Chris Zizza of C+R Flooring has been in the business or over 35 years. A master of his craft, we recently had Chris on ‘Builder’s Notebook: The Podcast’ to share his expertise on all things flooring. Chris taught us a lot, below are some of the highlights from our conversation. To listen to the whole podcast, and make sure you check out all our episodes!
All right, so let’s start off with a really hot topic. The difference between engineered wood flooring and regular cut from a tree wood flooring, in terms of who uses which, and what conditions are best for either?
Chris: I love that that’s your first question, and too many people have opinions and or already made-up their mind and they’ve done no research and they have no data. So, regular flooring is cut out of a giant tree. There you have it. As it has been through the ages, engineered flooring is where they make a wood and other things sandwich.
The funny thing is I’m always amused when I hear, well, we want real hardwood. We don’t want engineered. Yeah. And I, I just sit there and I go, OK, I have to figure out how we’re going to educate this person because real hardwood is engineered. Real hardwood is solid but the problem is when you go back earlier, engineered used to be this just tiny veneer on top.
So what’s to like about engineered?
Chris: Its super stable and it’s going to move less. So if you’re in an ocean environment, Cape Cod, Newport, you know any of the coastal towns, you’re going to do better with an engineered floor or materials with pores in it that react to the humidity in the air and swells and shrinks accordingly. If you have an engineered system, you have different directions of the wood and they move against each other.
Explain what you mean by movement.
Chris: So, just picture this. If I took a piece of oak and I chopped it in half and I looked down the end of it, it’s going to have some room in it. But if I took a piece of Maple or an exotic wood like Brazilian cherry or mahogany, and I cut it in half and I looked down the end of it, it’s going to look like a frozen steak. So understand the ones that have some pores and some openness can take in water and lose water and remain fairly stable. But those more dense species that everybody tends to like lately are going to move faster. They’re going to shrink more, they’re going to expand more because they can’t hold or lose water. They have no room for it.
OK, so we’re going to put in one money question because people should be prepared for what flooring would cost per square foot, like what’s the range, because I think adjusting people’s expectations about cost is sort of what we’ve been spending a lot of time doing recently.
Chris: Yeah, wood floor today is mid teens and up. So when you get into long length specs, you’re going to be spending mid to high 20s if you want out-of-the-box ready to rock’n’roll. On the higher range, I mean it’s infinite in terms of how much these things can cost per square foot, I’ve got projects where it was in the $65 range.