Driven by urban development across all sectors – predominantly residential, office, hospitality and retail – the demand for wall and floor surfaces runs parallel with the ambitions of the leading GCC nations, which will host a number of global events in the upcoming years.
A report by analysts BNC – prepared exclusively for the recently held Middle East Covering event – reveals that widespread new build and renovation projects throughout the region will lead to growth of more than 5% per year across the flooring market. It also states that the regional flooring market is set for a decade of strong growth – culminating in an annual value of US$10bn by 2026.
“With 20,885 construction projects ongoing in the GCC, the demand for the likes of carpets, rugs, tile, vinyl, rubber, wood and laminates is already being felt across the flooring industry,” says Yan Wang, event director at Middle East Covering.
BNC research further states that the UAE is leading the way in the GCC flooring boom, with almost 9,000 projects already underway. That has been attributed to rising tourist numbers and the push towards Dubai Expo 2020.
“As construction in the region flourishes to meet the requirements of Expo 2020, we are seeing an increasing demand for decorative flooring,” says Stephen Dando, commercial flooring manager at BASF.
German-based BASF made its debut at the Middle East Covering exhibition with its latest decorative and performance floors by Master Builders Solutions. Recently, the company applied its flooring systems to NAS Sports Arena, Dubai’s Motiongate, Abu Dhabi’s Midfield Terminal, Muscat Airport, the Dubai Frame and the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
“One of the biggest challenges is introducing innovative solutions that have not previously been installed in the region,” says Dando, adding that comfort and decorative floors are rising in popularity, especially in hospitals and schools where designers are looking “for more creative and hygienic floor systems in place of conventional finishes”.
“Decorative, seamless, durable, hygiene, comfort and acoustic properties are becoming the most decisive factors when floors are chosen,” he says.
Expanding its business across the GCC and a wider region, Sharjah-based wood and decorative paint manufacturer, MAS Paints Group, saw strong growth this year.
“Our market in the UAE is linked to new emerging markets worldwide, especially in East Africa, South East Asia and the ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] community. We saw significant growth throughout these areas,” says Abdullah Al Atrash, managing director at MAS Paints Group. “Locally, the number of projects in Dubai grows daily, and work remains consistent with many returning clients that we have worked with over the years.”
Last year, the GCC total flooring products market was estimated at 775 million square metres, according to Frost & Sullivan. In its whitepaper “Flooring Products Market in the GCC”, prepared ahead of the Middle East Coverings exhibition, the market research analysts state that tiles account for a share of 77.4% of the total flooring products market in the GCC, followed by stones, wood and laminates, carpets, rubber, epoxy, linoleum, vinyl and luxury vinyl tiles (LVT).
Accounting for 3% of the total flooring products market, wood and laminates was valued at 24 million square metres in 2016.
Dubai-based Floorworld supplies a wide range of laminate and real wood flooring from brands including Quickstep and Swiss Hardwoods.
Darren Gemmell, CEO of Floorworld, comments: “Swiss Hardwoods is a special real wood floor brand that incorporates nanotechnology as part of the surface treatment. Unlike traditional lacquered floors, where if they get scratched or damaged they require the whole floor to be sanded or re-coloured, with Swiss Hardwoods special surface the floor can be repaired very quickly and easily in the damaged area only.”
Frost & Sullivan’s research analysis further states that vinyl (embedded with LED technology) is another niche trend in the global flooring products industry, targeted at the retail and hospitality segments.
Gemmell agrees and says that the hospitality market is moving more towards wood flooring and wood-effect vinyl flooring.
“Due to the advancements made in modern manufacturing today’s luxury vinyl tiles imitate the look and feel of real wood, stone or ceramic flooring perfectly but at a much lower price point,” he says. “Luxury vinyl tiles have many advantages. They are waterproof, extremely hard-wearing and very easy to maintain, with endless design possibilities.”
In order to meet demand, BASF is also introducing a new range of durable flooring systems. Its recent product launches include MasterTop 1230 (epoxy) and MasterTop 1325 (PU) Flake Systems, as well as MasterTop Stone Carpet and MasterTop DAP poster floors.
MAS Paints Group will launch its first flooring product by the end of this year.
Al Atrash says: “A market study showed us that new flooring products in resin are currently in demand, particularly the ones that could be easily applied and without the requirement of a designer or specialist applicator. We’ve developed an Epoxy flooring, which is solvent-free and allows customers to obtain the decorative look they desire.”
Commenting on the latest trends in surface design, Miriam Llano, marketing manager at Cosentino, a Spanish manufacturer of natural stone, quartz and architectural surfaces, sees the prevalence of the “less is more” concept, explaining that simplicity and easy maintenance are paramount for both wall and floor surfaces.
“Our new Silestone Eternal collection is facing all these trends,” she says. “Our last technology, Silestone N-Boost modifies the surface of the material at a molecular level, further enhancing its technical performance and aesthetic properties, making cleaning and maintenance easier.
“The new Silestone N-Boost technology continues to offer the other mechanical properties of the material, such as high resistance to impact and scratching, large size and customised formats, and adaptability to the most wide-ranging demands of design and interior architecture.”
Llano says that Silestone N-Boost is launched initially in its new Silestone Eternal Collection, as well as in the brand’s two new colours: Iconic White and – coming soon – Iconic Black. During the remainder of this year, this new treatment process will be progressively introduced to all the brand’s colours.
DesignMENA reported on innovative solutions in surface design. Read about them here.