Home Flooring Best Ideas
With reclaimed material waste factor is a huge variable. How much effort does the manufacturer take to give you a 100% usable product? Poorly milled with very little defecting and culling done on a solid wood floor that costs $6/sf and has a 15% waste factor actually costs more than a similar product that is milled better costing $7/sf with a 2% waste factor. That extra wastes costs more in shipping and labor to defect. This is one of the hardest things to demonstrate to a customer that the face value costs doesnt necessarily represent the actual raw material cost unless one is truly comparing identical quality and specified products.
Did you see a picture that you like and now you have the bug that you want that special floor? The good news is that it could probably be made for you, but before you go a long ways down the path of choosing which floor you want and requesting a display room full of samples, ask about some price ranges. There is a common misconception that since reclaimed wood is supposedly salvaged it should be cheaper than virgin wood floors. If you are buying a quality kiln dried and precision milled product, generally that is not the case. The only cost savings would be if you found some scraps or did some salvage work yourself, you might save some costs. For example you might find a gym floor or planks out of a barn hay loft that you want to nail down on your floor. The material might have been next to free, but how much time are you going to have in making it usable and pulling nails? Are the results what you want?
Factor in the cost of refinishing the floor later or doing touchups. This is a whole another article. Some finishes can be spot touched up like some of the oils while others require a full sand over the whole floor. Some finishes require a professional installer and may have extreme odor during the cure. If you live with the floor for very long, factor these decisions in for the type of finish to choose for lifetime durability and the cost & effort to refinish.
Here is a word on prefinished product if they factor into your decision. If you come up short on your order, the next lot that you buy may not match your previous batch. This is especially a problem on the lower end price floors and import floors. Good luck trying to blend it in with your previous floor. So if you go this route, be extra accurate on your measurements. Right now the rage is lifetime warranties on flooring. We stop to think is that really even possible? First will that importer or manufacturer really be around a lifetime? A lot of products are made oversees; the warranty is only good if there is somebody still around for the life of the warranty. Are you going to be able to enforce the warranty? Also, do you really think that a finish can last a lifetime? For example take a nail and try scraping it across the surface. Sure it is a durable, well applied finish, but it is impossible to make a product that wont get abused at some point in its lifetime. Do you think that the only serious trial your floor will ever see is a stinky sock? Read the fine print on the warranty and regardless of what it says consider the true replacement cost on the floor. It probably only covers the cost of material of the specific damaged product under normal wear and tear. Your product may not be made exactly the same later (trends and product lines change) to replace the section that is warrantied, so you may have to replace the whole floor years later. You will have labor cost along with displacement of trim, cabinets, and appliances. Also most of these lifetime finishes cannot be repaired or sanded because of a micro bevel put on the edge of prefinished floor. Our advice is instead to buy a quality product that can be refinished and repaired because something will go wrong in the lifetime of the floor; dont get a false sense of security.
Compare the cost of a character grade virgin floor to reclaimed. The reclaimed may cost more up front, but the additional variability, texture and character in it may hide or mask the abuse better. It could therefore last longer because of the forgiving nature in the inherent look of the reclaimed material. What is resale value to having a unique product installed? You may alienate some buyers by taking a risk or impress others with the customization.
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