Hardwood has long had a reputation for being higher-end, almost a symbol of status for the home. It raises the value of a home, and adds beauty and warmth. But when the economy crashed, so did hardwood prices. In order to capture margin sales, companies slashed prices so low that hardwood became accessible for nearly all types of buyers.
However, a distinction still remains in higher end wood floors. Customization and visual options, sourcing and product quality all remain distinguishing factors in creating the upper echelon. Add that wood’s unique characteristics are imbued by Mother Nature—over which no one has any control—and that creates a floor that is even more special.
Retailers also benefit from selling high-end products in the long run. Dan Natkin, director of hardwood business at Mannington, doesn’t think the consumer shops on a price basis alone. “The consumer doesn’t walk into the showroom looking for the cheapest floor she can find. She’s looking to transform her home and the higher end products tend to be the most distinctive and will have the most impact in the space.”
Transformations are done with character woods 30% of the time in the hardwood market, said Dewevai Buchanan, vice president of hardwood. “The current economic environment is favoring higher-priced wood products driven heavily by the residential replacement market.”
For Columbia, the Chatham collection meets the need for higher-end character looks. Walnut, cherry, maple, ash and hickory, make up 13 SKUs with high shade variation with sculpted edges and ends. The collection is available in ¾-inch solid and ½-inch thick engineered planks.
“The Chatham collection offers the beauty and character of an aged hardwood floor,” Buchanan said. “Special finishing effects give the appearance of a floor worn to a perfect patina, and authenticity is found in the subtly contoured surface and lightly scraped edges.”