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
As hardwood planks continue to grow wider and longer,
adhesives also need to evolve
In wood flooring installation some things remain constant and others are constantly changing. The one constant in this industry is that we are still dealing with wood and all its unique performance attributes and characteristics. Whether it’s solid or engineered, narrow or wide, short or long, it is still wood and wood is sensitive to moisture from the atmosphere, from moisture vapor emanating up from a moist concrete slab and moisture being released during the cure process of a water-based, wood flooring adhesive.
“Wood flooring always needs to be acclimated to the jobsite and substrate conditions according to manufacturer and industry recommendations,” said Paul Stuart, certified installer and president of Stuart & Associates Commercial Flooring, Wichita, Kan. “None of these things change simply because we are dealing with a natural product that is heavily influenced by environmental conditions.”
While there have been advancements in installation materials, adhesives and manufacturing processes, the fundamental principles of moisture and wood has essentially remained the same. What has changed, experts say, is the method by which wood flooring is installed. In the past, most wood floors were installed by mechanical fasteners over a wood substrate and almost never directly to a concrete substrate. Today, there are a wide variety of methods available to install wood flooring on virtually any type of substrate using trowel-grade adhesives. These adhesives—typically modified silane or urethane—can be troweled on or extruded from convenient sausage packs. What this step does is anchor the wide plank to the subfloor reducing a phenomenon called “gapping.” Today’s terminology for this process is known as “glue-assist,” and as long as planks keep getting wider this is going to be a more common process.
One important note about glue-assist installation methods: Floor layers must install these wide planks directly to the substrate. This is different in that most wood flooring is installed over a rosin paper, which acts as a moderate moisture vapor retarder. “In glue-assist you don’t want to bond to this paper since that would defeat the purpose of adhering it to a stable substrate so you will need to get a vapor retarder installer in a different fashion,” Stuart explained.
Winning the battle at point of purchase
One of the many changes evident in the retail landscape is the evolution of merchandising units. From large, branded loyalty programs that include multiple flooring categories to the simple black stairstep that holds a small collection in a tiny space, there is clearly more than one way to bring a product to market. The key factor, experts say, lies in understanding the local tastes and demands of not only consumers in a given market, but also the needs of the channel partners servicing them.
“We appreciate the fact that our distributor and retail partners across the country must have the ability to tailor their programs according to the products that are most impactful in their respective markets,” said Jodie Doyle, vice president, sales and marketing, Indusparquet. “As consumers in different parts of the country like different things, we want to make sure our partners can really showcase the products they believe will make the most difference for their customers.”
While Doyle stressed the importance of an attractive presentation, he said the company is also aware of the limited amount of space available in most retail showrooms. To that end, the company’s new Solid Tower and Engineered Stacker merchandisers were developed to hold 12 samples each—ideal for a retailer wanting to explore and develop this part of the hardwood category. “They were developed in response to retailer requests for something other than the same old looks across the showroom,” he explained.
But an eye-catching presentation is only part of the allure. Today’s merchandising systems also require supportive point-of-purchase (POP) materials to drive home the right messaging. “While display units are the obvious centerpiece of in-store merchandising, retailers have a host of supporting POP marketing options at their disposal,” said Pat Oakley, vice president of sales and marketing, Mullican Flooring. “Engaging and informative merchandising tells a compelling story, elevating the consumer experience to create a lasting first impression. Take inventory of your marketing strategy and be sure to exercise all the options in your retail merchandising toolbox.”
These include favorites such as take-home samples. Unfortunately, it’s not practical or realistic to maintain a comprehensive sample chip library representing all the product in your showroom. The solution? Keep strap sets and builder boards on hand.
TRIED AND TRUE
Brazilian Cherry, Indusparquet
Indusparquet’s Brazilian cherry in a ½-inch thick x 5-inch wide engineered format remains one of the best-selling products in its entire product portfolio. Brazilian cherry (a.k.a Jatoba), available in both engineered and solid formats, boasts enduring natural beauty. The visuals reflected by the Jotaba species are enhanced by a 3mm, dry-sawn face, precision sanded for a modern, sleek look and featuring the company’s patented “Breathe” natural wood drying process.
NEW AND NOTABLE
Sweet Memories, Mirage
The Sweet Memories collection from Boa-Franc, maker of the Mirage brand, gets four new colors: Clay Marbles, Jump Rope, Paddle Ball and Rocking Horse. These rich, on-trend colors with natural tones will instantly bring back childhood memories and the authentic charm of classic wood floors.
AHF products unleashes Dogwood line
AHF Products took the wraps off its Dogwood flooring line at the recent NWFA Expo here. The product features a patent-pending process that creates “densified wood,” a 100% natural wood floor that is resistant to scratches, gouges, dents, pet nails and accidents. AHF said it has taken real wood made by nature and improved it by more than doubling its density thanks to a natural process of heat and pressure—all without chemicals, additives, fillers or plastic.
What takes nature millions of years to do, AHF Products said it can do in a matter of minutes, transforming real hardwood into even harder wood. “Dogwood Densified Wood lets homeowners enjoy real hardwood floors that are virtually worry free,” said Brian Carson, president and CEO, AHF Products.
Beyond its durability attributes, Dogwood features the company’s Cleantivity technology, which protects against odor, damage and discoloration that may be caused by mold or mildew. Made at its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Somerset, Ky., flooring with new Dogwood technology will first be introduced under the Bruce brand, with new lines already in progress for other leading brands under the AHF Products umbrella including Hartco and Robbins, according to the company.