Two Generations of Exceptional Workmanship
Weyer’s Floor Service, Inc. builds stellar reputation in athletic flooring industry
There’s an old saying, “What goes around comes around.” And when you’ve maintained a family reputation for quality flooring services for 57 years, it’s only natural that your firm is called on to replace the same wooden floors your father installed decades earlier.
That’s certainly the case for Weyer’s Floor Service, Inc. in Odenton, Maryland, which specializes in custom wood and athletic flooring. Lawrence E. Weyer Sr. started the company in the mid-1930s after moving to Maryland from St. Joseph, Missouri. In 1954, he installed and finished one of the company’s first of many high-profile basketball courts at the University of Maryland’s Cole Field House.
His son, Lawrence (Larry) Weyer Jr., was only 6 at the time. But after starting work for the flooring company at the age of 14, Larry helped maintain those floors over the years. In 2000, the university decided to build the Comcast Center (today known as the XFINITY Center), which features a 17,900-seat basketball facility for the Maryland Terrapins. The school representatives called on Larry, now owner and President of the business, to see what floor would be best to install in the new sports arena. They also asked him to tear out the floor at Cole Field House that his father had installed 46 years earlier.
“In addition to installing the new floors at the Comcast Center, we replaced the floor at Cole Field House with plywood so they could install turf over it. We tore out the floor and numbered the pieces for them,” he says. “They used the flooring to make memorabilia, which they gave to past and present coaches and sold to players and fans.”
A Reputation for Quality
Repeat service from customers who trust the firm’s knowledge, experience and quality workmanship has catapulted Weyer’s Floor Service from a small flooring operation to a regional powerhouse in athletic and specialty wood flooring sales.
Larry’s father started the business out of his garage, installing all types of floors for both residential and commercial customers. Today, Weyer’s Floor Service has more than 19,000 square feet of office and warehouse space, and the firm buys more than $2 million in flooring each year.
The company is a Robbins Sports Surfaces authorized dealer with installers and finishers certified by Robbins and the Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association, Inc. While the firm first began serving the Washington, D.C., area, its service territory now includes Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia and New Jersey.
“We don’t travel on price; we travel on quality,” Larry says about his firm’s reputation in the athletic flooring industry. “We’re not the cheapest guy in town, but what we put in holds up. My competition is in the business to make money. I’m in the business because I love it. I grew up to love it.”
Weyer’s Floor Service has completed thousands of jobs of various scopes and sizes, and its list of clients is long and impressive. Besides the University of Maryland, it has installed and maintained wood and synthetic flooring for the Washington Wizards and Washington Mystics, Georgetown University, George Mason University, Stevenson University, and Rutgers University.
The contractor has also done wood flooring projects for NFL teams, including installing and finishing a gym and racquetball courts for the Baltimore Ravens, and installing and finishing a gym for the Washington Redskins.
In every state it serves, the crew has installed countless elementary, middle and high school basketball courts, such as those for the Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland.
“My competition is in the business to make money. I’m in the business because I love it. I grew up to love it.” Larry Weyer, Owner and President, Weyer’s Floor Service, Inc.
Larry is particularly proud of several jobs he’s won due to the firm’s reputation. “We were outbid on the job for the University of Maryland, but they still gave it to us because of our reputation and prior work with them,” he says.
A 30,000-square-foot flooring project at Georgetown University’s John R. Thompson Jr. Intercollegiate Athletic Center was picked as a finalist in the Robbins 2016 Sports Surface of the Year contest. The 144,000-square-foot facility is the primary practice location for the Hoyas men’s and women’s basketball teams.
“Despite receiving many proposals from many flooring companies to do the work, Weyer’s Floor Service was our clear first choice, and we have been completely satisfied with their work and the timeliness of the installation,” said Brian McGuire in a January 2017 news article published by Robbins. He serves as the associate director of athletics at Georgetown University. “The quality of the work that they do is outstanding. Whether it’s installations, finishes or painting court designs, Weyer’s will not be happy until the work they do is done to the highest standard of perfection.”
Depending on the size, an athletic flooring job could take anywhere from three weeks to two months, Larry explains. The cost of athletic flooring installations averages $100,000, with a range anywhere from $60,000 for a middle or high school basketball court to $400,000 for a college training facility.
Wood flooring systems have evolved over the years since Larry’s father started the business. “We’re more particular about the environment in the building, checking for moisture and humidity levels before we bring the floor in and lay it,” Larry says. “Sometimes mechanical work has to be done so the environment can be controlled, as floors expand and contract.”
Robbins hardwood flooring systems are designed to reduce impact to an athlete’s joints and muscles and can include cushioned layers for smoother impact, sound-absorbing material and subfloor support for heavy loads, gym equipment and bleachers.
Final artwork featuring school logos and mascots have become more elaborate and detailed. A school or university will provide the artwork and Weyer’s Floor Service will develop a layout. Then the crew uses stencils to paint the artwork on the floor and line the floor with tape in order to paint the game lines, before finishing the floor.
In addition to floor installations, the company also provides water damage repair and other restoration work, sanding and refinishing services, and finish recoating—a particular point of pride for the team. “Our recoating process is second to none,” Larry says. “Most people who do a recoat will sandpaper and screen the floor with a buffer, then coat it. We’re old school in that we scrub the floor first and then sand and screen it. Otherwise, you’re grinding dirt into the floor and then putting a coat on it.”
The company also does other wood floor installations, including for civic centers and meeting rooms, fitness floors, dance floors and designer floors. The crew installed stunning herringbone flooring in the Great Hall Gallery of the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium located on Constitution Avenue in Washington, D.C. The hall is used for galas, weddings and other ceremonies and was featured in an episode of the hit TV series, “The West Wing.”
As a certified Robbins Institute—a hands-on center where athletic directors, coaches, architects, engineers and facility managers can learn about the features and differences in sports flooring—Weyer’s Floor Service has an area where customers can see and test different types of flooring. “We have flooring systems in 10-foot-by-10-foot and 12-foot-by-12-foot sections, where customers can come in and jump up and down or bounce a ball,” Larry says.
“A new athletic floor is a lifetime investment,” he adds. “We work with our customers, whether they are designing a new athletic facility or refurbishing an existing floor, to help them accomplish their goals.”
The company’s strength lies in its experience and knowledge. Customers have come to trust the Weyer name, with national, state, county and collegiate athletic directors turning to the company for what’s needed and how to get it done. The farthest the company has traveled for a job is to the University of the Virgin Islands in the Caribbean, where Larry knew the customer, a former coach at the University of Maryland.
Weyer’s Floor Service employs salespeople (two who work full time and one who works part time) and five office personnel and also runs three to four crews, with 15-25 people in the field. “Most of our guys are second generation. A lot of them have 30-40 years of experience,” Larry says. “Maurice Settles started out as my helper and has been with me for 35 years,” he adds. Another long-term employee, Joyce Dolgner (affectionately known as the Queen Bee), has done accounting, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) submittals, and game line and artwork layouts for the company for 40 years.
Larry offers his employees a full benefits package, including medical and a 401(k) program, as well as a bonus plan. He’s proud that he’s never had a layoff or had to lower salaries.
“We’re a family,” Larry says. “If my employees see something that needs to be done, they do it. If one crew gets done early and another crew has a lot of work, they help each other. We’re only as good as our last job. Everybody has a job to do and they do it the best they can.”
And that’s been the secret to success for Weyer’s Floor Service for over two generations in the athletic and specialty wood flooring market. “When we walk out the door, we want our customers to be 100 percent happy,” Larry says.