Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Errant Football Floods Gym Floor, Costs $188K in Damages
A teacher cost his school in Walton, England, £120,000—or about $188,674—in damage with just one kick of a ball, according to PeterboroughToday.com.
During an after-school game, the teacher kicked a football at the gymnasium's ceiling, where it struck and broke a brass sprinkler head, immediately sending down about 2,377 gallons of water onto the students and the gym’s “sprung wooden floors.”
Next the cleanup began. Over the next 90 minutes, staff "frantically" used "snow paddles" and mops to shepherd the water outside through the gym's three fire exits, and other staff were dispatched to the school's roof to try to stanch the water. In the end, a "commandeered cherry picker" was used to lift a maintenance worker into the rafters to cap the broken sprinkler, PeterboroughToday.com reported.
The school's director of business described the noise he heard from inside the gym "like a waterfall." About 100 staff and pupils had to be evacuated from the school, and the teacher who kicked the ball was "embarrassed," obviously.
Lumber Liquidators' CEO to Retire Jan. 1
Lumber Liquidators (Toano, Va.) announced Monday that CEO Jeffrey Griffiths will retire Jan. 1. Stepping in to take Griffiths' place will be Robert Lynch, the company's current president and COO. Moving forward, Lynch will serve as the company's president and CEO, and he will replace Griffiths on Lumber Liquidators' board of directors on Jan. 1.
"During his five years with the company, Jeff has made significant contributions to Lumber Liquidators as we entered the public markets, established a strong infrastructure and expanded our footprint into new markets," said Tom Sullivan, the company's chairman of the board. "We greatly appreciate Jeff's leadership through a period of substantial growth and transformation. We are pleased that we will have an orderly transition that will allow the company to move forward seamlessly. With a solid foundation in place, we are excited to have Rob's enthusiasm and retail experience to lead our business going forward."
Lynch was appointed president and COO at Lumber Liquidators in December 2010.
"Having worked closely with Rob over the last year, I have full confidence in his ability to continue to drive our business forward and deliver value for Lumber Liquidators' shareholders," Griffiths said. "I am grateful to have worked with such a talented management team over the last five years and am proud of all that Lumber Liquidators has accomplished in that time."
To ensure a smooth transition, Griffiths will remain an employee of Lumber Liquidators through March 18.
"I would like to thank Jeff for his support and guidance over the past year, and I look forward to assuming the role of president and chief executive officer," Lynch said. "I joined Lumber Liquidators because of the industry-leading value proposition offered to the consumer, the entrepreneurial culture instilled by Tom and the solid supporting infrastructure Jeff implemented. Going forward, my focus will be to continue to work with our management team to enhance Lumber Liquidators' unique value proposition and further strengthen and grow our operations."
Home Prices Fall 3.9% Through September
Home prices across the U.S. continued their descent in the third quarter, with the S&P/Case-Shiller National Home Price Index posting an annual decline of 3.9% through September, an improvement over the 5.8% annual decline posted in the second quarter. From its peak in the second quarter of 2006, the National Home Price Index, which covers all nine U.S. census divisions, has fallen 31.3 percent.
In the near-term, the National Home Price Index improved just 0.1 percent from where it was in the second quarter, putting home prices at the same level as 2003's first quarter.
Most major metropolitan areas across the U.S. recorded lower annual declines in September compared with August, including Atlanta, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Tampa Bay, Fla. Detroit and Washington, D.C., were the only two metropolitan areas to post positive annual price rates: 3.7 percent and 1.0 percent, respectively.
“Nobody should be surprised by further home value losses in the remaining balance of this year and into next year,” said Stan Humphries, chief economist with Zillow, a real estate research firm. “Despite record high affordability of real estate, the psychology of home buyers is still being weighted down by economic uncertainty, keeping them on the fence when it comes to buying homes."
Style Limited Strand Products Exempt From ITC Ruling
Style Limited (Melbourne, Australia) announced this week that its strand-woven Restyle flooring product—which is manufactured in China—will not be subject to the recent government action on engineered wood flooring imported from China. Throughout the investigation, Style took steps to ensure its strand-woven flooring technology—for which it holds two U.S. patents and one trademark—would not be subject to increased taxation if the U.S. International Trade Commission decided domestic engineered flooring manufacturers were being materially injured by the actions of their Chinese counterparts.
Style's efforts paid off. On Oct. 11, Christian Marsh, deputy assistant secretary for the U.S. Department of Commerce, issued a memorandum explaining Style's product, "by its very definition … is not subject" to the engineered wood flooring investigation; therefore, it will not be subject to any antidumping or countervailing duty orders moving forward. Specifically, the scope of the engineered wood flooring investigation includes flooring "composed of an assembly of two or more layers or plies of wood veneer(s)," but Style's product "does not utilize a wood face veneer," Marsh wrote.
Style used its existing strand-woven bamboo flooring technology to develop Restyle, and the first Restyle offering will utilize eucalyptus material. The flooring is prefinished using Bona Naturale.
Oregon Co. Working to Supply Flooring for Carnegie Hall
Oregon Lumber Company (Lake Oswego, Ore.) is hard at work milling 20,000 square feet of nearly knot-free madrone flooring for a $200 million addition at New York's famed Carnegie Hall, according to OregonLive.com.
Iu + Bibliowicz Architects, which is overseeing the addition, wanted the floors to bear a warm grain, and they needed material that could withstand the jabs of endpins when musicians—cellists, for example—rest their instruments on the floor.
The difficult part about this order is finding enough madrone. "It's very tough to find, hard to mill, maybe 15 percent is usable," Charles Couch, owner at Oregon Lumber Company, told OregonLive. Couch, who is an amateur classical guitarist, was drawn to the project because of Carnegie Hall's mission to expand music education.
Currently, Couch's two mills—one in Oakland, Ore., and another in Portland, Ore.—are working to fill the order. If they succeed, the company will send two trucks of madrone wood flooring to New York in June. In addition to the madrone material, Couch's company is also supplying 20,000 feet of Doug fir flooring to the hall, OregonLive.com reports.
Armstrong to Raise Prices on Installation, Maintenance Accessories
Armstrong World Industries (Lancaster, Pa.) recently said it will initiate a 3-10 percent price increase on its installation, maintenance and accessories products for its Armstrong and Bruce wood flooring lines. Prices for actual wood flooring are currently unaffected.
Included in the price increase are adhesive, underlayment and floor maintenance products. The price increases will begin with shipments on Jan. 23.
"Despite cost reduction initiatives, a few items in this category have been impacted by the extreme escalation of raw material costs," said Michele Zelman, public relations for Armstrong.
The move corresponds with price increases on Armstrong's residential luxury vinyl tile, laminate, residential sheet and tile, select commercial sheet products, and commercial vinyl composition tile.
Study: Nigeria, Indonesia, Brazil Worst for Deforestation
Deforestation, a significant cause of global warming, is happening at the highest rates in Nigeria, Indonesia and Brazil, according to a study by Maplecroft, a United Kingdom-based risk analysis and mapping company. Among the leading causes of deforestation are economic growth, poverty, corruption and the rise of biofuels.
Maplecroft classified these three countries and six more—Bolivia, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nicaragua, North Korea and Papua New Guinea—as "extreme risk" for problems related to climate change.
In Indonesia, deforestation for new palm-oil plantations is making it tough for illegal loggers to find top-quality products, according to The Jakarta Globe. The newspaper reports that Indonesia's National Police "have only been able to seize low-quality goods during a series of raids conducted between Nov. 8 and Nov. 26." Government data show Indonesia is losing about 1.1 million hectares of forests each year, mostly due to unsustainable logging that includes the conversion of forests to plantations for palm oil and the pulp and paper industry. During the latest raids, 6,300 logs were confiscated, but they were mainly under 1 meter in diameter.
But with deforestation taking a toll on Indonesia, its leaders are not sitting idly by. This year alone, Indonesia policymakers agreed with the EU to trade exclusively in legal timber, enlisted Muslim preachers to campaign against illegal logging, and publicly vowed to protect its rainforests. In May, the country instituted a two-year moratorium on logging permits in primary forests and peatlands.
On Monday, Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono planted the one-billionth tree in the country's anti-deforestation campaign, according to The Jakarta Globe. It was a symbolic move that coincided with his plea to foreign companies to support Indonesia's efforts to stop illegal logging. Still, for all its work to combat illegal logging, at least one member of Indonesia's House of Representatives feels the country "lacks commitment" to resolve problems surrounding illegal logging, according to The Jakarta Post.
In Brazil, the cattle industry was cited by Maplecroft as "the key driver of deforestation" in the Amazon rainforest. Biofuel production and the country's goal of expanding roadways to drive its economy are other reasons for deforestation there. Citing data from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Maplecroft determined deforestation actually decreased in Brazil from an average of 2.9 million hectares per year in the 1990s to 2.2 million hectares annually from 2005 to 2010.
Nigeria, which is first on Maplecroft's risk index, lost just over 2 million hectares of forest between 2005 to 2010, with a 4 percent reduction per year. This "alarming rate" of deforestation prodded that country to seek about $59 million in UN-REDD+ funding, an international program that aims to make stopping illegal logging a source of revenue for impoverished countries.
“The drivers of deforestation in Nigeria are a complex mix of agricultural expansion, logging, infrastructure development and high levels of national and state level government corruption,” said Arianna Granziera, an analyst with Maplecroft.
Maplecroft's full report on global deforestation—for which it surveyed 180 countries—can be read here.
HF Briefs: Sawmill For Sale; Manufacturer Seeks Rep
A vertically integrated sawmill producing lamellas is for sale in Albany, Ky. Included in the sale is 44.81 acres, $1.9 million in new equipment, and sawmill capacity for 8.4 million board feet annually. Also included are six drying kilns with capacity for 35,000 board feet each. In addition, the site affords easy access to transportation, including Interstate, rail and shipping routes. For more information, contact John Beran at (502) 767-1020.
Pacific Hardwood/Engineered Flooring Manufacturers (Orange, Calif.) has posted a notice in the HF Classifieds for a manufacturer sales agent/rep. The position will be based in the company's Orange County sales office.
Monday, November 28, 2011
New-Home Sales Up in October, Inventory Reaches All-Time Low
Continuing a climb that began in September, sales of new single-family homes in October were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 307,000, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. This is 1.3 percent above the revised September rate of 303,000 and is 8.9 percent above the October 2010 estimate of 282,000.
Also, the median sales price of new homes sold in October was $212,300; the average sales price was $242,300. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of October was 162,000, an all-time low and representing a supply of 6.3 months at the current sales rate.
"Builders have been seeing some marginal improvement in sales activity over the past few months, particularly in select markets where consumer confidence is higher due to improved economic conditions," said Bob Nielsen, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Reno, Nev. "While this trend is encouraging, overall sales activity is still well below normal due to the effects of overly tight credit conditions for builders and buyers, the continued flow of distressed properties on the market, and inaccurate appraisal values on new homes."
"Particularly encouraging is the fact that builders continue to hold down their inventories to match the current sales rate, with the number of new homes for sale now down to a sustainable, 6.3-month supply," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.
Video: Contractor Shoots Himself With Pneumatic Tool, Lodges Staple in Skull
Being a contractor can be dangerous—just ask 27-year-old Shawn Hunter of Alvarado, Texas. On Nov. 4, Hunter was at work building a mobile home when he accidentally shot himself in the skull with a pneumatic tool, lodging a staple in his skull. Today, Hunter is alive and well, and he was grateful to have been able to spend this past Thanksgiving with his family. NBC News created this video report:
Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy
Pravada Adds Agents in Calif., And It's Seeking More
Pravada Floors Inc. (Surrey, British Columbia) has added Richard Sylvester (Livermore, Calif.) and Alan Choi (Los Angeles) as authorized agents in California. In addition, the company is actively seeking agents/distributors in Washington State and Alberta, Canada.
Sylvester, of the Flooring Resource Group, will represent Pravada Floors’ Engineered Flooring Collection in northern California. Sylvester has more than 10 years of experience in the flooring industry with companies Medallion, East Bay Floorcovering and Wood Flooring Distributors. Sylvester can be reached at (510) 909-4287.
Alan Choi will represent Pravada Floors’ Engineered Flooring Collection, servicing Los Angeles and Southern California. Choi has more than 10 years of flooring sales experience and has represented Greenfield Floors, Karelia, American West Flooring and Provenza Floors. Choi can be reached at (323) 842-1728.
2012 Construction to be Flat With 2011
Overall U.S. construction starts in 2012 will remain essentially flat with 2011 figures, according to McGraw-Hill Construction, part of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Construction starts in 2012 are expected to total $412 billion, following the 4 percent decline to $410 billion predicted for 2011.
McGraw-Hill detailed these findings and more in its 2012 Dodge Construction Outlook. Other highlights of the report include predictions that:
"The construction industry has struggled to see recovery take hold over the past couple of years," said Robert Murray, vice president of economic affairs, McGraw-Hill Construction. "After plunging 24 percent in 2009, new construction starts leveled off in 2010 and have hovered within a set range during 2011. The backdrop for the construction industry is the fragile U.S. economy, which continues to see slow employment growth, diminished funding from federal and state governments, and pervasive uncertainty."
- Single family housing in 2012 will improve 10 percent in dollars, corresponding to a 7 percent increase in the number of units to 435,000. This is still a low amount, as the excess supply of homes due to foreclosures continues to depress the market.
- Multifamily housing will rise 18 percent in dollars and 17 percent in units, continuing its moderate, upward trend.
- Commercial building will grow 8 percent. Warehouses and hotels will see the largest percentage increases, but improvement for offices and stores will be modest.
- The institutional building market will slip an additional 2 percent in 2012, after falling 15 percent in 2011. The tough fiscal environment for states and localities will continue to dampen school construction, and the uncertain economic environment will limit growth in healthcare facilities.
McGraw-Hill released this video overview of the report:
The 2012 Dodge Construction Outlook was presented at McGraw-Hill Construction’s 73rd annual Outlook Executive Conference in Washington, D.C. Copies of the report can be ordered here for $495.
CFI To Hold Hardwood Installation Training
The International Certified Floorcovering Installers Association (CFI) has scheduled upcoming hardwood/laminate installation training and certification. Following are dates and locations of the classes; for registration information, click the date for the class.
Topics will include: classroom and hands-on training of prefinished hardwoods, factory finishes, nail-down, glue-down, floating installations, staple/cleats, job-site evaluation (estimating, preparation, balancing floors, transitions), grades (on, above, below), sub-floors, effects of moisture, moisture testing procedures, acclimation properties and characteristics, radiant heat systems.
- Dec. 7-8: Tom Duffy Co., a division of B.R. Funsten & Co., 5650 Roseville Road, Sacramento, CA 95842
- Jan. 6-7: ProSource, 2012 Corporate Lane #136, Naperville, IL 60563-0726
- Jan. 18-19: Cronin Company, 5230 North Basin, Portland, OR 97217
- March 9-10: Romanoff Floor Covering, 3100 Jonquil Drive SE, Smyrna, GA 30080
The cost to attend is $485. For more information, call (816) 231-4646, visit www.CFIinstallers.com or e-mail CFIguy@earthlink.net.
Briefs: Horizon Adds Warren; MFMA 2012 Conference
Horizon Forest Products and Long Floor have added Jim Warren to its corporate team in Raleigh, N.C. Previously, Warren worked with Design Distributing Inc., and he can be reached at (919) 424-8265 or email@example.com.
The Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association Inc. (Deerfield, Ill.) will hold its 2012 Conference March 1-3 in Rancho Mirage, Calif. More than 250 owners, managers and decision-makers from MFMA member firms are expected to attend. More information on the event, including lodging details, can be found here.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Domotex Asia Prepares for Post-ITC Era
Now that the wood flooring industries on both sides of the Pacific know the outcome of the U.S. International Trade Commission's (ITC) investigation of China-made engineered wood flooring, organizers of Domotex Asia have said wood will remain one of the "signature products" at the second-largest floorcovering trade show in the world.
"With the uncertainty due to the ITC case now behind us, the industry is now back to focusing on business and market expansion," said David Zhong, president of VNU Exhibitions Asia, organizer of Domotex Asia/ChinaFloor, which will be held March 27-29 at the Shanghai New International Expo Center. "This show provides the international flooring industry the opportunity to expand and investigate new markets and partnerships."
Instead of focusing on Chinese exports of wood flooring to countries like the United States, Zhong said he believes the value in Domotex Asia lies in the fact China is "evolving from being the largest producer of flooring in the world to also the largest consumer, and this creates new opportunities for our manufacturers and the entire global flooring industry."
VNU recently reported show bookings for Domotex Asia are at 85 percent. New exhibitors for next year's event include MAPEI Corp. and Lumber Liquidators (Toano, Va.), among others. The event will be held concurrently with China Building Construction Expo, a green building products, technology and design trade show.
HF Briefs: Pravada Seeks Rep; Wagner Launches Website; More
Washington Moves to Avert Forest Devastation
Bug and disease infestation in pine, fir and spruce trees in the Northwest is so bad that officials there expect to lose nearly 3 million acres of forest in the next 15 years, according to the Seattle Times. To counter the die-off, the state's commissioner of public lands plans to appoint an emergency panel of scientists and foresters to find solutions to stabilize or reverse the decline.
The primary culprit is the mountain pine beetle, which is spreading rapidly and reaching higher elevations, the Times reported. Other culprits include blister rust, and invasions of western spruce budworm and bark beetles. In short, Washington is now working to "avoid becoming the next Colorado or British Columbia, both of which have seen millions of acres of forest wiped out in recent years by insects," wrote Times reporter Craig Welch.
"If you don't get started doing something soon, it will quickly overwhelm your capacity to respond," Aaron Everett, state forester with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), told the Times. "I'm certainly not going to sit by and watch it happen here without doing anything."
The full coverage can be read here.
NWFA Adds Bamboo, NY Classes to 2012 School Schedule
The NWFA has added two events to its 2012 technical school schedule. They are:
Schools in Las Vegas are held at the association's training facility at 6165 Annie Oakley Drive; the bamboo workshop costs $60 for NWFA members and $75 for non-members, and it will include both discussion and hands-on training. The school in New York will be held at the New York City District Council of Carpenters headquarters at 395 Hudson Street, and it will cost $525 for members and $625 for non-members.
- Jan. 27: Bamboo/Strand Workshop (Las Vegas)
- Aug. 1-3: Intermediate Installation, Sand and Finish (New York)
The association's full 2012 technical school schedule can be viewed here. Information on the association's inspector schools can be viewed here.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Tembec Wood Flooring Assets Purchased By Boa-Franc Offshoot
Boa-Franc Inc. (St. Georges, Quebec), owner of the Mirage brand of wood flooring, formed a new entity 8008655 Canada Inc. that will acquire the assets of Vintage Hardwood as well as the Muskoka and Vintage brands from forest products company Tembec (Montreal, Quebec) for $13 million, according to Luc Robitaille, VP of marketing for Boa-Franc.
Tembec announced Monday that it will close its wood flooring plant in Huntsville, Ontario, and that it will complete the transaction for its remaining wood flooring assets—including a prefinishing plant in Ontario—in the coming weeks.
Tembec's plant in Huntsville is expected to close in January, affecting 63 people; it has been in operation for 108 years. Tembec's sawmill operations in Huntsville are unaffected by these moves.
"The flooring division is a small part of Tembec’s portfolio, and Tembec President and CEO [James Lopez] has been very clear about the strategy the company has been executing over the last 3 to 4 years about refocusing on our strategic businesses," said Linda Coates, Tembec's vice president, communications and public affairs.
Moving forward, Boa-Franc has signed an agreement to become the sole supplier of unfinished solid flooring for 8008655 Canada Inc., which will do business as Vintage Hardwood Flooring, according to a letter sent to customers and suppliers by Boa-Franc President Pierre Thabet. Thabet also made clear in the letter that the Mirage brand and Vintage Hardwood Flooring will remain distinct and independent.
Thabet said the purchase was "great news for us" and that it will enable his company to increase volume at its plants and maintain jobs. "It will also strengthen our position as a North American leader in our industry and consolidate the Canadian market," he added.
Article updated at 3:17 p.m. Central.
Monday, November 21, 2011
Existing Home Sales Up 13.5% Since October 2010
After falling 3.6 percent in September, existing single-family home sales rose 1.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.38 million in October, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The latest figure puts existing single-family home sales 13.8 percent higher than the 3.85 million-unit pace one year ago. However, existing single-family home prices fell: The median existing single-family home price was $161,600 in October, which is 5.8 percent below October 2010.
Overall, existing home sales—including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops—rose 1.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.97 million in October. The latest figures put existing home sales 13.5 percent above the 4.38 million unit level in October 2010.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the market has been fairly steady but at a lower level than desired. "Home sales have been stuck in a narrow range despite several improving factors that generally lead to higher home sales such as job creation, rising rents and high affordability conditions. Many people who are attempting to buy homes are thwarted in the process," he said.
Yun added that contract failures are contributing too much downward pressure on sales. Contract failures reported by NAR members jumped to 33 percent in October from 18 percent in September. In October 2010, contract failures were at 8 percent, Yun said.
Housing inventories, meanwhile, continue to show improvement. Total housing inventory at the end of October fell 2.2 percent to 3.33 million existing homes, which represents an 8-month supply at the current sales pace, down from an 8.3-month supply in September. Inventories have been gradually trending down since setting a record of 4.58 million in July 2008.
"In some areas we’re hearing about shortages of foreclosure inventory in the lower price ranges with multiple bidding on the more desirable properties," Yun said. "Realtors in such areas are calling for a faster process of getting foreclosure inventory into the market because they have ready buyers. In addition, extending credit to responsible investors would help to absorb inventory at an even faster pace, which would go a long way toward restoring market balance."
Maxwell Flooring Picked for Museum With Ties to Walmart
The Walton Family Foundation, with ties to Alice Walton and the Walmart fortune, prides itself on improving its hometown of Bentonville, Ark. Fortunately for Maxwell Hardwood Flooring (Monticello, Ark.), the foundation’s latest undertaking aimed to keep the floor sourcing local.
When it was time to secure a flooring provider for the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Maxwell was asked to supply 52,000 square feet of ¾-inch clear red oak. "As soon as we were on board, I began searching for an Arkansas-based company to supply the wood flooring and was directed to Maxwell Hardwood," said Dwayne Miller, president of Miller Commercial Flooring, the project's flooring installation company.
Throughout the museum's corridors, paintings from Norman Rockwell and Andy Warhol entice eyes, while the flooring underneath helps bring a dignified air to setting. "We are more than thrilled to have such a large footprint in Crystal Bridges," said Rose Mary Cummings, marketing director for Maxwell.
The museum, designed by noted architect Moshe Safdie, opened Nov. 11 and, thanks to a $20-million grant from Walmart, admission is free. More information about the museum can be found here.
Shaw to Hold Regional Product Introduction Shows
Shaw Industries Inc. (Dalton, Ga.)has announced dates for its "Power Up" Winter Markets, regional shows that will feature its 2012 product introductions. During the events, Shaw will introduce new flooring from its Epic hardwood collection, and Anderson Hardwood Floors (Clinton, S.C.), a Shaw subsidiary, will unveil refreshed displays that reflect the company's Anderson and Virginia Vintage brands, the result of revitalized branding to be unveiled in 2012.
Dealers will also have the opportunity to meet individually with Shaw associates to discuss marketing strategy, sales technique and new program considerations.
Here are the dates and locations for the events:
- Jan. 11-14: Dallas; Embassy Suites – Grapevine
- Jan. 11-12: Chicago; Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers
- Jan. 12-13: Atlanta, Ga.; Cobb Galleria Convention Center
- Jan. 18-19: Niagara Falls, Ontario; Fallsview Casino Resort
- Jan. 18-20: Anaheim, Calif.; Disneyland Grand Californian
- Feb. 1-2: Atlantic City, N.J.; Harrah's Resort
HF Brief: Brenco Seeks Sales Reps
Wood flooring importer Brenco Exotic Woods (Munster, Ind.) has posted a notice in the HF Classifieds for direct factory importer sales representatives. The company seeks reps for California, the Pacific Northwest, Western Canada, Texas, the desert Southwest, the mountain West, the New England area, the New York City tri-state area, eastern Canada, and the Southeast Atlantic states.
Friday, November 18, 2011
Urban Floor to Send Two to Rome
During the Surfaces 2012 trade show, wood flooring manufacturer Urban Floor (City of Industry, Calif.) will hold a drawing to send two people on a five-night vacation to Rome. The drawing is being held to promote the company's Villa Caprisi flooring line, which is "inspired by the world-renowned Italian design and flair."
Any flooring dealer who purchases at least one pallet of any Urban Floor product during the trade show—which will take place Jan. 24-26 in Las Vegas—will be entered in the drawing. The trip includes airfare and hotel costs. The drawing will be held on Jan. 25 at 4 p.m. at Urban Floor's exhibit booth, #B3239, and the winner must be present.
China's Wood Appetite Degrading World Forests
China consumes more than 14.1 billion cubic feet of timber each year to feed its export and domestic demand for wood products, leading the Washington, D.C.-based think tank Wood Trends to label it the "wood workshop of the world," according to an analysis from researcher William Laurance posted at Yale Environment 360, a publication of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.
Although forest cover in China, including large areas of timber plantations, increased from 157 million hectares in 1990 to 197 million hectares in 2005, according to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, but, paradoxically, environmentalists now criticize China, saying it is degrading the world's forests in its search for wood, being too "aggressive in pursuing timber supplies globally, while generally being little concerned with social equity or environmental sustainability," according to Laurance. The article points out that China is now overwhelmingly the biggest global consumer of tropical timber, importing around 40 to 45 million cubic meters of timber annually. Today, more than half of all timber being shipped anywhere in the world is destined for China.
Laurance pointed out that China primarily buys raw logs, which are the least economically beneficial for exporting nations. He provided an example of merbau (Intsia bijuga) that yields about $11 for local communities where it is harvested but fetches $240 when it is delivered to manufacturers in China, "who profit further by converting it into prized wood flooring." To top it off, China has few safeguards against illegal logging, "which is an enormous problem in many developing nations."
The entire analysis can be read here.
NAFCD Appoints New Officers and Board Members
The North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors (NAFCD) recently announced its executive officers and board of directors for 2012. The group's executive officers for next year are:
NAFCD Directors for 2012 are:
Bob Wagner of L. Fishman & Son Inc. (Baltimore, Md.) will serve as NAFCD immediate past president, and Michelle Miller of the NAFCD (Chicago) will continue to serve as executive vice president.
- Dan Blakely, Blakely Products (Warren, Mich.)
- Mary Catherine Bruce, R.A. Siegel Company (Mableton, Ga.)
- Rosana Chaidez, J.J. Haines & Co. (Glen Burnie, Md.)
- Shane Calloway, Columbia Flooring (Dallas)
- Craig Folven, Herregan Distributors (Eagan, Minn.)
- David Ford, Stauf Adhesives USA LLC (Memphis, Tenn.)
- Duane Goetze, Shawmark Floors Inc. (Dalton, Ga.)
- Michael Halebian, Michael Halebian & Co. Inc. (Carlstadt, N.J.)
- Chris O’Connor, CMH Space Flooring Products Inc. (Wadesboro, Colo.)
- Scott Rozmus, FlorStar Sales, Inc. (Romeoville, Ill.).
The group's board of directors also acknowledged the contributions of Brian Greenwell of Mullican Flooring (Johnson City, Tenn.), and Fred Reitz of J.J. Haines & Co. (Glen Burnie, Md.), who retired from the group's board.
"I am honored to be involved with NAFCD at this point in its history," said incoming President David Williams. "With a fresh strategic direction based on extensive input from our members, we are eager to strike a balance of finding innovative ways to bring value to the membership while getting back to the basics of what has made NAFCD such a strong organization."
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Housing Starts Up 16.5% Since October 2010
After seeing a big increase in September, overall housing starts in October—including single-family units and multi-family units—were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 628,000, 0.3 percent below the revised September estimate of 630,000, but 16.5 percent above the October 2010 rate of 539,000, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Meanwhile, single-family housing starts in October were at a rate of 430,000, or 3.9 percent above the revised September figure of 414,000 and 0.9 percent below the October 2010 rate of 434,000.
"The government's numbers for October housing production are very much in keeping with what home builders have been telling us in our recent surveys," said Bob Nielsen, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Reno, Nev. "While we still have a long way to go toward a recovery, some signs of hope are emerging in certain markets where economic and job growth is occurring and where foreclosures have not been an overwhelming obstacle."
"The three-month moving averages for both housing production and permitting activity have been gradually rising since this spring, which is consistent with our forecast for slow improvement in market conditions through the end of this year and a positive sign that a more solid recovery will begin to take hold in 2012," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "That said, the improvements we are seeing are still limited to scattered local markets where economies are improving, and obstacles such as tight credit conditions for builders and buyers, appraisal issues stemming from new homes being compared to distressed properties, and consumer concerns about job security are definitely slowing the progression of both a housing and economic recovery."
London Olympics Draws Fire For Old-Growth Eucalyptus Use
Organizers of next summer's London Olympic Games are drawing criticism for the alleged use of old-growth eucalyptus for sport flooring in a practice facility that will be rented by the U.S. basketball team during the event, according to a report from Markets For Change, an Australian environmental NGO.
The wood was logged from a region within the Australian state of Tasmania. The move irked environmental groups such as Greenpeace and the Huon Valley Environment Centre because the area is home to endangered species, including the Tasmanian Devil, Tasmanian giant freshwater lobster and swift parrot, according to London's The Independent. What's more, the logged forests date back more than 1,000 years and are repeatedly lobbied for logging protection by the UN World Heritage Committee.
The full report from Markets For Change can be read below:
"As a proud Londoner, I'm shocked that ancient forests crucial for conserving the world's tallest flowering plants, the largest hardwood trees in the world, and many endangered animals are being used for flooring in London's Olympics," Greenpeace's Executive Director John Sauven told The Independent.
The court and facility in which the court is housed is not actually being constructed by Olympic Games organizers but by the University of East London. A spokesman for the university told The Independent that, had it been aware of concerns over the eucalyptus wood, "it would have been considered. But hindsight is a great thing."
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
NWFA Blog Launches on HF Website
The National Wood Flooring Association has launched an NWFA Blog hosted on the Hardwood Floors website. The blog is intended to increase communication with NWFA members and the wood flooring industry about the association's many activities, including committee work, the Expo, updates to technical publications and more. The blog’s first post is from NWFA CEO Michael Martin. “This is an exciting time for the NWFA. It is an opportunity for us to embrace change, to move forward, to build on our strengths, and to focus our attention on the things that will positively impact our members, our businesses, and our industry,” he writes in the first post. See the entire post here.
The NWFA Blog joins the popular existing HF blogs, which include the Contractor Blog, Inspector Blog and Green Blog.
Style Limited Plans to Export Mobile Strand Flooring Technology
Style Limited (Melbourne, Australia) has developed modular manufacturing technology that serves as a transportable strand woven flooring factory. The company is currently in discussions with multiple wood flooring manufacturers to license the technology, which it said can be added to "existing wood flooring finishing factories anywhere in the world."
Style Limited CEO Peter Torreele said the technology carries with it a similar cost base to manufacturing strand woven flooring in China but is now viable anywhere in the world due to advanced automation.
According to Style, the new automated modular factory uses locally available softwood species from any country. Popular input-material choices include poplar, Australian blue gum, oak and hickory. The company began producing strand woven flooring in 2004 using moso bamboo from China, and it claims the end result is a "solid floor that matches the strength and durability of a 150-year-old exotic hardwood rival, thereby saving tropical forests and native hardwood plantations."
The add-on manufacturing technology was developed through a partnership with Flinders University’s Molecular Technologies Research Centre in Adelaide, South Australia; the 12-month research project was partly funded by the government of Australia.
Lowe's Earnings Drop 44% in 3Q
On the heels of an announcement in October that it planned to close 20 stores across the country, Lowe's posted third-quarter net earnings of $225 million, or 18 cents per diluted share, down 44 percent from the $404 million, or 29 cents per diluted share, it earned during the same period in 2010.
"We are making the changes necessary to right-size the organization, improve speed to market and enhance the shopping experience," said Robert Niblock, Lowe's chairman, president and CEO.
Niblock said earnings were hurt by the store closings. Excluding those one-time charges, the company earned 35 cents per share. Sales in the latest quarter totaled $11.9 billion, up 2.3 percent from a year ago; same-store sales were up 0.7 percent.
Home Depot Gets Boost From Hurricane Irene in 3Q
Its sales on the East Coast getting a boost from the damage of Hurricane Irene, big-box retailer Home Depot's (Atlanta) net income during the third quarter rose 12 percent to $934 million, or 60 cents a share, from $834 million, or 51 cents a share, during the third quarter last year.
The company's same-store sales rose 4.2 percent, and it instituted systems for customers to buy online and pick up in-store during the third quarter. Home Depot's total sales rose 4.4 percent to $17.3 billion from the same period last year.
Home Depot operates 2,246 stores in North America, Mexico and China.
Builder Confidence Creeps Up Three Points
Builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes crept up three points this month, according to the National Association of Home Builders' (NAHB) Housing Market Index (HMI), released today. The increase builds upon a revised three-point increase in October, bringing the index to its highest level since May 2010.
"While this second solid monthly gain on the builder confidence scale is encouraging, the overall measure remains quite low due to the many challenges that home building continues to face with regard to the high number of foreclosures, the difficulties of obtaining construction financing and accurate appraisals, and the restrictive lending environment that is discouraging potential buyers," said Bob Nielsen, NAHB chairman and a home builder from Reno, Nev. "These problems must be addressed so that housing can contribute to economic and job growth the way it has in the past."
Any index reading below 50 indicates more homebuilders view conditions as bad than good.
"This second consecutive gain in the HMI is evidence that well-qualified buyers in select areas are being tempted back into the market by today's extremely favorable mortgage rates and prices," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "We are anticipating further, gradual gains in the builder confidence gauge heading into 2012 due to these pockets of improving conditions that are slowly spreading."
The component gauging current sales conditions rose three points to 20, the component gauging sales expectations in the next six months rose two points to 25, and the component gauging traffic of prospective buyers rose one points to 15.
Twin Cities NWFA Member Featured in Lifestyle Magazine
Steve Belrose and his company, Belrose & Co. Inc., were included in a Mpls.St.Paul Magazine feature detailing the Twin Cities' "most gifted artisans and craftspeople." Explaining how his company works, Belrose said he uses "top-quality colors and other secret ingredients to create our own special 'potions' that result in floors that are perfect for a client’s home." So what is the dream project for a gifted artisan like Belrose? "Anything from a little starter house to a second or third home because any home that someone is working on is their dream home."
Thanks to @WDFlooring for the tip.
Old Master Relocates San Diego Branch
Old Master Products Inc. (Van Nuys, Calif.) hosted a grand opening for its relocated San Diego branch at 8828 Complex Dr., San Diego, CA 92123 on Nov. 9. The branch's hours are Monday-Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Saturday, 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. The branch can be reached at (858) 565-8886. Customers and vendors, including reps from Dura Seal, 3M, DriTac and Bostik, attended the grand opening, which also included a BBQ and giveaways.
Max Windsor Going Dealer-Direct in Texas and Washington
Wood flooring manufacturer Max Windsor Floors (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) has opened new dealer-direct distribution centers in Dallas and Kent, Wash.
The branch in Dallas will serve Texas and the Southwest, while the branch in Kent will service Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Khelin Young, general manager of Max Windsor, said the dealer-direct model "has been successful for us in many parts of the country." Within the next two months, Young said the company will open a distribution center in Orlando, as well.
A Look Back on Vintage Wood Products Advertising
In 1962, the wood products industry faced a real threat from makers of vinyl and linoleum products, so the National Lumber Manufacturers Association tried to convince homeowners that wood was part of a "smart lifestyle," according to writer Robert Klara. Fast forward to today and it turns out consumers don't really need to be inspired to like wood anymore—they just need to be reminded of how beautiful it is through great photography.
Klara shared these thoughts in a recent Adweek article that compared the 1962 ad with a present-day ad from Mirage/Boa-Franc (Saint-Georges, Quebec). "Come ahead to 2011, and wood is once again center stage of an advertisement, but the reasons behind it have changed," he writes of the Mirage ad. "Fatigue over the prevalence of plastics and the concomitant rise of the green building movement now mean that people don't just know about wood interiors, they lust after them. The Mirage ad does not educate; it indulges a vision that's already there."
The full comparison can be read here.
HF Briefs: Michelman Acquires Licomer
Michelman (Cincinnati) has acquired Clariant's European-based Licomer business, including the Licomer line of floor polish additives, associated intellectual property, equipment and assets.
Monday, November 14, 2011
FSC Investigating Forest Plantation in Uganda
In Uganda, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has launched an investigation of alleged land tenure and usage rights violations on the part of a United Kingdom-based forest plantation operator.
The alleged violations were first brought to light in a report from Oxfam International, a non-profit group. In its report, Oxfam alleged New Forests Company (NFC) illegally evicted more than 20,000 people in Uganda's Kiboga and Mubende districts to make way for forest plantations. Also, Oxfam alleged that, in some instances, locals had their property taken or destroyed and were subjected to violence.
The report, titled "The New Forests Company and its Uganda plantations," can be read below:
In a September letter to Oxfam, NFC firmly denied an involvement in the alleged wrongdoings. "There were no incidences of injury, physical violence, or destruction of property during the voluntary vacation process that have been brought to the attention of NFC," NFC wrote.
On Oct. 24, FSC announced that it had filed a formal complaint with SGS Qualifor, the forestry services company that handled NFC's FSC certification, which was completed in March 2009. "FSC takes the findings of the Oxfam report very seriously and is committed to ensuring that Principle 2 requiring demonstrated land tenure and use rights … are upheld," according to an FSC press release.
U.N. Helps Nations Stop Spread of Invasive Pests
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has published a guidebook to help countries stop forest-damaging pests from spreading into new areas.
Along with including information about reducing the risk of spreading pests, the guide includes suggestions for pest management at every step in the commodities chain, which is becoming more far-reaching due to globalization of the wood-products supply chain. The 101-page "Guide to Implementation of Phytosanitary Standards in Forestry" contains "good practices for forest health protection" for nurseries, planted forests, naturally regenerated forests, sawmills and post-harvest operations, among others. It can be read below:
The FAO estimates that about 135,136 square miles of forest are damaged by outbreaks of forest pests each year. Along with globalization, global warming is helping pests reach new areas.
"Due to climate change, previously inhospitable sites can become suitable for ‘alien' pests that are accidentally transported through international trade in wood products, seeds or nursery plants, as well as trade in other commodities packaged with wood materials," said Eduardo Rojas-Briales, FAO's assistant director-general for forestry.
"Increases in summer temperature generally accelerate the reproductive capacity of insects, while warmer winter temperatures improve their chances of surviving winters," according to an FAO release. Specifically, the U.N. points to the example of the mountain pine beetle of western Canada, where successive mild winters have boosted the beetle's survival rate. What's more, the region's drought conditions are weakening pine stands, increasing their susceptibility to beetle infestations.
Home Prices Decline 4.7% Over Past Year
While the housing market limps along, the national median existing single-family home price fell 4.7 percent to $169,500 in the third quarter from $177,800 in the third quarter of 2010. During the same period, however, sales were up in every state compared with the same period a year ago.
Over the past year, the median existing single-family home price rose in 39 out of 150 metropolitan statistical areas; 111 areas showed price declines.
While home sales slipped 0.1 percent to 4.880 million in the third quarter from 4.883 million in the second quarter, they were 17.0 percent higher than the 4.170 million pace set during the third quarter of 2010. Every state and the District of Columbia saw sales rise from a year ago, with 45 states posting double-digit gains.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the market is holding fairly even. “Home sales need to recover first—only then can prices stabilize. Existing-home sales are little changed from the second quarter but are notably higher than a year ago,” he said. “The good news is inventory levels have been trending gradually down.”
Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I., said sales should be higher given the buying power in today’s market. “Housing affordability conditions have been at a record high this year, rents are rising and homes are selling for less than the cost of construction in most of the country,” he said.
Bona and Connor Contribute to Veteran's Day Carrier Classic
Two wood flooring product makers were able to contribute to the cultural spectacle that was Friday evening's college basketball matchup between Michigan State and UNC, dubbed the Carrier Classic. Connor Sports Flooring (North Las Vegas, Nev.) supplied the portable hardwood floor, while Bona US (Aurora, Colo.) supplied floor paint and donated its Bona Sport finish for the event.
The Veteran's Day matchup was hosted aboard the USS Carl Vinson and even included an address from President Obama. No. 1-ranked UNC won the matchup 67-55, and event organizer Morale Entertainment has said it plans to hold similar events in 2012 and 2013, according to USA Today. USA Today has a gallery of additional images from the Carrier Classic.
Courson Named President and CEO of Home Builders Institute
John A. Courson has been tapped to become the new president and chief executive officer of the Home Builders Institute, a non-profit workforce development arm of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) that aims to prepare youth and young adults for careers in the residential construction industry.
Most recently, Courson served as the president and chief executive officer of the Mortgage Bankers Association. Courson will be replacing longtime HBI President and Chief Executive Officer Frederick Humphreys, who is ending his 11-year tenure at the end of this year.
"HBI will benefit tremendously from having a leader with John's outstanding credentials at the helm," said Donald Pratt, chairman of the HBI Board of Trustees. "His solid understanding of non-profit associations, entrepreneurial spirit, expertise in strategic planning, and passion for the housing industry will be incredible assets for HBI."
Courson is a nationally recognized housing industry spokesperson and government affairs expert. His initial priorities at HBI will be to identify new revenue streams and create new programs that build on HBI's core competencies, including training, mentoring, curriculum development and job placement services.
HF Briefs: Hicks Joins Delta; Used Trailer, Equipment For Sale; More
Delta Hardwood Flooring has named Rose Hicks executive vice president of sales and marketing. Hicks will manage all sales, marketing, business channels and strategic growth for the company. Hicks comes to Delta with more than 25 years of experience in the flooring industry. For information, visit www.deltahardwoodflooring.com or call (410) 827-5474.
A reader in Wisconsin posted an ad on Hardwood Floors' Classifieds seeking to sell a used trailer with sanding equipment. It includes a 14-foot single-axle Cargo Mate trailer, Galaxy belt sander, power booster and Oneida vacuum system, among other items.
P.I.D. Hardwood Flooring (New York) has launched a website at www.pidfloors.com.
Confidence in 55+ Housing Market Declining
Builder confidence in the 55+ housing market for single-family homes fell three points to 12 compared to the same period a year ago, according to the latest National Association of Home Builders' (NAHB) 55+ Housing Market Index (HMI) released today.
"The current state of the economy continues to affect buyers in the 55+ housing market," said NAHB Chairman Bob Nielsen, a homebuilder from Reno, Nev. "The market remains weak given the many uncertainties people face in this economy. While potential buyers exist, they are hesitant to commit to buying a new home as they are concerned about selling their existing home at a fair price, due to low appraisals, an abundance of foreclosures and tighter mortgage lending criteria."
The 55+ single-family HMI measures builder sentiment based on current sales, prospective buyer traffic and anticipated six-month sales for the 55+ single-family market. A number greater than 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor. Among the index components, present sales dropped four points, to 11; expected sales (six months into the future) dropped nine points, to 15; and traffic of prospective buyers rose two points, to 13.
Wednesday, November 09, 2011
Chinese Engineered Wood Flooring Unfairly Traded, ITC Says
The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) this morning determined that domestic engineered wood flooring manufacturers have been materially injured by their counterparts in China through government subsidization and dumping, or selling a product at less than fair value. As a result of the ITC’s action, the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) will issue antidumping and countervailing duty orders on imports of engineered wood flooring from China.
The decision pleased the Coalition for American Hardwood Parity (CAHP), the group of seven U.S. wood flooring manufacturers that first petitioned federal regulators to investigate the trading in October 2010.
“We are very pleased with the ITC’s determination this morning,” said Jeff Levin, counsel for the CAHP. “This marks a successful conclusion to a hard-fought battle, and represents an important win for American manufacturing and the fight to keep honest paying manufacturing jobs in this country.”
On the other hand, the decision is not what the Alliance For Free Choice and Jobs in Flooring (AFCJF) was hoping for. That group formed in February 2011 to directly oppose the petitioners, the CAHP.
“Of course we are all very disappointed that the ITC failed to recognize fundamental flaws in the petitioners’ case,” said Jonathan Train, the AFCJF’s president. “We see this as a failure of the system rather than any validation of the petitioners’ claims.”
The AFCJF will determine whether it will appeal the ITC’s ruling, saying it is a “viable option.” In the end, Train said the work done by his group has helped keep tariffs lower than if no companies had opposed the petitioners in the matter.
“The fact alone that we were able to achieve low duty rates at both the preliminary and final rulings has minimized the disturbance to the industry,” Train said. “This gives all importers breathing room to organize their long term supply.”
Moving forward, U.S. companies importing engineered wood flooring from China will pay cash deposits requirements for estimated antidumping and countervailing duties determined last month.
The overwhelming majority of wood flooring companies present at the NWFA’s open house, which started today, thought the ITC made the right decision in affirming the unfair trade.
Dan Natkin is director of wood business for Mannington Wood Floors (Salem, N.J.), one of the CAHP’s seven members. “Ultimately, it’s a good next step in the process,” Natkin said. “We are pleased the government found [there was] injury to our industry. Hopefully the decision will help relieve some of the abominable pricing that’s been in the market, and help the industry recover from what’s been a tough couple of years heavily influence by the Chinese.”
Greg Blanke, president of Boardwalk Hardwood Floors (Crestwood, Mo.), said increased pressure on engineered wood flooring from China could make buying solid wood flooring more appealing to consumers. “The decision could eliminate that low-cost engineered wood flooring to where solid woods can be more affordable,” he said. “It will help everybody, even manufacturers of solid wood flooring.”
Blanke is also convinced the decision is beneficial to anyone competing against big box stores. “This will help local distributors and local retailers since [Chinese engineered wood flooring] is the big box stores’ main product.”
Ralph Kuehn, president of contractor/retailer Champion Floor Company (St. Louis), agrees. “This will absolutely help out business. [Big box retailers] outsell me quite often. This should make it a lot easier for me to be competitive with them.”
Michael Martin, CEO of the NWFA, characterized the decision as an important step to normalizing the marketplace. “From the beginning, NWFA has stated its opposition to any dumping in the U.S. market or elsewhere and encourages all manufacturers of wood flooring to participate in fair and equal trade, he said. “Now, even though not fully complete, the duties are spelled out more specifically, allowing for better planning. At this phase of the ruling, business can move forward and back to the manufacturing and selling of wood flooring.”
Within the coming weeks, the ITC is expected to release more details regarding its determination. Its six members voted 4-2 in favor of affirming the damage to domestic manufacturers. Vice Chairman Irving A. Williamson and Commissioners Charlotte R. Lane, Shara L. Aranoff and Dean A. Pinkert voted in the affirmative, while Chairman Deanna Tanner Okun and Commissioner Daniel R. Pearson voted in the negative.
Tuesday, November 08, 2011
NWFA to Hold Open House This Week
The NWFA will hold an open house at its St. Louis headquarters this week on Nov. 9-10 from 2-7 p.m. each day. Many NWFA member companies will have displays, and there will be technical demonstrations throughout the open house, including one from Hardwood Floors’ blogger Wayne Lee, who will teach about machine maintenance at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 10. There will also be giveaways and refreshments served throughout the open house, which is free and open to anyone in the industry.
The demonstration schedule is (times are approximate):
Wed., Nov. 9
3:30 p.m.: Moisture Meters (David Paal of Wagner Meters)
4 p.m.: Adhesives (MAPEI)
4:30 p.m.: Sanding (A.J. Winstead of Clarke American Sanders)
5 p.m.: Fasteners (Gene Jarka of Powernail Company)
5:30 p.m.: Penetrating Finish (UFloor)
6 p.m.: Staining Maple (Nathan Shaw of Rust-Oleum)
6:30 p.m.: Rolling Water-Based Finish (Bill Costello of Dura Seal)
Thurs., Nov. 10
3:30 p.m.: Moisture Meters (David Paal of Wagner Meters)
4 p.m.: Subfloor/Moisture Retarders (Roger Barker of Fortifiber Building Systems)
4:30 p.m.: Safety/Lead (Chris Livingston of 3M)
5 p.m.: Floor Cleaning (Enos Farnsworth of Basic Coatings)
5:30 p.m.: Machine Maintenance (Wayne Lee of Cardinal Hardwood & Tile)
6 p.m.: Finishing (Janet Sullivan of Lenmar)
6:30 p.m.: Floor Removal (John Bastain of TBD2)
Exhibiting companies include:
Ambassador Floor Co.
Beno J. Gundlach Company
Boardwalk Hardwood Floors
Champion Floor Co.
Clarke American Sanders
Coates & Associates
Cornerstone Hardwood Flooring
Duo-Fast Floor Fastening Systems
Electro Plastics Inc dba Step Warmfloor
Franklin International, Tite Bond
Historic Timber & Plank
Home Builders Assn. of St. Louis
Hydraflow Flooring Div.
Karlson Hardwood Floors
Real Wood Floors
Wagner Moisture Meters
In addition, other companies contributing prizes include:
54th Street Bar & Grill
Fox & Hound
Hassel & Hughes Lumber Co.
Maxwell Hardwood Flooring
Miller & Company
Somerset Wood Flooring
St. Louis Bread Company (Panera Bread)
The NWFA headquarters is located at 111 Chesterfield Industrial Blvd., Chesterfield, MO 63005; for more information, call (800) 422-4556.
University Makes Fans Remove Shoes to Cross Gym
We all know that floor protection is important, but this staff really took it to heart …
According to the Los Angeles Times, coaches at Los Angeles University asked fans during a recent volleyball matchup to remove their shoes before crossing the gym floor—all in an effort to protect the school's new gym floor. Men's basketball coach Steve Ackerman told the Times that the school was being "extra cautious" with its new sports floor.
HF Briefs: Sika to Hold Subfloor School; VP Position Available
Sika Corporation (Lyndhurst, N.J.) will sponsor a one-day subfloor preparation school Jan. 12 in Lyndhurst. The NWFA's Frank Kroupa will cover basics on substrate leveling, moisture protection, sound reduction, and glue down of engineered and solid hardwood flooring. For more information, see the HF Calendar page.
Wood products staffing group Impact has posted a notice for an available vice president of manufacturing position at a "major" wood products manufacturer.
Monday, November 07, 2011
Gibson Soliciting Music to Champion Lacey Act Reform Efforts
Are you a wood flooring installer with a musical hobby? Or maybe you're a musician who daylights as a wood flooring installer? Either way, Gibson Guitar Corporation would like to recruit you for its "Fight For Your Right to Rock" promotion, a campaign to promote its ongoing Lacey Act amendment efforts.
There are three ways to participate in the campaign: shoot a music video, create an original song or develop a logo. One lucky participant will take home a customized Gibson Les Paul Standard valued at $3,899.
"Fight For Your Right to Rock" is one of the recent moves Gibson has taken recently to sway public opinion to its side in the battle to amend the Lacey Act. In addition, last week Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz wrote "Repeal the Lacey Act? Hell No, Make It Stronger" for the Huffington Post.
While it's clear Juszkiewicz and his PR team have been working overtime as of late, the CEO's outspokenness may turn out to work against the company's goal of reforming the Lacey Act, according to Nashville Public Radio. Typically, legal experts recommend company representatives stay silent in the face of a federal investigation for fear of being unable to back up statements when later questioned by prosecutors.
The Hardwood Federation, of which the NWFA is a part, does not support amending the Lacey Act. Conversely, the NWFA is working with the Lacey Defense National Consensus Committee to develop a national consensus standard in order to define “due care” under the Lacey Act.
Graf Bros. Donates Materials for ESPN Collaboration
ESPN is lending a hand to high schools across the nation as part of its Rise Up TV program, a kind of Extreme Makeover TV show for high school athletic programs, and one wood flooring company lucky enough to be invited along on a recent episode was Graf Brothers Flooring Inc. (South Shore, Ky.).
ESPN sought to remodel the weight room at Ohio's Wellston High School, and Graf Brothers donated 400 square feet of white oak wood flooring that was later applied to one of the weight room's walls. "ESPN approached us with an opportunity that we couldn't turn down, and we were willing to help in any way we could," said the company's President Dave Graf.
For more details, see before and after segments ESPN compiled or view this YouTube video:
An additional photo of the project can be viewed on Graf Brothers' website.
U.N. Stresses Community Involvement for Forest Management
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) hopes to use a pilot forest management program that stresses community involvement as a model for the Asian Pacific region.
The Participatory Forest Management project, with funding from the government of the Netherlands, was started in 2007 and has stopped illegal logging and forest fires in 15 districts in Mongolia, and its pilot phase will end in January. One of the program's hallmarks is giving locals a sense of ownership of the forest by tapping new sources of income from forest products. Residents are now clearing dead trees to sell for construction and as firewood, as well as harvesting nuts and berries to sell at local food markets.
In the program's three years, "forest fires have essentially disappeared," according to the U.N. "We saw that things were going wrong when trees were logged illegally and streams and rivers started to dry up," said Batjargal, a herder from the district Bugat, which is about 280 miles west of Mongolia's capital Ulaan Baatar. "So the local people wanted to establish a forest user group,” a move that Batjargal said has given him and his neighbors a “feeling of ownership.”
Armstrong to Lay Off 116 at W. Va. Wood Flooring Mill
Responding to the weak economy, Armstrong World Industries (Lancaster, Pa.) will lay off 116 employees at its plant in Beverly, W. Va., which produces wood flooring.
"We simply needed to reduce our shifts to compensate for the continuing sluggish economy," said Jennifer Johnson, senior manager, corporate communication at Armstrong. "This continues to be a very challenging economy, and we regret the impact that has on the employees who are being laid off. They will be on a list for recall when the opportunity arises to add workers."
Those employees affected by the layoffs will have their last day with the company on Nov. 11. The plant will go forward with about 500 employees.
NAHB List of Improving Markets Grows
The NAHB's Improving Markets Index (IMI), released today, grew from 23 to 30 in November. The index identifies metropolitan areas that have shown improvement for at least six months in housing permits, employment and housing prices.
The current list includes:
- Alexandria, La.
- Amarillo, Texas
- Anchorage, Alaska
- Bismarck, N.D.
- Casper, Wyo.
- Cheyenne, Wyo.
- Corpus Christi, Texas
- Davenport, Iowa
- Fairbanks, Alaska
- Fayetteville, N.C.
- Fort Collins, Colo.
- Hinesville, Ga.
- Houma, La.
- Jonesboro, Ark.
- Kankakee, Ill.
- Lima, Ohio
- McAllen, Texas
- Midland, Texas
- Monroe, La.
- New Orleans, La.
- Odessa, Texas
- Pine Bluff, Ark.
- Pittsburgh, Pa.
- Sherman, Texas
- Sumter, S.C.
- Tyler, Texas
- Waco, Texas
- Waterloo, Iowa
- Williamsport, Pa.
- Winston-Salem, N.C.
HF Briefs: Sika, Horizon Add Personnel; Philly Floor Store Hosts Contractors
Sika Canada Inc. has appointed two new wood floor bonding specialists in Western Canada. Bob Matharu will oversee British Columbia and can be reached at (604) 314-4330. Pasquale Primiani will oversee Alberta and can be contacted at (780) 999-0275.
Horizon Forest Products and Long Floor have added John Cottle to their sales team based in Wilmington, N.C. In the past, Cottle worked with Dean Hardwood and Blue Linx Building Products. Cottle can be reached at (910) 334-3331 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Philadelphia Floor Store (Conshohocken, Pa.) hosted contractors Oct. 26 for breakfast and an overview of the Dirt Dragon cleaning machine from Basic Coatings' (Toledo, Ohio) Tony Ziola. During the event, promotions and discounts were offered, and representatives from Ancient Art Stone walked away with two tickets to see the Eagles vs. Cowboys matchup, which Philadelphia won 34-7.
Derr Flooring Offers Incentives for NWFA Expo Attendees
Distributor Derr Flooring Company (Willow Grove, Pa.) is offering its customers a little help to offset the cost of attending the 2012 NWFA Wood Flooring Expo, to be held April 10-13 at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Orlando.
Until Dec. 31, customers are able to earn credit toward room and board costs in Orlando when they purchase products from Derr Flooring. Suppliers participating in the promotion include:
To participate in the program, fill out the registration form and fax it to Derr Flooring at (215) 657-2776. For more information, call Derr Flooring at (215) 657-2776 or view the embedded PDF, which includes a list of qualifying purchases.
Sales Up, Earnings Down at Mohawk
Despite increased costs for raw materials and a consumer market reluctant to invest in remodeling projects, Mohawk Industries (Calhoun, Ga.) reported third quarter net earnings of $46.6 million (68 cents per share) on $1.4 billion in net sales.
The net sales figure was a 10.0 percent improvement over the $1.3 billion reported in the third quarter of 2010; however, net earnings during the latest quarter fell 8.8 percent from $51.1 (74 cents per share) in the third quarter of 2010.
"Sales in both the residential and commercial categories expanded, with commercial renovation leading the growth and new residential continuing to lag. Each segment continues to lower costs with new processes, reduced infrastructure and investment in more efficient assets," said Jeffrey Lorberbaum, Mohawk's Chairman and CEO.
For the first nine months of 2011, Mohawk's net sales were $4.3 billion, an increase of approximately 5 percent from 2010; net earnings were $131.0 million ($1.90 per share), down 6.2 percent from $139.7 million ($1.99 per share).
Looking ahead, Mohawk anticipates increasing third-quarter raw material costs to affect its fourth-quarter earnings. The company will also consider further price increases and implement additional cost reductions to improve the business. Considering all this, the company said it will earn approximately 67 to 76 cents per share next quarter.
Wednesday, November 02, 2011
Mullican to Bring Engineered Flooring Production Back to U.S.
Mullican Flooring will expand its engineered flooring manufacturing operations in Johnson City, Tenn., replacing a portion of the company's production capacity that is currently coming from Asia.
"We believe we’re on the leading edge of a trend by U.S. manufacturers to shift jobs back to American soil," Mullican Flooring President Neil Poland said in a press release. "The high-quality workforce available in the Johnson City area has made the expansion of our production line a reality."
Mullican will create 164 new jobs with the expansion. The company's new manufacturing operations will be housed in a former Superior Industries building in Johnson City. As part of the overall expansion, Mullican will relocate all of its manufacturing operations there at a price of $12 million over the next three years, and it will sell its current Johnson City factory, according to WCYB.com. The company's operations in West Virginia, Virginia and New York will remain open, as well.
Currently, Mullican employs 130 workers at its Johnson City plant. These workers will be relocated to the new plant during the first quarter of 2012, and by 2015 the company should employ close to 300 people in Johnson City.
"When a long-standing Tennessee company like Mullican Flooring chooses to expand right here in our state, it is a great indicator of the business friendly climate we are working hard to maintain and improve," Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam said in a release.
Updated, Nov. 2
Mullican has clarified that it is moving its entire corporate headquarters into its new plant, a 309,000-square-foot facility located on a 24-acre spread at 655 Woodlyn Road.
Movement to Define Lacey Act's 'Due Care' Gains Traction
A group of companies and associations with interest in wood products—including the NWFA—have joined to develop a voluntary standard for Lacey Act liability, or due care.
"The Lacey National Consensus Due Care Defense Standard is a voluntary consensus standard and is designed primarily to define 'due care' under the Lacey Act by reaching a national consensus for the definition," said NWFA CEO Michael Martin.
While the Lacey Act has strong support within the wood products industry, a frequent criticism is the ambiguity of "due care" procedures—steps companies must take to show they are not trafficking illegally logged wood products.
The group will present a draft standard during the first quarter of 2012, with a final version released in mid-2012. Martin said the group's intent is not to amend the act but, instead, to outline steps "developed by industry leaders and accepted through their agreement."
Other members of the group include wood products manufacturers, trade associations and environmental groups.
Interest in due care spiked after a federal raid on Gibson Guitar Corporation
in August, the second such raid on the company in two years on
suspected Lacey Act violations. Formal charges have yet to be made
against the company, and recently two Tennessee lawmakers announced
plans to amend the Lacey Act.
HF Briefs: Line Operator Sought; Custom Color Training; MAPEI Training
Townsend Lumber (Tillsonburg, Ontario) has posted a notice in the HF Classifieds seeking a full-time flatline flooring line operator.
Erickson's Flooring & Supply (Ferndale, Mich.) has added events to the HF Calendar page. It will hold custom color training sessions Feb. 8-10 at its Chicago; Grand Rapids, Mich.; and Ferndale, Mich. branches, respectively. Training on creating gray, black and white using the Rubio Monocoat stain system will be offered from 8 a.m. to noon. On Jan. 12, former NWFA Chairman Ken Schumacher will lead a Stairtek Retread installation demo at Erickson's Ferndale branch from 8 a.m. to noon. Both events will include a free lunch.
Events for MAPEI Corp.'s (Deerfield Beach, Fla.) Technical Institute have also been added to the HF Calendar. MAPEI will hold classes for its concrete prep and subfloor products across the U.S. during the first half of 2012.
Tuesday, November 01, 2011
Construction Spending Growing Slightly
U.S. construction spending is increasing—two months in a row now—but not by much.
Construction spending in September was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $787.2 billion, 0.2 percent above the revised August estimate of $786.0 billion, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Department of Commerce. The September figure is 1.3 percent below the September 2010 estimate of $797.3 billion. During the first 9 months of 2011, construction spending amounted to $580.9 billion, 3.5 percent below the $602.0 billion for the same period in 2010.
Private construction spending was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $501.8 billion, 0.6 percent above the revised August estimate of $499.0 billion. Residential construction was at a rate of $228.3 billion in September, 0.9 percent above the revised August estimate of $226.3 billion.
Kentucky Distributor Purchases Canterbury Flooring
National Flooring Distributors (Louisville, Ky.), which purchased the remainder of distributor Floor Style Products in July, has resurrected another wood flooring brand undercut by the housing bust. This time, NFD has purchased the Canterbury Flooring manufacturing operations and brand after its former owners closed shop in 2009 after filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, or liquidation bankruptcy.
The purchase price was not disclosed. All of the former company's intangible assets, inventory, manufacturing equipment, land and buildings were included in the purchase, which NFD's President Lee Harmeling completed on Oct. 3.
"The former owners had invested several million dollars in a new building and modern equipment," Harmeling said of the 31,500-square-foot manufacturing operation, which sits on a little more than three acres of land about an hour's drive north of Charlotte in Mocksville, N.C.
NFD will manufacture prefinished, unfinished, solid and engineered wood flooring under the Canterbury brand, and it will continue Canterbury's specialization in custom flooring, or flooring to order. Exotic species, wide planks and long lengths will all be part of future Canterbury offerings, Harmeling said, and down the line Canterbury will offer architectural trim products. The newly purchased plant has capacity for 20,000 square feet per eight-hour shift.
Currently, Harmeling is in the middle of ramping up the Mocksville facility. In the future, he plans on opening a Floor Style Products branch in Mocksville as a distribution and retail point. In his view, it was a rare opportunity for him to purchase a manufacturing facility on the scale of the one in Mocksville; the opportunity was the result of good timing and the effects of a poor economy on the wood flooring industry's bigger players.
"It's a great facility," Harmeling said, adding that he thinks the biggest manufacturers in the industry would love to have that capacity. "In years past, I wouldn't even have had a shot at something like this … It's a pretty good opportunity for me, and we'll see what we can make out of it."