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The evolution of underlay solutions in the US market

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The materials in the construction area have undergone constant improvements over time. This evolution is due to the non-conformist spirit of man in the incessant quest for comfort, but also the requirements of the environment in which the buildings are inserted.

The need to create priorities range from the more traditional - such as impermeability, stability, visual requirements - to the most recent fields, which relate to energy, sustainable, thermal and acoustic issues. Cork, as a multifaceted product, can meet the demands of today's markets through its natural properties.

Need for Underlays

The growing demand of citizens for large urban centres mainly has to do with the incessant search for more satisfying living, conditions. This has given rise to the rural exodus. It became necessary to build upwards, as a result of this overcrowding. This gave rise to the first apartment buildings of small family homes. In the 1960's, the construction of buildings of urban apartments, together with the development of building-housing standards and laws led to the development of acoustic and thermal insulation solutions.

Evolution of the types of underlay

The first solutions in this market were primarily made of paperboard and wood chipboards. The improvement and fine-tuning of safety standards led to the creation of better performing alternative solutions. At that time, foams took a foothold in the market (made from oil industry waste) and, almost simultaneously, the first products developed in cork. It was only in the 1980’s that granulated cork began to be used in underlay solutions. Up to 2010, the sales of underlay solutions were applied on hardwood, laminated, ceramic and stone floors, in particular. That same year (2010), three decades after the launch of that solution, the need arose to create underlays able to absorb impact noise and that were compatible with vinyl flooring. 

Studies were conducted in 2010 on the propagation of impact noise and it was found that sub-floors that serve as a base for paving (consisting of vinyl planks) were not suitable for the application. New underlay solutions have been developed, due to quality and versatility of vinyl flooring. These products were specifically designed for this purpose, therefore obtaining quite improved performances.

Future prospects

The underlay solutions of Amorim Cork Composites currently encompass 60-65% of the market, with a tendency to increase. The business area which covers sports flooring is a world of opportunities for the dissemination and application of underlay products. A considerable increase in markets like South America, Brazil, India and China is expected in the future. The balance between product performance and sales price is a firm commitment of the company, thus ensuring the loyalty of a wider and more diverse universe of customers.

 

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