By Gary Nager
If you’ve ever had flooring installed in your home, apartment or even your business, you know that it can be a stressful experience. Between the cost, having to tear out the existing carpeting, tile or floor and having to move your furniture, you know you want the job done right the first time.
That’s one big reason why you should visit our friend Andy Dunning of American Wood Flooring, located in the SuperTarget-anchored Northwood Shopping Center (next to Marshall’s), if you’re planning to take the plunge and replace those old, pet-stained carpets or cracked tile with a new hardwood or laminate floor.
“A lot of people are definitely looking to replace the existing flooring in their home with hardwood or laminate,” says Andy, who looks even younger than his 30 years but who has been involved in his family’s business since before he was old enough to actually work in it. “This is an independent, family-owned company that has been selling and installing floors in the Tampa Bay area for about 20 years.”
Andy’s family’s first store, on U.S. 19 in New Port Richey, moved to the corner of Mitchell Blvd. and Little Rd. in what is now called the Trinity area 15 or 16 years ago and is still there.
The Wesley Chapel/New Tampa location is significantly newer, only a few years old, but Andy says it also is doing pretty well these days.
“With the economy the way it is,” he says, “a lot of people are trying to invest in their existing homes, whether to make them more saleable or because they know they have to stay in them a few more years. And, there’s no doubt that adding a new hardwood or laminate floor can add value to your home, as well as give it a whole new look.”
He says that all of the foreclosures in the Tampa Bay area have helped his business, too. “A lot of people these days have been able to pick up some really nice homes for pennies on the dollar,” he says. “So, they can afford to make some investments into these foreclosed homes that add value to them, like a new exotic hardwood floor.”
Andy says that American Wood Flooring specializes in both real hardwood and laminate flooring and has access to literally hundreds of colors and styles from all of the major manufacturers, including Armstrong and Bruce, and higher-end companies like Mirage and Robbins, which provide a variety of exotic Brazilian hardwoods, such as Brazilian cherry, Santos mahogany and amendoim (also known as Brazilian oak).
“We’re not the only local company you can find that carries the major manufacturers,” he admits. “But, not only are our prices at least competitive with other companies, we also offer a lot of extras most of the others don’t.”
For example, all of the prices per square foot quoted at American Wood Flooring include delivery, installation, moving all of your furniture for you, removal of your old carpeting, tile or flooring (with no charge for disposing of it) and, “all of our installers are in-house and have been certified to install Armstrong, Bruce and other major manufacturers’ flooring. We also give you a free cleaning kit and free felt pads to keep your furniture from scratching the floor. A lot of places charge extra for many of those same services, so our prices really are even better than they seem.”
Oh, and there’s never sales tax charged on the floors (because the government doesn’t collect sales tax for major home improvements), as long as American Wood Flooring installs it. “We also warranty all of the floors we install for as long as you own your home.”
Those warranties can be important, especially with laminate floors, which (unlike hardwood floors) are not glued to your concrete slab, but are actually interlocked into place.
“Yes, gaps can easily develop in your laminate floors,” he says. “Usually, all it takes is a trained installer to fix those gaps, but a lot of people try unsuccessfully to do it themselves.”
As for pricing, you can get what Andy calls a “base laminate” floor installed for as little as $3.99 per square foot, with all of those aforementioned extras included. A base real wood floor starts as low as $5.99 per sq. ft., and American Wood Flooring has a current special on an exotic hardwood floor that normally sells for $8.99 per square foot for as little as $7.25 per sq. ft.
“That’s even less than the highest-priced laminate floor we sell (which is $7.50 per sq. ft. installed.) and we’re always being offered specials like these by the different manufacturers.”
Part of the reason Andy is so knowledgeable about all aspects of the business is that he also spent some time (in 2007 and 2008) as a territorial sales manager for a flooring distributor covering Alabama, South Carolina and Georgia. “It was a great experience for me to be on the distributor side,” he says. “I really learned a lot about which floors sell and why.”
And yes, Andy does carry and install both carpet and some tile (mainly small tiles for bathrooms), although he admits there isn’t nearly as much demand for either these days.
American Wood Flooring’s Wesley Chapel location is at 1285 Bruce B. Downs Blvd. For more info, visit AmericanWoodFlooringFL.com or call 991-7999. See the ad on page 26 of this issue for more great deals!