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."
Bostik Rebrands with New Logo, Tagline
Bostik Inc. (Wauwatosa, Wis.) unveiled its new logo and tagline as part of its brand positioning makeover. According to the company, the tagline “Smart Adhesives” reflects Bostik’s positioning on developing intelligent and innovative adhesive solutions that are more functional and efficient. The gecko logo symbolizes Bostik’s smart adhesive solutions that are flexible, efficient and adaptive, as the gecko is renowned for its remarkable bonding abilities that allow it to cling to almost any surface and support its entire body weight with a single toe.
“The new logo reflects who we are,” said Bernard Pinatel, Bostik’s chairman and CEO, in a statement. “We are a technology leader that has been developing innovative adhesive solutions for more than a century. We know how to make smart adhesives: functional products that can do a lot more than just stick things together.”
Home Prices Up in September, Third Quarter
The U.S. National Home Price Index rose 3.2 percent in the third quarter of 2013, according to the S & P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. In September, the 10- and 20-city composites gained 0.7 percent since August and 13.3 percent since September 2012. While 13 of 20 cities posted higher year-over-year growth rates, 19 cities had lower monthly gains in September than August.
“The National Index is up 11.2% year-over-year, the strongest figure since the boom peaked in 2006. The 10-City and 20-City Composites year-over-year growth at 13.3% was their highest annual numbers since February 2006,” David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a statement.
Building Permits Up 6.2% in October
Building permits for privately owned housing units were at an adjusted annual rate of 1,034,000 in October, 6.2 percent above September’s rate of 974,000, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Permits for single-family homes were at a rate of 620,000. This is 0.8 percent above September and 8.8 percent above October 2012. For multifamily housing with five units or more, permits were at a rate of 387,000, a 16.9 percent increase from September and a 24.0 percent increase from October 2012.
Due to the federal shutdown in October, the DOC does not have data for housing starts or housing completions during October. The DOC said it will release start and completion data for September, October and November 2013 on Dec. 18.
"Permits are often a harbinger of future housing activity and the strong showing in the multifamily sector along with stable numbers on the single-family side bode well for a continuing, gradual upturn in housing over the coming months," said NAHB senior economist Robert Denk in a statement. "But consumer and builder confidence could be seriously undermined unless policymakers make progress over looming budget, tax and economic policy issues in the weeks and months ahead."
Monday, November 25, 2013
Proposed Hardwood Check-off Up for Comments
The Hardwood Lumber and Hardwood Plywood Research Promotion Program, also referred to as the Hardwood Check-off, has been posted on the Federal Register for public comment.
The government-organized program, much like the dairy industry’s Got Milk campaign, will take a portion of the entire hardwood products industry’s sales to promote the use of hardwood.
The full proposed rule as well as instruction on how to comment are available here.
NWFA Combines Certification, Charity for Habitat for Humanity
Last week, five members of Prestige Flooring (Fenton, Mo.) earned their National Wood Flooring Association Certified Professionals certification for installation while installing 900 square feet of flooring in a new Habitat for Humanity home in University City, Mo.
Brett Miller, NWFA’s director of education and certification, and Wayne Lee of Middle Tennessee Lumber proctored the hands-on certification test. Fortifiber Building Systems Group (Fernley, Nev.) donated the underlayment, and WD Flooring (Laona, Wis.) donated the wood flooring with Rubio Monocoat finish.
The next NWFA certification opportunity will be hosted by Goodwin Heart Pine Co. (Micanopy, Fla.) at its facility Jan. 16-18. The full NWFA education schedule is available here. For more information, contact Tricia Swindoll at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 422-4556.
(Photos by Brett Miller)