From Forest to Floors: Our Journey to Creating Our Own Hardwood Flooring

Ted Nemeth
Development Manager for Compass Homes

Ted Nemeth has brought extensive experience in the home building and remodeling industry to his work at Compass Homes. He began his career at Linworth Lumber Company, a division of The Strait & Lamp Group before starting ReVisions Remodeling, Ltd., in September 2006.

Along with his experience, Ted has brought a passion for repurposing materials to his work at Compass Homes. Among his responsibilities is overseeing “deconstruction” projects, which entails taking a house apart, piece by piece, down to the foundation and recycling or reusing rather than demolishing it. 

It’s not surprising then that when it came time to build his own home, Ted chose to use the hardwood from trees removed from his lot to create hardwood flooring for his home – what he calls “the feature we love most about our home.” 

Hear more from Ted on the process he and his wife used to create the hardwood flooring for their dream home:

When my wife and I purchased our property on Clifton Road, we considered remodeling or building a new home. In the end, we chose to build a brand-new home for all the reasons our clients choose to build brand-new with Compass Homes.

Regardless of a remodel or building new, we knew we would need to take down a few trees in our yard. There were two pin oak trees and one hard maple. Taking the trees happened to be a good decision as it was discovered in the maple tree that there was a significant weakness caused by rot in one of the unions. This tree was going to fall on its own; it was just a matter of time.

I had our clearing company drop the trees and try to maintain the longest straightest logs possible. Through some networking, I found a small mill outside Mount Vernon, Ghost Logging owned by Andy McGough. I shipped the logs to Andy for processing.

Ghost Logging rough cut our logs, stacked them for air drying, and then kiln dried the material. Andy milled the oak into 3”, 4”, and 5” planks. After creating unfinished blanks for tongue & groove installation, they stabilized knots and other defects so we could have a rustic look to the floor. This look allowed us to maximize our yield from the trees we sent for processing. 

Out of the two pin oak trees, we were able to process about 1,000 square feet of installed material. We had this material installed in the majority of the first floor of our home and absolutely love it.

We did not take this route to save money; in fact, it probably cost us about 10-15% more than if we had purchased a sand & finish installed floor through the hardwood flooring vendor. It also did not save any time. The process took nearly 8 months from the time we harvested the trees until they were installed and ready for finish. I also learned that small batch kiln drying can yield some irregularity, and we had significant shrinkage over the winter. This is something that we will look to fix in a couple years with a fill, screen, and topcoat after our kids have grown and are not so hard on the floors.

It’s fantastic to start the day, walking on floors that are a product of the land we call home. It’s also one of many features that we love about our home, and perhaps may be the feature that we love the most about our home.

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