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In Conversation with Zech Inkster


Zech Inkster

As seen in SNAP – July 2012

Zech Inkster of European Flooring in Victoria BC is always one of our first sources for flooring questions. He’s been in the industry for some time now, and we are always pleased with the flooring knowledge and products he is willing to share with us. We have been working with Zech for several years now and thought he would be a great resource for readers of our ‘In Conversation With’ series. We get a lot of questions about wood flooring, and here we plan to share with you some of the most common questions we get, as well as the ones that aren’t always asked – but should be!

Whether you are looking for new flooring or not, you should definitely stop in to check out their new showroom on the Gorge Waterfront – it looks great and the products really stand out and are easy to peruse. There is a little something for every taste and style and the friendly staff are always eager to help.

In the meantime – get your pen and paper handy because this interview is chocked full of useable, tips and suggestions for your home – including a few reality checks that anyone considering new flooring should know. Please, read on to get in on the conversation…

Iván Meade – How did you get into the flooring industry?

Zech Inkster – It’s safe to say that wood has been part of my life since childhood, from grade school woodshop class to a summer job in a sawmill at the North Island community of Sointula. Following graduation I returned to Victoria where a friend’s family owned a hardwood flooring store. First working as a wood floor refinisher, then as an installer of new floors, after 10 years I had to choose between continuing in installations – with the associated wear and tear on the knees – and being able to continue playing soccer; as I loved sports as well, I opted to take the knowledge and experience I had gained on the job and move into the sales and marketing side of the industry.

It was at a the IDS West trade show almost 7 years ago that I discovered the products featured at European Flooring and couple years later I was able to help bring the store and their unique, quality hardwood flooring to Vancouver Island.



Cosmopolitan Wengé – Natural Oil Finish

Iván Meade – A floor accounts for approximately 30% of a room.  What are the priorities that need to be taken into consideration while choosing a hardwood floor?

Zech Inkster – Flooring is one piece of a bigger puzzle, and as such it needs to fit within the homeowner’s overall aesthetic and budget. If the home has a very neutral setting and décor, a more dramatic flooring might be appropriate, but typically the flooring is a complementary component of the design and should work with the style of home, paint colours, etc.

Aesthetics aside, choosing the correct hardwood floor also involves asking certain questions – Will you use area rugs? Is it in a humid area? Do you have pets or children?



L’Amour France Oak “Nantes” – Chevron Herringbone – Natural Oil Finish

Iván Meade – What are the differences between a solid wood floor and an engineered wood floor?

Zech Inkster – A solid wood floor is exactly how it sounds – one piece of wood from top to bottom. An engineered wood floor has a solid wood top layer over a multi-layered plywood core. An engineered wood floor has all the natural beauty of a solid wood floor but with one major benefit: extra stability. This allows us to use longer and wider planks and use wood flooring in areas that solid wood floors are not recommended or cannot be used, such as over radiant in-floor heat, over unheated crawl spaces, below grade and over concrete subfloors to name a few.



L’Amour France Oak “Metz” – Distressed – Natural Oil Finish

Iván Meade – What type of flooring is more popular now a days: hardwood or engineered?

Zech Inkster – Engineered. It’s the natural evolution of wood floors, offering more stability, more flexibility and greater environmental benefits. At the same time, people need to know that not all engineered flooring is created equal. The term engineered flooring can cover a broad spectrum of quality and technology, so people need to do their homework.



XL Collection Oak “Artico” CUSTOM – Herringbone – UV Cured Laquer Finish

Iván Meade – I have to ask these questions as I get them very often – Do wood floors scratch?  Is there any wood floor that doesn’t dent?

Zech Inkster – Unfortunately there isn’t a real wood floor that doesn’t scratch or dent. Wood is a natural material and as such is subject to denting and scratching. We are coming out with new finishes and treatments, such as natural oiled floors that can help camouflage mishaps and make repairs for everyday wear and tear easier, but when purchasing and installing new wood floors, homeowners need to understand that denting and scratching is in the nature of wood. Again, asking the right questions about the home environment will help select the right floor and finish.



European Flooring Showroom – Victoria BC

Iván Meade – Does the type of climate affect your flooring selection?

Zech Inkster – Absolutely. Wood is a living material and will move as humidity changes. The lack of humidity will make the wood contract while the addition of humidity will make a floor expand. Engineered wood flooring will help minimized this effect. In addition, different products will have different stability ratings, so knowledge of the home environment can ensure homeowners select from the appropriate woods.



Cosmopolitan Wengé – Natural Oil Finish

Iván Meade – What are the differences in the types of wood flooring – Strip, Plank, Parquet, Engineered?

Zech Inkster – Technically speaking, the term “strip wood flooring” represents wood flooring that is 3” or narrower in width and “plank flooring” represents wood flooring wider then 3”. In North America, “Parquet” stands for wood flooring with a geometrical mosaic and/or angular patterns such as herringbone or the famous Versailles pattern. “Engineered” is the evolution of wood flooring, aesthetically the same as solid wood but more stable and incorporating a better use of natural materials.



XL Collection – CUSTOM colour – Distressed – Natural Oil Finish


Iván Meade – Which type of wood floor is the most popular and why?


Zech Inkster – Wide plank oak is the new classic in wood flooring. Not only does oak perform well, but it’s also a very sustainable product. While we have seen a trend toward more exotics in the last 10 years or so, trends fade. Oak has inspired homeowners for generations.



L’Amour France “Nantes” – Wire-brushed – UV Cured Laquer Finish


Iván Meade – What are the most common finishes you can find in wood flooring?


Zech Inkster – The UV cured urethane finish is still the most popular finish but a natural, oil-finished floor has so many advantages that we are seeing a real surge in its popularity. Welcome features include ease of repair, reduced “off-gassing” for improved indoor air quality and a more natural appearance so the floor doesn’t appear “plastic.”



European Flooring Showroom – Victoria BC

Iván Meade – As an expert, what do you recommend to your clients: unfinished boards or pre-stained ones?


Zech Inkster – Pre-stained. A factory-applied finish is stronger, more consistent and penetrates deeper into the wood, offering a better protectant. In addition, it can shave weeks off the time it takes to complete a project. A common problem we have heard of with site-finished floors is inconsistency in the finish.



XL Collection – European Walnut “CUSTOM” – Natural Oil Finish

Iván Meade – One of the things that sets your company apart from other flooring suppliers on the island is your commitment to sustainability – How can readers find this beneficial to them?


Zech Inkster – When it comes to the environment, the first thing to consider when buying a natural resource-based construction material such as wood flooring is quality – purchase a product that will last a lifetime. It really doesn’t matter how many environmental certifications a product has if it has to be torn up and replaced in a few years due to poor quality. When buying a product from European Flooring, strict European environmental laws allow you to be confident you are buying a sustainable product.



L’Amour France “Nimes” – Wire-brushed – Natural Oil Finish


Iván Meade – What is your favourite product from European Flooring?


Zech Inkster – Oak #19 – it’s the perfect grey. Taking five steps to complete, the colour extends all the way through the wood top-layer for added depth and durability; it’s the perfect blend of form and function.



L’Amour France “Chalk White” – Natural Oil Finish


Iván Meade – What is new in wood flooring? – What are the new trends? – Which type of wood floor is the most popular and why?


Zech Inkster – Super WIDE boards in extra longer lengths and natural finishes, definitely, along with design details like the chevron and herring bone pattern and band sawn effect.


Wide plank oak is the new classic in wood flooring. Not only does oak perform well, but it’s also a very sustainable product. While we have seen a trend toward more exotics in the last 10 years or so, trends fade. Oak has inspired homeowners for generations.



L’Amour France “Reimes” – Distressed – Natural Oil Finish


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