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 Key to a long-lasting installation is proper acclimation on the job site
Hardwood flooring—if installed and maintained correctly—can last a lifetime. The most critical step, experts say, is to ensure the product is properly acclimated prior to installation.
“Just like any type of wood, hardwood is sensitive to the moisture around it,” explained Jason Wright, technical advisor with Wagner Meters. “That’s because wood is hygroscopic— meaning it will absorb or release moisture depending on ambient temperature and relative humidity (RH). Extreme moisture-related issues may occur, such as warping, cupping, crowning, buckling, mold and mildew, or even noticeable gaps between boards. Oftentimes, problems like these entail costly repairs.”
If installers or contractors fail to acclimate the hardwood flooring, or install the product when the moisture content of the wood is too high, it may compromise the integrity of the flooring, Wright notes. “You could run into big issues that you won’t even know about until later,” he said.
One of those issues is warping, which is defined by any deviation from being flat. Warping can take several forms and can give the flooring an undesirable twisted, bowed or crooked appearance. “If the boards do not revert to their original shape, they could separate or crack,” Wright explained.
Then there’s the danger of cupping, a type of warping that occurs when the edges at the side of each plank stick up higher than the centers. Any moisture imbalance, including a change in the surrounding environment, can cause the boards to expand further than the space given them during installation, Wright notes. The resulting pressure forces the board edges upward, which creates a “washboard” effect.
Worse, poorly acclimated wood flooring can cause the floor to buckle. According to Wright, this happens most often in response to prolonged exposure to excessive moisture, such as after a floor has been flooded for a period of time.
In many cases, the solution to these issues is simple. “Since they’re all due to moisture, your best line of defense is to pay attention to the moisture content of the hardwood before installation,” Wright notes. “Don’t just assume that the hardwood will acclimate properly within a few days.”
Giving wood the space it’s due
Successful flooring retailers have several means at their disposal to boost sales of step-up products like hardwood in their stores. One of the most effective and straight-forward ways, experts say, entails emphasizing the benefits of genuine hardwood flooring over look-alike products.
For Steve Weisberg, owner of Crest Flooring, Allentown, Pa., the trick lies in focusing on simplicity. “My best practice for selling hardwood came after I saw how confusing it was for customers to look at wood presented in the typical five or even up to seven different manufacturer displays,” he explained.
To remedy that situation, Weisberg created a lineup of hardwood separated into four categories called the Visual Reality Center. “In essence, we eliminated six different displays, which made the selection process so much easier for a consumer,” he explained.
Emphasizing hardwood’s inherent benefits over competing categories can also be useful in helping the customer narrow her selection. This is particularly effective if the consumer walked into the store predisposed on an altogether different product than wood. This scenario, experts say, presents the salesperson with a valuable opportunity to trade that customer up to real wood just by asking some basic questions to determine the type of floor she “needs” vs. what she saw online or on her favorite home improvement show.
Perhaps she has children or pets in her home that can scratch up the floors easily. That’s why dealers like Mary Anne, manager of Tonda Sales, Rocklin, Calif., emphasizes the benefits of aluminum-oxide finishes with her customers, pointing out its effectiveness in reducing scratches.
If a customer expresses interest in sustainability, then it’s essential to indicate that “hardwood is more eco-friendly and renewable than [other alternatives],” said Sam Locher, vice president, business development and marketing, A.J. Rose Carpets & Flooring, Natick, Mass. Other dealers like Matt Wien, director of sales of Marshall Carpet One, Mayfield Heights, Ohio, concurred, citing hardwood’s reputation as one of the most aspirational products out there. “Hardwood has been around for over 100 years; we don’t know how long other [look-alike] products will last.”
TRIED AND TRUE
Torly’s SuperSolid 5
Torlys SuperSolid 5 Hardwood utilizes the latest advancements in flooring to deliver optimal performance in a stunning natural hardwood. Built-in Deca Technology maintains the floor’s beauty year-round by resisting cupping and gapping throughout the dry winter months. The line features a 3mm, dry-sawn wear layer that resists splitting and can be resanded up to three times.
NEW AND NOTABLE
Solano and Waterford from AHF’s LM Flooring line
AHF Product’s LM Flooring brand has added Solano and Waterford to the mix. Solana is a 9⁄16-inch-thick x 7 1⁄2-inch-wide, dry-sawn, select grade European white oak featuring a lightly wire-brushed texture for a smooth, sleek design. Waterford, also a dry-sawn 9⁄16-inch product, features North American hard maple.
Somerset: Proudly made in the USA
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 past 30 years of steady growth, Somerset has become one of the largest manufacturers of Appalachian lumber and hardwood flooring in the U.S.
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.
Today, more than ever, it’s important for U.S. retailers to align themselves 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’s comprehensive offering spans more than a dozen collections of pre-finished solid and SolidPlus engineered flooring as well as unfinished flooring.