Especially at this price point, I really don't think that this flooring can be beat. I've investigated most every pre-finished maple flooring out there and I have to say the appearance of the Bruce natural maple is top-notch:
- Minimal beveling at edges appearing more like the natural wearing of flooring that has been long-installed rather than the "click & lock" look of standard pre-finished planking.
- Solid maple that can be re-finished if necessary.
- I don't know how well the finish will wear but it is a lustrous, satiny gloss out of the box that looks rich and not plastic-y unlike many, many of even the high-end products out there.
- There were a few pieces with uneven finish coating and/or defects in the tongue and groove that needed to be picked out but if you lay out and rack your rows of planks as is suggested in advance of nailing, they should be easy to spot. Overall, I'd say less than 3% of the total pieces were undesirable.
- The fit to most of the planks wound up being nice and tight but due to the nature of the pre-finishing process you will wind up with a few discrepancies as you are not filling and sanding the wood to receive your own final finish. Thus, occasionally a board will be a millimeter narrower than one abutting it and there will be a hairline gap and that will need to be filled with the correct type of putty once the installation is complete. I think that this is just the nature of any pre-finished product.
- There is quite a bit of variation in the grain and coloring of the maple as distributed in the boxes. For me and my application, this was not a problem as I find the "clear", select grade to appear almost too bland. There is quite a lot of character in the Bruce planks; over all the look is quite pleasing as long as you make sure to blend pieces from several boxes.
- I had been interested in Bruce's hickory flooring especially due to the variegation in the coloring and grain but found that the amount and extent in their maple product was a better choice. Photographs tend to mute the amount of contrast and I suspect that (again for my particular application only) the look of the hickory, with its severe differences between planks, would have been perhaps a bit extreme.
- With their maple you get the best of both worlds: variegation and yet an overall pleasing continuity to the entirety of the floor.
Reading the reviews for this product proved very helpful and saved me a bit of headache in the research so I thought I'd share my experiences. This is an excellent product and an excellent value for the money.
Good Wood, Looks Great, Looks High End