Elegance Hardwood vs Max Windsor vs Urban Floor

arazaviDecember 29, 2009


I am getting ready to buy some engineered hardwood for my home in So Cal. After going to several stores that sell various brands, I ended up liking the price point / look of Elegance Hardwood, UrbanFloor, and Max Windsor. After looking at the websites of the three manufacturers, I have found the manufacturing specifications of the flooring to be mostly the same. Any help on selecting a price conscious, good quality engineered hardwood would be appreciated.

Max Windsor

9 ply (birch)

10 coats of aluminum oxide finish uv cured

9/16 thickness

3.0mm wear layer

American Maple wood

Hand-scraped Look


7 ply

7 coats of aluminum oxide uv cured (sanding between applications)

9/16 thickness

3.0mm wear layer

American Maple Wood

Hand-scraped Look


7 ply (cross-grain)

7 coats of UV cured aluminum oxide finish and varnish

9/16 thickness

3.2mm wear layer (more than the rest)

American Maple Wood

Hand-scraped Look

I have put marble in all of my wet rooms, and am planning on putting hardwood everywhere else up to the hallways to the bedrooms. The bedrooms will be carpet.

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bump. Looks like its dead in here. . .

    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 6:19PM
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while I saw the question most flooring will do just fine. The things that ruin floors are generally consumer caused. Improper cleaning, maintenace, scratching etc etc. Your the one living on the floor so there is no easy way to compare and basing a buying decision on 'specs' doesn't really guarantee much. When I was a rep Armstrong seldom if ever even published specs.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 6:50PM
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Hi Boxers,

Thank you for the response. That is the general feeling I get, however, when asking the various store representatives why they would prefer one over another, it seemed to come down to choice. That is why I dug deeper into the specs, hoping that analyzing them might give one flooring an edge over another.

I appreciate your input.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 9:11PM
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dealer input is important. Retailers tend not to sell products that installer hate to work with or have had complaints about. However the other side of the coin is some retailers will slam or refuse to sell brands that a box store sells. They may tell you its because they had problems with it but more likely they can't make the mark up they'd like so they choose smaller companies or private label products to avoid shopping. I'd say go with the one you like as they do sound similar.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 1:11AM
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The number of UV coats, thickness (if you're putting it on concrete), ply-count, etc. don't matter all that much. Finish coats can be thick or thin, and multi-ply stability depends on much more than the number of plies.

Flooring value is also connected to attributes you don't include above, such as warranty. I think the biggest sacrifice in the above selection is that all of the products come from small Chinese importers. (Anyone remember the melamine in pet food or lead paint in toys?) If you have a problem with the floor in 3-4 years, good luck! Armstrong was mentioned above--they have similar products (Century Farm) at a little higher price for much more peace of mind!

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 7:07AM
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I have some input to add myself. My uncle was the purchasing manager for Shaw Wood floors for quite some time until he left recently, and put me in touch with one of the manufacturers of engineered wood flooring that Shaw had purchased from, who is also local to me (SoCal). I went there today and spoke with the owner's son who was very helpful. Based on his knowledge on wood floors in general, and of his competitors, I am inclined to listen to him.

Max Windsor: a relatively new player in the game, started by a Chinese agriculture business mogul, and has had many claims since its inception due to their relatively new footprint in the marketplace (although they do employ some industry vets). Good idea to stay away as they are still in the development stage. I was being pushed by many of the local flooring stores into this brand, and even got some scary low prices, which I think confirm their inability to compete at this time with other manufacturers.

Elegance: Awful quality wood is used in the engineered core.

Urban Floor: Relatively new to the game, but good quality engineered core, which is probably the most important thing in engineered wood flooring. Their product is actually pretty good for the price point.

Garrison: nothing very special, middle men who charge more for products available for a lesser price elsewhere. Due to this factor, he suggested I look elsewhere.

The product they manufactured themselves was from a 11 ply birch core, and they even manufactured the birch which they used in the core, and use a proven German adhesive to hold the plys together, and all plys are of the same density. The glue is very resistant to water and holds together extremely well based on us submerging a piece of their flooring into a tub of water.

I am going back there over the weekend, but thought I would share the highlights from today's conversation about the few companies I had questions about.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 11:50PM
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When I was with Armstrong the technical people always told us that the ply material was determined by the stability of the species and wasn't all that important. Its sort of like the carpeting people talking about the backing, when very few claims are based on 'plys' or the carpet backing. Home tests such as submerging in a tub of water accomplish what? It may be good info but what does that show?

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 1:38AM
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That showed me some sup par adhesive technology used in the wood, as within 30 minutes of being submerged and taking it out, the plys were coming off. If you don't think that is an indicator, I can't argue with your experience. It tells me, the consumer, something for sure.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 2:23PM
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I responded merely to indicate the absurdity of advice. Breaking the corner of a laminate would show what? If you had that substantial amount of water you would have an insurance claim no matter what the product. You can do the 'key' test, hammer test, submerge in water test or whatever, but if you are basing a buying decision on the one that you can submerge the longest, what does that tell the consumer in the real world? Maybe the one that stays together the best has the worst finish or bad finishing. Please don't think I'm being sarcastic. I'm merely pointing out that traditional industry testing procedures are perhaps a better indicator than a random 'consumer' test that may or may not hold value in a true world situation.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 2:44PM
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I agree with you that some of these tests are abosloutely worthless in providing me with much information on buying the floor. But to be clear, he only showed me this test to make a point that they engineered their core with quality materials, not sub-par suff other manufacturers might be using at the lower and even mid price points.

I am basing my buying on the knowledge this individual has on wood flooring, installation procedures, and competitors in the marketplace. So far, this aspect along with the look of of the flooring has really gotten my attention.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 12:06AM
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I am lookin at the charlotte hickory. Does anyone know the scratch value of these floors. They are darker, are we going to have a tough time with that?

Here is a link that might be useful: fairytale baby boutique

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 6:56PM
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They are all Chinese products, most flooring is made in contract manufacturing facilities, even the big name companies. The "patriarc"/owner of Urban Floor has stock in a Chinese factory in Dalian China, also shops around like every body else does., And buys defects and 2nds from another Los Angeles flooring importer from China And re boxes it Urban Floor cartons and sells it as new flooring. 20 0/0 of flooring is made in U.S., S.America and Europe, most of the rest from China. Let the buyer beware. A Fair portion of the birch substrate of Chinese flooring is actually Russian birch, logged illegally by Chinese and smuggled across the long, porous border between Russia and China. It's an international flooring soap opera out there.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 12:07AM
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