Hardwood Floors June/July 2019




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source 3M produces a full line of 3M ™ Floor Sanding Abrasives that takes you on the journey from start to finish. But it doesn’t stop there. With more than 100 years of heritage and innovation, you can trust 3M for all your floor sanding needs, from personal safety and adhesives to masking and abrasives. For performance that will make you and your customers proud, choose 3M.

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© 3M 2019. All rights reserved. 3M and Regalite are trademarks of 3M.


Non-Ambering Formula Superior Flow and Leveling No Mixing Required Commercially Rated Waterborne Finsh







2019 NWFA Wood Floor of the Year By Stacy Brown The Wood Floor of the Year Awards encourage and recognize innovative craftsmanship and design in wood flooring installations. This year’s winning entries illuminated the stage during the 2019 Wood Flooring Expo in Fort Worth. ON THE COVER 40



NWFA Recognizes 2019 Service Award Honorees By Stacy Brown The NWFA thrives due to the generous support of volunteer instructors, committee members, board members, and numerous others. To thank those members who go above and beyond, the NWFA recognizes volunteers with Service Awards.

Color and Finish Repairs for Wood Flooring By Brett Miller When a wood floor becomes damaged, it can be catastrophic to the end user. To determine the extent of the repair that will be necessary, you must first ask a few questions.


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

Industry Insights 16 Market Matters A challenging year for the U.S. wood flooring industry.

By Stuart Hirschhorn

18 Government Affairs Setting direction for 2019. 24 Designer Insights What do designers want?

By Dana Lee Cole

PUBLICATION ADVISORY COMMITTEE Julie Russell, Chair & Board Liaison | Glitsa, a division of Rudd Company

By Emily Morrow Finkell

Jason Elquest | Blackhawk Floors Inc. Allie Finkell | American OEM Wood Floors Lenny Hall | Endurance Floor Company Inc. Kevin Mullany | Benchmark Wood Floors Inc. Jim Schumacher | 3M Mike Sundell

Business Best Practices

28 Finance Transferring business ownership to children. 32 Sales Savvy Seven reasons salespeople cut their price. 34 Marketing Branding: more than a logo and tagline. 56 Expo Recap See highlights from the 2019 Wood Flooring Expo.

By Jonathan Benner

By Paul Reilly


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

By Katrina Olson

By Stacy Brown

At the Site 60 Sponsored Content The dirt on dirt.

By Swiffer

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 CONTRIBUTING WRITERS John Alford Jonathan Benner Dana Lee Cole Michael Dittmer Craig Dupra Emily Morrow Finkell Lenny Hall Stuart Hirschhorn Lee Hurst Megan Lhamon Michael Martin Brett Miller Kjell Nymark Katrina Olson

62 Color Trends How trends impact finish colors. 64 Finishes All about stain reactive flooring.

By Leslie H. Smith

By Lee Hurst

72 Drying Conditions How seasonal changes can affect drying conditions.

By Matt Thrane

74 Concrete Testing Concrete RH testing best practices, Part 2.

Paul Reilly Leslie H. Smith Jason Spangler Kathryn Straccia Matt Thrane

By Jason Spangler

76 Tech Talk Unique finishing scenarios.

By NWFA Regional Instructors

78 Health & Safety Focus How to safely dispose of leftover finishes.

Kathryn Straccia


Product Focus 87 Finishes, Applicators, & Fillers 92 Unfinished Wood Flooring

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 © 2019 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 8 Wood Stock 80 NWFA Resources 102 New Products 103 Ad Index 104 Final Coat: CEO’s Message

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By Craig Dupra Chairman, NWFA


New to the contest this year was the addition of the “Best Use of Technology Application” category. Entries in this category have installed floors utilizing advancements in technology such as CNC, laser, and so forth. Learn more about all of this year’s award winners starting on page 40. It’s never too early to start thinking about entering the contest for next year. AWood Floor of the Year trophy on your desk would be quite an accomplishment. Not only is it a testament to your skills, but also, it is a great marketing opportunity. Keep in mind that all winning entries will be featured in an in-depth profile in an issue of Hardwood Floors throughout the remainder of this year, reaching more than 25,000 wood flooring professionals all over the world. So take advantage of this unique opportunity to have your floor showcased in one of the only magazines dedicated exclusively to wood flooring. Contact the NWFA to find out how you can enter your wood flooring works of art in the competition, and we may be seeing you on the pages of Hardwood Floors this time next year.

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 who bring a different perspective to the contest, ensuring that the floors rank among the best in the world of flooring. To determine the highest award, the Members’ Choice, NWFAmembers from around the world voted for their favorite entry through online voting that took place during the month of March. This process gave each of the NWFA’s 3,200-plus members a chance to evaluate the entries based on technical difficulty, quality of installation, and overall appearance. I continue to be amazed by the Wood Floor of the Year contest submissions. I worked as a wood floor contractor for 24 years, and although I held myself in high regard, I admit to being completely humbled by what others in our industry can create and have created. Fromwhen the contest began to today, the quality, creativity, and craftsmanship of the contest winners continues to inspire. The Wood Floor of the Year winning floors truly reflect how far our industry has come in just a few short decades.

As I sit down to write this column, I have just returned from the 2019 Wood Flooring Expo in Fort Worth. I always enjoy the event and the ability to network with colleagues across the industry. I think it’s going to take at least a week to recover from all the exciting conversations and interactions I had! Every year I meet newmembers, and even some old members I have not encountered before. Their stories about our industry are fascinating and inspiring. But one of the major highlights for me is always the announcement of the winners of our Wood Floor of the Year contest. You will see each of this year’s seven winners highlighted in this edition of Hardwood Floors , and I am sure you will be equally amazed at the artistry and complexity of the winning entries. They truly reflect some of the best wood flooring creativity in our industry. Since the contest began in 1990, the NWFAhas presentedmore than 200 awards recognizing innovative design and craftsmanship inwood flooring installations.The contest is judged by a panel of technical advisory committee members and industry leaders, reinforcing that the awards truly recognize quality work and craftsmanship.

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Wood Stock

New York City's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) will open its expanded campus Oct. 21, 2019, with a reimagined presentation of modern and contemporary art. The expansion, developed by MoMA with architect Diller Scofidio + Renfro, in collaboration with Gensler, adds more than 40,000 square feet of gallery space and enables the museum to exhibit significantly more art in new and interdisciplinary ways. The studio in the heart of the museum will feature live programming and performances that react to, question, and challenge the history of modern art and the current cultural moment. An innovative second-floor platform for education will invite visitors to connect with art that explores new ideas about the present, past, and future. Street-level galleries, free and open to all on the expanded ground floor, will better connect the museum to New York City and bring art closer to people on the streets of midtown Manhattan. J.J. Curran & Son started working in the new MoMA in February 2018; more than a year later, installations are wrapping up as the museum prepares to open its doors this fall. CAREER CAPSTONE By Megan Lhamon

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Photos courtesy of Jerry Curran.

Learn more about the Museum of Modern Art at moma.org/about/new-moma.

Floor Focus Manufactured byWoodCo, based in San Antonio, Texas, the floors had to be perfect from the start. “The architects requested 50,000 square feet of FSC-Certified livesawn American white oak,” says Debbie George, WoodCoMarketingManager. “The wood had to be super clear with no sapwood, no knots bigger than 1/8”, and not more than one knot every 3’.The boards also had to be 1” thick.These things considered, a lot of standard 5/4 lumber didn’t make the grade, and it took nearly nine months to obtain enough lumber.” The material was milled to a standard tongue-and-groove profile, with the extra thickness being on the top. The 1” thick boards were 8” wide and measured from 6’ to 16’ long, with the majority of the boards being between 8’ and 12’ long. Installation After previously working with the architects for MoMA on the Clarke Museum VECC, J.J. Curran & Son was chosen again as the flooring contractor for the museum.

“My son, Seamus Curran, is the project manager for this job,” says Jerry Curran, Owner of J.J. Curran & Son. “He graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in 2012 with his degree in civil engineering and is a valuable member of our team.” “We installed 25,000 square feet in the fourth- and fifth- floor galleries,” continues Curran. “We also will be installing 8,000 square feet of single directional riftsawn parquet and 2,000 square feet of end-grain block on the first floor of the museum.” The floors were stained with DuraSeal Country White and finished with Bona HD Commercial Matte. “Staining and finishing these floors was a challenge,” says Curran. “With 200’-long runs and so much added light from the ceiling fixtures, it was crucial that the stain and finish be perfect.” “This job has been the capstone of my career; it has been really cool to see it all come to life this past year,” concludes Curran. g

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Wood The National Veterans Memorial and Museum (NVMM) in Columbus, Ohio, began with a vision from the late Senator John Glenn, Colonel, USMC (Retired), who understood the pressing need to carefully preserve not only the names, dates, and battles, but also the intimate memories, personal belongings, and painful losses of U.S. veterans. The foundational pillars of the NVMM are to honor Americans’ contributions to the country through military service; connect civilians with veterans and their experience; inspire visitors to serve their community and nation as active, engaged citizens; and educate schoolchildren about the history and value of service. curve above the By Megan Lhamon

• The National Wood Flooring Association launched a federally CONTRACTOR CORNER

registeredWood Flooring Specialist Apprenticeship at theWood Flooring Expo. This new apprenticeship designation is designed to help NWFAmembers attract new skilled labor into the wood flooring industry. Visit nwfa.org/ apprenticeship-program. aspx for more details. • Construction employment increased by 33,000 jobs in April and by 256,000 or 3.5 percent, during the past 12 months, while the number of unemployed jobseekers with construction fell to a record low for April, according to an analysis of new government data by the Associated General Contractors of America.

memorial room to honor fallen heroes, and a lower level incorporates a rotating exhibition gallery, interpretive classrooms, andmeeting rooms. FLOOR FOCUS The construction of the NVMM began in December 2015, and the museum celebrated its grand opening Oct. 27, 2018. Before the doors could open, a lot of work took place by NWFA members The Final Floor and Lanham Hardwood Flooring. Tony Stalford, Commercial Flooring Installation Specialist at The Final Floor, and his team installed 26,000 square feet of oak in a parquet pattern on all three levels of the museum. They also installed matching oak on the staircases – this differing slightly with the nosing on each stair featuring a walnut strip.

Equal to the mission of the museum is the architecture. From first sight, the building impresses upon visitors the importance of what lies within. The architect designed an iconic concrete arch structure, constructed from 28 million pounds of concrete, with a glass curtainwall system and spiral processional ascending to a rooftop sanctuary. Even before opening, the NVMM received international recognition for its innovative design and was named one of the most anticipated buildings of 2018 by Architectural Digest . The museum features a great hall, as well as a space for gatherings and public events. The exhibition galleries follow the curve of the concrete rings, and the experience concludes with an interactive media experience in the heart of the building. A second-floor mezzanine features a


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Stock “Our team faced a few challenges during this install, the main one being that the concrete moisture was


from Lanham and Adam Abell from Bostik and decided Bostik’s GreenForce was the best choice for this job due to its adhesion and moisture-controlling properties, as well as its warranty covering moisture on slab,” says Stalford. “It was worth the investment to ensure these floors would perform for years to come.” In addition to supplying the adhesive for the job, Lanham Hardwood Flooring also supplied vents from Grillworks Inc. and Bona Traffic, which was used to finish the floors. The Final Floor was then ready to conquer the next challenge. “With the curved walls, many of the wood parquet pieces had to have custom- curved cuts,” says Stalford. “The unique parquet pattern combined with the custom-curved cuts caused many of the individual pieces to rise up. Our team spent many, many hours sanding the floors at a 45-degree angle in both directions to avoid hitting the pickets straight on and to guarantee the floor was sanded flat.” “We were really happy with the way the floors turned out,” continues Stalford. “It was a very notable project.” g

at 90 percent, which was too high to install the floors,” says Stalford. “To help balance the dry air and wet concrete and get the building ready for installation, the jobsite construction company, Turner Construction, rented commercial humidification machines.” Another challenge Stalford had to work with was the shape of the building. “The building is kind of like a snail shell,” says Stalford. “There’s not a single straight wall in the place, which added some complexity to the installation throughout the entire job.” To combat these challenges, Stalford and his team had to get creative and ensure they were using the proper products to obtain a successful installation. This is where Lanham Hardwood Flooring stepped in. Chris Hardshaw, Sales Manager at Lanham Hardwood Flooring, helped Stalford and his team by supplying Bostik’s GreenForce – a hardwood flooring adhesive and moisture control membrane. “After realizing that the relative humidity was too high, we worked with Chris

• Glitsa announced that industry veteran SheldonWalker has joined the Glitsa sales team. • AkzoNobel has made a multi- million-dollar investment to transform its wood coatings facility in High Point, North Carolina, into a best-in-class manufacturing site. • Swiff-Train announced the promotion of Joe Reddington to Chief Operating Officer. • Shaw Industries Group has sold its solid hardwood flooring manufacturing facilities to Beasley Flooring Products. This transaction includes Shaw plants in Franklin, North Carolina, and in Bryson City, North Carolina. • Graf CustomHardwood announced two new sales representatives: Peter Faulds and Lisa Durbin. • Mohawk Industries Inc. has named Glenn Landau as its new Chief Financial Officer. • Timesavers LLC named Brent Fischmann as its new Vice President of Sales. • Graf and Robbins Flooring, a new engineered wood flooring manufacturer, began production in May 2019.

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Photos courtesy of Tony Stalford.


Modern Mission Clyde and Sam Cobb of Real Wood Floors in West Plains, Missouri, have always been highly motivated to be their best and to make a difference.


• Stauf USA announced that the company has entered into a distribution agreement with C&C Wholesale, based in Dallas, Texas. C&C will carry the Stauf product line throughout Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. • Horizon Forest Products announced the promotion of Gaby Martinez to Branch Manager in Houston, Texas, and the appointment of Wilson Crouch to the Inside Sales Team in Charleston, South Carolina. • Fishman Flooring Solutions is celebrating its centennial anniversary during 2019. • Pallmann announced that Cascade Pacific Flooring Distributors will distribute the Pallmann Hardwood Complete range of products throughout their distribution network.

it is to be adopted into “forever families.” For yet others, it is to get a helping hand in education to open up the possibility of having a bright future. In 2010, Real Wood Floors established their 10x10x10 goal, a 10-year campaign to sponsor 100 adoptions and help fund 10 educational facilities or orphanages. At $30,000 per adoption, this goal drives the team at Real Wood Floors to make a lot of floors and make a lot of money that can be put back into the mission. “We put as much profit as we can leverage into our goal to help us reach it by 2020,” says Thom Coghlan, Nashville Manager for Real Wood Floors. This includes profit from a recent modern farmhouse where Real Wood Floors supplied the floors.

After a trip to China in 2008, the family's mission to make a difference took on a whole new meaning. While planning the trip, a friend suggested that Sam Cobb visit a specific orphanage while he was there. Upon visiting the orphanage, Cobb was blown away by the incredible work the organization was doing. He also noticed that the flooring needed attention. When he returned to the United States, Cobb organized a team to volunteer time and labor, in addition to donating materials from Real Wood Floors to the orphanage he visited in China. This trip was the start of Real Wood Floor’s mission to help children around the world without families of their own to move from hopeless to hopeful. For some children, their hope is to have a home. For others,

All professional photos were taken by and provided courtesy of Leslie Brown, @visiblestyle.

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Floor Focus “We supplied 3,500 square feet of one of our most popular floors, the Vintage Loft Collection, in the color Harborside,” says Coghlan. “This prefinished European white oak that we manufacture is 8” wide, with 70 percent of the planks being 8’ long. “The homebuilder, Carbine & Associates, is a consistent client and knew we could supply the floors the homeowner dreamed of,” continues Coghlan. Due to the length of the planks, the floors were installed using a full-spread glue-down method. The adhesive used was also made by Real Wood Floors. To complement the new floors, the same material was used to make custom nosing and treads in the home. Notes Coghlan, “The installer custom cut the flooring into square nosing and used the 8”-wide plank to make the treads so that it all matched perfectly. “With a black exterior and white interior, this farmhouse isn’t what you’d expect,” he continues. “We were excited to be a part of this beautiful home that has since gone viral on social media. It’s an honor to have our floors recognized in that way.” g

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Wood Stock

By Megan Lhamon NWFA Around the World Withmembers in 49 countries, the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) serves wood flooring professionals around the world. Recently, we were able to catch up with Steven Suntup, an NWFAmember fromSouth Africa who is in the process of relocating to the United States. As the third generation of a family rooted in the timber industry, Suntup has been involved in flooring his whole life. In 1989, he started his own company, Suntup’s Wooden Flooring, where he imported, manufactured, and installed floors in South Africa. After joining the NWFA overseas, he was a founding member of the South Africa Guild of SolidWooden Flooring Installers (SAGSWFI). He also served as Vice Chairman (nine years) and Chairman (four years) for the Southern African Wood, Laminate and Flooring Association (SAWLFA). Before moving to the U.S., SAWLFA presented Suntup with a Lifetime Achievement Award to recognize his dedication and contributions to the industry. Some of these contributions include writing the South African Bureau of Standards specifications on wood flooring, writing the technical installation training manuals for SAWLFA, and managing the training and accreditation for SAWLFA installer members for nearly 10 years. Since arriving in theU.S., Suntup has had to familiarize himself with differences in flooring standards between theU.S. and SouthAfrica, and he has leaned on theNWFA to help himnavigate.

“The NWFA University and hands- on training events have helped me to understand the American flooring technicalities better,” shares Suntup. “Many are similar to what we were doing in South Africa, but these courses have played a key part in helping me with the technicalities that are different.” “I’m looking forward to working closely with the NWFA and building many more relationships in the industry in the U.S.,” he adds. g

Photo courtesy of Steven Suntup.

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Times Change. Timeless Craftsmanship Endures.

Our custom, made-to-order hardwood flooring is available: Solid or Premium Engineered Unfinished or Prefinished Custom Hand Finished Distressing

In today’s flooring market, customers are demanding the latest in flooring options and styles to capture their unique vision and reflect their individuality. For businesses like yours, that means having partners you can depend on to deliver hardwood flooring in the most sought- after styles and colors available. At Peachey®, we craft our solid or premium Baltic Birch engineered flooring in a variety of beautiful finishes, colors and custom treatments to meet your customer’s vision for beauty and your expectations for enduring quality and performance. And when the new trends of tomorrow emerge, we’ll be there. Leading the way with the hand crafted flooring you can trust to transform houses into unforgettable homes.

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U.S. wood flooring manufacturers and marketers face a challenging market environment. Manufacturers and marketers have been adversely affected by a housing recession, increased competition from luxury vinyl tile (LVT), and higher wood flooring prices from increased lumber costs in 2018 and higher import prices during 2019. Higher import prices are due to the imposition of additional tariffs on Chinese-made flooring. These negative factors accelerated in late 2018 and early 2019. As a result, wood flooring lost a significant share of the total U.S. floor coverings market during the past two years. For wood flooring demand to recover, the industry needs a boost from a housing recovery driven by lower interest rates. Manufacturers must also introduce more waterproof flooring to meet consumer expectations derived from rising competition from wood-look waterproof LVT. Dollar wood flooring manufacturer sales (shipments minus exports plus imports) are estimated to decline by 5.8 percent during 2019 to $3.3 billion. Square foot sales could drop by 9.9 percent to 1.5 billion square feet. This is down from $3.7 billion and 1.8 billion square feet, respectively, in 2017. Declining sales during the past two years have caused wood flooring to lose considerable share in the U.S. floor coverings industry. During 2019, wood flooring is estimated to account for 11.8 percent of total floor coverings dollar sales, and 6.3 percent of total square foot sales. This is down from 14.2 percent and 8 percent, respectively, in 2017. Wood flooring lost share due to its heavy reliance on residential markets. Residential markets slowed in 2018 due to the housing recession resulting from the sharp increase in mortgage interest rates. The housing downturn started in the MARKET MATTERS INDUSTRY INSIGHTS 2019: A Challenging Year for the U.S. Wood Flooring Industry

existing home market where sales declined by 3 percent in 2018. The decline was sharpest in the fourth quarter when the increase in interest rates peaked. The drop in existing home sales resulted in a weakened residential replacement market since the buyer of an existing home is more likely to invest in new flooring than a non-mover. Meanwhile, the surge in interest rates in the fourth quarter of 2018 caused the builder market to weaken. Declines in home sales continued into the first quarter of 2019. As a result of these trends, consumer floor coverings spending declined in the fourth quarter of 2018 and remained on a downward trend going into the first quarter of 2019. The weakness in residential markets had a greater effect on wood flooring sales since wood flooring has the highest dependence on residential markets. Some 80 percent of total U.S. wood flooring purchases is for residential applications. In fact, wood flooring has the highest dependence on the builder market than any other floor coverings sector. Wood flooring also has been adversely impacted by the introduction of LVT. In recent years, Asian manufacturers developed rigid core vinyl planks that offer customers a waterproof floor and wood-looks with improved printed

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By Stuart Hirschhorn

More importantly, wood flooring manufacturers must introduce more waterproof products to counter the growth of LVT. In the first quarter of 2019, Lumber Liquidators reported that customers were looking for waterproof flooring. Customer preferences resulted in Lumber Liquidator first-quarter sales of LVT to increase by about 22 percent, while sales of wood flooring declined by some 16 percent. Manufacturers are already introducing hybrid wood flooring to meet customer’s desire for more waterproof flooring. Cali Brands’ line of GeoWood, which combines real wood layered over the company’s GeoCore SPC limestone composite, was expanded in March 2019. Shaw Floors’ Floorté now offers a product with a waterproof SPC core with a hardwood veneer. Finally, wood flooring sales could gain some traction from the decline in hardwood lumber prices during 2019. Lower lumber costs could translate into more competitive wood flooring prices and hopefully higher demand. Catalina Research will be tracking wood flooring industry trends during 2019 including an analysis of U.S. manufactured versus foreign-sourced products, customer demographics, and retail distribution, and the outlook for 2020. For more information contact Stuart Hirschhorn, Director of Research at 561.988.0853 or shirschhorn@ catalinareports.com. Also, visit our website catalinareports.com. Stuart Hirschhorn is Director of Research for Catalina Research Inc. in Highland Beach, Florida. He can be reached at 561.988.0853 or shirschhorn@catalinareports.com.

flooring’s competitive position. Wood flooring prices rose due to increases in hardwood lumber prices throughout 2018, while import prices increased in the first quarter of 2019 due to the imposition of an additional 10 percent tariff on Chinese-made wood flooring in September 2018. These trends could result in a 4.9 percent increase in average wood flooring selling prices during 2019. This compares to a less than 1 percent increase for total U.S. floor coverings prices. The additional tariff on China-made wood flooring impacted U.S. selling prices since imports represent about 40 percent of total U.S. wood flooring dollar sales, and Chinese manufacturers account for about one-third of total U.S. imports. In addition, as the price of Chinese-made wood flooring increased, the supply chain shifted to suppliers in Belgium, Canada, Malaysia, and Poland. As a result, average import prices could increase by nearly 12 percent during 2019. To counter the negative factors in the marketplace, wood flooring manufacturers and marketers need the decline in mortgage interest rates in March and April to spark a housing recovery in the second half of 2019. This is imperative due to wood flooring’s high dependence on residential markets. Wood flooring manufacturers and marketers must also find a way to increase their penetration of commercial markets. Wood flooring is estimated to account for less than 8 percent of total commercial floor coverings purchases. Marketers must find a way to boost usage since commercial floor coverings purchases have continued to increase in late 2018 and early 2019 as nonresidential building construction spending remained on an upward trend.

Photo courtesy of Somerset.

designs and texturing technologies. The original rigid core products utilized an expanded foam polymer core, known as WPC. During the past year, several manufacturers have introduced planks with a solid polymer core, known as SPC. The denser SPC flooring allowed LVT to be used in a wider range of applications. The new LVT floors have been accepted by residential and commercial customers with LVT sales increasing some 40 percent per year in dollars and square feet in 2018 and 2019. As a result, LVT could increase to 16 percent to 17 percent of total U.S. floor coverings dollar sales, up from less than 2 percent in 2007. LVT prices became more competitive as investments in new production capacity in Asia and the U.S. caused LVT prices to begin to weaken. At the same time, wood flooring prices were rising sharply. This cut into wood

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BigStockPhoto ©

Setting Direction for 2019

The 2019 Hardwood Federation (HF) Board of Directors and Hardwood Federation PAC (HFPAC) Board of Directors recently held their annual meetings in Washington, D.C. As always, it was a packed few days of discussion, networking, and strategic planning for the federation and our boards.

The HFPAC Board is also being chaired by a former leader of the NWFA, Tommy Maxwell of Maxwell Hardwood Flooring in Monticello, Arkansas. Tommy is almost as passionate about political engagement as he is about hardwood floors, and we are excited he has agreed to this final term as our HFPAC Board President. Serving as HFPAC Board Vice President is Bob Miller of Frank Miller Lumber headquartered in Union City, Indiana, an equally enthusiastic supporter of the Federation. The NWFA’s second representative on the HFPAC Board is Dan Natkin

I am pleased to announce that our 2019 Board of Directors President is Rick Holden of Derr Flooring in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. Rick is a Past-Chair of the NWFA and has great insight into multiple facets of the industry. He will be ably supported by incoming Vice President Matthew Smith of Smith Creek in Borden, Indiana. Joining Rick on the Hardwood Federation Board is Don Finkell of American OEMWood Floors in Burns, Tennessee. Don has led both the NWFA and the Hardwood Federation Board and also brings great experience to the organization.

The first order of business was the introduction of the members of the 2019 Board of Directors and HFPAC Board of Directors. The Federation Board provides strategic direction for advocacy priorities and outreach efforts as well as budget oversight and other administrative functions. The HFPAC Board is instrumental in helping to raise political action committee (PAC) dollars to support congressional allies and to identify those to consider providing with financial support. This group is vital to our efforts on behalf of the industry, and we rely heavily on their insight and guidance.

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By Dana Lee Cole

Giving flooring contractors both Speed & accuracy NEW Orion ® wood moisture meters ■ 3X Faster Than Any Pin Meter ■ Independently Confirmed Accuracy ■ 7-Year Warranty ■ Non-Damaging Pinless Meter ■ Dual Depth Measurement of Mannington Mills based in Salem, New Jersey. Dan has been very engaged in advocacy outreach and a long-time participant in our annual Fly-In to Washington, D.C. and is a great addition to our PAC Board. The Hardwood Federation is very grateful for the NWFA’s tremendous support and engagement with the Federation. We very much look forward to working with your delegates to our boards and to our continued cooperative engagements with the NWFA. The primary focus of the February meeting is to set the direction and priorities of the Federation for the coming year. After considering our 2018 advocacy activity in Washington, D.C., the anticipated administration agenda, and the responses to the annual Hardwood Federation Priority Policy Survey, the Hardwood Federation and Hardwood Federation PAC Boards discussed and set a course of action for 2019. Of course, the ever-changing world of politics and policy can shift some of this course, but to have a sense of direction at the start of every year

The Hardwood Federation is very grateful for the NWFA’s tremendous support and engagement with the Federation. We very much look forward to working with your delegates to our boards and to our continued cooperative engagements with the NWFA.


wagnermeters.com | Call (800) 505-1283

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Setting Direction for 2019 (Continued)

leaders, jointly develop solutions, and deliver a result that has far-reaching value beyond one company or one organization. Federation Board Members are clear that the Federation is to embrace similar opportunities that will facilitate our efforts on behalf of the industry on Capitol Hill, a directive I fully support. I look forward to continuing to work with all the wonderful members of the hardwood community to identify future ways to serve the industry in this manner. And I look forward to working with the NWFA Board, staff, and representatives to the Hardwood Federation to successfully fulfill our mission. g 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.

about why it is important that the right decisions are made when considering reform measures in these areas and why the wrong decisions can devastate our industry. The Hardwood Federation Board of Directors also was briefed on the long- awaited Hardwood Economic Impact study (covered in the April/May edition of this magazine) and did some strategic thinking about how the Federation can and should grow and adapt in response to the increasingly rapid pace of news, communications, and their impacts on the policymaking process. The Hardwood Federation was established as a coordinating body within the industry to represent common interests on federal policy in Washington, D.C., a mandate I am proud to continue. The economic impact study project is an example of how the industry can work to identify unifying goals, gather supportive industry and association

greatly helps the Hardwood Federation staff provide the best possible assistance to the hardwood industry. In 2019, the top issues reported by the survey mostly fell in line with anticipated priorities: regulatory reform, federal forest management, tax reform, trade, and innovative wood products. Following these were issues that the Federation will continue to monitor throughout the year including funding government programs that enhance exports, export markets, the Lacey Act, biomass, immigration reform, and the Endangered Species Act. The Board also recommended a focus on transportation issues – with special regard to trucking – and other infrastructure issues that may have the potential to move in a now- divided Congress. These are not new topics for the Federation, but the level of importance placed on them by those who responded to the survey is a clear mandate for us. Congress will continue to hear from us

20 hardwood floors www.hardwoodfloorsmag.com


NO GLUE. NO NAILS. JUST PEEL AND STICK. Elastilon ® is a closed cell mat peel & stick installation system imported from the Netherlands, which enables one to install a T&G hardwood (solid /engineered) floor as a floating floor without any glue. The adhesive gives a permanent bond, not a temporary tack. One can walk on the floor before, during and after installation. Individual boards can be changed as there is no glue in the T&G. Any over expansion due to humidity can be cut back and dropped flat without pressure cupping or long-term repair work. This is important especially in commercial installations. The Elastilon ® mat also conforms to the hi-rise above grade installations specs in the USA. MORE BENEFITS FOR USING ELASTILON ® : • No floor failure due to installation being floating. • Eliminates pressure cupping • Floor can be uplifted and moved to another location • Soft on knees during installation • 70 year guarantee on the bond to the back of the floor board • Floor can be laid unlimited in length • Floor can be laid up to 20 yards wide with no center T-strip • No T-strips required in the thresholds. • No mess as this is a dry installation using no wet adhesives • A 6-8mm poly sheet over the sub-floor

• No waiting for paint on moisture barriers to dry • Unfinished floors can be sanded after installation • Sound spec is IIC 62 and STC 5

CONTACT: Steven Suntup. T: (949) 386 0520 / stevensuntup@gmail.com www.elastilon.com

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This has become the billion-dollar (yes, billion!) question. What Do Designers Want?

It’s also important to note that most interior designers are closer to interior architects than decorators. A professional interior designer is required to have training and experience in drafting plans, and most have several years in the field working with a variety of projects that require understanding building codes. Enter the designer's newest best friends, which is almost every major manufacturer of home goods. Walk one day during Market Week at High Point Market and you'll see that many of the furniture brands cater literally, and figuratively, to designers, offering them "to the trade" discounts, financing, brunch with mimosas, catered lunches, swag bags, VIP access to exclusive designer-only lounges, and much more. During the 2019 DOMOTEX USA inaugural exhibition in Atlanta at the Georgia World Congress Center, I hosted a design panel lunch and learn. The goal of the panel was to better understand the pain points of the design community and how the wood flooring industry can better connect with them. As it turns out, this was a hot topic. The event sold out weeks in advance, and we had a line of people wanting to sit in. Panelists were hand-selected from various colleagues across the design industry and included the CEO of a globally recognized lighting and accessory company, a design marketing consultant, the former president of Color Marketing Group (CMG), and a residential interior designer who catered to higher-end clients in the southeastern region.

What is it, exactly, that makes designers so special, and what does it mean for the wood flooring industry? For starters, designers are influencing a large and wealthy target audience of consumers, homeowners, and commercial entities alike. In fact, according to the 2018 ASID State of the Industry Report , "A staggering $77 billion worth of product is specified by interior designers each year."

Photos courtesy of Emily Morrow Finkell.

24 hardwood floors www.hardwoodfloorsmag.com

By Emily Morrow Finkell

In the end, what they wanted was fairly simple. They want a place to come in and work, with or without clients, where they won't have to negotiate with a retail sales associate necessarily. They want to have a resource for product knowledge and technical information on the various products that they're specifying. As an example, one designer told a story of having to order a plumbing part for a custom bathtub that she selected with the guidance of a sales associate. She shared that she relied heavily on the salesperson to be the expert, but the problemwas that the salesperson assumed she was an expert. Unfortunately, the result was the wrong-size part, which delayed the project, costing additional labor and time. Hardwood flooring is an especially daunting category for designers. It's usually fairly expensive both in materials and in labor to install, and it requires loading docks and lift trucks to unload the heavy cartons or bundles and a knowledgeable person to measure and do the takeoffs, as well as figuring out the sequence of the job installation so that everything goes into the jobsite at the exact right moment. Furthermore, imagine how difficult it is for designers to find and hire skilled flooring installers in today's environment where the industry is suffering a shortage of skilled workers. Many interior designers shy away from "dealing with the hardwood flooring" but rather just "pick it" and let their contractor handle the "rest of the mess." Designers can work hard to design a project and still have a client (or even his or her contractor) then go out and shop the selections for lower prices, cutting the designer out of the equation. Are you currently carrying brands and products that are designed for designers? Many of these brands are already recognized by designers by their stunning The following questions were posed to the designers: “What do you need?” a nd “What is your biggest challenge or headache?”

BigStockPhoto ©

the magazine of the national wood flooring association


What Do Designers Want? (Continued)

ads in shelter magazines; designers will often work with only these brands, setting themselves arm's-length apart from the products that have "big-box looks" and are from big-box stores. The answers to "What can we all do to help designers?" are as varied as the designer's style, and yet it is relatively simple to step back and examine things from a different perspective. Are you working with designers already? If you're a retail store owner, do you offer work tables? Do you allow designers to check out samples? Do you offer designers a discount or a commission? If you’re a distributor or a contractor, do you host CEU designer events so designers can maintain their continuing education units required by most states? Do you take the time to reach out to local designers, introduce yourself, and share the value of working with an installation professional for wood flooring projects? If so, you're already helping to ease their burden and earning their trust. To go the extra mile, it would be extremely beneficial for you to have staff designated to work with designers. Beyond providing workspace, is it possible to offer financing for their projects? Often designers are cashflow challenged in projects of larger scope or multiple projects, so a little help with credit would certainly help.

The NWFA has a vast library of CEU presentations that I've enjoyed being able to offer for my customers. The magic of a CEU event is that it combines work and play in a relaxed yet professional environment that is not at all about "selling a brand." CEU presenters are not allowed to speak of their brands during the presentation and yet the brand is oftentimes staring participants in the face. If your CEU presenter is a credible source of information and is on-site for providing education, answering questions, and helping avoid problems, then you're ahead of the rest of the pack by being there. g 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 emily@emilymorrowhome.com.

hardwood floors www.hardwoodfloorsmag.com


MAKE SURE THE PIECES FIT. Count on NWFA/NOFMA Certified Manufacturers

Anthony Oak Flooring Buchanan Hardwoods/Elite Brand Flooring Carlisle Wide Plank Floors Carroll Hardwood Co. Cumberland Lumber & Mfg. Graf Custom Hardwood Hassell & Hughes Lumber Co. Henry County Hardwoods Heritage Oak Lauzon Flooring Lewis Brothers Lumber Co. Lewis Lumber & Milling, Inc. Magnolia Flooring Mill/Chickasaw Brand Maxwell Hardwood Flooring Middle Tennessee Lumber Co. Miller and Company Missouri Hardwood/Hardwoods of Missouri Monticello Flooring & Lumber Co. Mullican Flooring Ouachita Hardwood Flooring

For more than 100 years, NOFMA Certification has provided a mark of distinction for wood flooring. NWFA’s NOFMA Certification provides an assurance that the wood flooring you are buying meets or exceeds the industry standards for grade, configuration, moisture content, and average board length. Look to NWFA/NOFMA certified manufacturers to assure an architect, designer or consumer that a particular product meets industry-accepted standards.

Roberts Wood Products Shaw Hardwood Flooring Smith Flooring, Inc. Somerset Wood Products Superior Hardwood Flooring by Herwynen Saw Mill, Ltd.


NWFA.ORG | 800.422.4556


Transferring Business Ownership to Children

BigStockPhoto ©

After building a successful business, many business owners decide they want to transfer ownership to their children. This desire to share success with the next generation is no different from non-business-owning parents. However, the tools they can use to transfer wealth vary. Whether you own a business or not, the fundamental questions are the same:

1 . How much wealth

2. How much wealth do you want the children to have? How much is too much?

3. What tools can you use to minimize the Estate and Gift Tax consequences of transferring wealth?

do you want to keep for yourself?

Business owners have to put those questions in the context of their exit objective. Once owners establish their financial exit objective, they can answer the universal questions above and design a transfer mechanism that will pass the wealth to the children with minimal tax impact.

28 hardwood floors www.hardwoodfloorsmag.com

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