2018 is coming to an end so we’re looking forward to 2019. As the US economy has improved in the past 12 months, home renovations and flooring projects have been an item on many homeowners’ to-do lists. We’ve enjoyed installing quality flooring like hardwood, vinyl, carpet, bamboo, laminate, tile, and stone for businesses and homeowners in Irmo, Lexington, West Columbia, and the surrounding areas in the Midlands of South Carolina.

While we’re hopeful that this positive economy will continue to grow and bring prosperity, there are indicators of change that we’d like to make you aware of. We’ve heard the talk of trade wars and tariffs on the news, and these policies are now likely to affect us in 2019.

Tariffs on Imports

There is no denying that we live in a global economy. Many of the goods that we buy come from across the world – from as close as Mexico and Canada, to as far away as China and Australia. Flooring is no different. Many of our exotic hardwoods come from South America, and China is a primary producer of vinyl flooring planks.

Tariffs on Chinese imports, currently at 10%, are set to rise to 25% in January 2019. Vinyl flooring from China – including luxury vinyl tiles (LVT) and multilayer flooring products like WPC – will not be exempt, and these tariffs will increase the price of vinyl flooring for the consumer. The advances in vinyl flooring products have made them the ideal choice for a high quality, cost-effective flooring for many homeowners and businesses. The flooring industry, including big names like Shaw, Novalis, CFL, Metroflor, the American Chemistry Council, and the Vinyl Institute, have formed a coalition against the tariffs’ implementation.

While the tariffs on Chinese goods will immediately and directly affect the cost of vinyl flooring, this price increase has a knock-on effect for other flooring products. Vinyl has long been the affordable way to get hardwood-look floors without the big price tag. With the price of vinyl rising, manufacturers have taken the opportunity to increase the prices of flooring products across the board. Think about it – vinyl can’t be more expensive than hardwoods or tile or they would never sell the vinyl.

Shortage of Truck Drivers

While our booming economy has people buying more items, transportation of said goods is proving a problem. Did you know there is a severe shortage of truck drivers in the US? Some estimates say the shortage is as high as 51,000. Where are all the truck drivers?

Poor pay, a solitary and sedentary lifestyle, and physically demanding work has kept people away from the industry. That means getting experienced truck drivers is costing more, and there are fewer of them each year. This drives up the cost of transporting goods from ports to the store, and to your home. Unfortunately, this trend is unlikely to change soon, and we are still very far away from having a driverless fleet on the road.

Flooring Costs in 2019

All of this is to say that the price of flooring is going up in 2019. Tariffs and transportation is an unavoidable overhead, and unfortunately this cost is always passed on to the consumer. So if you have a renovation project to do, NOW is the time to do it so you can get the most out of your budget. We’re trying to help our customers as much as possible by giving you a heads up on what we see coming down the road. We offer free in-home consultations so you can see all of our samples without leaving your home. Schedule a no-obligation consultation with Floor Coverings International by calling 803-661-8567 or via our website here.