By putting the needs and desires of a customer first, Justin Boone of Boone Flooring in Jacksonville, Florida, demonstrated that listening to a client and working to provide value is a winning and satisfying approach.
“I was introduced to a client who wanted to have 4,000 square feet of rift and quartered wide oak refinished and updated to a new color. It was 8” wide planks done in a herringbone pattern in her formal living room and a French parquet pattern in the dining room,” explains Boone. “The catch was that the floor had originally undergone a fuming process by a cabinet company that had installed the floor, and she was adamant that we not do that process again inside of her home. Others she had spoken with told her that was her only option.”
The client explained that while she wanted the floor restored and color updated, she did not want to jeopardize the fume finish on it, which gave the floor what Boone referred to as a “centuries-old castle look.”
“Unfortunately, the fuming process involves ammonia, and redoing it meant everything in her house would need to be covered to protect the surfaces, and the homeowners would need to vacate the home temporarily,” says Boone. “It was made clear this was not going to be an option. Originally, the fuming process took place in a warehouse before the floor had been installed as they didn’t want to jeopardize any of the other finishes in the home.”
Boone knew he would have to think outside of the box to give them what they needed.
“After weighing my options, I came to accept that the best approach I could offer was simply doing a very deep clean on the floor and then start over with hard wax oil,” recalls Boone. “I had been to a lot of NWFA training schools, and it was something that I knew I could do. That said, I understand why others she had contacted about the job may have been hesitant. Perhaps they didn’t want to add a job on their schedule this size that was just a buff and clean.”
To deep clean the floor, Boone chose to use a maroon pad and a cleaning solution, which took all the old hard wax oil and other residues off the floor. He was able to take the whole floor back to bare wood where the fuming process was located.
“The floor has seen a lot of traffic due to the homeowner hosting parties and gatherings, but over four days, I was able to get all of the old contaminants off the floor, as well as the old hard wax oil,” he explains. “In some areas, I used steel wool, and in other areas, we went back over it again with the maroon pad and a concentrated cleaning solution.”
With the floor clean, Boone then was able to apply new hard wax oil and a final finish of castle brown Rubio Monocoat.
“The cleaned and refinished floor looked fabulous, and the client was so thrilled that we were able to accommodate her needs when others could not,” he says. “Yes, it would have been easier in some ways to re-do the fume finish, but it’s so satisfying to be able to use what you’ve learned to make your customers happy. Always remember that no job is too small, simple often is the best approach, education matters, and there are a lot of different ways to do things.”