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Get that garage floored

by: Vern Uyetake, Brandon King, left, and his father Randy Hufford — co-owners of Terra Firma Flooring — said they enjoy installing their modular flooring systems in garages, and also work areas, decks, laundry rooms and basements. Known to make areas look neater and safer from water, the floors have been installed throughout the Northwest and in Lake Oswego and West Linn.

A storage unit.

The tool shop.

A place to practice that golf swing during the winter months.

Every garage is used differently, some actually house cars. Weather in the Northwest can alter the functionality of a garage space. Wet-concrete floors can be slippery. Cracks and stains can cause the floor to look unattractive.

The garage is a room in your house, so start treating it like one.

Father and son co-owners of Terra Firma Flooring said that their RaceDeck modular flooring systems can provide an attractive alternative for the flexible floorspace. A cheaper alternative to epoxy coatings, said Brandon King and his father Randy Hufford, RaceDeck flooring is a multi-purpose interlocking floor system engineered to withstand the weight of a car and automotive chemicals.

'It's specifically designed to hold the weight of a car. It holds 2,500 pounds per square inch,' Hufford said.

See the products available from Terra Firma Flooring for yourself at the 19th annual Portland Fall Home and Garden Show taking place at the Expo Center today through Sunday.

The show provides an avenue to meet experts, find suppliers and gather ideas for home improvement projects.

'People need to see this. The garage is the undiscovered part of your home,' King said of the flooring already installed in many Lake Oswego and West Linn houses, as well as houses throughout the region. 'As homes get competitive trying to sell them, this could instantly sell a home. People just get floored - literally -when they see it.'

Pretty, and pretty tough

Resistant to oil, grease, petroleum products, antifreeze and chemicals, RaceDeck floor makes a dramatic difference in the appearance and functionality of a garage. Available in four designs - Diamond, Circle Trac, Tuff Shield and Free Flow - and 10 colors, the floor for adults is as easy as Legos are for a child.

'With different designs and colors you can compartmentalize your garage,' Hufford said.

The 12' by 12' squares fit together to form the floor. Tiles are cut to fit around water heaters and other permanent objects. If one tile breaks, replace it.

'We had a guy chopping wood that choped through a tile. It's an easy fix,' Hufford said of the thick, patented blend of plastic.

Replacing a tile is simple; no tile is glued to the ground, just fit snugly within the space. The flooring can be picked up easily to transport when moving to a new house.

And installing the floor is a breeze, they said.

'We just sweep the garage. It installs on top of your floor,' Hufford said.

The RaceDeck floor in Hufford's own garage just outside Lake Oswego allows a designated space for cars, tools, equipment and walkways.

'This garage is square but in so many newer homes there's cubby holes. If dad doesn't want his kids around his tools he can put a yellow border around it,' Hufford said. 'You can mix and match anything. They all fit together.'

It's a snap!

Colors such as graphite, royal purple, orange, beige, royal blue, black and yellow can be mixed and matched for a funky look - like an ode to the Oregon State Beavers - or a more subdued approach, such as plain black or silver. All tiles are UV resistant so the colors won't fade over time.

A two-car garage can usually be outfitted with the tiles within three to four hours and costs around $2,500 installed. The family said they've done many surprise fittings where a spouse wants to surprise their mate.

Near Huffords side door, two thick carpeted squares sit within the interlocked floor system.

'That's carpeted tile. It's kind of an integrated door mat,' he said.

The most popular model in the Northwest is the Free-Flow. A unique diamond design, the surface you walk on is supported by the base.

King said that one client came to them with a broken knee after slipping on a wet garage floor. The Free-Flow model is an inch and a half thick and allows water to remain below the tile until evaporated, not on the surface in puddles.

'If you've got more water than is going through this you've got another problem,' Hufford said.

The Free-Flow tiles also keep cars above water, mud and other debris - making it harder to track dirt into the house and easier to keep the garage clean.

'I just vacuum (the garage) once a year,' Hufford said.

Another popular product Terra Firma Flooring offers is the Duragrid flooring solution. Similar to RaceDeck, the tiles are often used on patios, decks, walkways and in saunas, spas and any other areas where water creates a slip problem. The major difference between the two is that the DuraGrid is a bit softer and cannot hold the weight of a car.

'In Lake Oswego, we put it around boat houses, hot tubs and decks on the lake,' Hufford said.

Both products, they said, have men and women excited to keep spaces neat and show them off.

'The greatest satisfaction for me is when somebody buys the flooring and we get it installed. Even though they've seen our showroom floor and been a part of the design process, we've never had a single person that wasn't blown away by the difference,' King said.

'The next best thing is being able to work with my dad - we've become a lot closer. That's just kind of a bonus.'

Terra Firma Flooring is located within the Plus One Motor Sports building at 6600 SW Macadam Avenue in Portland, Hufford's other business.

Before beginning careers with automotive parts and garage flooring, Hufford worked at Intel for 28 years.

'I managed (groups) all around the world. We did some significant things. But, I didn't get to see a person buying a computer and saying, 'this is so cool,'' Hufford said. 'Where as with this, it's instantly gratifying. People love it.'

For more information about the Portland Fall Home and Garden show, visit the Web site at http://www.oloughlintradeshows.com/PHS/phs.htm.

For more information about Terra Firma Flooring, visit www.terrafirmaflooring.com or call Randy Hufford or Cory Clayton at 800-449-0548.