Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I'm Floored!

“Reno heartache and headache to reno joy”

One of the most difficult and important decisions you need to make during a renovation is the flooring. Way back in an older post we showed the wood flooring we were going to put into the Georgian reno. It was prefinished Jatoba with a very dark redish brown finish. When it came time to prepare for installation we had decided that we wanted the boards to run the length of the house, as opposed to across the house. This created our first problem. Various installers told us that we needed to add another layer of subfloor in order to run the boards in our preferred direction as the engineered floor joist system in the new house ran in the same direction. Urgghhh. Call in the troops!

Over 2200 sq ft of 3/8 inch plywood had to be installed in the house. Glued and screwed to the existing floor, in which we had already installed over 2500 floor screws into to prevent squeeking. We had tremendous help from our friends Dennis Santos, Rommel, Dave Falcone and Lino Pessoa. Most of the job was completed over a weekend with Dennis and Rob finishing the upstairs master bedroom on Rob’s birthday! What a gift!

Rob and Jim Mcneil had already picked up 107 boxes of the jatoba hardwood with the help of Stacey and Danny from Superior Towing who brought a flatbed tow truck to pick up the goods. The trip home from the pick up is one we will never forget as we were unable to tie down the boxes of wood to the truck. Luckily not one box fell off. Rob and Jim spent the next few hours hauling the boxes into the house with half of them having to go upstairs. Brutal job.

Next up major disaster. Once our original installer began installing the jatoba it became clear we had a problem. The finish on the ends of the boards were chipping! As well, the installer was not happy with the quality saying that there were too many “bad” boards. He had already installed about 500 square feet by the time we halted and called in the owner of the flooring store. The next day Rusland the owner of AA Floors came in to inspect. To his credit he agreed with our installer and said that the product was not up to the quality it should have been. If we wanted, he would replace it all with new product. Great.... now we get to rip out 500 square feet of bad hardwood!

Decision time. Take a chance on more Jatoba or bail altogether and go in a different direction. In looking at the overall effect of the already installed jatoba, we concluded that it was too dark and the finish wasn’t really what we had envisioned for the house. Others agreed. Some of the professionals we had in to price the installation suggested that we go with unfinished hardwood and finish it “on site”. But what type of wood to go with? Quarter sawn white oak was the resounding response. Hmmm… white oak for White Oak. Coincidence? We think not!

Rusland exchanged the jatoba for the unfinished quarter sawn oak. 4” wide boards of select and better. They picked up the old stuff and delivered the new at no charge. On the advice of our friend Mario Furtado of Marana Kitchens, we hired Greg Slazony and his crew to do the installation and finishing.

The process is this: Install flooring. Then fill and sand. Then stain. Then first coat oil based lacquer. Then buff out. Then second coat oil based lacquer. Then finish interior work on the house including all cabinetry, painting, and trimming. Then buff second coat, and apply top coat of a water based semi gloss sealant.

Choosing the right color for the stain was unnerving. It’s a big decision and you want to get it right. Our kitchen island for example is mahogany finished in a mediumto dark brown, so it needs to look right against the floor color. Once the floor was installed and sanded, Lucy and I went to the house, where Greg and his expert stainer Bogdan layed down what seemed like countless samples swatches of various browns. We narrowed it down to two which were both walnuts with some reddish tones. To set our minds completely at ease we asked our designer Rosi to come in for her opinion. And so it was settled. Natural Walnut.

The floors are now completed to the stage of the second coat of varnish. They are absolutely amazing and we are over the moon with the results! We love it, it’s that simple. Even though it set us back almost a month with all the trouble we had, in the end, we are happy the jatoba was no good.

Next up...... Friday our Kitchen from Marana Kitchens gets delivered and installed. We're pretty excited and we'll keep you posted.


  1. Would you recommend Greg Szalony then? We are thinking of hiring him to refinish our stairs and install a new rail...thanks.

  2. If you care to identify yourself, I would be happy to respond.