ICS Magazine

Hardwood flooring sales hit 40-year record

February 15, 2006
February 12, 2006 -- More people ordered hardwood flooring in 2005 than they have in the 40 years since use of wall-to-wall carpeting was approved in homes.

The Wood Flooring Manufacturers Association (NOFMA) reports 527.2 million square feet of wood flooring was shipped last year, a 1.7 percent rise over 518 million square feet shipped in 2004. In December 2005, 41.4 million square feet of flooring was shipped, a 3 percent drop over 42.7 million square feet shipped in December 2004.

Association members attribute the high numbers to the strength of the new home construction and remodeling markets.

"We know that the residential repair and remodel market, which for flooring generally means pull and replace, represents about three times the square footage used in new home construction," NOFMA executive vice president Timm Locke said in a statement. "So, even if we see a fall-off in new home starts in the coming year, we anticipate wood flooring will continue to enjoy strong markets at least until the rate at which people move from one home to another begins to decline and thus replacement of flooring during initial small remodeling activities declines as well."

The Federal Housing Administration approved wall-to-wall carpeting in 1966, causing an 85 percent drop in strip flooring shipments over the next 10 years. Shipment levels remained low due to a series of economic recessions and high interest rates that hit the housing market.

The wood flooring industry began to recover in the 1980s, and shipment levels have been steadily climbing since 1991. Shipments of wood flooring reached a peak in 1955, with 929.5 million square feet shipped. Association members attribute the popularity of wood floors to their durability, aesthetics and the value they bring to homeowners.