Engineered Hardwood Brands

Discussion in 'Hardwood and Laminates Q&A' started by Allison0704, Oct 18, 2017.

  1. Allison0704

    Allison0704 Member

    We have decided to update the house my parents built in 1985. Engineered hardwood flooring is not my first choice, but the floors on all three levels (main, second and basement) are literally concrete and steel. Even the stairs are steel structures with poured concrete steps. Currently the kitchen is the only room with hardwoods. There are three bedrooms and closets with carpet. *edited to add: we are in the Southeast.

    I researched online, then went to two local flooring showrooms. Took samples, narrowed those down and then researched again. Every time I think I have found "the one," I read reviews or see the (almost hidden) wear layer.. and it's back to square one. Let me also add that my husband will not consider a flooring that is not carried locally (such as DuChateau). The foyer, living room and dining room is Alabama Marble from Sylacauga. The exterior is entirely covered in sandstone, with limestone around doors and windows. Our current home is English style and I am going for a mixed European (mostly English and French). I've attached a photo of my dream floor, which is European White Oak.

    Since the floors are concrete, I must go with a high/higher end engineered floor. Today, I am going to look at the following:

    Hallmark Flooring - Alta Vista (Balboa and Laguna)
    Organic 567 (Diamond Pearl, Matcha)
    Moderno (Acadia Hickory, White Plains)
    Ventura (Marina - but it's only 2mm and a slice cut.. trying to stay with their sawn cut/thicker products)

    Anderson Flooring - Virginia Vintage (Burlap)
    Coastal Art (Sand Dollar - but I don't want "beach look")
    Historique (Gettysburg)

    Last weekend we selected Hallmark Flooring, Novella Collection, Hemmingway - only to find out online it's V4+ (I don't mind some knots, splits and cracks, but I don't want a HUGE variety in board color - NONE would be fantastic!)

    Advice on brands listed above. I've read the best engineered are 7-9 plys or more; 3mm+ wear layer, 9 finish coats, 25+ year warranty, 5/8 to 3/4" thick.

    Current samples in my kitchen are Provenza, Affinity Collection, Liberation and Shaw, Argonne Forest Oak, Tapestry.... which I had narrowed it down to yesterday, but then find bad reviews. Granted they have all been dark floors, when I'm looking at lighter flooring. I cannot find on the Shaw website the wear level. ?? There is a whole house dehumidifier system. My worries are more about the peeling, splintering, etc in the bad reviews. The house was measured yesterday, and it's 3,300sf of wood flooring, and I do not want to redo down the road.

    I look forward to hearing from you, and thank you for your time.
    Allison
     

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    Last edited: Oct 18, 2017
  2. Mark Brown

    Mark Brown On The Surface Flooring I Support TFP

    Wow, you have done some homework :)
    Thanks to our good friend the internet i do not think a product exists that does not have bad reviews. Some of them are entirely valid, some are just angry folks that have a bad taste in their mouths. Finish coats can be a misleading conception when it comes to factory finish, i have seen things advertised as 15+ coats of finish but i mean, i don't count every pass of my spray gun as a coat right? You are entirely correct with the thickness of veneer of wood. Anything smaller than 3mm and your ability to sand and refinish the flooring in the future is diminished drastically. As far as Ply, the more the merrier but there again, it isn't a certain number that dictates quality due the fact that the thicker the wood the more layers. It is what they make the core from and how it is manufactured that truly is important.

    Being not an American, I personally am not familiar with any of the brands you have mentioned other than Shaw and Moderno. Here in Canadrrr I try my level best to stay away from anything Shaw that isn't fuzzy, they do have some wonderful carpet though.

    My two favorite brands of engineered hardwood are Mirage and Dansk. For what it is worth
     
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  3. Allison0704

    Allison0704 Member

    Thank you, Mark. I have seen Mirage locally. Will look closer.

    fyi, the Moderno I'm speak of is a collection by Hallmark Flooring.

    These are the brands the local showrooms carry:
    Anderson
    Appalachian
    Armstrong
    BR111
    Bruce
    CFS
    Columbia
    Dasso
    Harris Tarkett
    Hartco
    Home Legends
    Indus Porquet
    Kronotex
    Louis A, Dabbieri
    Mannington
    Maxwindsor
    Mirage
    Mohawk
    Provenza
    Quick Step Laminate
    Robbins
    Shaw

    Also available is a site finished engineered flooring, but my husband would like to stay away from site finished due to mess. I worry about getting the finish the way I would like. Don't recall a brand name on the sample board.
     
  4. Allison0704

    Allison0704 Member

    Came home with the Provenza I still like, plus 3 sawn cut samples by Hallmark Flooring. I'm impressed by the wear layer thickness and other layers in the Hallmark floors. They are out of Canada, Mark.
     
  5. Hanover Fist

    Hanover Fist Pro Member

    While there is nothing wrong with prefinished product, you simply cannot get the resistance to moisture, the longevity, or the return on value that a sand & finish full body gets you. Yes, it's a pain in the arse, and yes it's messy. But a unitary protective topcoat can't be beat for protecting the planks.

    You can also refinish a floor of this kind 3x (typically) giving you a 60yr floor - where prefinished, if it can be refinished at all, is usually a 1 or 2x deal, max. Giving you a 20 to 40 year floor.

    If you intend to be out from the mortgage in 20yrs, go with the cleaner option; and it does indeed sound like you've done your homework. But for not much more $, you can get a whole lot more :) with sand and finish in place materials.

    As an installer, I could make almost 2x the money installing pre-f, because it's quick and not so detail oriented. But there was never a moments doubt in my mind which was superior.
     
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  6. Allison0704

    Allison0704 Member

    Thanks for your reply. I understand. Did you see the house has two levels that are concrete? Not just the basement on slab. Cannot nail down. I've always heard using glue on the normally nailed down site finished is never good.
     
  7. Mark Brown

    Mark Brown On The Surface Flooring I Support TFP

    Not a good idea, no. There are ways around that too but they get a little intense. Building sleeper floors and such. On a positive note, at least you aren't trying to low ball your engineered wood and get a throw away floor. Us hardwood folks will always bemoan the Pre-Finished woods, we just cannot help ourselves. :)
     
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  8. Allison0704

    Allison0704 Member

    Believe me, I would much rather have real hardwood floors. Sleeper floors aren't an option, since the areas with marble are staying. Can't have varying heights on the main level.

    There are 100 Hallmark Flooring reviews on Houzz. 4.5 Stars.
     
  9. Mark Brown

    Mark Brown On The Surface Flooring I Support TFP

    I will tell you a secret... but don't tell anyone. Engineered can be a superior product... there i said it, Cant take it back now :)
    The real issue is many times it is not. There is a lot of junk out there. As for a on site finish, well that you cannot replicate but hey, have to make sacrifices somewhere right? You can even get full face engineered hardwood floors that are solid surface down to the tongue, giving them the same longevity as a solid floor.
     
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  10. stefanie

    stefanie New Member

    Allison, did you ever pick a flooring? I read this and I literally could have written it myself. Still searching for the right white oak flooring and Shaw was on the top of my list.
     
  11. Allison0704

    Allison0704 Member

    Hi Stafanie,

    We selected Hallmark Floors. Alta Vista Collection, Laguna for the main and upper levels. I made this decision based on research - it is sawn-cut, 5/8" thick, 4mm, layers, plus the width/length, color and texture. Two local flooring companies carry, and bids were extremely close. We had our store order a box, so we could see random flooring vs controlled showroom sample board. It is stunning. Our order was placed in November, and the flooring was on backorder. Arrived in February, but we are waiting to do it last painters are working now and our move in goal is in May.

    For the basement, I decided to switch to Hallmark Floors Courtier Premium Vinyl Plank in Archduke, Oak for the hallway, exercise room, bathroom, den and small kitchen for its durability against pool water. It went down last week (photo attached).

    Good luck with your project.
    Allison
     

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  12. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    That is really nice of a full circle reply/correspondence. That takes it to a whole nuther level when homeowners communicate via TFP.
     
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