With more than 25 years of experience, Kendall Waller simply knows flooring. His knowledge in all technical aspects of flooring as well as his vast product knowledge makes Kendall one of the best in the business. As National Technical Manager at Quick-Step, Kendall has been responsible for the design and development of Largo specifically for the Australian market. He has got all flooring covered!
How long have you been in the flooring game?
I started with my father in the manufacturing of floor coatings, and the pre-finishing of cork tiles during the late 1970s. This was school holidays work for me, and the beginning of my involvement in the flooring industry that would last a lifetime.
What prompted you to be in this industry?
This was pocket money for me at the time. On leaving school I spent 10 years on the road as a musician, much of it with my two older brothers. During this period I lived overseas for four years travelling and performing around the world. In 1991 I decided to return home to the flooring business and build a life and family in Sydney.
What fascinates you about flooring?
The People. Every shape and size, the good, the bad, the ugly. Like any business, it’s the people you work with that make the journey worthwhile. I’ve been fortunate to mix with the real legends and characters of the flooring business here.
What role does flooring have in a room’s statement?
Flooring is the parchment upon which any statement will be written. It’s the constant, the precursor, the foundation on which a home and lifestyle will be built. It’s the canvas on which you can make your statement.
What is the best flooring you have come across and why?
I’m a big fan of melamine, this is the defining ingredient in laminate flooring. High quality laminate ticks all the boxes, it is the best overall flooring solution for the modern world. Tough, colour fast, beautiful, versatile, reliable.
What is the latest and greatest when it comes to flooring?
Advanced pressing technology and waterproof laminate is new. Laminate has never looked so good or been so waterproof. It does what real wood cannot do, and will never do.
What makes flooring innovative?
The solving of technical problems in a beautiful way. You need to think outside the box and draw from fields other than flooring. It’s about changing the way things are done, to produce products that go beyond what is expected.
How much research and technology goes into a new floor?
The care and dedication that goes into new developments is unbelievable. These new developments frequently involve years of work by extended teams from design, materials and manufacturing.
What challenges are there in the Australian flooring industry?
Education of the trade, in order to come to terms with the exponential growth of complexity in the flooring business.
What is in store with flooring for the next couple of years?
Complexity will continue to increase in materials and products. The world continues to get smaller, with fashions more closely aligning with Europe and the USA.
What is in at the moment and what is out? In terms of material and colours?
Wide boards, bevelled boards in the ‘new’ greys. These are greys with a natural context in both wood, laminate and LVT. Even five years ago people would not buy stained, wide, bevelled boards, these are now becoming the norm.
What drives Australian trends with flooring?
We all like to be parochial when it comes to design and fashion, but more and more we see interior design as a global trend. Thanks to the information explosion, and the creation of the world village, Australian style is driven by the best of what happens in Europe and the USA.
What is the sort of flooring that you cannot stand?
I’m afraid I am a bit of a flooring Nazi. Gloss Chinese laminate is probably near the top of my list.
Which product are you surprised that has come back into vogue?
Herringbone is back, but with an oversize, stained, bevelled and rustic look. Maybe no surprise, an old pattern revised with a modern twist.
Why is Quick-Step a leading player in the flooring market?
Innovation and quality keeps us at the top. You cannot rest on your laurels. We are never satisfied with the status quo, and we will never settle for the normal solution.
Quick-Step’s flooring collection is available in Australia through their flooring partner, Premium Floors.