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Looking at the past 12 months, all of the players I spoke to confirm that the market has been steady to strong overall.
Sika Business Manager – Distribution, Tony Smith, was happy to say that he has had a “spectacular year in sealing and binding” and gives full credit to his team who have worked hard behind the scenes to get Sika products specified on project plans.
Over at Acme, Jonathan Skelton has seen the Loctite brand fare particularly well in the last year but does feel that uptake of some of the company’s newer and more environmentally friendly solutions are still meeting some resistance from dyed-in-the-wool tradies.
Dunlop Marketing Officer, Steven Irvine, has seen the market remain strong over the past year thanks to a rise in popularity of new flooring systems from Europe including natural timber, engineered wood, LVT and vinyl plank.
Holdfast’s General Manager – Marketing, Merv Williams, reports that while the wider category, and of course Holdfast’s sales, have grown in the past year, some regions are “definitely struggling to grow at the rate anticipated by many within the industry.”
WHAT’S TROUBLING YOU?
Moving to Bostik, National Sales Manager, Paul O’Reilly, says that while last year was “extremely busy”, 2018 has seen things flatten out somewhat and suggests that the lack of skilled labour may be in part to blame (a sentiment shared by many in the industry).
Looking at the key concerns facing the category, this labour bottleneck is widely blamed for some drop-off in growth for 2018.
Steven Irvine believes this issue is also affecting some retailers: “The greatest challenge seems to always be the retention of customer-facing retail staff and it’s difficult to constantly train brand-new flooring staff in retail environments across New Zealand,” he says.
Some unfavourable exchange rates have also been tough on many suppliers dealing with, in same cases, multiple currencies when sourcing key materials.
A notable issue brought up by both Bostik’s Paul O’Reilly and Sika’s Tony Smith is a global shortage of silicone supply.
The major cause of this appears to be the shutdown of several major Chinese silicone supply plants because a nationwide crackdown on pollution means they aren’t meeting the grade in emissions standards.
This in turn has put huge pressure on the price of silicone and silicone raw materials recently, with double digit increases in some cases, and has created some hurdles for some of New Zealand’s key players in this area.
“We’ve certainly been tested, but we’ve made sure we’ve kept all our customers communicated well ahead of time,” explains Tony Smith.
“And, while we thought we might have a major problem, we managed to work through it because being a global supplier we were able to get products in from other sources to cover stock.”
OUR MOTTO? BE PREPARED!
Looking ahead, Tony Smith sees a storm cloud on the horizon – Amazon.
He heard much about the online giant during a recent trip to Switzerland where European suppliers and retailers were talking about being impacted by its activity.
“If you’re not actually on Amazon or working with them, it can be a bit of a disaster because your products end up on there anyway and then you have no control over it,” Smith explains.
Fortunately this situation hasn’t quite hit New Zealand yet but Sika’s Tony Smith is mindful that it may happen soon.
“The e-commerce thing is going to happen and we can see that a number of the merchants in New Zealand are gearing up for it,’ he says.
“And we are making sure that we’re supporting them locally because if they already have a good e-commerce offer then Amazon might not be able to get in there.”
Wise words indeed.
Mapei has LVT covered
Mapei has added to its range of adhesives with Ultrabond Eco Ms 4 LVT, a one-component, polymer-silylate adhesive that is particularly suitable for laying Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) and PVC in wet environments. This product is also available in a version for the installation of LVT on walls. Both products have an open time of 20-30 minutes and are ready for use in 24 hours.
The Samurai code
New from Saint Gobain is Bear Samurai 60 day masking tape. Manufactured from high quality ultra-flat Japanese washi paper, Samurai tape ensures razor sharp lines on a variety of surfaces. Samurai’s UV resistant adhesive is ideal for a variety of surfaces, and is easy and clean to remove for up to 60 days. Bear Samurai 60 day tape is available in low, medium and high tack versions in both 24 and 36mm widths.
New from Dunlop
Dunlop has recently released a trio of products relating to the application of natural wood, engineered wood & Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) flooring products.
Dunlop Ardit MS Timber Floor Adhesive is a one part, solvent-free, moisture curing modified silane timber adhesive. The combination of high internal strength and elasticity allows for the natural movement of timber floors to occur and resists timber cupping.
The polyurethane version is Dunlop Ardit PU Timber Floor Adhesive, a one part, solvent-free, shear resistant, moisture curing timber adhesive.
Finally, Dunlop Ardit PU Primer is a one part solvent-free polyurethane primer suitable for priming porous, non-porous and damp substrates. It can also be used as a green slab concrete sealer.
GIB gets Fire Smart
A new product for GIB is Fire Soundseal. Boasting all the great features of GIB Soundseal including low VOC content, water-based formulation, flexibility, ease of application and reduction of sound transmission while adding suitability for fire-rated applications. Rather than have generic fire sealant specifications, Winstone Wallboards has added its sealant suitable for fire rated applications to ensure systems compatibility and the ability to manage quality assurance. GIB Fire Soundseal will be available on a 375ml cartridge and a 600ml sausage.
This product release coincides with the new GIB Fire Rated Systems book.
Once in a lifetime
Tollesbury Enterprises is now offering Seal Once, a clear, high quality co-polymer sealant for use around the home, farm, car and boat. It is a neutral cure single component, non-sag elastomeric, designed for use in most moving and non-moving joints. Seals through water and oil film, can be applied in running or standing water and can be used on silicone, rubber, bitumen/asphalt, polycarbonate, concrete, all metals and untreated wood. Manufactured in Germany, Seal Once contains M34 Polycarbonate and comes in a 350gm cartridge.