Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Surface Texture in Hardwood Floors

By Crystal Hosking, Hosking Hardwood Flooring

Surface texture of a hardwood floor can add a lot to the atmosphere for a particular room. It can accentuate the elegance or add to the warmth of a more casual setting. There are a few different surface textures available when it comes to prefinished hardwood flooring. Featured in this post are the top four: smooth, handscraped, distressed and wirebrushed.



The most popular surface texture we see in prefinished hardwood flooring is a smooth surface. Floor boards are sanded flat and then finished at the factory. Read about the advantages of factory prefinished flooring here: Prefinished or Unfinished Hardwood Flooring. Hardwood flooring with a smooth surface can definitely enhance the elegance of a room, especially when used in a darker finish. Keep in mind that smooth hardwood floors will show scratches and dents more readily than a more textured hardwood floor.

There are countless examples of beautiful smooth surfaced hardwood flooring, but here are a few of our favorites:

Somerset Solid Color Collection and Engineered Color Collection, Owens PlankFloor, Muskoka Solid Gallery Collection and Engineered Architectural Collection, Lauzon Ambiance Collection



Handscraped surface textures can be anywhere from subtle to extreme. Pictured above is an example of a somewhat moderate handscraped hardwood floor. You can see that there are several indentations and, overall, the board surfaces have a wave like appearance created with the wood scrapers. Handscraped hardwood flooring definitely brings a more casual look to a room, adding warmth, comfort and a lived-in ambiance. The more handscraped texture a hardwood floor has, the more it will hide scratches and dents. Lots of homeowners with larger dogs in their households opt for a handscraped texture in their hardwood floors simply because wear and tear is more easily concealed.

There are some brands that just “do handscraped” better than others. Here are some of our top handscraped hardwood options:

Ark Handscraped Engineered and Solid, Shenandoah Engineered Hardwood Floors, Anderson Virginia Vintage, Armstrong Gatsby Hand Sculpted, Mannington Inverness Hand Sculpted



When a hardwood floor is listed as distressed, it is typically antiqued, but in a different way than with the handscraped texture. Distress marks could include dents, burn marks or blackening of edges. The goal is to make the hardwood floor look lived on and beaten up. Distressed flooring is perfect for heavy trafficked households or homes with lots of pets, as the polished distressing helps to camouflage any actual dents and scratches that may occur.

From lightly distressed to totally destroyed (but in a good way), here are our best distressed looks:

Nature Wood Americana Distressed, Mannington Chesapeake Hickory, Columbia Berkshire Distressed



A hardwood floor which is wirebrushed offers a middle ground texture — between smooth and handscraped. The wirebrushing process is just as it sounds; the finish is lightly scraped with a wirebrush, creating long and linear strokes. This wirebrushed texture really accentuates linear grain patterns, like that of oak flooring and it makes a hardwood floor a little bit more interesting than if it had just a smooth surface.

A little texture never hurt anybody. Here are some beautifully subtle wirebrushed hardwood options:

Kahrs Harmony Collection, Kahrs Artisan Collection

There are many instances where a specific collection will feature more than one of the textures described above. It’s not unheard of to see a hardwood floor with a handscraped AND distressed look, or a distressed AND wirebrushed style. Just another way of showing homeowners the endless options available; the only limit is (corny, but true) your imagination! Whether completely smooth or featuring a bit of rough texture, the surface feel of a hardwood floor in addition to color and width can definitely add to the milieu of your home.

You may also be interested in: Pets and Your Hardwood Flooring, Top Handscraped Collections, Hand Scraped Hardwood Flooring, Customer Expectations When Buying Hardwood Flooring.


WeCork: The Serenity Collection

by Crystal Hosking, Hosking Hardwood Flooring

It’s time to pop the cork and celebrate: there’s a new cork flooring product on the market causing quite a splash!

For years, consumers have loved the attributes of cork flooring, but opted for the more traditional look of hardwood for their homes. Now, with the Serenity Collection from WeCork, you don’t have to choose.

Let’s take a look at the benefits of a cork floor:

  • corksEnvironmentally Friendly || Cork flooring is created from a renewable source. Learn more detail on how cork is made here: Why Cork Flooring is an Environmentally Friendly Flooring Option.
  • Ultra Durable || Cork flooring bounces back. Place something heavy on cork flooring and instead of denting, you’ll find that it springs back to its original shape.
  • Thermal & Sound Insulation || No more cold feet in the morning. Cork flooring naturally absorbs and keeps heat locked in and it can also be used over radiant floor heating systems. Cork is also often used as a sound proofing material. This reduces sound transfer from room to room as well as offers a quiet tread while walking.
  • Moisture Resistant || Liquid spills are repelled by cork flooring, making clean up super easy.
  • Hypo-Allergenic || Mold, dust and mites don’t cling to cork flooring like they do to carpeting.
  • Anti-Bacterial || Cork flooring naturally resists the growth of bacteria.
  • Natural Cushion || Cork flooring is naturally soft underfoot & fragile items are less likely to break on cork flooring when compared to a fall onto a hard surface floor. Perfect for homes with kids!

What if your hardwood floor could have all these same benefits? Well, now it can! …with the new Serenity Collection from WeCork. From light hardwood flooring to dark hardwood flooring and everything in between, there’s an option to complement any room aesthetic.



WeCork uses digital printing technology to infuse the surface of their Serenity Collection cork flooring with high definition images of real hardwood flooring and real tile surfaces. Finish that off with a “Hot Coating,” and you get a beautiful oil-like, satin luster visual.


The “Hot Coating” finish infuses the Serenity Collection with the durability necessary to stand up to tough residential and commercial settings and is considered an AC5 Rating. The digital hardwood or tile visual won’t fade over time with use or exposure to light.

WeCork equipped this Serenity Collection with a Unilin locking system, making installation quite literally “a snap.” These floating cork floors can be installed over standard subfloors or over existing pvc or vinyl (cannot be installed over carpeting). It’s always recommended to use a plastic moisture barrier between the subfloor and the new cork flooring to retard any moisture that may be transferring up. Other than the moisture barrier, no other underlayment should be used. Feel free to install the floating Serenity Collection cork floors on, above or below grade levels (basements).

Floating cork flooring, much like floating hardwood flooring, needs room to move, so during installation it’s required to leave 3/8 IN. expansion gaps around room walls or other fixed objects.

The Serenity Collection from WeCork gives you all the features of a cork floor with all the beauty of a hardwood or tile look. Start shopping the hardwood styles or the tile styles now!


Hosking Hardwood Flooring: Year in Review

by Crystal Hosking, Hosking Hardwood Flooring

article_onlineHappy New Year! 2014 is just around the corner.

This past year was pretty busy for us at Hosking Hardwood Flooring. We introduced a lot of new brands to our website (MooseWood, Trillium Bamboo, etc.) and, unfortunately, saw some brands go (R.I.P. Award). There have also been some stand out stories on our site, which have helped our readers come to educated decisions regarding the purchase, installation and upkeep of new hardwood, laminate, vinyl, bamboo and cork flooring.

Here’s a recap of our top 10 clicked on links of 2013:

article_steve1Pets and Your Hardwood Flooring: Maybe it was just the picture of Steve, our charming office dog, but this article was one of the most clicked on links of 2013. A question we get quite often is whether or not hardwood flooring is an okay choice for homes with pets. Specifically, homeowners are most concerned about active dogs scratching or denting new hardwood flooring. In this article we highlight some of the most important hardwood flooring maintenance habits for homeowners with pets. Additionally, we offer some suggestions on which hardwood floors might work best in an active household.

Engineered Floor Review: Owens PlankFloor: Owens PlankFloor is definitely a favorite on our site. Customers love the wear layer thickness of Owens’ engineered floors and they are one of the first recommendations we make when homeowners are looking for an unfinished engineered hardwood floor option. This blog post expounds upon Owens PlankFloor, ultimately explaining why it’s such a premium product in the marketplace.

The Evolution of Muskoka Flooring: 2013 proved to be huge year for Muskoka, one of the premier hardwood flooring manufacturers in Canada, as they revamped their entire line of hardwood flooring. Streamlining their solid line and adding an amazing 3/4 IN. solid sawn structured (engineered) option, the new Muskoka hardwood flooring line offers premium hardwood products at an affordable price. Find all the details in this blog post.

All About Engineered Wood Flooring: When you think “hardwood flooring,” don’t just stop at solid hardwood. Engineered flooring got its foot in the door and is now flooding the market with its added benefits and its capability of being installed in virtually any room of the home. This article does well to explain everything you’d ever want to know about engineered hardwood flooring.

Radiant Floor Heating Systems: Hardwood flooring offers warmth (literally) with the help of radiant floor heating systems. This blog post gives you all the ins and outs of using different flooring options over radiant heat and offers suggestions on the best hardwood styles over heat.

article_waterWater vs. Wood: In this blog post, you’ll see some pretty disturbing imagery: hardwood flooring damaged by water exposure. It’s a travesty — learn here how to avoid these disasters and take precautions even before you install new hardwood flooring.

Hardwood and Laminate Floor Specials: Who doesn’t love a good sale?? This section of our website shows all of our top instock products at great prices. From solid hardwood to engineered hardwood to laminate specials — this is a great place to start your search for an affordable floor for your home.

flooringfinderFinding the Perfect Hardwood Floor: New hardwood flooring. How do you even choose?? Our Flooring Finder is here to save the day! This blog post guides you through the process of using our Flooring Finder to narrow down the 1000′s of hardwood options available. Just a few clicks and you’re on your way!

Safeglide Felt Floor Protectors: There’s nothing worse than that first scratch in a new hardwood floor. Chair glides will help prolong the newness of your hardwood flooring, preventing scratches and dents caused by chairs, tables and other heavy pieces of furniture.

Somerset Hardwood Flooring: Ever since Somerset Floors transferred all of their production to within the United States, interest has soared in the hardwood flooring company and its products. While the “Made in the USA” label certainly boosts consumer likability, it doesn’t hurt that Somerset is also manufacturing top quality hardwood flooring products.


Protecting your Hardwood Floor from the Holiday Season

By Crystal Hosking, Hosking Hardwood Flooring

The holiday season is fast approaching. This means family and friend get togethers, dinners, parties and an overall hectic atmosphere in the home. Make sure to take steps now to protect your hardwood and laminate flooring so you’re not surprised with unsightly scratches and dents at the beginning of the new year, when everything settles down. A little proactive protection now can go a long way.


Check your tables, chairs and other pieces of furniture to make sure they all have chair glides attached. Make sure there’s nothing caught in the felt of the chair glides (dirt, dust, rocks) and that they are in good condition. If the felt part of the chair glide isn’t clean, even the smallest particles have the potential to cause damage to a hardwood floor. If your furniture has no chair glides, make sure to get some on ASAP! Chair glides are inexpensive and incredibly easy to attach to furniture. Even just every day use of chairs and tables without chair glides can damage hardwood. We find that a lot of excessive scratching comes from chairs being slid out and in at dining room tables. It’s something a lot of homeowners don’t think about until it’s too late.

Additionally, damage to hardwood occurs often at parties when guests are socializing in high heels or hard shoes. If you’re expecting a lot of people at your home during the holiday season, you may want to protect your hardwood with a small, festive area rug in the main room of your party or a temporary runner in any well traveled hallway. In a more casual setting, you may even be able to ask guests to remove their shoes at the door.

Speaking of the entrance to your home, many destructive factors can be brought in from the outside. Dirt, rocks, snow and ice melt can really terrorize a hardwood floor and cause permanent damage. Make sure any entrance to your home has mats at the doorways to catch any of these harmful elements potentially coming in on guests’ shoes.

Don’t forget to show your hardwood flooring some TLC after the holiday season. For tips and advice on cleaning hardwood floors check out: How to Clean Your Hardwood Floors.


What is the FSC?

By Crystal Hosking, Hosking Hardwood Flooring

All About the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)?

A “green” movement is sweeping the nation and the public is becoming more and more aware of how individual carbon footprints are slowly taking their toll on our planet. It is estimated that over 50% of the world’s forests have already been destroyed. There have been a slew of “Save the Rainforest” campaigns parading around since the 1960′s, but no non-governmental campaign has taken the hardwood flooring industry quite by force as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

fscforestIt was 1993, after a less than productive 1992 Earth Summit, that the FSC was established. Global deforestation was becoming a major issue. The main idea in creating the FSC was to basically set some standards for the use and care of the world’s forests. This is a not-for-profit organization which operates internationally and boasts members from all over the world on both an individual basis as well as those representing large groups and corporations.

Currently the FSC headquarters is located in Bonn, Germany and the organization is constantly striving to create universal guidelines, fair certification parameters and standards for responsible forest management — from huge rainforests to privately owned plantations. A huge part of the responsibility taken on by the FSC is not just that of the forests themselves, but also that of the life in and around the forests. Animal populations, workers inside the forests and surrounding communities are all taken into consideration; and principles are created and tweaked accordingly.

The Mission of the FSC

The mission statement (directly from FSC website,

“The Forest Stewardship Council mission is to promote environmentally sound, socially beneficial and economically prosperous management of the world’s forests. Our vision is that we can meet our current needs for forest products without compromising the health of the world’s forests for future generations.”

Also stated on the FSC website are their 10 principles, which they use to execute their mission statement. These principles tackle everything from abiding by local governments’ laws to efficient use of the forest and its resources to required monitoring of foresting practices. The FSC principles come together to create an umbrella package covering the full spectrum of environmental, social and economic issues.

The Structure of the FSC

The FSC boasts their organization as being completely open, voluntary and member-run. When an individual or a representative from a group chooses to apply to be a member of the FSC, they apply to a certain chamber: Environmental, Social or Economic.

These chambers are further broken down into northern and southern divisions. All members of the FSC can attend the meetings held every three years and every member has a vote. Votes are weighted so both the northern and southern divisions have 50% influence.

Aside from this General Assembly, there is also an Executive Director, who reports to the FSC Board of Directors. The FSC Board of Directors includes three elected officials with an option of up to two additional representatives from each chamber (environmental, social, economic) of the General Assembly.

FSC Certification

fscThere are two types of FSC Certifications: Forest Management Certification and Chain of Custody (CoC) Certification. Apply for either certification is completely voluntary. All applicants looking for certification need to be inspected by an independent FSC accredited inspector. There is an annual fee for individuals and groups which are certified and they, of course, need to keep up continued compliance with the FSC principles and regulations.

According to FSC statistics, almost 175,000,000 acres of forest in the United States and Canada are certified. Additionally, almost 4,500 companies in the United States and Canada are Chain of Custody Certified.

The FSC knows that if a forest isn’t profitable for an owner, there’s a greater chance of that forest being destroyed in favor of other, more profitable land uses. Therefore, the organization does strive to provide beneficial services to their certified individuals and organizations. Certification can definitely increase profitability for a forest owner: efficiency improves, contracts are more stable as are credit agreements, and public image is enhanced.

Once an individual or organization becomes certified, they can use the official FSC trademarked logo on any products coming out of the certified forest. This logo is instantly recognized within the hardwood flooring industry and adds to manufacturer’s reputation.

How Does FSC Certification Affect the End Consumer

While homeowners don’t deal directly with the forest their hardwood flooring comes from, they still have a choice when it comes to buying hardwood procured through sustainable methods. Many of the top manufacturers of hardwood flooring in the industry today make a conscientious effort to choose responsible suppliers to get their raw material from. Hardwood flooring manufacturers, although not typically working in the forests the raw material comes from themselves, can become Chain of Custody (CoC) Certified. Information on sustainability and certification for each hardwood flooring brand can typically be found on that brand’s website.

Our favorite hardwood flooring brands sporting the FSC Certified stamp are: Award Floors, Baltic Hardwood, Cikel Exotic Flooring, Harris Wood Floors, IndusParquet Exotic Hardwood, Lauzon Wood Flooring, Mannington Wood, MooseWood Hardwood Flooring, Muskoka Flooring and Owens PlankFloor.

When Good Wood Goes Bad

If a retailer or hardwood floor manufacturer is vague as to where their raw material is coming from, chances are it’s not coming from a certified forest.

In recent months, according to The Wall Street Journal and Hardwood Floors Magazine, Lumber Liquidators has been the focus of much political and environmental scrutiny for their alleged involvement in importing illegal wood harvested from Russian forests which are home to endangered animal species. Lumber Liquidators supposedly knew about the origins of the hardwood flooring they were selling to consumers and had little motivation to stop shipments probably because of the profit they were making on the material.

Working with materials that have come from an FSC Certified manufacturer and/or forest guarantees that your material is coming from a legal source. It also ensures that you’re using hardwood harvested from a sustainable and renewable source. Many eco-aware homeowners mistakenly think that real wood flooring is not really a “green” building material. But in actuality, when you buy from an FSC certified source, you’re helping to protect the environment by adding your support to the continued replanting and regeneration efforts around the world.

You may also be interested in: Formaldehyde Free Flooring?, Hardwood Flooring is Economical and Green, Engineered Floor Review: Owens PlankFloor


Radiant Floor Heating Systems

By Crystal Hosking, Hosking Hardwood Flooring

With the arrival of the fall season and colder weather, we’re starting to see sweaters, heavier coats and maybe even some scarves. We’re also beginning to experience the sensation of bare feet on cold floors in the mornings. Probably not the most favored way to start off the day and an added excuse to stay in bed for as long as possible. But, what if there was a way to still enjoy beautiful hardwood flooring without the shock of cold feet in the mornings? Radiant heating could be the answer you’re looking for.

Radiant heating systems in subfloors are becoming more and more popular in new constructions as well as home renovation; and, thankfully for homeowners, radiant heating systems are now more affordable than ever.

What is Radiant Heat?

Radiant heating systems can be used under flooring, on wall panels and even on ceilings. Radiant floor heating systems are a lot more common in household settings than the wall or ceiling systems and have the potential to be a lot more efficient than traditional heating systems, including baseboard heating (not to mention more beneficial to those suffering from severe allergies). Radiant floor heating is quieter than traditional heating methods, it doesn’t dry out the air in your home and it heats an entire room more evenly.

radiantsystemThere are three major types of in-floor radiant heating systems: heated air systems, electric heat systems and hydronic heat (hot water) systems. Radiant floor heating systems can either be built within concrete subfloors (usually with new constructions) or can be installed as a separate entity directly below the new flooring to be installed. In some situations, radiant heating systems can be set up from underneath existing floor and subflooring (as long as you have access to the flooring joists from the room below). It’s important to keep in mind that radiant heating systems will add weight to your subfloor, so the appropriate support precautions must be taken to ensure structural integrity.

Pretty much universally conceded, the most cost-efficient and most popular floor heating system type is the hydronic heating system. Hydronic heating systems are controlled with a thermostat and use heated water from a boiler in the home.

With the increased demand for heated subfloors in residences, manufacturers have constantly been upgrading radiant heating system technologies. The most recent innovations include using solar energy to power heating systems, aluminum reflectors for the most uniform subfloor heating and special plywood panels with pre-existing cut slots for radiant heat system tubing.

Although initially the most popular floor covering for installations over radiant heating systems was ceramic tile, options have expanded to include hardwood flooring, laminate flooring, vinyl flooring, cork flooring and even carpeting. How well heat transfers up to a room via the subfloor is highly dependent on the floor covering material used and some allow transfer more easily than others.

Always check with the manufacturer of the particular floor covering product you plan to use prior to purchase and/or installation over radiant heating systems to make sure they approve of their product installed over radiant heat. If it is approved, also make sure to follow their specific installation instructions, as straying may void warranties.

Engineered Hardwood Floors Over Radiant Heat


Kahrs Hardwood Spirit Collection Orchard Walnut

Choosing to use hardwood flooring over radiant heating systems definitely narrows down your range of products to choose from, but it can be done — and with beautiful results. Engineered flooring makes installation of real hardwood over radiant heat possible. Because of the unique construction of engineered flooring, involving either an HDF core or cross layers of plywood, engineered flooring can be installed over radiant floor heating systems.

Although engineered floors can typically be glued down or staple/nailed down, most engineered flooring manufacturers usually require that their engineered flooring approved for installation over radiant heating systems be installed via the floating method. Glue down applications are not really recommended, as the temperature of the subfloor could potentially cause problems with the adhesive used. Staple/nail down applications are typically frowned upon because of potential damage to the tubing in radiant heat systems by staples or nails.

It’s always recommended to double check with the manufacturer of the engineered flooring to make sure they approve their specific product for installation over radiant heat. Additionally, make sure you’re familiar with the requirements for installation of their hardwood flooring product over radiant heat.

Some wood species work better over radiant floor heating systems than others. At Hosking Hardwood Flooring, we don’t recommend the use of Maple, Pine, Hickory or Brazilian Cherry flooring over radiant heated subfloors, even if the flooring product is an engineered construction. These particular wood species are just a bit less stable than others are are prone to cracking or splitting when exposed to the temperature and drying factors expelled by radiant floor heating.

When working with engineered flooring over radiant heated subfloors, it’s recommended to never raise the surface temperature of the subfloor to over 85 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid damaging the new hardwood flooring. Additionally, make sure to acclimate the new engineered hardwood in the room it’s to be installed in for at least a week prior to the installation. It’s best to put the cartons of flooring into the room and then increase the temperature of the radiant heating system a few degrees each day. Never introduce the new hardwood to the room and then turn the radiant heating system up too high too fast.

Solid Hardwood Floors Over Radiant Heat

If you won’t stand for anything but solid hardwood in your home, there is an option for you — Quartersawn Solid Hardwood Flooring. Quartersawn planks are cut at a different angle on the tree trunk than Plainsawn planks (most popular in the hardwood flooring industry). The radial grade patterns of Quartersawn planks allow for freer movement during expansion and contraction that may be exacerbated in the hardwood by radiant heating systems. Typically, Quartersawn hardwood flooring is created from Red Oak or White Oak.

quartersawnIf you do choose to go with a solid Quartersawn plank for installation over radiant heat, it’s recommended to go with a narrow board width (3 IN.) rather than a wide one (5 IN.). Additionally, since solid hardwood typically always has to be either stapled down or nailed down during installation, you have to be very careful as to not hit the radiant heating tubes with a staple or nail during the install.

As with the engineered hardwood flooring, take special care not to raise the temperature of the subfloor to over 85 degrees Fahrenheit when installing solid Quartersawn over radiant heat. The Quartersawn cut makes the solid plank more stable, but the hardwood can still be damaged from higher temperatures.

Laminate Flooring Over Radiant Heat


QuickStep Classic Collection Bamboo

If you want the look of hardwood flooring but are skeptical of installing real hardwood over a radiant heating system, laminate flooring might be the key. The years have only been kind to laminate flooring. When just starting out, laminate flooring looked, felt and sounded completely fake. As technology has improved, so has the realism infused into laminate (visually and texture-wise) as well as the locking mechanisms. Installed side by side, some laminate floors are even nearly impossible to distinguish from real hardwood flooring.

Laminate flooring is perfect for floating applications over radiant heating systems as they are not as porous and don’t experience the expansion and contraction that real wood does. Although most laminate flooring products on the market today are approved for installation over radiant heat, it’s never a bad idea to check with the manufacturer of the laminate just to make sure.

Vinyl Flooring Over Radiant Heat

It is typically recommended when installing vinyl tiles over radiant heating systems to use a glueless floating vinyl sheet or vinyl tile. A standard glue down vinyl flooring product may react with peeling and cracking when the vinyl adhesive is exposed with the higher temperatures from the heating system. Always make sure to check with the vinyl manufacturer to make sure their specific product is approved for installation over radiant heating systems.

Cork Flooring Over Radiant Heat


WECork Avant Garde Collection Sable Gibraltar

Cork, although a nontraditional floor covering option, is gaining popularity in homes across the country for its multitude of benefits. Cork is naturally an excellent insulator, which is a property that can sometimes take away from the quickness of a radiant floor heating system, resulting in a longer wait time for the cork floor to warm up. Even so, there are many homeowners who install cork flooring over radiant heating systems and come away loving the results. Because of its natural insulation properties, cork flooring will retain heat from the system more efficiently than other floor coverings.

It’s generally recommended to use floating cork tiles rather than glue down cork tiles because of the effect the heat might have on the adhesives used to glue down. As always, make sure to confer with the specific brand’s installation instructions prior to installation to make sure their particular product is warrantied for installation over radiant heat.

Ceramic Tile Over Radiant Heat

Ceramic tile is the most efficient floor covering for use with radiant floor heating systems. Homeowners love using these systems in bathrooms with tile, notorious for sending chills up the spine during colder months of the year.

Carpeting Over Radiant Heat

Carpet, as a fabric, doesn’t work exceptionally well over radiant heating because it won’t transfer heat as efficiently or as evenly as a hard surface will. If you do choose to use carpet as a floor covering over your radiant heating system, it’s recommended to choose a short pile carpet and pay special attention to the carpet padding used. Carpet padding is much thicker and more dense than the underlayment padding used for floating engineered hardwood floors and laminate floors and it will drastically reduce the amount of heat transferred up through the carpet from the radiant floor heating system.

Ultimately, radiant floor heating systems are a home upgrade that will not only provide comfort when the temps outside drop, but will also provide for a more cost efficient and a healthier way of heating your home.


Finding the Perfect Hardwood Floor

By Crystal Hosking, Hosking Hardwood Flooring

When you first step foot into the world of hardwood flooring, it can be a bit daunting. There are endless choices and many decisions to make in order to find the perfect hardwood flooring to satisfy your situational needs and aesthetic wants.

flooringfinderThe Problem

There are thousands of hardwood choices featured on our site. You could spend hours, days and weeks browsing through different constructions, wood species, colors, etc. It can be a bit overwhelming.

The Solution

Our Flooring Finder. Answer a few specific questions, and we’ll narrow down your choices to a more manageable amount.

How it Works

There are 8 different categories with options to choose from. Simply click on the options which apply to your situation or your appearance preference. The more categories you choose to select, the more your options are narrowed down. You can choose to sort with as many or as few parameters as you want. Keep in mind that if you choose too many requirements, you may narrow down the results so much that there will be no product matching all of your specifications. In this case, try editing your search criteria.

1. Select a Color Tone


What kind of color are you looking for? A natural tone will offer you the natural color of the wood species, as there is no stain color applied. Other options include a light brown stain, a stain with subtle golden undertones, a medium brown stain, a stain with subtle or dramatic red undertones or a dark brown stain. The “Colors” option will bring up more unusual tones like whites, blacks, grays and painted floors.

2. Choose a Board Thickness


The second question tackles total board thickness. Hardwood flooring can range anywhere from 1/4 IN. thick to 3/4 IN. thick. Most solid hardwood flooring products will feature a 3/4 IN. thickness, although there are some solid options available in thinner planks. Most engineered hardwood choices will be thinner than 3/4 IN., but there are a few exceptions that reach up to the full 3/4 IN. thickness.

Thickness considerations come into play when you’re trying to match the height of a new floor to an existing one that you plan on it meeting up with. Or, many times, if a homeowner is going with an engineered construction, they’ll like the thicker options because of the thicker wear layer involved.

3. Choose a Board Width


There are many, many options when it comes to total board width. The traditional width for a solid hardwood floor is 2-1/4 IN. (also known as a “strip”), although the current trend is getting wider. 3-1/4 IN. is hugely popular right now and homeowners love to install wider boards (5 IN. and wider) in homes with a casual or rustic feel.

You’re probably not going to find many engineered boards narrower than 3 IN., the standard in the industry right now ranges from 3-1/2 IN. to 5 IN. Longstrip engineered boards will be even wider (at around 7 IN. to 8 IN.).

Some collections feature multiple widths or random widths, and you are able to search for these widths in the Flooring Finder as well. Parquet floors (square sections) can be searched for with the 12″ x 12″ or 12″ x 24″ options.

4. Choose a Wood Floor Construction Type


The construction type of hardwood floor you specify is going to be a huge help in narrowing down your choices and finding that perfect hardwood floor for your home. Solid hardwood has limitations as to where it can be installed in the home. Most solids cannot be installed below grade (in basements) or over concrete subfloors. Engineered floors are a bit more lenient and can be installed in virtually any room of the home and because of their more stable nature, engineered flooring can be installed over a variety of different subfloor types.

Floating Floors” refers to engineered flooring that can be installed using the floating method. All floating floors are engineered floors, but not all engineered floor are floating floors. In order to float a traditional tongue and groove engineered floor, it’s required to use a wood glue to glue the seams of the boards together.

Additionally, all “Click-Loc” floors are floating floors, but not all floating floors feature the click locking technology. Floors that do feature click locking technology do not require the use of glue and simply click together, forming an incredibly tight seam.

5. Where in Your Home is the Wood Flooring Going to be Installed


Location of where this new hardwood flooring will be installed is very important. As mentioned before, solid hardwood can typically only be installed above or on ground levels of the home. Engineered flooring can be installed on, above or below ground level. Choosing a location in our Flooring Finder will help to ensure that you’re browsing through products that will actually work in your situation.

6. Choose a Wood Species


If you don’t already know what wood species you want to put down, learn more about the appearance and durability of particular wood species here: Choosing a Hardwood Flooring Wood Species. Different wood species will have different grain patterns, color tones and Janka Hardness Ratings.

The most traditional wood species are Red Oak, White Oak and Maple. If you’re interested in a more interesting North American wood species, you should take a look at Hickory or Birch. Exotic wood species like Brazilian Cherry and Santos Mahogany are also gaining popularity among homeowners.

7. Is this Flooring Going to be Installed Over Radiant Heat?


A simple question, but important. If you have a radiant heating system that you’ll be installing over, it’s necessary to select a hardwood floor that is approved to be installed over radiant heat.

8. Choose a Square Foot Price Range


Most homeowners are on a budget. The Price Range selector in our Flooring Finder will help weed out options that will put you way over budget. While this is a helpful parameter, keep in mind that you get what you pay for and finding many options in the $1.00 to $1.99 range for hardwood flooring is probably not going garner many helpful results.

searchOne more click, and you’re on your way to a selection of hardwood floors narrowed down to a much smaller group and featuring the specifications your new install will require. If you aren’t satisfied with the results that show up, try going back and tinkering with the options you chose. Maybe the perfect floor for your home is a 3-1/2 IN. width instead of a 3-1/4 IN. width. Maybe the stain color that would complement your cabinets or furniture perfectly is available in a White Oak rather than a Red Oak. If you’re just starting out on your search for hardwood flooring, our Flooring Finder will definitely help point you in the right direction.

So, what are you waiting for?! It’s time to get started: Flooring Finder.


MooseWood Hardwood Flooring

By Crystal Hosking, Hosking Hardwood Flooring


At Hosking Hardwood Flooring, we’re always searching for top notch hardwood flooring manufacturers who showcase quality, diversity and durability within their product lines. We’re happy to say, we’ve found these characteristics within the MooseWood Hardwood Flooring line, the newest addition to our digital showroom.

MooseWood Millworks offers a variety of North American wood species including Maple, Yellow Birch, Red Birch and Red Oak in a solid hardwood construction. MooseWood has become increasingly known for their environmental commitment, having recently become affiliated with the Seven Islands Land Company. For over 170 years, this family owned group has managed responsible forestry and harvesting practices in Northern Maine, formally becoming Seven Islands in 1964. They have successfully managed to protect the forests they work with as well as the surrounding wildlife through focused standards and forestry certifications.

Within their product line, MooseWood offers three grade level categories: Clear Grade, Select Grade and Antique Grade. Within each grade level, widths ranging from 2-1/4 IN. to 5 IN. are available. Choose from a beautiful natural North American wood species, or complement your room with a warmly stained hardwood product.

Natural Red Birch Solid Hardwood Flooring from MooseWood

Natural Red Birch Solid Hardwood Flooring from MooseWood

One of the major reasons that homeowners are drawn to the MooseWood brand is because of their Red Birch offering. Available within their Select Grade, Red Birch showcases the heartwood of the Birch tree and is slightly different than Yellow Birch, offering natural golden brown coloring and subtle red undertones. Prefinished solid Red Birch hardwood flooring can be difficult to find in the marketplace, but MooseWood has got you covered.

Keeping production inside the United States, all MooseWood solid hardwood flooring is proudly Made in Maine and the company has ultimately become a leader in sustainable practice from the seeds of the trees to the finished product. We believe that MooseWood Hardwood Flooring is a hugely positive addition to and we’re looking forward to offering our customers a high quality hardwood flooring product straight from the forests of New England.


Engineered Flooring Review: Anderson Virginia Vintage

By Crystal Hosking, Hosking Hardwood Flooring

For those looking for a handscraped engineered hardwood floor, one of the most popular choices is the Virginia Vintage collection from Anderson Floors. Authentic looks, beautiful craftmanship, rich colors and tested durability: Virginia Vintage has it all.

Anderson Floors

A company that’s been in the hardwood flooring business for over 6 decades (founded in 1946), Anderson Floors has been a leader in quality hardwood flooring and hardwood flooring innovation longer than most. Anderson is consistently in the top 3 hardwood flooring brands most inquired about at, mostly due to interest in their Virginia Vintage collections.

What Makes Virginia Vintage so Exceptional?

The Virginia Vintage collection from Anderson Floors features handscraped texture more realistic than almost any other hardwood flooring manufacturer and for good reason: the Virginia Vintage handscraped texture is applied via human artisan vs. machinery scraping used by other manufacturers. While scrapes created by machinery can become monotonous and calculated, scraping by artisans ensures that every plank of flooring has unique character and texture. Chisel marks, checks, scraping, half moon indentations and chatter marks all come together to create a masterpiece for your home. No two handscraped planks are the same.

andersonscrapeAdding to the list of reasons Anderson Floors’ Virginia Vintage is so amazing is the fact that it is produced right here in the United States. The Made in America stance is proudly boasted by Anderson Floors and is definitely a quality that they hold over many other engineered hardwood flooring manufacturers in the marketplace today. Anderson understands the economical and qualitative benefits of producing product within the U.S. borders and intend on continuing support of the U.S. workforce. Unique in the industry, Anderson created a Prison Work Program, incorporating the training of prisoners in South Carolina and Tennessee in the craft of handscraping. This instills in them a skill as well as a positive hard work ethic. The competitive wages earned from the Prison Work Program are divided between the state, victims and the prisoners’ families.

Aside from the authentic surface texture of the handscraped Virginia Vintage, Anderson also displays a structurally strong cross-locked engineered construction resulting in a total thickness of 1/2 IN., including a healthy 3mm wear layer. This is a very stable engineered floor and will stand up to the trials and tribulations of everyday household traffic.

andersoncolorsAvailable in a range of colors and wood species, Anderson has tested their Virginia Vintage 1/2 IN. collection and approved it for installation over radiant heating systems. Virginia Vintage engineered can be floated, stapled down or glued down directly to the subfloor in virtually any room of the home and over a variety of subfloor types.

But wait, there’s more! Anderson has taken their skillful craftsmanship from their engineered line of Virginia Vintage and applied it to a 3/4 IN. thick solid plank. This nail down handscraped floor has all the beauty of an antiqued floor with the solid construction that homeowners love.

Durability is further enforced by the Aluminum Oxide factory applied finish, which supports the 50 Year Residential Finish Warranty offered with Virginia Vintage in both the engineered and solid collections.

Product Support

Customer Service is definitely important in determining the quality and reliability of a hardwood flooring brand. The manufacturer’s willingness to communicate openly with their retailers or with the end consumer can be a make it or break it factor. After working with Anderson Hardwood Floors for many years, we can certainly attest to their high level of customer service and open information flow and our customers always gush about the level of attention they receive when contacting Anderson directly.

Their website is user friendly and chock full of clear product specifications, installation instructions and warranty information. Anderson also offers free samples of their product shipped direct to you, which can be ordered via their website: You can also find Anderson Floors involved with all the most popular social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.), further increasing their connectivity in the market.


Ultimately, Anderson claims to be a “family brand” and they are exactly that. They treat their employees, retailers and customers with respect. They offer high quality engineered and solid collections with an authentic antiqued appearance. Their after purchase support for both the retailer and the end consumer is some of the best in the industry. There’s no question as to why homeowners ask for Anderson Virginia Vintage by name.

You may also be interested in: All About Engineered Floors, Handscraped Hardwood Flooring, Pets and Your Hardwood Flooring


Laminate Flooring Review: Alloc Prestige

By Crystal Hosking, Hosking Hardwood Flooring

prestigeconcreteAlloc, a hard hitting player offering top quality flooring products in the laminate flooring industry, recently introduced their Prestige Laminate Flooring collection and it’s getting rave reviews. Alloc has always been a company to produce top quality laminate flooring and their Prestige collection is no different.


Measuring at almost 1/2 IN. thick and available in two widths: 5 IN. and 12 IN., Prestige is a laminate collection tough enough to stand up to light, medium and heavy commercial settings with consistent heavy traffic. A High Pressure Laminate (HPL) in a sea of Direct Pressure Laminate, Prestige really stands out and stands up against the competition. The wear resistant surface is super low maintenance, stain resistant and dent resistant. The HPL construction means less edge chipping during installation, more moisture resistance during everyday use and higher impact resistance. Because of all of these coveted characteristics, Alloc’s Prestige Laminate gets an AC6 Rating for its abrasion resistance and an IC4 Rating for its impact resistance. Alloc is so confident in their Prestige collection that they offer it with a Lifetime Residential Warranty and a 12 Year Commercial Warranty.


Not only does the Alloc Prestige collection offer superior durability, but it also offers a multitude of sizes, styles (from wood styles to stone tiles to concrete) and surface textures. The 4 sided micro-bevel available on every Prestige Laminate product creates a realistic visual, very comparative to real hardwood flooring (or stone tile).


Installation of Prestige Laminate from Alloc is a breeze with their unique new locking system. The long edges of the Prestige planks feature the 4G aluminum locking system, offering a more flexible installation process. The ends are produced with Alloc’s new 5G side-push drop locking system, making installation of their laminate flooring faster and easier than ever. Also increasing install time is the attached Silent Sound underlayment. Armed with superior sound absorption properties, Prestige Laminate sounds more like a real hardwood floor when you walk across it than its thinner counterparts.

prestigeopenconceptAdditionally, while other laminate floors need to be broken up with an expansion gap and a transition piece (t-molding) when installed in larger spaces, Alloc Prestige can be installed up to 50 linear feet (2500 square feet) without the use of a transition piece. This means a more streamlined look for larger rooms or commercial showrooms.

Ultimately, whether you need a durable laminate floor for a home or for a commercial setting, Prestige Laminate from Alloc will prove over and over that it’s ready for the job. Take a look at Prestige styles here: Alloc Laminate Flooring.

You may also be interested in: All About Laminate Flooring

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