These features include educational insights, new and staple hardwood products and a spotlight featuring one of the Coalition’s members. A new edition of RWC coverage will be available in every print issue of FCNews throughout the year.
DID YOU KNOW
The benefits of engineered hardwood: Higher performance, greater yield
The choice between solid hardwood flooring and engineered is largely based on the specific location of the home where the product is going to be installed. For example, the best engineered hardwood flooring—which entails multiple layers of different wood species arranged in alternating directional patterns—is ideal for both above and below-grade applications. Meanwhile, solid hardwood flooring is typically relegated to grade level and above.
While solid hardwood flooring can typically be sanded and refinished more frequently over its lifetime when compared to an engineered product of the same overall thickness, there are performance benefits inherent in engineered hardwood products. Case in point is the new TruBalance innovation featured on select products from Boa-Franc, maker of the Mirage brand of hardwood flooring. The line is designed with a unique core technology of real wood top layer over quarter-sawn SPF (spruce, pine and fir) fingers. TruBalance technology has many benefits to offer, including improved stability, ease of installation and a wide variety of trendy colors. Presenting the best features of each platform, it is 3⁄4-inch-thick, like the company’s traditional Classic technology; provides increased stability over traditional engineered technology; and has the floating installation capability of locking technology. Mirage TruBalance can be nailed, stapled, glued or floated over a wood or concrete subfloor. Furthermore, it can be used on, above and below grade, including over a radiant heat system.
Other major manufacturers that offer an expansive line of engineered floors also attest to the benefits of the format. Case in point is the Revival Collection from Mullican Flooring. The sturdy, 5-ply, 61⁄2-inch-thick offering features a 1.2mm sliced veneer available in three species: White Oak New Dawn, White Oak Canterbury and White Oak Tuscany.
“The line is part of a collection developed in response to requests from our distributors and retail partners, as well as our own analysis of emerging trends in flooring,” said Pat Oakley, vice president of sales and marketing at Mullican. “Customers will be able to find great new looks for their commercial and living spaces within the designs and styles we’ve developed.”
Putting wood front and center again
When a customer strolls into the new, 125,000-square-foot Sarmazian Flooring Bros. showroom in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, they won’t have to look very long to find the section where the hardwood flooring displays are positioned. That’s because hardwood—a product segment that reflects the retailer’s focus on high-end, high-quality goods—is showcased prominently so shoppers immediately recognize that it’s an important flooring category.
Why the strong focus on hardwood? Raffi Sarmazian, managing director, said it’s due to hardwood’s strong selling points: “It’s one of the most desirable choices in flooring; it’s a natural, sustainable and renewable resource; it can take a beating and hold up to a busy household; and, more importantly, it is an investment that will increase the value of a home.”
Other dealers specializing in hardwood flooring also attest to the benefits of showcasing hardwood flooring. Some even go the extra mile by actually installing product on the showroom floor so consumers can get a better sense of how a particular species, pattern or design might look in her home. “We feature hardwood on the floor at one of our main showrooms,” said Karla Wischmeyer, interior designer with Verhey Carpets, Grand Rapids, Mich.
But much like any other top-selling product category, the trick is not to overwhelm the customer with too many options. Experts like Pamela Danziger, principal partner of the American Marketing Group, Lancaster, Pa., suggested hardwood retailers follow the “80/20” rule, which states: 80% of a dealer’s business typically comes from 20% of its product selections. It’s a great formula to apply, especially when it comes to promoting high- margin, high-profit-dollar categories such as hardwood flooring. If it’s solid strip or wide-plank engineered hardwood flooring that’s driving the bulk of your profit-margin dollars, then those products need to be positioned accordingly.
“Retailers’ most common mistake is to overwhelm their customers with too much product,” she explained. “You could scare your customers away before they even get started, especially if there is no available staff to guide them when they walk into your store.”
TRIED AND TRUE
Hartco’s American Scrape
American Scrape hardwood from Hartco combines beautiful design with premium materials and craftsmanship. From rustic to refined, these richly textured floors are inspired by the diversity of the American landscape and bring the look of vintage, hand-scraped floors to today’s homes. A broad selection of natural hardwood colors and textures, all sourced and made in the USA, come in both solid and engineered hardwood styles to help create a vintage look anywhere in the house—even the basement.
NEW AND NOTABLE
Largo from Indusparquet
This brand-new offering epitomizes Indusparquet’s continued focus on innovation. The eye-catching engineered product measures 7 3⁄4 inches wide and features a 3.2mm, dry-sawn veneer. “It’s like you’re looking at a solid,” said Jodie Doyle, vice president of U.S. sales and marketing. Eight SKUs are available.
Somerset: Proudly made in the USA
Today, more than ever, it’s important for U.S. retailers to align themselves with reliable domestic suppliers. When you support Somerset, you support jobs impacting hundreds of employees in Somerset’s multiple manufacturing facilities. In addition, you help support numerous U.S. lumber supplier jobs—within a 200-mile radius of Somerset facilities—and the many valued vendor partners providing materials, machinery, finishing products, transportation services and more.
Somerset is a multi-generational, family-owned forest products company proud to manufacture flooring, lumber and wood pellet biofuel in the U.S. Over the last 30 years of steady growth, Somerset has become one of the largest manufacturers of Appalachian lumber and hardwood flooring in the U.S. Somerset’s comprehensive product offering spans more than a dozen collections of prefinished solid and SolidPlus engineered flooring as well as high-quality unfinished flooring.
Manufacturing flooring is Somerset’s primary focus, and 100% of Somerset flooring is manufactured in America. By being vertically integrated, Somerset controls the entire manufacturing process—all the way from the forest to the finished floor. This enables a level of hands-on quality control that ensures product consistency and excellent customer service.