Why I'm a Geek

Rod Lorenz

After years of working with hardwood floors, I've become obsessed with them.

I admit it, I’m a geek—a hardwood floor geek.

According to Merriam-Webster, a “geek” is soeone who is “extremely enthusiastic about and devoted to some interest or activity.” Usually, the term is used for technology fanatics, but it can apply to anyone in any field.

It certainly applies to me and hardwood floors. I’m as passionate about hardwood floors as a computer geek is about computing. I’m constantly thinking about hardwood flooring—sometimes in away-from-work situations that have nothing to do with it.

I’ll visit friends, and something will grab my attention—a wooden bowl, for example. Everyone else just sees a pretty bowl, but I’m studying the wood and visualizing how its grain, color, and other characteristics would look on a hardwood floor.

I remember specific floors we’ve done. I can see a floor we installed five years ago and recognize it right away. I’ll recall the wood’s species, grain, color, sheen, width, length, etc. And I’ll be reminded of anything special we did on that job.

Sometimes, I can smell hardwood and identify the species of the wood. I remember one customer who had recently bought a resold home. The flooring—which they thought was Brazilian Cherry—needed refinishing. I came to the home to provide a consultation, and as soon as I walked in, I knew it was Santos  Mahogany.

I would have figured that out by the wood’s color, but I didn’t need that—I could have identified the species without ever seeing the floor. Both Brazilian Cherry and Santos Mahogany have a distinctive smell, and a hardwood floor geek like me can notice the difference.

My preoccupation with hardwood floors isn’t all about a floor’s appearance and performance. The history behind hardwood floors also fascinates me. I like to think about all the life that’s been lived on those old floors.

Occasionally, when ripping out an old floor to replace it with a new one, we’ll come across some clear link to the past, like a yellowed newspaper from decades ago. (We once found a nearly 100-year-old paper, and much of it was still readable.) And many of the old planks have faded imprints on them. Using a pencil rubbing over paper, we can sometimes bring out the imprint and read what it tells us about the history of the wood, such as the name of the mill, city of where it was made, and the grade of the wood.

Seeing what’s under an old floor is a bit like being an archaeologist!

For these reasons and more, I consider working with hardwood a blessing. I’m unapologetically a hardwood-floor geek.

Isn’t that what you want from the leader of the hardwood-floor company you choose to work with?


Image (modified), drewtarvinCreative Commons



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