see it would be the right solution for their market and their customers’ needs. “The test reports and results were good, we decided to start with the 5G Fold Down,” says Looman. “We chose it because all sides of the herringbone strip are clicked and fixed, so it can even be used for project markets as well.”
However, for Vivafloors, the success of the project has come down to much more than just the technology itself. In implementing 5G into their flooring products, they were also able to develop a close partnership with Välinge Innovation, which has been fundamental in ensuring implementation of the 5G Fold Down system in the optimal way for Vivafloors’ products and their market needs.
“We are very satisfied working with Välinge,” Looman emphasises. “If we ever have problems or questions, they help us solve them and give us all the information we need. Välinge has tested the products in Sweden, and they have also helped us in our factories by sending their own people there”.
“Välinge is providing extensive support throughout the value chain. It doesn’t matter where in the chain you are, if a producer, distributor or importer, Välinge is assisting with selecting and fine-tuning the right technologies for your particular flooring products and is a partner to rely on”, says Nilsson.