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Being floored thanks to pride, craftsmanship

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POSTED August 15, 2010 2:42 a.m.
Thirty months ago I found what I told myself was the perfect house.

I feel in love immediately with the windows, the old wood floors, fruit trees, the yard and even the quirky sidewalk near the front steps as well as the brick flower beds.

Today all that is left intact are the windows.

In the first few months I had demolished an outbuilding, tore down a patio awning that I did not replace, cut down two trees, had a new fence installed, as well as paid for a new roof and facials. Before the first year of ownership milestone was reached I had ripped out sidewalks and flower beds, painted the outside of the house although it really didn’t need it and ripped out four more trees.

There is also not a single blade of grass left in either yard.

The yard was a work in progress - a slow one at that as neighbors could tell you. They’ve been enjoying views of a four-foot stump of a massive 50-year-old walnut tree since Christmas week which is when I decided to start cutting the thing down. They’ve figured out by now that I celebrate Christmas by launching major garden projects.

My efforts got sidetracked a little over six months ago. On top of that I was getting frustrated. Anyone who knows me wasn’t surprised by what happened six days ago.

I decided to go nuts on Monday.

By Tuesday, I had the walnut tree removed - trunk and root ball. And then on Saturday the last touches on the new flooring for all of the rooms except the kitchen and the bathroom were finished save for about 20 feet of base board in a closet.

I had been leery of having anyone else except myself try to get rid of the walnut trees. Over the past several months I’ve had several people who do that kind of work try to talk me into simply grinding the stump down or say they couldn’t remove it with risk of damaging the sidewalk. My favorite was from the guy who told me there was no real need to get rid of the roots.

Not only did Vince’s Hauling get rid of the tree and the major roots but they did so without leaving a mess or doing any damage. He’s returning in the coming days to jack hammer two concrete pads left in the backyard from where a pair of outbuildings once stood. Again it is something I was “looking forward” to doing by hand and taking my sweet time. But the price - and the quality of his work was strong enough - I couldn’t resist.

Next I turned my attention to the floors. After getting quotes as high as $4,000 to redo the hardwood floors through the entire house I quickly lost the stomach for doing something I’d have to revisit again in 15 or so years.

I started exploring laminate flooring but I had seen more than a few that didn’t look appealing due to the installation.  I was pretty much resolved to leave the marred and paint spattered hardwood floors alone. It was frustrated because before I was able to get the house into escrow the bank that had foreclosed went ahead and “modernized it” which meant a cheap and poor excuse for a paint job, a substandard Formica-style kitchen countertop plus covering the hardwood with carpet. The bank’s representative in all of his wisdom and desire to cut corners had hired two handymen who were the equivalent of Cheech and Chong to do the work including making repairs in the bathroom.

They even installed the toilet so it wouldn’t flush nor did the bathroom tub drain after they put in a new one. They simply didn’t care.

Their parting gift for my agent constantly insisting things be done right was splattering the floor with paint as well as making about two dozen or so new gouges in the hardwood. That was why I was more than a bit upset when I removed the carpet in several of the rooms last year to discover their handiwork.

Needless to say, I wasn’t having warm and fuzzy thoughts about hiring people to do work even in a slow economy when you think they’d step up the effort a bit. I had come to the conclusion that craftsmanship and delivering on promises wasn’t something I could expect from hiring out work on the house.

I had pretty much given up on the floors and written them off as “no big deal” in their current condition until someone mentioned I should contact Karl Luther.

So how good are Karl and his assistant Eric and the job they do in homes and commercial projects when it comes to virtually any type of flooring? Let’s put it this way. The floors in my house and the accompanying baseboard now look better that I ever envisioned. The installation was essentially flawless. Not only did he do everything he promised but it was a high quality effort that didn’t cut corners.

Would I use Karl and his All About Flooring business again or Vince’s Hauling? In a heartbeat.

They are solid examples of proving that craftsmanship, hustle, and pride aren’t dead.

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