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
Dealers stand to benefit by tapping
into growing consumer demand for hardwood
Despite the intense competition from alternative hard surfaces, wood flooring still ranks high among the most aspirational flooring products on the market today. Proponents cite hardwood’s proven track record as a long lasting category that contributes to the value of a home, among other desired attributes.
“We encourage the entire wood flooring industry to utilize the preference they have with homeowners and to work together—this way, when consumers ask for wood floors, the supply chain is selling real wood instead of a substitute product,” said Michael Martin, president and CEO of NWFA.
In support of NWFA’s position and its signature “Real Wood, Real Life” campaign, Martin cited the findings of a consumer survey commissioned by the NWFA and published in Hardwood Floors magazine, the official publication of the association. Among the key findings: Fifty-two percent of homeowners said they have wood floors in their homes, compared to 75% who say they have carpeting and 58% who said they have tile. However, when homeowners were asked what kind of flooring they would have in their “dream home,” 66% said wood floors.
The survey also found that not only do homeowners prefer wood floors for their dream home, but 79% overwhelmingly say wood floors do the most to add value to their home. “The life cycle of a wood floor can easily exceed 100 years,” Martin explained.
While the survey results bode well for the hardwood flooring segment, experts say the category still needs to be promoted and sold proactively when the consumer enters the store. This is especially important as consumers comparison shop against other “wood look-alike” products. “Communicating with home owners who are in the market for flooring should start and end with online advertising-that’s where homeowners tend to look first for information,” the NWFA research report stated. “The sales points for wood are easy—attractiveness, choice and warmth are the easy ones. Extra attention needs to be paid to the easy-to-clean attribute—homeowners believe it’s important but they aren’t sure about the best way to go about it. Explaining that could go a long way in making wood flooring an even more attractive option.”
No substitute for the real thing
Given all the options consumers face when contemplating a hard surface flooring purchase, retail sales associates need to be prepared to put hardwood front and center. Following are some effective approaches to promoting wood:
#1: Emphasize the fact that wood, first and foremost, is real. “I ask folks if they have ever seen a ‘really good toupee,”’ said Craig Dupra, chairman of the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) and owner of Rochester, N.Y.-based Installers Warehouse—a specialty hardwood flooring distributor. “They all say ‘yes’ then I say, ‘Great, but you still knew it was a toupee?’ Fake wood always reveals itself as fake.”
#2: Real wood floors add value to your home—now and in the future. “Some alternative products fade before they wear out,” Dupra said, citing some floors that only have a 10 to 12-year life span. “However, we have tons of 100-year-old houses here that are still getting good use out of their original wood floors. Homeowners will need to replace less-expensive flooring alternatives numerous times before a wood floor will need to be refinished.”
#3:Wood is the most environmentally friendly floor material. “The hardwood forests that provide flooring products are growing more than twice as fast as they are being harvested,” said Michael Martin, NWFA CEO.
#4: Hardwood provides higher profit margins. “Wood offers higher profits for retailers, bigger paychecks for RSAs and greater satisfaction for consumers,” said Chris King, vice president of sales, AHF Products.
#5: Hardwood scores high marks on several areas that are important to consumers. Public Opinion Strategies completed a national online survey for the NWFA. As part of the survey, homeowners were asked about eight different attributes of relevance to them when choosing the right flooring for their home. Three qualities directly associated with wood stood out: durable (67%); visually appealing (61%); and easy to clean (58%). “We tested four statements touting the benefits of wood flooring focused on value, ease of cleaning/hypoallergenic, durability and environmental friendliness,” Martin explained. “All four of the statements tested made at least 80% of homeowners more favorable toward wood floors, with three of them making wood at least 50% much more favorable.
TRIED AND TRUE
Red Oak Savanna from Mirage
Savanna from the Admiration collection conjures up sandscapes with its rich, ash-brown tones. Introduced in 2010, it appeals to consumers who desire a subdued floor that brings out the natural details of wood decors. Savanna’s neutral hue balances a room’s more contrasting colors. First available with smooth texture, maple engraved texture and red oak brushed texture joined the Savanna offering in 2019 to meet consumers’ needs for a timeless look.
NEW AND NOTABLE
Mercier hickory planks
Mercier’s hickory floors are designed to turn heads with its wide range of tones and variations, making each board unique. They are offered in a variety of widths, ranging from 2 1⁄4 to 4 1⁄4 inches on solid and from 5 to 6 1⁄2 inches for the engineered products, authentic grade.
AHF expands LM Flooring lineup
LM Flooring, known for its design-forward, high-quality hardwood floors, has unleashed the largest new product launch in the brand’s 20-year history. The expansion entails four new, distinctive collections as well as extensions to four of its most popular lines, totaling an impressive 55 new SKUs launching this fall.
Some standouts: The Reserve offers a 7 1⁄2-inch fixed width while The Glenn boasts widths of 4, 5 and 6 1⁄2 inches in the same box. Both collections are 1⁄2-inch-thick in lengths up to 75 inches.
Other new introductions include: Solano, a 9⁄16-inch-thick, dry-sawn select grade European white oak product featuring a lightly wire-brushed finish; and Waterford, which entails the same format and dimensions, is a North American hard maple floor boasting a subtle wire-brushing techniques.
Line extensions to the LM engineered hardwood portfolio include: Hermitage, a wide plank, 9-inch-wide, dry-sawn European white oak product with planks as long as 86 inches; Bentley Premier, a select grade white oak in a 1⁄2-inch-thick format with a 2mm sliced face; and Lauderhill, an entry-level product in a 3⁄8-inch-thick x 6 1⁄2- inch-wide x 72-inch-long format. LM Flooring makes its own reactive stains for all these collections in-house.