Here in the Atlanta area I hear lots of ads on the radio from a company that advertises that you can get a new wood floor in one day, start to finish. But what kind of wood floor do you get?
Traditional tongue in groove or plank floors require a good bit of expertise in the installation phase, with the floor literally being installed board-by-board. Then when the floor is completely installed, the wood is still in a raw state. Furthermore, due to variations from board to board, the floor must be sanded in order to flatten the floor and prepare it for staining and finishing. The floor has to be sanded three times with progressively finer grit paper, before the staining and finishing process even begins.
So as you’ve already guessed by now, the “new wood floor in one day” company isn’t selling traditional wood flooring, because installing and finishing traditional forms of wood floors take a lot longer to achieve the final product than one day. They are instead selling some form of prefinished or engineered flooring which instead of being nailed in, it goes on top of an existing floor in an interlocking sort of manner. They come ‘grooved’ to attempt to make them look like they are planks, and they come with a factory stain and finish already on them so that none of the staining and finishing has to be done in the home.
Yes, this is a lot faster but you need to keep in mind that prefinished and engineered flooring never comes close to the beauty of traditional wood flooring. It tries to simulate the traditional look, but for those who know how to tell the difference, it doesn’t even come close.
All that being said, there are many situations where only a prefinished type of wood floor is available as an option: condos with concrete slabs, basements of homes with concrete slabs, and other similar installation situations.
If you are considering putting in wood floors, let me suggest that you do yourself a favor and check into the possibility of having traditional tongue and groove floors installed instead of prefinished floors. Don’t take just one salesman’s word for it, call some of the traditional wood floor installation companies-there are lots of them, and find out if your space is a candidate for traditional wood floors. You may be surprised at the bargains you can get, especially considering that having a nice tongue and groove floor will increase the value of your home every time, no doubt about it, and having a prefinished floor put in is somewhat iffy in terms of adding value.
There is an old contractors saying that goes something like this:
“What you pay for once you’ll be looking at and living with for years to come.”
You want to have the most beautiful floor put in that you possibly can, one that you can live with and enjoy the beauty of for years and years. Did you know that a traditional nailed-in tongue and groove floor is three quarters of an inch thick, but the actual wear area of an engineered/prefinished floor is only a few millimeters thick? Huge difference.
So, don’t let the selling point of getting all done in one day be the only selling point-what’s a few days more if you get what you really want? Get a new wood floor one day or get a real wood floor from the process of less than a week or so – it’s definitely worth your checking out the possibility.