Howard Brickman

Wood Consultant 

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With 33 years of experience in the wood flooring industry, Howard Brickman has carved out a niche for himself as a pre-eminent expert on specialty installations as well as flooring and job site inspections.  Homeowners, construction managers, architects, contractors and insurance companies alike know who to call when there is a problem.  Savvy clients know that involving Brickman in the beginning of a project is the most cost effective way to make sure things are done right the first time.

In 1978, after serving in the Air Force for six years as a B52 Navigator and Bombardier, Brickman entered the wood flooring industry as the Manager of Inspection and School Services for the  National Oak Flooring Manufacturers Association.  His tenure with NOFMA had him inspecting mills to assist with quality and production problems.  Additionally, he developed curriculum for and taught their first Hardwood Flooring Installation School.  The industry knowledge of milling and installation practices served as a solid foundation for the establishment (in 1984) of a full service hardwood flooring consulting and contracting company.  Attention to detail and ingenuity of craftsmanship are hallmarks of his work.  His partial client list includes several notable projects: Hatch Memorial Shell, Boston; Henri Bendel Store, Boston; The Country Club, Brookline; Mechanics Hall, Worcester; Federal Reserve Bank, Boston; and This Old House Program WGBH.  Other credits include the NWFA 2000 “Floor of the Year” award and repeat appearances as a technical consultant for Bob Vila’s “Home Again”.

Brickman attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst from 1995 to 1998 and completed all of the coursework for the Wood Science & Technology, M.S. and Ph. D. program.  His sense of ethics, scientific understanding of wood gained through intensive study and practical experience as a flooring contractor combine to make him an effective expert witness when disputes are brought to court.  Currently, the bulk of his time is spent providing to guidance to clients regarding manufacture, storage, installation, finishing and job site conditions and has partnered with Inspector Training Services for Floor Coverings to teach other inspectors this scientific, fact-based approach to consulting. 

While most consulting cases involve dealing with the aftermath of botched job conditions, Brickman finds it much more rewarding to help clients avoid expensive, drawn out legal disputes all together.  The number one culprit of damage in building and renovation projects is improper moisture conditions at the time of construction.  Brickman, along with business partner Ed Johnson, developed FloorWatch and SlabWatch to enable users to monitor ongoing job site conditions using remote sensing moisture meters that send information nightly to a private web page.

Brickman resides in the South Shore suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts with his wife, two welsh corgis, and two adult children nearby.

Brickman Consulting's mission is to provide high-quality, accurate, relevant information to anyone with an interest in wood floors.  Our clientele ranges from:

  • small regional flooring contractors
  • individual homeowners
  • midsized architectural and engineering firms
  • international real estate development corporations
  • billion dollar manufacturing companies

What have all our clients had in common? They all had vexing wood flooring problems and a critical need for information. Wood Flooring:  A Complicated Material Wood Floors are not as simple as they may appear. Anyone who has ever had a floor crown or buckle can attest to that. Oftentimes, the wood simply doesn't do what it's supposed to. 

What causes:

  • Floors to separate from their substrates?
  • Finishes to peel?
  • Strange marks to appear only hours after the contractor's van has left the job?

These questions can be maddening, and not simply because they arise from a frustrating and expensive failures.

In every field the man who can only do things without knowing why is at a disadvantage to the one who can not only build but also tell you just why he is building in that way. This is especially noticeable when the prescribed cycle does not obey the laws it is supposed to: then the laborer must sit by with folded hands while the mechanic or engineer comes in and adjusts the delicate mechanism. Reuben Fine (The Ideas Behind Chess Openings. London: Bell and Hyman, 1981.)

In the wood flooring industry, we have a lack of high-quality technical information. Yes, there is good information being distributed.  Unfortunately, much of it has been made so general that it is useless to explain the real scientific principals governing how a wood floor reacts to its environment. When something goes wrong with a wood floor, you need accurate information. You need to know precisely what has happened. You also need to understand why and how it happened, so that you can determine how bad the damage is, and if it can be fixed. Then you need to understand precisely how to solve the problem, and do so in a way that won't make things worse.  We understand the characteristics of the entire range of wood flooring products, ranging from solid flooring like domestic Oak, Maple, and Pine wood flooring and exotic international species Brazilian Cherry, Santos Mahogany, and Bamboo, to engineered, laminate, prefinished and floating systems. When your wood flooring problem goes to court, you need an expert consultant with:

  • Years of successful experience as a testifying expert in adversarial trial cases
  • Years of practical professional experience in wood floor construction
  • Advance academic training in Wood Science, Building Materials, and Architectural Engineering
  • The ability to accurately report evidence in a compelling manner

Howard Brickman, founder and president, has 30 years of hands-on experience in the wood flooring industry. He has personally installed and sanded millions of board feet of wood flooring for high profile clients all over the United States, and has inspected millions more.  Brickman Consulting has extensive experience diagnosing and solving job site moisture problems, and specialize in testing for moisture in concrete subfloors. We have provided expert advice related to hardwood floor installation, sanding, finishing, and refinishing, as well as proper floor care, maintenance, and cleaning.  Brickman has three years as a full time graduate student of Advanced Wood Science and Building Materials and has served as an expert witness in hundreds of civil court cases, ranging in complexity from simple cupping and cracking to international patent litigation.  He has successfully navigated the full range of legal proceedings, and has testified in hundreds of court cases, depositions, and cross-examinations.