Hardwood Floors October/November 2017

OCT/NOV 2017


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professionals who are shaping the future of the industry. 55

40 Under 40 | By Stacy Brown Meet the first-ever “40 Under 40,” a group of young wood flooring


‘Tis the Season By Brett Miller

Seasonal related issues are one of the most common complaints that homeowners have this time of year.


2018 Industry Outlook By Lindsay Konzak and Angela Poulson Halfway through 2017, most survey respondents are optimistic that 2017 will end on a positive note. And they expect that momentum to carry into 2018.


the magazine of the national wood flooring association



Industry Insights:

16 Government Affairs An update on the fall agenda in Washington, D.C., and the impact on our industry.

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

By Dana Cole

18 Designer Insights A look through the design lens at wood flooring trends for 2018.

By Emily Morrow Finkell

22 Market Matters The importance of retail channels to wood flooring manufacturers and marketers.

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

By Stuart Hirschhorn

Business Best Practices:

26 Finance Forecasting for your financial future. 30 Sales Savvy Price objections are self-inflicted wounds.

By Bree Urech-Boyle

By Paul Reilly

Jeremy Waldorf | Legacy Floors LLC Adam Williams | Palo Duro Hardwoods

34 Business Basics Key contract terms to look for… and some to avoid.

By Barbara Dunn O’Neal

38 Technology Protect yourself from cyber criminals. By Jodi O’Toole 40 Marketing The benefits of a smooth customer journey. By Katrina Olson


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

At the Site: 42 Sponsored Content The dirt on dirt and how it damages wood floors. 66 Sponsored Content Emerging trends in hardwood installation. 73 Sponsored Content Wood floor preservation made easy with education and technology. 74 Tech Troubleshooting How to recoat a previously finished floor. A step-by-step guide to new color technologies. 80 Finish Focus Love and care of your finishes and sealers. 78 Color Technologies 68 Health & Safety Focus Silica safety.

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

By Eric Kurtz

By Jeremy Waldorf

By Joseph Hillenmeyer

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Tito Boror Bree Urech-Boyle Dana Cole Lindsay Konzak Eric Kurtz

Jodi O’Toole Angela Poulson Kelly Ragalie Paul Reilly Jeremy Waldorf Chris Zizza

By Brett Miller

Megan Lhamon Michael Martin Brett Miller

By Kelly Ragalie and

Jason Elquest Ethan Erickson

Tito Boror

Kjell Nymark Katrina Olson Barbara Dunn O’Neal

Emily Morrow Finkell Joseph Hillenmeyer Stuart Hirschhorn

By Ethan Erickson

83 Tech Talk What challenges do you face when coating By NWFA a wood floor and how do you overcome them?


Regional Instructors

86 WFOY Spotlight From online inspiration to installation. Product Focus: 92 Finishes, Applicators & Fillers 96 Plank Flooring

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

By Stacy Brown

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. Application to Mail at Periodicals Postage Prices is Pending at Chesterfield, MO, and additional offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Hardwood Floors, P.O. Box 9147, Lowell, MA 01853. Copyright © 2017 by the National Wood Flooring Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is strictly prohibited.

Also in this Issue:

6 Chairman’s Cut

By Chris Zizza

8 Wood Stock 88 NWFA Resources 106 New Products 107 Ad Index

hardwood floors

108 Final Coat: CEO’s Message


By Michael Martin

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CHAIRMAN’S CUT Chart Your Course with NWFA

By Chris Zizza Chairman, NWFA

As I sit here thinking about the outlook for our industry, and closer to home, the continued strength of my own company, it makes me look back over the years and reflect upon how my company has grown and the importance of NWFA in my journey. We all know I like analogies, so here I go with another one. I always think a business is similar to a boat, or a yacht, depending on the size of your company. I know many of you have companies much bigger than mine, so for the sake of argument, I will suggest mine is a boat… but it’s a really nice boat that needs deep safe water.

BigStockPhoto ©

While you could just steer your boat anywhere you want, it’s always more e ective (and safer) if you chart a course. I remember when I used to just steer my boat to whatever daily emergency needed my a ention, but as we grew, we needed to have a be er plan, a be er organization, and a safe harbor. For me, over the years, that safe harbor became the NWFA. When I started my company in 1986, the NWFA was also just being created, so the bene ts of membership were not in place yet. It wasn’t until my rst NWFAWood Flooring Expo in 1995 in Las Vegas that I got my rst glimpse of what the NWFA could do for me. In 2004, I received my rst NWFA Certi cation at a regional school in NewOrleans, and by 2007 in Denver, I was asking then Chairman, Ken Schumacher, “How do I get more involved?” e NWFA Expo is the perfect place to see new products, nd organizational tools, a end seminars on how to grow your business, learn newmarketing strategies, and yes, participate in the all-important networking with your industry peers. anks to the NWFA and a li le bit of hard work on my part and the part of my sta , my company has had smooth sailing in mostly calmwaters. Now, as I help chart the NWFA’s course for 2018 and beyond, I look at what’s in front of us as members, and there are some incredible opportunities to use to your advantage. So while you look for safe waters to sail your vessel through the year, I encourage you to consider some of the available options at the NWFA as you chart your course. Connect with your industry through the vast network of wood ooring professionals. Reap the bene ts of NWFA’s growing number of industry partnerships. Stay current on industry advances with Expo, Hardwood Floors magazine, and NWFA’s industry reports and resources. Increase your pro tability with NWFA’s wide variety of business services designed to improve e ciency and save money. Advance your skills as a wood ooring professional with NWFA’s toolbox of educational resources including online training, hands-on training, certi cations, industry-standard guidelines, technical publications, and technical support. Consider the NWFA your compass to success; contact the team at 800.422.4556 or visit nwfa.org today to learn more.

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Over- coatable with Bona finish

Introducing new Bona Craft Oil 2K . Get all the benefits of a natural oil finish plus the performance you expect from Bona. The elongated open time of Bona Craft Oil 2K along with its ability to set up quickly makes it easier to work with and allows for light use in just 8 hours. While the unsurpassed viscosity penetrates deep into the hardwood floor in truly just one coat resulting in strengthened wear resistance and an organic looking floor with a rich patina. Blend or apply two tones for a custom look plus further protect a homeowner’s investment by over- coating with any finish in the Bona Traffic ® family. Releasing Oil’s Potential Bona Craft Oil ™ 2K – Performance, Versatility, Design


Wood Stock A CUT ABOVE

“I got kicked out of school as a teenager, so my uncle took me to work,” shares Reyes. “From there I expanded my own horizons. I like to challenge myself.” And challenge himself he has. His work over the years includes some truly unique oors including a recycled log oor, hand-painted zebra oor, and even a chess board oor. Each oor also carries a unique story with it. “I had recently chopped

Slaughterbeck Floors Inc. is a woman-owned and operated family business in Campbell, California established by Joan and Jack Slaughterbeck more than 40 years ago. roughout those years, the company has grown to become a powerhouse with more than 800 domestic and imported oor coverings on display at their showroom. Joan especially takes pride in her team of artists and cra smen who can customize ooring to suit their customers’ aesthetic and structural needs. “We love to bring a creative twist to each job, with an eye for interior design. In fact, custom and decorative oors are a specialty of ours,” says Slaughterbeck. “We have artists on sta that can create one-of-a-kind oors or unique feature strips and medallions using wood and tile that our customers select. Some of the wood may even come from trees in our customers’ yards!”

down a tree in my yard, and we had an upcoming show to do. Some of the guys in the showroomwere having some fun with me saying, ‘that show is coming up pre y soon.’ So I said, ‘I’m not worried about it; in fact, I’ll make a oor out of that tree right there,’” says Reyes. “Several weeks later, believe it or not, I was making a oor out of that tree for the show. We took it to the show, and it was great!”

Reyes started the process by cu ing the tree into 3/4″ thick rounds. A er drying them in a kiln he fashioned in his o ce, he placed themwithin the framework along with smaller log sections to ll the gaps between the large plates. e gaps were lled with a resin and sawdust mixture. e piece was nally sanded and then nished with polyurethane.

“ e inspiration for the zebra oor came from an area rug. I thought it would be cool to replicate it on a piece of wood,” says Reyes. “So I put a panel together, and I drew it out just like the carpet and hand scraped it and stained it to match.” e piece was cra ed frommaple plank ooring, using a scraper and chisel. e stripes and border

Dominic Reyes is one of the artists on sta at Slaughterbeck Floors. He started in the cra at the young age of 15 and has grown and enhanced his skills during the past 27 years.

Photos courtesy of Slaughterbeck Floors

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• e NWFA Technical Resources group on Facebook has reached nearly 500 members since its inception in May 2016. e group was established to encourage members to ask technical questions and receive advice from seasoned professionals. NWFA members can request to join the group here: h ps://www.facebook.com/ groups/244324539259748/. • Dan’s CustomHardwood Flooring has opened their rst-ever showroom in Hingham, Massachuse s. e Grand Opening is a huge milestone for the company, which is also celebrating its 25th Anniversary. CONTRACTOR CORNER • A report recently released by NGO Global Witness regarding illegal logging in Papua New Guinea (PNG) has prompted major U.S. retailers to discontinue their sales of exotic wood ooring linked to illegal logging in PNG. • Armstrong Flooring recently announced “ e New Look of Tough” fall promotion for Elevate retailers. e promotion runs from Sept. 18 – Nov. 13, 2017. • Cronin Company is hosting an NWFA member-sponsored Intermediate Installation training event Oct. 17-19 in Portland, Oregon. Kjell Nymark, Technical Advisor, will instruct and conduct NWFA Certi ed Professional Certi cation testing a er the event, on Oct. 20. Register at NWFA.org. • Derr Flooring recently opened a new 20,000-square-foot warehouse and showroom in Herndon, Virginia. Derr is a h-generation, family-owned company serving the mid-Atlantic markets since 1912 through multiple warehouses and showrooms. Learn more: h p://bit.ly/2wy8d6i. DISTRIBUTOR DOINGS RETAILER ROUNDUP

By Stacy Brown

were painted with ebony oor stain and then nished with polyurethane. e entire process took about a week from start to nish.

e chess board oor came to be as a result of having multiple pieces of le over exotic woods in the ooring warehouse. Reyes didn’t want to let them go to waste and came up with an idea to make something out of them. e piece includes Santos mahogany, maple, wenge, and Brazilian cherry. Each piece was individually

cut and glued to the sub oor, then sanded and nished. “I love wood, and I love my job,” shares Reyes. “We do some nice stu in people’s homes, but these projects allowed me to think outside the box and are a treat to do.” “Dominic is not the kind of guy who runs around declaring, ‘Look what I did.’ He’s a very skilled cra sman, but he’s not a limelight seeker,” says Slaughterbeck. “It makes him an incredibly valuable part of our team here. What he does helps to bring the skill level up for our business. When customers come into our showroom, and they see some of his art, it truly demonstrates our expertise.” Slaughterbeck Floors has been recognized with multiple awards including most recently Best Flooring Company in Silicon Valley in 2013, 2016, and 2017 by e Mercury News ; Best of Houzz 2016 Client Satisfaction Award; and four NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry) Silicon Valley Meta Remodeling Awards in 2016. Stacy Brown is the Editor/Publisher of Hardwood Floors magazine, the official magazine of the National Wood Flooring Association. She can be reached at stacy.brown@nwfa.org.

the magazine of the national wood flooring association



WOOD WINS at the Oregon Bach Festival By Stacy Brown

e internationally acclaimed Oregon Bach Festival (OBF) now has a new home located on the University of Oregon (UO) campus. e 10,000-square-foot, two-story building, designed by Portland-based Hacker Architects, provides space for Festival program rehearsals, recitals, lectures, and receptions. e multipurpose facility opened in June 2017 and faces 18th Avenue adjacent to the University’s School of Music and Dance (SOMD). e name, Berwick Hall, is in honor of UO alumni Phyllis and Andrew Berwick, whose $6.5 million gi to OBF funded the largest part of the $8.7 million budget for the building’s design and construction. In addition to accommodating OBF’s administrative o ces, the building will be a gathering place for the festival’s community programming, as well as other arts organizations on campus. “ e project represents an opportunity for music and architecture to impact each other in a profound way and all aspects of the design, from the forms to the materials, were considered from the point of view that the building itself should be perceived as an instrument,” says Corey Martin, Hacker Architects principal and design team lead for the project.

Photos courtesy of Greenpointe Wood Floor Supply

One of the focal points of the project is the 2,000-square-foot practice room, which serves as OBF’s dedicated rehearsal space. e venue can host events and receptions for 240 guests or seated audiences of up to 120, and it also has specially designed acoustics tuned for OBF’s repertoire. Greenpointe Wood Floor Supply, located in Clackamas, Oregon, provided Castle Bespoke plank materials for the wall paneling and ooring, which played an instrumental role in the success of this project. “We o er completely customwood ooring options with Castle Bespoke,” says Terry Brandsen, partner. “My brother, Todd Brandsen, and I started this line a er years in the wood oor contracting business, and we could see how changes in construction


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Greenpointe custom oiled more than 3,000 square feet of 3/4” x 8” x 10’ long, Chateau grade white oak plank, which was then used as cladding on curved walls for sound control. Also, the company supplied several thousand additional square feet, which was installed as ooring and site nished by the contractor for an exact color match. “One of the reasons Castle Bespoke was selected for this project was the customizable aspect of the product. e client wanted the ooring sanded-in-place to create a totally smooth and at surface with no edge bevels. en they wanted the wall paneling to match the oor exactly, but this needed to be hand-oiled before it was installed,” says Brandsen. He continued, “Both from a design aspect, and also from an acoustical standpoint, we needed to pay special a ention to the thickness of the product, as well as the acoustical properties of the coatings on the material. By using a penetrating oil, we were able to achieve both the look and acoustic requirements of the project. e walls that have Castle Bespoke wall cladding are curved and angled to help the room re ect the music in a way that is both absorbing and also complimentary to the musical instruments.” By design, the rehearsal room captures a large volume (40’ x 48’ x 33’+) to prevent sound from building up to uncomfortably loud levels and to allowmusic to linger with a moderately long reverberation time. Room surfaces are shaped to sustain sound while avoiding u er (high frequency trapped between parallel surfaces) and preventing an excessive buildup of sound in the lower seven feet of the room, where the musicians and listeners will be. Some additional texturing of the walls provides more random sca ering of sound, to further so en harshness. A simple, modestly curved ceiling provides clean communication within an ensemble while preventing u ery buildup between the oor and ceiling. Berwick Hall will grant the Festival visibility on a busy street, opportunities for community events, and a centralized hub for Festival activities. More than 10,000 people are expected to visit the space during the yearly festival, not including cross-campus and community rentals. Stacy Brown is the Editor/Publisher of Hardwood Floors magazine, the official magazine of the National Wood Flooring Association. She can be reached at stacy.brown@nwfa.org.

were a ecting the wood oor industry. We saw construction schedules accelerating, meaning less time for acclimation and more dramatic swings in temperature and humidity. “We also saw the trend toward wider planks, which are historically more a ected by climatic conditions; the enhanced use of concrete and gypsum type sub oor systems, meaning you can’t nail down the product; and nally a big in ux of imsy products from the big box stores. We knew there had to be a be er way, which is how we created Castle Bespoke high-end custom ooring,” Brandsen explained. e interior white oak walls in the rehearsal room are subtly curved to re ect the form of an instrument and the composition of the exterior uses rhythmical concepts in its design. For this project,

the magazine of the national wood flooring association


Wood Stock

From Small Town to BIG SCREEN By Stacy Brown

GMHardwood Floors LLC is a family-owned business located in Laurel, Mississippi. Mike Husers, owner, has been servicing customers throughout Central and South Mississippi, Alabama, and the surrounding regions for more than 20 years. “We are devoted to providing our customers with top-quality cra smanship in the restoration, maintenance, and addition of hardwood ooring in their homes or places of business,” says Husers. “My goal is to sustain the business while keeping it small. is allows me to pass savings along to our customers and ensure quality control for the services we o er. I am always at every job site.” e small family business was recently given a chance to showcase its talents to a much larger audience when the hosts of HGTV’s “Home Town,” Ben and Erin

Ten episodes were shot for the rst season, each one featuring a vintage home renovation set against the backdrop of a tiny Southern town. e show features Ben and Erin who, according to HGTV, “love small-town living, and they’re striving, on a variety of fronts, to make their own Mississippi hometown more livable, lovable, welcoming and fun.” GMHardwood Floors participated in nine of the 10 episodes, servicing the homes that required hardwood oor restoration. “‘Home Town’ has given great opportunities for local small businesses to showcase their cra smanship. My ooring work was spotlighted in several episodes, and I am very grateful to have had that opportunity,” shares Husers. Commi ed to the local community, HGTV even held a screening party in Laurel giving town residents the opportunity for a sneak peek of the season premiere. “ e community being able to share this experience was awesome,” says Husers. “ ere was amazing energy as we came together to see the small town we love, the place we call home, in the national spotlight.” When asked how being on the show has impacted GMHardwood Floors, Husers exclaimed, “It has been a great experience. I’ve met a lot of people from di erent areas, and enjoyed working with them. Business is good. I love seeing the old oors and homes being brought back to life. And, it’s great to be a part of something that is having a positive impact on our town.” Season two of “Home Town” is currently being lmed. Full episodes of season one are available at hgtv.com/shows/ home-town/episodes.

Photos courtesy of Mike Husers

Napier, approached Husers with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

”I love seeing the old floors and homes being brought back to life. And, it’s great to be a part of something that is having a positive impact on our town.”

“I had known Ben and Erin for a few years, since re nishing some oors in a building they were restoring in downtown Laurel,” says Husers. “When they started lming the pilot episode of ‘Home Town,’ Ben asked if I wanted to do the oor restoration. I agreed, and was later asked to be a part of the rst season.”

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• Waterlox Coatings Corporation sponsored the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Leukemia Cup Rega a in July and was named the First Place Top Fundraiser. Learn more: h p://bit. ly/2fZr6ZH. • Armstrong Flooring has announced the planned closing of two of its wood Tennessee, and an engineered plant in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Learn more: h p://bit.ly/2whvpGw. • Danzer celebrated the grand re-opening ooring manufacturing facilities, including a solid plant in Jackson, of its location in Souvans, France. e site will serve as a specialized production site for ooring wear layers. Learn more: h p://bit.ly/2gX40DN. • e Wood Flooring Manufacturers Assembly, hosted by NWFA, will take place Oct. 23-24, 2017, in conjunction with the National Hardwood Lumber Association’s annual meeting in Nashville. Learn more: h p://bit. ly/2vi7PF1. • Bostik recently announced the winner of its Signature Spaces design competition: e Art of Hardwood Flooring. e design of Jennifer Sheets, an interior designer at Studio R Interiors, is being installed in a new steakhouse within Las Vegas’ new Park MGMResort. Learn more: h p://bit.ly/2uZu6MD.

Oshkosh Designs, the Wisconsin-based firm, just completed transforming Sheet’s winning design into a “ready-for-installation reality.”

the magazine of the national wood flooring association


Wood Stock

For many in this industry, hardwood flooring is more than just doing a job; it’s taking a piece of wood and turning it into a piece of art. CREATING THE FUTURE

edge design that would play into the theme of the oor, which was a water level,” adds Ourada. “ is is when I came up with the idea of making the steps look similar to a waterfall.” Using multiple species from his storehouse of material, Ourada created a one-of-a-kind design that included many elements that played into the theme of being in high school. “I grew up near a creek, and there were lots of sockeye, which is a seasonal sh,” says Ourada. “I added two near the top to represent students coming and going at a school. I also created a ripple in one part, to symbolize one student standing out from the rest and going down a di erent path.” “ is job was unique for me, and it allowed me to try so many techniques that I’ve always wanted to do but haven’t had the chance. It was really an honor to be included in this job.”

TomOurada, the owner of Ourada Designs in Nine Mile Falls, Washington, is no exception. Growing up in Naple Valley in Sea le, Ourada a ended Tahoma High School. Over the years, he has stayed in touch with one of his friends from high school, Terry Duty, who is now the Principal at Tahoma. Staying consistent with the school’s mo o, “Honor the past. Live the present. Create the future,” Duty asked Ourada for help. When he went to Ourada, who also collaborates with Integrity Remodeling Inc., with this job, he needed something a li le di erent. “Tahoma recently built a new building, and Terry asked me to create some benches for the common area on the main oor of the building,” says Ourada. “ e design he had in mind was for at, wooden benches but I suggested a more artsy, natural-

Photos courtesy of Tom Ourada

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By Megan Lhamon


Pinnacle floors have texture you can feel with your eyes.

Earthy. Warm. Ar tist ic. The ar t of f looring. Pinnacle is hardwood flooring at its best in style, color and texture, handcrafted to perfection. Sourced responsibly the world over, and

produced to our stringent standards, Pinnacle brings the feel of hardwoods and all of your expectations together as never before.

Poem written by Tom Ourada and displayed near his benches at Tahoma High School.

F L O O R I N G E N R I C H E D B Y A R T I S T R Y A P R O D U C T O F S W I F F - T R A I N Contact: info@pinnacleflooring.com

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Pinnacle Ad-Hardwood Floors Magazine.indd 1

1/10/17 3:10 PM


By Dana Cole

Photo courtesy of Adam Donohue, Gallery D Photography

NWFA participants at this year’s Hardwood Federation Fly-In. Back Row (L to R): Emily Morrow Finkell, EF Floors & Design; Jack Shannon III, Shannon Lumber Group; Michael Martin, NWFA; Darwin Murray, Springcreek Flooring; Jeff Wirkkala, Hardwood Industries Inc.; Tommy Maxwell, Maxwell Hardwood Flooring; John Forbes, NWFA; Jim Mahaffey, Derr Flooring Co. Front Row (L to R): Allie Finkell, American OEM; Don Finkell, American OEM; Chris Zizza, C&R Flooring; Dan Corullo, Action Floor Systems LLC; and Rick Holden, Derr Flooring Co.


for the re funding issues that have plagued the Forest Service and allow expedited environmental analysis, essentially an action versus no action decision, for certain collaborative forest activities on lands suitable for timber production or covered by a community wild re protection plan. e Federation is strongly advocating for this bill to move forward and be taken up by the Senate. Tax Reform In addition to supporting tax measures that help private forestland owners retain their lands as forests (and as a vital source of raw materials for the industry), the Hardwood Federation is also supporting measures that would help increase demand for sawmill residuals. Speci cally, we are proponents of the Biomass ermal Utilization Act (BTU Act), which would qualify high-e cient biomass heating systems that run on wood pellets or wood chips for the same investment tax credits (30 percent of installed cost) that wind, solar, geothermal, and other renewables get.

e autumn months are always busy ones in Washington, D.C. A er returning from their traditional August recess, members of Congress are usually eager to get back to work. e fall of 2017 is also important as those up for re-election in 2018 work to show their constituents that they have been making progress and a ecting the changes that voters want to see. e Hardwood Federation is working on a number of issues on behalf of the industry during the nal months of the year. Priority issues include the following: Federal Forest Management Meaningful reform of the U.S. Forest Service management of our national forest lands has been close in the last few years, but has never quite crossed the goal line. e Hardwood Federation is supporting H.R. 2936, which authorizes categorical exclusions to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and allows timber sales on federal lands to move forward more quickly. e bill would also provide a solution

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e heating systems can be whole home units or commercial heating systems. We are also supportive of the Community Wood Energy Program (CWEP), which provides grants to projects that install wood heating systems in hospitals, schools, community centers, and entire towns. Although CWEP is authorized by the Farm Bill, it has remained unfunded. We are working to change that and are asking for a funding level of $50 million annually to be approved. Export Promotion Funding e Hardwood Federation is a longtime proponent of full funding for the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Markets Development Program (FMD), both administered by USDA as authorized in the 2014 Farm Bill. ese programs provide essential resources to support the development of foreign markets for U.S. hardwood and hardwood products. e American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) receives funding from both programs allowing it to provide vital services to the hardwood industry in the form of hardwood export promotion activities around the globe. is fall, we are working to ensure that full or increased funding for these programs is included in the 2018 reauthorization of the Farm Bill.

Although President Trump signed legislation that recognizes the carbon neutral and renewable nature of forest-based biomass fuels, there is still work to be done to ensure that this language remains in perpetuity. e law enacted earlier this year that included the necessary language expired in September, and the Hardwood Federation and our allies are working with our supporters in Congress and the administration to move forward new language that will eliminate any chance of our victory lapsing. ese and other topics were discussion points for the annual Hardwood Federation Fly-In held in September. Fly-In participants did the important job of laying the groundwork for us to continue our work on behalf of the entire industry. We appreciate their support and the support of our great member associations, including the National Wood Flooring Association. Dana 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.



the magazine of the national wood flooring association



By Emily Morrow Finkell

e outlook for hardwood oors into 2018, as a whole, is looking very good. Watch any cable channel, read through advertisements and editorials in design magazines, search images in social media posts, or walk through any furniture or interiors show, and you’ll see spaces in ltrated with wood, wood looks, nishes, as well as nods to wood. What everyone loves about the look of hardwood is its ability to morph and change depending on the style of its surroundings, as well as its ability to immediately update and transform a space simply when and where it’s installed. What’s new in hardwood ooring is going to come as no surprise when I say it, but you still need to hear it. Can you hear me when I say gray is still important in interiors and hardwood ooring? While it’s not the only important color going into homes in 2018, it is still among the most important colors in uencing what goes into homes. Chic whites, mushrooms, muted taupes, and of course warm taupes are the other major players in the interiors world, working as the backdrop to a quiet blank canvas. is gray movement has been growing during the past 10 years, making a slow and steady climb into mainstream product development for runway, hospitality, contract, and home fashions. Barnwood grays, gray-beiges, and taupes stretch from rustic to re ned in appearance, making the color an ideal solution for bridging old to new and updating spaces. Whites, o -whites, and blank canvas tans are all the rage today, both in European design as well as the U.S. On recent trips to various design rms, many of their showroom spaces feature hardwood ooring that can be best described as Belgian linen in color, what I’ve stated in years past as the perfect blank canvas on which a great design plan can happen. ese light pale neutrals are inspired by not only coastal design aesthetics, but also by the Danish design trend known as Hygge, which means “coziness and comfort.” HARDWOOD FLOORS Through the Lens of 2018

In early 2016, I listed Hygge as a mega-trend for the year. Not only has Hygge been a mega-trend, but it’s also a concept everyone around the world can live with. Associated with Hygge is another important, but lesser-known concept, Lagom, which means “not too much, not too li le, but su cient.” Both concepts are rooted in the Scandinavian design world and fall into the wants and desires we all have as consumers not only to be comforted, but also to re ect our interests and level of sophistication. In addition to color and styling, there are all-important global catalysts that help establish and set the biggest of trends. For example, world travel, aka wanderlust, is one speci c catalyst that is driving many of these gray, taupe, white, and o -white wood trends. Today, it’s somewhat passé to exhibit “conspicuous consumption,” yet it is widely accepted to show o around-the-world travels via social media posts. More and more, university students are taking semesters or summers abroad for college credits and are ge ing exposed to heritage sites around the world, edging up their taste for the exotic-aesthetics from the ordinary. I, for one, can a est that travel is one of the best ways to become inspired and understand how important it is to see the world to have a be er understanding of various design

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Hardwood Floors Through the Lens of 2018 (Continued)

inspirations. Wanderlust in wood trends can be best seen in the European-style dramatic widths, lengths, and thicknesses, which, once seen, are next to impossible to trade down to the merely mundane formats or faux wood ooring. Hence you’ll nd what I call the “monstro-scale” wood planks shown at international shows and expos. It is possible to bring these looks home, a ordably and from domestic sources, if you’re willing to do some research into their origins. Besides gray-based neutrals, there are some seriously exciting ingredients to consider for 2018 hardwood ooring. For example, technology and history are colliding in the eld in a way that is allowing an introduction and in ux of oors that are continuing to be wider and longer than the narrow strip orange-red pre nished engineered oors of 20 years ago. For 2018, look to see more options of these larger formats to accentuate the wide-open spaces of homes. As we’ve witnessed the right-sizing of homes’ square footage during the past decade, homes with open layouts have also become one of the top ve must-haves, along with hardwood oors, for those in the market for a new home. Open layouts are nice until the homeowner tries to transition his or her ooring type from space to space unless, of course, it’s hardwood oors, which ow seamlessly from the front door to the back. What makes wide and long hardwood oors the most- desired format is the fact that they essentially expand the spaces visually by reducing the number of joints, end-to-end and side-to-side. With larger boards, the human eye can see more of the beautiful part of the hardwood, which is the wood grain and its natural appeal as a living material. Whether the ooring is dark or light, heavily scraped, cracked, or smooth and re ned, the wood’s beauty lies in its ever-growing value over centuries. Amajor and important hardwood trend to expect more of in 2018 is intricate parquetry installations, such as herringbone. In recent trips touring castles and chateaus in both England and France, there was an abundance of centuries’ old interiors with herringbone hardwood oors, which o er an appealing “look of richness” to American consumers due to the fact that they add air and panache to an otherwise simple installation.

Photos courtesy of Emily Morrow Finkell.

As the economy continues to grow, and the housing market expands, we also know that homeowners are turning to trade professionals for their expertise. Many times professionals, whether it’s installers, or designers who work with installers, will put their “signature touch” on projects, se ing them apart so to speak, by doing what is di cult and outside the norm. Herringbone hardwood oors are not easy to make, nor are they easy to install, but the e ect is quite grand. It would not do the trend justice to describe it merely as parquet, but it is important to raise awareness that parquet, or wood veneer pa erns, are now gaining popularity. To give the trend a generalized label, perhaps the best description is “geometrical pa erns in wood,” such as herringbone, squares, triangles, and more.

ese o er an expensive look and one relatively easy to install because they go down very much like tile, adding instant class and richness to interiors. Parquetry also utilizes smaller pieces of wood, which might otherwise be wasted. Overall, the best summarization for 2018 is that there will be a continuing re nement and expansion of harder-to-achieve hardwood visuals, which essentially includes layers of multistep hand-touched e ects, parquetry and sawn, cracked or crackled visuals in chalky-ma e nishes of warm grays, neutral- whites, and dri wood or barnwood grays, just reinvented to feel fresh and new. Be assured though, like our desire for authenticity, the most sought-a er ooring will still be hardwood oors, with a careful layering of subtle-hued hand-kno ed and tu ed rugs.

Emily Morrow Finkell is CEO of EF Floors & Design in Dalton, Georgia. She can be reached at emily@ emilymorrowhome.com.

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SINCE 1956


Wood Flooring Retail Distribution Channels Retail channels are important to wood ooring manufacturers and marketers since more than half of sales are made to the residential replacement market. Retail channels are expected to increase in importance during 2017 since residential replacement sales could lead industry growth. Growth is being driven by remodeling spending by non-moving households for the rst time in a decade. Buyers of existing homes usually drive the residential introduced easier-to-install pre nished products. is made wood ooring more retailer-friendly and stimulated wood ooring remodeling projects. In 2016, wood ooring accounted for an estimated 16.6 percent of total oor coverings retail sales. is is up from 13.7 percent in 2012 and 9.6 percent in 2007. Wood ooring made these inroads as manufacturers

Consumers are more likely to visit a specialty oor coverings retail store when purchasing wood ooring. Consumers purchase from specialty oor coverings retailers since they are be er at satisfying the needs of the higher-end buyer a racted to wood ooring than the big box retailers. is allowed specialty oor coverings retail stores to capture some 48 percent of total wood ooring retail sales in 2016. is is higher than specialty oor coverings retailers’ 40 percent share of total oor coverings retail sales. Meanwhile, specialty oor coverings retailers increased their reliance on wood ooring as wood ooring increased in popularity. Today, some 20 percent of total specialty oor coverings retail store sales are fromwood ooring, almost double the penetration rate a decade ago. On the other hand, wood ooring accounts for only about 12 percent of total home center oor coverings sales. Home centers and value-priced retail chains, however, have taken share from specialty oor coverings retail stores. ese channels gained share as manufacturers introduced pre- nished and easier-to-install wood ooring, and foreign manufacturers imported competitively priced engineered wood ooring. ese ooring products were targeted to the do-it-yourself buyer who is generally served by home centers and value-priced hard surface ooring chains. In 2016, home centers and value-priced hard surface ooring chains captured 52 percent of total sales. is is up from a one-third share in 2002. Home Depot and Lowe’s led the shi to big box stores during the past 15 years, since these chains aggressively built their chains to a combined 3,700 U.S. locations. Together, Home Depot and Lowe’s captured about 20 percent of total wood ooring retail sales in 2016, up from 18 percent in 2012. Lumber Liquidators made signi cant inroads in wood ooring retailing by developing a network of more than 375 retail stores across the United

replacement market; however, low inventories of homes for sale are limiting the impact of this sector of the housing market. Meanwhile, remodeling spending by non-moving households is being stimulated by rising home values and increases in employment and personal income. As home values and incomes rise, consumers are increasing their preference for wood flooring.

Photo courtesy of Mouery’s Flooring, of, Springfield, Missouri

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By Stuart Hirschhorn

rst half of the year. At the same time, Floor &Decor total sales increased by about 30 percent. Catalina Research has tracked wood ooring industry trends throughout 2017 including an analysis of U.S. manufactured versus foreign-sourced products, solid versus engineered wood ooring, customer demographics and factors driving demand, and the outlook for 2018. is data and information is part of the Catalina Report onWood Flooring. An Executive Summary

States. However, Lumber Liquidators’ wood ooring sales have been trending downward since 2013. Some of the lost share has been picked up by Floor &Decor with its chain of more than 70 warehouse-style locations. ese four retailers represent more than 25 percent of total retail locations selling wood ooring. ese retailers rely heavily on the South Atlantic, Paci c, and East North Central states to drive sales. In 2016, retail sales in these regions are estimated to have accounted for about 55 percent of total wood ooring retail sales. ese regions also experienced the sharpest gains during the current economic recovery. During 2017, specialty oor coverings retail stores and value- priced hard surface ooring stores received a boost from the increase in non-moving homeowners remodeling spending. Total specialty oor coverings retail store sales increased 5 percent to 6 percent in the rst half of 2017. Meanwhile, Lumber Liquidators’ sales are recovering, increasing by 8.5 percent in the

of this report is available to NWFA members as a member bene t, and can be downloaded at nwfa.org. e full report is available for purchase fromCatalina Research. 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.

NWFA Members have free access to the Executive Summary of the Catal ina Report . Download at nwfa.org.

the magazine of the national wood flooring association


What Mother Nature begins, we finish. Beautifully.

At Peachey, we appreciate that each customer comes to us with a unique vision of how our flooring will beautify their home. That’s why we offer custom finishing with exclusive color selections and distressing options to ensure the flooring in your home is like no other. We understand this isn’t the way all hardwood floors are created, but at Peachey, there’s no substitute for doing things right.

PeacheyHardwoodFlooring.com Reedsville, PA | 717.667.9373


By Bree Urech-Boyle


e immediate outlook for the hardwood ooring industry is mostly positive. Most players in the industry have a feeling that spending on hardwood oors will remain strong into 2018. Despite these positive perspectives, anyone that has been in business for a long time, or has studied the market, knows that it works in cycles. Periods of growth on a macro level are not sustained forever. You must make yourself indispensable on a micro level and safeguard your assets to survive downturns. LPL Research (a part of LPL Financial Services) published a RecessionWatch Dashboard in June 2017. According to Forecasting for Your Future

preparing for the storm, but it can be a formidable topic for many. ere are a lot of unknowns in the process of predicting and estimating. Even with the uncertainty, there are easy steps you can take that build on each other until, one day, you have a protection plan that is easy to maintain and gives you some relief from day-to-day nancial worries. In addition to the forecasting steps within this article, I will sprinkle in some tax planning ideas that will help prepare you for a successful end to this tax year that could bene t you nancially going into next year.

this dashboard, we are in the mature phase of the market cycle. 2007-2008 was a recession, 2009-2014 a recovery, and 2015 to today is maturing. ey believe we are in the mid-to-late state of the current expansion. ey are showing an overall low risk of a recession starting within the next year, but what about past the next year? Peaks and valleys in the nancial markets have an impact on the overall con dence of consumers. ere are some relatively simple things you can do to protect yourself in the long-term by capitalizing on these times of surplus and weathering yourself for the shortfalls. Forecasting is one method for

This Recession Watch Dashboard is showing an overall low risk of recession starting within the next year. Source LPL Research.

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