An interview with David Gilbert of Sunshine
What is the most durable type of wood flooring to use?
In my experience, I’ve found wood flooring with an oil finish to be the most durable. This can be purchased pre-finished, or it can be installed, sanded, and then finished on site. The main thing is that an oil finish is used, not polyurethane. Oil doesn’t just sit on top of the wood – it actually seeps down inside it, which makes it more durable.
The most common variety of wood flooring is oak, but an oil finish can be applied to any type of wood.
Aside from finish, what can you tell us about the natural durability of different types of wood?
Brazilian cherry is a naturally hard wood that is quite popular in flooring. Oak is mid-level in hardness. Fir and pine are considered softer woods but are still decent flooring choices.
What if someone has kids or pets?
They will definitely want to use an oil finish on whatever variety of wood they choose. The Copenhagen Airport in Denmark has solid wood floors with an oil finish. They never sand them. They just keep applying oil. This hides all the scuffs scratches, which is amazing since it is such a high-traffic area!
What solutions does Sunshine offer for wood flooring?
I usually recommend my customers go with pre-finished oiled wood flooring – this avoids the extra time and mess that results from sanding and oiling the flooring on-site. I work with pre-finished flooring products that come from a local provider. We have access to their showroom and can arrange private showings for our clients.
Is this economical?
Yes, based on cost per square foot. The price currently ranges from $6/square foot on the low end to $12/square foot for premium products.
Why should anyone pay more for a higher grade of wood? Is there any advantage beyond cosmetics?
If you want a wood floor with less “character” or flaws, a higher grade of wood is the answer. “Select” grades of wood are usually cut from the center of the tree. This means that they are free from any knots or defects that could compromise the integrity of the grain. However, other people don’t care about naturally occurring flaws in their wood floors. It really comes down to choosing a floor that suits your style and then using a finish that will keep it looking good for years to come.
David Gilbert is the owner of the Wood Flooring division at Sunshine. To schedule a free estimate, call him today at (415) 457-4363.