March 2021

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M A R C H 2 0 2 1 | 39 Hard Surface Flooring Hard surface flooring leaders delve deep into new technology to protect and preserve by LAURIE JONES E legance and time-honoured style abounds in the 2021 line-up of hard surface flooring options. With state-of-the-art processing for beau- tiful porcelain tiles and conscious efforts to ensure the cleanest, bac- teria-free surface environments, manufacturers and distributors are keenly aware of the new-era regulations to stay safe, while creating stunning décors. Olympia Tile + Stone has introduced a number of products for 2021, including The Room line. "This line is an extremely accurate imitation of some of the rarest, most expensive marbles in the market with some unique patterns and designs," says David Anidjar, assistant VP and sales manager, build- ers division. "A lot of marble lines imitate some of the most standard marbles, such as Calacatta and Carrara. The Room replicates more high- end, unique marbles such as Infinito, San Pedro, and Invisible White." He adds the inspiration for these imitation marbles comes from stone in South America, Italy, and a number of Asian countries. They come in a large format size – 24-inch by 48-inch – with polished finishes giving a rich, elegant look. Anidjar says another trendy and unique line for Olympia is Revolve. "It has a matte finish, like a stri- ated metallic look, with a unique 3D décor, almost cubic. It's a stunning look." The third marbleized line Olympia is offering is Muse. "What's interesting about this line is that it comes in a beige-grey, a dark grey, a grey, and a white," he explains. "Similar to marble, these are huge slabs – up to 48 by 48 – and they actually come with two sides. They meet together to create a book- match appearance that can be used on the floor. It really does look exactly like marble." The 12-inch by 24-inch Lascoux floor tile has the look of aged metallic concrete with a bit of sheen and is available in off-white, beige, and bluish tone. "This product really has an industrial feel and goes well with exposed brick or exposed beams," says Anidjar. Ames Tile & Stone distributes the Nextone tile collection, from Italian manufacturer Lea Ceramiche, which features an anti-microbial bacteria layer that is incorporated during the manu- facturing process. "Obviously bacteria and cleaning are top of mind now more than ever, so we are happy to offer a line where it's protected without having to do any extra steps," says Maegan Conway, marketing manager. The Panariagroup Research Centre created a line called Protect, whose surfaces are protected with Microban, a proven antimicrobial product protec- tion that helps fight the growth of bacteria for the expected lifetime of the tile. According to the com- pany's research, bacteria can double in number on untreated surfaces every 20 minutes. Not only does the surface stay cleaner and fresher between wash- ings, it is also unaltered by climactic conditions. This original, elegant porcelain collection blends the look of stone with three contemporary textures The Surface including Line, Mark, and Dot. The inspiration for the Nextone characteristics come from four differ- ent quarries. "The series is available in a variety of sizes and neutral colours to match any décor, includ- ing Grey, Dark, Taupe, and White," says Conway. "The options in each solid pattern are wide open with 12-by-24, 24-by-24 and 24-by-48 tiles. And for a different look, the 12-by-12 tile is a collection of two- inch by two-inch Mixed Mosaic tiles of each texture blended within the full tile." Brent Fisher, general manager for Flesher Marble & Tile, says there is no question the format of tile is getting bigger. "There seems to be an architecture movement towards bigger is better, but that's been going on for a while. Eight to 10 years ago, the rage was 12-inch by 24-inch rectangular tiles. That was con- sidered to be a large format tile. Although still large format by definition, that's not large-format anymore." He notes that while rectangles are still prefera- ble, now he's seeing a real movement towards actual porcelain tile in two-foot by four-foot pieces. "These are being installed in common areas of buildings such as lobbies and hallways, and elevator lobbies. The price point on those 24-by-48 tiles used to come at a premium value but they are very competitive now. The pricing can be in the same neighbourhood of a 12 by 24." Fisher says while these tiles are avail- able in a broad selection of standard colours, if the order is large enough to do a single run, the options of colour branding are endless with custom printing and glazing. For an authentic look of ceramic, porcelain, or natural stone without the inconvenience, look no further than UltraCeramic Contract. This 100 per- cent waterproof product can be easily installed within a day using a fast-curing grout, making it a continuous impervious hygienic surface with no gaps, and no risk of harboring bacteria. It features a polyurethane surface treatment making it easy to clean and disinfect and least likely to show signs of tarnishing compared to natural stones. American Biltrite conducted labo- ratory tests using a methodology based on ASTM F 925 and applied disinfectants approved to com- bat SARS-CoV-2 on various surfaces with 60 minute and 24 hour dwell times. Marble and porcelain samples showed clear signs of tarnishing, while UltraCeramic didn't. Designed for commercial environments, this four-millimetre engineered stone is made of a com- bination of limestone and polymers with a 20-mil wear layer and a polyurethane surface treatment for superior cleanability and stain resistance. Its lime- stone and polymer blend make it easier to cut and install and quieter than ceramic and naturals stones. SYNTHETIC/EPOX Y TOPPINGS Mapei Inc. features Mapefloor I 320 SL Concept, a two-component, self-levelling epoxy coating with a coloured granular finish for decorative floors. It provides an attractive finish with good chemical resistance and higher mechanical resistance to abra- sion than traditional self-levelling systems offer. "Mapefloor I 320 SL Concept leaves a unique and elegant finish on the surface. This product is also very user-friendly and has a quick turnaround time for the end user," says Shane Edwards, prod- uct line manager Industrial Flooring at Mapei. "Other benefits are its low viscosity, ease of applica- tion, and good healing ability." Designed for interior use, Mapefloor I 320 SL Concept is suitable in public Beneath The Room line from Olympia Tile + Stone.

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