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Wood introductions emphasize consumer value, facilitating greater revenue for retailers

Fall means back to school and back to the daily grind for many. But minds at some of the top hardwood mills have been grinding all summer to roll out new products, programs and promotions for the coming season.

Times have been tough for the hardwood category. With an over abundance of products moving slowly through the supply chain, many manufacturers are updating current collections and providing selling tools to fill sales tickets. Displays and advertising are also a popular way in which suppliers are keeping their dealers poised to pounce on sales for the fall selling season. The rising cost of virgin raw materials in the category even has one major mill offering a 100% reclaimed product.

Anderson

Leaping into fall with the All American Flooring Sale, Anderson will offer consumers greater rebates and spiffs to help retailers. Based on the requests from its dealers, the mill created an event true to those wishes to help finish the year on a strong note.

The promotion runs from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31 and offers easy, online registration. Any sale of Anderson, Appalachin or Vintage branded products made beginning on Oct. 1 has to be entered online with the sale and invoice number to qualify. In preparation for the promotion, the POP kit, which includes a 3D stand-up, static cling window banner and display and more is available for order Sept. 8.

“The Anderson All American Flooring Sale is our chance to show our retail customers that Anderson is stepping up to the plate to deliver an action packed fall promotion that will put more money in their pocket than any other wood distributor or manufacturer in the market,” said John Woolsey, vice president of marketing. “Anderson is committed to a continuing prominent place in our customer’s business that is has earned through years of delivering quality, styling and innovation, and customer service.”

Armstrong/Bruce

With a battery of new releases over the last 18 months, Armstrong has stayed current by observing trends in the market. “Refined rustic textures are everywhere; they offer a nice variation for visual and tactile texturing throughout an interior space,” said Daniel Call, hardwood product manager. He also noted a decrease in the use of tropical exotics as consumers and designers rediscover domestic species and so have seen a resurgence in oak and hickory.

The newest success story for Armstrong dealers is the Hardwood Support Display. “The easily shopped display system, and in-store tools and support, present products in a way that is attractive, logical and easy to understand,” Call explained. “It helps consumers find the right floor and helps retail professionals close sales.”

The display holds Armstrong’s latest releases including Exotic Fusion, its domestic exotic collection; Barrel Creek, a faux, reclaimed, wine barrel floor with vintner stamping; Century Estate, hand-sculpted, hand-stained planks for herringbone or mixed material parquet installations, and Legacy Manor, a hand-scraped offering from Bruce that promises affordable luxury for active lifestyles.

Columbia

A new, ArmorMax finish seals the sales floor this fall for Columbia retailers. Featured on the Hampton Forge collection, the ArmorMax finish with SuperiorShield Surface technology is the most durable wear finish on hardwood today, according to mill executives.

“Boasting the industry’s highest wear resistance, the ArmorMax finish scored a superior 3000, compared to just 630 from our leading competitor in the industry standard Taber abrasion test that evaluates wear resistance,” said Dewevai Buchanan, vice president, Unilin hardwood division. “Lasting the life of the finish, SuperiorShield technology offers superior protection again stains and grime, keeping Hampton Forge floors looking cleaner and newer longer.”

The collection offers seven SKUs ranging from light to dark with eased plank edges and ends on three widths. Fully Lacey compliant, the oak line features natural character marks like knotting and mineral demarcation and comes backed with a 50-year surface warranty.

DuChateau

The Riverstone collection is DuChateau’s response to the call for hand-sculpted, vintage- style hardwood with raised knots and natural distressing. “Some of the most impactful spaces blend modern and rustic elements,” said Mitch Tagle, CEO. “Combining raw textures, natural materials and old with new looks creates interiors that are comforting, reassuring and surprisingly accessible.”

The 7 7⁄16-inch width planks come in 72-inch lengths at 5⁄8-inches thick. Treated with zero VOC hard wax oil, the FSC certified floors qualify for LEED credits, and offer an array of moldings. Currently, Rhine- stone is available in five shades: Arno, Danube, Rhine, Seine and Thames.

HomerWood

The mill is releasing 100% reclaimed American oak for the fall season. HomerWood Re- claimed Hardwood is constructed of lumber from the slow growth timber forests in the Appalachian mountain region that was used to construct barns across Ohio, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

“Once a barn is identified as no longer in use, it is carefully taken down, the wood is hand-inspected and all nails and other metal objects are removed,” said Dawn McElfresh, product manager. “The wood is kiln-dried to remove moisture, and then is precision milled in our Titusville, Pa., custom shop.” Once milled, the reclaimed floors reveal the barn’s unique imprints, including nail holes, cracks, mineral streaks and saw kerfs.

HomerWood is offering its Oil Naturals finish in natural, brown, whitewash and slate color options, as well as custom distressed finishes like wire brushing, smoking and soft scraping. Board widths are 31⁄2-inches to 81⁄2-inches, though wider widths also are available.

Mannington

The Earthly Elements collection of hardwood tiles, introduced this year at Surfaces, is getting an update, according to Dan Natkin, hardwood director.

Based on the collection’s initial success, Mannington is adding planks to increase the design options and complement the line. The 6-inch wide planks are designed to work with the 12 x 12 and 12 x 24 tiles and are available in eight colors.

Mirage

New for fall at Mirage by BoaFranc is a promotional campaign penned “Fall in Love with Mirage.” Scheduled to run from Sept. 27 to Nov. 20 in the U.S., the event offers exclusive mail-in cash rebates for consumers.

“We are delighted to allow customers an opportunity to experience the uncompromising comfort of Mirage flooring and enjoy incredible savings on the best flooring available on the market today,” said Luc Robitaille, vice president. Consumers who purchase a minimum of 1,000 square feet will receive $750; 450 to 999.9 square feet yields $300, and 200 to 449.9 square feet leads to $125. Regardless of species, color or width, the rebate applies to all standard Mirage Classic, Engineered and Lock products. To claim their rebate, consumers must log onto miragefloors.com.

For details and promotion rules, visit the Mirage website.

Mohawk

The manufacturer’s Rockford hardwood collection now features ArmorMax finishing, in addition to Scotchgard Protector. The proprietary ArmorMax extends the line to a 50-year warranty and is five times more wear resistant than other extended wear finishes, according to mill executives.

Also new for fall is the Brandymill line, Mohawk’s answer to the dramatically scraped hardwoods in a rough-hewn look. The value-priced line is a buyer’s solution for character in dens and family rooms in the home, said Roger Farabee, senior vice president of marketing, Mohawk Hard Surfaces.

Produced in the U.S. with PureBond technology, additional formaldehyde emissions are eliminated and may contribute to improved indoor air quality. Available in maple and hickory, Brandymill is CARB compliant and can contribute to LEED building points.

Mullican

HGTV’s Urban Oasis giveaway is big news at Mullican as the official supplier of the project’s flooring (FCNews, Aug. 16/23). Walnut ebony brown flooring from the Frontier Wirebrushed Collection was provided in the downtown Manhattan home at the specification of the project designers.

“This is our 25th anniversary year and we wanted to make an impact,” said Neil Poland, president. “We wanted to put the Mullican brand out there and show everyone the type of product we have.”

The television program will air on HGTV beginning Sept. 6 and will continue throughout October. A blitz advertising campaign from the supplier will accompany the television programming. Beginning Sept. 1, consumers can enter the sweepstakes to win the home at hgtv.com and frontdoor.com.

Shaw

Updating its popular Epic line is the autumnal update at Shaw Floors. Wider planks with sculpted texturing will be available, along with additions to the distressed category. Solid hardwood introductions will also include scraped visuals in a variety of widths and species; a hand-painted collection, and additions to the Grand Canyon wide plank category.

“Epic hardwood is a clear winner in terms of quality, service and end-user satisfaction,” said Scott Sandlin, vice president of hard surface business development. “We have been overwhelmed by the response to this exceptional product and our Epic Service Commitment demonstrates that we’re ready to prove we can deliver. He believes Shaw’s service, financial strength and Epic hardwood’s extensive and ever-growing product line will ensure retailer success in the hardwood business.

All new selections have the proprietary ScufResist Platinum wear-resistant, UV-cured polyurethane finish with aluminum oxide, which “gives you permission to live on your floors,” according to Kevin Thompson, hardwood category manager.

Alternative hardwoods

Mohawk

A first for the mill, it is presenting Hilea and Kahala bamboo flooring with Uniclic glueless installation. Using 100% of the bamboo stalk in a strand woven format, Mohawk’s bamboo has tested twice as hard as domestic oak and meets LEED criteria for rapidly renewable resources and European E-1 standards for low formaldehyde emissions.

Hilea was released in the Rarity collection and Kahala is part of the Antiquity collection. In addition to meeting European E-1 standards for low formaldehyde emissions both are CARB compliant.

Hilea is a strand bamboo in Natural and Baked colorways. Natural features Uniclic technology for easy, glueless installation, as does Baked but is also available with tongue and groove joints for nail or glue- down installation. Both feature a 25-year residential warranty and a 3-year medium commercial warranty. The product is either 3 3⁄4-inches wide in tongue and groove styles or 5- inches wide.

The Kahala line features unique handscraped visuals in a 5-inch plank width and the Uniclic locking system with a 25-year residential warranty and a 3-year medium commercial warranty. The collection features five colors: Chestnut, Rustic Baked Natural, Light Ebony, Warm Cherry and Warm Chocolate.

“This creates entirely new styling options and applications with bamboo,” said Roger Farabee, senior vice president of marketing. “Bamboo now has fresh looks, new uses, and a powerful green story. Strand woven bamboo is having a major impact on this category.”

USFloors

In cork, the mill is launching its Almada collection for the fall selling season. New colors and patterns with 18 stock products, and an additional 24 colors that can be special ordered come in 4-inch wide planks. Manufactured in their Dalton facility, the collection is Greenguard certified for Children & Schools. USFloors is also updating the Natural Cork Earth & Classics collection with the New Earth line, also in a 4-inch format. While distinct from the Almada collection, both introductions will be backed by lifetime residential wear and structure warranties and a 5-year light to medium commercial wear warranty.

In bamboo, the supplier also has several new strand woven products. Natural Bamboo Exotiques will include the proprietary Corboo collection in Horizontal and Vertical Spice plus two stained versions. The cork infused, strandwoven bamboo is finished with the proprietary Endura AR finish to meet the demand for UV-cured, aluminum oxide-based, finished floors.

New to the Natural Bamboo Expressions collection is wood grain technology fused onto a solid, strand woven bam- boo base, sealed with its Endura AR finish. Visuals in tigerwood, Brazilian cherry, teak and walnut are available at a bamboo price point with maintenance similar to that of a traditional hardwood floor. All new strand woven bamboo comes with a lifetime residential wear and structure warranty and a 15- year heavy commercial wear warranty.

-Emily Hooper