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Q: One visitor asked, "We are considering replacing carpet with a real wood plank floor in our family room. This room is on the first level of a 2 story house and is above grade. My concern is that even though we plan to use a hardwood, hickory to match our cabinets, wood still dents pretty easy. Would it be best to use solid 3/4 , or is the engineered as good on the hardness scale? Also, is hickory a good hardwood or, is something a lot better?"

A: The best engineered I have ever worked with is Mirage.
The solid wood surface is about as thick as the wear layer on a solid 3/4 board, which means it could be sanded as many times. Having said that, I don't believe that the product is any harder on it's surface just because it is engineered. If the elevation is good for solid wood and there are no other reasons to consider anything different, I would go with the solid 3/4 floor.
I have never had opportunity to sand a hickory floor. It is only recently that I have seen it appearing in my suppliers show room. My kitchen cabinets are hickory with a light stain, and if my timing was a bit better, I would have gotten the Hickory to match. I went with Birch instead, and I like the look but, and it has, as I expected, proven to be a little too soft for that room. I have to live with it now. Hickory is very hard though. Harder than Maple, I believe. I would just make sure when you get the product that it is not a low grade and that the milling is good, and that there are not many severely bent boards. Anything wider than 3" and up is hard to straighten. Harder is not always better. Maple is harder than oak. However, it shows marks much more severely than oak does since it has a very tight grain which shows all. The wide grain of oak tends to hide little scuffs, dings, etc. Each type of wood species has it's own characteristics, plus and minus, but this does not make one type better than another in all situations. Personal taste and your environment play a big part too.


Related questions about wood floor installation:
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Costs
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Types of Flooring
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>Should we buy the thicker engineered hardwood?
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Subfloor
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>Do I have to remove the old flooring in the kitchen for the transition to the rest of the house without having to put a subfloor under the rest of the house to bring it up to level with the kitchen floor or can I use some sort of transition strip?
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> I installed 3/4 OSB directly over a concrete slab, above grade, with a vapor barrier Rosen paper and Nailed down 3/4 Maple. What problems can I look forward to?
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Ripping out Old Floors & Salvaging
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Radiant Heat and Sound Proofing
>Can I install hardwood over radiant heat?
>We have some concern about noise/sound insulation. what is the best product to use? How should it be installed?
>I would like to have my floors redone so there will no more uneven floor and sound proof a little in the process. What do you suggest here?