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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.
Compare overall thickness and the height from the top of the tongue or nail groove to the top of the face on the floor. On an engineered floor this is generally the thickness of a wear layer. Most solid wood floors are 3/4" overall before sanding (but some are less) with 1/4" above the nail groove. Our engineered floor is manufactured to equivalent measurements but most engineered floors have a thinner wear layer. This comes down to how many times the floor can be sanded. What kind of finish and texture you want on the floor factors into how deep you will re-sand the floor during refinishing. A number of our reclaimed wood floors are sold with an original texture that shows the old saw marks and character in the floor, so most likely you wont want to sand this out. As a rule of thumb, the thicker the wear layer then the longer the floor will last.
We personally do not care for prefinished flooring due to installation problems associated with it, so our product requires site applied finish. This means that your floor finish if site applied will be easier to sand and refinish than a prefinished floor. Also you do not have to deal with that micro bevel groove between each board that tends to fill up with dust and crumbs. Most prefinished hardwood floors really cant be refinished easily. To sand it off means that the wear layer has to be thicker than the height of the nails and have room to sand off the micro bevel between boards; that amounts to a lot of sanding. You also will not be able to spot sand or touch up parts of the floor.
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.
In a reclaimed product the engineered flooring really shines. Since the nature of reclaimed material is rustic with splits, various height, warps and so forth by doing an engineered product we can eliminate those issues. We match the texture and color that you want in the floor but you dont have to put up with the inherent problems that come with installing and living with a reclaimed wood floor. A number of solid wood reclaimed floors have warped and twisted boards, gaps between rows, height difference between rows, holes, and other "nostalgia and romance" that may become unwelcome after living with the floor for a while. Due to our precise sanding during the lamination process for the engineered product and after, pieces are more consistent in height, more uniform in texture, fit together tighter, no waste, holes and cracks already filled, and no sanding necessary after install unless you want to do a light screen or buff.
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