What is the best kind of flooring?

Steller Floors only makes solid hardwood floors.

When we started Steller Floors, we thought carefully about the types of products we wanted to make. We asked ourselves: if we are going to make floors, how can we make them the best floors on Earth?

Naturally, we examined all different kinds of materials including plastics, engineered flooring, reclaimed lumber, tropical lumber, and North American solid hardwoods. Ultimately, we decided that solid hardwood floors sourced in North America were in fact, the best materials we could use.

If you have been doing research in flooring recently, this choice might surprise you. Many, MANY retailers, flooring blogs and contractor videos might lead you to believe that engineered floors are actually the best flooring. Unfortunately, like so many processed foods, artificial ingredients in flooring don’t make a better or healthier product.

The basics: Solid versus engineered floors

Solid hardwood floors are created from lumber that comes straight from the tree with minimal processing. Once the wood is harvested and milled, it is dried in a kiln to increase water resistance and improve the lifetime value of the material.

Engineered floors are comprised of many different layers of materials glued together often in opposing grain patterns. While both solid wood and engineered floors are made from wood, engineered floors are made of of glued layers of plywood, which is often a softwood like pine. Sometimes, additional additives are included, like limestone dust.

What is a wood floor’s lifespan?

Without a doubt, solid hardwood floors live longer than engineered floors simply due to the thickness of the wear layer. In engineered floors, you may be able to refinish the floor once. In traditional solid wood floors you can refinish the floor many times over its lifetime.

With proper care, solid hardwood floors live for 100 years or more, and Steller hardwood floors can live much longer. That’s thanks to our solid wood base and easy-to repair installation system that doesn’t use nails or glue.

Why does flooring plank composition matter?

Many big-box and flooring retailers tell you that it doesn’t matter what your floor is made of, as long as the surface looks the way you want it to. We couldn’t disagree more.

Delamination and other threats

Engineered floors are cheaper than solid hardwoods, not better. Due to their multiple layers of variable materials, they are prone to many different kinds of defects (learn more) which lead the surface of the plank to peel off due to scuffing and wear. When this problem arises, often the only choice is to completely replace the plank. A cheap floor can have a very expensive repair and replacement process!

Despite what retailers might tell you, all flooring made of wood (including solid AND engineered wood) is vulnerable to changes in humidity or liquid water damage. In engineered types of flooring, opposing grain patterns expand and contract against the power of the glues. This process can cause the planks to tear themselves apart over time. The more humidity or moisture conditions swing, the less likely the floor is to survive.

On the other hand, solid wood in traditional settings can not peel apart because it is already completely solid. That said, just like engineered flooring, solid wood can change its size and shape due to moisture or humidity conditions. Moreover, cheap traditional solid hardwoods can be even more vulnerable to moisture due to the abundance of knots and irregular grain patterns.

The Steller Advantage

To ensure the stability of our solid wood materials, at Steller we take several steps to prepare the wood. First, we choose only the highest quality planks with few knots or irregular grain patterns. Then, our craftspeople joint our planks to create a very flat flooring surface. Finally we seal the planks on all sides so that they resist changes due to moisture.

Is cheaper flooring better? Nope.

All flooring varieties carry some risk of wear and tear or changes due to moisture or temperature. So, the key to a long-lived floor is to find a variety that is easy and low-cost to refresh, repair or renovate. At Steller Floors our patented technology means that our floors are both built to last a lifetime, and are prepared to change in an instant if a disaster occurs. While the cost of our precision-milled planks is initially higher than big-box varieties, the economic advantage comes over the 100 years you’ll love your floor!

Ready to dive in? Check out our Sample Page!