Purchasing hardwood for floors


Old 10-20-00, 06:05 PM
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I am in the process of researching hardwood flooring for my house. Are there particular grades or thickness that are better than others? Any info on this would be helpful. Thanks.
Old 10-20-00, 08:17 PM
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Wow, what a big question!

First, is laminate a consideration or not? It's a personal preference question.

Next analyze your choices of installation. Is your floor suitable for nail-down (i.e., you have at least 3/4" plywood or OSB floor, but not particle board)? If so, your choices are not restricted. If not, you need engineered wood or laminate.

Now look at whether the floor is above or below grade. If below grade, use laminate or engineered.

Are you going to do the work yourself or have it done? If you're doing it yourself, you may lean towards prefinished.

Are you chemically sensitive? This might push you to prefinished too.

What kind of wood do you want? Oak is most common, but do you want something more exotic?

Do you want a formal or informal look. Informal might suggest lower grades or wider planks.

You probably want a select or number 1 grade, unless you want a really informal look. Number 2 grade has noticeable imperfections.

Is the height of the flooring important, perhaps because of the height of surrounding floors? Solid is usually 3/4" and laminate is typically 1/3". Engineered is often in between.

Do you live in an area with huge humidity swings? Or is the risk of spilled water great? If so, you might like the dimensional stability of engineered or laminate.

Are you going to buy it locally or order it over the web? If you order it over the web, your choices are very broad indeed, but you'll have a little more trouble with returns, additional material, and equipment rental, and shipping costs are not trivial.

Start reading the flooring forums. Do a web search for brand names such as "Pergo" or "Kahrs" and you'll find several. I like http://www.hoskinghardwood.com/ and http://www.floorsearch.com/ but there are lots of other good ones too.

Good luck. For many people, this decision is paralyzing. My recommendation is to find something that will work for you and go for it. No sense looking for the perfect solution -- there is none.
Old 10-22-00, 09:39 AM
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Hardwood flooring is the only floor covering that adds value to your home. It can last 200 years. Most wood floors sold have been oak. Red oak is hard than white oak. Hickory and maple are harder than oak. Strip floors are 3/4"x 2 1/4". There are manufacturers who sell plank, but it is not the full 3"-4"-5" planks. Pre-finished floors come in a variety of qualities in finish. You need to know what type of finish warranty your wood will have. You can learn more at www.twelvepole.com.
Old 10-22-00, 02:17 PM
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The only flooring that adds value? Being in hardwood flooring business for a living I'd have to disagree, but I'd love to claim it's the only one. Marble and stone will increase value as well.
Old 10-25-00, 07:28 PM
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John, That's the best answer to a complex question I've ever seen in here. I salute you!!!!!

Scott Stephens www.stephensfloor.com

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