Hardwood and Granite

Photos courtesy of Kevin Evans and Caleb Schneekloth | Rock Solid Hardwoods Inc.

Kevin Evans and Caleb Schneekloth of Rock Solid Hardwoods Inc. in Denver, Colorado, recently undertook a remarkable project exemplifying their dedication to craftsmanship and meticulous attention to detail. Tasked with bringing a homeowner’s vision to life, they embarked on a journey to craft a hardwood floor that would serve as the focal point of her home.

“A designer approached us in our showroom, seeking a distinctive flooring solution for her new residence,” explains Evans. “After careful consideration, she selected solid 8” character grade live-sawn white oak from Henderson Mill.”

This flooring would be combined with 18” granite square tiles to make for a dramatic and beautiful pattern extending down the home’s main hallway.

“She wanted a pattern that would accentuate the wood. She selected 18” x 18” white granite,” explains Evans. “However, before our installation could begin, there would have to be tremendous attention paid to the small details, including both acclimation and subsurface preparation.”

Given Denver’s arid climatic conditions, careful attention was paid to moisture content to prevent issues such as shrinkage and gapping.

“During the winter months here in Denver, moisture content can drop as low as 4 percent, leading to potential shrinkage in solid hardwood flooring,” explains Schneekloth. “Neglecting this aspect can result in significant gapping issues.”

By collaborating closely with builders and designers well in advance, the team ensured proper acclimation of the wood, stored in a climate-controlled warehouse until installation. Before commencing the installation process, meticulous subfloor preparation was essential. The team at Rock Solid Hardwoods sanded down the OSB subfloor, ensuring a level surface devoid of any imperfections. Every trace of paint and overspray was removed meticulously to create an immaculate foundation for the flooring installation.

“Any floor that we glue down, we scour the subfloor to ensure we get any debris off of it. We also scuff it up to promote adhesion and get a good bond. This is especially important when using wide planks, but it is something we do no matter the width,” explains Evans.

Additionally, 5-millimeter rubber sound mitigation was installed atop the subflooring, addressing the homeowner’s priority of minimizing noise transmission.

The homeowner envisioned a design that would accentuate the wood flooring’s natural beauty. Opting for 18” x 18” white granite tiles, she sought to create a striking focal point in the entryway. Using a laser guide, the team meticulously centered the granite tiles, extending the pattern seamlessly throughout the hallway and into the main living space.

“It was originally just going to be at the very front of the entryway, but once we started working on the pattern, she decided she wanted to take it through the entire hall until we got into the main house,” says Evans. “She wanted to draw a lot of attention to the center of the hallway as you walk into the front door.”

Adopting a log cabin-inspired design, each granite tile was surrounded by two 8” wide boards, creating a cohesive pattern that spanned the hallway’s length. Precise measurements and attention to detail were crucial to maintaining consistency and squareness, with 1/16” grout lines meticulously maintained.

“We needed to make sure that the stone was in tolerance and on-site. She did want to see a 1/16” grout line on each of the granite tiles,” recalls Evans. “We had to make sure that they were both consistent and square. We had to go through and measure each piece and snap our lines out. They used sanded caulking instead of grout to allow for a bit of expansion and contraction.”

Before installing the granite tiles, the team applied a finish of Bona Natural Seal to the wood floor, ensuring the edges of the pattern were sealed to prevent grout leakage and potential staining.

“This method also eliminated the risk of damaging the granite with our sander,” explains Evans.

The remainder of the floor featured a straight-lay design, with a captivating x-pattern in the dining room, mirroring the ceiling. Finally, to enhance the wood’s natural beauty, deep knots were filled with a two-part black epoxy, providing depth and character to the flooring, and complementing the wood’s natural characteristics.

After thorough sanding and cleaning, the floor was hand-filled with a latex white oak filler before receiving a final finish of Bona Natural Seal and two coats of Bona Traffic HD Extra Matte.

Delighted with the outcome, the homeowner eagerly awaits professional photography to capture the beauty of her newly transformed space, a testament to the skill and craftsmanship of the team at Rock Solid Hardwoods Inc.

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