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Best Wood Floors

One of the questions I get asked a lot is: "What are the best wood floors?" With all the wood flooring options out there to choose from today it becomes overwhelming trying to decide which wood floor is best for your purposes. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this. Even within a wood flooring manufacturer you may find some styles that are better made and better quality than others.

Obviously, most manufacturers really try to control the quality of their wood floors when ever possible. Although some floors are targeted at different market segments and thus some floors may be better than others. As example, wood floors that are made for "builder grade" are usually targeted to meet a tighter budgets and will not have the same construction, finish or warranty than higher priced hardwood floors. Like anything else, floors that are really priced low will almost always have fewer coats of finish, fewer plies if engineered and probably more character marks in the top finish veneer.

The most expensive wood floors will have more coats of finish, better quality top veneer, much better warranty and better quality control. Remember too the square foot labor cost for installing a cheaper wood floor versus an expensive wood floor is the same. Buy the best quality floor you can afford and make sure you have a quality installer putting in your new floor.

Square edges floors are more difficult to manufacture than beveled edge floors so they will generally cost more. True hand scraped hardwood floors take more time to produce and will cost more. Distressed wood floors look like hand scraped floors but are done mechanically so they should cost less than true hand scraped floors. The best engineered wood floors should have a thicker top ply, about 1/8" thick.

Usually a warranty can help you determine the best wood floors. Cheap floors have little or poor warranties because the manufacturers have nothing built in for covering warranty issues. If you are looking at the big box stores you will probably not find the really top of the line wood floors. Look to the specialty flooring stores both online and in your local area to determine the best wood floors that will meet your needs. Lastly, if you are investing a great deal of money in a new wood floor to cover a large area of your home you may want to purchase one carton of wood to open and inspect before making the final commitment.

See also: Solid Wood Floors, Engineered Wood Floors and Floating Wood Floors for more in depth information.