By Kathleen Schiop & Gary Nager
With the positive upsurge in the economy, more and more homeowners are considering adding improvements to not only increase the value, but also the esthetic appeal, of their residences. One of the ways many homeowners choose to add such value is to install new flooring, whether it be carpeting, tile or wood.
And 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) in Wesley Chapel, if you’re planning to take the plunge and replace those old, pet-stained carpets or cracked tile with a new hardwood, laminate or tile floor.
“We are the only flooring vendor in Wesley Chapel,” says Andy, “and we have better prices than most and with quality installation you can trust.”
Andy speaks from years of experience working in the family business. “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, started by his father and stepmother 20 years ago (on U.S.19 in New Port Richey), moved to the corner of Mitchell Blvd. and Little Rd. in 2005 in what is now called the Trinity area. The Wesley Chapel/New Tampa location has been open for almost six years now, and offers a wide variety of tile, wood flooring and carpeting to add extra appeal to any home.
“A few of the newer items we’ve added in the past few months are wood-look ceramic tile, which combines the rich, beautiful look of wood and the durability of tile, and hand-scraped, or ‘distressed’ finish hardwood flooring.”
He also notes that wood-look tile has the advantage of being water resistant (“which can be important in flood situations,” he says) and that the pre-scratched wood also is a great floor in homes with kids, since any “accidents” that may happen just add more “character” to the look of the flooring.
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, Bruce, Tarkett, Beaulieu and Columbia, to name a few, and higher-end companies like Mirage, Indus Parquet and Robbins, which provide a variety of exotic 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 the 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 you have American Wood Flooring install it. “We also warranty all of the floors we install for as long as you own your home,” Andy says. “Unlike the major home store retailers, the warranty is with us. At Lowe’s or Home Depot, the warranty is from the installer, not the store.”
That can lead to unexpected problems. Those warranties can be important, especially with laminate floors, which (unlike hardwood floors) are not glued to your concrete slab.
“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. I would say at least once or twice a month we do fixes on installation mistakes made by the national chains and do-it-yourselfers. ”
He adds that no matter how expensive your flooring may be, you still need it installed properly for it to look its best.
“You can buy the finest wood flooring for $20 a square foot, but if the installation isn’t done properly, it can still look like junk, so you’re not really getting the best value. It’s a good idea to check us out before going elsewhere. We have a wide variety of prices to fit most budgets, from just $3.99 per square foot for laminate, real hardwood starting at $5.99 a square foot, carpeting from $1.99 a square foot, and tile from $5.50 a square foot. And, all of those are installed prices, so you never have to worry about your bill inflating from charges you were never told about beforehand.”
And if that isn’t enough, Andy says there are always bargains to be had at American Wood Flooring, because, “We’re always being offered specials 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, American Wood Flooring does carry and install both carpet and tile, as well as wood and laminate floors.
Andy says that many of the jobs the store does are from referrals from satisfied customers. Bhavana, a resident of Richmond Place, installed cherry wood flooring, and was so satisfied with the results that she referred American Wood Flooring to several of her neighbors.
Another happy customer is TammyHellman, a realtor at Prudential Tropical Realty. Tammy hired American Wood Flooring to install her laminate floor and has since referred all of her real estate customers to Andy.
“We’ve probably gotten at least 15 or 16 jobs from her alone in the past three years. We love it when our customers love our work.”
American Wood Flooring’s WesleyChapel location is at 1285 Bruce B. Downs Blvd.. The store is open Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday. For more info, visit AmericanWoodFlooringFL.com or call 991-7999.