Catalina Hardwoods LLC

Wood Floors From Start To Finish!


James Gentry

Owen and his crew laid red oak floors in most of our house and the results were impressive. The floors looked flawless and stayed that way for almost 13 years. After the beating we had given them, at our request, Owen's crew came back and refinished them taking out all the scratches, changing the color for us too, and once again the floors are beautiful. Owen also fabricated wide white base and crown molding for us this time and everyone who walks into the house compliments us on how much it improves our open spaces.
I highly recommend Catalina Hardwoods for any job you have that requires wood flooring, base, trim, doors, etc. You won't regret it!

Paul Donnelly

I had three boards 1.5 inches thick panned and sanded,
Shawn was courteous and really skilled.
I couldn't be happier with the result.

Soft and Hardwood Floors

Softwoods and Hardwoods

Softwood Flooring: This includes materials harvested from a variety of trees, most commonly Pine, Fir, and Cedar. These species tend to mature very quickly, and are readily abundant.

However their rapid growth leads to the wood itself being less dense, and therefore less durable. This can make it susceptible to dents and scratches. It also makes it harder to refinish, as low spots can rapidly be created by sanding machines.

Despite these drawbacks many people still choose to either expose, or preserve softwood flooring surfaces in their home, due to the beauty, and unique characteristics of the material. The material is also more eco-friendly because it can be locally sourced, and is rapidly renewable.

Hardwood Flooring: The trees that hardwood materials are harvested from grow much slower, and end up being far denser, and more durable than softwood counterparts.

Types of flooring

Wood flooring is any product manufactured from timber that is designed for use as flooring, either structural or aesthetic. Wood is a common choice as a flooring material due to its environmental profile, durability, and restorability. Bamboo flooring is often considered a form of wood flooring, although it is made from a grass (bamboo) rather than a timber.

How thick should my hardwood floors be

Most are 3/4" thick, although some manufacturers also offer a “thin- profile” solid that is 5/16" thick.While solid hardwood flooring is typically nailed to a subfloor, thin-profile solid flooring can be glued down over concrete and other hard surfaces.


July 15, 2007 12:00 am • By Rebecca Boren Special to the Arizona Daily Star

When the 18-year-old mesquite tree she had raised from seed fell victim to a summer monsoon storm, Janet Miller couldn't help herself.

"I put my arms around it and cried when the rain stopped," the Tucson artist recalls.

But now Miller has found a way to give her beloved tree a permanent place in her life — by making it part of a floor in her century-old home in the Armory Park neighborhood.

"We've done this before, and it's just a really cool thing to be able to do," said Cynndra Conniff, who with her husband, Owen, owns Catalina Hardwoods, the company that took Miller's fallen friend from logs to finished floor. "It would be a really fun way for a person to preserve a part of a tree."

The familiar mesquite, with all its knots and twists and turns, is today's hottest hardwood. Properly tamed and finished, it's turning up in everything from fancy inlaid foyer floors to basic butcher-block counters in Southwest-style kitchens.

"Anything with knots and cracks is really what we're doing as far as flooring now," Conniff said. "It used to be, 10 years ago, when we started in the wood floor business, everyone wanted real clear surfaces — no knots, no cracks. We did a lot of oak, and all select grade. And now the tide has completely turned. We haven't installed an oak floor in I don't know how many months."

Mesquite, Conniff said, is an ideal flooring material because it's both hard — no risk that your high heels will gouge holes in it — and resilient. That means you don't have to worry about your mesquite floor buckling in monsoon season humidity.

But having mesquite, which is usually imported from Sonora, underfoot also costs $18 to $20 per foot — prohibitive for most people. So homeowners are using the wood for accents — in an entryway, on a kitchen counter, as trim. "It's kind of the icing on the cake," Conniff concluded.

A few months ago, Janet Miller didn't know any of this. She just knew she had some 8-inch-diameter logs she was reluctant to waste in a fireplace.

After the fatal deluge in 2002, Miller and her friends cut up the downed tree. They burned the smaller pieces in campfires. Her friend Paulus Musters used one log for a dramatic lintel in the master bedroom of a house he was building near East Prince Road and North Mountain Avenue. The rest sat in a side yard for more than four years. Miller didn't know she was letting it season.

Three years ago, Miller built a guesthouse in the backyard spot where the tree used to grow, and she moved in. The 1908 house she had shared for nearly two decades with her former husband became a rental.

Then Musters and Miller decided to marry last spring. And they decided to turn "her" historic home into "their" place by remodeling. The old, enclosed kitchen and formal dining room became one big open living area. Two bedrooms became one master suite.

But ripping out the wall between the kitchen and dining room left a blank space between the kitchen (Douglas fir) and the dining room (hard-rock maple) floors, and a similar unfinished patch in the master bedroom.

Miller had noticed Catalina Hardwoods in her neighborhood, and she decided to stop in looking for wood to fill in the space. "And something just clicked."

Even though this was a very small job, Catalina agreed to mill the tree into flooring, make up any shortage with Sonoran mesquite, and install the finished product, all on a time-and-materials basis. It amounted to about $1,200.

"That they even wanted to do it was somewhat amazing," Musters added.

Miller and Musters began moving furniture into the finished space a few weeks ago.

"It's beautiful. We are so delighted," Miller said. "What's cool about it is having the presence of the tree in the house, having it alive in the house, and having it be part of the history of the house. It's cool to be able to contribute something to the history of the house in that way."

» From tree to floor

1) Fallen hero: Janet Miller's mesquite sags during the September 2002 storm that felled it.

2) Catalina Hardwoods sends raw logs to a mill in McNeal, in Cochise County, to be cut into rough planks known as blanks. This is the only step that Catalina didn't do in-house.

3) Catalina Hardwoods production manager Sean Scanlan eyeballs blanks and calculates how to get the most usable wood out of each. Then he uses two different saws to cut the blanks into smooth boards ready for the molder.

4) Molder operator Bill Leggett sets up the molder — a cutting machine with five knives that can be set to turn a piece of wood into flooring, molding or some other fancy shape. Setting up the molder is the most time-consuming step.

5) The molder cuts the boards into tongue-and-groove flooring. Miller's entire run takes less than two minutes.

6) Catalina Hardwoods employees frequently take mesquite scraps to nearby Mr. K's BBQ at 1830 S. Park Ave. and trade wood for lunch.

7) The grooves on the underside of the flooring are a "signature" showing that Catalina Hardwood made this floor. In the old days, the sawdust from such cuts fueled mills. Flooring is glued into longer lengths before heading for Miller's house.

8) Finish carpenter Ben Vosper saws and chips the space between two existing floors to make a snug bed for the new one.

9) Vosper dabs Liquid Nails (a brand of adhesive) every 6 inches along the flooring. Using a mallet, he gently settles the new flooring into its bed.

10) Epoxy fills in the holes and knots, making a smooth finish that retains the rustic look of the original wood. The surface is sanded smooth, then topped with three coats of finish.

11) The finished project transforms the appearance of the two rooms, joining them into one generous living space.

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