White Hardwood Floors
White hardwood floors are making a comeback. It’s surprising white is actually being favored once again after trends to natural colors changed around the year 2000. It’s unclear why white is returning (slowly) but one thing is obvious; any color goes these days. Strangely, darker toned hardwoods have the momentum today but demand for lighter stained white floors is also increasing, particularly in southern states or those winter retreat areas for many of the luckier ones.
Compared to 2000 the number of manufacturers offering white floors has fallen off, but a handful still keep production that include Kahrs, Lauzon and Mirage. Kahrs itself offers one near pure white in their Ash Alabaster (right) with a half dozen other ranging from Peal, Opaque and an Arctic color tone. Lauzon provides two near whites in Hard Maple and Beech. Finally, Mirage has what they term a Nordic available in Red Oak and Maple along with a half dozen near whites to light grays in their Flair collection.
The three manufacturers mentioned are at the top of their game when it comes to quality. They are also rated the highest in our manufacturer review section. As far construction styles, all Kahrs products are engineered, while both Lauzon and Mirage offer both solid and engineered.
Bruce Fulton Plank - Solid 3/4 Inch
Likely to be the longest lasting white floor that has survived design styles over the years is the Bruce Fulton Winter White line (shown). Although it's not at the top of the quality scale, this combination strip or plank floor is widely used by decorators seeking a contemporary motif at affordable prices. However, the high gloss finish may not be suited for everyone.
The picture shown doesn't provide a true representation of the Winter White. Expect a brighter white. The product is a nail or staple down installation type only.
Shows Flaws and Cracks - Cheap Products
When it comes to lighter colored finished products specifically with prefinished, quality should be exceptional. Without it, the installer is likely to grumble. On an individual note I recall doing many white 2 1/4" solid strip floors for a builder on Sanibel Island, Florida in the early nineties. Folks, any marginal product will show every flaw imaginable. In this case we practically bought cases and cases of caulk used as filler for the joints on a "special" builders grade product.
Yes, I grumbled! I also asked; why the devil was this stuff being sold. All that caulk will eventually get pushed out once the floor starts to breath in and out (seasonal contraction and expansion) After all, the homes are in excess of one million dollars. The response..."it's good for refinishing work" in years to follow. Makes you wonder eh?
It's true, but the extra efforts called upon for installers to make it right can take hours upon hours, while never getting paid for it either. Don't get me wrong, it is common to spend some time filling manufacturer flaws, but this one went over the edge. Additionally, what the homeowner does not know is most filler becomes a dust magnet. Over time the dirt will begin to show. Keep in mind, this is not true with the higher quality products mentioned in the beginning of this article.
Unfinished And Stained White
Now we probably have you horrified of going with a white wash stain. Other options would include having the floor installed unfinished, sanded, stained, and finished with the desired gloss level. Filler used in this procedure is not an issue due to it's form, and the actual finish coatings seal the entire floor. To minimize the expansion and contraction, a good quality unfinished engineered product would be the best choice. Times have changed with high quality unfinished engineered hardwoods.
Owens Plank and Real Wood Floors unfinished engineered flooring are the forerunners in quality. Sizes range from the more common 2 1/4 inch strip flooring all the way up to eight inch wide planks. Wider planking can be special milled at substantially higher prices.
Species Suited for White Stains:
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• Red Oak
• White Oak
Other Unfinished Engineered Manufacturers
On the west coast, one can contact Pacific Hardwoods whose product thicknesses range from 3/8 to 5/8 inches, while offering stunning longer lengths. Another manufacturer worth noting is Howell Hardwood Flooring of Dothan, Alabama, but quality does not compare.