Ben and Erin Napier partner with Swiffer to educate homeowners about cleaning finished wood floors
As the stars of HGTV’s “Home Town,” Ben and Erin Napier are known for revitalizing homes in their community of Laurel, Mississippi. Now in its sixth season, the show follows the husband and wife team as they work to preserve the character of homes while updating them to meet the needs of today.
The Napiers recently launched a partnership with Swiffer to educate homeowners about how to quickly and effectively clean finished hardwood floors. Hardwood Floors magazine spoke with the duo to learn more about this campaign and their love of wood flooring.
Our conversation began with Erin saying that they use wood flooring in more than 90 percent of the homes they renovate. “We try our best to save the original wood floors or add wood floors,” she notes.
They renovate many older homes, and when they walk into those homes for the first time, the condition of the wood floors runs the gamut. In season six of “Home Town,” one house had wood floors with a shellac finish, and the carpet pad, which had been added in the 1960s, had adhered to the shellac.
“We didn’t think we’d be able to get it off. We actually used a 16 or 20 grit sandpaper to tear it off, but the original floors had never been refinished prior, so it was still the original finish from when they had been laid in like 1905,” says Ben. “It’s the closest to new, original heart pine flooring that we had ever seen, and they’re absolutely beautiful.”
Erin says they were worried during that process. “Are we going to have to take these floors from 1905 and cover them up with new wood floors because it has damaged it so badly?” she recalls. “We are getting to see wood that was laid in 1905, and the wood was 300 years old at the time it was put in the house, the trees that the floors were made out of. It’s like getting to see history.”
The couple jokes that they feel a little like an archeologist in instances such as those, just like Indiana Jones. When asked what they like about the look of real wood floors in a home, Erin says that they age differently than any other material in the world.
“Wood floors just get better the older they get,” explains Erin. “The color changes in this way that you can’t fake. When Ben was early in woodworking, he would try his best to take new wood and somehow use stains and different methods to make it look like old wood, and
you just can’t do it. There’s something that only time and light and temperature can do. Wood floors are just this living patina.”
“It’s one of those materials that adds warmth to a room. It instantly adds gravitas to a room,” says Ben. “It’s a premier product, it’s a natural product like copper, so when you see it in a home, you can tell somebody cared about this.”
When we spoke, the Napiers had made a wood flooring decision for a personal project earlier in the day. They are doing a house with 12-inch-wide oak floors made from trees that were cut down on the farm. The flooring is everywhere in the house except the kitchen, so they figured it would be tough to match and possibly easier to give the wood they install in that room a different look. Then, their crew found 11-inch-wide wood flooring.
“They are gorgeous, and now we are thinking we are just going to match the old ones,” adds Erin.
Regarding the new partnership with Swiffer, the Napiers say it was a good fit because of Ben’s expertise in working with wood and because they regularly use the products.
“We have a toddler and a new baby,” says Erin. “There’s a lot that lands on the floor. Like, most of what you give them!”
Ben notes they often are asked how to keep wood floors looking great after a renovation, and he feels like his wood floors are very low maintenance.
Ben will share additional tips regarding wood floor care with homeowners at: instagram.com/scotsman.co/
“It’s interesting to me how many people think wood floors are a pain to maintain and keep up,” adds Ben. “We’ve had them in all our houses, and it’s what we love about the houses. I mean, with two of the houses, a big reason we bought them was because of the wood floors.”
Outside of teaming up with Swiffer, the Napiers have a lot going on. “Home Town” is airing, along with a spin-off show, “Home Town Kickstart.” They’ve opened a factory to make custom butcher block countertops and a candle/bath store, and Erin released a children’s book in May. And it’s very fitting that Erin says “The Lantern House” heavily features beautiful, original wood floors in the story.
Libby White Johnston is the publisher of Hardwood Floors magazine. She can be reached at email@example.com.