The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) held its annual Wood Flooring Expo recently in Phoenix, with a robust turnout. The show both opened and closed with keynote speaker Matt Beaudreau, who shared his perspective as a millennial on how to bridge the generation gap and work collaboratively in the wood flooring industry.

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“I’m sharing a positive message of perspective and adaption,” he stated. “The Top Five ways millennials want to communicate with you and your business are: through text (we hate voice messages), email (the subject line will determine whether we open it), social media (for a business, social media is no longer an option but a requirement), a phone call and lastly, face-to-face.”

He added that in order to court millennials, “use words like unique, special, one-of-a-kind, custom. Start at step 5—show us the outcome—and then work backwards. We are entirely a generation of visual learners, and creating a visual gets people on the same page.”

Demos and technical presentations

NWFA hosted two Exhibitor Demonstration Theaters, which showcased product demos from a variety of companies. Additionally, the show floor featured a Tech Zone where hardwood flooring experts could share their expertise with installers and contractors.

Bill Treiber, Artistic Finishes’ technical sales and education manager, walked attendees through several of the company’s stair tread and riser offerings, including the new Enduracor WPC product. Treiber also demonstrated installing treads with Wakol MS 245 adhesive.

“Wakol MS 245 can go through seasonal freeze-thaw cycles. It will bond to steel, sealed or unsealed concrete, wood/OSB, drywall, Styrofoam, etc. It has a very high green grab and features elastomeric qualities—offering flexibility yet performance. It’s what we recommend you use,” he said.

FCI editorial director, NWFA board member and regional instructor Jon Namba was on hand during both days of the Tech Zone seminars to offer technical advice. One of his presentations was on Repair Techniques for hardwood flooring.

He noted, “What happens when someone leaves a footprint in the finish? You need to take a hand scraper and scrape down the finish. You might have to hit it with sandpaper, then touch up the stain. It’s a lot easier to blend the quicker you get to it.”

For nicks in engineered flooring that are too deep for stain markers, Namba recommends a hard wax repair kit. “You want to heat up the hot knife, then melt the colored sticks and blend them. You can also use the hot knife to create wire-brush details. Hot wax kits are originally from the furniture side, but they work great for flooring, too. They will make you a lot of money and save you a lot of money.”

New product highlights

Michele LaMori, executive vice president of ECF (Eco Cork Foam) explained the benefits of ECF underlayment. “It has a 6 mil vapor barrier already attached. It’s tear- and puncture-resistant, and has both cork and foam in it. That creates better acoustical performance.”

Primatech’s Dominique Dion showcased the company’s 550 Combo Nailer/Stapler 2 in 1 tool, which takes both 18 gauge cleats and staples.

At the DriTac booth, Myrna Block, executive vice president, spoke about the company’s pride in its Made in the USA heritage. “We’re one of the very few adhesive manufacturers who can say that we are both owned and operated in the U.S.,” she noted.

DriTac unveiled Double Impact Underlayment for wood flooring and Impact Underlayment for resilient flooring. Both products offer sound and moisture control, and zero VOCs, she added.

Eric Kurtz, Bostik’s hardwood installation systems market manager, talked about the origins of the company’s Climb adhesive, which can be used to adhere hardwood panels to walls and for installing stair treads. “Climb started as an adhesive in our automotive division used to bond windshields. We modified it for wood by making it easier to use and lowering the VOCs. It’s very user-friendly, with no sag on walls,” he explained.

Closing reception

 During the closing reception, outgoing NWFA Chairman of the Board Tommy Maxwell passed the gavel to incoming chairman Chris Zizza. Afterward, U.S. Army Master Sergeant Cedric King took the stage to share his story of losing his legs during a reconnaissance mission and how the Gary Sinise Foundation helped him get his life back. The NWFA partners with the Foundation to help build custom-built smart homes for injured veterans.

“The Gary Sinise Foundation honors sacrifice, and they didn’t want me to miss a beat as a husband, father or soldier. I learned that obstacles are our friends. It doesn’t look like a friend, but that experience turned out to be the best friend I ever had, just dressed in really ugly clothes,” King stated.

NWFA will hold its next convention April 10-13 in Tampa, Fla. For more information, visit