Fall: Home Renovation Season

Tom Roach Hardwood Floors Offers Tips On Choosing And Maintaining Beautiful Flooring

Now that fall has officially arrived, are you dreaming of that home renovation project you put off all summer? Jacob Koski of Tom Roach Hardwood Floors in Carbondale says fall is the perfect season to check a big house project off your list—especially before the holidays. Roaring Fork Lifestyle recently sat down with him to learn more about the ins and outs of his professional specialty, hardwood flooring.

Roaring Fork Lifestyle: What’s the most popular type of hardwood flooring in the valley?

Koski: Right now the trend seems to be pre-finished, wide plank European white oak. We also install a lot of reclaimed floors salvaged from old barns and similar structures, milled into tongue and groove flooring and installed normally. We have partnered with Distinguished Boards and Beams in Carbondale for this product. Other popular options include American red and white oak, maple, and hickory. Some people love the old solid wood floors and others go the engineered route, which is a veneer of wood on a plywood core. We love solid wood floors.

Roaring Fork Lifestyle: How does the local climate affect hardwood floors?

Koski: Colorado is very dry. Wood floors do best with approximate humidity of 35 to 50 percent and we simply don’t get that high naturally. Low humidity can cause cracking in wood floors, and seasonal humidity changes cause expansion and contraction. This means wood floors can develop small gaps at the seams in the winter that usually tighten up in the summer. We try very hard to combat this by acclimating the wood properly in the house before installing it, and we also guide people through proper care of their floors. We can also help people with humidification systems for long-term care of the wood.

Roaring Fork Lifestyle: How long should hardwoods last?

Koski: That depends on the quality of the product installed. We like to assist people in choosing a floor that, with proper maintenance and care, can last indefinitely. That may sound like a tall order but let me explain: A floor’s first defense against damage and wear is its finish coat of sealer. If we rejuvenate this sealer periodically, a floor can last a very long time. Of course deeper scratches, dings, and water damage are a reality that may shorten a floor’s lifespan, but a properly maintained solid wood floor can last a hundred years or more.

Roaring Fork Lifestyle: Do you have some advice on caring for floors?

Koski: Simply dilute white vinegar in water at a ratio of 1:10. Then spray the floors sparingly and wipe up with a cloth. Alternatively, we highly recommend the Bona brand cleaners and microfiber mop. The key is to not use too much water; NEVER wet mop a wood floor. Also, don’t use any type of wax or “wood floor polish” like Murphy’s Oil. While these products may give a floor a shiny look, they cause many problems. The wax in them builds up, causing the floor to become slippery and preventing any new coats of finish from bonding to the existing finish. This means the floor can not be recoated or refinished like we discussed earlier without completely resanding it! This drastically shortens the lifespan of the floor.

Roaring Fork Lifestyle: What is your business story?

Koski: Tom Roach Flooring started in 1993. It is currently owned by my brother Steven Koski, and I run the day-to-day operations. Although Tom is no longer directly involved in the company (we bought him out many years ago) we maintain his legacy of solid, friendly service at reasonable prices. Many people remember how well he treated them 20 years ago and we are proud to continue in the same way.

Roaring Fork Lifestyle: What is your customer service philosophy?

Koski: We believe that good communication is key. We try to start a relationship with quick initial call-backs and honest, easy answers to questions. Most people don’t understand every step of the process so we try very hard to help them with complete information regarding timing, cost, maintenance, and other concerns. We have many happy customers in the valley and this is partly because we would prefer to go the extra mile—possibly costing us a bit more in labor or materials—than to cut corners. That said, sometimes mistakes are made; when this happens our policy is to respond immediately, stay calm, stay on the same team, and attack the problem. We fix our mistakes and come back if something isn’t living up the customer’s expectations.