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Somerset receives NWFA/NOFMA certification

St. Louis—Somerset Hardwood Flooring has earned NWFA/NOFMA Mill Certification from the National Wood Flooring Association. NWFA/NOFMA certification assures a manufacturer’s wood flooring meets or exceeds industry standards for grade, configuration, moisture content and average board length.

“NWFA is pleased to welcome Somerset as the newest NWFA/NOFMA Factory Finished member,” said Michael Martin, NWFA president & CEO. “It’s encouraging to see the factory finished segment of the NOFMA Program grow right alongside the increased demand for factory finished products in the marketplace. This is a clear indicator of the unification of our domestic manufacturers, and the continued value they see in the NWFA/NOFMA Program.”

Certified mills must meet rigorous production standards, and are inspected a minimum of two times per year to ensure consistent grade standards are maintained.

“Somerset Hardwood flooring has a balanced product portfolio of both solid and engineered wood flooring products,” said Paul Stringer, Somerset vice president of sales & marketing. “We continue to see great potential in the solid sector, and certifying our factory finished products to the NWFA/NOFMA Program is an effective way for us to add value to our line and to communicate that to our customers.”

A full list of NWFA/NOFMA certified manufacturers can be found on the NWFA website.

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Distribution: Despite threats from LVT/WPC, segment hold its own

November 6/13, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 11

By Ken Ryan

 

Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 10.04.14 AMPrior to the explosive growth of LVT/WPC, hardwood was the hot product in the hard surface flooring segment. In fact, 2012 and 2013 saw some of the largest increases in the wood category, with double-digit gains each year.

Since then wood has continued to grow, albeit at a declining rate. Some observers surmise that this slow growth, which in many ways mirrors the overall flooring industry over the past five years, is the new normal. “I think wood growth is going to level off for the industry in the low single digits going forward,” said Torrey Jaeckle, vice president of Jaeckle Distributors, Madison, Wis. “What we are seeing is the wood jobs we are getting are larger average sizes, which has a positive impact on growth. The average order size (in square feet) is up 15% from several years ago. Wider widths and scraped product continue to show steady gains, and while you can get those same looks in a number of different product categories now (LVT, ceramic, laminate), real wood still remains an aspirational product for many consumers and will continue to do so. I think what we are seeing is the designs of other products have become so good now some consumers are becoming more willing to give up the real thing for the wear, maintenance and other benefits these other products offer.”

Another leading distributor suggested wood flooring “will never be back to where it was.” His view is the pace of new home builds is down 60% from its peak in 2007 and will be hard-pressed to match the pre-recession levels anytime soon given the shortage of skilled labor that is impacting construction. “The peak of home building is when wood really shined,” he said. “New homes drive building flooring contractors. I don’t know that the builder market will have exuberant growth but I expect it to climb in the low- to mid-single digits.”

Based on the percentage of business distributors still do with hardwood, they are clearly still bullish on the category. Many of the top 20 have wood portfolios in the 25%-35% range; some are lower; a few much higher. Scores of consumers still want genuine wood, not something that merely replicates it. “What we are noticing is wood styling trends seem to be changing quickly. It’s imperative for us to work with our suppliers to provide the latest and greatest looks,” said Chip Moxley, president of Tingle Flooring, Lees Summit, Mo.

Several wholesalers said they have seen a significant shift toward engineered wood vs. solid, and others have seen a steady increase in their unfinished wood business as well.

For Galleher, William M. Bird, Belknap White, All Tile and others, wood remains a constant. It is the largest segment for each of these wholesalers. In its New England market, Belknap White executives says customers remain passionate about solid wood, whereas in its southern area more engineered is being sold.

Laminate
For most top 20 distributors, laminate represents well south of 10% of their product mix, with several saying it is now 5% or less. “Laminate is taking a severe dive,” one prominent West Coast distributor told FCNews.

Blame it on the success of LVT/WPC, which has eroded virtually every other category. But while some have given up on laminate, there are those who are encouraged by new developments, in particular some of the new water-resistant offerings.

Mannington’s Spill Shield, for example, was cited as a product that offers true differentiated advantages. “Laminate has surprisingly held its own because it has been embraced by the builder channel,” said Jeff Striegel, president of Elias Wilf, Owings Mills, Md. “[The 12-mil format] has made them more comfortable. You can get the wood visuals at a fraction of the cost. It is a much more durable floor from the time it goes in to the time the homeowner takes over [occupancy of the home].”

Distributors who have not abandoned the category have picked up share from those who have. For Herregan Distributors, Eagan, Minn., laminate is still 10% of its business.  “Laminate is showing some positive trends because of stronger moisture warranties,” said Pat Thies, vice president of sales and marketing.

 

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Armstrong plans to consolidate wood flooring plants

August 14/21: Volume 32, Issue 5

By Reginald Tucker

Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 3.31.34 PMArmstrong Flooring has announced plans to consolidate its wood manufacturing operations, paring production down to six plants in the U.S. The move will result in the closure of two manufacturing facilities—Jackson, Tenn., and Vicksburg, Miss.—in the fourth quarter of this year. The closings will result in the elimination of more than 300 jobs—215 in Jackson; 93 in Vicksburg.

According to Don Maier, president and CEO, the initiative is designed to better align Armstrong’s wood flooring manufacturing capacity with its current customer demand and to leverage productivity benefits realized across its wood flooring operations. “Although this change is necessary due to the natural evolution of the market, closing a plant is always a difficult decision because we recognize the impact it will have on valued members of our team. Our co-workers in Jackson and Vicksburg have produced quality flooring used by customers across the country and have supported the development and success of Armstrong Flooring. For that, we thank them and will offer them our support as they prepare for their next opportunities.”

Maier emphasized the plant closures will not impact product availability, service or cost to customers. For instance, production from the Jackson plant, which manufactures 2- and 3-inch-wide solid products exclusively, will be transferred to Armstrong’s other domestic wood flooring plants, reflecting a shift in demand. In recent years, consumption of engineered wood flooring has outpaced that of solid wood flooring.

With respect to the Vicksburg plant, which produces core veneers and plywood used in production of engineered wood floors at Armstrong Flooring’s Somerset, Ky., facility Armstrong Flooring will continue engineered wood flooring production here. There will be no change in surface veneer suppliers, which means product visuals will not be affected.

“Across the industry, we’ve seen increasing demand for wider-width wood planks and textured surfaces, and our six other wood plants in the U.S. have the capability and capacity to manufacture a full range of products to meet customer demand,” Maier explained.

The latest consolidation announcement marks the second reduction in staffing in response to strategic initiatives. Earlier this year, Armstrong realigned its residential and commercial divisions and combined resilient and wood manufacturing operations, resulting in the loss of 40 positions (FCNews, March 13/20, 2017).

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Mercier introduces innovations for 2017

screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-9-53-33-amMontmagny, Quebec, Canada—During Mercier Wood Flooring’s annual meeting with its partners in November, the company proudly presented its novelties for 2017.

Building on its reputation for quality and durability while keeping the esthetic appeal in mind, Mercier has developed a new commercial finish: the Intact 2500. Offering an unprecedented standard commercial warranty of 10 years and a three year warranty on street access floor areas, Mercier sets itself apart with this product, which offers superior quality, durability and a wide selection of stains.

Inspired by European design, Mercier also brings forward White Oak with the release of two new colors: Madera and Fjord. These two new White Oak products have been added to the Elegancia collection.

Mercier has also made Element a series of its own in the Elegancia collection. White Oak and American Walnut have been added in with the Hard Maple, Hickory and Yellow Birch species to enrich Mercier’s Element oxidized wood assortment.

Putting the spotlight on its colors and species, Mercier now offers its partners a new display that maximizes samples size and optimizes lighting. The modern and eye-catching design of this new display will make Mercier the focal point at all its certified retail partners.

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Wood: State of the Industry

Despite obstacles, executives expect category to continue steady growth

Volume 27/Number 24; March 31/April 7, 2014

By Ken Ryan

Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 10.57.28 AMThe hardwood flooring segment continues to climb out of the years-long recession, buoyed by a healthier economy and improving housing fundamentals. As leading executives convene in Nashville April 16-18 for the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) Expo, there is the general sense that market conditions will continue to favor growth.

“All indications are that the category is continuing to gain momentum,” said Michael Martin, president and CEO of the NWFA. “We hear from our manufacturer members that production is increasing, we hear from our distributor members that sales are up, and we hear from our contractor members that they are booked several weeks, or even months, out. This is a significant shift from the previous five years or so when all flooring categories were down.” Continue reading Wood: State of the Industry

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Carlisle unveils new Boston showroom

CarlisleStoddard, N.H.,— Carlisle Wide Plank Floors has announced the opening of their new showroom at the Boston Design Center, New England’s largest to-the-trade, luxury design resource. Bolstered by a variety of new looks, upgraded products, and an improved product showcase, Carlisle’s Boston showroom is a true destination for flooring design and inspiration. Since 1966, Carlisle has been the leader in luxury wide plank wood floors with showrooms located across the U.S.- and now in the Boston Design Center. Continue reading Carlisle unveils new Boston showroom

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C&R Flooring moves to Westwood

Screen Shot 2013-06-19 at 3.53.45 PMC&R Flooring, New England’s premier wood specialists, is pleased to announce they recently moved their showroom and home office operations from Needham to 378 Washington Street, Westwood, Mass.

“We loved Needham, but it was time to purchase our own building and we wanted to stay on the Rte. 128 loop as well as have easy access to Boston,” stated Chris Zizza, president of C&R Flooring. “I was born and raised in Westwood and C&R’s started in Westwood. It feels great to be home again.”

 

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Wood state of the industry: Housing growth, improving prices, improve category

by Matthew Spieler 

Volume 26/Number 21; March 4/11, 2013

When the housing market collapsed it took with it the entire flooring industry. While every category was struck with a crippling blow, the wood sector arguably took it the hardest due to its close ties with the housing industry.

So it should come as no surprise as the housing market shows more and more signs of improvement, there is a growing sense of optimism within the wood industry. That positive sentiment is tapered only by concerns of raw materials prices climbing at unprecedented rates. There is also a slight fear as this way of thinking has come about every year since the meltdown, and by mid-year it’s back to the same-old disappointing outcome. Continue reading Wood state of the industry: Housing growth, improving prices, improve category

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Wood: Despite builder woes, the segment is still strong

By Ken Ryan

Amid the deepening housing downturn in 2008, Jaeckle Distributors’ president Jeff Jaeckle decided the best course of action was to spend money. Specifically, he chose to invest in new product lines, primarily hardwood.

“We knew it would be a risk because no one knew what the economy would do, but we thought it would be a bigger risk to do nothing,” he said. “We added some new hardwood lines, including Mercier and Somerset. We already had strong existing lines, like Mannington, so we felt blending them with new products would work for us.” Continue reading Wood: Despite builder woes, the segment is still strong

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Top 10 Hardwood Flooring Trends

via World Floor Covering Association

The Best Flooring and Hottest Styles for Every Room, Including Kitchens

As homeowners search for new hardwood flooring, it’s clear what is uppermost in their minds: Authenticity. An appealing look or style is not enough. While consumers are certainly concerned about a floor’s durability and value, they want something of substance even more. They choose hardwood because it reveals much about their taste, values, and what is important to them. They want something authentic. Continue reading Top 10 Hardwood Flooring Trends