For hardwood flooring installers, many projects present a chance to craft something distinctive. Pat Goodman of Goodman Custom Flooring in Fayetteville, West Virginia, recently was able to skillfully bring a customer’s vision into reality through a project involving random-width ash flooring. The floor demonstrates the impact of wire-brushed texture, pre-tone technique, and the incorporation of brass elements.
“The project presented us with several challenges requiring creative solutions. The house was less than 1,000 square feet, but due to its L-shape, it required that the flooring changes in direction,” explains Goodman. “Using varying widths of 3”, 4”, and 5” of ash previously purchased by the homeowner from a mill in upstate Virginia, we created a dynamic cabin-joint herringbone pattern across the floor.”
Goodman was then asked to install the same flooring in the home’s cramped loft area. Working in such a tight space added another layer of complexity.
“The homeowner also wanted flooring installed in a loft area with a 5-foot-high ceiling. The only way to get up there is to crawl around, which gave a new meaning to working on your knees in a tight space like that,” he says.
To accentuate the flooring on the main level of the home, the customer asked Goodman to install brass elements into the floor.
“My customer has a strong affinity for both texture and brass, but he did not want a traditional brass feature strip following a room border,” explains Goodman. “To balance what the homeowner wanted, I suggested the floor should be wire-brushed and cerused, with small to medium-sized brass inlays placed randomly around the floor. He loved the idea.”
With the layout finalized, Goodman and the homeowner then began to focus on what the texture and color of the floor would be.
“The customer wanted something light and unique with a two-toned appearance to compliment the light two-tone paint throughout the home. I felt a wire brush technique was the best way to pull off this look. It gives you a great texture by pulling the soft grain out, but leaving the hard grain,” says Goodman. “After wire brushing, I applied a white water-based pre-tone to the floor. The top layer then was sanded off, while the soft grain holding the pigment was preserved.”
Finally, he applied Loba Invisible finish tinted with a small amount of whitener, giving the floor a natural appearance.
“If we had only just tinted the finish, the floor would come out cloudy. Rather, the customer wanted what he described as an invisible look with just a hint of white,” says Goodman.
“This process makes it look almost like an unfinished floor. It was complicated and took some trial and error, but the result surpassed his expectations.”
Despite the challenges, the final result reflects the dedication, creativity, and skill Goodman invested in the project.
“It’s our job to bring our customer’s vision to life as much as possible,” says Goodman. “Being able to take the ash flooring and give it such a nice color and texture to compliment the soft two-toned color palette inside the home, along with the brass and the beautiful pattern, was extremely satisfying.”