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
Having the right tools is essential to a professional hardwood flooring installation
The U.S. hardwood flooring industry is estimated at roughly $4 billion at the retail level. So it might come as a surprise to some to learn that more than $500 million is spent each year on repairing flooring failures. Since hardwood accounts for about 10% of flooring installations, that’s probably about $50 million lost to hardwood flooring failures.
Given those eye-opening statistics, it’s in the best interest of the installer to take precautions on every job to minimize the risk of failure. To protect yourself from liability and callbacks, installers need the proper tools to measure moisture—the most common culprit in most flooring failures.
So, before you begin the installation, make sure the subfloor has been tested for moisture. If you’re installing over a concrete subfloor, ensure that you possess ASTM standard documentation that proves the concrete has been tested for the correct moisture conditions. You may be able to get this from the general contractor, or you may have to conduct the testing and document the results yourself. Ensure that the moisture test system you use fully complies with ASTM F2170, so if there’s a failure after your installation due to excess moisture from the subfloor, you can prove that the problem isn’t with your work. If you’re installing over a wood subfloor, the situation requires the same documentation to protect against liability associated with moisture-related flooring failure.
Next, use a pin or pinless wood moisture meter to make certain that your flooring system materials have been properly stored and acclimated before you begin the installation. Both types are accurate if used properly, but pinless meters have some important advantages: they are non-destructive and are often faster and easier to use. There’s no time wasted pushing the pins into the wood, and because they use an electromagnetic field to measure moisture, they can measure a much larger area.
Other essential tools to bring to the jobsite include: spacers, level, tape measure, hand saw, power saw, carpenter’s square, rubber mallet, tapping block, nail set and nailing machines (if securing solid floors directly to the substrate), recommended adhesive and trowel, wood filler/putty, sander and a shop vacuum.
Hardwood right at home on Main St.
The same attributes that make hardwood flooring an ideal choice for residential settings (aesthetics, durability, ease of maintenance, etc.) also make it appropriate for light commercial applications.
That premise was demonstrated via a recent installation facilitated by Foulk’s Flooring America, Meadville, Pa. Mike Foulk, owner, along with his team, specified, sold and completed a 700-square-foot hard- wood installation for a local doctor’s office. “[The customer] definitely wanted hardwood,” Foulk told FCNews. “He was more interested in the barn-looking, rustic type but he also wanted something smooth that would hold up and clean easy.”
The client chose a weathered oak look featuring a gray stain. The visual selected is a departure from what a patient might typically encounter in a medical space—i.e., commercial sheet tile or rubber flooring. With typical office spaces usually featuring standard, muted tones such as blues, gray or even white, the warm, rustic-looking hardwood was chosen to provide a warmer, more homely essence to the commercial space. Many designers agree that the selection of a particular flooring material can help put patients at ease or even contribute to an environment that promotes healing.
Having a more appealing visual on the floor wasn’t the only reason the client chose hardwood. The customer also wanted a floor that would stand up to foot traffic. Real wood, according to Foulk, fit the bill nicely. Not only is it perfectly suitable for the setting as well as the client’s needs, but it also adds value to the space. All these benefits are selling points the RSA or designer can leverage when specifying a wood floor for light commercial projects.
Another factor that plays into the specification of hardwood flooring is, of course, the trade-up opportunity. Not only was the client pleased with his choice, but the retailer benefited as well via a 40% profit margin on the sale, according to Foulk.
While commercial applications account for less than 15% of all hardwood flooring sold in the U.S., suppliers say it’s still a substantial market for retailers looking to expand into other end-use segments. “In the commercial contract segment, we are experiencing really high demand for products for specification,” said Jodie Doyle, vice president, U.S. sales and marketing, Indusparquet. “The pipeline had a bit of a lag during the first half, but we expect robust activity for the second half and into 2022.”
TRIED AND TRUE
Hydropel from AHF Products
Officially launched at Surfaces 2019, Hydropel is a 100% waterproof engineered hardwood floor infused with proprietary technology to resist water incursion for up to 36 hours. Constructed using an ultra-high density fiberboard, the product is designed to provide higher density than typical plywood or HD fiberboard cores. This helps protect against everyday spills, wet mopping or even pet accidents from absorbing into the wood. “It is real hardwood from top to bottom,” said Wendy Booker, VP, marketing.
NEW AND NOTABLE
Brazilian oak, chestnut
Brazilian cherry and Tigerwood remain hot sellers, but Indusparquet is also generating interest with species such as Tauri and Sucupira. Tauri (Brazilian oak) is reminiscent of North American red oak with its tan to medium tones, while Sucupira (Brazilian chestnut) varies from brownish red to tan hues.
Mercier is not resting on its laurels
From its early innovations in prefinished hardwood dating back to the 1980s, to the development of sophisticated coatings and product constructions in recent years, Mercier has employed a winning formula for longevity—unrelenting pursuit of constant improvement.
“We have consistently innovated decade after decade,” said Marielle Mercier, co-owner. “Since our very beginnings, we have made an imprint in the market thanks to our innovations that have systematically become industry norms—starting with the development of prefinished hardwood floors.”
Mercier said it owes much of its success to pioneering efforts in the development of prefinished hardwood floors. “The willingness to eliminate the inconveniences associated with varnishing floors after they had been installed quickly transformed into a true culture of innovation that has propelled the company for more than 40 years,” said Richard Mercier, co-owner. “We introduced non-toxic aluminum oxide and plant-based oil to our finishes. Mercier was also a pioneer in successfully layering coats of stain that still reveal the beauty of the wood underneath, which is evident in our Elements and Naked collections.”
Management at Mercier also attributed its ongoing success to an experienced and dedicated work force that includes plant workers, raw materials buyers, product development teams as well as sales and marketing staff.