Hardwood floor quality is the paramount difference between a quality flooring store, and a flooring liquidator or home improvement store. But there are other important differences as well:
Hardwood Floor Expertise
Many issues come up in choosing flooring that simply can't be accurately answered by lightly-trained clerks in stores that also sell refrigerators, hammers and plants. Their expertise in the choice of wood for particular areas of your house, climate considerations and design will be minimal at best. But at a flooring store, you'll generally find specialists with many years of experience in hardwood floor selection and design. Flooring is a significant investment, and it matters where you buy it!
Because it's all they sell, flooring stores are committed to presenting the widest possible selection of floors, in the latest styles and colors as well as classic ones. Home improvement stores and flooring liquidators typically carry lower-quality flooring, and flooring they can sell in mass quantities. It may be okay for a rental property, but probably not for your home. They also typically offer very limited choices in terms of color and style.
Hardwood Floor Warranty
Only fine hardwood floor manufacturers such as Palmetto Road offer long warranties, solid repair policies and money-back guarantees. Lower-quality flooring often goes to the home improvement stores and flooring liquidators as discount or close-out products (often unbeknownst to you), and you may be out of luck if you run into problems.
Hardwood Floor Installation
Professional hardwood flooring stores usually work with a certified professional installer, so you avoid the headaches of finding your own installer or experiencing a poor floor installation. Just one example: without proper acclimation, floorboards can experience cupping, or even delamination. And there are many more potential pitfalls of a poor hardwood floor installation.