Bright, colorful game lines and logos add excitement and beauty, leaving a lasting impression on athletes and spectators who use or view the floor.
Many of today's homeowners with hardwood floors are looking for that one-of-a-kind design to make their floor unique. The industry has come a long way in achieving creative and colorful designs, accents and special effects using glazes, paints, stains and finishes as well as custom prefinished inlaid border and medallion inserts.

As a wood flooring contractor, these special effects offer you an up-sell opportunity that sets your business apart from the competition. Your customers will get a unique, customized look that is affordable, and you'll reap the benefits from happy customers and increase your referral business.

Look Closer...
That's Paint on the Floor

Typically, when we think of stenciling and/or painting a floor, the first thing that comes to mind is a gymnasium. Bright, colorful game lines and logos add excitement and beauty - and ultimately leave a lasting impression on athletes and spectators who use or view the floor. Many contractors find that logo and game line painting is one of the most exciting parts of a gym floor project because it offers the opportunity to create a customized look.

Mike Galloway (a.k.a. the Wizard of Wood) in Lake Zurich, Ill, has been creating colorful designs and logos with paint in school gymnasiums for over thirty years, the last fifteen spent creating colorful designs and logos with paint.

"One day a customer asked me about the possibility of stenciling a border on the wood floors in his home," says Mike. "I found the technique was easily adaptable to the residential setting, and the floor turned out great." Since then, Mike has carved a niche in the middle to high-end residential market because he offers something unique that his competitors don't. "My name has gotten out there by word of mouth from satisfied customers, and I have seen my business grow steadily."

Like gymnasiums, there's really no limit to what you can create on a residential wood floor, whether site finished or prefinished. Paint can imitate marble, granite and tile or it can be used to simulate inlays, medallions, carpet and rugs or other designs. Stains can be used to mimic the look of inlaid exotic woods. You can offer these faux looks to your customers for about half the cost of what it would be to use the real materials. Most of these methods are easy to do - meaning you can create looks quickly and easily at a price your customers can afford, and move on to your next job faster.

Faux looks such as this painted border can be created for about half the cost of what it would be to use the real materials.

Mike says that for a newly sanded floor, he applies two water based seal coats, screens, tapes off the design and stencils, and finishes off with 1-2 coats of water based topcoat. For recoats, he cleans the floor thoroughly, stencils and then applies a thin coat of a water based bonding agent prior to finishing with a water based topcoat. You can use water based or oil based paint. Many professionals tend to avoid oil based paints because of the difficult clean up and longer dry times. With water based paints, smudges can be wiped up quickly and easily with a damp cloth.

Timeless Beauty is
Just an Inlay Away

Special effects replicated with stain, paint or glazes may not be the answer for every customer. Maybe they want to explore inlaid designs with other materials such as exotic woods, glass, metal or stone. With most inlays, customers can choose from standard options or customize their own look with the help of a designer. With the choices of pattern, design and exotic wood species available today, the possibilities are endless.

OshKosh Floor Designs (Winneconne Wis.), has taken wood floors to a new level with inlay and parquet. They offer multiple elements in each of their exclusive, designer inspired collections that can be placed throughout a room, level or entire home:

Today's standard and custom inlays can create a focal point or enhance an existing architectural focal point.

Compositions - Create a focal point or enhance an existing architectural focal point, such as a dramatic stairway or high ceilings.

Decos - Create movement and harmony by carrying a design theme through transition areas or add interest to smaller-scale floor plans. In addition to floors, decos also can be used on walls, ceilings, backsplashes, tabletops and door panels.

Perimeters - Perimeter inlays are used to define a space within a larger room, connect transition rooms or create an overall visual link throughout a home. These are especially useful for open floor plans to create warmth by defining specific areas, such as a dining area without walls.

OshKosh products are designed, constructed and then sealed and finished with a water based sealer and top coat. They can be directly inserted into a wood or stone floor as well as new or existing construction, saving contractors time while giving customers a beautiful, elegant and enduring floor that will last a lifetime.

Show Your Expertise

You and your customer can have fun exploring the endless choices in wood floor customization. As a contractor, you should make every job an opportunity to showcase your expertise and skill, while differentiating yourself from your competition. Keeping up with the latest styles and trends will allow you to create a dream floor for your customer. Remember, satisfied customers will increase your referral business and ultimately add to your bottom line.

References:

Hardwood Information Center

www.customwoodfloors.com