Universal Floors Inc. was awarded two 2021 Craftsmanship Awards in the Finishes – Flooring category by the Washington Building Congress (WBC). In the last 64 years, over 13,700 craftsmen have been recognized for their workmanship on more than 3,500 winning projects.
In the first project, Universal Floors Inc. sourced, supplied and installed an FSC live sawn white oak herringbone with a custom three-band round border. First, the herringbone pattern was installed. The next step was to map out the border around the perimeter. The border was handmade by Universal Floors, from raw lumber to a finished custom curved border.
“We make curved borders the old-fashioned way. Once we made a curved plywood form, the process began. Each wide board was cut up into small flexible strips. Every strip was numbered, labeled, and kept in order. This is very important to keep the grain intact for the final finished look. All the strips were glued to each other. The thin strips of wood were placed in our handmade plywood form. The wood was slowly torqued to conform to the rounded shape,” the team shared.
In the second project, the team had to restore a historic wood floor at the Josiah Henson Museum without sanding and repair, and install salvaged antique material where missing. Each salvaged antique heart pine plank from the early 1800s had to be cleaned, pieced together, repaired, re-grooved, and saved. The backs of the boards had to be planned to fit each adjoining board. A custom shim system was made for the subfloor so that the flooring would meet with existing, following the undulating from time past. Every shim was individually made.
“The broken corners, sides and moving edges had to be carefully and meticulously filled, colored with organic dyes and stained emulating the existing color, texture and sheen. The cracks and fractures were adhered with a special restoration adhesive. Our filling process is mostly organic. Cork, binder, organic dyes, and natural oils are used. This process does not harm the existing antique floor and can be removed if necessary. The method does not alter the original historic fabric. I created and perfected this method over the years,” shared Universal Floors Inc.
WBC created the Craftsmanship Awards Program to honor those who individually provided exceptional workmanship on buildings throughout the Washington, D.C. area. Awards are made for a wide range of skills: elaborate and technical installation of mechanical systems, beautiful cabinet and woodwork, artistic painting, and masonry and stonework.
View a video of the winning entries in the Finishes – Flooring category and a complete list of winners.