The back-to-school sales continue to start earlier and earlier as retailers try to gain more of the $55 million spent last year, according to the National Retail Federation. This year, Staples opened their sale on 7/6-just after Independence Day!

Perhaps the floor covering industry should consider thinking differently when it comes to sales. The summer months have also been billed as slow months. Why? Consider the following and spur growth of the industry.

Summers are for vacations when the kids are out of school. Reality: This was before schools changed to vacations placed throughout the year to provide better learning opportunities and less time between school years so students would not forget last semester’s/year’s material.

Home Starts Improving

News of June 2011 new housing starts should be good news for the industry. According to research by the economics department of the National Association of Home Builders, housing starts in June totaled 629,000, with growth in the single family (453,000) and multi-family (176,000) categories. In the past 12 months, only November 2010 single family starts were better at only 1,000 more; and the multi-family starts at 176,000 were the third-best in the last year. Year-over-year the multi-family starts were double that of 2010 (88,000).

New and existing home sales definitely drive our economy when you consider the repairs needed before the sale (new flooring, paint, landscaping); in-escrow repairs or termite repairs; and new homeowner work of new flooring, room expansions and updated bathrooms complete with ceramic/stone flooring and fixtures.

New CRI Carpet Installation Standard Released

The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) has published a new, combined standard for the installation of residential and commercial carpet, CRI Carpet Installation Standard 2011.

A free, 36-page PDF of the standard is available on CRI’s website at by clicking on the Carpet and Rug Industry tab, then clicking on Installation Resources.

The combined standard, which replaces CRI’s 104 and 105 installation standards, covers principles and workmanship standards for residential installation, in addition to a detailed outline of proper procedures and terminology used in commercial specification writing, planning, layout and installation. The standard also includes guidelines for floor preparation and installation in special areas.

BNP Media partners with Dirty Jobs’ Mike Rowe to Support Skilled Trades Workers

BNP Media, a parent company of National Floor Trends, has entered into a partnership with Mike Rowe, host of cable show Dirty Jobs, to supply blogs for his website Trades Hub ( The site is dedicated to championing the cause of the skilled trades. Trades Hub currently represents 24 trade industries and covers 58 different topics, varying from safety and insurance to social media and education.

Rowe has “apprenticed” at nearly 300 job sites during the course of hosting Dirty Jobs. Through those experiences, combined with a legacy of a carpenter grandfather, Rowe developed a passion for the skilled trades. Check out his video on to see his commitment to the trades.

At Press Time: Home Improvement Spending Expected to Remain Weak

According to the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, spending on home improvements is expected to remain weak over the next several quarters after showing signs of recovery. The Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) report is projecting annual remodeling spending through Q1 2012 to be down 4%. Said Eric Belsky, Joint Center managing director: “Falling consumer confidence levels have undermined interest in discretionary remodeling projects.”