Wood quality (liquidator or big box stores)

Old 02-14-07, 08:16 AM
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Question Wood quality (liquidator or big box stores)

First of all, let me introduce myself, my name is Josh and I am from the north metro area of MN. I am in residential and commercial maintainence, seemingly working my way into a general contractor career.

This forum (and others like it) are an invaluable resource for REAL world issues with different projects. I appreciate any and all the information available from the experts and "not" so exprerts!

Hardwood flooring is something that I have virtually no experience in, and something I would like to be able to do, I have only installed laminate "click" together flooring, all with success.

My fiance and I want to put a wood floor in our Kitchen/dining area, its a very square 200 sq ft area, we are both against paper laminates, so we've been looking at engineered flooring and Solid wood. The subfloor is 3/4" tounge and groove, with a 1/2" Ply and Linoleum on top. To save flooring height, the linoleum and 1/2" Ply will be coming up, base cabinets and center island will be removed so everything will be a clean straight shot. This is above grade with a finished lower level, never had any moisture/leaks on this subfloor. Central A/C, and Furnace mounted Humidifier will have no problem keeping the house at a consistant 40%-50%

We are trying to keep our purchase price below $4.50 a square foot and that seems to leave us looking at stores like Lumber Liquidators. Is this price to low for quality flooring? (we've budgeted for ~$900 or less for materials cost(I understand there will be other costs involved)

I have read a few horror stories about lumber liquidators and thier quality of wood, and am wondering if there is merit to that, or if there is likely poor installation (particularly board cupping) it sounds to me like the moisture difference was too much between boards and subfloor at time of installation, not necessarily lumber quality.

Engineered flooring seems to be more DIY friendly, but I want something that is going to last at least 15-20 years and be (at minimum) refreshed if not fully refinished as necessary. What are the requirements of a quality engineered floor? As I understand it, the more layers the better, what are the downfalls of using a 3 layer engineered floor (usually cheaper)? I don't care what thickness the floor is, up to 3/4" due to the flooring layer I am taking off. What would you say a minimum Veneer (wear layer) thickness should be for the ability to sand refnish at least 1-2 times. I understand the better we take care of the floor the longer the finish will last.

I want to AVOID glue down at all costs, in case we ever want to change flooring I dont mind pulling nails/ staples, I HATE glue! However, if there is a nice engineered floor that I can edge glue and float, I would definatly go for that, I understant the floor must be strap clamped to ensure tight joints.

Prefinished Hardwood floors, this is what I REALLY want to put down, but I hear horror stories about the less expensive flooring cupping a couple weeks after install. Again to me this sounds like and installation problem, not necessary fault of the wood, should I be afraid of buying Bellawood (Lumber liquidators) or any of the Home Depot/Lowes/Menards flooring? I am not afraid of the install, but I am afraid of a $1000 floor cupping after I have done everything correct, and having no recourse/warranty because I installed it myself. The house sits at a pretty consistant 45% humidity, and I willl have a moisture meter to be able to judge subfloor moisture content and the flooring moisture content (these should ideally be within 2%-3% correct?) to ensure proper acclimation before install.

Our flooring taste is Red oak or maple (or any other hard wood with similar light properties), natural color or with a light stain, in a select and/or #1 flavor. #1 throughout would be acceptable if the price is right, allowing us to purchase ~20% extra to cull out ther really bad boards. We really like the color variations/small amount of character the #1 grade warrants.

Does the lower grade (non select/better) reflect milling issues as well? I am sure the color variations will hide some milling discrepancies but I don't want it to be and install nightmare due to crappy milling we are also looking for "micro eased" edges as well because we like the look better.

Am I being unrealistic trying to find a quality wood floor at that price? Any guidance you can give me would be greatly appreciated. Sorry so long winded, I just want to make sure I don't leave any questions on either side.

Thanks in advance
Old 02-17-07, 09:39 PM
Join Date: May 2004
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I had a similar question. Seems like HD regulary runs specials on a pre-finished product by Golden Select - Gunstock Oak. Pricing runs as low as $2.88 sq/ft. It's manufactured in China with a 25 yr warranty. I was wondering if anyone has experience with is product?

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