Derek Smyth reviews eight product ranges from BLOQ, three at 540g and five at 650g which are all made from solution-dyed Aquafil, with a 70% recycled backing.
AS a British flooring industry expert, I find new products are often ‘me too’ and not particularly exciting. The adage ‘flooring is boring’ applied to my jaded old palette. Since a recent illness, which thankfully I’m now completely recovered from, I’ve been watching our industry avidly for something refreshing and I’m happy to report, I’ve found it.
I founded one of the UK’s largest flooring contractors and have fitted and overseen of too many carpet tiles than I dare not count, so my experience is vast.
All I asked for in a manufacturer was that they provided the product ‘on time and perfect’. As many of you know this is often a tall order and they fall short. Too many times I was let down, which cost me and my company time and money. I’ve found in my career, many manufacturers choose to ignore the flooring contractor, but we pay their invoice, so they should come to us first.
We’re the people who are in everyday direct contact with the end-user. The flooring contractor has the ability and knowledge of knowing who provides the very best product for the job that’s required by the end-user.
We also have the relationship to be able to switch sell product, according to the circumstances. For example at that point in the project a product needs to be ‘value-engineered’ or a product has been specified early on and is written into a specification, but the end-user wouldn’t be aware of other better competitive products. In my experience an early spec means a higher price for all involved in the project.
The flooring contractor wields considerable influence, as is viewed many times as an expert consultant. With the knowledge of manufacturing the flooring contractor will be aware of any manufacturing issue which may occur from time-to-time. When this has arisen, once again, I have had the influence to switch manufacturers specification to one that has no problems. There’s no malice in this action, just the focus that I must deliver the contract, ‘on time and perfect’.
I have not only founded and run a flooring contractor, but I’ve also invented an innovative flooring solution, (IOBAC).
So when I see a new product, it not only passes a physical test, but I’m interested in innovation and want to feel excited by new products, which isn’t just excellent quality but disruptive. I always wanted a product range based on price per volume, not because of historical manufacturing relationships. This levels the playing field and ensures fairness.
I was introduced to Bloq a couple of months ago. I was aware the manufacturing base of this product had been established for up to 100 years, which interested me. The facility had manufactured many white box products for others, to varying customised specifications so the knowledge base of this manufacturer is immense. Using this substantial knowledge they’ve created this carefully curated range.
Initially I saw the eight product ranges. Three at 540g and five at 650g all made from solution-dyed Aquafil, with a 70% recycled backing. So the range and the yarn ticked my first box. All ranges pass the castor chair test, one of the first customer benchmarks.
The colourways are refreshing, bright and modern to appeal to any interior designer to lift any new fresh scheme. The patterns are contemporary, and some use the science of biomimicry, which means they can be laid in a random pattern and is very forgiving in high-traffic areas.
My most important box that needs checking off is QUALITY. I’d say the Bloq tile is superlative. As the BLOQ factory is experienced in manufacturing many millions of tiles per annum, the experience of this well-run facility is clearly visible. When laying the product, I see no seams are visible, so there’s no overall ‘tiley’ finish. Each tile is perfectly cut, perfectly square, even in thickness and dimensionally stable. All the tiles can be installed adhesive-free, using ‘magtab’.
This means on uplift the tiles are clean, the floor is clean, no tackified residue can be trafficked in adjacent areas. Nothing needs to go to landfill as the tiles will be as clean as the day they were made, when the areas are changed.
Final box… pricing the second most important factor.
One sentence… BLOQ beats all the competition hands down. Enough said!
So if you want a quality carpet tile that does exactly what it says on the box, buy BLOQ.
Derek Smyth is founder of Loughton Contracts and IOBAC