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The Silent Impact: How Footprints Floors Prioritizes Healthy Flooring Practices

Flooring is an inconspicuous aspect of the home that can affect its air quality. That’s why Footprints Floors puts the health and safety of its customers and their families first.

By Morgan Wood1851 Franchise Contributor
SPONSORED 8:08AM 04/25/24

Footprints Floors, the flooring installation franchise with over 160 territories across the country, has established a strong legacy in its 15 years of operations. The company is renowned for its commitment to customer satisfaction and for elevating the industry with a heightened level of professionalism. With these values comes a specific focus on the impact that flooring materials and installation techniques can have on indoor air quality and the health of those living in the home. In addition to quality work and thoughtful communications in day-to-day practices, Footprints Floors takes “doing what’s right” to the next level by supporting customers in choosing a flooring solution that fits their needs, is suitable to their lifestyles and will have positive long-term health effects. 

“So many times, we get people coming to us because they have really bad allergies or some sort of respiratory ailment that they want to get rid of; and nine times out of 10, people want to get rid of their carpet,” said Dan Hermansen, the owner of Footprints Floors of Kansas City, Missouri. “There are allergies and health issues related to everything that gets trapped in carpet over time, so from that perspective, hard-surface flooring is certainly the recommendation.”

Carpets can trap and harbor dirt, dust, dander, bacteria, mold spores, small insects and other unwanted debris that irritate individuals with allergies, respiratory conditions or weakened immune systems. Simply making the switch from carpet to a hard floor can make a world of difference, but Footprints Floors’ careful product selection and flexible installation practices increase these benefits even more.

Hardwood Floors Breathe Alongside You

Hardwood floors are an incredibly sustainable option because they are longer-lasting. According to the National Wood Flooring Associationwood flooring is renewable and has a noticeably smaller carbon footprint than all other flooring categories.

This, combined with the benefits that all hard floors bring by not harboring dirt and grime, means that making the switch to hard floors is a single easy step that can dramatically increase your indoor air quality.

Footprints Floors’ Approach to Healthy Hard Floor Installation

Making the switch to hard floors is a great first step, but that decision is only part of the equation. The materials that the installation team uses to complete the job also have an important impact on the health of the home and family.

Some building materials release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are easily converted to gasses and can be air pollutants, or are made with other chemicals like formaldehyde.

“A lot of people are very sensitive to the odor of some of these floor finishing products. Standard oil-based polyurethanes take a lot of time to dry and offgas, and it aggravates customers,” explained Noel Brewick, the owner of Footprints Floors of Sandy Springs in Georgia. “Water-based finishes that dry much quicker have a very low odor and low VOC compared to some of the other petroleum-type products on the market.”

Brewick also explained that he uses high solids content glues that don’t offgas very much. Offgas means to release a chemical — often a harmful one — into an environment. Limiting this release is another way that installation teams can keep both general sensory irritation and risks associated with harmful compounds as low as possible.

For families who are especially sensitive to the odors or chemicals associated with some wood stains, Footprints Floors is able to install flooring treated offsite or offer other alternatives. This can range from pre-finished floors to tile and luxury vinyl plank flooring, but the need to avoid these kinds of chemicals does not force customers into a single solution.

Throughout the entire process, Footprints Floors franchise owners and their teams actively collaborate with customers and their families to understand everyone’s unique needs and preferences. Some families may require more security, preferring that the team tapes off the worked-on space with plastic sheeting, and others may be more concerned about maintaining access to a certain part of the home.

“Some of our projects can get very messy and dusty before they get better, so we do take precautions and prepare to the degree that’s needed in each household,” said Hermansen. “Those preparation steps can always be tailored to meet the needs of specific customers. There are a lot of people who can live with a little bit of dust, and there are some people whose lifestyles are going to be very aggravated by it. We take additional precautions in those scenarios.”

The Footprints Floors Difference

As local business owners, Footprints Floors franchisees are key members of their communities and strive to treat their neighbors how they would want to be treated. Small details like using high-end sanders with vacuum bags attached or placing filters over HVAC vents to keep dust from being transported throughout the home via the air ducts provide that personalized experience that clearly tells customers “We care,” and allows Footprints Floors to stand out above other flooring companies.

“I’ve actually invested in an air scrubber that extracts any debris that might get through taped-off boundaries and openings to keep the dust down even more. It’s a powerful system that sucks out that dusty air, uses HEPA filters to purify it and then blows it back in as clean air,” said Brewick, the Sandy Springs owner. “It helps tremendously, and that’s an investment that I made myself. I borrow it out to my crews when we do jobs that it may be useful for, and it’s certainly paid for itself in just the handful of jobs we’ve used it on already. 

Both owners agreed that the ability to offer healthier flooring options, better installation materials and customizable, more considerate installation practices has helped them to stand out in their communities and grow their reputation as a flooring company that will do things the right way. When customers understand that Footprints Floors takes their health and safety seriously, the owners gain more traction and are able to build relationships with customers based on the overall experience as opposed to price alone.

“I look at it as our duty to work with each customer individually to meet their needs,” said Hermansen. “If I know that a customer has certain expectations, we’re going to do our best to meet them no matter what. I don’t look at that as a downside; it's more like a goal that we're strategizing to reach with the input of our customer and our team.”

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