Anyone have any experience with 3/8" solid oak flooring? We're
thinking about using it for our formal dining room. I think the brand
is "Bruce" but I can't seem to find anything on the Web about it. Note
that this is 3/8" and not the typical 3/4". It's being sold as...
- Aluminum Oxide factory finish has 25 year warranty
- Same price as comparable 3/4" products
- Thinner material allows more installation options, including concrete
(not important to us)
- Thinner material allows for use next to other thin flooring like
vinyl and plastic laminate
The last item is the one that caught our eye. We planned for plastic
laminate and vinyl, and our staircases were built accordingly. Now we
found this 3/8" solid wood product, and we'd like to give it a try
since it will work in this space where we *WERE* planning on doing
plastic laminate. I like it a lot more than the other pre-finished
products I've seen, because this particular model we're looking at does
not have that annoying bevel that creates those dirt-catching grooves
that scream, "Hey, this is an engineered wood floor product!"
I'm mostly wondering about durability, and in general any other
performance differences between this stuff and traditional 3/4" solid
Any info is greatly appreciated.
Start at www.bruce.com and you can do a search on "3/8" engineered" and
find some info. The Bruce site isn't the most informative out there,
by far, though, unfortunately. :(
But, to your questions --
1. Bruce is well-respected name in flooring -- they make good stuff and
will be around
2. That said, this is a prefinished engineered product as you're aware.
The original finish is 25-yr residential and that is probably
reasonable expectation. Add dogs, kids w/ trikes/whatever, stuff goes
3. The key difference between 3/8" prefinished and 3/4" either
prefinished or finished in place is the thickness (well, doh! :) ).
Obvious, of course, but--the point is you can typically expect and
probably get a warranty to allow a full-thickness hardwood floor to be
sanded and refinished up to three times. W/ 3/8" I doubt you'll get
that for one although I didn't actually check the Bruce warranties.
IOW, you can rely on a 3/4" floor to probably be able to be refinished
and therefore last your remaining lifetime and probably that of your
grandkids and on...the 3/8" is likely going to last your time in the
current house, but may not make it past the kids.
What's unique about this product is that it's 3/8", pre-finished, real
wood, and engineered, but it's a *SOLID* product. It's not a laminated
product made of wood veneers. It's one solid piece of real oak--just
3/8" instead of the typical 3/4". I can't find any mention of this
product at the Bruce website. Perhaps it's not a Bruce product after
all. I'll double check with the flooring retailer.
But it's the solid feature that I'm curious about. I've never seen
solid wood flooring this thin before. According to the salesman, the
only issue is that it cannot be refinished as many times as 3/4" solid
wood flooring. Moreover, the salesman claims that a skilled
professional can realistically expect only one refinishing with an
engineered wood laminate product. It can be done, but only once. 3/4"
solid wood, on the other hand can be refinished numerous times, and
it's something DIY-ers can realistically do on their own if they're
handy. In the case of this unusual 3/8" solid product (again,
according to this salesman/installer), it is sort of a happy medium; it
still can not be refinished as much as a typical 3/4" solid product,
but one might get as many as 2 or 3 refinishings if the refinishing is
done very carefully by a skilled professional, and at least 1
refinishing is assured. ...again, this is according to the
As for the useful life, I don't need this stuff to last forever. It's
only going to be used in our formal dining room. And the cost is
hardly more than plastic laminate. So I don't care of the floor needs
to be replaced in 25 years. In fact, I don't care if we need to
replace it in 15 years. Plus, if the refinishing options are like he
claims, it could turn out to be a lifetime product for us, especially
since our formal dining room will be a low-traffic area.
I'll check with our retailer to get the exact name of the manufacturer
Bruce definitely has several and I don't doubt some others as well.
While it is solid, they do call it an "engineered" product...here's
link to one particular product, there are several others. As noted
before, a search of 3/8" led to it altho I wasn't able to find a
forward link from the main page -- as also noted, it's less than great
as a web site... :(
The other conclusions are about right although more than one
refinishing other than a hand-stripping and refinishing would be pretty
iffy, I'd say. But, one _can_ do a lot w/ careful handwork as opposed
to "typical" practice if one is willing to invest the time and/or
dollars to buy the time.
John.. We put in Bruce pre finished and it is a SNUG fit. None of those
groves. Easy to clean. In dining area we have chairs with with swivel
wheels of hard plastic. No problems. Our one son put in the type with the
groves. I don't care for that either W W
Thanks, WW! That's a great testimonial and very consistent with our
sales/installation guy. He said that, when installed, this stuff is
put down nice and tight with no spaces.
It almost seems too good to be true. (a) The product is nice and thin
and compatible with other thin flooring like vinyl. (b) It installs
nice and tight with no spaces or grooves, unlike most "engineered"
products. (c) It can be installed anywhere traditional hardwood can be
installed and more, like concrete. (d) It has a super tough 25-year
aluminum oxide factory finish. (e) It costs the same as a premium
plastic laminate. (f) Installation costs the same as plastic laminate.
I can't think of any cons except the limited number of refinishings,
which is not an issue for us.
Warren Weber wrote:
Installers leave a 1/4 inch space on all edges to allow for expansion to
prevent buckling. This is covered with trim that has a very small clearance
above flooring. One other thing. Maximun length allowed is 30 feet due to
expansion. Our living room is 30 feet so they installed it. W W
So it's a floating floor? I thought they glued the stuff down. Not
sure if I'm a fan of gluing down the flooring, but I liked the idea
that it might make the thinner product more stable and flat.
Warren Weber wrote:
I know they do but that's not quite what I meant.
Wide and thin solid wood planks are prone to cupping. The thinner and wider
they are the more likely this is to occur....
I'm installing an oak floor in my own house right now. We have UFH and to
minimise the risk of cupping we are going for 21mm thick engineered oak.
This is 6-7mm of oak on 14mm thick plywood. Works out more expensive than
solid oak but much more stable and it lasts as long. You can re-sand it
until the tounge fails just like solid oak T7G board.
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