Meet Colorado Preferred Installer Jesse Lauder

A modern home near Boulder, Colorado with white oak flooring installed by Focus Hardwood
Boulder, CO | Design: Amy Pigliacampo | Photography: David Lauer | Floor: Shell

Jesse Lauder is the owner and founder of Denver’s Focus Hardwood. Born and raised in Colorado, he has worked in the hardwood flooring industry for more than 20 years and uses woodwork as a creative outlet. If you’re planning a renovation in Colorado, consider Jesse your go-to for everything from restoration and repair to custom installations and deep cleaning.

We sat down with Jesse to learn more.

Jesse of Focus Hardwood, best hardwood flooring installer near Denver, Colorado
Jesse Lauder, owner of Denver-based installation company, Focus Hardwood.

How did you get started in the industry?

I’ve been doing hardwood floors for 22 years. I immediately fell in love with it. I'm an artistic person, so working with wood was like discovering a new medium for my art.

My brother-in-law introduced me to the flooring industry when college wasn’t working out. It paid well, and two years later, I became a crew leader at my company. My skills evolved from there. Nine years ago, I started Focus Hardwood and have enjoyed every aspect of running my business, from meeting vendors to collaborating with contractors on both new-build custom homes and remodels. I love seeing homeowners' reactions to the transformation flooring creates. 

Do you only do projects in Colorado?

I was born and raised in Denver and rarely work on projects outside the state. I’ve done projects for family in New Hampshire, where my wife’s family is from, and in Nebraska, where my sister lives.

Shell natural white oak flooring by Stuga with transition to black hexagon tile
Jesse's team installed this custom transition from Shell to a hexagon tile.

What questions do you get from homeowners regarding climate and floor performance?

I often answer questions about relative humidity rather than high elevation. People sometimes think Colorado is dry all year, but we experience months with high relative humidity. I educate homeowners on how wood performs best under certain conditions. 

We require indoor humidity to be between 35% and 55% year-round. Without this, homeowners must accept responsibility for any poor floor performance. We recommend installing a humidifier, which many don’t consider at the start of their flooring project.

Shell natural white oak flooring by Stuga in a modern bedroom
Jesse's team installed Shell flooring after the drywall in this home, allowing the homeowner to forego baseboards for a clean, modern style.

Have you noticed any flooring trends among Colorado residents?

They’re favoring lighter-toned, neutral-colored floors that are timeless and 5-7 inches wide, moving away from shiny, dark floors.

What is your favorite Stuga floor and why?

I love the Shell design for its classic look and versatility with different home styles. While I haven’t worked with Frida yet, I love the samples. Greta and Little Square are also popular requests.

Stuga Hardwood Flooring Staircase Solutions
Flush stair nosings create an organic modern look in this Boulder home.

How is it installing Stuga stair nosings? Are there considerations homeowners should be aware of?

The main issue is that some staircases can't accommodate flush nosings due to insufficient tread depth, which can fail to meet stair code requirements. If stairs are not framed for a nosing with no overhang, adding one can affect the tread depth. We sometimes need to reframe stairs, which can be costly and often doesn't make sense if the staircase is already built.

What is the most common installation method you use?

We primarily use stapling. I focus on longevity, and we use products that withstand sanding. The National Wood Floor Association advises against sanding floated floors due to potential movement and uneven finishes.

What’s special about living in Denver?

Denver's appeal includes over 300 days of sunshine annually, allowing for quick transitions from snow to clear, blue skies.

Fun Facts:

  • Father of two daughters
  • Enjoys trail running, telemark skiing, and camping
Modern white oak flooring in a cabin with Colorado style