What is a scratch proof floor? Does it really exist?

What is a scratch proof floor? Does it really exist?

Everybody is looking for a floor that can handle everything and not get damaged in any way. Does that floor really exist? Can there really be the perfect floor out there that you can install it and nothing will damage it? The absolute answer is No, because every floor can have something happen unexpectedly that could go beyond normal wear and tear that could damage it. Can floors be advertised as scratch proof? Yes, if the customer understands that this means with regular wear and usage. Nothing outside of regular use is not dragging heavy furniture on it or sliding objects with sharp edges over it.

        Hard surfaces such as hardwood, laminate, and luxury vinyl all have labels or expectations to be scratch resistant or scratch proof in some cases. When looking at a warranty for a hard surface, there will be a place that explains that the flooring will hold up to normal wear over a period which will be its warranty. That is why many times it says, “Limited Lifetime”. It is limited to how you treat a floor and what your expectations are when you care for it.

            If you consider laminate first. It is an extremely durable flooring that most customers have loved over the years. The downfall of laminate was cheap products that entered the market and took over what was being sold. They didn’t click together tightly, and the cores absorbed water like a sponge. The number of floors with edges swelling up and floor failures became a large problem which caused the sales of laminate to drop drastically. In looking back, the surface of laminate flooring was always a selling point because it could look like wood flooring but wouldn’t scratch up like wood. Animals and heavy traffic would never damage it. It was moisture. Now, many of the newer laminates, like some in Newton, are waterproof and have a high rating against scratches. It is scratch proof by many, but if you put a heavy object on it with a sharp edge or point you could damage it. In this case though, you are cutting into the flooring. It may be small areas, which many may consider scratches because of the size and the area affected. This is outside regular wear and use under a warranty.

            Luxury vinyl is like laminate but is made differently and has a different type of surface. It has a core which can be made of wood, stone, or epoxy resin combinations. A vinyl print is then placed on the surface with a protective clear coat on top for wear. The manufacturers will then add a coat of aluminum oxide or a ceramic coating for additional protection. The thicker the protective coating is, the longer the flooring will look new and be able to handle heavy wear and traffic. It also protects it from scratches from dragging most items over it. I have seen a lot of heavy items dragged over luxury vinyl from Proximity Mills and it never scratch. I have placed a sharp metal object on vinyl, and it cut into the surface and it looks like a long scratch. If you feel the place with your hand, you will feel the deep groves where it cut into the floor. A 20mil wear layered vinyl or thicker is considered to be scratch proof under regular usage.

            Wood flooring is where there are a few more factors to consider when talking about scratches. There are two factors to consider when thinking about scratch proof wood flooring options. First is the type of wood being used. You can look at a Janka Scale to see how the hardness of wood is measured.  It starts in the hundreds and stops around 4,000 in hardness. Many of the cheaper, but still very elegant looking floors can be made of Elm 830 or Birch 1260 which are softer types of wood. They can dent easier and are not considered scratch resistant. Many times, they have textured surfaces to help hide damage done over time, but not always. The most common wood flooring would be Red Oak 1290 and White Oak 1360. European White Oak has become very popular since the colors look cleaner than the Red Oak when doing lighter colors. The next step up you can see is Hard Maple 1450 and American Hickory 1820.

            Bamboo has become a popular option as a flooring such as the Proximity Mills collection that have textured and smooth options. Stranded Bamboo 2789 is sometimes considered a very scratch resistant or scratch proof flooring because of its hardness and customers like an option that is more sustainable than wood. You can harvest bamboo every 10 years. As you get into more exotic wood options, the hardness goes up as well as the price tag. Many of the Brazilian woods start at 2160 and go up to 3680. They are considered very scratch resistant and to some, scratch proof because of their hardness against denting.

            There are now engineered products such as Enduring from Proximity Mills that is a White or Red Oak that has a Janka Scale rating of 3,000. This puts it up there with exotic products that are sometimes considered more scratch proof. Other products such as the Rancher and the French Oak that have a wood veneer on a composite core making it dent resistant which can be caused by heavy furniture or items being moved over the floor. They have multiple layers of finish to protect the wood and protect against scratches.

            Just as a bullet proof vest stops bullets. There are exceptions and not every bullet will be stopped. In the end, no flooring is scratch proof. At the same time, if you don’t abuse your flooring it will be scratch proof against regular wear and traffic. How you care for your hard surface will determine how it will hold up. If you have hard surfaces, put furniture pads under the furniture feet. Try to lift your furniture when moving it so you don’t accidentally have a nail you didn’t see sticking out cut into your floor. Use rugs in high traffic areas and areas that may tend to have things dropped on it. Recreation rooms that have pool tables, ping pong, and other indoor games can have objects dropped that could damage flooring. Having rugs will help reduce the chances of damage and help bring some character to the room. Regularly clean the flooring as well. Dirt left on the floor will slowly damage the surface of any flooring. Any quality floor that you take care of can be scratch proof.  If you are in Western North Carolina or the Upstate South Carolina, our store is located in Rutherfordton NC and we have samples of the flooring options discussed. We are just a little over an hour from Charlotte, Greenville, and Asheville in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.