Latest Discussions : Flooring & Stairs


01:26PM | 10/11/02
Member Since: 10/10/02
6 lifetime posts
Simple question really. My fiance and I are building a house and really like the light color and not so outspoken grain of maple compared to oak. What is the cost difference between the tow in the form of real hardwood (not pergo-esque)? Looking at about 1500 sq. ft of hardwood flooring.

Thanks in advance,



11:43AM | 10/23/02
Member Since: 10/15/02
359 lifetime posts
that all depends on the type of flooring you plan to install. Prefinished, unfinished, wide boards, planks, etc. best bet is to shop around the various stores that sell hardwood flooring and compare the costs of both. The difference may be very little depending on where you go. I just purchased 400' of Rosewood flooring prefinished and was able to get it at a very low price compared to other hardwoods. You can find decent Maple for around $5.50 a SF prefinished if you shop around, which is about the same price as some brands of prefinished Oak.


05:50PM | 10/28/02
Member Since: 11/14/00
333 lifetime posts
There is no substitute for going out and pricing flooring yourself to get a better sense of knowing what you get for the price.

However, I agree with you that Maple looks better and went through the same comparison, myself.

Oak will generally be less expensive, especially if you are willing to go with a lower grade of oak, which means a grade with more "imperfections:" knots and a wild grain. Often those imperfections only make the floor look more interesting, in my eyes, though.

Oak is stronger than Maple (dents less), and thus is the more common flooring material. Because Oak is more popular, economies of scale make it less expensive: they sell more and thus can charge less. Moreover, building supply companies (e.g., Home Depot and ***** (odd, they edited that out; that was L-O-W-E-s)) will generally only stock one kind of cheap wood flooring, so they go with Oak. Because the retail demand is higher, the market price for cheap Oak is less than the market price for cheap Maple.

Some might also add that because Oak is stronger, cheap Oak is suitable for flooring whereas cheap Maple would not be; Maple needs to be of higher grade to be suitable for flooring. That is a more debatable point, though.

Off the top of my head, I seem to recall that common, unfinished Oak starts at around $2 a square foot at Home Depot, whereas Maple will start at least around $7-$10 a square foot: a huge difference once you multiply it out. However, the Maple at $7 is comparable to Oak at $5-$6, not to the $2 variety.

That said, there are Oak flooring products that are as expensive if not more expensive than Maple because of the quality of the Oak they use in the flooring, the quality of the sanding/construction process, the quality of the pre-finish, and sometimes the mere fact that some people are willing to pay more for Oak than Maple.

You can also get engineered Maple flooring starting for $4 a square foot from Universal Flooring. Home Depot used to carry it, but some stores do not carry the Maple. Engineered flooring is essentially plywood: a nice surface layer with cheap wood bottom layers. Engineered wood can be better than solid wood flooring if made with good glue and good construction methods because it will warp less. It also maximizes the economies by using good wood only on the top layer down to the slats, below which the floor would fail, anyway if you sanded it down that far. Thus, there is no need to waste top-quality, expensive wood on the bottom of the slats.

The downside to the Universal Engineered Flooring is that it comes in tiles that are three planks wide. When laid down and installed, you can almost always tell that the seams are every three slats, not every slat. It thus looks cheap, like Pergo. That is why I decided against it. If that would bother you too, but you want to consider Engineered Maple to take advantage of the economics of it, look for one that comes in individual slats, not tiles of slats.

[This message has been edited by Lawrence (edited October 28, 2002).]

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