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Flooring Spotlight: Eagle Creek (Home Legend) SyncoreX Vinyl Floors

Who is Eagle Creek (Home Legend)?

A division of Home Legend, Eagle Creek is committed to providing homeowners with beautifully designed floors at an affordable price. Its SyncoreX vinyl line fulfills this mission by offering high-quality products at some of the most competitive prices on the market today. With SyncoreX, durability isn’t an issue: “No matter how demanding the lifestyle, Eagle Creek floors are made to withstand the lives lived on them.”

Eagle Creek is also an environmentally conscious company; all its products are Greengaurd or Greengaurd Gold certified. At the heart of Eagle Creek's mission is its concern for social responsibility, environmental goodwill, and innovative product design. Because of the care Eagle Creek takes in creating its products, “you can rest assured that you are getting a floor that was produced with ethical standards and won’t pollute the air you breathe.”

So how much can you expect to pay for a SyncoreX vinyl floor? The average price runs under $3/sf, making it a highly affordable option compared to other popular vinyls on the market.

Our Most Popular SyncoreX Vinyl Floors

“Eagle Creek’s Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) visuals offer a pleasing array of style options. Luxury Vinyl is a highly sustainable floor that allows you to achieve the look and feel for your interior design and long-lasting appeal. Luxury Vinyls are naturally water resistant and our SyncoreX Collection is 100% waterproof." -EagleCreekFloors.com

Eagle Creek SyncoreX Long View Pine

Home Legend Eagle Creek Long View Pine DV751-C 

Long View Pine’s blend of light-toned, rustic grays and browns gives this vinyl floor the appearance of aged barn wood.

Eagle Creek SyncoreX Windsong Oak

 Home Legend Eagle Creek Windsong Oak  DV750-C 

Windsong Oak creates a rugged look with distressed saw mark visuals, while the color variation of the planks adds a reclaimed feel.

Eagle Creek SyncoreX Heatherstone

 Home Legend Eagle Creek Heatherstone  DV740-C 

Heatherstone strikes the perfect balance between brown and grey with the subtle, weather-worn look of older wood.

Features of SyncoreX Vinyl Floors

  • Construction: Vinyl plank
  • Plank Width: 7”
  • Plank Lengths: 48” long
  • Wear Layer: 20 mil
  • Thickness: 7.5mm
  • Installation Method: Click plank, floating
  • Attached 1.5mm foam pad

 

Browse All SyncoreX Vinyl Floors!

Flooring Spotlight: US Floors COREtec Plus Vinyl

COREtec Plus Vinyl Floors

 Who is US Floors?

US Floors was founded in 2001 and purchased by Shaw Industries in 2017. US Floors developed and patented the original 100% waterproof core found in COREtec Plus and is a leading manufacturer of vinyl flooring in the United States. Their products perfectly blend durability and style, offering homeowners practical floors that can stand up to kids and pets while also giving the look of real hardwood.

The founders of COREtec Plus describe themselves as, “style enthusiasts, believers in technology and seekers of simplicity. We are passionate about providing people flooring solutions that meet their design dreams and stand up to real life. We are obsessed with creating an experience as beautiful as our floors. We are authentic to the core.”

So how much can you expect to pay for a COREtec Plus vinyl floor? The average price range is about $3-$5/sf. At the lower end of this price range you will find the COREtec Pro Plus and COREtec One collections, while at the higher end you will find the COREtec Plus XL Enhanced, COREtec Plus Design, and COREtec Plus HD collections. For a mid-range product, consider the COREtec Plus 5” & 7”, COREtec Plus Enhanced, and COREtec Plus XL collections.

Popular COREtec Plus Vinyl Collections

COREtec Plus 5" & 7" Collection by US Floors

“COREtec Plus gives homeowners a stylish and more advanced alternative to glue down LVT, solid locking LVT, or laminate flooring…Since COREtec Plus floors are 100% waterproof, any style in the collection can be installed in wet areas and will never swell or warp when exposed to water…Each COREtec Plus plank also features an attached cork underlayment for a quieter, warmer floor that is naturally resistant to odor causing mold and mildew.”- CoretecFloors.com

COREtec Plus Corvallis Pine VV023-00506 COREtec Plus Blackstone Oak VV024-00707

From Left to Right: COREtec Plus 5" Corvallis Pine and COREtec Plus 7" Blackstone Oak

Features of US Floors COREtec Plus 5" & 7" Collection

  • Construction: Vinyl plank
  • Plank Width: 5” and 7”
  • Plank Lengths: 48”
  • Wear Layer: 20 mil
  • Thickness: 8mm
  • Installation Method: Click plank, floating
  • Attached cork pad

Why We Love US Floors COREtec Plus 5" & 7" Vinyl

 The original COREtec Plus 5" & 7" series offers an excellent-quality product at an affordable price. With a variety of styles available to choose from, these floors will give you a realistic hardwood look! 

 

COREtec Plus XL Collection by US Floors

“Go big and go home. As the largest LVT plank on the market, COREtec Plus XL is in a category by itself. Rigid plank technology means handling and installation is no big deal, which makes COREtec Plus XL a smart alternative to glue down LVT, solid locking LVT, or laminate flooring.” -CoretecFloors.com

COREtec Plus XL Atlas Oak VV034-00606 COREtec Plus XL Whittier Oak VV034-00604

From Left to Right: COREtec Plus XL Atlas Oak and Whittier Oak

Features of US Floors COREtec Plus XL Collection

  • Construction: Vinyl plank
  • Plank Width: 9”
  • Plank Lengths: 72”
  • Wear Layer: 20 mil
  • Thickness: 8mm
  • Installation Method: Click plank, floating
  • Attached cork pad

Why We Love US Floors COREtec Plus XL Vinyl

Wide plank floors are a growing trend with today's homeowners, but they can be pricey. The COREtec Plus XL collection gives you the same look for less, and even offers colors that mimic the appearance of reclaimed or aged wood for a complete farmhouse look!

 

COREtec Plus HD Collection by US Floors

“This collection earns its High Definition status by utilizing Embossed In Register (E.I.R.) technology as well as an enhanced painted bevel for a realistic visual unlike any other LVP or WPC floor on the market today…COREtec Plus HD™ is 100% waterproof, so it can be installed in wet areas and never warp or swell when exposed to water.” -CoretecFloors.com

COREtec Plus HD Sherwood Pine VV031-00643 COREtec Plus HD Mont Blanc VV031-00652

From Left to Right: COREtec Plus HD Sherwood Rustic Pine and Mont Blanc

Features of US Floors COREtec Plus HD Collection

  • Construction: Vinyl plank
  • Plank Width: 7”
  • Plank Lengths: 72”
  • Wear Layer: 20 mil
  • Thickness: 8.5mm
  • Installation Method: Click plank, floating
  • Attached cork pad
  • Enhanced painted bevel

Why We Love US Floors COREtec Plus HD Vinyl

The COREtec Plus HD collection creates an even more realistic look by adding a painted bevel that defines each plank similar to what you would find in a hardwood floor.

 

Browse All COREtec Plus Vinyl Floors!

Flooring Spotlight: Artisan (Bausen) Hardwood

Artisan Hardwood Floors

Who is Artisan Hardwood (Formerly Bausen)?

Artisan Hardwood (formerly Bausen), makes pre-finished hardwood floors from durable, high-quality wood species at an affordable price. The company’s mission is to: “Help [its] customers make their spaces more beautiful, and to inspire modern architecture and design. [Artisan] believe[s] luxury can be achieved at non-luxury pricing.”

Artisan Hardwood is committed to environment-conscious manufacturing so you can be sure the floors you bring into your home are earth friendly. With its “Green Standard,” Artisan “constantly updates [its] processes in order to stay on the forefront of sustainable technology, quality assurance, and compliance.”

So how much can you expect to pay for Artisan Hardwood floors? The average price range is around $3-$5/sf. At the lower end of this price range you will find birch and hickory products from the Canyon Ranch Collection, while at the higher end you will find the Maple Legacy and English Forest collections.

 

Our Most Popular Collections from Artisan Hardwood

Canyon Ranch Collection by Artisan

“Rustic modernism. A masterful rendition of heirloom quality and classic craftsmanship, reinterpreted with a modern outlook. Our iconic collection of engineered hardwoods evokes century old traditions from a world away. Ultimate in comfort, enduring in strength, meticulously crafted to showcase the heavily distressed character.” -ArtisanHardwood.com

Artisan Canyon Ranch Birch Spice CBH5S Artisan Canyon Ranch Hickory Sorghum CHK5SG

From Left to Right: Canyon Ranch Birch Spice and Canyon Ranch Hickory Sorghum

Features of Artisan Hardwood Canyon Ranch Collection

  • Construction: Engineered
  • Species: Acacia, Birch, and Hickory
  • Texture: Handscraped
  • Plank Width: 5”
  • Finish: 12 UV coatings (2 of Aluminum oxide; 8 of Polyurethane; 2 of scratch resistant)

Why We Love Artisan Hardwood Canyon Ranch Floors

This collection has a wonderful traditional color palette that is highly versatile with a wide range of interior designs. The stunning wood grains of the acacia, birch, and hickory species make an expressive statement.

 

English Forest Collection by Artisan

“Bring the timeless rustic elegance of English Forest into your space. The open-grained wood exudes a warmth and texture, accentuated by the 7 ½” luxury width that provides a subtle yet unmatched presence.” -ArtisanHardwood.com

Artisan English Forest Glenmore ew07g Artisan English Forest Frost EWO7F

From Left to Right: English Forest Glenmore and English Forest Frost

Features of Artisan Hardwood English Forest Collection

  • Construction: Engineered
  • Species: European Oak
  • Texture: Wire-brushed
  • Plank Width: 7.5”
  • Finish: UV cured urethane

Why We Love Artisan English Forest Floors

The range of hues in this collection combined with the worn, wire-brushed texture makes these floors the perfect choice for those seeking to create a cottage or farmhouse feel in their home! From rich brown to soft grey to frosty tan, these colors speak to today’s trends while maintaining a timeless appeal.

 

Timberline Collection by Artisan

“Bold beauty. Pure indulgence. These words come to mind when savoring our bespoke Timberline Collection of engineered hardwoods. Superbly stylish and indelibly imaginative, the selections are vivid in texture and generous in proportions, offering clean, contemporary, yet sophisticated appeal.” -ArtisanHardwood.com

 Artisan Timberline Birch Latte TBH6L Artisan Timberline Hickory Natural THK6N

From Left to Right: Timberline Birch Latte and Timberline Hickory Natural

Features of Artisan Hardwood Timberline Collection

  • Construction: Engineered
  • Species: Acacia, Birch, and Hickory
  • Texture: Handscraped
  • Plank Width: 6” and 6.5”
  • Finish: 12 UV coatings (2 of Aluminum oxide; 8 of Polyurethane; 2 of scratch resistant)

Why We Love Artisan Hardwood Timberline Floors

The handscraped planks provide wonderful texture perfect for creating a casual, welcoming environment. When this vintage-style texture is paired with contemporary décor, it creates a lovely contrast and a perfect balance of traditional and modern!

 

Browse All Artisan Hardwood Floors!

 

Brand Spotlight: Johnson Hardwood Floors

 Above: English Pub Maple Brandy Wine

Who is Johnson Hardwood?

Johnson manufactures high-quality hardwood floors in today’s most in-demand styles, from contemporary to traditional. One of the top companies in the flooring industry, Johnson is known for producing stunning, handcrafted floors at an affordable price. Their lumber is responsibly sourced from durable hardwood species all over the world, and each plank is carefully crafted and stained by hand.

Johnson is committed to following sustainable tree-harvesting practices that help preserve forests. What are sustainable tree-harvesting practices? For example, Johnson sources 30-40% of their exotic lumber from aged or fallen trees, which inhibit the growth of the younger trees that produce more oxygen. The majority of their products are also constructed as engineered planks rather than solid, which makes more efficient use of the lumber so fewer trees are needed.

So how much can you expect to pay for a Johnson hardwood floor? The average price range is around $4-$7/sf. At the higher end of this price range are the Noble Castle, Renaissance (hickory products only), and Tuscan collections. At the lower end of the price range you will find the Frontier, Pacific Coast (birch products only), Victorian, and Roma collections. The rest of Johnson’s products (like our best-selling collections featured below), will fall somewhere in the middle.

 

Our Most Popular Collections from Johnson Hardwood

English Pub Collection by Johnson

“Our craftsmen have delicately scraped and hand honed this floor to resemble the look of Old English Pubs where friends, family, and travelers fathered to relax and converse in a warm and inviting atmosphere. The long 7 foot planks give the look of times gone by. We used a character grade maple to bring out the natural beauty of the wood grain, along with filled splits and knots for more of that old world look.” -JohnsonHardwood.com

 Johnson English Pub Maple Stout AME-EM19005 Johnson Enlish Pub Hickory Applejack AME-EM19001

From Left to Right: English Pub Maple Stout and English Pub Hickory Applejack

Features of Johnson Hardwood English Pub Collection

  • Construction: Engineered
  • Species: Maple & Hickory
  • Texture: Handscraped
  • Plank Width: 7.5”
  • Gloss Level: Semi-gloss
  • Finish: Aluminum Oxide finish

Why We Love Johnson Hardwood English Pub Floors

The handscraped textures of this collection create the casual, lived-in look of a floor that’s been part of your home for generations. This collection is perfect for bringing an element of warmth and hominess to your living space.

 

Alehouse Collection by Johnson

“The Alehouse series puts emphasis on the details to create a totally unique flooring experience. A multi-layer, hand-staining process has been used to create an inner glow effect that darkens toward the timeworn plank edges. Due to the natural glow, the Alehouse series has high color variation. Meaning, the color hues will span a range from low to high for added brilliance. Vintage, long-length planks measure up to sever-feet long for a more coalescent floor. Our exclusive vintage surface treatment finish adds even more character for the look of a reclaimed, custom hardwood floor.”  -JohnsonHardwood.com

Johnson Alehouse Maple Maibock AME-AHM19001 Johnson Alehouse Maple Hefeweizen AME-AHM19002

From Left to Right: Alehouse Maple Maibock and Alehouse Maple Hefeweizen

Features of Johnson Hardwood Alehouse Collection

  • Construction: Engineered
  • Species: Maple & European Oak
  • Texture: Wire-brushed
  • Plank Width: 7.5”
  • Gloss Level: Semi-gloss
  • Finish: Aluminum Oxide

Why We Love Johnson Hardwood Alehouse Floors

The darkened edges and wire-brushed texture gives this collection a well-worn vintage appearance. The color variation of a lighter center that darkens towards the edges creates visual interest for a unique effect.

 

Jockey Hollow Collection by Johnson

“The Jockey Hollow Collection brings you back to the days of Colonial America when finer homes featured wide width, timeworn floors. Our floors are hand crafted with responsibly harvested timbers for a truly unique visual experience.” -JohnsonHardwood.com

 Johnson Jockey Hollow European Oak Chelsea Creek JHC19002OAK-JH Johnson Jockey Hollow European Oak Yorktown JHC19006OAK-JH

From Left to Right: Jockey Hollow Chelesea Creek and Jockey Hollow Yorktown

Features of Johnson Hardwood Jockey Hollow Collection

  • Construction: Engineered
  • Species: European Oak
  • Texture: Distressed
  • Plank Width: 7.5”
  • Gloss Level: Matte
  • Finish: UV Cured Urethane

Why We Love Johnson Hardwood Jockey Hollow Floors

Distressed texture is created using saw marks and wire-brushing techniques for a more rustic and rugged floor. The hues of faded browns and greys also appeal to a reclaimed style.

 

Browse All Johnson Hardwood Floors!

 

 

How to Choose a Good Quality Vinyl Floor

How to choose a good quality vinyl floor

With the surging popularity of vinyl floors, there are dozens of brands to choose from and more popping up every day. The variety of options can be overwhelming. How do you know which brands offer a good quality vinyl floor and which brands might be overcharging for a low quality product? Here’s how to determine the quality of a vinyl floor so you get the most bang for your buck!

 

How is a Vinyl Plank Constructed?

Before we get into what makes a vinyl floor good quality, we first need to understand how a vinyl floor is made. A vinyl plank is constructed of 5 layers:

1)      A coating or urethane to enhance durability

2)      The clear “wear layer” that protects the printed design

3)      The printed design

4)      The vinyl core

5)      A backing, which consists of vinyl, cork, or foam

 

What is a Wear Layer?

A “wear layer” is clear layer made from PVC film that protects the printed design of the floor. As the name implies, it shields the floor from everyday wear and tear. The wear layer is a huge factor in determining the quality and durability of a vinyl floor. The thicker the wear layer, the more durable the floor will be and the longer it will last.

Keep in mind that the thickness of the plank itself does not mean it will be more durable. In a vinyl floor, the thickness of the wear layer is ultimately what determines durability.

Wear layers are measured in ‘mils,’ which are equal to one-thousandth of an inch. This is not to be confused with millimeters, which are equal to one-thousandth of a meter. Typically, the thickness of a wear layer averages 6, 12, or 20 mils. The thicker the wear layer, the greater the durability. Products with thicker wear layers will cost more because of the higher quality.

But how thick of a wear layer do you actually need? Wear layers of 20 mil or higher are perfect for commercial environments. For a high traffic home, a wear layer between 12 and 20 mil should be suitable. If you are installing the floor in a low traffic area of the home, however, you may only need a floor with a wear layer of 6 mil.

 

Enhanced Coatings and Urethanes

When selecting a vinyl floor, check the product’s specs to see if it uses a special coating or urethane to provide additional protection to the wear layer. This can help extend the life of your floor and increase durability. For example, aluminum oxide is a highly durable coating.

 

Virgin Vs. Recycled Vinyl

Another spec to check to ensure the quality of your vinyl floor is the vinyl content used in the core and backing of the planks. Some cores and backings contain recycled content in addition to vinyl, while others only contain 100% virgin (non-recycled) vinyl. Virgin vinyl will be more durable than recycled vinyl and will hold up better over time.

 

Don’t Overlook the Backing

Though the wear layer and core of the floor are important, you don’t want to overlook the backing, either. For a higher-quality product, choose a vinyl that offers an attached cork or foam pad. This pad will provide more resistance to moisture and mildew. Additionally, a pad will offer more of a cushioned feel underfoot and help make the floor quieter. A vinyl floor without a pad may be cheaper, but it may also require purchasing additional underlayment.

Which Vinyl Floors Are Similar to COREtec Plus?

 

While COREtec Plus is one of our favorite vinyl products and one of the highest quality vinyl floors on the market, sometimes we are asked what other products can compare to COREtec. There's no denying that COREtec Plus is an excellent choice for your home, but you might be looking for a different style than what COREtec has available, or something at a lower price point. So which vinyl floors are similar to COREtec Plus? Here are 5 quality brands that will give you a wider range of options!

 

1. Home Legend Syncore X

"Our luxury vinyl floors combine performance, design and value along with easy installation. Styles range from traditonal to exotic and come in varying plank widths and lengths, and is suitable for either residential or commercial applications. Luxury Vinyls are naturally water resistant and our SyncoreX Collection is 100% waterproof." (HomeLegend.com)

COREtec Plus Syncore X
Wear Layer: 20 mil Wear Layer: 20 mil
Plank Widths: 5", 7", & 9" Plank Widths: 7"
Pad: Attached cork pad Pad: Attached foam pad
Special Features: Green Guard Gold Certified Special Features: Wire Brushed, handscraped, distressed, and embossed textures available
Price Range: $3-$4/sf Price Range: $2-$3/sf

 

2. AquaLok

"AquaLok is a wonderful waterproof vinyl alternative to the more expensive options on the market. With a 12 mil top wear layer and textured finish, this product is durbale, attractive, and affordable."

COREtec Plus AquaLok
Wear Layer: 20 mil Wear layer: 12 mil
Plank Widths: 5", 7", & 9" Plank Widths: 7"
Pad: Attached cork pad Pad: NONE
Special Features: Green Guard Gold Certified Special Features: Virgin vinyl top layer
Price Range: $3-$4/sf Price Range: $2-$3/sf

 

3. Dixie Home Stainmaster

"Of course, STAINMASTER PetProtect™ luxury vinyl flooring is durable and easy to maintain, but this pet-friendly flooring also resists pet claw scratches, and has pet-action traction. And since it’s 100-percent waterproof, worrying about pet accidents is a thing of the past. Choose from a wide variety of styles designed to complement any décor." (Stainmaster.com)

COREtec Plus Stainmaster
Wear Layer: 20 mil Wear Layer: 12 & 20 mil
Plank Widths: 5", 7", & 9" Plank Widths: 7" & 9"
Pad: Attached cork pad Pad: Attached cork pad
Special Features: Green Guard Gold Certified Special Features: Pet Protect 2 coat urethane
Price Range: $3-$4/sf Price Range: $3-$4/sf

 

4. Mannington Adura Max

"Adura Max is available in today’s most popular decors and features our innovative HydroLoc™ waterproof core—making it the perfect choice for your most challenging rooms. Thicker and more rigid than ordinary vinyl, Adura Max is available in easy to assemble 6” x 48” locking planks that include our premium, Ultra-Quiet™ attached pad for superior sound reduction and greater comfort underfoot....Featuring our patented ScratchResist™ with aluminum oxide surface protection, Adura Max can stand up to the most active households and offers the industry’s best wear, scratch and stain resistance." (Mannington.com)

COREtec Plus Adura Max
Wear Layer: 20 mil Wear Layer: 20 mil
Plank Widths: 5", 7", & 9" Plank Widths: 6" & 7"
Pad: Attached cork pad Pad: Attached foam pad
Special Features: Green Guard Gold Certified Special Feautures: Scratch resistant urethane with aluminum oxide
Price Range: $3-$4/sf Price Range: $3-$4/sf

 

5. Happy Feet

"Put performance to the test with Extreme Cork. Its 22mil wear layer and an eco-friendly cork backing for comfort underfoot and sound abatement are designed for today’s active residential lifestyles. With its beveled edges and wide array of color choices, Extreme Cork is right at home in today’s family environments." (HappyFeetInternational.com)

COREtec Plus Happy Feet
Wear Layer: 20 mil Wear Layer: 10 mil, 12 mil, 22 mil, & 30 mil
Plank Widths: 5", 7", & 9" Plank Widths: 6", 7", & 9"
Pad: Attached cork pad Pad: Varies; some products have an attached crok or foam pad
Special Features: Green Guard Gold Certified Special Features: Polyurethane UV finish on most products
Price Range: $3-$4/sf Price Range: $1-$3/sf

 

Check Out These Styles Similar to COREtec Plus!

If You Like COREtec Plus Blackstone Oak You Might Also Like...

  1. Syncore X Longview Pine
  2. Stainmaster Rustic Oak
  3. Mannington Lakeview Cabin
  4. Happy Feet Mt. Everest Harvest Gray

 

If You Like COREtec Plus Carolina Pine You Might Also Like...

  1. Happy Feet Extreme Cork Reclaimed Pine
  2. Aqualok Cedar Chest

 

If You Like COREtec Plus Gold Coast Acacia You Might Also Like...

  1. Happy Feet Extreme Cork Acacia
  2. Happy Feet Extreme Cork Saddle

 

Want to learn more about vinyl flooring? Click here to find out how to choose a good quality vinyl for your home!

Wire Brushed vs. Hand Scraped Flooring

Textured floors are a wonderful way to bring character and rustic charm to your home. Two of the most common flooring textures you will see are hand scraped and wire brushed. Which is the right choice for your home? Here are the advantages and disadvantaged of these popular styles!

 

Hand Scraped Hardwood

Hand Scraped floors use traditional tools and methods to recreate old-world character. This gives the planks the appearance of having been shaped and smoothed by hand rather than run through a power sander. In some floors the scraped texture is subtle, while in others it is more pronounced.

 

Left: Authentic hand scraped hardwood from Bella Cera. Right: Machine scraped hardwood.

Advantages

Hand scraped floors are a great choice for homes with pets or areas in the home with high traffic because the textured, rustic surface helps hide dents and scratches.

Disadvantages

Be aware that some floors might be labeled “hand scraped” but have actually been scraped using a machine (see above photo for comparison). Machine scraped floors create a look that’s more repetitive and less authentic. Additionally, hand scraped floors can often be difficult to sand down and refinish because of their texture.

Browse Hand Scraped Floors!

 

Wire Brushed Hardwood

Wire brushed floors are created by lightly scraping a bristled wire brush over the plank to pull out the softer wood and emphasize the grain patterns. This gives the floor added texture as well as a more weathered, aged look. Wire brushed texture provides a great middle ground between hand scraped and smooth surfaces.

 

Above: Bausen English Forest European Oak Thetford 

Advantages

Like hand scraped floors, wire brushed floors are also a great choice for homes with pets or high traffic because the textured surface helps conceal daily wear. The surface is also more durable because the wire brushing technique removes the softer wood from the planks, leaving the harder wood.

Disadvantages

Dirt tends to collect within the textured wood grain of the planks, making wire brushed floors more difficult to keep clean.

Browse Wire Brushed Floors!

Do Janka Ratings Matter When Choosing a Floor?: Truths You Need to Know About the Janka Scale

What is the Janka Scale?

The Janka Scale was developed as a way to standardize the hardness of different wood species. This allows consumers to have an idea of how well a floor might hold up to denting, scratching, and other wear. A Janka rating is calculated by measuring the amount of force it takes to embed a 0.444 inch steel ball halfway into a solid piece of hardwood.

 

How Important Are Janka Ratings When Choosing a Floor?

While Janka ratings can be helpful for determining the durability of a solid hardwood floor, don’t choose your floor based solely off these ratings. A higher Janka rating does not equal a higher quality floor. Additionally, no wood is completely indestructible—even the hardest species can scratch or dent.

When choosing a floor, consider aesthetics and price as well as species. A hardwood floor is a big investment for your home, so you want to choose a floor you will love, not just the hardest species! The finish of a floor can also improve its durability despite its Janka rating. For example, Armstrong’s Performance Plus line is infused with acrylic, making species like Walnut and Cherry harder than they would be normally.

If you have kids or pets in your home, then you may want to give a durable species more consideration. However, keep in mind that how well you care for your floor after it’s installed will also have an impact on how well it looks over time. A softer floor such as Black Walnut (Janka rating of 1010) could potentially last longer than a harder floor such as White Ash (1320) if the former is cared for carefully while the latter is cared for poorly.

Armstrong Performance Plus Walnut in Shell White

 

What is a “Good” or “Bad” Janka Rating?

Red Oak is a popular hardwood choice and is considered the industry median for hardness on the Janka scale, with a rating of 1260. Species with a lower rating are “softer” woods (ex. Black Walnut, 1010), while species with a higher rating are “harder” woods (ex. White Ash, 1320).

However, a “softer” or “harder” species isn’t necessarily “worse” or “better.” The purpose of the Janka scale is simply to help consumers see which species resists scratches and dents more than others. A Black Walnut floor might be the perfect choice for one household, while a White Ash floor might be the more appropriate choice for another.

However, the species of wood is only one factor in the overall durability of a floor and how well it will look over time. Other factors to consider include:

  • The type of finish
  • The floor’s construction (engineered vs. solid)
  • The traffic level in the home (kids, pets, etc.)
  • How well the floor is cared for and maintained

You won’t typically find hardwood with a “bad” ranking because industry standards require that wood species used for flooring must be durable enough for this purpose. Extremely soft and flimsy woods like Balsa (ranking of 100), for example, are reserved for crafts or furniture. What makes a species a “good” or “bad” choice for your home really depends on your personal needs and preferences.

 

Where Do Engineered Floors Rank on the Janka Scale?

Engineered floors are an exception to the Janka scale. Unlike a solid hardwood, engineered hardwood is constructed by layering softer wood under a veneer of the chosen wood species. Because of these different layers of wood materials, which vary across flooring brands, it’s difficult to determine an industry standard of hardness for engineered hardwoods using the Janka scale.

If you are shopping for an engineered floor, don’t focus on Janka ratings. While the Janka ratings may give you some idea of how well the top veneer of an engineered hardwood may hold up against denting and scratching, you need to remember the test was performed on a solid piece of wood. Therefore, this rating will not be completely accurate when applied to an engineered hardwood of the same species.

Even if the Janka scale can’t be used to accurately measure the hardness of an engineered hardwood, this does not make engineered hardwood a “bad” or “less durable” choice. Engineered hardwood actually has wonderful advantages over solid floors:

  • Because of their layered construction, engineered hardwood expands and contracts less when exposed to humidity and temperature fluctuations, making for easier maintenance.
  • Engineered hardwood is more resistant to moisture, and can be installed in bathrooms, kitchens, and over concrete where solid floors are not recommended.
  • Engineered floors are less expensive than solid hardwood because only the top veneer is the chosen wood species.

 

Armstrong Performance Plus Low Gloss Maple in Mist Forest 

 

How Do I Choose a Durable Hardwood Floor?

If you are looking at a solid hardwood, you may want to take the Janka rating into a little more consideration if you intend to install the floor in a high traffic area or if your home has kids or pets. (Remember, Janka ratings don’t apply to engineered hardwoods because they are constructed differently).

Red Oak is considered the industry median for flooring hardness with a Janka rating of 1260. If you are looking for extra durability, consider Red Oak or a species that ranks higher on the Janka scale. Readily available and popular species include White Oak (1360), Hard Maple (1450), and Hickory (1820).

If you want a species that’s even harder, look into exotics such as Santos Mahogany (2200), Brazilian Cherry (2350), and Brazilian Walnut (3680). Hardwood is priced based on the availability of the species, not it’s Janka rating, so exotic species will run at a higher price tag.   

No matter what type of wood species you choose, however, your floor’s finish will also play an important role in its durability. The finish is your floor’s first line of defense against dents and scratches and will bear most of the wear and tear from daily use. Whether you’re considering a solid or an engineered hardwood, finish will be a huge factor in overall durability.

Durable finishes to look out for include: aluminum oxide, urethane/polyurethane, and acid-cured finishes. Certain flooring brands might also have specially developed finishes for their products, such as Armstrong’s Performance Plus and Diamond 10 lines. When in doubt, ask your flooring retailer which hardwood products have durable finishes to suit your needs. 

Still have questions about hardwood floors? We're here to help! Get in touch and we'll be happy to answer your flooring questions!

Flooring Spotlight: Bella Cera Hardwood

Who is Bella Cera?

Bella Cera is a manufacturer of premium hardwood. Their trained artisans craft every plank by hand using traditional methods to create stunning floors in modern fashions. Despite the painstaking care that goes into creating these high quality products, Bella Cera’s prices won’t break the bank. Bella Cera explains, “Our goal is to make it affordable for you to own a wood floor that’s truly a work of hand-made art.”

You can see Bella Cera’s passion for old-world craftsmanship in their hand-scraped floors. Their artisans use a variety of tools and techniques to scrape each plank by hand for an authentic look, whereas many manufacturers use machines for a “hand-scraped” appearance that ends up subpar and repetitive.

With Bella Cera’s process, “There are no machines, no assembly lines, no large quantities being pushed through quickly to save time and money. Each flooring plank is individually inspected for its unique patters, gran and colorations, and hand-carved and scraped to complement its beautiful marks of individuality. No two floor boards are the same!”

 

 Left: Hand scraped hardwood from Bella Cera. Right: Machine scraped hardwood.

If you're looking for a hardwood floor for your home we highly recommend Bella Cera. Bella Cera's products are some of our top-selling hardwoods, and with their combination of beauty and quality it's easy to see why. Here are 4 of the most popular collections customers love!

 

1. The Villa Bocelli Collection

  

 Left: Villa Bocelli Mombello. Right: Villa Bocelli Turate.

Features:

  • Engineered French Oak or Hickory
  • 4 distinct saw mark textures
  • 3 plank widths of 4”, 5”, and 6”
  • Stunning color variation
  • Low gloss finish

Why We Love It:

The contrast of light and dark color variation combined with the rugged saw mark texture creates a unique, reclaimed look unlike any other hardwood product currently on the market.

View the Full Collection!

 

2. The Tissino Collection

 
Left: Tissino Briscoe. Right: Tissino Waggoner.    

Features:

  • Engineered Hickory
  • 4 distinct saw mark textures
  • 3 plank widths of 4”, 5”, and 6”
  • Stunning color variation
  • Low gloss finish

Why We Love It:

Similar to the Villa Bocelli collection, the color variation and saw mark texture makes this floor stand out. The Tissino collection features a color palette suitable for a more timeless, contemporary look.

 View the Full Collection! 

 

3. The Bergamo Collection

  

Left: Bergamo Mist. Right: Bergamo Coppertone.

Features:

  • Engineered French Oak or Hickory
  • 2-Tone dual stain
  • 6” and 7.5” wide planks
  • Boards up to 72” long
  • Distressed, wire brushed surface
  • Matte finish

Why We Love It:

The Bergamo collection uses a dual staining process to create two separate hues that play off each other for a stunning effect without the stains blending together. This technique creates unique, layered shades you won’t find anywhere else.

 View the Full Colleciton!

 

4. The Bernini Collection

  

Left: Bernini Santoni. Right: Bernini Lawrence.

Features:

  • Engineered or solid French Oak
  • Saw mark “snake skin” texture
  • Distressed surface
  • 5” and 6.5” wide planks
  • Boards up to 72” long
  • Super low gloss finish

Why We Love It:

The Bernini collection uses saw marks to create a captivating “snake skin” texture. Combined with a palette of trendy colors, these floors effortlessly capture modern elegance.

View the Full Collection!

Should You Refinish or Replace Your Hardwood Floor?

If your hardwood floors are looking shabby, it might be time for a fresh look. But should you refinish your floors or replace them completely? Here’s what you should consider when making your decision.

When It’s Best to Refinish Your Hardwood Floor

If your hardwood floor has minimal wear and you want to restore it to its former shine or change the color of the stain, then refinishing the floor is likely the best option. If you have a few boards that have damaged spots from water or pet accidents these can easily be replaced during the refinishing process and stained to match the color you’ve chosen.

Refinishing your floor is also a good option if you’re on a tighter budget. The cost of replacing a floor will often run higher. If you decide to replace your floor, you will need to consider the cost of having the old floor removed as well as the cost of the new materials and installation. If you want to save on labor costs, it’s easier to refinish a hardwood floor yourself rather than trying to install it. This is because hardwood installation requires specialized skills and knowledge.

Above: A solid hardwood floor can be refinished many times.

When It’s Best to Replace Your Hardwood Floor

While refinishing your floor allows you to change the color if you desire, you may want to give your space an entirely different feel. If you want to make significant aesthetic changes to your floor such as the species of the wood, plank width, or the layout of the planks, then you will need to replace the floor entirely. For example, if your floor is laid in a parquet pattern and you want the planks to be arranged in a herringbone pattern instead, the entire floor will need to be pulled up and replaced.

Another instance when it’s better to replace your floor is if the hardwood is old and has extensive damage that refinishing won’t fix, such as warping. In some cases, an older floor might also have been previously refinished many times to the point where the wood is no longer thick enough to be refinished again.

Finally, you may not want to deal with the mess and hassle of refinishing a floor. Refinishing can take up to four or five days, and during this time you can’t walk or place furniture on the floor. The refinishing process will also create a lot of dust from sanding down the floors as well as strong odors from stain and sealers. On the other hand, a new floor can be installed much more quickly and with less mess. It will also cause less of a disturbance in your home since you are free to walk on the floor as soon as it’s laid down.

Thinking about replacing your old hardwood floor? Browse our selection of hardwoods!