Thursday, December 05, 2013
Stauf to Increase Prices as of Jan. 1
Stauf USA LLC (Arlington, Tenn.) announced that it will increase prices for the first time in three years. The company reports that cost of raw materials has steadily increased even in the down economy, and until now it has been able to hold off on any increases that have been passed down from those suppliers. The increase will go into effect Jan. 1 on products shipped from any of Stauf’s U.S. warehouses and will be effective on anything ordered in container quantity after Dec. 6.
New Residential Sales Jump 25.4 Percent in October
Sales of new single-family homes were at a rate of 444,000 in October, a 25.4 percent increase from September’s rate of 354,000, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. The October rate is 21.6 percent above October 2012.
The median sales price of new houses sold in October was $245,800, and the average sales price was $321,700. There were an estimated 183,000 new homes on the market at the end of October, representing a 4.9-month supply at the current sales pace.
"The strong October results return us to the sales levels we saw earlier this year and negate the pause caused by the sudden jump in interest rates," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe in a statement. "We expect sales to continue to rise as pent-up demand is released and first-time home buyers creep back into the market."
Scott Banda Promoted to Bostik Director of Marketing
Scott Banda has been promoted to director of marketing for Bostik Inc.’s (Wauwatosa, Wis.) Consumer and Construction Business Unit. He will direct product management, marketing communications and strategic partnership efforts for the unit. Banda has served in a variety of roles in his 10 years with Bostik.
“Scott is a tremendous example of what can be accomplished through perseverance, hard work and innovation,” said Mike Jenkins, business director of Bostik’s Consumer and Construction Business Unit. “He has been a key leader in our business’ continued growth and success. I am confident that he will continue to be a positive influence on our division’s future.”
NAHB: Markets Slowly Return to Normal in October, November
Markets in 54 out of the approximately 350 metro areas nationwide returned to or exceeded their last normal levels of economic and housing activity in October, according to the National Association of Home Builders/First American Leading Markets Index (LMI). This is up two points from September.
The nationwide score of 0.86 indicates that, based on permits, prices and employment data, the market was running at 86 percent of normal economic and housing activity.
In November, 55 housing markets were operating at or above their last normal levels, and the nationwide market was operating at 85 percent of normal growth.
LMI data for the two months were released simultaneously because of the delay in collecting data during the partial government shutdown in October.
Noting that smaller metros accounted for most of the 54 markets on the current LMI that are at or above normal levels, NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe said in a statement that "smaller markets are leading the way, particularly where energy is the primary economic driver. Nearly half of the markets in the top 54 are in the energy states of Texas, Louisiana, North Dakota, Wyoming and Montana."
Indonesia Proposes Forest Certification System
Indonesia has become the third Asian country to seek support from the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). PEFC stakeholders are invited to provide feedback on the Indonesian Forestry Certification Co-operation’s (IFCC) compliance with PEFC International’s sustainability benchmark by Feb. 1.
“We appreciate the opportunity that PEFC is providing independent national forest certification systems such as IFCC to develop its own standards tailored to our national and local political, economic, social, environmental and cultural realities,” Dradjad Wibowo, chairman of the IFCC, said in a statement. “PEFC’s bottom-up approach has enabled Indonesian stakeholders to develop a robust standard that considers Indonesia’s unique needs and therefore has the potential of wide adaptation.”
PEFC stakeholders can find the IFCC proposal and comment on it here.
Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Armstrong to Raise Hardwood Prices Again
Armstrong World Industries (Lancaster, Pa.) plans to raise the prices on select solid and engineered hardwood products 6 to 12 percent in the U.S. and Canada. The new pricing will take effect on Feb. 3.
“We are taking this action after serious consideration of the alternatives and options but this increase is the minimum necessary to secure the raw materials required to service our valued customers as we move into 2014,” Kevin Biedermann, senior vice president of Armstrong Residential Floor Products, said in a statement. “The continuing record-levels of raw materials costs increases on both veneer and lumber, combined with constrained lumber supplies for certain species of lumber, necessitate this price increase. We are doing everything we can to compensate. We truly understand how difficult it is to pass along price increases to customers. Our focus continues to be delivering quality, innovation and service that drive growth for our customers.”
This is the latest in a series of price increases, the most recent of which went into effect on Sept. 13.
Al Maghes to Retire from Erickson’s Flooring
Al Maghes, Erickson’s Flooring & Supply’s (Ferndale, Mich.) account manager for the east side, has announced his retirement, effective Dec. 31.
Maghes started with the company in 1989 as an account manager in the Detroit metro area, working for Dick and Diane Walters. Through the following 25 years, he served as sales manager, general manager, VP of sales and VP of product development. The company credits Maghes with transitioning Erickson’s from a one-facility organization to a company serving five states from its five facilities.
Horizon Forest Products to Distribute Pallmann Products
UFloor Systems announced that Horizon Forest Products (Raleigh, N.C.) is the newest Pallmann distributor partner. Horizon will carry the new Hardwood Complete range of Pallmann product systems throughout its nine-branch distribution network in North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland and Virginia.
"We are excited about adding what we consider to be truly one of finest distributors in our industry to our growing network of distributor partners," said Mark Weglowski, Pallmann brand manager, in a statement. "Their goal of providing 'the best products and the best service to their customers' mirrors our own hands-on approach that we take with the Pallmann brand."
The Hardwood Complete range includes primers and moisture mitigation products, leveling compounds, adhesives, sanding machines and tools, finishes and floor care products.
Surfaces to Feature “Truth About Trees” for Children
The International Surface Event and the Hardwood Forest Foundation will present a new education program, “Truth about Trees,” to teach school-age children about the benefits of properly harvesting resources. The program, to be held at 10:30 a.m. Jan. 29 on the Event Main Stage at Surfaces 2014, is a result of a partnership between the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) and the National Hardwood Lumber Association (NHLA).
“Upon attending a similar event at the recent NHLA Annual Convention & Exhibit Showcase in Ft. Worth, Texas, I knew NWFA needed to host the foundation and its educational program, ‘Truth About Trees,’ at The International Surface Event. It’s amazing what this program can teach young people in a short period of time through keeping them engaged with scientific resources and everyday common-sense learning,” said Michael Martin, president and CEO of NWFA, in a statement.
Children will be shuttled to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, and they will have the opportunity to talk to professionals in the hardwood industry.
For more information on the shows and sessions taking place during The International Surface Event, visit the Surfaces website at www.surfaces.com.
TEC Launches Expert Advice Blog
TEC has launched its Expert Advice blog, available on the company’s website (tecspecialty.com/blog) and through email subscription. The blog features technical tips from tile and flooring industry experts as well as how-to videos.
The blog aims to help tile and flooring contractors overcome specific installation hurdles. The blog also highlights projects featuring TEC products, demonstrating how a specific construction problem may have been solved, and how particular projects have achieved creative, ambitious designs.
NAFCD Announces Officers, Directors
The North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors (NAFCD) announced its 2014 executive officers and directors at the NAFCD Annual Member Business Meeting in Chicago Nov. 13.
Executive officers appointed for 2014 include:
• President, Craig Folven (Herrigan Distributors)
• Vice President, Chris O'Connor (CMH Space Flooring)
• Secretary, Torrey Jaeckle (Jaeckle Distributors)
• Treasurer, Rosana Chaidez (J.J. Haines)
George Roth (Lockwood Flooring) will serve as NAFCD immediate past president and Michelle Miller will continue to serve as NAFCD executive vice president.
NAFCD directors for 2013 are:
• Flavia Baggio (IndusParquet USA)
• David Ford (Stauf USA LLC)
• Jeff Garber (Ohio Valley Flooring)
• Duane Goetze (Shaw Floors)
• Robert Hagood (William M. Bird & Company)
• Michael Halebian (Michael Halebian & Co., Inc.)
• Heidi Cronin Mandell (The Cronin Company)
• Dave Powell (Erickson's Flooring & Supply Company)
• Scott Rozmus (FlorStar Sales, Inc.)
• Alex Shaoulpour (Horizon Floors)
• Goeff Work (The R.A. Siegel Company)
The NAFCD board of directors also acknowledged two board members at large: Sean Swanson (Kährs International) and Dave Darche (Bona USA). Finally, recognition was provided for the contributions of retiring board member Shane Calloway (Unilin) and NAFCD past president David Williams (Horizon Forest Products).
HF Briefs: New Job Posting
Monday, December 02, 2013
Shareholder Files Lawsuit Against Lumber Liquidators
A shareholder of Lumber Liquidators (Toano, Va.) has filed a class action lawsuit with the U.S. District Court alleging that company executives made false and misleading statement about the sourcing of its wood products, according to The Virginian-Pilot.
Lumber Liquidators has been investigated on suspicion of importing illegally logged wood products from Russia and China as well as importing wood flooring with formaldehyde in excess of CARB limits.
The investor, Gregg Kiken of Florida, is seeking damages for unspecified losses.
Lumber Liquidators does not comment on pending or in-progress litigation, according to the company.
Demolition Surprise: Original Texas A & M Basketball Floor Uncovered
In the final hours before the demolition of Texas A & M’s historic G. Rollie White Coliseum, the facility’s basketball floor (circa 1992) was excavated for online auction, revealing a previously unknown sub-layer floor believed to be the original wood court from 1954, according to Texas A & M Athletics.
Several sections of the old floor were salvaged, and the school put them up for online auction Nov. 27. The school plans to keep some sections of the original floor to be featured in the new letterman’s facility.
“I would equate uncovering the original G. Rollie White floor to finding a buried treasure that no one knew existed,” said Clint Netherland, facility manager for Texas A&M Athletics. “Our team was extremely excited to not only discover the floor, but also have an opportunity to share it with other Aggies.”
At the time this article was posted, the top bid for this 121-by-110-inch section of the original G. Rollie White basketball court was $1,500.
Construction Spending Hits 4-Year High in October
Construction spending increased 0.8 percent to $908.4 billion in October, however, spending on private construction was down 0.5 percent to $625.7 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Residential construction was at a rate of $326.9 billion, down 0.6 percent from September. Nonresidential construction was also down 0.5 percent to $298.9 billion.
Public construction spending was $282.7 billion, 3.9 percent above September, with education spending up 8.5 percent to $64.0 billion.
Wood Finish to Hit Motomaker in Time for Holidays
Wood smartphone cases are nothing new, but now customers can get the beauty of wood on their phones without a clunky case.
The company will add wood finishes for the Moto X cell phone to its Motomaker phone-designing program, according to Reuters’ Sinead Carew. While the company missed its Thanksgiving release target, customers should be able to get phones with teak, ebony, rosewood, and bamboo panels in time for holiday shopping.
IICRCA Reopens Nominations for Board of Directors
The International Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Council of Associations (IICRCA) has reopened nominations to fill its seven board of director positions. Nominations can be submitted here and must be received by Dec. 10. Self-nominations are accepted.
FSC to Use Forensics to Fight Illegal Logging
In order to verify environmental claims about forestry products, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is teaming up with the USDA’s Forest Products Lab (FPL) to test composite wood and paper products for fibers from endangered species or genetically modified organisms, according to BuildingGreen.com.
While Brad Kahn, communications director for FSC-US told BuildingGreen there is no reason to suspect FPL will find anything out of the ordinary, he added, “we want to make sure we are keeping our system as rigorous and credible as possible.”
FSC plans to publish its findings, according to Kahn, unlike large companies that already do their own testing.
HF Briefs: Lagler Redesigns Website; Michelman Offers Chinese Language Website
Lagler has redesigned its website. See the updated English-language website at www.laegler.com/en/home.html.
Michelman, maker of water-based wood stains and sealants, has launched a Chinese language version of its website at www.michelman.com.cn. The site is designed and written for the company’s growing Chinese customer base.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Fund Manager Feuds with LL Over Illegal Logging Accusations
Speaking at the Robin Hood Investors Conference in New York on Friday, hedge fund manager Whitney Tilson, founder of Kase Capital Management, alleged that Lumber Liquidators’ recent jump in profits could be attributed to the company’s allegedly sourcing illegal timber from Russia, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Lumber Liquidators responded to Tilson in a statement, noting that he did not contact the company prior his presentation. “We have never met with him to discuss our business. Mr. Tilson’s presentation is based entirely on his own speculation and the contents of a report released almost two months ago, which we had previously stated contained numerous inaccuracies and unsubstantiated claims.”
The report mentioned in the statement is from the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA). The report was released with a video, which shows footage of undercover members of EIA interviewing Chinese wood flooring manufacturers who launder illegal wood from Russia’s Far East forests. The company officials walk them past pallets of Lumber Liquidators’ proprietary Virginia Mill Works brand flooring. The men interviewed say Lumber Liquidators’ upper management toured the facilities and knew where the wood was coming from and that it was cut illegally.
In his presentation on Friday, Tilson’s two-year price target for Lumber Liquidators stock was $53, down from its current price of $103. The same day, the company’s stock price fell nearly 12 percent.
Rich Griefner of The Motley Fool, however remains unconvinced by Tilson's argument, writing, "I am aware of no data that supports Tilson's claims. If he has evidence, he certainly didn't include it in his presentation."