When building a career, it’s not so much about the job, but the people with whom you work and the opportunities you seize. This wood flooring professional, in particular, has always seized opportunities to learn and grow, to achieve better work and a higher-quality end-result.
Sprigg Lynn, the owner of Universal Floors in Washington D.C., has done work in the Supreme Court and the Capitol building for many years. Recently, Lynn was hired to install floors in a series of judges’ chambers in the Supreme Court.
Thinking it would be cool to give others the opportunity to work in the Supreme Court, Lynn posted on social media that he was looking to build a team and was wondering who was interested.
Within minutes, Lynn had several responses from wood flooring professionals throughout the country, excited and ready to help on this job. “It was unique to be able to assemble a dream team and get everyone together to have fun and work their talent,” shares Lynn.
“The most important benefit the NWFA has provided to my business over the years is the networking,” says Lynn. “The NWFA builds this amazing community of professionals and provides countless opportunities for us to learn from each other and grow our skill sets – whether it be through the NWFA Expo, through hands-on training events, or from getting together in settings such as this.”
“We all know the saying, ‘The more you learn, the more you earn,’ and the education that these guys, and myself, have picked up over the years by attending NWFA training events is unparalleled,” shares Lynn. “Students leave the training events ready to get out there and practice what they’ve learned, but a lot of them don’t have the opportunities to do so, or they don’t necessarily have the confidence to go at it alone.”
Lynn’s intention was to build upon the network and education the NWFA provides, and to create an opportunity for professionals to learn together while they work on more elaborate jobs. “It’s my hope that others will catch on to this and do the same thing,” adds Lynn.
This job had wood flooring professionals from all ends of the supply chain, from manufacturers and distributors to installers and finishers. “We had a team of 16 people, including NWFA members Lynn Johnson (DuraSeal), Lenny Hall (Endurance Floor Company Inc.), Toby Merrill (DuraSeal), Stephan Paullehn (Universal Floors), and James Toal (Floors of Distinction), who flew in from all over the country to make this thing happen,” says Lynn.
LIVING THE DREAM
Lenny Hall, the owner of Endurance Floor Company in Miami was honored to be included. “When I saw Sprigg’s post on Facebook, I thought to myself, ‘Well I’ll never be able to work in a historical building like that; how can I make this work with my schedule,’” shares Hall. “When I explained to my clients why I had to push back their jobs, they congratulated me and were excited I was following my passion. It was cool.”
Not only was the location a draw for Hall, but he also wanted to be a part of the group of talented flooring individuals that would be there. “The network of high-quality people the NWFA provides, who are willing to go and do great work for others, it’s amazing,” adds Hall. “The NWFA fosters a community and gives us people to call on and learn from.”
James Toal, the owner of Floors of Distinction in Guilford, Connecticut, added to that sharing, “Life is about relationships. Because of the NWFA and social media, many of us already knew each other. Working on this project has strengthened the friendships I had, but it also allowed me to build new friendships with a few of the guys I was meeting for the first time.”
“It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Research will be done, discussions will be had, and decisions will be made that will affect my family and fellow Americans on these floors that I had a hand in creating,” says Toal. “How amazing is that?”
Typically, Lynn installs historically reclaimed flooring into a room with existing hardwood flooring, and his team has to mimic what is already there. This job was different in that there was no hardwood in the chambers.
“We installed historically correct floors in a herringbone pattern, gluing the floor down to concrete,” shares Lynn. “Depending on which judge resided in each office, some of the chambers were made to be more ornate with detailed border work.”
The wood used for the installation was rift and quartersawn white oak from Allegheny Mountain Hardwood Flooring. This material was chosen for its hardness and durability.
“The borders used white oak and American walnut,” adds Lynn. “The entire floor was a full spread glue-down installation using an adhesive approved for solid floors.”
The floor was sanded with 40 grit and 60 grit on the belt sander, then with 80 grit and 100 grit using the planetary sander, and finished with 120 grit on the multi-head sander.
“We used a clear water-based primer and a semi-gloss water-based finish,” says Lynn.
“At the end of the day, it wasn’t so much about the floor as it was about the job,” adds Lynn. “It was truly unique to see this team of dedicated hardwood flooring professionals come together to work with each other. It was a dream come true.”