The Real Wood Coalition editorial coverage in FCNews has officially launched. It includes a collection of educational insights, new and staple hardwood products and a spotlight featuring one of the Coalition’s members.
Following is the first edition of that editorial coverage, which can be seen in full in the Feb. 15/22 print edition of FCNews.
DID YOU KNOW
Must-have characteristics to look for in a reliable wood flooring supplier
There are scores of hardwood flooring suppliers in the market today, but not all are created equal. In order to ensure a long-term, mutually beneficial partnership, there are certain traits retailers and distributors need to look for in a potential supplier.
“First, retailers need to look for a hardwood supplier that’s easy to do business with,” said Dewevai Buchanan, CEO of Nature Flooring-North America. “Second, a supplier should have a unique selling proposition. Third, a supplier must have product designs that appeal to local homeowners.”
Experts also agree that retailers should look for hardwood suppliers that don’t try to pass off non-wood floors as real wood. “As our fast-paced industry delivers all types of new products or hybrids of products, along comes confusion,” said Derek Brooks, Torlys’ senior vice president sales and business development-North America. “Authentic hardwood remains the gold standard and retailers, builders and/or consumers should look for products that deliver on performance while maintaining ‘real wood’ values. Companies delivering high performance hardwood while keeping both the indoor and outdoor environment in mind will present the best value. Warranties are also a sign of the real deal.”
More importantly, a good supplier should provide a high level of service commensurate with product quality. “Distributors really need to take a good look at what is selling and have that amount on supply to provide to their customers,” said Wade Bondrowski, director of U.S. sales, Mercier Wood Flooring. “That requires partnering with the right supplier.”
This is critical, given the complexities involved in sourcing and handling natural materials such as wood. “There’s a lot of forecasting that has to be done to make sure you get it right on the supply side, and we try to get our partners to get in line with that,” Bondrowski explained. “With popular species like white oak and red oak, you’re looking at several weeks turnaround time. If the supply isn’t correct at that time, you’re looking at delays. A retailer or distributor needs a supplier that can effectively manage that process.”
Playing up hardwood’s strengths
Hardwood flooring remains arguably the most aspirational flooring product in the minds of consumers given the category’s well-known attributes, features and benefits. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the product sells itself. RSAs need to be prepared to put hardwood front and center while addressing any objections in order to be successful.
Craig Dupra, chairman of the National Wood Flooring Association and owner of Rochester, N.Y.-based Installers Warehouse, a renowned specialty hardwood flooring distributor, offers a few selling tips:
Tip #1: Emphasize the fact that wood, first and foremost, is real. “I ask folks if they have ever seen a really good toupee,” Dupra said. “They all say ‘yes’ then I say, ‘Great, but you still knew it was a toupee?’ Fake wood always reveals itself as a fake.”
Tip #2: Wood has the best life cycle of any floor covering. “LVT is just carpet—not fuzzy, but made from some form of synthetic chemical and is destined for the dumpster sooner or later,” Dupra said. “Wood is renewable and sequesters carbon. LVT is made from oil and does not do anything to aid the environment. Plus, the majority of wood floors sold today are made in the U.S. or Canada—or if it’s made in Asia, it is still produced using North American wood products.”
Tip #3: Be careful not to oversell the waterproof attribute of LVT. “Sure, LVT resists water, but what happens when the water filters underneath it?” Dupra asked. “When your OSB subfloor gets damp and the LVT traps the water on the surface, how do you address the mold that can form on the OSB? Many manufacturers are making wood flooring that is sufficiently water resistant for most situations.”
Tip #4: Real wood floors add value to your home—now and in the future. “LVT can ‘trend out’ before it wears out,” Dupra said. “It may be great for 10 to 15 years, but I guarantee there won’t be any stately old homes 100 years from now sporting LVT floors. However, we have tons of 100-year-old houses in my area that are still getting good use out of their original wood floors. Every other type of floor covering is a temporary floor.”
TRIED AND TRUE
SuperSolid 5 from Torlys
Modern, classic and eco-friendly, Torlys’ SuperSolid 5 Hardwood utilizes the latest advancements in flooring to deliver optimal performance in a stunning natural hardwood. Built-in Deca Technology maintains the floor’s beauty year-round by resisting cupping and gapping throughout the dry winter months. This collection features a 3mm, dry-sawn wear layer that resists splitting and can be resanded up to three times, providing a lifetime of performance.
NEW AND NOTABLE
The Revival collection
Mullican’s Revival line boasts 61⁄2-inch-wide oak planks that feature a lightly wire-brushed surface and a proprietary heat-treating technique to create a unique color palette. Planks measure 7⁄16 of an inch thick x 6 feet long (random-length planks). Revival debuts in three SKUs.
Mirage: All about quality, service and protecting the environment
More than ever, being in harmony with nature and protecting the environment are principles at the heart of Mirage philosophy and reflected in our actions. We believe that we positively impact the health and well-being of people and the environment through transforming responsibly harvested wood into the best hardwood floors made in North America.
Choosing Mirage Floors is a responsible choice since hardwood flooring comes from a renewable and biodegradable resource—trees. Which is not the case with vinyl floors, LVT, SPC, WPC and rigid-core products. Those products are made of plastic.
Throughout its life cycle, wood requires less energy and has a positive impact on the environment through carbon capture and releasing oxygen. We efficiently manage wood in a sustainable way with our suppliers coupled with energy-saving manufacturing processes that generate zero landfill waste. We respect the highest environmental standards, thus providing future generations and the entire ecosystem with a healthy, non-polluting wood product that makes our flooring good for the environment.
Our naturally beautiful wood floors are positively impacting the health and well-being of those that purchase it—something that been proven in many studies. The warmth underfoot; the non-repetition of every unique piece. The pride of wanting to tell their friends and family about their new hardwood floor; the fact that it is the only floor covering proven to increase the value of your home; and the happiness of having a product that will last 100 years until the day their home is passed to the next generation.
This positive effect we are having on people has also a positive impact on our own employees. Knowing they are making a product that is positively affecting the health and well-being of people also gives them pride and happiness to do their job well. Our people make the difference at Mirage. It’s not the land, buildings or finest technology you can buy. It’s the people and our teams’ positive support of their families, our community, our supplier and customer networks.
We are making a positive difference in the world. There is no true pride or happiness of purchasing imitation products. Unfortunately, due to budget constraints, consumers are falsely sold on the belief that imitation wood looks are better than the real thing. We are asking all RSAs out there to give customers the opportunity to buy the real thing and make sure they fully understand the impact of their decision. Have them invest in real hardwood flooring. Give them the true choice of saving in the short term or gaining the long-term financial benefit for their homes and for their own family’s health and well-being. Right now, less than one out of 10 purchasers in floor covering are getting a real hardwood floor. Imagine if we could just increase that to two or three purchasers out of 10. The positive impact for people and the environment would be tremendous.