Dan Briggs was looking for a way to diversify his sagging Canadian furniture business Briggs Engineered Wood Products Inc. in Plaster Rock, New Brunswick, when he hit on the idea of making simple-to-install hardwood floors. But how to make his floors stand out in the crowd of products?

Briggs decided to ditch the traditional floor board plank shape in favor of puzzle pieces, figuring it looked distinctive and would appeal to anybody who had ever put together a traditional jig saw puzzle.

To test the ease of installation, he had his 10- and 12-year-old sons install Puzzle Floor in the family recreation room. “They did it,” he said. “But I didn't let them run the saws.”

GOOD FIT: The pieces of the hardwood puzzle floor fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. A year after unveiling his product at the Las Vegas flooring show, Briggs says interest in Puzzle Floor has been brisk. He has even had some nibbles from big builders interested in his product. “We have not signed some deals yet,” he says.

And he is negotiating with Costco to carry his product as do-it-yourself kits by the end of summer.

Prefinished Puzzle Floor, which is made of hardwoods from certified managed forests, can be installed as a floating floor or glued down. It comes in 13 colors and with a 25-year warranty. It can be engraved with a favorite image, logo, or slogan. Buyers can send in room dimensions and the company will calculate the exact number of pieces needed.

Briggs isn't expecting any customer to order whole houses worth of puzzle floors. “It isn't for every room,” he says. Or, at $18 to $22 a square foot MSRP, for every budget. Still, it's added some diversity to the family business.

“I don't like to keep all my eggs in one basket,” he says. For more information, visit www.puzzlefloor.com or call 800-750-5563.