FCNews‘ Hardwood Selling Guide 2022 is here and it is chock-full of must-read content for every flooring dealer, distributor and RSA in the flooring industry. This guide features educational content across a variety of categories—including hardwood basics, trendspotting, selling, marketing, merchandising and more. This content is created by the editors at FCNews as well as industry experts across the industry.
Following is some insight into the detailed educational content available within the Hardwood Selling Guide. For more, be sure to see the full edition, here.
There are several key factors RSAs should consider when recommending a particular hardwood flooring style or type. While the consumer may initially base her decision on color, width or grain pattern, there are other questions that need to be answered before specifying the right product for her needs.
For example, where will the new floor be installed—on, above or below grade? This will eliminate some options right off the bat. “Engineered wood flooring is ideal for basements, while both solid and engineered wood floors may be installed in any room that is on or above ground,” said Brett Miller, vice president of technical standards, training and certification for the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA). Solid wood flooring is made of one piece of wood from top to bottom, while engineered wood flooring is made using multiple layers including a top layer of high-quality wood. This construction makes the floor less susceptible to expansion and contraction based on seasonal temperature fluctuations or humidity levels within the home. Note: A new category of engineered hardwood has emerged that entails a real wood veneer bonded to a rigid SPC core. (See article on “hybrids” on page 34 for more details.)
Once the proper construction is chosen for a particular application, the RSA can help the consumer decide on a particular style. Options include: strip, plank, parquet or end grain. “Strip flooring is usually less than 3 inches wide and often makes a room appear larger,” Miller explained. “Plank flooring is 3 inches or wider and often creates a more casual look. Parquet varies in size and generates a geometric, non-linear look. End grain flooring has a unique visual element as the wood’s grain is visible and upward facing.”
Color tone also factors in heavily during the selection process. Most factory-milled and finished floors come with the stain already applied, but some customers may opt for unfinished flooring, which can then be colored on site. “Finish tones the natural color of the wood up or down, making lighter or darker versions of the wood,” Miller explained. “Typically, light tones make a room look more open and airy, while medium tones make the room feel warm and cozy. Dark tones can make a room appear stately and refined.”
Last, but certainly not least, is the choice of finish material and gloss level. Again, these attributes are typically predetermined with products finished at the factory level but they impact the final visual of the product nonetheless. “Trend surveys indicate low-gloss finishes remain in high demand,” Miller said. “However, if the consumer changes her mind down the road, it’s easy to transform the look and color via a sanding and refinishing process.”