Selection Criteria

Recognizing Quality

Milford Hardwood Floors Inc.It would be easy to believe that all hardwood floors are the same. There are so many brands and manufacturers of flooring on the market, and all promise quality.  But if you learn what really constitutes quality, you’ll know what you’re looking at and you’ll see that only a few brands remain. Dare to compare…
Lay down a few boards and assemble them. The tongues and grooves should fit perfectly and easily together. Check the floor yourself for uniformity by running your hand over the surface to make sure it’s even, indicating a precise cut. Irregular spacing between the boards leaves room for dirt and grime.


The quality and durability of a finish is not determined by the number of coats, but rather by the quality of the material and the application procedure used. Applying a protective coat in factory and drying it under ultraviolet light is a popular method that has proven its worth. There are ways to tell whether a product has a good factory finish. For example, the stain should reach to the bottom of the joint to ensure a uniform color. Finish should also be applied in the joints so they don’t absorb dirt and water, which would quickly darken. Make sure the color is consistent from one box to another. Lighter woods are more likely to change color or turn yellow from the effect of intense light or the sun’s rays. To reduce and slow discoloration, some manufacturers mix a UV treatment directly into their finish. An antimicrobial agent can also be added to the finish. This treatment provides a more hygienic environment and a floor that is easier to clean.


Know how to recognize unusual imperfections. It’s normal and even pleasant to see some healthy knots and mineral marks in the wood. These characteristics don’t affect the quality of the floor, and actually make it look more real. However, some manufacturers let a percentage of manufacturing or finishing defects slip through, reducing the quality of the final product.

“V” Joints

Once assembled, prefinished hardwood floor boards form a “V” joint. The V joint should be as small and as uniform as possible to hide imperfections in the subfloor. This will also prevent premature wear on board edges and make it easier to move furniture without damaging the wood or the finish. If the joint is too deep, dirt and dust will accumulate and your floor will be harder to maintain.


Varnishes applied after installation are much less wear resistant than factory finishes, and only the application is guaranteed. Prefinished floors, on the other hand, are finished with multiple coatings applied in ideal conditions and dried under ultraviolet light, and are generally guaranteed for 15, 25, or 30 years. These finishes are exceptionally durable. If you follow the maintenance procedures, they will last far beyond the warranty.

An Old-fashioned Look

Some manufacturers use a variable staining process to recreate the authentic look of our old-fashioned floors. They use a coloring technique that simulates wear on wide planks featuring large knots without affecting quality. These floors go perfectly with either an antique or modern look.

Make your choice!

Wood flooring comes in a wide range of colors, species, and designs. It’s all a matter of taste, but a wood floor is for life. That’s why it’s so important to choose carefully. Talk to a number of experts for advice on the type of flooring that’s best for you.


A stained floor gives a unique feel to each room. But be sure to select stains that will match different decors, since your wood floor will outlast any trend in home fashion. With prefinished hardwood floors, you can choose to install different colored boards to frame a room or accent a particular feature of your decor in a contrasting color.


There are three main glosses on the market:
High gloss: A very bright, smooth finish that tends to highlight scratches or marks of any kind and makes dirt and dust more visible.
Semi-gloss: This medium-bright finish is the standard for prefinished hardwood floors.
Low gloss: More and more popular, low gloss finish minimizes the appearance of scratches and marks. It stays looking new longer than glossy finishes.


Each species of wood has its own grain, color, and veining. Your choice of species depends on your personal preferences and the effect you want to achieve. The most popular species are oak and maple, followed by birch, ash, beech, cherry, and walnut. Exotic, deluxe woods are also available, such as Brazilian cherry, mahogany, sapele and tigerwood, which are very warm in color and extremely hard. For home use, the hardness factor is not really a serious issue. It is also important not to choose a species from pictures — ask to see a sample.


Grading is a means of rating boards according to variations in the wood’s natural color. For example, “select & better” grade woods are more uniform in color than “exclusive” or “traditional” grade, which presents greater, more pronounced natural color variation. To understand the grading system, compare two samples of the same species with different grades. Also ask to compare a number of boards from the same box to check the grading and manufacturing. For some manufacturers, products graded in the third category are not guaranteed and may have manufacturing and finishing defects.


Your wood flooring should ideally be installed in opposite direction of your subfloor joists. But you should also consider the shape and size of the room. For example, installing the boards lengthwise may make a long room look even longer, and it may be more flattering to lay the boards diagonally. If you like an original look but still have more traditional tastes, try a “herringbone” design.


Boards are generally available in standard widths of 2-1/4", 2-1/2", and 3-1/4". Wider widths are becoming more and more popular, some up to 5" in width. Your choice will depend on the effect you want to create. Narrower boards make a room look longer, while wider boards make it appear shorter. Remember, however, that a tight grained wood like maple expands more with humidity, which may make narrower boards preferable for some uses.


Installing a hardwood floor usually requires much more than just prefinished hardwood boards. You’ll surely need edgings, stair nosings, and moldings to join with the walls. Make sure you can get these basic accessories in the same stain and gloss as your flooring. Ask retailers if they have all the accessories needed for the complete installation of a prefinished hardwood floor.

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