2020 has proven to be a year unlike any other we’ve seen in our lifetimes. While our industry as a whole experienced many firsts this year—from virtual shows and product demos done safely from afar, to ramped up jobsite safety precautions—one thing about 2020 remained the same: our desire here at FCI to showcase the extraordinary talent, craftsmanship and skill of the flooring installation industry. Presented to you digitally this year, we think you’ll agree that the seventh edition of the FCI Installation Awards proves that though many things have changed, the flooring installation industry is still booming with award-winning talent.


Category: Carpet

Ben Naleid - Y’s Way Flooring - Watertown, Wisconsin

carpet installation on spiral staircase

Naleid drilled through the face of the step and attached a piece of wood to the back side of the metal step, then custom cut every step.

It’s no wonder Ben Naleid’s industry peers voted this project a winner. A project that many would see as a challenge—himself included—Naleid of Y’s Way Flooring took this on with creativity and expertise, to deliver a spiral staircase that he, along with the customer and his peers, could celebrate and be proud of.

“The most outstanding part was the creativity and brainstorming it took to come up with a plan to attach carpet in this situation,” said Naleid. “I asked everyone I could come across in the industry, including, CFI instructors and others, and all said, ‘Sorry, it’s just not a situation we’ve ever had success with.’”

What made this project, and others like it in the past, a challenge for Naleid and the industry professionals he consulted, is that he was tasked with attaching carpet to a spiral metal staircase, without the carpet unraveling and curling on the edges—especially on the face, which in addition to being an eyesore, could be a trip hazard.

Challenged, but not deterred, Naleid got creative to make it work. “We ended up drilling through the face of the step and attaching a piece of wood to the back side of the metal step. Then I custom cut every step.”

He also worked with carpet binder Dylan Fuss, who bound the edges on site, making individual rugs for each step. “I then could wrap the nose and staple the carpet to the back side. I used glue to attach the [Masland] carpet to the rest of the step.”

Prior to the install of this winning installation, Naleid says the homeowner had worn through several installs of an indoor/outdoor style of carpet glued to the steps, and after a complete remodel of the house, they desperately wanted something that looked classy and would last.

Naleid was able to deliver just that, and in the process he’s shown himself and the flooring installation industry that with skill, patience and ingenuity, most anything is possible.

Category: Ceramic Tile and Stone

Josh Carlson - H.J. Martin and Son - Greenbay, Wisconsin

luxury master bathroom shower

Over a 10-day period, installer Josh Carlson methodically tackled this luxury master bathroom shower, using three days to prep and seven days to tile and grout.

H.J. Martin and Son installer Josh Carlson knows just what it takes to create an award-winning ceramic tile and stone install for a homeowner. Last year, a custom steam shower install won Carlson an FCI Installation Award in this hard surface category, and this year, he’s reclaimed the winning title with another beautiful shower install.

Over a 10-day period, Carlson methodically tackled this luxury master bathroom shower, using three days to prep and seven days to tile and grout.

“Some people are quick to say, ‘That’s so much work,’ but I have a plan,” Carlson explained. For this project, his technique included working his way backward, to ensure that he starts at the right point. This way, if and when he encountered an issue, he’d be able to take a step back, think about the options and the timeline for those options. His goal? To figure out what makes the most sense with the timeline he’d created for himself, while still ending up with a beautiful result, which was a master bathroom shower that embodied a spa-like feel with features such as steamers, benches and spaciousness.

To get there, local supplier Bay Area Granite and Marble (BAGM) fabricated the quartz for the top of the benches. After Carlson prepped the shower, BAGM templated the tops/seats, which was a process that took roughly one week. Carlson then returned to the project to assist BAGM with placing the benches.

To achieve the perfect installation in the eye of the installer and most importantly the homeowner, Carlson started tiling in the center of the shower and wrapped the products all around, he says. Tiling the shower’s pitched ceiling was complicated, making that part of the installation lengthy. But Carlson was able to complete the finished install using Interceramic USA Emma Aqua 3x6, Anatolia Tile & Stone Mayfair Statuario Venato 12x24 porcelain tile and Schluter Systems shower products.

“The company I work for is second to none,” Carlson notes when asked about his growth as an installer. “They give me everything that I need to continue to learn and grow. All the tools, the products, the knowledge, it’s out there for me because of them. Any time I need something, they’re just a phone call away, our tool room gets me what I need, the designers the sales people, everyone works together as a team. And that is so important because it’s not just me. There’s so many more people involved in that shower. I’m [just] the one at the end of it trying to put this vision to work.”

Category: Hardwood

Avedis Duvenjian - Archetypal Gallery Wood Floors - New York

parquet floor

Archetypal Gallery Wood Floors sent raw materials of elements of the parquet to various contributors around the country and after months of working on the pieces from home, everyone joined us in Orange, New Jersey, for the install which only took a couple days.

With social distancing being the way most of us have spent the year, and how we will spend the foreseeable future, this winning community project is perhaps a glimpse of ways our industry can continue to work together, while maintaining a safe distance.

As a community project orchestrated by Archetypal Gallery Wood Floors, a New York-based company offering tiling and painting solutions for interior and exterior, teams brought realism into the customer’s house with a custom request that replicated the home’s existing parquet design in mosaic.

In an idea that came to founder Avedis Duvenjian while working on a mosaic project through the International Wood Floor Association (IWFA)—an association that facilities programs internationally to promote the development and training of the next generations of industry professionals, included but not limited to apprenticeship programs, vocational programs in conjunction with trade schools, upper secondary schools, post-secondary schools, and government institutions—Duvenjian decided to enlist IWFA students’ budding artistic talent for this award-winning project.

“The magic is in how it came together,” says Duvenjian. “We sent raw materials of elements of the parquet to various contributors around the country and even a few international. Each of the contributors we guided with drawing and video conference to assemble the elements. After months of working on the pieces from home everyone joined us in Orange, New Jersey, for the install which only took a couple days.”

The geometric mosaic parquet design follows a curved and wavy pattern and was achieved with 3/8”x 3/8”x 3/8” assembled, hand-cut, end-grain mosaic white oak pieces, with slight differences in alternating heights for added texture. The same mosaic technique was used to create the leaves, using much smaller 1/8”x 3/8”x 3/8” hand-cut white oak pieces. The inlaid leaves throughout the mosaic parquet pattern added a 3D effect. The hallway leaves were designed to appear as if blown into the house from the open door. 

The customized parquet was cut, to 70”x70” large sizes, to be perfectly scaled and fit in the installed area. The parquet layout spread from the first floor, which included the living room, dining room, kitchen, den, master bedroom and powder room, to the second floor, and was aged and finished with the same method. Hand-scraped, aged with reactors, distressed, finished with Vesting LED hard wax burnishing oil and topped with wax and custom-made wax filler. The same 12” wide walnut planks were used for the second floor’s hallway.

To complete the installation, wire-brushed, tumbled with nylon brush techniques were used as well as a handheld torch for darker shading, and Vesting LED hard wax burnishing oil, topped with wax and custom-made wax filler.

Duvenjian and his team of skilled artisans are no stranger to awards and industry recognition. The company has received numerous National Wood Floor Association’s (NWFA) Wood Floor of the Year awards. But this FCI Installation Award winning project stands out, he says. “This project was very special for me, out of all the other projects, because it was international.”


Category: Carpet

Virginia Commercial Floors - Alexandra, Virginia

The Park at Arlington Ridge's leasing office and clubhouse

A carpet that was wool and would be able to meet the community’s design and performance needs was requested for the space.

The Park at Arlington Ridge prides itself on offering its residents everything they need to accommodate their busy lifestyles. In addition to being conveniently located near local shopping, restaurants and entertainment, and just minutes away from Washington, D.C., residents at The Park at Arlington Ridge also enjoy spacious units, a state-of-the-art fitness center and a 24-hour business center to meet their personal and professional needs.

So when it was time to change the carpet in the community’s leasing office and clubhouse space, expectations were high, but The Park at Arlington Ridge’s management knew just who to call on for the job.

“This is a project that I’ve been on for probably about 16 or 17 years, because they renovated the entire 79 buildings and there are 748 apartments, so I did that for about four years with them,” said Gina Nassief, vice president of Virginia Commercial Floors.

Although Nassief and the Virginia Commercial Floors team are very familiar with the community, the space in question was designed and outfitted by another company, so the new carpet Virginia Commercial Floors selected for the renovation would have to match the existing furniture, surrounding offices and set décor.

“The challenge was keeping the current colors of the painted walls, furniture and upholstery as they were not being changed,” Nassief recalls.

At the request of the owner, Nassief sought out a carpet that was wool and would be able to meet the community’s design and performance needs, which she was able to find in Tai Ping Carpets.

After going back and forth with several samples, Nassief and the owner of the apartment community happily settled on a carpet color and pattern that would complement the space and its existing décor perfectly.

“We did get it to the point where the owner was very happy and it was a perfect match,” says Nassief. “Because we had to keep the wall color, we had to keep the upholstery colors, we had grey wood floors in the community room, and then we had ivory colored walls, we had brown colored walls, we had all kinds of stuff going on. So we were able to bring all those colors together and make it all look like it had been done at the same time.”

Nassief credits the installation of the carpet, which she calls second to none, to installer Rahim Fukmaddin. Prior to installing the carpet at The Park at Arlington Ridge, Fukmaddin did a trial layout in Virginia Commercial Floors’ workroom, to ensure that when it was time to layout the carpet in the apartment community, the direct glue install, which included pattern matching and mixing, would be done without error.

“I am very impressed with [Rahim] because he always makes it right. He always does a beautiful job. We’ve had difficult installations before that he’s been able to fix or turn around. A lot of times it’s the installer that helps quite a bit.”

Category: Hardwood

Architectural Flooring Resource - New York

flooring installation at Quality Bistro

A flooring installation team that included a concrete division, wood installers and finishers came together to complete this project in just three weeks.

New York City is known for many things, one of them being its fine dining scene. Bringing a taste of classic French regions to the Big Apple, Manhattan’s Quality Bistro offers French cuisine in the style of bistro, but with a modern American take, says the restaurant’s corporate wine director Scott Woltz.

When it was time to select flooring for this space, which the restaurant’s website describes as whimsical, Quality Bistro looked to the expertise of New York-based Architectural Flooring Resource.

“The creativity and thought were born from the designer/architect team,” said Umberto Aponte, project executive at Architectural Flooring Resource. “We simply took their ideas and brought it to fruition. The challenge was executing it with the canvas we were given and using our expertise to make that happen.”

To make that happen, Aponte called on the expertise and know-how of an installation team that included a concrete division, wood installers and finishers. And though the end result was a beautiful basketweave pattern that added to the restaurants’ whimsical vibe and can withstand its bustling foot traffic, Aponte says this project certainly posed several challenges along the way.

“The first challenge was the substrate,” Aponte recalls. “It was in a deteriorated condition with different levels and a variety of existing conditions. As with all our projects, we follow NWFA guidelines. As they say, the finished floor is only as good as the subfloor. We tested the concrete using a Rapid RH Moisture Test which measures the MVER in the concrete slab to assure that we are installing within the guidelines. Once that was confirmed we continued with grinding the slab down to remove all existing impurities such as cut-back adhesive, gypsum. We then primed and self-leveled an average of 1”. We also had asked about acoustics in such an open space which resulted in a change order to add the Ecore Acoustic Underlayment.”

The biggest challenge of them all? The schedule for the installation, says Aponte. As with any big city like NYC, tight schedules are always a challenge, but the team of installers was able to complete this project in just three weeks. “In the end, we had a successful installation and a beautiful looking floor.”

Aponte says the flooring aspect of this winning project wouldn’t have been possible without his team of installation experts. “It takes many people to make it a project successful and I’m thankful for our group.”

Though things have changed for the flooring industry due to the pandemic, the value of team and togetherness at Architectural Flooring Resource remains. “Whether you’re working from home or on yet another Zoom call or other social media outlets, people adjust and get the job done. Personally, we have a great management staff here at AFR which not only support and give us the tools to be successful, but are constantly sharing information to all of us, keeping the whole company engaged and positive and at the same time growing in these very unique circumstances.”

Category: Resilient

H.J. Martin and Son - Greenbay, Wisconsin

HSHS St. Vincent Childrens Hospital Pediatric Emergency Center

Under the direction of lead installer Len Nygren, commercial flooring installers Randall Baril, Randy Basten, Sam Pazdera, James White, Dave Cornette and Mike Robenhorst renovated an existing 2,500-square-foot space into a new area with a spacious waiting room, six patient rooms specifically designed for children and a large play area with interactive games.

At HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital Pediatric Emergency Center, every detail is tailored to kids. As the first and only children’s hospital in Green Bay, Wisconsin, the facility serves as a high-quality, reliable source of health care for children in the Green Bay area, and its advanced care includes pediatric and neonatal intensive care, as well as a large array of pediatric general and subspecialty care.

So when it came time to renovate the facility, the children and families that it serves remained the primary focus, with an ultimate goal to create an environment of hope and healing from floor to ceiling, which was done through the use of evidence-based design.

“The new facility was intended to put families at ease, utilizing forest murals at the head of each bed and a Northwoods theme throughout,” says commercial flooring installer Len Nygren. “Customizable colored lighting offers kids the opportunity to choose their favorite color within each patient room. The flooring was used to create spaces that look like a forest pathway with large, pebble-like insets and green sheet vinyl to represent grass, complementing the overall nature theme.”

Under his direction as lead installer, Nygren, along with commercial flooring installers Randall Baril, Randy Basten, Sam Pazdera, James White, Dave Cornette and Mike Robenhorst expertly installed a floor pattern that follows the shape of a few wall graphics in order to extend the pathway visually. Tarkett iQ Optima homogeneous sheet vinyl, in the colors of Malt, Forest Thickett and Clover Leaf, was utilized in the hallways, patient rooms and waiting area, and luxury vinyl tile (LVT) by Tandus Centiva, in Ore and Ash colors, was installed in the reception and lobby areas.

In all, the team renovated an existing 2,500-square-foot space into a new area with a spacious waiting room, six patient rooms specifically designed for children and a large play area with interactive games.

This project was not only a winner among the flooring installers’ industry peers, but among those it was designed to serve, which was the ultimate goal, says Nygren. “When you have a project like [this], where your heart, your soul, your everything goes into it, because it’s a children’s department of the hospital, you look at it from a child’s point of view. What will younger kids like? What will draw their eye?”

Well before being named an FCI Flooring Installation Awards winning project, Nygren and the installation team knew the install was a job well done when they received a high-five of approval from the facility’s administrator, who was excited about the way the flooring was coming together to enhance the space. Mission accomplished.