Hardwood Bargains Flooring Blog


Purchasing a wood floor can be a complicated process, especially if it is your first time.  There are so many industry-specific terms and unique products that salespeople talk about, that a lack of understanding those terms could possibly prevent you from making the right choice for your wood flooring project.  One of these products that we get asked about a lot here in our showroom is Aluminum Oxide; what is it? And how does it protect the wood?

Aluminum Oxide Handscraped Natural Hickory

Aluminum Oxide, also known as Alumina, is a chemical compound of aluminum and oxygen, and is commonly used in the production of aluminum metal.  The overall hardness, insoluble nature, and an extremely high melting point make Aluminum Oxide essential in a number of applications including electrical insulation, composite fibers, and medical applications such as joint and hip replacements.

Aluminum Oxide Hand Scraped Chocolate Hickory

It is also utilized in finishes for hardwood flooring; at the factory level, coats of polyurethane are applied to the wood, and aluminum oxide particles are added, increasing the strength and durability of the finish.  Adding the compound will increase the resistance to scratches, as well general wear and tear.  Many manufacturers have begun to use it, and finish warranties have increased by as much as 15-25 years as a result.  With aluminum oxide finished floors, clean up and floor maintenance is simple and straightforward, overall hardness and scratch resistance are increased, and you get a beautiful, timeless, and durable hardwood floor that you and your family can enjoy for years to come.


As an online retailer of quality, yet affordable hardwood flooring, we knew we needed to step back and offer a commitment to sustainability to not only our customers, but our earth as well. By partnering with American Forests for the Global Releaf forest restoration program, we’ve made the commitment to replant two trees for each tree used in our sold products.

 American Forest Foundation Logo

American Forests protects and restores urban and rural forests. Founded in 1875, it is the oldest national nonprofit conservation organization in the country. It serves as a catalyst for thousands of forest ecosystem restoration products and public education efforts each year. Since 1990, American Forests has planted more than 40 million trees throughout the US.

Here at Hardwood Bargains, we hope our green business practices set a new standard in the renovation industry. In addition to our tree replanting program, we offer other eco-friendly practices in our day-to-day operations. We specialize in engineered wood flooring products, which are inherently more eco-friendly because they use fewer resources from the environment. All products are made formaldehyde-free, which makes for better air quality and helps those with respiratory issues.

Forest Foundation

“Hardwood Bargains makes a concerted effort to be green every day and we encourage our consumers and colleagues to do the same,” Mike Nowotarski, co-owner of Hardwood Bargains, said.

Overall, the installation of wood floors is gentler on the environment due to its sustainability compared to carpeting or other flooring materials.  For certain installations, we offer a floating installation that uses recycled foam underlayment that is produced from recycled tires.

Beautiful Wood Floors

Our team is committed to supporting the reforestation of trees and creating a sustainable, eco-friendly practice. Every member on our team is extremely knowledgeable and can assist you to determine the best products and installation methods for your home and health. Visit us today and check out some of our eco-friendly floors .



One of the questions that we get asked daily here daily at Hardwood Bargains is about the hardness of our floors. Consumers want to know what species of wood is the most resistant to dents and scratches.

The first thing you should know is that while some floors are much harder than others, all of them are susceptible to dents when a lot of pressure is applied. Hardwood flooring industry uses the Janka hardness scale to determine the strength of various floors. The Janka scale measures the force that is required to embed a 0.444” steel ball into the wood to half the ball’s diameter, leaving an indentation in the wood. The results of the test are stated in a pound – force per square inch (psi) measurement.

Just to give you an idea, a 6000 lb. elephant exerts a pressure of 75 psi as it walks while a 100 lb. woman wearing high heels can be exerting a pressure of over 1500 psi as she places all of her weight on one heel.

Here is a list of the performance of the floors found on HardwoodBargains.com on the Janka hardness test:

  • Stand-woven Bamboo and Eucalyptus 3000 psi
  • Brazilian Cherry 2350 psi
  • Acacia 2200 psi
  • Tigerwood 1850 psi
  • Hickory 1820 psi
  • European White Oak 1360 psi
  • Red Oak 1290 psi
  • Birch 1260 psi
  • Walnut 1010 psi

As you can see, there is a big difference in hardness between various species of hardwood. It takes mores than twice the amount of pressure to dent an acacia floor as it does to dent a walnut hardwood floor.

Unlike solid and engineered hardwood floors, laminate floors do not have Janka ratings. Laminate floors are made out of high density fiberboard (HDF) or medium density fiberboard (MDF) and are not actually comprised of any real hardwood. The durability of laminate can be assessed by its AC rating. European Producers of Laminate Flooring (EPLF) developed several tests that measure factors like resistance to burning and susceptibility to denting, in order to determine the durability of all laminate flooring. All laminate floors are assigned a score from 1 to 5 based on their performance on EPLF tests. A floor with an AC1 rating is suitable for light home use, while a floor with an AC5 rating will be able to hold up in a commercial location with heavy traffic.

It is always a good idea to consider the durability and hardness of floors when making your hardwood flooring decision.


Whether you’re in the early stages of a home or business renovation, or you’ve begun construction on your new dream home, selecting beautiful wood flooring will both enhance the look of your space and increase the value.  However, many homeowners often have a hard time deciding whether to have wood flooring in the kitchen or not.  Below, we will tell you why installing wood flooring in your kitchen is a great idea.


Looking through home improvement magazines and websites, you can’t help but notice a lot of designers utilizing wood flooring throughout the kitchen areas.  Wood flooring brings a warmth and distinction to your kitchen that is often lacking in materials like tile, linoleum, or vinyl.  With more and more new homes utilizing open concept floor plans, the use of multiple flooring materials on the same level is quickly being phased out. One consistent floor material throughout connects the design elements more effectively by uniting spaces. Not to mention, it will also remove the need for transitional pieces of molding, which can be an expensive eyesore.


Wood flooring has long been considered one of the most durable, long lasting options for flooring.  The concept of kitchen use has just started gaining popularity with today’s homeowner. However, bringing wood flooring into an area with plumbing no doubt creates new ways of addressing a common wood flooring concern: moisture.  Spills are going to happen in every area of the home, especially in the kitchen, and a simple rug or mat near the high traffic areas (such as in front of the sink) can prevent most issues with spills and moisture easily. Additionally, most installers will not install wood flooring under the dishwasher, giving you extra protection against moisture and humidity created by the appliance.  By following the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance program, your wood floor can easily outlast tile and linoleum by decades.  

Daily Advantages

Tile and ceramic floors have been shown to be tougher on joints, affecting knees and backs negatively, while wood floors provide a natural give, particularly in places where standing still for long periods of time occur such as the kitchen.  Another issue that plagues tile use is the continuous cleaning of the grout, where dirt and spills can accumulate, which will require more extensive maintenance and cleaning.  Unlike vinyl, linoleum, or even slate/tile, hardwood flooring never goes out of style, allowing the value of your home to increase.

The kitchen is truly the heart of the home. Whether it is for a quick weeknight dinner or large holiday gathering, the kitchen remains the main hub for activity.  Having a beautiful wood floor that lasts a lifetime will bring not only peace of mind, but also a warm and regal look that other materials cannot.

Donny Ross is part of the sales team at Hardwood Bargains, and has over 3 years of experience in wood flooring sales and installation.  In his free time he enjoys live music, watching Florida State football, and living an active lifestyle in Austin, TX.

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