The Resilient Floor Covering Institute (RFCI) recently held its spring meeting at the Cloister at Sea Island, Georgia, with 47 member companies in attendance. The meeting spanned several days, beginning with a board meeting where members discussed strategic initiatives. Floor Trends & Installation connected with RFCI President and CEO Bill Blackstock for an update on the association and his business outlook. This is an excerpt of the conversation that has been edited for length and clarity.


Floor Trends & Installation: Can you provide us with an overview of what the RFCI board of directors discussed at the meeting?

Bill Blackstock: We spend a lot of time on the technical front. On the technical side, you and I have spent time talking about rigid core's growth and the advent of the Assure Certified certification. It truly is a multi-attribute certification that is growing, and I believe it will grow much faster in the years to come because of the strength that it has.

You can't talk about technical without talking about issues of sustainability—they are intrinsically linked. We look at the junction between specifiers and the environmental certifications and standards. It's elegant and brings great efficiency. We're constantly publishing technical papers, constantly publishing tools that we believe will be useful for various audiences. We introduced our fourth CEU at the end of last year. It’s aimed at the specifier, but what we've also found among resilient manufacturers is it's a helpful tool for salesforce training.

Secondly, we always spend a lot of time on the regulatory front. At the federal and state level, we always want to show up as a helpful entity. We want to show up with what we believe are facts and data.

We covered Beautifully Responsible. As you know, it's a major investment for our organization. It's a targeted marketing effort reaching out to the residential decision maker. We continue to set broad goals about what we want to achieve—there are measures almost 100 pages deep. It's a very complex reach. We're reaching into the hundreds of millions of people with that program now with a very compelling message. I also covered where the program is headed in the next year from a strategic standpoint.

Floor Trends & Installation: Can you provide specific insights about that strategy? 

Bill Blackstock: On the Beautifully Responsible side, we're not going to let the cat out of the bag yet. Over the course of late 2023 and early 2024, we began working on the next phase of Beautifully Responsible and what that would look like.

I will let the cat out of the bag on one thing: it's a linkage to the economics currents. When you look at home ownership today, with the current economic climate that's out there—and I'm talking single-family—you've got a lot of folks sitting in their homes, they're sitting on low interest rates. The single-family market is underbuilt to the tune of many estimates of 6 million units. That's being masked by higher interest rates. You've got housing affordability. That has been a major factor. And then you have a generational issue. When you look at generational ownership of homes, single-family homes, you have enormous ownership by boomers. We took a hard look in the mirror and said, okay, we need to make sure in our engagement that we're looking at this older population as well and as they approach key remodeling discussions. So, that's just a little hint as to what's taking place there.

Floor Trends & Installation: What's your business outlook?

Bill Blackstock: 2025 I firmly believe is going to be a heck of a year. On the residential side, I'm hopeful that we get relief from the higher interest rates and a couple of other things. That allows homes to begin to turn as far as sales go. I also believe renovation is always a part of every market. It's associated with turns. When those turns happen, typically you're going to have renovation. And I do believe that we're going to see renovation.

Multifamily is in correction—we all know that. But when you look at the broad data on multifamily in the course of 2025, the sheer numbers alone are going to mandate that that market has tailwinds associated with it. So, the total residential picture in 2025 to me looks really solid from a construction standpoint and a remodeling standpoint.

On the commercial side, there are good things happening in institutional. Hospitality is in a great place, and if you stay in a renovated hotel room, or a new one, you're likely now to see resilient product in those rooms. The only laggard right now is office in 2025. It's likely to continue in an adjustment phase. Some of the models I look at say the adjustment phase will begin to ease in 2026. From a strict and economic standpoint, the big worry is the commercial loan situation. But hopefully with good policy, it'll be avoided. 

Resilient loves remodeling on the housing affordability issue. Resilient is there for first home to dream home.