Hardwood Floors June/July 2018

JUNE / JULY 2018

FAIRYTALE FLOOR

LEAD SAFETY CHOOSING THE RIGHT APPLICATOR FOR THE JOB TECH FOCUS: UNDERSTANDING STAINS AND COLORANTS

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120 Years Old & We ’ ve Never Looked Better.

Our NewLogo Is Just the Beginning. Building a legacy isn’t easy. We work hard to keep our promises and improve our performance, day after day, year after year. It’s not easy, but the rewards are there. After 120 years, we’re still growing, still committed to helping you build your business to a higher level of craftsmanship. This new logo, designed to unify all DuraSeal ® products with a modern craftsman look, is just the first of many changes ahead. Watch for new products, new colors and new ideas. We can’t wait to show you!

To request a product demo or contact a sales rep, visit us at: duraseal-wb.com | duraseal.com

For customer service: 1.800.364.1359

DuraSeal Quick Coat Stain and Water-Based Finishes are certified to GREENGUARD standards for low chemical emissions.

© DuraSeal

© DuraSeal

To learn more, visit greenguard.org.

FEATURES

O N T H E C O V E R

2018 Wood Floor of the Year | By Stacy Brown The NWFA Wood Floor of the Year awards were developed to encourage and recognize innovative craftsmanship and design in wood flooring installations. This year’s winning entries made a splash during the 2018 Wood Flooring Expo in Tampa, Florida.

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Stains and Colorants Used on Wood Floors By Johannes Boonstra With the increasing demand and desire for trendy colors in today’s interior décor, wood flooring professionals need to understand how to provide customers with looks that are often different from the natural color of the wood species used for the installation.

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Beautiful to the Finish By Emily Morrow Finkell

In studying finish trends, it’s essential to continually work with those who are closest to the cutting edge. It has already been an exhilarating year, and there’s a much broader and more exciting storyline for finishes on the horizon.

PUBLISHING PARTNERS

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CONTENTS

Chris Zizza | Chairman Michael Martin | CEO Anita Howard | COO Bree Urech-Boyle | CFO Brett Miller | VP, Education & Certification NWFA LEADERSHIP

Industry Insights:

16 Government Affairs A win for forest management.

By Dana Lee Cole

Business Best Practices:

Stacy Brown | Publisher/Editor | stacy.brown@nwfa.org Brett Miller | Technical Editor | brett.miller@nwfa.org Laura Boyle | Creative Director | laura.boyle@nwfa.org Megan Lhamon | Industry News Editor | megan.lhamon@nwfa.org Katie Schenk | Media Production | katie.schenk@nwfa.org Jodi O’Toole | Web Development | jodi.otoole@nwfa.org PUBLICATION ADVISORY COMMITTEE Julie Russell, Chair & Board Liaison | Glitsa, a division of Rudd Company Len Daubler | Shaw Industries Inc. Avi Hadad | Avi’s Hardwood Floors Inc. Lenny Hall | Endurance Floor Company Inc. Jessica Hickman | Allegheny Mountain Hardwood Flooring Kevin Mullany | Benchmark Wood Floors Inc. Mike Sundell Jeremy Waldorf | Legacy Floors LLC PUBLICATION TEAM

24 Sales Savvy How to appeal to the buyer’s logic and emotion in your next sales presentation.

By Paul Reilly

28 Legal Finding the best business formation for your company. 32 Finance Benchmarking – how do you know you are successful and secure?

By Kailey Grant

By Bree Urech-Boyle

36 Technology Technology revolutionizes the wood flooring industry.

By Jodi O’Toole

40 Marketing Show your stuff on Instagram. 60 NWFA Service Awards Read about this year’s winners.

By Katrina Olson

By Stacy Brown

62 NWFA Wood Flooring Expo Recap See highlights from Tampa.

By Stacy Brown

At the Site: 76 Applicator Aptitude Choosing the right applicator for the job. 80 Technical Troubleshooting Water and oil – a manufacturer’s perspective.

111 Chesterfield Industrial Blvd. Chesterfield, Missouri 63005 P : 800.422.4556 Local : 636.519.9663 F: 636.519.9664 E: news@hardwoodfloorsmag.com W: hardwoodfloorsmag.com

By Brett Miller

By Ethan Erickson

83 Tech Talk What is the strangest issue By NWFA

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Johannes Boonstra Bree Urech-Boyle

you have seen related to finish? 84 Moisture Testing RH moisture testing in concrete is now much faster. 86 Health & Safety Focus Lead safety. Product Focus: 99 Finishes, Applicators & Fillers 104 Solid Wood Flooring

Regional Instructors

Katrina Olson Jodi O’Toole Paul Reilly Jason Spangler

Allie Finkell Emily Morrow Finkell Kailey Grant

Dana Lee Cole Doug Dalsing Michael Dittmer Jason Elquest Ethan Erickson

Megan Lhamon Michael Martin Brett Miller Kjell Nymark

By Jason Spangler

Scott Taylor Chris Zizza

By Doug Dalsing

ADVERTISING SALES

Libby White Johnston Media & Advertising Sales libby.johnston@nwfa.org | 337.794.9232

Also in this Issue:

Hardwood Floors (Print: ISSN 0897-022X and Online: ISSN 2475-5125) is published on a bi-monthly basis, plus the Annual Industry Guide, by the National Wood Flooring Association and distributed as a membership benefit to its member companies and without charge upon request to qualified individuals throughout the wood flooring industry. Single copy price is $8, annual Industry Guide is $50. Subscriptions: $40/ year (includes 6 issues and Industry Guide) in the U.S. and Canada. Publication office: 111 Chesterfield Industrial Blvd, Chesterfield, MO 63005. Phone: 800.422.4556. Printing office: Walsworth, 306 N. Kansas Ave., Marceline, MO 64658. Printed in the U.S.A. Periodicals Postage is paid at Chesterfield, MO and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Hardwood Floors, P.O. Box 9147, Lowell, MA 01853. Copyright © 2018 by the National Wood Flooring Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is strictly prohibited.

6 Chairman’s Cut

By Chris Zizza

8 Wood Stock 88 NWFA Resources 114 New Products 115 Ad Index

116 Final Coat CEO’s Message

By Michael Martin

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CHAIRMAN’S CUT

By Chris Zizza Chairman, NWFA

were developed to give certified wood flooring professionals a means to further validate their craft by showcasing specific skill sets. With the addition of these certifications, NWFA has a complete career path in place that allows an individual to move from having little to no experience, to becoming a master of our trade. To become an NWFA Certified Craftsman, the candidate must be an NWFAmember in good standing, have been an NWFA Certified Professional Installer and Certified Sand/Finisher for a minimum of one year, and successfully fulfill all of the requirements for a total of four of the Specialty Skillset Badges. To become an NWFA Certified Master Craftsman, the candidate must be a Certified Craftsman, complete all seven of the Specialty Skillset Badges, attend the NWFA Inspector School, and submit a final examination medallion, which will meet a detailed set of specifications as designated by the judges. Specialty Skillset Badges include Circular/Curved Application, Colors and Finishes, Marquetry/Inlays, Medallions, Parquetry, TexturedWood, andWood Bending. Each of these skill sets is clearly defined within the simple online application process. Through this process, those who qualify can earn individual Specialty Skillset Badges, work toward becoming a Certified Craftsman, and ultimately work toward becoming a Certified Master Craftsman. As an added bonus, fulfillment of these badges also meets the requirements for the Wood Floor of the Year entry categories. So what are you waiting for? Pick up the ball, get in the game, and advance your career and your business.

WHAT MAKES A WINNER? When you hear the word winner, what comes to mind? I think of words such as quality, innovation, dedication, perseverance, even legacy.

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I also think about Wood Floor of the Year…craftsmen and artists…and sports heroes (bear with me; I promise I’m going somewhere). During a pivotal scene in one of my favorite movies, The Replacements starring Keanu Reeves and Gene Hackman, coach McGinty (Hackman) is challenging Falco (Reeves) during a sideline timeout with the game on the line. With an end zone play coming, he asks, “What do you want to do?” And Falco replies, “I want the ball, coach!” and McGinty says, “Winners always do!” You see, when the game is on the line, you have to want the ball, and when things need to be taken care of at work, it’s the same thing. Except in our industry, I’d say the “ball” is taking advantage of every opportunity to advance your business and your skills. The magazine you hold in your hands right now is one of the most-anticipated issues of Hardwood Floors each year. It’s the annual NWFAWood Floor of the Year (WFOY) issue, which showcases innovative craftsmanship and design in wood flooring installations. In other words, this issue features those “winners” who fearlessly took the ball and ran with it.

The contest is judged by flooring industry experts (except our members choice, which is chosen by you), reinforcing that the awards truly recognize quality work and craftsmanship. The people judging the entries are looking for craftsmanship, design quality, and creativity. Some do the same type of work as you every day, and others are industry peers that bring a different perspective to the contest, assuring that the floors rank among the best – in the world of wood flooring. These recognitions emphasize how your company performs at a level that makes your customers want to hire you. Even participation in the WFOY contest shows you perform at a different level, so watch for projects that could be entered and study the categories so when you are out there selling, you will see opportunities for your next entry. But scoring under pressure doesn’t happen with just luck. It comes with a lot of preparation – studying play calls, watching film, and practice runs. Another opportunity to step up your game is to challenge yourself to achieve one of the latest elite designations in the NWFA Certified Professionals program: Certified Craftsman and Certified Master Craftsman. These designations

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Experiencing moisture issues?

We’re here tohelp.

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Formore information, contact us at: 1-800-726-7845 I www.bostik.com/us

*When usedwith anyBostik adhesive. T3127_08.24.17

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CONTRACTOR CORNER

ALLIGATOR JUNIPER FLOOR LOOKS SHARP

• The NWFA announced during its Wood Flooring Expo in Tampa, Florida that Matt Lukens, owner of Luminous Flooring in Arnold, Missouri, was the winner of a Lägler TRIO sander and 10 PST Training Sessions. All NWFAmembers who attended the Expo and purchased raffle tickets on site were entered into the drawing to benefit the NWFA Education & Research Foundation Scholarship Program. • The NWFA recognizedThiago Lima with Eagle Hardwood Flooring in Mamaroneck, New York, for his community service at the “Final Dive” closing session held April 13 during the Wood Flooring Expo. • Builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes edged down one point to a level of 69 in April on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), but remains on firm ground.

MattGardiner, a lead installer at BenchmarkWood Floors Inc., in Albuquerque, NewMexico, has been in the flooring industry for more than 20 years. Even though he has a lot of experience under his belt, this job still provided a challenge, something Gardiner really enjoys. PROCESS DETAILS Gardiner, his partner Kenny Hatchett, and the homeowner worked together to design the layout for this entryway using end grain Alligator Juniper from the job site. “This job was unique because we cut down trees from the ranch, built a sun kiln, and kiln dried and milled the end grain all on site,” says Gardiner.

Wanting to get into woodworking, the homeowner purchased the necessary equipment to kiln dry and mill the flooring. “The sun kiln wasn’t too difficult since it’s so hot in NewMexico,” says Gardiner. “After the material was

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dried, we milled it to 3/4” and did a glue- down installation.” “The toughest part of the installation was the thousands of scribe cuts,” adds Gardiner. “Lots of head scratching was involved!”

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MANUFACTURER MEANDERINGS

• UZIN announced the addition of Michael Ganter as Technical Sales Representative to the Northwest team; Kevin York to the sales team in Texas; Phil Meinert as Technical Sales Representative to the Midwest team; Terry Spangler as Technical Sales Representative to the Eastern team; and Kenny Hawkins as Technical Sales Representative to the South Team. • Diversey announced it is partnering with Bona® to introduce a new wood floor care program. Designed for K-12 educational facilities, the program features smart systems and a range of Bona products to simplify floor care and protect valuable flooring assets. • Armstrong Flooring Inc. recently promoted four employees – Denise Bird, Lindsey Groft, Debra Lechner, and Mike Penney – to Vice President. • DuChâteau® has appointed Scott Campbell as the company’s Financial Officer and Doug Robinson as its new Midwest Regional Sales Manager. • On May 1, 2018, Enviro Finishing of Indiana became a wholly owned subsidiary of Hill Wood Products Inc., manufacturer of Ashawa Bay Hardwood Flooring. • STAUF USA announced the addition of two new distribution partners Erickson’s Flooring & Supply Co. and Midwest Floor Coverings Inc.

By Megan Lhamon

FINISHING TOUCHES Sanding the floor also presented its share of challenges. “There were lots of high and low spots after the end grain was installed,” says Gardiner. “The species of the wood also presented a few challenges because the wood was very dry and there were many parts of the wood that were softer than others.”

All photos courtesy of Matt Gardiner.

“Once we got the floor flat, we used a multi-head sander, starting with 60 grit and working our way up to 120 grit, to get the scratches out of the wood,” adds Gardiner. After the floor was sanded, DuraSeal Quick Dry was applied and followed with a final coat of Basic Coatings StreetShoe.

Matt Gardiner and Kenny Hatchett.

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Working at HOME By Megan Lhamon

“One night, we were getting ready for bed when Kristin brought up the living room floor, finally agreeing with me about redoing it,” says Jared. “Little did I know her calligraphy hobby had led to a huge ink stain in the middle of our living room earlier in the evening, which motivated her to want our floors replaced.” When Jared and Kristin started looking at designs and thinking about what they wanted to do with their floor, they were excited to try something different. They eventually decided to modify a tile pattern they liked, using 4” solid white oak that they had leftover in their shop, and also include brass elements to give the floor an Art Deco look. “I chose #1 common white oak because there are so many varying tones and colors in the material,” adds Jared. “It added even more character to an already distinct pattern.” This unique pattern Jared installed included 2,400 hand-cut pieces and getting his sled dialed in to form many different shapes. The pattern is essentially a triangle, but depending on which angle

All photos courtesy of Jared Fitzgerald.

Jared and Kristin Fitzgerald started their flooring business, Southern Oaks Flooring, in 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee, after having been in the industry for a few years prior. Upon starting their own business, they joined the NWFA and Jared started attending NWFA schools to enhance his skill set and get to know more people in the industry. After attending two Advanced Training schools, one in October 2016 and one in October 2017, Jared was super motivated to try something different with wood floors. “For months, I tried to talk Kristin into letting me tear up our living room floor,” says Jared. But with two sons and a booming business, Kristin was not up for the mess.

The floor includes 2,400 hand-cut shapes, plus two brass inlays in the border of the floor.

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you look at it from, it also forms diamonds, squares, and octagons. “The differing shapes in the design are what I love most about the floor,” adds Jared. “It’s truly one of a kind, and every time you look at it, you can see something different.” To top things off, Jared installed two brass inlays in the border of the floor. “There are two lines on all four sides of the floor, but in each of the four corners, I switched it up a little and created a different design, so the lines were all somewhat unique.” The floor was finished with Rubio Monocoat 5% white to give it an almost natural look and then a universal maintenance coat was applied last. “I’m very particular about the design of our home. Jared learned long ago that I am his most difficult client, by far,” says Kristin. “After several months of hesitation, I was immediately sold on the idea of reinventing the tile floor using wood. Now that it’s done, I can’t believe how much I enjoy looking at it every day. It fits our home and my style perfectly. I can’t wait to see how the floors in the rest of our home turn out!”

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DISTRIBUTOR DOINGS

A Tisket, A Tasket, AN ANTIQUE PINE & WALNUT BASKET

• Fishman Flooring Solutions based in Baltimore, Maryland, presented Ardex Americas with its 2017 Vendor Partner Award, recognizing the company for its contributions to Fishman’s sales growth. • City Floor Supply recently celebrated a major milestone. April 5 marked 25 years in business for the Philadelphia-based flooring distributor. • American OEM announced the expansion of the Hearthwood distribution group to Orlando, Florida- based Compass Flooring Distributors. • Horizon Forest Products expanded two of its Raleigh Operations, Raleigh Flooring Division and Raleigh Reload Center, by relocating the Raleigh Reload Center from Commodity Parkway to its new home at 825 Management Way in Garner, North Carolina. • Ron Heske of the BelknapWhite Group (BWG), Mansfield, Massachusetts, was presented with Southern New England Floor Covering Association’s (SNEFCA) Lifetime Achievement Award for 2017. • Classic Wood Flooring based in Rockledge, Florida, recently hosted Governor Rick Scott as he made a stop for a “Let’s Get toWork” rally as part of the kick-off of his U.S. Senate run. • PID Floors, New York, New York, recently installed an engineered prefinished European white oak floor at The Wing, the incredibly successful co-working and community space for women, located in Washington, D.C. RETAILER ROUNDUP

By Megan Lhamon

Ben Suer, owner of Diamond Wood Floors in Augusta, Georgia, started in the wood flooring industry in 2002. As an avid craftsman who loves a challenge, Suer is no stranger to custom jobs, including this one.

All photos courtesy of Ben Suer.

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Stock Upon installing antique pine elsewhere in this home, the client asked that Suer extend that installation into the small entryway leading to their master bedroom

the room and popped a line. I then marked the center of that line and used a compass to mark trammel points.” Taking the extra time to find the center of the room and create trammel points, even in a small area, ultimately saved Ben from great frustration. “After I began the installation, I realized that either my miter saw was slightly out of square or my jig was misaligned. Because I had the reference lines on the floor, I was able to quickly determine the culprit, make adjustments, and continue,” says Suer. From there, the rest of the install was smooth sailing. Amodified silane adhesive was used to attach the material to the floor and slip tongues were installed along the way. The floor will be finished with an oil- modified polyurethane once the millwork in the rest of the home is completed.

dimensions of the area. “Knowing the basket weave I created was based upon a 1/5th principle, and also knowing I had two exposed header board-type stops, I decided to set the length of the longest board at 1/5th the distance between my predetermined lengths ensured that the boards would all be proportional, which contributed greatly to the curb appeal of the entryway. “Once I had the material prepared, I did a quick “dry fit” then put the materials aside so I could properly prep the subfloor and establish my lines,” says Suer. “In hindsight, this was the single most important step of the whole process. Even though the area I was working in was no more than 3’6” x 4’6”, I took the time to find the center of header boards,” adds Suer. Cutting the boards to specific

and install a small pattern in the space. “In other areas of the home, we installed a walnut header board in a doorway to establish a positive break between the antique pine flooring, the primary floor in the home, and the yellow pine flooring, installed in a mudroom,” says Suer. “Additionally, a basket weave patterned tile was being installed in a bathroom in the home. So, I wanted to bring all of these elements together to provide the pattern the client desired while also maintaining a thematic consistency.” After getting the go-ahead from the client, Suer started milling the antique pine and walnut based on the

FIND THE CENTER Taking the extra time to find the center of the room and create trammel points, even in a small area, ultimately saved Ben from great frustration.

Wood Stock

A Promise to Keep

By Megan Lhamon

With the number of children in need of foster care increasing, the need for healthy foster environments is greater than ever. Enter Promise686. The mission of Promise686 is to equip and mobilize churches and families to meet the needs of orphans and foster children. Promise686 assists families and churches in caring for children by awarding adoption grants, which reduce financial barriers, by offering practical support to families via trained volunteers, and by providing adoptive and fostering related education. Four years ago, Nydree Flooring, a Forest, Virginia- based manufacturer, got involved with Promise686 by sponsoring their “Tough Campaign” team. Every year, the Promise686 Tough Campaign team participates in an Atlanta obstacle race, to raise awareness for the foster care crisis in Georgia. Nydree Flooring Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Jason Brubaker, was eager to support this cause. “Andy Cook, who runs Promise686, is a good friend of mine,” says Brubaker. “When we learned about everything they were doing, we knewwe had to get involved.” From a personal standpoint, Brubaker felt called to Promise686 because his younger sister is adopted from the Ukraine. “Having personally been a part of the

Photos courtesy of Nydree Flooring

adoption process, I know how tough it can be,” explains Brubaker. “Watching our family raise my sister and bringing her to America – we faced many challenges.”

From a business standpoint, family-owned Nydree Flooring and Promise686 were also a great fit. “Our whole focus as a business is to manufacture the world’s toughest floor,” says Brubaker, “and what better fit than to help children in the toughest of situations.” “There are so many people who want to do good and who want to help the children placed in foster care as well as the foster families,” adds Brubaker. “Everything we can do as a company to help raise awareness about Promise686 and their mission will provide more children with stable and supportive homes and ultimately give them a more successful future.”

“Our whole focus as a business is to manufacture the world’s toughest floor, and what better fit than to help children in the toughest of situations.”

Nydree Flooring participates in an Atlanta obstacle race to benefit Promise686 Tough Campaign.

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GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS INDUSTRY INSIGHTS A WIN FOR FOREST MANAGEMENT

Federal forestry is an integral part of the survival of the hardwood industry and has been a top priority for the Hardwood Federation for a number of years. The National Forest System, once a consistent source of fiber for the industry, has reduced timber harvest sales from 10 to 12 billion board feet (BBF) each year from the 1950s through the mid-1990s, to as low as two BBF in recent years. Although output has increased in the past few years, harvest levels are still less than the 6.2 BBF called for in National Forest plans.

address forest management and fire funding in the final bill language. After many years of hard work by all, the measures were maintained and signed into law. The cost and scope of this spending bill is the subject of much debate. And depending on priorities, there is cause for celebration or lamentation. However, in terms of management of federal lands, we are pleased and are finally chalking up a win after several years of frustration. The forestry reforms included in the Omnibus are as follows: Fire Borrowing • The package establishes a fund of more than $2 billion a year, which will increase over a 10-year period. The fund may be accessed by the Forest Service when wildfire suppression costs exceed the 10-year average cost of wildfires, which are frozen at the 2015 level. Specifically, disaster levels ramp up from $2.25 billion in FY 2020 to $2.95 billion in FY 2027. • Because this provision does not take effect until 2020, current law will remain in effect through 2019. Forest Management • A new categorical exclusion from the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is established for hazardous fuels reduction on areas up to 3,000 acres. The deal also opens the way to more 20-year stewardship contracts, in which the Forest Service collaborates with states on forest management projects. Additionally, these new contracts will give preference to contractors that promote innovative use of wood products, including cross-laminated timber. • A simplified process for repairing and rebuilding access roads in some areas of national forests is established. • The agreement also includes language to limit the

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In addition, increasing numbers and intensity of forest fires have drained resources from timber harvests, wildlife management, and recreational programs, consuming more than 50 percent of the Federal Forest Service’s budget each year. After many Congressional sessions of chipping away at the issue and supporting multiple bills and initiatives, it seems that real action is finally being taken to address these issues as part of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Omnibus Spending Bill passed by Congress and signed by the president in the first days of spring. (A spending bill spanning multiple budget areas is known as an Omnibus.) In late March, the U.S. House passed an FY 2018 $1.3 trillion Omnibus spending package totaling 2,232 pages. The Senate soon followed. The Hardwood Federation actively joined our industry allies to advocate the inclusion of measures to

effect of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ 2015 ruling in Cottonwood Environmental Law Center v. Forest Service . That case forced the Forest Service to consult more closely with the Fish and Wildlife Service on forest projects that might affect endangered species.

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By Dana Lee Cole

While these provisions are not perfect and do not represent everything that the forest products industry would want in a reform measure, the final package is a product of negotiation and compromise, and we feel that this package represents considerable progress. The Hardwood Federation members and your team here in Washington worked hard on this issue,

which has become a national crisis during the last couple of years. Our industry was particularly effective in helping frame the issue as one that goes well beyond forest fires in the west and drawing attention to the threats of disease and insect infestation on overstocked forests in the Lake States and eastern portions of the country. As with most things in Washington, D.C., this is not the end of the fight…rather it is a win for the day. We will continue to work on behalf of the industry for future improvements to the federal lands that will benefit both the health of the forests as well as the health of our industry. Dana Lee Cole is Executive Director at the Hardwood Federation, a Washington, D.C.-based hardwood industry trade association that represents thousands of hardwood businesses in every state in the U.S. and acts as the industry’s advocacy voice on Capitol Hill. She can be reached at dana.cole@hardwoodfederation.com.

Photo by Lastly Creative

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INDUSTRY INSIGHTS DESIGNER INSIGHTS

By Emily Morrow Finkell

Beautiful to the Finish

All photos courtesy of Emily Morrow Finkell.

primarily on cut, clarity, and quality of wood, very much like diamonds. The cleaner, the more precious the cut of the wood, the less you have to do to it to make it beautiful and salable. In the highest end of hardwood, you’ll see more of what’s special and beautiful about hardwood. We’ll call the first list the “A-list,” and it is comprised of looks that you’ll easily spot within the pages of high-end interiors magazines, like Architectural Digest and Elle Decor . The finishes from the A-list speak to luxury, are neither nichey nor trendy, but instead are timeless, beautiful, salable, and suited perfectly for the upscale market 5/8” cuts, which reveal the most beautiful looks and interesting sections of hardwood...rift, quarter sawn, sliced hardwood flooring. If we compared the A-list to automobiles, they’d be the high- performance luxury cars, which have a limited color line and model styles that rarely

change. These products set the standard for timeless luxury and unmatched quality. The A-list is not made of all the colors and finishes, just the right ones. The A-list finishes include matte, cerused sliced or quarter sawn wood grains, hand-sanded, sanded-down, paint effects, plastery-white or blackened, warm barnwood grays, and driftwood grays, which can have a silvery effect in the right light. In fashion, interiors, and even automobiles, the right application of color and finish

There’s a variety of finish options available for hardwood floors. Surface finishes are common, some are for sheen or gloss and are typically oil-based or water- based. It’s generally accepted that a finish is applied to help improve durability, moisture resistance, scratch resistance, and to provide a level of protection across the surface of the wood. In the hardwood flooring world, some think that’s pretty much the short and sweet low-down on finishes. However, there’s a much broader and more exciting storyline on finishes. When you change the filter of what you’re looking through, like a lens, for example, the view changes. Consider for a moment looking through a lens with a broader view, one that takes into consideration all of the flooring categories as well as the entire interiors world. I’ve created two very insightful and useful lists of evolving finish trends. These lists are based

The A-list is not made of all the colors and finishes, just the right ones.

must make sense with the specific product’s design. The Pantone Institute’s Director, Leatrice Eiseman, recently shared this as her mindset in

making sure products are successful.

20 hardwood floors www.hardwoodfloorsmag.com

Made in U.S.A. • True Northern Hardwoods • 350,000 sq ft facility Manufacturing: Solid & Engineered • Prefinished & Unfinished • Smooth & Textured

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AACERFLOORING.COM

Beautiful to the Finish (Continued)

and Venusians, designers don’t want to collaborate with someone who’s an outsider who’s trying to be a designer. At the top of my sources in field research is a lighting and accessory company based in Atlanta, Georgia, but well-known worldwide. Currey and Company’s Cecil Adams and Brownlee Currey graciously offered to give me a design inspiration tour of their High Point showroom outlining their latest trends. Their creative teams travel the world, working in villages and soaking up the native flavor and culture, searching for unique and native art or hand-crafted pieces that they integrate into their collections of chandeliers, pendants, wall sconces, and more. Three years ago, they were among the first to do black finishes in the “Dark Beauty” looks and, five years ago, utilized the mercury glass and champagne silvery gold effects for the bridge from brushed nickel or chrome to the warmer metallics we see so prevalently today. What’s next according to Cecil Adams, Currey and Company’s Creative Director? You’ve already heard me make references to this look in past trend narratives, and it is Finish Trend #1, “Gesso,” plastery whites, which is also referred to as chalky whites. Look for this in spring 2018 introductions. “Gesso is having a moment, and one of the characteristics I love about this technique is that it adds a handmade quality to anything you cover with it. Typically used as a layer between a substrate and another finish, when you encounter it now it begs the question – am I seeing something that was underneath another layer that has been peeled away, or I am seeing something in a stage of being built up into something else? Gesso is in the middle, so to speak,” said Adams. In researching finish trends, it’s essential to get to the heart of what designers and specifiers are using in commercial interiors. Commercial design tends to lead the residential world and is a wonderful Petri dish for seeing exactly what works and what doesn’t. Examining various categories like wood, porcelain tiles, natural stones, and glass mosaics, it’s abundantly clear that

The second list, the “B-list,” is comprised

of finishes that are very trendy and utilize many

variations, looks that might also become time-stamped, and are found in the big middle of the market, an area referred to as the “high-end-of-the- middle” or “low-end- of the high.”

The B-list is comprised of finishes that are very trendy and utilize many variations.

The B-list level could be compared to the car brands that try out every kind of color, finish, and effect. There is a third list, but it’s a list of finishes that would be so long and ever-changing as it represents the less expensive, highly competitive, middle segment of the market. This is the “big middle” and offers these major players a wide berth of looks and finishes at more competitive price points. This second tier includes some very interesting looks and finishes. The names themselves are fun to say, all playing to the sales associate’s need to have a nickname that they can easily explain. This grouping includes metallics, reactives, reactive-looks, and fumed, as well as air-brushed effects with dramatic highs and lows. This list applies to mid-level hardwood floors; they are typically rotary peeled hardwoods and take advantage of special effects to down-play the busier rotary-peeled cathedral wood grain. When the cut of the wood determines the yield, and rotary yields more and wastes less of the hardwood, there is understandably quite a large segment of manufacturers that employ the various techniques so that their products can hit a price point. Actual reactive finishes, although very cool, are challenging due to their reactive state

today, it’s all about texture, dimension, and a handcrafted wood visual. As part of my research, I worked with Nancy Jackson, the president of Architectural Systems Inc. (ASI) in New York City. ASI deals with the NYCArchitect and Design community, those who are driving some major trends. Jackson said their teamworks with all surfaces ranging from textured and dimensional wood panels that are handcrafted, embossed, and/or reclaimed, to dramatic finishes that reflect luxe leather and skins, metal and glass mosaics to flooring products that include LVT, hardwoods, porcelain, and natural stone. Changes over the

never stopping. Therefore, many of the reactive looks are designed to look like the actual reactives without the continually changing nature of actual reactive finishes. In studying the trends, it’s essential to continually work with those who are closest to the cutting edge, i.e., designers and specifiers, or retailers and specialty shops that cater to the design trade. It matters to speak the same language and share a common goal when working with those in the design world, much like Martians

Many reactive looks are designed to look like actual reactives without the changing nature of actual reactive finishes.

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last couple of years have been driven by the acceptance of simulated materials into the commercial market. For example, a hotel brand will specifically request a luxury vinyl for the guest rooms and porcelain for the public spaces, that is in part to the advancement of these products looking so realistic. Gray and warm earthy color palettes are still on trend; mixing them up with hints of metallic is very much on point now. Matte in wood flooring and gloss on dimensional glass mosaics feel fresh, and the direction ASI is going in new product launches. In the commercial arena, the challenge is always to protect the design intent and be sensitive to the budget while recommending the right product for the application, so it’s never just one

According to consumer reports, there is a need for more choice, variety, and higher quality materials.

part: price, performance, or design. “A product has to look good, performwell, and be competitively priced. Materials need to support the designer for narrative storytelling in a place. Even the workplace has been influenced by hospitality design, and specialty products are being specified to have engaging spaces for employees to collaborate in,” said Jackson. Final thoughts on finishes, the best indication of a healthy marketplace for

consumers is to see and hear that there’s a need for more choice, more variety, and higher quality materials. It has already been an exciting year. Hold on tight and let’s see what the end of the year looks like. Let’s plan on being strong and beautiful to the finish. Emily Morrow Finkell is an interior designer and CEO of EF Floors & Design, LLC in Dalton, Georgia, a provider of hardwood floors and home furnishings, and NWFA design contributor. She can be reached at kikermorrow@gmail.com.

Since we have introduced Stauf

WFR-930 in the US market, it has truly changed the landscape of adhering engineered flooring. This patented product spreads easily, and cleans wet or dry without etching the finish of the floor. It also meets all the standards for IAQ, even in the state of California. WFR-930 is an alcohol based adhesive that eliminates hollow spots, and its simplicity is unmatched. We have heard from installers over and over again, and the consensus is always the same: “Don’t EVER stop making this adhesive”. WFR-930 stands in a class all its own. We aren’t going anywhere and neither is the floor you just laid! Stick with what works.

A D H E S I V E S S I N C E 1 8 2 8

www.staufusa.com 866.GLUEUSA

SALES SAVVY BUSINESS BEST PRACTICES

By Paul Reilly

PRESENTING YOUR VALUE-ADDED SOLUTION

“The heart has reasons that reason cannot understand.” - Blaise Pascal, Mathematician and Scientist

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In the quote above, Pascal is claiming that people do things for their own reasons, and those reasons don’t have to make sense. Humans are not purely rational; we’re emotional too. Think about it…if we were purely rational, nobody would engage in high-risk activity like speeding, texting and driving, or bungee jumping. Since people are rational and emotional, our decisions are logical and emotive. If robots made buying decisions, logic would be the only factor, but humans make these decisions. As sales professionals, the content of our presentations appeal to the rational, logical side of buying. The context appeals to the emotional side of buying. Value-added salespeople understand that buyers are rational and emotional. Therefore, a value-added presentation is rich in content and context. Here are some tips to appeal to the buyer’s logic and emotion in your next value-added sales presentation. USE ANALOGY In John Pollack’s book, Shortcut , he emphasizes how analogy helps us spark innovation and sell our great ideas. Pollack shares research suggesting that analogy may lie at the core of all decision making. Analogy is the comparison of two things based on similarity for the purposes of explanation.

Humans are lazy thinkers. We look for previous associations and parallels when making decisions. We do this to simplify decision making. We analyze previous situations and determine if they are similar to the current decision we are trying to make. If the previous situation is similar, we decide similarly. Analogy is an effective way to draw a parallel to another aspect of the buyer’s business. Find other examples where the buyer has made a decision based on value and not price, then show the linkage with your solution. Analogy simplifies the decision-making process. Use an analogy that is familiar to the buyer and draws a parallel to another aspect of their business. MAKE IT SOUND AND LOOK FAMILIAR Presentations are about the buyer, not the seller. Buyers are more likely to accept a solution if it’s familiar. When a presentation sounds familiar and looks familiar, buyers are more likely to buy. In a recent seminar, one salesperson explained that he likes to use buyer buzzwords in his presentation. Buzzwords make the presentation sound familiar. Every buyer uses certain buzzwords of value. Identify your buyer’s buzzwords of value and use them in your presentation.

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Presenting Your Value-Added Solution (Continued)

These extra steps make the presentation look familiar. The salesperson explained that his goal is to present a solution that is familiar to the buyer. The familiarity reduces the uncertainty associated with an unknown solution. Ask yourself, “What can I do to make this sales presentation look and sound familiar to the buyer?”

“As a value-added partner, here are some of the extras we provide.” “Here is what our value-added solution will do for you.” SELL THE OPPORTUNITY VALUE To the buyer, sometimes the cost of doing nothing is greater than the cost of moving forward with your solution. The cost of doing nothing is the buyer’s opportunity cost. Make the buyer painfully aware of the cost of doing nothing. For the buyer to change, they must be aware of their pain. Pain is a stronger motivator than gain. Buyers also have to be aware of the gain. We call this selling the opportunity value. To understand the opportunity value of your value-added solution, answer the following question: “What does your solution give the buyer the opportunity to do tomorrow that they cannot do today?” Opportunity cost makes the buyer painfully aware of the cost of doing nothing. Opportunity value focuses on the long-term gain and gives the buyer hope. PRESENT A BIGGER SOLUTION Price shoppers are small thinkers. They view nothing special about their needs. If there is nothing special about their needs, any solution will do. If you want buyers to think bigger, present bigger solutions. Too many salespeople just sell products. If you’re just selling products, you open the door to too much competition. Answer these three questions to present a bigger solution. “Why buy this product?” “Why buy from this company?” “Why buy from me?” These value-added presentation tips will help you appeal to the buyer’s logic and emotion. Value-added salespeople understand that buying decisions are not purely rational. Use these tips as a checklist before your next presentation. Put yourself in the buyer’s position to better understand their reasons. Remember, buyers make purchasing decisions for their reasons, not yours. Paul Reilly is president of Reilly Sales Training, a St. Louis- based, privately owned company that specializes in training sales professionals, sales managers, and service professionals. Reilly Sales Training offers public seminars, in-house sales training programs, and hiring and training assessments. For additional information on training programs, call or email Paul at 636.778.0175 or paul@ reillysalestraining.com. You can also visit reillysalestraining.com and sign up for his free newsletter.

What do we have in common?

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SHOW COMMON GROUND Imagine going on a first date. As you look across the table, you’re probably asking yourself, “What do I have in common with this person?” Wouldn’t it make sense to ask this same question while courting a prospective customer? What does your company have in common with the buyer’s company? Companies that are similar work well together. In your next sales presentation, demonstrate the common ground you share with your prospective buyers. One salesperson explained that she uses common ground in the closing phase of the presentation. She explained that she would close a sales presentation by highlighting all the similarities between her company and the prospect. Then she’ll ask a question, “Wouldn’t it make sense that two companies this similar work together?” USE THE VALUE-ADDED JARGON Presenting your solution is a positioning opportunity. If you want to be viewed as the value-added partner, refer to yourself as the value-added partner. Referring to your company, your products and services, and yourself as the value-added partner builds perceived value. Perceived value raises the customer’s expectations and establishes new criteria. Consider the following feeder statements in your next presentation: “Here are some of the value-added services we provide.”

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BUSINESS BEST PRACTICES LEGAL

By Kailey Grant

CHOICE OF BUSINESS ENTITY An Overv i ew of Non -Tax Cons i dera t i ons

Limited Liability Company (LLC) A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is one of the most common entities utilized for small businesses. It is a form of business entity that permits the pass-through federal tax treatment of a partnership and the liability protections of a corporation. The liability of the owners of the LLC, typically called the members, is limited to the amount of capital contributed to the LLC, which shields them from personal liability in most instances. An LLC can be made up of one or more members, but two or more members are required if the LLC wants to be taxed as a partnership. One of the greatest advantages of the LLC is its flexibility. State LLC statutes are typically made up of default provisions that apply in the absence of a limited liability company agreement or operating agreement and a few mandatory provisions that cannot be altered. While the adoption of a written operating agreement is not required, it is advisable and provides ultimate flexibility in the management structure, voting rights, allocation of profits and losses, transfer of membership interests, distributions, and liquidation and dissolution of the LLC, among other things. The governance of an LLC can be as simple or as complex as you make it. Due to the relatively recent development of the LLC, statutory and case law is less developed than corporation and partnership law. While this provides more freedom and flexibility, it also provides less certainty. Additionally, some states require LLCs to file annual reports and pay a fee to remain in good standing. Finally, while the flexibility of an LLC’s operating agreement is an advantage, it can also be a disadvantage depending on the circumstances. A poorly drafted operating agreement can lead to ambiguities, inconsistencies, and disputes throughout the life of the LLC.

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Regardless of the nature of your business or what sector of the hardwood flooring industry you work within, the choice of type of entity is an important decision with many factors to consider. The following is a summary of those considerations. Sole Proprietorship A sole proprietorship, which is not a legal entity but simply an unincorporated business owned by one individual, may seem like the easiest, fastest, and cheapest way to start a business. However, if you choose to operate as a sole proprietor, the assets and liabilities of the business are not separate from your personal assets and liabilities. This means you can be held personally liable for the liabilities of the business and your potential liability is limitless. Other common business structures that provide greater protection from personal liability include limited liability companies, partnerships, and corporations and there are advantages and disadvantages to each. This article provides a broad overview of these advantages and disadvantages, but does not discuss the tax implications. Please note the tax implications vary significantly between each entity and business organization and laws vary state by state. You should consult both a legal and tax adviser before the formation of your business.

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