Hardwood Flooring Comparisons, Tests, and Installations
Four (4) prefinished flooring products were compared, tested, and installed in our house. The 4 flooring products are shown below. All products have a 20 to 25 year warranty.
The 4 flooring products shown above are described, from left to right, below:1.Traffic Master, Oak, Glueless.
1/2" consisting of: 1/16" Oak, 3/8" Fiberboard, 1/16" Luan
2. EZ-Strip, Oak, Peel And Stick.
7/16" consisting of: 1/32" Oak, 13/32" Plywood
3. Bruce, Oak, Nail Edge.
3/8" consisting of: 1/16" Oak, 5/16" Plywood
4. Armstrong, Laminate, Glue Edge.
1/4" consisting of: Fiberboard with 1/64" Photo Laminate
A piece of each type of flooring was placed outside for over a month to allow them to be abused by the cold, heat, rain, sun, wind, birds, bugs, etc.. The weather resistance results are given below in order of most to least resistant to abuse:
1. Armstrong Laminate: Virtually no affect
2. Traffic Master Oak: Very little affect
3. EZ-Strip Oak: Finish cracking towards ends
4. Bruce Oak: Finish cracking throughout
Paint And Varnish Remover (methylene chloride also called dichloromethane) was applied to a piece of each type of flooring. The stripper had absolutely no affect on the Armstrong Laminate and Traffic Master Oak flooring. The stripper caused the finish to loosen at the ends of the EZ-Strip Oak flooring. The stripper actually removed the finish from the Bruce Oak flooring.
A photo of each installation follows:
Traffic Master Oak Glueless
EZ-Strip Oak Peel And Stick
Bruce Oak Nail Edge
Armstrong Laminate Glue Edge
Conclusion and Recommendations
I liked the Traffic Master Oak the most. It held up well to abuse and the layer of Oak can be sanded and refinished at least once and maybe twice. It is extremely easy to install and damaged sections can be replaced by simply removing trim and unfolding the panels.
I was very impressed with the EZ-Strip Oak. It held up well to abuse and can be sanded and refinished once. It is very easy to install but damaged sections will be difficult to replace.
Of the Oak floorings, I liked the Bruce the least. It was the most affected by abuse, the v-groove edges tend to splinter, and replacing damaged sections will require all removed panels to be replaced. It was not too difficult to install.
The Armstrong Laminate has excellent wear and weather resistance. However, I personally don't care for the fact that it is a photo laminate and it is a bit of a challenge to glue together properly.
Because the surfaces are slippery and are not bullet proof, I suggest laying rugs on high traffic areas for safety sake and to preserve the finish.