Midwest Hardwood Flooring is about more than floors

Owner John Harmon says he can tackle diverse projects

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Midwest Hardwood Flooring owner Jon Harmon, at right, along with installer Isaiah Alexander show off a sample of the many types of wood flooring they have available for their customers. They are located at 3204 10th Ave. S. in Fort Dodge.

Hardwood floors long have been used in residences and other buildings. Carpet became a more popular flooring choice for locales in the middle decades of the 20th century. In recent decades, however, the appeal of hardwood has been rebounding.

Midwest Hardwood Flooring, 3204 10th Ave. S., which is owned by Jon Harmon, helps people throughout north central Iowa keep existing hardwood floors looking good and stands ready to install new floors. The business, however, has a more wide-ranging agenda than its name might suggest.

“I’m a general contractor,” Harmon said. “This is just what I specialize in. I do everything, but I specialize in refinishing and installing hardwood floors. I’m known for my refinishing.”

The projects the company can handle are diverse.

“I do everything,” Harmon said. “I do a lot of tile. I do a lot of tiling. I’ve been doing a lot more custom showers. I do a lot more than hardwood flooring. I do home remodeling, window replacement, siding, roofing.”

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Midwest Hardwood Flooring owner Jon Harmon, at right, watches as installer/finisher Isaiah Alexander applies stain to a piece of flooring in the shop.

He said he is ready to undertake a multitude of assignments.

“There’s nothing I can’t do,” Harmon said. “I just put an addition on last summer for a customer. If I don’t do it, I have somebody in my Rolodex that does it for me.”

Existing floors

He said many homes in Iowa that have long been carpeted may have hardwood flooring already in place.

“A lot of people are pulling up their old carpet and finding they have hardwood floors underneath,” Harmon said. “A lot of the houses around here have the hardwood floors in them.”

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Midwest Hardwood Flooring owner Jon Harmon, at right, along with installer Isaiah Alexander look through a catalog of building materials in the showroom of the shop at 3204 10th Ave. S. in Fort Dodge.

Restoring that flooring is a major part of the work the team at Midwest Hardwood Flooring handles.

“Normally, I can sand them and make them look beautiful again,” Harmon said. “About 80 percent of what I do is bringing back the old floors.”

He said older clients are often resistant to installing hardwood floors because they have memories of the maintenance required in years gone by. Harmon said those days are over.

“The hardest part of my job is convincing them that it’s not a dusty mess like it used to be,” he said. “They don’t have to get down on their hands and knees and wax them like they used to. You don’t do any of that anymore. The ease of taking care of it is what’s changed the most.”

There are also an array of new products that have none of the problems people associate with traditional wood floors, according to Harmon.

“You used to have to wax them every year and strip off the old wax,” he said. “You don’t have to do all that with the products we have now. They are a lot harder and resist scratching. They clean so much easier. There is a lot less maintenance. You don’t have to wax the floors anymore.”

Some of the flooring Harmon and his team install is manmade rather than natural wood.

“This last year, I’ve taken on luxury vinyl plank,” he said. “That’s a big trend going on right now. I’ve installed more of that in the last year than I have hardwood floors. It’s a manmade product instead of a natural product.”

Harmon initially got into this business through a partnership.

“I partnered with Matt Cooper at the Midwest Top Shop for a while and I bought the company from him,” Harmon said. “He originally owned it. I was partners with Matt for about four years before I bought the company. I’ve owned it since 2013.”

His move into this field came at a propitious time.

“I seemed to get in it at the right time,” he said. “Carpets are on their way out. Hardwood floors are coming back.”

Harmon said that in addition to their beauty, hardwood floors have additional advantages.

“It’s hypoallergenic,” he said. “They clean a lot easier. You basically just wipe it down. Ten years down the road, if you want to renew them, we can put a fresh coat of poly on them where with carpet if you’ve got a worn spot you’ve got to pull it out and replace it.”

Harmon said most of his flooring work takes place in residences, but he has done some commercial jobs.

“I did the Frank Lloyd Wright hotel up in Mason City years back,” he said. “I did the old Sears building here in town. There are not too many commercial places that have hardwood floors.”

Most of his projects are in north central Iowa.

“I’ve had jobs in Ames,” Harmon said. “I’ve been clear up to Mason City. Clear over to Pocahontas.”

Enjoys the work

He said he finds the work Midwest Hardwood Flooring undertakes enjoyable.

“I like that I see progress from start to finish,” Harmon said. “I’m only in your house for maybe a week, but when I’m done, you can definitely see that something has changed. That’s satisfying.”

He added that he also enjoys getting to know a diverse mix of customers.

Harmon has a message for potential hardwood flooring customers.

“As far as I know, I’m the only one in Fort Dodge that owns and has their own machines and is licensed and bonded,” he said. “People need to be careful. It doesn’t take long to ruin a floor. At that point who’s paying for it? I’m licensed, bonded and insured.”

Harmon has a showroom where potential customers can view some of their options. He also welcomes the opportunity to explain to potential clients what he has to offer.

“Give me a call,” Harmon said. “Estimates are free. We can go over your options.”