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DO IT YOURSELF… WITH M P CAROLL HARDWOOD

Written by Jane Trabert Schmitt
Imagery by M P CAROLL HARDWOOD

You know what hardwood flooring delivers to nearly every room in your home – beauty, character, strength and durability.
But did you know that you can install it yourself?
There’s never been a better time to consider installing your own beautiful hardwood floor, says Mike Caroll, owner/operator of M P Caroll Hardwood, an industry leader since 1985.

Q: Is it really easier than most homeowners think?
A: The do-it-yourself market is through the roof. Everything you need to install a hardwood floor is waiting for you at M P Caroll. Installation lessons are available for our customers who need a little help getting things started. If you have basic carpentry skills and can operate a power saw, you can install your own floors. We’ll show you how.


Q: How much of your sales go to this segment?
A: I’d say 25 percent of what we sell on a yearly basis is going directly to do-it-yourselfers. They come into our store looking for flooring and knowing that they want to install it themselves.

Q: Do you see people who are on the fence about plunging into a project or taking the safe route by hiring a professional installer?
A: Yes, we do, and that’s where we can help them out with installation lessons. We give free lessons to our customers who are a little unsure how to get things started. They can spend an hour with me in our shop. I will go through all of the motions with them and by the time we’re done, they’re ready to go out and install their own floor. And they’re going to do a great job.

Q: What’s the average size floor for do-it-yourselfers?
A: Our average sale is 400 to 500 square feet.


Q: Is there a cost savings?
A: They can save a couple thousand dollars. In the long run, it’s a  huge savings – approximately 50 percent. The average pre-finished oak floor is $8 to $9 a square foot installed. So when you take that $4 out of the labor, they’re saving almost 50 percent.

Q: What is a popular seller these days for do-it-yourselfers  and others?
A: The biggest seller currently is hand-scraped, distressed flooring. They are prefinished. They’re distressed in the factory to look like they have been around for 100 years. The trend has been super-hot for five or six years. It’s probably 50 percent of what we sell right now. The hand-scraped, distressed look has become so popular because of the look, but one of the biggest benefits they offer is they don’t show wear and tear because of the pre-worn look. It’s just like the beat-up blue jeans we buy for our kids. Scratches and dents don’t show up as much.

Q: What installation methods are do-it-yourselfers using?
A: The tongue and groove flooring is still the most popular. That type of floor is nailed down. There are two other types: There are floors that interlock. There is no nailing or gluing needed. It’s called a floating floor. The pieces are milled to “click” together. It’s like putting together a big puzzle. And then there are hardwood floors that are meant to be glued down. This is a pretty easy method, as well, because it doesn’t require any special equipment. Planks of wood are set into the adhesive, almost like you would install ceramic tile.

Q: How long is the average installation?   
A: Most jobs can be done over the weekend – the 400 to 500 square feet. If somebody has never done it before but they have a helper, they can start it on a Friday night and be done on Sunday.

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