Wednesday, August 20, 2014
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Monday, August 18, 2014
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.
Housing Affordability Inches Downward in Q2 2014
Housing affordability nationwide went down in the second quarter of 2014 while several markets saw a firming of home prices, according to the National Association of Home Builders Housing Opportunity Index (HOI).
Between April and June, 62.6 percent of new and existing homes sold were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $63,900. This is lower than the first quarter, which saw 65.5 percent of homes affordable to median-income earners.
The national median home price rose from $195,000 in the first quarter to $214,000 in the second quarter. Average mortgage interest rates dipped from 4.57 percent to 4.44 percent.
The most affordable major housing market was Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa., where 90.4 percent of new and existing homes sold were affordable for median-income earners.
The least affordable, for the seventh consecutive quarter, was San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, Calif. Only 11.1 percent of homes sold were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $100,400.
Photos: Wood Reclaimed From First Navigable Canal in America
Wood flooring reclaimed from a building constructed on the site of the Northeast's first navigable commercial canal and the continent's first inclined plane lift is now available from Longleaf Lumber.
“This part of the Connecticut River Valley is just steeped in American history,” says Longleaf owner Marc Poirier. “We’ve made flooring from tobacco barns, paper mills, and dairy farms in the area, but we’ve never salvaged wood from a site with a history stretching back to the 1700s.”
The company salvaged heart pine beams and maple floorboards from the Carew Manufacturing building, built in 1873, feet away from the Connecticut River in South Hadley, Mass., and has begun milling the products into flooring.
The site also hosts an inclined plane lift built in the late 1700s to haul barges up an engineered slope in the South Hadley Canal.
The heart pine will be manufactured into six grades of flooring and paneling. The maple reclaimed from the building will be used exclusively for flooring applications.
Editor's Note: If your company reclaims wood with a story, we want to hear about it. Send the story and a few photos to email@example.com.
This Week, Info Webcasts About Listing Bat as Endangered
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is holding three public information webcasts to talk and answer questions about listing the Northern Long-Eared Bat as endangered. The sessions are each one hour long. The Forest Resources Association Inc. said it will participate in each session and report back with its findings.
The sessions, Aug. 19 at 1 p.m., Aug. 20 at 4 p.m. and Aug. 21 at 7 p.m., can be accessed at Mymeetings.com or by calling toll-free (800) 369-1692 and entering passcode 2549152#.
The forest industry has been concerned for some time about the issue. If the bat were to be listed, it would mean significant disruption to timber operations in 39 states, potentially banning logging in those states from March to October each year, critics have said.
In the last few months, "congressional delegations have sent over 10 letters to [Department of the] Interior authorities urging them to take a closer look at the science and to proceed with caution," the FRA said.
Fish & Wildlife decided in May to postpone any decision on listing the Northern Long-Eared Bat as endangered until April 2015.
Bamboo Hardwoods Increases Midwest Presence
Bamboo Hardwoods (Seattle) is expanding its Midwestern distribution network.
It has entered into a distribution agreement with Bishop Distributing (Grand Rapids, Mich.), a full-line floor-covering distributor servicing retailers in Michigan, Indiana and western Ohio. Bishop will exclusively represent the entire Bamboo Hardwoods flooring product line of transitions and engineered and solid bamboo flooring toward its dealers.
“Bishop is well-known for representing top-quality flooring products and an already-established commercial and residential customer base seeking bamboo flooring, so this partnership is an ideal fit,” said David Keegan, chief operating officer of Bamboo Hardwoods Inc., in a statement.
Bishop has been in the flooring industry for more than 50 years, and its sales team boasts more than 200 years of combined sales and service experience. The company has more than 49,000 square feet of warehouse space available.
Builder Confidence Ticks Up in Third Consecutive Monthly Gain
Builder confidence in the market for new single-family homes increased two points to 55 on the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index in August. This is the highest the HMI has been since January.
The HMI is based on builder perceptions of home sales, sales expectations and prospective buyer traffic. A score above 50 means more builders view conditions as good than poor.
"Each of the three components of the HMI registered consecutive gains for the past three months, which is a positive sign that builder confidence appears to be firming following an uneven spring," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe in a statement. "Factors contributing to this rise include sustained job growth, historically low mortgage rates and affordable home prices, which are helping to unleash pent-up demand."
Every region saw a rise in its three-month moving average HMI score in August. The Midwest saw the largest increase, going from 48 to 55. The South had the smallest increase, going from 51 to 52.
HF Briefs: Used Equipment, NWFA Updated New Members Page
Curious who has joined NWFA lately? Companies that become part of NWFA will now have their names listed on the NWFA’s updated New Member page for three months. Members are listed alphabetically by industry sector. Member company names are linked to the company’s website.
Early registration rates for The International Surface Event East ends Wednesday, Aug. 20. The event takes place Oct. 19–22 at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami Beach, Fla. For more information, visit the event's website here.
A used Clarke American Sanders 8-inch Floorcrafter belt sander is for sale on the HF Classifieds. The seller says the sander has not been used much and is ready to purchase for $2,500 plus shipping. See the HF Classifieds ad for more information.
An Ohio-based contractor is looking to purchase a used UFO sander. If you're selling one or know where one could be purchased, contact Jon Gregory of Super Hardwood Guys at the number provided on the HF Classifieds page.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Sponsored Video: Ogden’s DRS 300 Repairs Defects in Seconds
Ogden Group's (Matthews, N.C.) Model DRS 300 Wood Repair System fills knots and cracks in seconds by injecting a filler solution directly into the defect. The boards are positioned under the injection head, using laser crosshairs. The injection head fills the defect without wasting patching material. Ogden says the Model DRS 300 will increase profit by repairing defects with minimal use of filler solution. See video below.
EIA: China's Illegal Timber Guideline is Unenforceable
The Chinese government is drafting a guideline to cutback on illegal logging in and promote sustainable development of overseas forests, but environmentalists have called the draft toothless.
The guideline, while it intends to regulate the behaviors of Chinese businesses partaking in the trade of forest products from countries like Myanmar, is voluntary.
The Environmental Investigation Agency, which has published a number of reports in the last three years investigating China's major role in the illegal logging industry, submitted formal comments to the Chinese government recommending the guidelines be replaced with a legally enforceable ban on illegal timber trade into and within China.
“As the world’s biggest importer of illegal wood, and in light of extensive irrefutable evidence that Chinese companies are complicit in driving destructive illegal logging and timber smuggling, China needs to move beyond unenforceable voluntary guidelines and take unequivocal actions to prohibit illegal timber," said Jago Wadely, EIA forest campaigner, in a statement.
To read the EIA's most recent report, "China's Criminal and Unsustainable Intervention in Mozambique's Miombo Forests," click here.
E.J. Welch Company Hosts NWFA Intermediate Install School
The National Hardwood Flooring Association held an Intermediate Installation school at host E.J. Welch Company's Chicago location, Aug. 5–8.
NWFA Regional Instructor Kjell Nymark leads a session during the Intermediate Installation school hosted by E.J Welch Company.
The school's instructors, who led the students through sessions on job-site preparation, installation of borders and medallions and parquet installation, were NWFA Regional Instructor Kjell Nymark, Precision Hardwood; Gene Jarka, Powernail Company; Mike Kearns, Primatech; Darek Zukowski, Chicagoland Flooring; and Roger Barker and Tim Moore, Fortifiber.
Students were David Hernandez, All Floor it Inc.; Calin Pecura, IC Custom Hardwood Flooring; Winold Dijs, Global Hotel Resources LLC; Toby Merrill, Walk On Wood; Kolson Ford, Kolson Wood Floors; Nick Moncado, Artisan Touch LLC; Mark Machnicki, Aacer Flooring LLC; Dwight Schoenherr, 3M; Alex Padilla, Apex Wood Floors Inc.; and Tom Helwig, Mike Armstrong, Roy Schafer, Jason Strunk and Juan DeDios, Schumacher & Co. Inc.
Partners in Education were Precision Hardwood, Powernail, Primatech, Chicagoland Flooring, Fortifiber, Aacer Flooring, Oshkosh Designs, Real Wood Floors, Middle Tennessee Lumber, Franklin Associates, MAPEI Corp., All Globe, Bostik Inc., Wagner Meters, Delmhorst Instruments, 3M, Festool, Lignomat, Padco, Taylor Tools, Tramex and Weyerhaeuser.
A nearly done install at the NWFA's Intermediate Install school hosted by E.J Welch Company.
Home Prices Cool in Second Quarter
Home-price growth moderated in a number of metropolitan areas in the second quarter, and national year-over-year price appreciation is at its slowest pace in two years, according to latest quarterly report by the National Association of Realtors.
The median existing single-family home price increased in 71 percent of measured markets. In the first quarter of 2014, price increases were recorded in 74 percent of measured markets. Furthermore, 19 areas in the second quarter had double-digit increases. In the first quarter, 37 did. Since the second quarter of 2013, the average number of areas to show price increase is 43.
Of 173 metropolitan statistical areas, 122 showed gains based on closings in the second quarter compared with the second quarter of 2013. However, 47 areas showed a lower median price from a year earlier.
While prices are increasing at a slower rate, it's also a healthier rate, said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, in a statement.
“National median home prices began their most recent rise during the first quarter of 2012 but had climbed to unsustainable levels given the current pace of inflation and wage growth,” he said. “At this slower but healthier rate, homeowners can continue steadily building equity. Meanwhile, for buyers, increased supply with moderate price gains is giving them better opportunities to choose.”
Buyers purchasing an existing single-family home in the second quarter could, based on the national median, expect to pay $212,400. That figure is up 4.4 percent from a year prior ($203,400). The median price in the first quarter of 2014 had risen 8.3 percent from a year earlier.
Total existing-home sales increased 5.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.87 million in the second quarter from 4.60 million in the first quarter. They are still 4.5 percent below the 5.10 million pace set during the second quarter of 2013.
The largest regional increase in existing-home sales was in the Midwest, which saw a rise of 9.4 percent. The lowest regional increase was the South's, 3.4 percent.