Featured in Hardwood Floors Magazine

July 2021

Beauty, warmth, easy maintenance, and improved air quality. Those are just a few reasons to install wood flooring in commercial settings such as offices, bars, restaurants, and retail stores. There are several unique considerations, though. Wood flooring in these environments will receive significantly more foot traffic than in residential applications, and the process of bidding and taking on a commercial job can be quite different from working directly with a homeowner.

The last year has presented unusual challenges for commercial spaces, as office buildings sat vacant while employees worked from home, businesses closed, and projects stalled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite those obstacles, some say the commercial sector remained strong, while for others, only now are things starting to look up.

In this article, professionals who focus on wood flooring in business settings offer insights on trends and tips for success with these types of projects.
The Current State of Commercial
To some degree, the impact on commercial business during the past 18 months has depended upon where a company was operating. Certain states and municipalities were shut down longer than others due to COVID-19 restrictions, with some just beginning to open on a more-normal level in the early summer of this year. That was the case for PID Floors, a retailer headquartered in New York, New York.

“For many, many months, we had a lot of anxiety when it comes to commercial because everything came to a complete halt. COVID really took the wind out from under us, and everything stopped,” recalls Steven Skutelsky, managing director of PID Floors. “Today, things definitely are picking up; there’s no question about it. I’d say we are maybe 50 percent back to where we were pre-COVID when it comes to inquiries and demand for having office and commercial space in Manhattan. I think things will continue picking up as long as things are available for people to come back to, it’s safe, and people feel comfortable...”
In the New York City area, top shelf is the preference. However, as many across the wood flooring industry have experienced this year, demand can outweigh supply.

“There’s a surge of wanting wide plank, clean materials, select and better, rift and quartered, and top-tier clients are really looking for rift only,” says Skutelsky. “Clients want the best of the best; it’s just not available right now. If lead times before used to be three or four weeks, today we’re seeing lead times of six to 10 weeks. As of today, people are going to wait.”

Finding the right floor and providing clients with the right information is key to Skutelsky.“We really focus on making sure the client receives a very high-quality, durable product. I would never tell them it will not scratch or dent,” says Skutelsky. “For commercial, we typically go with light-color floors, like oak. Usually it’s going to have a matte finish, and many times, it’s going to have a wire-brushed effect, so even if it does scratch or dent, you’re going to see a light color underneath. We talk about the fact that it could be rescreened many times, and we try to put a good 4mm wear layer on it so if new tenants come in and they don’t like the color, they can go ahead and sand it down.”

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