Surfaces: Wood intros reflect user tastes

HomeFeatured PostSurfaces: Wood intros reflect user tastes

By Reginald Tucker Las Vegas—Fans of the O’Jays, the ’70s R&B/soul/funk ensemble, well remember the group’s hit song, “Got to Give the People What They Want.” The handful of hardwood flooring exhibitors who were in attendance here took a page out of that songbook by showcasing new wood products and collections in keeping with the styles, looks and formats consumers and end users are clamoring for today.

Adam Ward, senior product director, wood and laminate, Mohawk, shows off the new UltraWood engineered line.

Case in point is the newly launched UltraWood line from Mohawk. Touted as the ultimate performance hardwood, the product features the latest in the company’s technological innovations: Everlast, WetProtect and EasyClean. UltraWood includes Mohawk’s new Everlast hardwood protection system that reinforces its hardwood veneer against scratches, wear and dents. Everlast technology promises four-times greater scratch protection, two-times stronger wear protection and five-times greater dent protection. The floor is supported by a lifetime wear warranty.

“Orders have been very strong, and early feedback has been positive,” said Adam Ward, senior product director, wood and laminate, Mohawk. “ A real wood product focused on higher-end visuals has resonated with retailers. We’re also getting feedback from retailers who have already installed jobs with UltraWood.”

Consumers are demonstrating greater interest in patterns, said Pierrick Dispans, regional sales manager, Panaget.

Ward noted specific interest in UltraWood colors such as Sebastian Isle and Westport Cape—both 9-inch-wide European oak products positioned in the “best” tier. Then there’s Gingham (good) and Crosby (better), which are also turning heads, he said.

“We offer a gradual step-up product from a 7 x 48 plank to a 9 x 81 with higher-end looks, nicer colors and visuals with reactive-stain type looks in there as well,” Ward added. Products range from $5-$7 per square foot MSRP for engineered.

But perhaps the best part is the availability—all the lines are produced in Virginia. “Our customers don’t have to wait for shipments on the water—we have the inventory here,” Ward explained.

Dealers who stopped by the Mohawk booth said they liked what they saw. “Mohawk got the visuals spot on, and I think the pricing of UltraWood is in line with what the consumer is looking for,” said Ian Newton, general manager of Flooring 101, with multiple stores in California. “I’m looking forward to giving them the ultimate test on the showroom floor.”

real wood
Consumer tastes are trending toward lighter, cleaner looks, said Larry Purcell, director of sales, Midwest and Northeast, Provenza.

Mohawk also reported continued interest in its high-end Karastan wood brand, which launched back in 2020. “The product is doing well,” Ward said. “We’ve made some nice updates with new products, which started shipping last month. Hardwood at that upper end continues to be very popular, especially for higher-end homes.”

Higher-end hardwood products were also on display at the Provenza booth. The Volterra line, available in a 7 1⁄2-inch-wide format, generated interest on the show floor. “We’ve been seeing trends toward a cleaner look with less character in some of the lighter colors,” said Larry Purcell, director of sales, Midwest and Northeast. “Customers are looking for wood products that are a little bit warmer, with less of the gray tones. They want softer tone browns and nice neutral tones.”

In certain markets, Purcell has also seen a trend toward the traditional darker browns. He cited a color called Chelsea Piers, which boasts light to dark variation. On the whole, consumers are craving wood products with unique aesthetic qualities and, of course, wider/longer planks, he added.

wood products
Paul Rezuke, vice president, U.S. sales, Wickham, reported solid leads although overall show floor traffic was down.

Other hardwood exhibitors said they continue to see interest in rustic visuals—especially in certain regions of the country. That was the case with Canada-based Wickham Hardwood Floors, which expanded its popular rustic offerings with new tones to satisfy U.S. consumers. “For us, it was all about showcasing new colors—white oak colors in particular,” said Paul Rezuke, vice president of U.S. sales.

The company also showcased its signature Mountain Home collection, which was installed throughout the booth. “We always install this product at the show because it’s an attention grabber,” Rezuke explained. “It’s a higher-end product ($10-$11 per square foot). People love it. It has so much character; no two boards are the same. It’s great for cabins and mountains, and even some beach home properties.”

For other vendors, it was all about showcasing the possibilities with various wood patterns. That was the case with Panaget, a French hardwood flooring manufacturer. New products that drew interest included new herringbone and chevron patterns as well as custom, handmade 3 1⁄2- and 5 1⁄2-inch strip products. “Customers have been asking for products like these,” said Pierrick Dispans, regional sales manager. Also of note, he said, are new offerings featuring species such as American walnut.

Engineered wood floors from Republic tout high-quality construction and trendy colors.

Panaget wood products start at about $10-$12 per square foot (MSRP) and range up to $15-$20 for some of the patterned products. “We’re not the cheapest out there,” Dispans said.

Not to be outdone, Republic Floor showcased its high-quality Müller Graff line of engineered flooring wood products. Constructed in a 150-year-old wood manufacturing facility in Europe, the products are designed to be different than the vast majority of imported wood floors on the market today, according to Rotem Eylor, CEO. “All planks in the line are 71⁄2 feet long, all AB grade and very clean—you don’t have ran- dom lengths,” he said. “When you buy flooring from others, it’s all random lengths. Why? Because they use all the pieces in the wood. Everything is made in Europe, with the Välinge 5G click so you can float it, glue it down or staple it.”

But the best part is the products won’t break the bank. MSRP for the Müller Graff line is about $6-$7 per square foot, according to Rotem.

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June 21/28, 2021

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