A magnetic underlayment product to launch at Surfaces could be a boon to retailers, installers and customers, said World Floor Covering Association CEO Scott Humphrey.

MagneBuild is a system incorporating a roll-out magnetic underlayment that attracts a receptive layer on the bottom of virtually any floor covering material, including wood flooring. The product system, which is owned by WFCA and Magnetic Building Solutions, allows for speedy and inexpensive installation, which makes it ideal for commercial installations, Humphrey told Wood Floor Business.

“Consider hospitality, health-care, senior living, retail environments, restaurants, educational facilities—just to name a few,” Humphrey said. For example, he went on, take a 10,000-square-foot commercial remodel with a 12-day install cycle. “MagneBuild tear-out and replace is a two- to three-day process.”

The 1-mm-thick underlayment comes in a 3-foot-wide roll of 100 square feet. Installers simply roll out the underlayment; no gluing or nailing is necessary because of the product’s weight—0.6 pounds per square foot. The floor covering is then placed perpendicular to the underlayment.

The floor covering used must have a receptive layer added underneath. For wood flooring, manufacturers would cold-press a 0.3-mm-thick receptive layer to the bottom of the flooring during production. Other floor types with softer bottoms, like WPC and LVT, can be injected with a receptive ferrite powder. Flooring installers can also purchase a peel-and-stick receptive layer, although that option would be more expensive.

The WFCA is currently in talks with large manufacturers and expects to announce partnerships in the near future.

Humphrey said WFCA’s reason to invest in the product was threefold.

First, the installation crisis in the industry is caused in part by the wear and tear installing flooring does to the body. This product is significantly less taxing—floors using MagneBuild don’t need to be nailed or glued. The product warranty stipulates that the initial installation must be done by a professional, Humphrey said, although customers may be able to make future changes themselves.

Second, the product could shorten the buying cycle that has been increasing recently with the move toward hard surface products, he said. With MagneBuild, the customer can switch floor coverings with relative ease. Imagine placing carpet down in winter only to peel it up come summer and stick down a wood floor, he said.

The final reason is to capture millennial buyers. The product will be available only in specialty flooring stores, which millennials have abandoned because they do their own research online and prefer a no-frill buying experience of big box stores to the consultative nature of specialty stores, he said.

The product will be widely available in the United States in the second quarter of 2018.

For more information, visit magneticbuildsolutions.com.