Choose the Right Hardwood Floor
There are hundreds of options when it comes to selecting a beautiful hardwood floor for your home. Hardwood floors can be a significant investment and working with a trained professional will ensure that you get the proper return on your investment. During the design consultation phase, Kimminau Floors will take into consideration your lifestyle and budget before making product recommendations. We can bring samples to your home or you’re welcome to stop by and visit our brand-new showroom located in Grandview, MO.
Engineered or Solid Hardwood Floors
Solid wood flooring planks are constructed from a single piece of wood from top to bottom. They’re typically ¾” thick and have a ¼” wear layer that can be sanded multiple times. Solid wood flooring planks can be factory finished (pre-finished) or finished and customized on site. Solid planks are typically nailed or glued directly to the sub-floor and can only be installed above grade (no basements).
An engineer wood flooring plank is comprised of multiple layers. The inner core layer can range from 3 to 12 cross layers of plywood. These layers are glued and pressed together and ran in opposite directions. The decorative top layer (wear layer) is then glued to the core layers and this is the layer you will see once the product is installed. Engineered floors have the advantage of being more dimensionally stable than solid planks and are approved for below grade (basement) installations. When evaluating and comparing various engineered flooring options, you will need to take in the following considerations:
- Core Layer – there are many cheap 3 and 5 ply systems available at wholesale large retail stores. We recommend a 7 ply or greater system and prefer Baltic Birch plywood.
- Wear Layer – many of the lower-priced options have a 1 or 2 mil wear layer that can never be refinished. We recommend a minimum of 4 mil so that the product can be refinished 2-3 times.
- Unfinished engineered floors are available for basement installations. These products have the same wear layer thickness as solid planks with the added stability of engineered core.
Factory Finished or Site Finished
A hardwood floor can either be prefinished in a factory or finished on site in your home or business. There are advantages and disadvantages to both methods, but it really comes down to the amount of customization you desire.
Because prefinished hardwood floors are finished in a factory under very controlled circumstances and receive anywhere from three to ten coats of finish, they are generally considered more durable than on-site finishes. However, no floor is scratch proof. Every finish is susceptible to scratches no matter how durable the finish. Pre-finished hardwoods can be recoated or refinished just like site finished hardwood floors.
There is a wide variety of species, colors, and widths available in factory finished floors, but manufacturers will generally only carry a few different colors and widths for each species. With site finished hardwoods we can customize the stain color and give you the exact sheen that you desire.
One small difference between unfinished and factory finished wood floors is that factory finished planks have a beveled edge. The beveled edge is used to offset any height differences due to an uneven sub-floor. If a pre-finished hardwood floor is refinished, these bevels may be reduced or go away altogether.
When pre-finished may be the best option:
- Short window of time – pre-finished installation is quicker than site-finished option.
- Pre-finished wood means less fumes and less mess in your home.
- Some pre-finished options can be less expensive if you have a tight budget.
- If you live in a very humid area, pre-finished floors are more tolerant to humidity changes.
When unfinished may be the best option:
- If you’re trying to match or extend an existing wood floor that is installed in your home.
- If you want a custom color match on your trim or cabinets.
- If the look of the beveled edges of pre-finished planks bothers you.
- If you are trying to maintain a historical look before floors were finished and shiny. Unfinished flooring would be most appropriate if your home has historical significance or if you are trying to maintain the architectural integrity of it.
Site Finished Product Types
Quality finish is reflected within the price of materials as well as the application methods. While there are many finish options, we generally stick with the following systems because they are exactly what we have used in our own homes because of appearance and long term durability:
Conversion Varnish – Our flagship finish, this product provides the best of both worlds: exceptional build and durability with crisp optics to highlight the beauty of wood. This finish has an initially strong odor because of the alcohol solvents, but they evacuate the home very quickly with virtually no odor 48 hours following final coat application. This finish scratches clear and is recommended for clients with large dogs where scratches are the primary concern.
Two-Component Water-Based Urethane – This water-based urethane is our most popular finish option. This finish is commercially rated with superior durability, offers outstanding stain and chemical resistance, dries very quickly, has lower VOC’s (volatile organic compounds), little to no odor, extremely fast curing in 5-7 days, and will not amber like other finishes as it ages. Several sheen options available.
Single Component Water-Based Urethane – Very similar characteristics as the two-component system but rated for light commercial or residential. Slower cure times than cross-linked system listed above. Most economical finish system offered.
Rubio Monocoat – Different from the film finishes listed above, this hard-wax oil hybrid takes a different approach to protecting your floor. Rubio bonds to the wood fibers and gives a very real look to the floor. This product is very spill and abrasion resistant and easily maintained and repaired. You can maintenance this product every few years while leaving your heavy furniture and restore the original look with no dust and odor. The product is ZERO g/L in VOC emissions and available in many color treatments.
Color Options – Our team will show you various color options on your floor but we encourage you to check out these color options before we start. This will allow us to come prepared with the range of colors you’re looking for.
Finish Sheen – Our finish systems come in various sheen levels ranging from semi-gloss to ultra-matte. Shiny floors require more maintenance and will highlight imperfections or scratches in the floor. Natural and lower sheen finishes are extremely popular right now. Our clients not only like the look of these finishes but they also love the fact that they require significantly less maintenance. We stock all sheen levels and will discuss the options with you before the final coat is applied.
Wood Floor Customization
Kimminau Floors loves to add custom features to projects and providing clients with a truly unique floor. We offer custom stain and finish options, unique patterned floors, borders and inlays, and distressing techniques like wire-brushing or hand-scraping. Our employees love a good challenge and putting their skills to test and we love it when our clients share their unique visions with us!
Custom Finish Options
One of the things we pride ourselves on is staying abreast of new technologies and finishing techniques. We offer fuming, smoking, ceruse effects, custom stain mixtures, and various finish options to get you the desired effect. Check our new color option page and galleries for inspiration!
Patterned Floors & Borders
Kimminau Floors offers many layout options for your new hardwood floors. We have installed herringbone, chevron, and other parquet patterns. We offer mixed media flooring patterns with tile inserts or metallic border options. Custom bevel options can be applied to your planks to provide definition. Many of our room additions include picture framed border options. Check out our installation galleries for inspiration.
Hand-Scraped Wood Floors remain very popular among homeowners. Their rustic feel provides old world charm and an antique feel that regular hardwood floors just cannot achieve. At Kimminau, we offer true hand-scraped floors that cannot be replicated in a factory. The look and feel is unique to each plank. These floors are beautiful, but all the custom hand-scraping can make them expensive. For our customers who like the look of hand-scraped floors but are working within a tighter budget, we offer high-quality factory-distressed engineered flooring which costs less than traditional hand scraping.
Kimminau Floors offers another distressing technique called wire-brushing. This process removes the soft-grain of the planks and provides a textured appearance like you see in the photo. Wire-brushing will also help create a more durable floor since the soft-grain is removed. This is a great option for high-traffic areas that are prone to scratches. One of the advantages of this technique is that it can be applied directly to your existing hardwood floors.
Hardwood Floor Species
There are hundreds of hardwood species that are used for flooring planks. These species can be broken down into two categories; domestic and exotic. Here’s a list of the most common domestic species used in the Kansas City market and their characteristics:
- Red Oak – stable, moderate hardness, easy to stain and work with, very common.
- White Oak – stable, slightly harder than red oak, easy to stain and work with, most popular choice today.
- Hickory – hardest domestic species, unstable and susceptible to expansion/contraction with Kansas City’s humidity fluctuations, somewhat easy to stain, and common with newer installations.
- Walnut – very stable, 25% softer than oak, beautiful color and grain, often used for borders or formal living spaces, can be stained but often left natural.
- Maple – harder than oak, very clean and muted grain pattern, similar stability to oak, can be difficult to stain evenly, very common.