Consumer Guide–Hardwood Floors

I had a leaking roof this past winter and have just now gotten around to redoing my damaged hardwood floors. Well, not actually redoing. My house is 100 years old and as the craftsmen who came to give me an estimate kept repeating, they had already been sanded to the end of their life. There could be no re-finishing of my existing floors.

Nope, I needed completely new hardwood floors.

I got several estimates and learned quite a bit about hardwood flooring. First, the quality of the wood is important. A lot of places sell Chinese hardwood. Now I know there is a real anti-Chinese consumer movement out there… some of it bordering on racism. However, I believe there really is a difference in wood quality, milling and finishing of wood from China compared to Canadian or American.

In the end, I went with Canadian Red Oak milled here in Toronto by Vintage (http://www.vintageflooring.com). It is a bit more expensive than you can buy at Home Depot, about $6.00 per sq ft but, for me, the eveness of the boards, the consistency of the grain and the sturdiness of the finish is worth it. I intend to remain in this hours for years to come. Only you can decide if the extra cost is worth it to you.

I got an estimate from several places and ended up going with Floorwood Solutions (http://floorwood.webs.com/). Another well known firm in Toronto was not willing to help me move furniture (‘get a storage bin’ I was told) and gave me a very similar quote for a wood that was not quite as good as Vintage. As well, they would not chance working around my radiators (that’s another story in itself).

Robert and his partner from Floorwood helped me move the furniture and were able to move stuff from one room to the next and back again as they worked. They cleaned up after themselves daily (total of 4 days). But don’t fool yourselves. Ripping out and installing hardwood is dusty and messy. They had to remove the subfloor and trim a couple of joists in the house to level the floor.

When they finished they didn’t leave until they had helped me return all but the small stuff back to their locations.

Both guys were a pleasure to deal with. They are Polish immigrants, speak English well and communicate well. Robert’s wife, Patrician, seems to do all the financial end of the business and she is very quick to respond to email queries.

In the end, the total cost for wood and excellent labour, was $10/sq ft. No cash deals here. Tax is extra.

You can do your floors for cheaper if you can find a lone workman or get a lower grade of wood. And that is certainly a possibility and wouldn’t necessarily turn out bad.

I can say, though, that Floorwood were good to deal with, did a careful and meticulous job and used only the best quality material.

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