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Armstrong Flooring reintroducing its famous #5352 pattern in 4 colorways — nationwide availability later this year

armstrong 5352 colonial classic coralThe most popular resilient floor pattern of the 20th Century — is now coming back as a player in the 21st Century! Yes, in what’s sure to be the biggest product news of the year here, Armstrong Flooring is reintroducing its famous #5352 pattern – now dubbed “Heritage Brick” – in four colorways. Armstrong Flooring is in the process of rolling out the revived design through flooring retailers and expects it to be more widely available as the year progresses. I spoke with the designer, Mark Zeamer, in charge of the project last week. Above: One of the new colorways, Coral.

Thanks to readers Steve and Paul, who provided tips leading to this story. In particular, a shout-out to Paul’s link to this thread on the Professional Car Society Forum, which showed the first images for this product launch.  

Photo viewing tip: Once this story has completely loaded on your device, click on any photo, and it should enlarge up to 1000 pixels wide. Hit the back arrow to return to the story.

Armstong flooring 5352 reintroduced

Recreating Armstrong Flooring #5352, now known as “Heritage Brick”

Mark Zeamer of Armstrong
Mark Zeamer of Armstrong

Mark Zeamer, Digital Designer, Armstrong Flooring, was the lead designer who worked to recreate this pattern using modern technology. 

“My residential sheet project manager David Bailey had gotten requests from our executives and from the field to bring this pattern back,” Mark said. Over the past few years, the company had received many requests from different customers and companies. “People just love that pattern, and they wanted to see it again.” 

Yes: People loved that pattern! In 2013 I speculated that Armstrong Flooring’s 5352 was the best-selling resilient flooring pattern of the 20th Century. In our conversation, Mark agreed, and gave me more background on 5352 and its history, which I’ll feature in my next story. It’s gonna be Armstrong Flooring 5352 week on the blog!

Mark said he got started on the project in early Nov. 2019, and finished up in February 2020.

He started by combing the company for tooling — actual machinery — that could help verify the original design. But he didn’t find much: “When I went to look into it to find anything I could on pieces and parts, there was nothing saved. I found some miniature stencil plates, 20” x 20” plates.”

So, using old samples and pattern books as references, Mark recreated the pattern on a computer. Explaining his work process (which I found fascinating), Mark said, “I built a digital mask on the computer system that was exact to the repeat of the original pattern. I then created separations. I tried to get as close as I could to the consolidated stencil. Then it took time to go back and forth to get the image, the three-dimensionality, the lights and darks, the movement of original pattern – I didn’t want to lose that.”

Mark’s goal was to make the new pattern as close to the old pattern as possible. Did he accomplish this? Yes, he said, “It’s almost dead on!” Hooray!

How does Mark feel about the pattern itself, looking at it with a designer’s eyes? >>

“I think it’s a fantastic pattern and like how it comes to the forefront then fades away then comes back to the forefront again,” he said.

After the pattern was perfected, production could then be set up and launch. As I mentioned at the top, right now the company is in the process of getting the product to distributors. Next, distributors need to connect with retailers nationwide. This product is not yet on Armstrong Flooring’s website. There aren’t samples yet – when I asked Armstrong Flooring if they could send me some, they said they would have to get them cut from the rolls on the production floor!

So: Readers, be patient if your local store doesn’t have news of this new line yet. It’s still early days in the product’s launch. I did this story because the news was starting to get out — and I wanted you to know. But, Armstrong Flooring made a point to tell me they want customers to have a good experience. To have that good experience, you may need to sit tight a bit longer! The company has promised me updates on the national roll-out — I’ll aim to keep you up to date!

Details about Armstrong Flooring’s Heritage Brick flooring

  • It is part of the company’s Cushion Step Better™line.
  • 12-foot wide rolls, repeat is 54” height by 36” width
  • The flooring is rotogravure-printed in four colors, then embossed, then finished with a sand texture on top. The texture knocks down the shine — I asked Mark if he’d call it a “satin” finish, and he said, yes.

Mark said, “It looks great coming down the line, there’s no tracking at all… there’s a continuous, smooth transgression of design.”

What’s tracking? Mark explained this means that no single design element sticks out over the other. The design is so good you don’t see the repeat. That’s one of the reasons that 5352 was popular for so many decades, I think. It’s just a flat-out perfect, random-mosaic floor design.

 

armstrong heritage brick 5352 coral
In Coral.
armstrong heritage brick in camel
In Camel.

 

  • Heritage Brick will be available in four colorways, chosen as trending today: Camel, Coral, Serene Blue, and Dusk. Above I show Coral and Camel — these would be the preferred colorways for a Retro Renovation, I think. Serene Blue (which looks gray to me, but I’ll report back) and Dusk: not so much.

Of course, I asked Mark why they company was not bringing back the original red. He told me that it felt that the original red – which he called ‘purple red’ – would not have enough appeal to today’s mainstream market. That said: Look at that coral colorway! I’m waiting to get a real-life sample, but from the photo, it looks pretty brick-colored to me. Just toned down from that old purple-red. I’ll take it!

Please, dear readers, no comments complaining that we don’t get the purple-red. Companies need to ensure a return on investment, and niche products (or colors) are hard to make money on. I’m super grateful we have these to choose from! This is big news in the history of Retro Renovation!

That said, would Armstrong Flooring ever consider reviving the original purple red? Mark said the company does sometimes do customer colors, for example, for the RV industry. Whether to go to the expense of customization would depend on the yardage run. Fingers crossed.

A storied history — continued

Armstrong flooring making linoleum
Making history: The revival of Armstrong pattern 5352 builds on a history that started in 1932. Read my story on the history of this pattern — more from my discussion with Mark Zeamer — tomorrow.

How does Mark feel about now becoming a part of 5352’s history?

“I felt right away that it was an honor to recreate it and work on the revival of it. That was a real challenge for me, having nothing to start with, and having to build everything on the computer.”

And there’s this: “We had it at home when I lived with my parents in the 60s, in the red,” Mark added. Of course he did!

***

The Heritage Brick flooring is made in the U.S., in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. 2020 is the 160th anniversary of Armstrong Flooring as a brand: Thomas Armstrong started in the cork-making business in 1860.

Many thanks to the company’s excellent Communications Manager Steve Trapnell for his help, to Mark Zeamer for sharing his time and expertise, and again, to readers Kevin and Paul for the tip.

Where to get this flooring: 

  • If you are super hot to trot to get your hands on this NOW, Armstrong Flooring tells me that their Customer Service team could identify whichdistributors has Heritage Brick. (But the company’s Customer Service likely wouldn’t be able to directly identify individual flooring retailers who carry it — you would have to get that from the distributor.)
  • If you can wait: As this rollout continues, the flooring will become more widely available — and Armstrong has promised to keep me posted. I, in turn, will share the updates with you!
  • It’s early days so the flooring is not yet on Armstrong Flooring’s website — I’ll post about that, too, when the time comes.

Coming up next:

  • Read my story on the history of this pattern — more from my discussion with Mark Zeamer — coming up next.

CategoriesFeatured Flooring
  1. Linda Benedict says:

    Wow!! I still have it in one of my bathrooms and my kitchen. Believe it or not it still looks good. It pays to be old school. Everything comes around again. I feel so happy about this!!!

  2. Harry says:

    Wow! We need some cheery news! Pam is queen of the month! I am working on a renovation and this will be awesome. I won’t complain about the lack of the red—I will whimper a little that the green isn’t part of the launch. If it performs well who knows. I am planning the kitchen as a blend of highly modern and midcentury- a mix of MadMen, the kitchen in the Six Feet Under house, and very Dwell.

  3. RAnderson says:

    Oh my goodness!! This makes me soooo happy! We’ve loved 5352 do much we’ve put it in 3 houses!! The first was in linoleum in 1974, the next 2 were in Solarian vinyl in 2 houses we built in the ’90s. Now were looking for a ’50/60s ranch to retire in, and this floor will be in that house-to-come for sure!!! So excited!!

  4. Jan OConnor says:

    I’ve often cried sad, tiny tears when a “we’re bringing it back!!” announcement does not match the end product (cough-[edited]-cough), BUT NOT TODAY!!! That Coral is amazing – Mark Zeamer recreated the whole thing from scratch?! Mark, you’re a genius!! I’ve got my fingers and toes crossed for the red to return as well and I think it will, but in the meantime Coral is on my shopping list. This news has made Day 13 of my C19 lockdown so much better!!

    1. Charlene says:

      I think mine is pre-1970’s. I’ve been wanting to redo the floor, and now that this is available, I might put it right back in. Only problem, I think mine is the RED!! Hope to be able to check out samples.

  5. Christopher Lankenau says:

    We had that floor in green growing up in my 1968 colonial. It looked great with our brown appliances and formica counters! And of course wallpaper with a vegetable print.

      1. Christopher Lankenau says:

        Right?! I meant to add that the counters had gold flecks as well. The same floor and counters were repeated in the upstairs main bathroom. The kitchen, bathroom, and hall entry had matching brick planters, too. And that gold wall-to-wall carpeting in the living room! And those lantern light fixtures!!

        My mom couldn’t resist the urge to do an early ’80s “update”. Basically it involved new wallpaper (out with the vegetable print and in with blue floral) and replacing the glorious Armstrong floor and gold carpet. ☹ But we left all the light fixtures and cabinets. I’d be surprised if they were still there. My parents sold the house in 1997.

        I love my 1860s rowhouse (with 1940s kitchen) in almost original condition, but what I wouldn’t do for something about 100 years newer in equally original condition!!

        Thanks so much for your blog. I’ve been following it almost from the beginning. I constantly refer friends to it for sound advice.

  6. Terri says:

    This makes me INCREDIBLY happy–the kitchen floor of my childhood and it’s perfect for my 1971 split-foyer now!

  7. Ken Buzzell says:

    The original brick pattern and color was in my parents home in the kitchen and dining room. I’d love to have this in multi shades of green!!! It would go right into my vintage kitchen.

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