Dynamic Duo Doesn’t Get “Stumped” by Installation Challenges

The husband-and-wife team of Joe and Staci Martinez have been installing and refinishing floors through their company, Phoenician Wood Floors, for close to four years.

Joe grew up in the wood flooring industry, working with his dad at his company, Martinez and Sons Floors, out of Phoenix. “As a little kid, I remember sanding, scraping, and finishing gymnasiums. Then I moved on to doing houses after I got older. It’s a family business,” he says.

Staci initially started her career as a welder, and after spending time with Joe on a couple of jobsites, she fell in love with the craft. “Once we made the decision to start Phoenician Wood Floors, I chose to leave welding and join Joe. It’s my full-time job; it’s his full-time job. It has been almost four years, and I love it as much as he does,” she says.

The team recently received a call to do an installation of some reclaimed maple flooring. The owners had an old gym floor in a storage unit that they wanted to use. Joe and Staci went to evaluate the material and when they were on-site made an exciting discovery.

“While we were looking over the material making sure it was usable, we noticed they had a whole stack of tree stumps. I asked the owner what he was planning to do with the stumps, and he said, ‘Oh, nothing; those are just centerpieces from our wedding.’ I asked if they had ever thought of incorporating those pieces somewhere in the floor, and he said he would go home and talk to his wife. He gave us a call back later and told us they wanted to use the stumps in their lookout tower at their lake house,” says Staci.

The lake house is located on Lake Herman in Madison, South Dakota. The duo started the process by laying out the stumps, a combination of elm and oak. Next, they did a four-board border of the reclaimed maple, which was used throughout the rest of the house. The spaces between the stumps were filled with epoxy. This created an interesting challenge because there are six air vents and a trap door within the floor. Once the epoxy dried, the team had to tackle the next hurdle as they started the sanding process.

“In order to get into the lookout area, you have to climb a ladder. We had to break down the sanding machine to fit it through the trap door and reassemble it on the other side,” says Joe. “Then once we got everything up there, we didn’t have a whole lot of space to work. We had to cut a hole through the door to feed the drum cord through so that we could put the door in place to sand the floor.”

Since the flooring was all end-grain, the team had to go through the whole sequence, using every number of grit paper to get the floor flat and apply finish. The floor was finally finished with two coats of Osmo Polyx Oil in clear matte.

“With the way we installed the stumps over the trap door, once it’s closed, you barely see it. When we cut the logs, we split them with the door. The homeowners were ecstatic with the results,” says Joe.

“It was definitely a challenge, but it was also a fun learning experience. It’s good to have customers that let you do these kinds of installations and give you the go-ahead to use your artistic abilities,” adds Staci.

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