Prefinished Utility Grade Oak?

olivesmomJune 27, 2013

I am thinking of having our floors replaced with Build Direct's prefinished utility grade white oak hardwood flooring. I like the looks of it and the price is only $1.99 a sq ft.

I ordered a sample and it looks good to me, it did scratch when I ran a key along it, but I don't plan on dragging jagged pieces of metal across my floor so I'm hoping it's not an issue.

I would prefer site-finished white oak with an oil finish, but that's not in the budget right now. We have about 1,000 sq feet to cover and I'd like to keep this project under $5,000, and even lower would be better. Due to my budget, other, nicer types of flooring are out but I figure hardwood is preferable to laminate.

Do you foresee any issues using prefinished utiltiy grade flooring? (I do want the rustic look). My one concern is that the sales rep mentioned that there may be wormholes and knots that need to be filled. How would that work with prefinished flooring?

Here is a link that might be useful: Prefinished utility grade oak

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Technically the grade rules for #3 or Utility is a serviceable floor, meaning you don't fall thru it. It can and will have worm holes as well as missing knots up to 1"- 1 1/4", wane (missing or bark edges) etc. A sample piece may not show all of that and prefinished would mean whatever filler you use being a different color and you may very well have issues trying to match or even make it look anything close to even.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 9:10AM
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Sophie Wheeler

5K for a whole home's floors is only realistic if you DIY the whole job's labor yourself. Even then, that budget will be perilously tight when you consider the needed accessories and install materials have to be added into that "square foot price" of the basic material itself.

For the floor under consideration, the cull rate will be much higher. You'll have a big pile of rejects. Rather than buying 10% overage, plan on 15% or even 20%. That brings the price per actual square foot laid up to the price of a better grade floor. And the labor rate won't be any different to install crap vs. installing something nicer. Also, you're not figuring in the transition strips, splines, quarter round, glue, and the labor to undercut all of your doors and moldings. and moving all of your furniture out or into other rooms for the job. All of those accessories and accessory services add up to just as much as the square foot cost of the flooring plus the standard install fee.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 10:03AM
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Holly: The $5,000 budget is just for the downstairs of our home which is currently laminate. I should only need two transition strips and two threshold strips. We are already replacing the doors and baseboards.

Is is really crap? It is true that I'm looking for a lower priced floor, but as I mentioned I like more of a rustic look. However, I do not want to stub my toe in a knot or anything.

Even if I buy 20-30% for overage, it still is cheaper than most other hardwood flooring. I have not gotten a quote on installing this specific flooring, but it seems like $1.95 a sq ft is what I would end up paying.

I do not think it is worth spending a lot of money in flooring for this home. My other alternatives would be laminate or maybe some cheap engineered flooring, but I'm concerned that they will not hold up and they cannot be refinished like solid hardwood can.

With my budget $5,000 for 1,000 sq feet, what type of flooring would you recommend?

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 5:22PM
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What about comparing prices for unfinished but higher grade? You can do the sanding and finishing (rent equipment). I have seen floors done with the utility grade that turned out beautiful, however I have no idea how much more trouble installing it was. Finishing wood floors is not particularly difficult but is very tedious.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 9:05PM
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Does somebody know what is the lifespan of engineered white oak flooring?
What are the oak flooring advantages?

Thanks in advance !!


    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 11:51AM
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Engineered wood flooring is only as good as the quality and technology that went into its manufacture; you usually get what you pay for.

Domestic red and white oak makes for attractive and durable flooring. The grain pattern, regardless of sawing that is done, is usually what people think about when talking about anything made of wood. It has the advantage of not being too fine grained or too wild grained.

There is no way to predict the life span of a particular engineered wood construction, although, that said, I have seen engineered wood flooring that self-destructed in as little as several months to engineered wood that has lasted 40 years and is still in service. It goes to the quality of the product to begin with, the level of service it gets and the maintenance schedule (cleaning and stuff).

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 3:29PM
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If you don't mind sorting out boards with poor milling, holes or possible finish issues, I don't see why it wouldn't make a serviceable floor. If you have closets you can use uglier pieces there. If there are bad knot holes you can cut them out and use the remainder to start or end a row.
As someone noted, it would be good to get a higher waste percentage. If you buy 1150' at $2.00 that's $2300.00 plus shipping cost. You can buy a table saw, chop saw, undercut saw, chalk line, straight edge, nailer, compressor and vapor barrier and still be under $5000.00. After you lay the floor you'll still have the tools.
The low grade floor is likely to have lots of short pieces since it's often what's left after the better grades have been taken out and sold at a higher price.
I assume your subfloor is wood so you don't need to add/purchase subfloor. If not, you'd probably be better off going a different route.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 5:30PM
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Thank you for your opinions guys :)
I'm doing some research right now and i'm trying to figure out which is the most cost effective way for me, and your answers really helped.
In my research i've stumbled on this vague description and comparison on different types of oak flooring. [you can find the link bellow]

Thanks again!

Best regards,

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 6:05PM
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Jeffrey ... You can fill the open holes and cracks with the clear "bar top" resin finish. But you need to have 15-20% "overage".

I seriously considered that wood, but I need to span the joists so I needed longer pieces.

After you are done, you might be able to use the leftovers as character wood for furniture. Keep some for repairs in case something horrid happen, too.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 11:58AM
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