By Lorraina Picard. Hardwood Flooring. Published at Thursday, May 16th, 2019 - 14:30:43 PM.
What does the stain/finish look like? Many large manufactures will finish all different woods at the same time without making adjustments for each wood because each time they make adjustments it effects the production. The fact is, each wood needs to be finished differently to achieve the nicest stain/finish. Oak requires more finish to ”fill in” the grain or else it will appear very pitted which is not something desirable in an oak floor. You want to be able to hold a piece up to the light and see a perfect smooth finish. Maple requires more brushing than oak so the stain can penetrate into the wood and not appear ”blotchy”. Maple is a beautiful wood and with the proper staining you can really bring out features such as Birdseye and tiger tail. If not stained properly these features are hidden.
Finishing – Most hardwood floors are sold with some form of factory finish. These consist of protective coats of polyurethane, aluminum oxide, or a combination of both, that are applied to protect the wood from wear and tear. The latest available factory finishes have been formulated to make hardwood flooring more scratch-resistant. In case you purchased unfinished flooring, it will still need to undergo finishing once the floors are installed. However, the quality of the finishing will not be as good as if it were finished in a factory.
What is the structural and surface warranty? This is a very important part of choosing a hardwood floor. Anyone can put a 25, 30, or 40 year warranty on the finish of their product but the real question is; will they stand behind their warranty. Many large hardwood flooring manufacturers have warranties that are up to ten pages. When you read through the entire warranty and all of the exclusions it really gives the client the impression that there is actually no warranty at all. The problem is most consumers don't take the time to read the warranty and are shocked when they find out the issue they are having with the flooring is one of the ”exclusions”. Most warranties will say that there is an industry standard of 5% margin for error which means that when your entire floor is complete the manufacturer is allowed to have 5% of the boards defective. That means a finished floor of 1000 square feet would be allowed roughly 100 boards with any kind of defect.
How durable is the finish? Durability is probably the most important things to consider when purchasing a prefinished hardwood floor. The finish is what you are actually walking on and must be very durable to have a beautiful lasting floor for years to come. Many imported prefinished floors have very little durability and the finish can be taken off with a few swipes of 150 grit sandpaper. When buying hardwood there are a few ways to test the finish: one would be to take 150 grit sandpaper and rub the finish to see if the finish will come off and two would be to firmly press the edge of a coin against the finish, a quality finish will dent but not come off. Quality manufacturers will have aluminum oxide or better yet titanium oxide hardeners in the finish. Many offshore manufactured products will say they have aluminum oxide in them but actually do not. To test if a hardwood floor has aluminum oxide in the finish simply put the sample in your microwave and if it sparks, it does indeed have aluminum oxide in the finish. I know that may seem a little strange but it's something worth checking because hardwood flooring is a big investment and you want to know the durability of the finish.
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