Sometimes, I find myself in houses built in the last 10 years, which is fine... if you’re poor. But you can’t choose your family, and so I have, on rare occasions, found myself in new homes owned by rich people. Rich peoples’ new houses all have hardwood floors that look like this:
This is the “extra nice“ kind because it has those sideways lines meant suggest centuries of use. But those edges! They are so obviously revolting, they must be unavoidable, no? No one would buy such things unless they had to, right?
Maybe this ugliness is the price we pay for cutting down all the old growth forests? Or maybe these sloped edges are due to the manufacturing process of this new “laminate” stuff? [Which doesn’t make a lick of sense because plywood is one layer of wood laminated on top of another, but that is called “engineered wood.” Laminate is, apparently, something else entirely?]
But I don’t have to live there. So I kept my mouth shut and the canyons between fake boards remained a mystery, until...
Time to fix up the kitchen and get rid of its totally incongruous Spanish tile:
The rest of the house (built in 1912) has this gorgeous heart of pine floor:
Which made me wonder what was under the tile:
It’s tile over two layers of linoleum on concrete. No wood.
I had hoped to find wood under there because it would be the same level as the other floors. But the original design must have called for linoleum in the kitchen because it wears well, and is easy to clean. It's thinner than wood floors--only 1/8” thick--so an extra 1/2” of concrete was added to make the kitchen floor the same level as the rest of the house.
The wife and I want a wood floor in the kitchen with a herringbone pattern.
Looking into it, I learn that actual hardwood or pine would be way too thick. It requires at least 5/8” of plywood underlayment over the concrete and is itself 3/4” thick. The Spanish tile is already too high. Hardwood on top of plywood would basically mean a flight of steps between the kitchen and the dining room. What to do?
Turns out that both “engineered wood” and “laminate” can float directly on concrete and are thinner materials to start with.
Time to learn about engineered wood and laminate. Searching the Home Depot app reveals 527 types of engineered wood with beveled edges and 27 types with square edges!
So wait, people have a choice? They choose beveled edges on purpose? And—apparently—love it, with hundreds more beveled options than square? What the fuck is wrong with people?
Beveled edge flooring has very distinct grooves that impart a casual, rustic appearance.
What? If by “rustic” you mean “old” then that is total bullshit! Old floors get refinished. That means you sand a bit off the top and take it down an 1/8 of an inch, which means ANY BEVEL WOULD DISAPPEAR! It is impossible to have an old “rustic” bevel. Who came up with this nonsense? And who is buying this ugly shit?
The truth comes from some other random dude with a blog, attached to a site that sells the stuff:
That said, when you choose a square edge board, unless you’re a top notch DIY-er, you’ll save a whole lot of heartache and frustration if you have your floor fitted professionally. This is because the edges are so smooth and so sharp, just the smallest bit of mishandling can spoil the whole look – so if you’re going to fit your floor on a DIY basis, be really honest with yourself about your skills before choosing a square edged option.
Why do luxury McMansions all feature “casual rustic look” of beveled edges on the wood flooring? To hide the shitty craftsmanship that goes along with selling houses to people with no taste who shop for real estate by the square foot.
Jesus, people suck. And I just noticed one of the edge options is “Kissed”...