Las Vegas—While many of the laminate, SPC and hybrid/rigid core products aim to deliver more value to the consumer, a significant portion of hardwood flooring products showcased at Surfaces this year targeted the upper echelon of the market. These range from trendy, wide-and-long plank products to specialty, customized floors featuring proprietary finishes and surface texture applications. It’s all part of a move, vendors agree, to separate the wood category from the entry-level pack while giving retailers products they can earn significantly higher margins on.
Following are some of the standouts from the show.
Following on the heels of the launch of its signature dent- and scratch-resistant Dogwood line in early 2022, AHF unveiled Dogwood Pro for the independent retail channel. Based on the same sturdy densified technology as its predecessor, Dogwood Pro is as hard as ceramic tile but much warmer underfoot, according to the company. “Compared to standard engineered wood, laminate and SPC, it’s much harder,” said Milton Goodwin, AHF Products vice president. “And the best part is it’s all natural hardwood. It’s a product that’s going to stand the test of time.”
Another standout offering from AHF Products is Mystical Woods, which features sophisticated reactive staining surface technologies for dramatic visual appeal. “Reactive staining occurs naturally in nature when the wood is exposed to sunlight or other elements in nature, creating a brushed, white-washed visual,” Goodwin explained. “We have recreated those same looks—only at a much faster rate. And we’re able to do this in a single application.”
Lastly is a new product called Fathom—a thicker product featuring a 4mm dry-sawn face on a 7 ½-inch-wide plank that’s 75 inches long. It features a new texturing technique called Sculptured Dimension, which really shows the depth of the colors in the product. “We wanted to come up with a name that conveyed the depth of the product,” said Kevin Whaley, vice president of sales and marketing for the LM Flooring brand. “The end result is a timeworn look without going back to hand scraping.”
Hallmark Floors has updated its expansive offering of trendy hardwood flooring to reflect the shifting color palette that’s taking place in the category today. The company also retooled all of its point-of-purchase displays to coincide with its loyalty dealer programs.
Hallmark also showcased its new line of architectural slabs (“Don’t call them countertops or butcher blocks, please,” said Mark Casper, vice president of sales and marketing). “Our new slabs emphasize the importance of sustainability because they utilize the entire log. Not only do we own the timberlands, but we also have great relationships with large lumber companies. To facilitate utilizing all of that material so the price of the product to the consumer is fair and reasonable, we found different ways to put it into different products.”
High-quality SPC and performance laminate is big part of Johnson Hardwood’s business, but one could argue the company is going back to its roots at Surfaces.
“We have a few new wood lines we’re showing this year,” said Billy Ko, CEO. “We’re offering our Grand Chateau, which is a wide-plank European oak visual. It’s a ½-inch-thick, 7 ½-inch-wide product available in lighter, warmer colors. We’re focusing on the higher quality A-B grades without knots. The looks are very clean, and they present step-up options for the consumer.”
With consumers continuing to demonstrate an affinity for genuine hardwood flooring, Mohawk has expanded its popular TecWood line to give retailers and consumers more options in 2023. Standout offerings in the line include Camden Isle (from TecWood Select), which comes in half-inch-thick boards, narrower widths and an on-trend color palette. Meanwhile, TecWood Plus—the highest tier in the TecWood offering—gets the Cottage Manor collection. The line features the popular band-sawn texture, which is defined by saw marks across the face of the boards that run perpendicular to the board’s length.
“For years we’ve seen longer/ wider products really dominate the market, but more recently we’ve really started to hear that narrower widths are coming back. We view it as a cyclical trend, so we expect to see more of that come to market. The narrower widths are going into high-rises where the rooms are typically smaller. At the same time, we don’t feel that the industry is going to go completely away from the 7-inch widths. People with wide open floor plans still want the wider products in their homes.”
Another eye-catching hardwood flooring product from Mohawk is the new Waterproof BelleLuxe wood line from the Karastan master brand. Advanced coating technologies provided by Mohawk’s WetProtect offers top-down protection, preventing spills from reaching the subfloor below and causing additional damage. BelleLuxe Waterproof wood is further protected by a proprietary waterproof finish.
Spain-based RIVA, which earned a Best of Surfaces award for Best Large Booth, showcased a curated selection of high-end hardwood flooring also worthy of acclaim. This includes its namesake LA RIVA collection, produced in Miami and custom finished by famed artisan Tom Goddijn. The line comes in a range of 8-, 10,- 12- and 14-inchwide widths and feature finishes created through a special reactive staining process. Suggested retail price range is $20-$25 per square foot. In lieu of standard wing rack displays, RIVA encourages retailers to showcase its hardwood flooring lines in “RIVA Galleries.”
Shaw takes the wraps off Expressions, a beefy, 9 ½-inch hardwood flooring product that keys in on the wider/ longer trend in a collection that appeals to the upscale buyer. “We’re seeing demands for more premium products,” said Matt Rosato, hard surface channel director, Shaw Floors. “In the past you had ½-inch products that were really big volume drivers, but we’re seeing higher sales performance of those wider, premium products. These include thicker products with a 4mm veneer. Consumers love to see that construction, and they want to know that they can sand and refinish it—although they might not need to do that because of the durable finish that we put on it.”
Expressions comes in 10 initial colors available in both lighter/cooler tones and warmer hues. Suggested retail price range is $15-$17 per square foot, according to Rosato.
Also new from Shaw Floors is the Gallery collection, highlighting premium hardwoods hand selected by design experts to bring natural artistry into the home. With understated finishes and clean looks, these hardwoods embrace time-worn character and age gracefully as time passes. Available formats span from 7 inches to 9 inches and include popular species such as hickory or European oak.
(Look for more coverage of the latest hardwood products and trends featured at Surfaces in upcoming editions of FCNews.)