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The BC Hardwood Millwork Company was founded in 1904, manufacturing flooring for the rapidly expanding Vancouver market. In the 1960s, Raymond Crompton, father of the current CEO, Ken Crompton, became involved in the company’s operations. During the past 40 years, the Crompton family has guided the growth of BC Hardwood to evolve into one of Canada’s largest hardwood flooring companies.
Today, BC Hardwood Floor Co. consists of more than 60 employees and provides full hardwood flooring services including supply and distribution of flooring materials, installation, sanding, and finishing. When the company took a job restoring the floor of the historic Dwight Hall located on Powell River, the crew had no idea they would also discover a piece of BC Hardwood’s history.
“This hall was a particularly prestigious contract for our company,” shared Richard Hook, Technical Services Manager. “At the time it was constructed, Dwight Hall was built with no expense spared and was one of the most elegant halls in BC. The installation required a great deal of craftsmanship.”
Dwight Hall is considered “a crowning gem of the town.” With a capacity of up to 400 guests, the venue hosts weddings, private parties, company functions, concerts, and annual holiday celebrations. Built in 1927, the hall’s interior features beautiful arched ceilings, recessed wood panel walls, and, thanks to the crew at BC Hardwood, a new 5,000-square-foot hardwood dance floor.
“The floor had worn thin and was showing its age, and there were also some subfloor issues that needed to be addressed. Initially, we assumed the floor would be a straight install, but during the site inspection, we realized that there was a 15-foot ‘log cabin’ border. We recognized that recreating the border would be more true to the historic nature of the building,” said Hook.
The installation consisted of nail-down of first-grade, North/Eastern Canadian, tongue-and-groove hard maple. During the removal process, the crew discovered the company’s mill stamp from 1927 on one of the boards.
“When we were removing the floor, our lead foreman Bob Hook just happened by chance to pull the lineup board out, flipped it over and it had our company stamp on it,” said Hook. He sent a picture back with the caption, “Looks like we were on this job before.”
As it turned out, BC Hardwood had milled and installed the first floor for Dwight Hall’s opening in 1927. To come across a piece of flooring from back then is a rare find, but Hook shares that the team has had this unique experience before.
“It’s happened once before at the Empress Hotel in Victoria,” said Hook about the famous hotel’s Tea Lobby that was built in the early 1900s. “We restored that one almost 10 years ago. One piece had a BC Hardwood stamp on it as well.”
After subfloor remediation, the team added a layer of plywood and installed the new floor as per the original in a 75-board-width, interlocked log cabin border pattern. The new Dwight Hall floor is identical to the first one BC Hardwood installed more than 90 years ago.
Hook also shared that in the mid-20th century, the original floor was replaced by another company. “We know the timing due to the type of nails they used,” he said. “It was a screw-type nail used just after the war, up until the 1970s. It was all hand-nailed back then.”
The work was completed by a five-person crew and took about three weeks from start to finish. Timing was critical due to high demand from the community for the use of the facility, especially from April through May.
Hook said the new floor should last as long as Dwight Hall stands, but if another floor is needed in the future, that crew may discover a piece from today.
“Our crews sign the floors with the date and where they are from,” said Hook. “This job is legendary within our organization as it was exciting to discover this piece of BCH history. It also built great comradery among the team.”
All floors entered in the 2018 contest were eligible. The floors were then featured on the NWFA’s social media channels, allowing followers to share, like, and comment on their favorite. The floor that received the most engagement received this award. This entry was originally submitted under the Best Restoration/Makeover category.
Wood: Appalachian Flooring, TRC Distribution
Saws: DeWalt, Bosch
Nailers: Primatech, Bostich, Senco
Subfloor Adhesive: Franklin Titebond
Moisture Meter: Delmhorst
Sander: American Sanders, EMack
Abrasives: Norton, Bona
Installation Type: Nail-Down
Flooring Type: Solid
Flooring Style: Strip
Flooring Finish: Jobsite Finished
Finish Sheen: Gloss
Finish Type: Surface Finish: Moisture-cured
Species: First Grade, North/Eastern Canadian, Hard Maple
Square Feet: 5,500