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Made in America trade show features Emily Morrow Home

Paddock from the Emily Morrow Home Metropolitan Collection of luxury hardwoods.

Indianapolis—Emily Morrow Home participated in the Made in America trade show, held here October 3-6. The event brought together 800 exhibitors and more than 30,000 attendees, forming a large network of industrial professionals, keynote speakers and consumers for one common goal: raising awareness for the economic, environmental and community impact of American manufacturing.

Emily Morrow Finkell, CEO and founder of Emily Morrow Home, was the official designer of the Made in America exhibition and was responsible for fashioning the stage for all productions held during the four-day show. On-stage events included numerous speakers, a Big & Rich country music concert, a celebration honoring U.S. military veterans and a closing prayer ceremony featuring Michael W. Smith.

Finkell was also involved in several room designs, which were displayed throughout the convention. Together, these rooms celebrated the beauty and quality of American-made products in the home.

Hardwoods and home-decor products from Emily Morrow Home were included in the living room:

  • Paddock from the Metropolitan Collection of Luxurious Hardwoods
    Inspired by the paddocks of the Kentucky Derby, this hardwood is filled with American spirit. Its gray-brown striations are interlaced with light touches of creamy white cerusing. A matte finish and wire-brushed, hand detailing further accentuate its uptown style.
  • Barn Doors made by American OEM for Emily Morrow Home
    Using post-industrial, reclaimed hardwood, American OEM has handcrafted barn doors exclusively for Emily Morrow Home. For the living room, the barn doors were stained to match the Paddock hardwoods.
  • Wooden American Flags
    Wooden American flags, made from post-industrial reclaimed hardwood, were made exclusively for the Made in American trade show and were available to attendees.

Featured in the American living room was a multicolored loomed rug from American hand-weaver, Patricia Lukas. Also featured in the living was the Chatsworth Sofa from Aria Furniture Designs, a joint venture company funded by the Broyhill family from North Carolina.

“I designed the living room as the ultimate guide for living the American life,” said Finkell. “Every piece is exquisitely made by manufacturers that are dedicated to their craft and to the livelihood of the American worker. For me, the production of our hardwoods is just part of our American story. Our wood is naturally harvested from safe, domestically managed forests with timber that is grown following the Responsible Procurement Program guidelines. We sell our hardwoods through select flooring retailers throughout the nation that are also committed to following their American Dream.”

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NWFA participates in media tour to promote consumer publication

screen-shot-2016-09-23-at-12-22-57-pmSt. Louis, Mo.—The National Wood Flooring Association recently participated in a media tour with consumer publications in conjunction with Bona US to promote the Wood Floor Styles and Trends guide. Bona sponsored the guide on behalf of NWFA and its members to utilize as a consumer marketing tool.

Designed to educate consumers about wood floors, the 16-page guide highlights tips, styles, trends and best practices for hardwood floors. The guide also focuses on the benefits of wood flooring including the sustainability of hardwood floors.

“Meeting with editors of consumer and design-focused publications provides an opportunity for NWFA to establish itself as the go-to contact for all their wood flooring questions,” said Michael Martin, NWFA president and CEO. “It allows us to understand what their editorial needs may be, and gives us an opportunity to provide resources that align with their editorial calendars.”

The media tour gave NWFA an opportunity to present a variety of relevant information in a short face-to-face meeting, including maintenance, the benefits of wood over other look-alike flooring options, trends and how to find qualified wood flooring professionals through NWFA’s “Find a Professional” web search function.

“It was a pleasure to team up with NWFA and leverage their industry expertise with top tier consumer and design publications,” said Cate Vanegas, director of marketing, Bona US. NWFA provided an American hardwood species sample kit as a leave-behind resource for editors, along with information about maintenance and trends. Bona launched its new Bona DriFast Stain Collection and Bona Disposable Dusting Cloths.

More information about the NWFA Wood Floor Styles and Trends guide is available at http://www.nwfa.org/technical-resources.aspx.

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Mullican partners with HGTV's ‘Property Brothers’

mullican 30thJohnson City, Tenn.—Mullican Flooring is partnering with HGTV’s top-rated show, “Property Brothers,” as the exclusive provider of hardwood flooring for its upcoming season, scheduled to premiere later this month. Mullican also provided products from several of its solid and engineered flooring collections for seven episodes of the popular show’s fourth season last year.

According to company statements, HGTV was a top-10 cable network last season among viewers ages 25 to 54, drawing an average of more than 18 million primetime viewers each week. “Property Brothers” has ranked as one of the network’s most-watched programs since the show’s 2011 premiere.

“Our diverse product lines, which offer selections ranging from wide widths and longer lengths to textured surfaces and exciting new colors, ensure that designers and homeowners alike can choose flooring that perfectly suits their projects and personal tastes,” said Neil Poland, president, Mullican.

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Mirage announces fall rebate promotion

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 9.30.50 AMSaint-Georges, Quebec—Mirage has announced its Mirage Fall 2014 Rebate Sale. This major hardwood flooring sale is taking place across North America* at all participating Mirage dealers from Oct. 6 to Nov. 29.

Consumers get a $0.50/sq. ft. rebate on Mirage during this promotion. The offer is valid on all Mirage Classic, Mirage Engineered and Mirage Lock products, regardless of species, color or width. “In fall, many consumers want to put new life into their home,” said Luc Robitaille, vice president of marketing for Boa-Franc, manufacturer of the Mirage brand. “Thanks to the $0.50/sq.ft. rebate offered on all our flooring during this sales event, it is the perfect time to save big while enjoying the quality Mirage floors are known for,”

Nearly 2300 Mirage Maestro Dealers through North America are participating in this event. For the rules and a list of participating dealers, please visit www.miragefloors.com/rebate starting Oct. 6.

* Valid in the USA and Canada excluding Quebec

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Why sourcing, milling and finish quality matter

May 12/19; Volume 27/Number 27

By Ken Ryan

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 10.49.24 AMBy the time a hardwood floor is installed, the final product has endured a lengthy journey that includes harvesting, transporting, milling, finishing and selling.

There is risk for error at various points throughout the hardwood production process, which is why responsible sourcing, precise milling and proper finish are crucial factors in ensuring a quality product is delivered.

“What distributors and dealers are looking for when selling a hardwood product is peace of mind,” said Luc Robitaille, vice president of marketing at Boa-Franc, makers of the Mirage brand. “No one wants callbacks due to product defects or low quality.”

Harry Bogner, senior vice president of hardwood at Unilin, a Mohawk company, said the importance of sourcing, milling and finishing becomes clear at various stages of the manufacturing process.

“From the manufacturer’s perspective, high quality milling and finishing ensure that a product will fit together correctly and perform,” he said. “As a manufacturer, I always want to provide a high quality product so I have happy customers who will buy from us again and who will go out and tell all their friends, ‘I have a Mohawk hardwood floor and it is great.’ Also, manufacturers obviously don’t want claims coming in, and quality milling and finishing help avoid that.

“For the consumer, what a hardwood floor really comes down to first and foremost is color,” Bogner continued. “The most important thing to a customer is that the color she ordered is the color she received. After that, it is about durability; is the floor going to hold up? That is where the milling piece comes in.”

Following is a closer look at the important steps that go into a finished hardwood flooring product.

Sourcing

Several flooring companies have joined the National Wood Flooring Association’s (NWFA) Responsible Procurement Program (RPP), a joint initiative between leading environmental groups and industry manufacturers committed to producing and promoting wood floors that come only from environmentally and socially responsible sources.

“Everything we have in our line, whether we manufacture it or it is sourced elsewhere, has to come by verified sources,” said Dan Natkin, director of hardwood and laminate for Mannington, which is a member of the NWFA RPP. “You have to be thorough in this process. The thing is, we have to put our name on these products. We are not some fly-by-night brand.”

Mannington’s mantra, “Make first, source later,” reflects how the company does everything it can to make products in its own facilities. When it has to go outside, it puts its sources through a rigorous stress test—from the financial stability of the company to supply chain and third-party verification.

Other companies, whether affiliated with NWFA RPP or not, are taking similarly proactive approaches. Max Windsor Floors, for example, looks for quality, reliability and responsibility when sourcing hardwood products, according to Peter Spirer, CEO. “Factories in China are priced pretty much alike, so cost isn’t the issue in how we judge suppliers,” he explained. “We don’t depend on the factories for creating new product lines. We prefer to submit the specs and colors for matching. What we need is on-time shipment and maintaining original quality standards. Additionally, the factory management must accept responsibility for manufacturing defects, should they arise.”

To ensure the best quality, Max Windsor uses independent inspectors to check for product color match and construction as the production materials are being packed. Spirer’s management team visits suppliers at least once a quarter to review all issues and plan for new products.

“We are building constructive relationships with our suppliers which extend far beyond the norm,” Spirer said. “The lifeline and ultimate success of an importer is reliant on its factory suppliers. Period. It almost doesn’t matter whether the factory is owned by the importer or is supplying on an OEM basis. What matters most is the continuing dialogue with factory management. Call it brainwashing, training or anything else. It’s the continuity of message that will win the day.”

Ron Oliver, vice president of sales and marketing for Hallmark Flooring, said raw material sourcing has been a significant problem for manufacturers. Hallmark is facing back orders for the first time in five years, primarily for walnut and hickory. However, according to Oliver, the company is better positioned than others to deal with the issue.

“Unlike many others that source in China, we provide the raw material and our own quality control people work in the factories, keeping an eye on the production,” he explained.

“For us, the strength is being able to buy our own logs and lumber, which we have been able to do for the last number of years. To the saw mills, we are not some invisible player; we are actually someone who isScreen Shot 2014-06-17 at 10.50.04 AM buying directly from them.”

Oliver said there is roughly half the capacity in the market as there was five years ago. The reason? The extended downturn rid the industry of many loggers, saw mills and even transportation companies. “While the economy is improving, the diminished infrastructure is putting a squeeze on raw materials,” he said. “You look at ¾-inch solid. Some of the majors have had four, five and even six price increases. From a raw materials standpoint that constitutes a challenge for the industry.”

Milling

Milling is a key step in ensuring a precise fit and easy installation. On the technical side, expertly milled boards should fit together perfectly, with no noticeable variations in thickness. “Milling is extremely important in maintaining consistency and to ensure there are no over-wood issues,” said Drew Hash, vice president of hard surface product marketing, Shaw Industries. “The milling process also gives our floors the structural integrity needed to create a quality hardwood product.”

Bogner added that precision milling is especially critical to ensure planks of click-wood products—such as those from Mohawk, Q-Wood and Columbia—fit tightly together for a strong, lasting connection.

While hardwood manufacturers each utilize different methods for milling, most use digital calipers, a precision instrument that accurately measures internal and external distances.

Mannington uses a tool called Smartscope, which measures profile conformance. Originally designed for high-precision steel work, Smartscope has been adapted for use in flooring. “This system is accurate to the thousandth of an inch and allows us to be extremely consistent from run to run,” Natkin said.

Using a more traditional method, HomerWood employs Amish craftsmen as part of its millwork process. “Quality is everything here,” said Kathy Barker, operations manager at HomerWood. “The differentiator is the hands-on approach, the number of people we have involved in the process, and the speed … which is slow.”

From beginning to end, a team of inspectors (as many as 74) are involved in the millwork. They each make mental notes and physical decisions during the process. “All of our employees are cross trained,” Barker said. “They have a full understanding of the inspection process, and they make decisions every step of the way that affect the final product. From the time it comes in—even when it is unloaded—we have testing and criteria that have to be met. There are checkpoints at each step of the process.”

To assure color consistency, Mohawk vigilantly monitors the color processing during each production run. Trained eyes continuously match to a color master board to ensure that the resulting color is within variance. “Use of improved color booths that simulate multiple light environments also helps ensure that customers can rely on our hardwood to be the most consistent products on the market when it comes to color,” Bogner noted.

Also concerned with meticulous production, once Armstrong’s trees are harvested, the company puts the product through a process that ensures the board has the right moisture content and proper grading. The company’s manufacturing method includes dozens of inspection points, from the moment the wood touches the line until it goes into a box.

“We have 70-plus pairs of eyes look closely to make sure [the floor] meets spec,” said Milton Goodwin, vice president of hardwood products. “We also spend a lot of time on the front end; it starts with the ability to buy quality lumber. The tree we use [in the Appalachian region] grows slowly and has a beautiful look to it; it’s in a part of the world that has no chance of being overharvested.”

Finish

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 10.51.01 AMFinishing hardwood is a crucial point in the milling process, often the determining factor in the purchase decision, as well, executives said. Whether it is to reduce scratches or add beauty, the R&D behind finishes continues to evolve with many companies marketing their own proprietary products.

The European tradition of using oils and wax to create natural wood flooring surfaces is one trend illustrated by the U.S. market. Gary Keeble, product and marketing manager at USFloors, said that at one time USFloors and DuChateau Floors were the only U.S. companies with oil-based finishes. “That was [around] 2007 and 2008; we were it,” he said. “Now I can count at least 10 companies with oil-based finishes.”

Keeble explained that an oil finish provides a “uniquely distinct” look when compared to an aluminum oxide finish. “Oil penetrates into the wood, not on top. The more you oil it, the more it will develop a richer look.”

He added that a disadvantage with aluminum oxide is that it develops micro scratches. “Over time it refracts the light and makes it look dull. Oil doesn’t leave micro scratches; that is one unique benefit it offers.” A floor with an oil-based finish is also usually sold at a higher price, providing dealers with greater margin opportunity.

Among the companies touting new oil-based finishes is DuChateau, which markets a proprietary Hard-Wax Oil finish, described as a non-pollutant, non-toxic, ultra-low VOC product with no biocides or preservatives. According to the company, the special features of the finish allow the oils to penetrate deeply into the wood pores to enhance the look while the wax remains on the surface to maintain a natural matte finish and create a protective layer.

Mirage uses a product called Nanolinx for its prefinished wood flooring. Robitaille said the finish is made of the smallest particles possible. “Nine times smaller than a hair, the crosslinked particles make the finish more flexible to preserve the floor’s original appearance and prevent cracking,” he explained. “Each particle molds perfectly to the shape of the hardwood floor and this creates the clearest finish in the industry. Therefore, it avoids a plastic-look effect that is seen too often with competing products.”

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Fall product preview: Wood mills offer variety to help dealers capture sales

Of all the flooring segments, the wood category has been hit the hardest since the housing market crash and subsequent economic decline. While the sector is no longer falling off a cliff, sales continue to struggle as consumers become ever more vigilant with their spending.

The difficulties, however, have not stopped manufacturers from bringing out new products and technology for the fall selling season. While the handscraped, rustic look continues to be popular, companies are introducing a wide range of designs and features as they try to help retailers grab consumer interest. Continue reading Fall product preview: Wood mills offer variety to help dealers capture sales