Image: Coatings World
Growth in the wood coatings market is very much dependant on the housing market. 2017 saw a robust housing market and all indications are this trend will continue. “Economic indicators are favorable for the architectural coatings industry in the coming year with projections indicating that both housing and commercial construction will grow in 2018,” said Alison Bruce, senior marketing manager, PPG.
“It was a good year for coatings as Sherwin-Williams Industrial Wood Coatings Division saw steady gains in all of the market segments in which we participate,” said Joe Kujawski, business director, Sherwin-Williams Industrial Wood Coatings Division. “We are closely tied with the housing market, serving manufacturers in the kitchen cabinetry, furniture, flooring and wood building products segments. Both single family and multifamily housing gains were a part of that. As housing has a good year, so do we.”
According to Jenny Thavenet, marketing director at Rust-Oleum, wood care market sales continue to increase year over year. “Boomers are downsizing from traditional five-bedroom family houses to updated three-bedroom homes or condos and finding their heirloom furniture and décor is no longer scaled to fit the new, sleekly designed contemporary environments,” said Thavenet.
“Their furniture and décor feels dated and consumers are updating both. Millennials are driving their own trends as well, with social media being an influencer to their space. Environmentally friendly and repurposed/reclaimed furniture and décor trumps other considerations.”
Wood care is a complex category with many factors affecting brand choice and project completion. “Weather plays a huge role in this category and with no end in sight for the trend of extreme weather, consumers are going to look to brands for products that give them more climate flexibility and durability even in the most extreme weather,” said Bruce. “Especially now, as we see consumers waiting longer in between staining projects than in years past. They will look for brands they know and trust to provide the durability they expect, such as PPG’s OLYMPIC brand, a brand that’s provided protection and durability for all wood types, applications and budgets since 1938.”
Sherwin-Williams provide coatings and finishing expertise to a wide variety of wood product markets. “That includes furniture, kitchen cabinets, flooring, and building products such as doors, windows and exterior siding,” said Kujawski. “We also serve the specialty wood products market with a diverse array of products such as musical instruments, picture frames, toys, sports equipment, aircraft and marine interiors, and burial caskets.”
Wood care comprises both DIY and professional markets. “Consumers see trends and inspiration from both markets,” Thavenet said.
Customers are looking for a variety of features when selecting wood coatings. According to Thavenet, these include on-trend colors/finishes and looks, products that allow projects to be completed faster without sacrificing quality and durability.
“Customers continue to look for woodcare products that are versatile, durable and easy to apply regardless the climate,” said Bruce. “PPG’s Olympic Elite Advanced Stain + Sealant in One, for instance, is engineered to protect and enhance the natural beauty of wood. Olympic Elite stain is formulated to provide lasting protection against the elements by providing advanced waterproofing and UV protection, a urethane-fortified coating, resistance to cracking, scratching and peeling and a coating, which resists mold, mildew algae on the dry paint film. Consumers are also looking for all-in-one products, where the stain also acts as a sealer. With Olympic Elite WOODLAND OIL and Semi-Transparent products, one coat is all you need to achieve a beautiful and durable finish.”
“We also have found that consumers rely on Pressure-Washing to clean their deck prior to staining, and while Pressure-Washers are a great way to clean, inexperience can cause damage to the wood that the stain cannot cover,” said Bruce. “We recommend using our Olympic Premium Deck Cleaner to clean wood prior to staining. It works quickly and does not require scrubbing. It’s a more effective way to clean than using water alone.”
“Customers expect us to deliver durable coating products – that’s a given. But they’re also facing two issues that we’re helping them address,” said Kujawski. “First, customers in the kitchen cabinetry segment are seeing more offshore competition than ever. Those products are sold in North America in a variety of ways – through online sales, through distribution or through a company’s own stores.
“Second, because of the strong economy and higher employment levels, it’s becoming more difficult for them to find labor with the skills needed to help them manufacture a quality product,” added Kujawski. “To deal with those issues, they’ve asked us to help them become more efficient and cost-effective. We’ve launched new products and services to help them in that regard – waterborne finishes and UV finishes are two examples.
Sherwin-Williams also recognizes the need for skilled, competent finishing professionals. To that end Sherwin-Williams has invested in the future of the wood industry by committing $300,000 to the Manufacturing Industry Learning Lab (MiLL), a new national training center located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The MiLL is dedicated to teaching the next generation of wood manufacturing tradesmen and women.
“Our customers are also asking us to help give them a competitive edge,” said Kujawski. “As I said, the coatings have to be durable, but they’re looking for finishes that add to the aesthetics of their finished goods to help separate them from competitors. Homeowners are looking for kitchen cabinetry that coordinates, complements and enhances the rest of their interior design strategy.
The kitchen has taken on more of an entertaining role in the home – it’s a primary family gathering spot. Because folks are spending more time in the kitchen, they desire a refined style that blends with the rest of the home’s furnishings, such as furniture, window treatments, artwork – really the overall architectural and design scheme of the home. Because of that, cabinetry has gone well beyond traditional finishes to a rainbow of colors.”
“That’s where services like the Sherwin-Williams Global Color and Design Center (GCDC) can help a manufacturer.,” Kujawski added. “The GCDC is a full-service design studio, application center and technical lab serving the wood industry with customized support for every step of the finishing process. Led by Color and Design Manager Lauren West, the GCDC is a tremendous resource for our customers. It allows them to see the newest custom finishes and effects, and learn about color trends. The GCDC’s staff helps customers through color assessments, hands on training and real-world finishing simulations that allow them to test new colors and finishes on equipment similar to that which would be used in their own manufacturing facility.”
Kujawski said Sherwin-Williams has seen a dramatic demand for its color styling services over the last year. “Success seems to beget success; one manufacturer uses the services of the GCDC, launches a new product and succeeds in the marketplace. Their competitors take note and that leads them to us. It really builds on itself,” said Kujawski.
PPG’s latest wood coating offering is the Timeless Stain transparent product lineup. Timeless delivers advanced penetrating oil technology that works its way deep into the wood to beautify and protect from the inside out, according to the company. Using proprietary PPG urethane-fortified technology, PPG Timeless stain delivers exceptional protection against the elements like sun and water. This technology allows the stain to be flexible so it can help wood to withstand more of the expansion and contraction that naturally occur – when it gets wet and then dries, or gets cold and then hot – and cause it to crack. With its powerful UV radiation absorbers, the stain also protects both the condition and color of the wood it coats.
PPG Timeless stain provides decks, fences and more with enduring beauty through rich, vibrant and deep colors, giving homeowners a beautiful backdrop for entertaining and enjoying. The line’s palette, developed by global PPG color experts, offers a curated color selection and uses only the most durable pigments. The stain is available in five finishes: transparent penetrating wood oil; satin semi-transparent luxury wood finish; and semi-transparent, semi-solid, and solid color stain-and-sealant-in-one options.
Sherwin-Williams recently launched a new generation of waterborne UV coatings which are displacing solventborne UV coatings in the marketplace. This is in line with the manufacturers’ desires to be more efficient, cost-effective and expand their offerings.
Flatline UV waterborne finishing can speed the ability to handle finished parts by up to 75 percent. That also helps a manufacturer save on utility costs and enhances their sustainability story – less time spent in the drying process means lower energy usage.
“Adding to that sustainability story is the fact that up to 85 percent of the overspray can be reclaimed and reused,” said Kujawski. “Overspray reuse also cuts down on the cost of coatings – a manufacturer can do more with less. Plus, waterborne UV flatline coatings carry no formaldehyde and offer extremely low VOCs. A manufacturer with more demand may face a permitting issue using solventborne coatings – he has to produce more, but is stymied by permit limits. Waterborne UV allows that manufacturer to produce more with little to no increase in emissions.”
“And because consumers are looking for more unique colors, Sherwin-Williams has made it easier than ever for manufacturers to match custom colors through our 70+ local facilities and more than 4,000 storefronts,” said Kujawski. “Customers don’t have to wait for custom colors to meet their stringent product schedules.”
Rust-Oleum has launched Aged Wood Accelerator in both the Varathane and Rust-Oleum brands. “Based off the success of the Weathered Wood Accelerator, which is a gray-toned product, we are launching an Aged Wood Accelerator, which provides a one-of-a-kind weathered look into brown tones,” said Thavenet. “Creating a weathered/distressed look on wood furniture continues to be a top trend. We’ve developed a revolutionary new water-based formula that creates a one-of-a-kind aged brown look on all types of wood. Simply apply on bare wood and get an aged look in minutes.”
Rust-Oleum also launched Next Generation Stain + Poly, in both the Varathane and Rust-Oleum brands. “Now consumers can complete an entire project in just one coat,” said Thavenet. “This revolutionary formula saves an incredible amount of time by allowing consumers to complete projects five times faster than using a typical stain and then top coating with a poly. One coat equals two coats of a current stain and polyurethane. The formula creates a smooth, rich and even color in one coat. It can be used over current polyurethane finishes, so you can change the color of your finished wood without removing the existing finish.”
AkzoNobel Showcases 2018 Wood Coatings Color, Styling Trends
AkzoNobel’s wood coatings design experts presented the latest findings on color and styling trends at the Fall 2017 High Point International Home Furnishings Market.
At the event, trends for furniture, cabinetry, flooring and building products were presented to a select group of manufacturers, designers and product developers across the wood industries. During the presentation, Heart Wood was launched as the 2018 AkzoNobel Color of the Year.
Robert Haley, Color Trends manager for AkzoNobel’s Wood Coatings business, explained how specific styles within the wood market are moving into 2018.
Haley identified the importance of the open home design concept that is dominating new home construction and home renovations.
”Open spaces provide opportunity for a flow of styles between areas within the home due to the absence of distinct rooms,” he said. “This flow impacts design elements including building products, flooring, cabinetry and furniture selections. It also provides infinite combinations in design, creating distinct and individual living spaces.”
- Historically Modern – Dominant wood tones, mixing contemporary looks with historically relevant pieces
- Reclamation – Products that are weathered, raw and organic that show the imperfections in wood
- Pearl & Metallic – A mix of modern and transitional that sparkle with a contemporary shimmer
- Opaque – The style dominating cottage and lodge design, with two-tone looks that can also be used to create a dramatic contemporary style
“These trends influence many designs,” he added. “Our job is to help our customers translate these trends into interesting colors, unique techniques and wood finishing processes in support of their business objectives. Sharing how the company’s Color of the Year, Heart Wood, can be expressed on different wood substrates and used in a measured tonal value provides product designers an on-trend and broader palette to consider.”
Haley’s presentation was delivered at a client appreciation gathering hosted by AkzoNobel at the market event, with nearly 200 industry leaders from around the world in attendance, per the company.
The exhibit was completed with a vignette interpreting the 2018 Color of the Year in furniture, cabinetry, flooring and building products to provide inspiration for guests.