Builders usually have limited options and hefty price tags. Builders usually feature a few floors (they are usually common floors that I also carry at a lower price) that streamline the choices for homeowners trying to customize their new build in a new community. While there is a convenience to just pointing to several options in one afternoon, you will often pay double or more for that convenience. Just getting another bid from a company like mine on that same product you chose can save you thousands. They usually make you close on the home with carpet or vinyl (base grade coverings) and it still saves you money to throw that new stuff away and buy from us. The benefit they have is wrapping the upgrade costs into the loan when new homeowners are short on cash. Also convenient, but EXTREMELY expensive to pay 30 years of interest on those upgrades- tripling the price of the renovation work again.
Please call us if you are moving into a new home and we can help you navigate your options and coordinate your work with your other contractors!

 

Best deal or best price?

Why is there such a broad range of prices on hardwood flooring? And how do I decide if I’m really getting a good deal, when they can range all the way from $2.00 to $20.00 per square foot?

Hardwood flooring manufacturers have different goals in mind when they set out to produce a product. Some manufacturers set out to produce the best darn product that they can, no matter what, and then do their best to keep the costs to a minimum, given what they feel they need to do to produce that product. Other manufacturers set the price point they want to hit, and produce whatever they can with those dollars. Neither manufacturer is ‘trying’ to get the price up, but there is a broad range of choices that are made all along the way.

One of the choices that manufacturers make is what quality of wood they will buy. The closer to the top of the tree, the cheaper the wood will be (and the more knots there will be.) Then the wood is sorted into grades, with the cleanest grade being the more expensive version. How they cut the log up will also determine the look and the price point—rotary peeled wood is ‘rolled’ through the saw, and creates a veneer with a different appearance than a sawn cut face.

Another choice than must be made is in the quality of the plywood layers that support the top wear layer. And the thickness of the top wear layer can be anything from ½ mm, to 5mm.

Aesthetically there are many choices from a narrow strip look of 2” wide boards to a wide board that may be as wide as 9-12”. The surface may be smooth, or it may be hand-scraped, chiseled, distressed or wire-brushed.

Finally, there are several types of finishes that can be applied to the hardwood, the most common two types being Oiled UV cured finish, or Aluminum Oxide Urethane finish. Additionally, not all the finishes have the same quality, and it may be very difficult for the homeowner to determine this on his own. Ultimately, they will scratch and wear differently.

A good retailer should be able to determine exactly what your personal needs and budget are, and they should be able to direct you to the best choice for you, given your taste, budget, and lifestyle. This will involve answering a number of questions, so they can properly guide you through the hundreds of choices available to you. They should be able to show you the differences in each product, and help you understand your choices, so you can make a smart buying decision, whether it’s at the lower end or the higher end of the price spectrum.

Internet shopping can be a good place to start to educate yourself, but the final buying decision will involve many personal variables that are best selected after discussion with an experienced professional that can help you choose a product that is best suited for your individual needs.

Harder Versus Softer Wood

Does wood hardness really matter?

“Hardness” of wood is referring to density, and we measure that in hardwood flooring on the JANKA Hardness scale. This is PSI (pounds per square inch) pressure. We use Red Oak (1290 PSI) as a baseline standard of “hard enough”. Hard enough to be functional and to not easily dent in normal household use. If you drop a pan, you are going to get a dent whether it is Brazilian Cherry (2820 PSI) or Yellow Birch (1260 PSI). But functional differences come under the red oak baseline in popular wood such as American Walnut (1010 PSI) Teak (1155 PSI) and American Cherry (950 PSI). These “softer” floors can leave dents from high heel shoes or debris stuck to the bottom of your shoe. A Christmas party could destroy your floor! These are beautiful grains and natural colors, so some people opt to forego their shoes in the house and take special care of their floors so they can enjoy the unique looks they provide.

Color and grain are equally as important as function and wear in your home. It is just about knowing your expectations for your floor and getting what fits your home and lifestyle.