Jeff King Talks With

Rudy Hassid of Floortex

The right floor can make all the difference in your remodeled home, which is why we take great care in working with the Bay Area’s best floor specialists. Floortex Design, founded 22 years ago by Rudy Hassid in Corte Mardera (Marin County), is a reliable choice for carpeted, laminated, synthetic and hardwood floors. Hand in hand with choosing the right green products for your home (such as LED lighting), relying on a flooring company with extensive knowledge and good selection helps us deliver sustainable, affordable flooring options that cater to the needs of each residence.

We were fortunate to have a moment of Rudy’s time to pick his brain about the founding of Floortex Design, what he sees in the future of green flooring, and how to get the most out of your new floor installation. Read on and be sure to stop by his showroom next time you’re in Corte Madera.

Photos © Floortex Design

Jeff King & Co: After owning 15 different businesses in the home improvement industry, why have you narrowed it down to one flooring company?

Floortex Design: Rudy Hassid: Flooring is what I really do the best. It’s what I got good at. I’ve always had a love of wood and being able to implement wood knowledge in business has worked out. I enjoy woodworking.

How busy is your team these days?

This week we’re working on ten floors. Some projects take one week to finish while others can be up to five weeks in production.

What’s most popular in green flooring in 2012?

When bamboo first came out, it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. It’s highly renewable, as you can turn over bamboo in three to five years, however it’s not as hard as manufacturers originally thought.

In today’s market, engineered floors are becoming more and more popular. Their construction allows for the use of less hardwood and more plywood, therefore rendering the floor more dimensionally stable. Additionally, reclaimed materials have increasing demand; for example, recycling lumber from old barns, dismantled buildings, or sunken ships.

What other work do you do outside of the Floortex showroom?

I’ve spent the last four years working with the National Wood Flooring Association as a flooring inspector, and this experience has been invaluable to my company. When there is a complaint about a floor, I am called out by the homeowner, general contractor, or product supplier to give an opinion based on my experience combined with the National Wood Flooring Association guidelines. I present a report outlining why the floor failed, and when needed, which party is responsible. In some cases this report is used in court and I have even served as expert witness on the stand.

What are the most common mistakes you see as an inspector and how do you prevent these mistakes in your own floors?

The biggest issue is flooring contractors not taking the time to properly condition the space before they receive the materials. The delivery time and moisture content of the floor dictates how much time you need to spend conditioning the space.

Maintaining proper conditions on site is very difficult. Heat, sheetrock, moisture in the air, and multiple trades doing work in the same house are all conditions that I am aware of and sympathize with. However when I’m inspecting, I have to put on my inspector hat, and when I’m flooring, I put on both hats in order to ensure quality and long lasting work.

How does your experience as a flooring inspector help you improve your own business?

I have the opportunity to observe other people’s mistakes or deficiencies and bring that home to my own crew. It allows Floortex to have an especially high level of installation expertise. I am able to point out failed methods that should be avoided. My knowledge of other people’s misfortunes actually benefits Floortex, because I can use the real-world examples to better train my own team.

What is the most important step in preparing a site for floor installation?

The most important steps in preparing a space are to make sure that 1) all doors and windows have been installed 2) work by moisture-related subcontractors has already been performed 3) the space is dry 4) the site has the appropriate climate control functioning 5) the subfloor moisture content is at the appropriate level.

What flooring products do you most often recommend to clients?

Every client has a specific need. Some are looking for color, durability, or longevity; others may just want to match what they’ve already done in the home. The most important thing is to listen to our clients and determine what their unique needs are.

How would you describe “engineered flooring” to someone that was unfamiliar with the term?

Engineered floors consist of more plywood and less hardwood layered together. Overall, there are more options when you go with engineered flooring rather than solid. For example, a plywood core with a layer of solid wood on top can be less expensive than solid wood. There are also engineered products out there that are very good but more expensive, like Mirage: a top grade pre-finished manufacturer that has tighter tolerance, more lamination, thicker veneers, and a better finish.

I recommend both types of flooring depending on the specifications of each project. For example, with a concrete subfloor, engineered floors are more appealing as they can be glued down while solid wood cannot. Engineered floors and solid floors each have their benefits, however I end up doing more solid floors in my particular business.

What are the benefits of on-site versus pre-finished floors?

Pre-finished flooring (finished in a factory and not on site) is a type of product that only needs to be installed with no sanding necessary. As sanding makes the most mess during an installation, pre-finishing minimizes the installation time by half and the dust factor by 75%. However the advantage of site-finished floors is the unlimited color choices, species, and sizes available. The disadvantage is that sanding is done on-site, creating a longer and messier process.

A properly installed and maintained hardwood floor, whether pre-finished or site-finished, will last a lifetime. We see 80-90 year old Victorian homes in San Francisco that still have beautiful original floors.

Is there any negative repercussion to water-based finishes?

The drawback of water-based finishing is that it’s about four times more expensive than oil-based finishing. Eventually it will come down in price; a good water-based finish is just as good if not better than oil. It’s very easy to use, it lies down nicely, and it’s user friendly. My guys love it because it’s non-toxic and easy to clean up so there’s no headache in applying it.

What trends do you predict in the flooring industry within the next five years?

Green in general is becoming prominent: renewable, reclaimed materials will be bigger and bigger. We will see greener products and more water-based finishes rather than solvent-based finishes. These products are becoming exceptional and even better than oil-based products that are worse for the environment. The government is mandating manufacturers to make finishes more environmentally friendly and this trend will only increase. Overall, it is a very good thing. Ten or fifteen years ago, water-based products were terrible, but now they are outstanding.

Thanks for the great interview, Rudy!