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Let's talk about hardwood floors! I have been asked hundreds, perhaps thousands of times for a wood comparison article like the very popular BRAND WARS, which compares laminate floors against each other. With this article, I want to cover the prefinished hardwood flooring category brand by brand. This article probably won't help you if you are trying to figure out if hardwood is right for you. If you are stuck in the quagmire of trying to decide if you should choose an unfinished floor that is sanded and finished on-site or a prefinished floor, that is another discussion as well. If you are considering shopping for prefinished wood flooring you should first read Shopping for Prefinished Wood: Basic Training because it will serve as a basis for your decision to purchase prefinished flooring. Before going any further, make sure that you understand the floor shopping process. If you have not read Steve's Stages of Floor Shopping it is time to do that.
This comparison article is most relevant to people who are trying to understand the differences between various brands of prefinished hardwood floors. The differences between floor brands can be subtle, so the purpose of this is to give you an overview of a specific brand.
If you are comparing prefinished floors and trying to get a general sense of how brands rank against each other you have found the only source for that in the world! We performed actual research and used our extensive industry experience as our guiding light for this article. We expose the strengths and weaknesses of brands for the benefit of the buyer. Since iFLOOR.com sells all of these products we can be quite objective about our opinions. We are not compelled to push you one direction or another - we simply tell the story the way we see it and let you make the final decision.This is a true full disclosure.
All of these brand ratings that I gave take into consideration all products, styles and overall brand performance. There may be individual styles or products that are above or below the overall brand rating. So, if you see that Bruce has a lower rating than you expected because you have seen or used a quality Bruce floor called Coastal Woodlands - you need to understand that although Coastal Woodlands may be a great product, the overall score of the line is lower.
I want to reiterate the above point so that I don't mislead you: This article compares brands against each other not individual products or styles. That product-by-product analysis will come in a future article. Bruce is a good example of why this point is relevant. They make more than 50 different styles of products and all of them carry the brand name. Some of them are at the low end of price and performance and others are at the highest caliber quality and upper price points. Our brand rating will encompass the entire line and give you a general score.
I use 10 basic areas to see how the floors measure up. Then apply 1-5 stars in each area. Honestly, I don't like giving a 5 star rating in a specific area unless someone has really blown me away. The wood flooring business as a whole is suffering from a lack of innovation. I think this trend will change and I can say that I am happy to see some of the new things that are coming out.
Below you will see a guideline for each criterion and how each rating is put together. Each rating category is very consistent and generally involves more than one set of variables.
The best overall score is calculated from the total of all categories. The more stars, the better the score. One (1) star is the lowest and five (5) stars is the highest. Total possible stars are fifty (50).
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