You may be familiar with Hosking Hardwood if you’ve ever watched the classic home improvement show “This Old House.” Jeff Hosking was a regular on the show as the go-to hardwood consultant.
Before there were TV channels dedicated to home improvement and more house-flipping shows than you could ever want, Mr. Hosking was showing viewers how to successfully complete hardwood flooring projects.
Later, he launched an online flooring store. It has an emphasis on customer service, low prices, and product knowledge resources. It is for the homeowner and contractor alike.
Let’s look at some of the products Hosking Hardwood has to offer. We will explore how this long-time retailer stacks up against any other online flooring shop.
Hosking Hardwood does not have a proprietary engineered hardwood. This online retailer sells many of the major wood flooring brands you may be familiar with.
Some of these brands include: Anderson, Mohawk, Armstrong, Bruce, Kahrs, Shaw, and Somerset. In addition, there are some harder to find products from smaller mills and boutique brands. Those include Boen, Harris, IndusParquet, Lauzon, Mont Royal, Vintage and more.
As you might imagine, with all these available brands, comes major variety. It would be easy to become overwhelmed by all the choices if they were laid out in front of you in a showroom.
Hosking’s website has a search bar. It also has links to shop by brand or popular styles. There is also a floor finder feature to narrow down your selection faster.
There are too many brands to go in depth about here. So, let’s look at some common and not-so-common flooring treasures you might discover at Hosking Hardwood.
Hosking hardwood seems to focus more on brands and products that specialize in classic and contemporary styles. There are sections devoted to handscraped flooring, classic oaks and maples, exotics, and character flooring.
However, modern, farmhouse, coastal, reclaimed or otherwise more “trendy” flooring styles are not as well-represented here, but there are a few.
So, even with all these choices, your color palette is somewhat limited. There is a surplus of brown, espresso, beige, red, and natural colors and only a handful of gray, charcoal or other color blends by comparison.
This carries over to the plank sizes available. Staying true to these classic styles, you will find that plank sizing averages at 4”-6” width for the majority of the engineered wood products with a smaller selection of wider or narrower options.
There is also a wide variety of species available across all these brands. You will of course find the usual suspects such as maple, oak, hickory, and walnut in most of the major brands listed above.
There are also a couple collections of harder to find exotics from IndusParquet. They offer engineered styles in Amendoim, Brazilian Cherry, Tigerwood, Timborana, and Santos Mahogany just to name a few.
If you are after a custom color or planning an addition to your home and are trying to coordinate with an existing floor, Hosking also carries unfinished engineered flooring in red oak, white oak, and hickory from the Somerset brand.
Shopping for flooring online can be tough since photos rarely do a floor justice. Hosking offers a sample program for many of their products. You are able to request samples of most floors by email request before you commit to buy.
Construction and Durability
Many factors affect the durability of a hardwood floor. Those include the core construction, veneer species, and wear layer finish type.
You will find all levels of durability and types of engineered hardwood construction at Hosking. Since there are so many to choose from, let’s look at a few real winners as well as a few items that are best left for the house you plan to sell.
For a durable, long-lasting engineered wood floor, look for a ply-core engineered floor with an aluminum oxide or multi-coat polyurethane finish. It’s a bonus when the veneer is at least ¼” thick saw-cut and made from a harder tree species such as hickory, walnut, or Brazilian cherry.
Hosking has several options in these top-choice winning floors. Look for the 1-Strip Shine Collection by Kahrs Wood Flooring, International Exotic (Micro-V) by Lauzon Wood Floors, and White Oak R/Q Engineered by Mont-Royal Hardwood Flooring, just to name a few.
On the other end of the spectrum, you will find the value-oriented or bargain products. These items are best suited for fixing up a home to sell and are a boon to house-flippers.
This type of product is typically made similarly to a laminate flooring in that it features an HDF core, roto-peeled veneer in a soft wood such as maple or birch and finished with a couple coats of polyurethane.
However, you will find that some of these value products are finished with aluminum oxide or are infused with acrylic which can greatly improve their durability and extend the life of the floor such as Palo Duro 5 IN. by Anderson Hardwood Flooring and Performance Plus 5 IN. Lock & Fold by Armstrong Hardwood Flooring
Hosking has a reputation for selling high-quality products, so you won’t find anything that’s truly bargain-basement and bound to fall apart. The value flooring offerings here are still quite good. Look for Springdale 3″ by Bruce Hardwood Flooring and Beaumont Plank 3″ Low Gloss by Armstrong Hardwood Flooring.
There is also plenty to chose from at all levels of quality and durability in between.
One thing that is unique to Hosking Hardwood is the “Jeff Hosking’s Rating” feature. It works on a 5-Star rating system that ranks products from “common grade” to “best.” This seems to be for the purpose of offering shoppers transparency on the quality and durability of the products.
While this is a handy at-a-glance feature, it also pays to do your own research and look at the specifications and additional customer reviews of an engineered hardwood before you buy.
Ease of Installation
Engineered hardwood is available as a click-lock or as a tongue and groove.
A click-lock engineered hardwood is a great option for a DIY install. You won’t need any special tools or adhesives, but you will need a saw that can make both horizontal and vertical cuts that will accommodate the length of the plank.
You can install tongue and groove engineered floors with nails, staples, or glue, depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations. This can be a more challenging installation and it may be best to leave it to professional installers.
Since Hosking Hardwood is an online retailer, they do not have in-house installation services unless you live in their immediate service area of Massachusetts or Rhode Island. So, it will be up to you to find a quality flooring professional in your area.
Many factors can determine the pricing of engineered hardwood floors. Species, construction, plank width, texture, and finish type can all impact the price.
For example, you can expect to pay less for a domestic faster-growing wood like birch or maple, whereas hardwoods and exotics like walnut and Brazilian cherry round out some of the more expensive options.
Hosking Hardwood keeps their prices lower by buying in bulk and passing the savings on to the customer. You can pay below retail on most items, but it doesn’t hurt to shop around. They also have frequent sales and specials if you are hunting for a bargain.
Across the many brands that Hosking carries, you can expect to pay anywhere from (on the budget-end) under $3 per square foot for the value products and over $10 per square foot for the high-end styles. This does not include trims and transitions, which can run anywhere from $10-$100 or more depending on the product.
Another cost to consider is shipping and delivery. Depending on where you live and how much you order, shipping for bulky, heavy boxes of flooring can cost a few hundred to over a thousand dollars. However, you can calculate your shipping costs before you check out so there aren’t any surprises.
Then, there is the cost to install your engineered hardwood floor. If you choose to hire a professional, this can cost around $4-7 per square foot and may not include things like demolition of your old floor, subfloor preparation, or removal and reinstallation of baseboards.
Hosking Hardwood has been in business for many years and knows their products and clientele well. Many folks speak highly of the customer service they have received through the ordering process, technical support, and general questions.
Furthermore, the selection and pricing are very comparable to other online retailers. Yet, with Hosking, it gives the feel of shopping at your hometown mom and pop flooring store but from the comfort of your own living room.
Have you taken the plunge and ordered flooring online? Tell us about it in the comments.