Wood is such a beautiful medium. It comes in an unlimited palette of colors, it bends, and it can be cut and glued into any form. I worked on my first wood floor in 1978, and I've been hooked ever since.
Until the 1960s, wood was the flooring of choice. At that time, several factors combined to dethrone hardwood. First, nylon-tufted carpet hit the market and the cost of wall-to-wall carpet dropped by nearly half. Suddenly cheaper than hardwood, carpet became a fashion trend. Then, in 1965, carpet was approved for homes with FHA-backed mortgages. The coup de grace came during the winter of 1972-73 when heavy snow in the north and heavy rain in the south stopped logging. With no new raw material, the price of wood flooring skyrocketed. Hardwood flooring production went from over 1 billion square feet in 1955 to about 99 million square feet in 1975. This huge drop in demand caused most wood flooring master craftsmen to find different work or retire. Along with them went access to their knowledge.
Forty years later, wood is again becoming the floor covering of choice. Unlike carpet, wood flooring can easily last the lifetime of a home, and its durability is coupled with beauty and warmth. It is both renewable and recyclable. Normal maintenance is sweeping or vacuuming. Stains can easily be cleaned from it, and wood flooring does not collect dirt and contaminants that may have negative health effects. With wood species and products in every price range, more wood flooring options are available than ever before. Today's finishes are more durable and the adhesives are stronger. In addition to traditional solid hardwood, we now have prefinished engineered wood floors, which combine the stability of plywood with the durability of hardwood.
I fell for wood flooring at a time when its market had collapsed. To make a living, I pursued a career in engineering, though wood flooring remained my passion and consumed all my free time. For the past three decades, I have read every bit of information on wood floors that I've been able to find, and it hasn't always been easy. Finally, a decade ago, I was able to retire from engineering and devote myself to wood flooring.
Since then, I have won international competitions for wood flooring craftsmanship. I have combined my graduate work in engineering and wood science with my passion for the art of wood flooring to become an internationally recognized wood specialist. I donate my time and knowledge teaching and helping to raise the quality of the industry. I contribute to industry technical manuals and many national publications and I'm involved in an ongoing effort to create national certification programs for craftsmen and inspectors.
I hope this book will aid professionals to elevate their expertise in wood floors and help resurrect the master craftsman of yesteryear. Frank Lloyd Wright once said, "We may use wood with intelligence only if we understand wood." This book provides the basic knowledge needed to understand wood flooring and how it behaves, and includes the treasured techniques of the world's leading wood floor craftsmen. These techniques have been simplified so that anyone with basic carpentry skills should be able to create wood floors befitting a palace. Finally, the book covers problems that can occur with wood floors and their solutions. Consider this book your comprehensive resource on wood floors.