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NWFA Regional Instructor Profile: Jason Elquest
JasonElquest.jpgJason Elquest found himself “stuck” working hardwood floors at the age of 18, he said.

"And that's not a bad thing," Elquest said. "Once you start in wood floors you never really get out. It's that instant gratification of turning a floor from something hideous like carpet into something miraculous, and quickly."

He has his aunt to thank. He was 18 and unemployed when she had her floors finished by a pair of cousins. One cousin, she learned, was leaving the state, meaning there was a job opening. Elquest's aunt recommended him.

Twenty years later, Elquest is the owner of Blackhawk Floors Inc. and, starting this year, an NWFA Regional Instructor. Elquest has led two schools so far and will lead two days of workshops at the end of September at Philadelphia Floor Store's headquarters in Conshohocken, Pa.

He'll give keen insights and hands-on instructions for applying finishes and doing tool and machine maintenance on the job site.

Elquest says he gained the confidence necessary to teach a class of wood flooring industry professionals by running his own business and being a student himself. He is always learning, be it through NWFA training schools or reading industry literature on his own time.

That expertise allows Elquest to break procedures down to their key steps and explain the how and why, he says.

While basic wood floor finish techniques aren't brain science, Elquest says the detail work—creating a “French bleed,” for example—would tax even the smartest doctor.

Which is why training is so important, he says, especially for the guys who have been working for years: "You can do it your whole life and be doing it wrong your whole life."

To read more about the revamped NWFA technical schools and see the schedule for this year, click here. To register, click here.

The NWFA Regional Instructors for 2014 are:

NWFA Regional InstructorsEDITEDlowres.jpg

(back row, L-R): Jay Daniel Moore, Daniel Boone, Scott Taylor, Jason Elquest, Roy Reichow and NWFA Director of Certification and Education Brett Miller; (front row, L-R): Jon Namba, Mike Dittmer, Kjell Nymark and Joe Rocco.
The Academy Offering Two Courses For IICRC Certification
The Academy of Textiles and Flooring is inviting industry professionals to register for classes offered this fall. Two courses relevant to the wood flooring industry and certified by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification take place in August and October.

On Aug. 26–27, Stan Hulin will lead a Fundamentals of Floor Maintenance course. The course is separated into five segments that feature a combination of classroom and hands-on training. A written exam is required for certification through IIICRC. The course is located at Hard Rock Tool in Anaheim, Calif. Fill out this form to register.

On Oct. 2–3, Claudia Lezell will lead an Introduction to Substrate and Subfloor Inspection course covering floor system components, causes of failure effects of moisture, alkalinity and humidity and industry standards and publications. The course is located at Ardex America's manufacturing facility in Mansfield, Texas. Fill out this form to register.
Haines Moves Into Florida Via Wheeler Supplies Center
Haines & Company Inc. (Glen Burnie, Md.) began its flooring supplies division's expansion into the Florida market with the opening of the Wheeler Supplies Center in Orlando.

Haines already operates 26 Supplies Centers throughout the Mid Atlantic and Southeast. Its supplies division began with the acquisition of Allied Products in 2013 and grew in 2014 with the acquisitions of CMH Space and Ellis Flooring.

Leading the Florida expansion is Wheeler Supplies' Jed Collins, flooring supplies sales manager.

Haines CEO Bruce Zwicker said in a statement: “Our goal is to become the premier flooring supplies company within our territory. This will not happen overnight. We will achieve our goal through acquisition, organic growth, greenfield expansion of supplies centers, and building the best supplies team and business model that we can. We are new to the supplies business and have a lot to learn and do.”
Philly Floor Store To Host Color/Finish, Machine Maintenance Workshops
Philadelphia Floor Store will hold two NWFA workshops at its Conshohocken, Pa.-based showroom at the end of September.

On Sept. 25, NWFA Regional Instructor Jason Elquest, owner of Blackhawk Floors Inc. in Arizona, will lead a Finish Application/Color workshop. The workshop will address chemical treatments, application of oils, waxes, stains and dyes, acid cures, site-cured UV finishes and common finish problems.

On Sept. 26, Elquest will lead a Machine Maintenance workshop. The workshop covers job-site maintenance of sanding and installation equipment. Participants are encouraged to bring their own tools for hands-on maintenance.

Both workshops run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information and to register, click here.
QEP Gets FloorScore Air Quality Certification
QEP Co. Inc.'s (Johnson City, Tenn.) engineered wood flooring has joined the list of products that meet the indoor air quality qualifications of FloorScore's independent certification program.

In addition to FloorScore, QEP's engineered products meet the indoor quality emissions criteria of LEED v4, Collaborative for High Performance Schools and the Green Guide for Health Care, among others.

“This certification is just another step in differentiating Q.E.P. Co., Inc.’s products from the competition, by providing healthier, cleaner air inside your work and home environments," said Renee Tester, QEP's product marketing and technical services manager, in a statement. "Choosing a product with the FloorScore logo assures you that your new flooring contributes to good indoor air quality."
Court Brief: ITC Wrong on Chinese Plywood Imports
An advocate for plywood produced in the United States recently appealed to the U.S. Court of International Trade that the industry has been harmed by imports of subsidized Chinese plywood, contrary to a ruling last November by the United States International Trade Commission.

The Coalition for Fair Trade of Hardwood Plywood made the appeal after the U.S. ITC’s November ruling that, despite testimony to the contrary from the U.S Department of Commerce, the hardwood plywood industry is not hurt by imports of subsidized Chinese plywood.

The CFTHP asked that the court remand the ITC's determination for further analysis. Read the full brief filed with court here.
WWF: EU Countries 'Failing to Halt Illegal Timber Trade'
Just 11 of the 28 countries in the European Union have adopted national legislation robust enough to control the legality of timber products, according to a report by the World Wildlife Federation.

The countries that have implemented policies, as identified by the WWF, are Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and the UK.

The other 17 countries have either not adapted their laws to an EU law governing timber trade that came into force more than a year ago or "have adopted legislation where low sanctions or dysfunctional prosecution systems are considered obstacles for an effective implementation of the law," according to the WWF.

To see the entire report, click here.
Single-Family Home Sales Dip in July
New single-family home sales in July were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 412,000, a 2.4 percent decrease from June's 422,000 rate, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

"We are somewhat surprised by this dip, considering builder confidence and new-home starts are on the rise," said Kevin Kelly, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), in a statement. "However, builders are increasing their level of inventory in anticipation that sales will gradually improve during the rest of the year."

Despite a month-to-month drop, July's rate was 12.3 percent higher than the amount of single-family home sales a year ago (367,000).

The median sales price of a new home sold in July 2014 was $269,000, and the average was $339,100.

The seasonally adjusted estimate for new houses for sale at the end of July was 205,000, representing a supply of 6.0 months at the current sales rate.

"Though new-home sales is a volatile metric that can fluctuate significantly from month to month, the economic fundamentals are in place for an ongoing housing recovery," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "Consumer confidence continues to improve, mortgage rates are at yearly lows, and the labor market is healing. These factors should help spur pent-up demand."
Video: HF Editor Kim Wahlgren in Ice Bucket Challenge
For those of us who cover marketing and social media every day, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge represents the holy grail: a viral social media phenomenon. The campaign is sheer genius, and it couldn't be for a better cause: finding a cure for ALS. (As of today, just one of the ALS nonprofits involved, the ALS Association, says it has raised $79.7 million since July 29, compared with only $2.5 million during the same period last year.)

For the handful of people who still don't know about it, people are dared to dump ice water over their heads or donate to ALS research (or both). They then pass the same challenge on. The dare has been taken on by everyone from former President George W. Bush to Bill Gates and Jimmy Fallon. This week I received the challenge from my friend Joshua Crossman of PTL Hardwoods in Yelm, Wash. Here goes:

I look forward to seeing the videos from my industry friends I nominated: Michael Martin of the National Wood Flooring Association, HF blogger Wayne Lee of Middle Tennessee Hardwoods and NWFA BOD member and regional instructor Joe Rocco of Artistic Floors by Design in Parker, Colo.!

When Joshua nominated me, he also nominated HF blogger Scott Avery. You can see Scott take on the challenge and pass it on to three more hardwood flooring friends here:

If you'd like to donate, with or without dumping ice water on your head, there are many options, including the ALS Association and the ALS Therapy Development Institute, which targets 100 percent of its donations to ALS research.
HF Briefs: Sander and Business For Sale, Lumber Liquidators
A Bona US 10-inch belt sander is for sale in Hawaii. The machine includes a dust control system. The seller said the machine is in good condition and that he's only selling it because he is downsizing. See the HF Classifieds ad for more information.

A retiring hardwood flooring business owner is selling his western Wisconsin-based business and showroom, and he said he is willing to finance a buyer. For more information, see the HF Classifieds ad.

Lumber Liquidators' (Toano, Va.) President and CEO Robert Lynch will present at the Goldman Sachs Global Retailing Conference on Sept. 4 in New York City. Lynch will present alongside the company's chief financial officer, Daniel Terrell. A live webcast can be viewed via the company's website in the Investor Relations section. The presentation begins at 1:40 p.m. EST.
Resource Book: NWFA Members, Check Listing for Accuracy
The deadline to make changes and revisions to your Hardwood Floor magazine Resource Book listing is Aug. 29.

NWFA asks that you review and update your company’s information via the NWFA members-only site.

Only NWFA members are included in the Resource Book. If you’re not an NWFA member, you can join via the NWFA website here or by calling (800) 422-4556.
Home Depot Profits Jump By $300 Million in Q2
Home Depot boosted its profits in the second quarter of 2014, sporting an increase of $300 million from the same period last year.

Sales for the second quarter were $23.8 billion, a 5.7 percent increase from 2013’s $22.5 billion.

The amount of customer transactions was also up, 409.7 million versus 392.2 million from last year.

"In the second quarter, our spring seasonal business rebounded, and we saw strong performance in the core of the store and across all of our geographies," said Frank Blake, chairman and CEO, in a statement. "I would like to thank our associates for their hard work and dedication, especially at this time of increased demand."
HF Briefs: Bona Equipment for Sale, Sales Job Available
Used Bona US equipment is for sale on the HF Classifieds page. Items for sale include a 12-inch Bona belt, a three-year-old Bona Edge and three-year-old Bona DCS vacuum, among others.

Horizon Floors Inc. seeks a sales representative to work its East Coast territory. The company is looking for someone with a minimum of two years of experience. Visit the HF Classifieds page for more information.
Video: School Fire Due to Spontaneous Combustion of Oily Rags
The start of school for a number of high school students in Green Bay, Wis., will be delayed until mid-September due to smoke damage from a fire that started after rags used to clean up a refinishing job spontaneously combusted in the middle of the night.

Green Bay Metro Fire Lt. Nick Craig told local media at a press conference that school district employees put rags “used to clean up the refinishing product” in a garbage can lined with plastic that was sitting next to the gym’s bleachers. The rags combusted, starting the garbage can on fire.

The fire started at 1:20 a.m, Aug. 8, in the Preble High School gymnasium. The video below comes from a security camera in the gymnasium, and captures the fire as it began.

The local fire department was able to contain the fire in the area, but the rest of school received heavy smoke damage. The school will remain closed until Sept. 15.

The same thing happened a year ago at a high school in Waukesha, Wis.

Take it from HF blogger Wayne Lee, who has seen two fires start due to spontaneous combustion while working on wood floors: "I cannot tell you the seriousness of spontaneous combustion." His video blog post on the topic is here.
Housing Starts Pass 1 Million Mark in July
Nationwide housing starts in July were at their highest level since November 2013 thanks to strong single- and multifamily growth that pushed housing starts up 15.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.093 million units, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Single-family housing starts were up 8.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 656,000 units in July, and multifamily production boosted upward 28.9 percent to 437,000 units.

"A return to production levels over one million confirms that consumer confidence continues to improve," said Kevin Kelly, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), in a statement. "Propelled by a healthier economy, more and more people are feeling ready to buy a home."

Building permits increased 8.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted rate of 1.052 million units, with multifamily permits accounting for 412,000 units and single-family permits for 640,000 units.

Although the Midwest posted a 0.6 percent loss in permits issued, the Northeast, South and West sported gains of 18.8 percent, 9.6 percent and 7.2 percent, respectively.
Caption Contest: Lady A' Looking Down an Old Plank Road
In July, we asked our readers to select the best caption for the photo of a few lumbermen waking up in a forest with a few glugs of hard cider.

The votes have been counted. The winner of the best quip is Jeff Katz. The caption?


Caption contests never get old … relative to the pictures we've asked you to caption. And our next photo is no different. It's time for another contest.

Come up with your best quip for the image below and you could win a T-shirt, a mention in the next issue of Hardwood Floors magazine and a story that will make your in-laws proud.

Leave your caption in the comment section below and keep your eyes peeled for a future E-News article asking you to vote for your favorite.

Oshkosh Designs Holds Photo Contest, Offers $1,600 in Flooring
Oshkosh Designs (Winneconne, Wis.) wants to see your most creatively installed medallion.

The winner of the contest, as voted by fans and followers of Oshkosh Designs' social media accounts, will receive 100 square feet of Edinburgh I parquet (5/16-inch paper-taped, unfinished in any standard wood species), a $1,600 value, the company said.

If you installed, distributed or own an Oshkosh Designs medallion and wish to participate, take a photo of the floor and email it to Jenilee Ehlenbeck at

Photos will be accepted through Oct. 17. Voting starts Oct. 20 and ends Nov. 14. The winner will be announced Nov. 20.
PEFC Re-Endorses Five Countries' Forest Programs
The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), an international third-party certification body that has endorsed systems including the North America-based Sustainable Forestry Initiative and American Tree Farm System, has re-endorsed the national forest certification systems of five countries.

Luxembourg, Malaysia, Slovenia, Spain and Switzerland's certification systems, with a combined 6.5 million hectares (16.06 million acres) of forest, all met the PEFC's sustainability benchmarks. This is Slovenia and Malaysia's first and the other countries' second time achieving re-endorsement.

PEFC endorsements only last five years, and the organization requires certification systems to reassess their standards prior to applying for re-endorsement.
Reminder: Prop 65 Got Lumber Liquidators, Could Snag You
Given the recent lawsuit filed against Lumber Liquidators that alleged its laminate flooring formaldehyde levels exceeded the levels stipulated in California's Proposition 65, a refresher about Proposition 65 may be helpful.

Currently, California is the only state to have a law requiring reasonable warnings be posted on products that may contain chemicals hazardous to human health. But the National Wood Flooring Association has told its members to be alert for expansion into other states as well.

Within Proposition 65, the provisions that apply to wood flooring producers include the following:

*§ 25603 Consumer Products Warnings*

(c) A person in the course of doing business, who manufactures, produces, assembles, processes, handles, distributes, stores, sells, or otherwise transfers a consumer product which he or she knows to contain a chemical known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity in an amount that requires a warning shall provide a warning to any person to whom the product is sold or transferred unless the product is packaged or labeled with a clear and reasonable warning.

*§ 25603.2 Consumer Products Exposure Warnings – Content *

(a) The warning message must include the following language:

1. For consumer products that contain a chemical known to the state to cause cancer:

"WARNING: This product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer."

2. For consumer products that contain a chemical known to the state to cause reproductive toxicity:

"WARNING: This product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm."

Click here to view a PDF list of chemicals and their allowable thresholds regulated by Proposition 65.
E.J. Welch Company Hosts NWFA Sand & Finish School
The E.J. Welch Company (Earth City, Mo.) hosted an NWFA Intermediate Sand & Finish school at its training facility near Chicago on Aug. 12–15.

The school covered a number of topics during the four days, including sanding borders and medallions, the art of flattening a floor and sealer and finish application.

Instructors, led by NWFA Regional Instructor Daniel Boone of Daniel Boone WFT Inc., were Bobby Mohr, Bona US; Kirk Anderson, DuraSeal; Wayne Lee, Middle Tennessee Lumber; Matt Crawford and Doug McGrew, Clarke American Sanders; Jack Caroo, Mohawk Finishing Products; John Armfield, WoodCare USA; Galen Fitzel, formerly of 3M; Jim Schumacher, 3M; Johannes Boonstra, Rubio Monocoat; and Nels Ingebrigtsen, Absolute Coatings.

School participants were Aaron Schaalma, Signature Custom Flooring LLC; Calin Pecura, IC Custom Hardwood Flooring; Dylan Longley and Lyle Longley, LP Flooring; Kolson Ford, Kolson Wood Floors; Mark Machnicki, Aacer Flooring LLC; Nick Moncado, Artisan Touch LLC; Roy Young, Paul Young, Ben Scott, Roberto Rojas, John Zeferino and Ferando Jimenez, Schumacher & Co. Inc.; Alex Padilla, Eric Padilla and Tom     Farquar, Apex Wood Floors Inc.; Dwight Schoenherr, 3M; and Collin Monahan, General Finishes.

Partners in Education were Daniel Boone WFT Inc., Bona US, DuraSeal, Middle Tennessee Lumber, Clarke American Sanders, Mohawk Finishing Products, WoodCare USA, 3M, Rubio Monocoat, Aboritec USA Inc., Padco, General Finishes, WoodFilla, Festool, Pallman, Weyerhaeuser and Woodwise/Design Hardwood Products.

Editor's Note: Nels Ingebrigtsen represents Absolute Coatings. A previous version of this article incorrectly said that Ingebrigsten represented Aboritec USA. We regret the error.