After spending the last month connecting with retailers and manufacturers from across the country, one thing was clear: the flooring industry must address its installation crisis.
We were thrilled when Informa Exhibitions offered to host an Installation Summit to provide leaders from all corners of the industry the chance to address the challenges facing installation. This wasn’t another gripe session; this two-day event brought together the best minds in the business for open dialogue and to begin discussions creating a targeted, executable plan for forward movement.
The impact of installation challenges reaches from the manufacturer, to the retailer, to the consumer. Leaders discussed the shortage of qualified installers, the challenge of recruiting young people to get involved in the installation trades, and the need for training and certification programs. With too few experienced installers in the field, customers often experience frustration and impatience with their flooring purchase—to no fault of any one entity.
As a frequent home remodeler, I can attest to how difficult it can be to find qualified experts to install a floor. Whether it was carpet, wood, laminate or tile, flooring projects often paused for days or weeks while I worked my way through a list of potential installers. The experienced ones had long wait lists, and the newbies, although enthusiastic, were too great of a risk for higher-end projects. Often, retailers couldn’t vouch for the installer’s skill (at least on the record), so like most, I would spend days or weeks interviewing potential tradespeople, scouring photos of their completed installs, calling references and asking neighbors and strangers for a quick view of whatever flooring they had installed.
Another industry leader, building materials manufacturer USG, is also being proactive about addressing installation issues. The company recently launched a series of Performance Flooring Symposiums across the country to connect architects and contractors in dialogues. By connecting architects and contractors early on in a project, both entities can learn to communicate more effectively and minimize challenges.
The collaboration of people in the flooring industry is something I have always admired, and it is why I am so excited to be the new editor of Floor Trends. In the spirit of collaboration and outreach, I encourage you to let us know what issues and topics interest you most. Our readers are our most prized asset, and we are always looking for new ways to inform, connect and engage. Reach out anytime at email@example.com.