Wood flooring for arid environment?


I live in New Mexico where it is extremely dry (unless it is flash-flooding).
I was thinking of replacing carpet with hardwood, but a guy at the local Lowes said it's not suitable for arid environments. So he's just a Lowes lackey, right? Except he started pointing out that all the hardwood planks on display were cracked. And the more I looked, the more cracking I found! According to him the cracking (I think he he called it checking?) is an absolute certainty in this environment, except maybe the thick solid planks (that aren't suitable for my concrete slab foundation - no subfloor).
On top of the cracking problem, people I talk to consistently say wood is not good for high-traffic areas, which is most everywhere in my relatively small home with 4 kids. There are almost constant wet spills, dragging around chairs and tables, gritty sand tracked into the house, etc.
I'm almost convinced that laminate flooring (Pergo) is the better choice, but the style I like is almost $3.50/sq ft., similar to a fairly wide variety of engineered hardwoods. I may be moving soon so resale value counts. And some say wet spills destroy Pergo, too.
I seem to have talked myself out of every option.
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Couple of questions first...where in NM? What flooring materials/ types were you looking at that were checked?
First question--it's not _that_ much drier in much of NM than here in SW KS and wood floors are no problem here. I suspect if you look around at houses in the area where you live there are wood floors there that aren't severely checked.
Solid wood flooring in oak will survive the kids and can be refinished multiple times for longevity whereas the laminates are pretty much done once the surface layer is damaged. If it's only a short time before intending to sell, then anything will probably hold up long enough and most buyers aren't discerning enough to see past the present appearance. If you're really talking of selling soon, I'd consult the real estate ads and see visit some properties for sale and see what seems to be the hot-ticket item(s) now.
I'm not convinced (yet) of the long-term nature of the engineereds and laminates -- they just haven't been around long enough yet. Solid wood, otoh, has been installed and continues to be used continuously w/ a refinishing or two (or theree) for over a hundred years in older houses.
Of course, in NM there's a lot of tile, too...
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At the risk of this being duplicated eventually...
I'd suggest looking at what is popular in new houses of the same or similar price range if you're talking of selling soon. Virtually anything will last for a short time and if you're selling, very few potential buyers are discerning enough to look beyond the current appearance.
As for wood in NM, I'd ask _where_ in NM? Much of NM isn't that much drier than here in SW KS and wood flooring is fine here. The key is in acclimation before installation. As for installation, wood can go over concrete on grade w/ the proper subflooring. It shouldn't go below grade. I'm not that sold on the laminated or engineered products yet as far as the longevity goes, but it is improving. The problem w/ most (if not all) is that once the surface layer is damaged, it's toast. Solid wood, otoh, can be refinished several times. Some of the newer engineered products or thinner wood products claim at least one refinishing possible. But again, if you're selling soon, that's hardly a concern, so I'd go back to the "what sells" as probably the key decision in your case.
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On Mon, 23 Apr 2007 21:43:36 -0600, timeOday

Do you have a real lumber yard around? they can probably solve the cracked plank problem. As for wear, that's just a matter of how often you have to re-apply poly. Although if you've got a live-in granmother who's only mission in life is to sweep, that helps, too.
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Goedjn wrote:

Do you mean by replacing planks when they crack?
Thanks
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