Stephen Perrera, Owner Of Top Floor Installation Co. and native Tucsonan since 1955 has been in the flooring trade for over thirty-two years. He is licensed, bonded and an insured state of Arizona Flooring Contractor and detailed troubleshooter who performs moisture testing and floor failure analysis, installing a variety of floor coverings. Top
Is Your Hardwood Made In USA?
As an installer as well as a frustrated and concerned American consumer who tries to buy American made products as much as possible, I try to discourage the purchase of foreign made flooring products as much as I can while not alienating a prospective client.
As most designers know, the purchase usually comes down to color first, quality second. Nevertheless, for those consumers that are on a tight budget I find it has to do with cost first, and then they may allow a color change to suit their budget while quality takes a back seat to everything else.
Not too many people are educated in hardwood manufacturing to discern a quality product from a junk product. Many people think, oh well, it's only one purchase, how could it hurt our economy? After losing 40,000 manufacturing plants and all the hundreds of thousands of jobs that go with it, I think we are finally finding out.
Who can blame them? Everyone, well most everyone, would love a hardwood floor. Hardwood floors seem more affordable these days. That is good for an installer like me who prefers to install hardwood. The truth is we are hurting ourselves. I for one would like to see our domestic hardwood manufacturing base grow back to where it once was. We have lost many over the last ten years. Of the ones left, some do manufacture both here and overseas. Some though are still hanging on trying to keep the jobs here.
After spending about 30 minutes online searching for an exclusive list of USA hardwood floor manufacturers, I have found only one list. However, a list I found at The American Hardwood Information Center (www.hardwoodinfo.com) has only twelve manufacturers listed. I know there must be hundreds, probably thousands. I have found lists of many foreign and domestic hardwood manufacturers but no exclusive lists. Is there one? I did not see any specific list in a national association's resource book either. Is there a reason for that? Must be no one wants to step on advertising funds.
I know there are high quality engineered manufacturers out there as I have installed quite a few of their products. However, it should not be so difficult to find a list of domestic manufacturers if so inclined. Most of the problems with hardwood floors I hear about on forums are usually due to manufacturing issues like poor finishes that scratch too easy and delamination of veneers due to poor manufacturing processes. The latter of which is a main concern of mine being I am in a dry zone. If you have read a few of my columns, you would see I have touched on that quite a bit.
I sure feel better about installing a domestically made engineered hardwood floor that is made to U.S. standards. It is comforting to see quite a few manufacturers putting that right in the advertising and on the label.
We have been flooded with cheap foreign made hardwood products, many of which do not perform. Many tout spectacular warranties, but these are spurious at best, as a large amount will not honor them as they should. I have found that consumers have easier access and a greater chance to get problems fixed or replaced if they purchase from a U.S. manufacturer rather than a foreign one.
Whether or not its hardwood or laminate flooring, keep America growing and stop the plight of our manufacturing base closing up shop. Those manufacturers mean jobs. And without jobs, what do we have? Try asking an independent licensed installer about his preferences. He may have none, but then if he is like me he may have plenty of resources at hand. Thus the reason for this article. I am striving to help my customers buy quality American products.
FYI for manufacturers in USA... there are directories out there for all products made in USA. I would suggest you get out there and put your name in those directories like this one.
Maybe you have seen the ABC newscast about the home built exclusively of materials made in USA and how many jobs we could produce if we all stuck to our guns and made an effort to buy American made products. Yes, it can be done and extra cost is slight if any. You should be on this list.
We need more resources to make it easier for consumers to find quality floors made in USA. The job you save could be your neighbors, mine or even your own.
Edited by Admin 12/13/2011