Opinions on Bruce Pre-Finished Hardwoods and alternatives.

giantcrazyMay 31, 2012

My seemingly neverending home remodeling is nearing completion, but one major obstacle remains: the floors.

My contractor told me that Bruce, available at Home Depot, was his preferred option, having worked with it before, etc. I saw some samples, they look nice, but I'm not overly impressed. The problem I have - I don't know of any other pre-finished brands to compare to.

Our first floor was site finished oak, and while I like the floor, it did not hold up very well to the rigors of my household (complete with 3 children) at all, so I wanted to go with pre-finished in the hopes a harder finish would be somewhat more durable.

My question boils down to two parts - what is the general opinion of Bruce Hardwoods (specifically, their oak products) and who would you consider their competitors to be? What's your take on the 'best' (most durable and attractive) pre-finished hardwood oak floor?

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I was the district mgr for Bruce so I may be jaded. Prefinished is almost always an aluminum oxide finish so I'm not sure it makes a huge difference what brand it is. Bruce invented prefinished flooring so they have a lot of experience. Most is made in America but some lines are imported. The advantages of factory finished is its easily recoated no need to resand so it will hold up quite well. Most factory finished will out perform site finished but it will show scratches. Pick a grain with some character so it will hide any boo boos.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 11:51PM
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Thanks Dan! I especially appreciate the disclosure.

I have to admit to sheer ignorance when it comes to pre-finished hardwood, I don't know how the manufacturers differentiate from one another or even how the product lines differ.

I know Bruce is carried at Home Depot, but with a lot of other things (say, plumbing), the big-box stores get a dumbed down or cheapened version of what you'd get at a supply store. Am I better off going to another distributor, would they have other, better lines from Bruce? Also - who would you say is Bruce's main competitor, just for comparison purposes.

Thanks again for the help.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 11:50AM
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giantcrazy- I am also looking at pre-finished hardwood. I have looked at Bruce/Armstrong and Shaw. At one floor store I was quoted $4.00 a sq. ft for Armstrong Somerset Plank. At another I was quoted $5.60 sq. ft. for Shaw Family Reunion 3.25 in.

Both look about the same so I don't know which has a better finish. The Shaw salesperson says Shaw is better (they also sell Bruce/Armstrong)- better top coat finish and made in the USA. She also told me Bruce/Armstrong would cost more. Which it did not at the other store.

Would love it if Dan or another expert would weigh in!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 10:10PM
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