Following is the 13th edition of Real Wood Coalition’s editorial coverage, which can also be seen in the September 13/20 print edition of FCNews.
These features include educational insights, new and staple hardwood products, and a spotlight with one of the coalition members. A new edition of RWC coverage will be available in every print issue of FCNews throughout the year.
DID YOU KNOW
Dealers benefit by tapping
growing consumer demand for hardwoods
Despite fierce competition from alternative hard surfaces, wood flooring is still one of the most ambitious flooring products on the market today. Proponents cite hardwood’s proven track record as a sustainable category that adds to a home’s value, among other desirable qualities.
“We encourage the entire wood flooring industry to tap into the homeowner preference and work together – this way, when consumers demand wood flooring, the supply chain sells real wood rather than a substitute product” said Michael Martin, NWFA president and CEO.
In support of NWFA’s stance 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 association’s official publication. Among the key findings: 52 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 floor 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 contribute the most to adding value to their home. “The life cycle of a wooden floor can easily exceed 100 years,” explains Martin.
While the research findings bode well for the hardwood flooring segment, experts say the category still needs to be proactively promoted and sold as consumers enter the store. This is especially important as consumers compare to other ‘wood look-alike’ products. “Communicating with homeowners in the flooring market should start and end with online advertising — that’s where homeowners tend to look for information first,” according to the NWFA research report. “The wood selling points are simple – attractiveness, choice and warmth are the easy ones. Special attention should be paid to the easy-to-clean feature: homeowners care, but aren’t sure how best to approach it. By explaining that, a wooden floor could become an even more attractive option.”
Not a substitute for the real thing
Given all the options that consumers face when considering purchasing hardwood flooring, retail salespeople should be prepared to put hardwoods first. Following are some effective ways to promote wood:
#1: Emphasize the fact that wood is first and foremost real. “I ask people if they’ve ever seen a ‘really good toupee,’” said Craig Dupra, president of the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) and owner of the Rochester, NY-based Installers Warehouse, a specialty hardwood flooring distributor. “They all say ‘yes’ and I say, ‘Great, but you knew it was a toupee, right?’ 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, referring to some floors that only have a lifespan of 10 to 12 years. “However, we have tons of 100-year-old homes here that are still making good use of their original wood floors. Homeowners will often have to replace cheaper flooring alternatives before refinishing a wood floor.”
#3:Wood is the most environmentally friendly flooring material. “The hardwood forests that yield flooring products grow more than twice as fast as they are harvested,” said Michael Martin, CEO of NWFA.
#4: Hardwood provides higher profit margins. “Wood offers higher profits for retailers, higher salaries for RSAs and greater satisfaction for consumers,” said Chris King, vice president of sales at AHF Products.
#5: Hardwood scores high on several points that are important to the consumer. Public Opinion Strategies completed a national online survey for the NWFA. As part of the survey, homeowners were asked about eight different characteristics that are important 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 floors, focusing on value, ease of cleaning/hypoallergenic, durability and environmental friendliness,” explains Martin. “All four statements tested made at least 80% of homeowners more favorable to wood floors, and three of them made wood at least 50% much more favorable.
TRY AND TRUE
Red Oak Savanna by Mirage
Savanna from the Admiration collection evokes sandy landscapes with its rich, ash brown tones. Introduced in 2010, it appeals to consumers who want an understated floor that brings out the natural details of wood decors. Savanna’s neutral hue balances the more contrasting colors of a room. Available for the first time in smooth texture, maple engraved texture and red oak brushed texture, it was added to the Savanna range in 2019 to meet consumer needs for a timeless look.
NEW AND REMARKABLE
Mercier hickory planks
Mercier hickory floors are designed to attract attention with its wide range of tones and variations, making each plank unique. They are offered in different widths, ranging from 2 1/4 to 4 1/4 inches on solid and from 5 to 6 1/2 inches for the technical products, authentic quality.
AHF expands LM Flooring line-up
Known for its forward-thinking, high-quality hardwood floors, LM Flooring has unleashed the largest new product launch in the brand’s 20-year history. The expansion includes four new, distinctive collections and expansions on four of the most popular lines, with a total of 55 new SKUs launching this fall.
Some notable features: The Reserve offers a fixed width of 7 1/2 inches, while The Glenn has widths of 4.5 and 6 1/2 inches in the same box. Both collections are 1⁄2-inches thick in lengths up to 75 inches.
Other new introductions include: Solano, a 9⁄16-inch-thick dry-sawn European white oak product of select quality with a lightly brushed finish; and Waterford, which is the same size and dimensions, is a North American hard maple floor with a subtle wire brush technique.
Line extensions to the LM-designed hardwood portfolio include: Hermitage, a wide plank, 9-inch wide, dry-sawn European white oak product with planks up to 86 inches; Bentley Premier, a select white oak in a size 1⁄2-inch thick with a 2 mm cut; and Lauderhill, an entry-level product measuring 3⁄8-inches thick x 6 1/2-inches wide x 72-inches long. LM Flooring produces reactive stains for all these collections.
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