Flooring Help

HARDWOOD

Choosing the right hardwood floor for your home is a matter of personal taste. Trust your instincts as you consider the hardwood features that will match your decorating style.
Wood Species
Your selection of a hardwood floor begins with the wood species. The species determines a floor’s appearance and its durability.
Each wood species has a unique look that’s defined by its graining and other character marks like mineral streaks, burls, pin holes, and knots. Oak, for example, has well-defined variations in grain, while the graining in maple is subtler.
Durability
Not all hardwoods are equally hard, so choose one that will deliver the durability level you need in your room. Hickory, oak, and maple have high hardness ratings that will provide extra durability.
Color
The color of your hardwood floor is based on the wood species and the stain applied to the wood. Staining adds color to enhance the natural look of the wood and reduce the amount of natural color variations.
Texture
Texture impacts the character of your floor and complements the design style of your room.
•Smooth for a classic, timeless look
•Distressed for a country or rustic look
•Hand-Scraped for any style – rustic to contemporary
Board Width
The width of the boards dramatically affects the overall look of the floor.
•Strips (less than 3") – slender boards visually expand the size of a room
•Plank (4" and up) – combines rustic charm and casual comfort
•Random widths – perfect for a country retreat or an urban loft

LAMINATE

Laminate floors capture the authenticity and colors of real wood species, natural stones, and ceramics. Beyond woods and stones, laminate can also mimic unexpected materials like aged metals and precast cement.
•Woods – everything from domestic woods and exotics to reclaimed, distressed, and hand-scraped looks
•Stones – natural stone and slate looks
•Trends – exciting designs that capture hard-to-get or expensive materials like aged metal, cement, and weathered wood
Board Width
Like hardwood, laminate boards come in different widths, so you can create the look you want for your room – whether it’s modern, traditional, or any style in between.
•Planks (3") – adds contemporary styling
•Wide plank (5" and up) – marries the look of vintage floors with present-day design influences
•Random widths (3", 5", and 7") – captures rustic trends
•Random lengths – creates a rich, custom look

Your lifestyle plays a big role in your flooring selection. Make sure to choose a floor that will stand up to your expectations.

HARDWOOD
Hardwood Hardness
Some species of wood are harder than others, which makes them more resistant to dents, dings, and natural signs of wear. Species like oak, maple, and hickory are highly durable, so they are excellent choices for “high traffic” rooms and busy homes.
Quality hardwood floors will last a lifetime with proper care. Be aware, however, since hardwood is a natural wood product, it will take on a distinctive visual character as it ages. Choose a more durable hardwood if you prefer less aged character.
Finish
The finish is the surface coating that protects the hardwood floor from wear and scratches, and it also determines the gloss level. Hardwood floors come in a variety of finishes. Choose one that suits your lifestyle.
•Lifetime Finish – toughest finish with an aluminum oxide formula – protects against extreme wear and traffic
Gloss
The finish coating is the top layer that adds durability and can add either a matte or polished look to a hardwood floor.
•Low gloss – no shine, stylish, good for high traffic areas
•Medium gloss – slight shine, hides wear and smudges
•High gloss – creates a sophisticated look but shows wear more easily
While the coating can affect both durability and shine, the gloss level itself does not impact the durability or performance of hardwood.

LAMINATE
Laminate is highly durable and less likely to scratch than hardwood. It’s an ideal choice for active homes with kids and pets.
Two features affect the durability of a laminate floor: the wear layer and the structure – or core.
Laminate Wear Layer
All laminate floors have a durable wear layer, which protects against stains, fading, scratches, and scuffs.
Structure
Laminate flooring has four layers: a wear layer, a design layer, an inner core layer, and a backing layer. It’s this layered construction which makes laminate floors so durable.
Laminate Structure
laminate floors are built around HDF Core, which provides a stable foundation and barrier against spills and subfloor moisture. Premium floors have a Plus HDF Core, which offers a more substantial feel and the solid sound of real hardwood.
Gloss
The gloss or finish on a laminate floor enhances the design image. Choose the gloss level that complements your design style.
Gloss Levels
•Mat – a no gloss that gives the appearance of oil-rubbed hardwood
•Low Luster – a smooth sheen that enhances the beauty of the design image
•Medium gloss – a mid-gloss that is in between our low gloss and piano gloss
•Piano – a high gloss formal finish that shines

FLOORING COSTS
Hardwood and laminate floors are available at a wide range of price points. What makes one floor cost more than another? Find out what influences pricing to understand the value of your floor.
HARDWOOD
Wood Species & Wood Demand
Hardwood costs are influenced by two main factors: the type of wood species and the high demand for wood in other industries.
Species
•Abundant American species, like maple and oak, are most affordable.
•Less-abundant exotic hardwoods are more difficult to obtain, so they are higher-priced.
Demand
Hardwood is a prime raw material for
•Flooring and trim
•Truck manufacturing
•Furniture and cabinetry
•Industrial use: pallets, ties, crane mats, etc.
The higher the demand for wood, the higher the wood costs everywhere.
Grade
Within a species, price varies based on the grade of the lumber. Premium grades have a more refined appearance, with less color variations and fewer knots and mineral streaks.
Board Size
Rawer lumber is needed to get unblemished boards that are longer and wider, so these size boards cost more than shorter sizes.
Specialty Finishing
Surface treatments like hand-scraping, color washing, distressing, or acrylic infusion (adds extra hardness to the top wear layer) add to the overall cost of a hardwood floor.
LAMINATE
Board Thickness
laminate flooring is offered in several standard thicknesses, measured in millimeters – from 7.00 mm up to 12 mm. The thicker the board, the more substantial it feels underfoot. Also, thicker boards offer better sound absorption.
High Design
Today’s sophisticated laminate technology makes it possible to get beautiful visuals in exotic, expensive, or hard-to-get materials (like aged metal, weathered wood) in an affordable floor.
Flooring designs are created through Hi-Definition Print Technology. This technology allows designers to produce ground-breaking designs with brilliant detail.
Beveled Planks
Beveled planks are individually shaped to create a deep V-shaped groove on the edges of the planks. This beveled edge helps create a casual look, and hides subfloor imperfections.

WHY WE LOVE HARDWOOD
Hardwood brings a natural warmth and beauty to a room. It creates a strong, reassuring presence and reminds us of our connection to all the natural wonders outside our front door. Who doesn’t love a floor designed by nature?
Hardwood floors come in a wide variety of wood species, from dramatic exotics to traditional hardwoods, so it’s easy to find one to complement your décor or design style.
For enduring natural beauty in your home, hardwood is the obvious flooring choice.
WHY WE LOVE LAMINATE
Laminate has come a long way from the plastic- looking floors of the past, with their cheap, faux-wood designs and their second-class status.
Today’s laminate floors use sophisticated technology to capture the look of real woods and stones, as well as unique and unexpected materials like metal, concrete, and weathered wood. Along with stylish designs, laminate floors offer high durability and versatility, which means you can install laminate anywhere in your home.
For bold, innovative visuals and unbeatable durability, laminate is the obvious flooring choice.

Laminate or Vinyl Plank?
Laminate Flooring and LVP Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring provide a realistic looking and lower cost alternative to hardwood floors. They are durable, family and pet friendly floors with great scratch, wear and stain resistance. Plus, both Laminate and LVP planks typically offer a floating installation with click together planks, so they are easy to do-it-yourself - resulting in a significant cost savings vs a professionally installed floor.

Construction
Laminate flooring available 6mm-12mm thick and consists mostly of a wood based core material made of High Density Fiberboard (HDF). LVP planks are 4mm-8mm thick. Both laminate and LVP use high-definition printing techniques to create the decorative layer. Because laminate is made with a thicker wood based core, it has an advantage with thicker beveled edges and deeper texture - this is especially evident in distressed and hand scraped designs. All available with and without underlayment attached. High end LVP often has cork underlayment attached.

Realistic Designs
Embossed in Register, 4 side enhanced bevel is available. These are not the vinyl floors from your childhood which looked fake and shiny. And today's laminate floors are vastly different from the unnatural and repetitive looking laminate floors of the early 1990's. Both products have undergone technological advancements resulting in extremely realistic looking designs - visually and texturally. Cheaper, entry level products will typically have less complex texture and more frequent pattern repeats. Middle and High end products have texture and relief that follows the grain and the pattern of the wood visual, with a higher number of distinct planks.

Water Resistance
Since laminate floors have a wood based core, liquid spills should be wiped promptly. LVP vinyl planks are inherently water resistant and can be wet mopped. LVP is clearly a better choice in wet areas.

Slip Resistance
laminate floors could be very slippery under wet foot, wood dust, hard sol, or in socks.

Sound
Because of the wood based core and a floating installation, laminate floors can have a knocking sound when you walk on them with hard sole shoes. This can be mitigated with a high quality underlayment. LVP tends to be more quiet.

Stains and Flames
Laminate floors are virtually impossible to stain because of their non porous surface. And laminate floors can withstand flames (like a burning ember or lit cigarette) for a reasonable period of time. LVT can be stained by ink from a permanent marker and can melt slightly from a burning ember.

Installation
Both LVP and Laminate are among the easiest floors to install. The planks lock together and floats on the subfloor. Neither glue or nails is required

Price
Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring with lock install, cost about 0.5 - $1 more to Laminate. For benefit of Water, Slip Resistance and cork underlayment attached.

Conclusion
The differences between laminate and LVP are rather subtle. In fact, Laminate and LVP floors are similar in a lot of ways. They have price, durability and maintenance advantages over hardwood flooring. They can be easily installed DIY for added savings. Finally, both LVP and laminate provide beautiful, realistic looking designs that imitate natural surfaces like hardwood flooring.

JANKA RATING  

WOOD SPECIES

3684

Brazilian Walnut /Ipe

3220

Ebony

2900

Bamboo Strand Woven

2350

Brazilian Cherry /Jatoba

2345

Mesquite

2200

Acacia (small leaf)

2200

Santos Mahogany

1940

Cameron

1925

Merbau

1860

Purpleheart

1850

Tigerwood

1820

Hickory and Pecan

1780

Rosewood

1725

African Padauk

1700

Acacia (big leaf)

1700

Locust

1630

Wenge

1630

Red Pine

1575

Zebrawood

1570

True Pine

1470

Sweet Birch

1450

Hard / Sugar Maple

1390

Kentucky Coffee Tree

1380

Natural Bamboo

1375

Australian Cypress

1360

White Oak

1320

White Ash

1300

American Beech

1290

Northern Red Oak

1280

Caribbean Heart Pine

1260

Yellow Birch

1225

Yellow Heart Pine

1180

Carbonized Bamboo

1136

Cocobolo

1010

American Walnut

1000

Teak

950

American  Cherry

950

Soft and Ambrosia Maple

910

Paper Birch

900

Cedar

870

Southern Yellow Pine (Longleaf)

860

American Red Elm

840

Lacewood

790

Cumaru

770

Sycamore

690

S.Yellow Pine (Loblolly & Shortleaf)

660

Douglas Fir

630

Sassafras

590

Larch

570

Cypress, Southern

540

Chestnut

540

Poplar

500

Hemlock

420

White Pine

410

Basswood

380

Eastern White Pine

Piet Dossche, CEO of US Floors, talk about new CoreTec HD and Design Collections launched at Surfaces 2016
Piet Dossche US Floors, discuss big news for the Coretec, continued investment in the brand, new products and visuals at Surfaces 2017
Piet Dossche, President of US Floors and EVP of Shaw's hard surface, discuss the new CoreTec products. Composite core tile collection, new natural wood veneer products, more about the firm's growth, U.S. production, plans to build more consumer awareness for the CoreTec Brand, at Surfaces 2018