Hardwood flooring shipments reached nearly 673 million board feet in 2004, the highest level since 1966, according to NOFMA: The Wood Flooring Manufacturers Association. The level reflects a steady upward trend in flooring shipments that has been ongoing since 1991.

NOFMA cites several factors to explain the trend, including the beauty of wood, its durability, and the increase in environmentally friendly buildings. According to the National Association of Home Builders, housing starts are expected to see another strong year in 2005, which is a good indicator that wood flooring demand will remain strong, NOFMA says.