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Buying Hardwood from a Builder

About Hardwood Floor Decor and Care

You bought a house, now it's time to talk about buying hardwood from a builder.

CAUTION Before you consider buying hardwood from your builder and sign on the doted line, you need to read the following:

Our advise on this page is intended for information purposes only. Statements featured here are our own opinions and findings based on our research and personal experiences.

Not all builders are the same, there are some wonderful ones that do what they promise. Majority of small independent builders are honest and reliable. Custom Builders will accommodate most of your requests and money that you spend will be well worth it. Those people build a handful of homes a year, know their clients and earn their reputation based on the quality and service that they provide. Those are the ones you should seek out... If you buy your home from a reputable, reliable builder you will not have to deal with problems latter. Buying hardwood from such a builder is a joy... Buying hardwood from a builder like that is fun and exciting.

The other side of a coin... hardwood from a builder

Then there are those big companies that build hundreds of homes each year and frankly with each passing year care less and less for the quality of the homes they build, customer satisfaction and customer care. In Central Ontario we have quite a few of those...Buying hardwood from those builders can be a dreadful process.

This section is specifically addressed to all of you who had a misfortune to deal with the second, not so honest and not so reliable kind of builder.

If you plan on buying hardwood from a builder and opting for it to be installed by your builder, you need to know that your cost will be much greater, then if you went with other options available to you. Builder's hardwood flooring selection may also leave much to be desired. There are of course exceptions to this.

When buying hardwood from a builder you will be expected to pay more than anywhere else. In return, you may expect a top quality product. Think again, most of the time you will be getting a medium quality wood, installed on a base that is not necessarily suitable for hardwood installation.

To avoid surprises, when buying hardwood from a builder, you need to ask questions before you make a commitment and sign any agreements.

Ask how old are the samples displayed in the showroom. hardwood from a builder

Quality of the wood available on the market changes with time. Wood classified as "#1 common" (which is a lower grade quality) several years ago, may today be classified as "select"- a higher quality wood. So be sure to find out if the wood you choose in the model home will in fact be the same that will be installed in your new home.

Make sure that the samples are not displayed in the direct sun light.

If they were, you may find out that the color you loved so much in the showroom, is in fact much darker and more intense. This happens because with time, sun will bleach out the color and finish of the wood.

When buying hardwood from a builder, please, please! ask to see actual wood prior to installation.

Many builders will order lower quality wood, and you may find out that your new floor looks nothing like the sample you saw in the model home. We came across builders who supplied poor quality wood and expected the installers to weed out hundreds of dark, damaged, broken boards, completely not suitable for installation... independent installers always work on... per/square footage basis. So you are being outrageously overcharged, we are... well... not happy, and the "big bad builder" already has your check cashed. 

In normal circumstances, this should never happen, wood supplied by the builder should never need to be picked over, everything in the box should be suitable for installation. If the client chooses rustic or mixed grade, that is what she should get. What those builders are trying to do is to provide a low grade product and "make it" into a higher grade floor. Sad, but true.

Acclimatization Procedures hardwood from a builder

When buying hardwood from you builder, be sure to ask about acclimatization procedures.

Depending on the season, weather, and type of wood, and how long ago it was produced, it may need to be stored in the installation area prior to installation sometimes for couple of weeks. If you are ordering a custom made floor that needs to be finished on site, be sure that this step is not skipped. In this case, properly acclimatized, newly installed wood ideally should not be finished for another couple of weeks. 
If wood was factory finished, dried and stored in proper conditions, delivered to the installation site in dry and not humid weather, it should be OK for immediate installation. The best way to find out about acclimatization procedures for your specific wood species is to visit the manufacturer's web page.


One of the most important questions to ask is one about the sub-floor on which your floor will be installed.

If your hardwood is installed on wrong type of subfloor you are in for a disastrous surprises down the road. If on top of that the installer chooses to save himself some staples or nails... you will find out soon that your new floor needs to be ripped out and replaced. Read about an incident that our company had a misfortune to be a part of...

When you make a decision to install hardwood in your new home, there are several options to consider. Take your time and choose the one that will best suit your needs.

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