Kahrs Engineered Hardwood Flooring Reviews - 2022 Guide

January 31, 2018

The first thing that comes to mind when I hear of Kährs is...

They. Are. Not. Cheap.Kahrs Logo

I wrote this review on Kährs engineered hardwood flooring because I have worked with them before, and it's unfortunate many folks shy away because of their higher-end pricing.

However, once you understand how Kahrs makes its products, you realize you simply get what you pay for.

Here is a thorough overview of the entire process:

After watching this, one truly gets a deeper understanding and appreciation of just why these floors cost more than just about any other hardwood floor out there.

Before getting into each collection...

Just be wary of super low prices online for these products - it's usually a red flag.

Kährs has a Minimum Advertised Price Policy (MAP) all retailers must comply by.  So I'd be wary of any too good to be true prices.

You can browse their product range here.

Kährs Engineered Wood Floors Collections - A Buyer's Guide

Kährs wood floor customer review
     Stability - A Key Benefit

As the world's oldest hardwood flooring manufacturer, this Swedish-based company has been manufacturing hardwood flooring for over 160 years. They were the very first to pioneer the concept of engineered hardwood flooring.

So they know a thing or two about them.

Kahrs currently has an extensive product range to choose from, varying in sizes, species, patterns, and finishes. These include hand-scraped, wire-brushed, or smooth finish. 

A distinguishing feature of Kahrs is the vast majority of their products are wide boards between 5-8+ inches, giving them a truly authentic, straight-from-the forest appeal.

They are exceptionally stable and renowned for being among the best performing woods in all climates and humidity levels across 70 different countries. 

In fact, they boast a 75% greater stability than a solid, nail-down wood floor!

This means they are very resistant to common problems solid floors exhibit like gapping, buckling, and even cracking.

They are all-around far less sensitive to changes in humidity and temperature. Translation: They will not move around anywhere near as much.

Kahr's trademarked Woodloc® system redefined the wood flooring industry by introducing the very first glueless locking system, which made boards fit so seamlessly together, they were gap-free.

Ok, so for the US market, Kahrs make their floors into five (5) different thicknesses spanning across 20 different collections:

So with all of these different thicknesses and choices, which one do you consider?

Let me make it easy:

It all depends on:

  1. The type of look you like and
  2. How many times you would like or plan on resanding your floor:
  • The Living & Habitat Collections are only 1/4" thick, and you cannot resand them.  
  • You can sand the 3/8" products in the Unity and Rugged collections once.
  • You can resand two-three times all the 1/2" and 5/8" products.
  • Anything greater in thickness is re-sandable three times, however...

Please keep in mind it's pretty uncommon to resand your pre-finished floors if you buy them new. In fact, there are only two cases where you would want to resand your entire floor:

  • If you have severe and extensive damage throughout your floors (extremely rare)
  • You want to change the color

Aside from that, there's no reason to do it even after many, many years.

So a floor that allows you to refinish it 2-3 times entirely is a floor that should last two lifetimes, pure and simple. 

An alternative to completely refinishing your floors is to do what's known as a screen and recoat.

This is where the top layers of polyurethane are removed, and new coats are applied to give it a pristine, new look.

This is often done at a fraction of a new resand and restain cost or when you just want to give new life to a worn floor.

Next, let's get a quick overview of each collection and corresponding thickness. 

1. 1/4" Thick - Life & Habitat Collections

*Go with this product line if you are looking for oak in both narrow strips and wide planks but with different stains ranging from snow white to almost black.

Whole Grain narrow color sample
Whole Grain
Earl Grey narrow plank sample
Earl Grey
Pure Walnut narrow color sample
Pure Walnut

Available Colors: 10

These collections are the entry-level of the Kährs range focusing mainly on oak hardwood in various stains.

They come in two collections:

  • Life Collection 

Comes in narrow and wide planks for these colors: Whole Grain, Coconut Cream, Light Suede, Driftwood, Butterscotch, Pure Oak, Earl Grey, Pure Walnut, Faded Black & Cocoa Bean 

  • Habitat Collection - Oak Castle, Oak Dome, Oak Gate, Walnut Statue

These floors can be installed either as a floating floor or glued down.

You cannot resand this floor, so if your heart is set on a particular color, you will not be able to change it once it's installed.  

All come with Kahr's Woodlock® fitting technology, so please consult their installation instructions here if you're doing it yourself or give it to your installer.

These instructions detail every type of acceptable installation. They cover installing over heating systems and floating and glue over concrete and plywood sub-floors.

Overall Thoughts On These Collections 

"Life" now replaces the former "Living" collection with a swath of brand new colors.

Kahr's 1/4" hardwoods are among the very best I have worked with for entry-level products.

Super easy to install with airtight joints and offer a wide range of looks in terms of plank width and colors.

Their boards are longer than other wood I've worked with, so you get fewer cuts and seams. Also, since they are milled with such precision, you get as good a fit as possible.

Clients immediately praise the product's distinct look, particularly the oil-based finishes, which bring out the wood's otherwise hidden hues into vivid, deep color. 

Kährs can achieve this by using a variety of wood enhancing surface treatments without the use of formaldehyde and solvents.

These treatments also make the floor more resistant to wear and be easy to clean.

Things To Look Out For

The main thing to be aware of is some of these woods tend to noticeably change color over time, so do not be surprised when it happens.

Kährs note this on all of their samples on their website.  Good to know before install!

They note the color change is mild to drastic, so if this will cause any issue for you, simply select one with very little color change over time.

Over time, a natural change in color is quite different from how they show once installed.

Since their woods are all treated differently and come in various wood species and finishes, the result is a unique look that changes in different lighting and the angle you're looking at the floor.

I will repeat the following point for each series because it cannot be emphasized enough: Depending on who installs this floor, make sure they know what they're doing.

The number one complaint on claims in the hardwood floor industry is incorrect installation and has been for a very long time. 

The boards are longer than what most installers encounter. Still, it should be an effortless, straightforward, and problem-free installation if the instructions are followed correctly by an experienced installer.

You can browse this collection here.  You can also contact me and let me know which product you're interested in. I may be able to get it for you at a competitive price, shipped to your door anywhere in the U.S.

2. 3/8" Thick - Unity & Rugged Collections

*Go with these products if you like 1-strip white oaks and walnuts with either a contemporary or rustic look without any red undertones. They are special order products and, take between 8-12 weeks for delivery.
Orchard Walnut Sample
Orchard Walnut
Husk Sample
Arctic oak color pic
Arctic Oak

Colors: 8

This collection of white oak gives the floor a distinct true color. It eliminates unwanted red undertones common in red oak products.

These floors can be glued down or floated.

This series is made primarily of oak, with some walnut options available.

They come in two Collections:
  • Unity Collection - Arctic Oak, Reef Oak, Garden Walnut, Orchard Walnut
  • Rugged Collection - Oak Trench, Husk, Crater, Groove

You can sand floors in these collections once. Just remember only to do this if you're looking to change the color or remedy significant damage throughout the floor.

The joints are all Kahr's Woodlock®, so installation is effortless and seamless.

Overall Thoughts On These Collections

The color options within these collections are on point and coordinate very well with any decor making them easy to decorate around. 

If you're looking for smoother type floors that give a more contemporary, glossier look, then The Unity Collection is for you, featuring colors across the entire color spectrum.

The rustic, worn look is best found in the Rugged Collection, which has a hand-crafted finish giving your room a log cabin feel.

Whichever way you go, these products are a great bang for your buck, offering you a 20-year finish warranty and one opportunity to completely refinish them. 

Things To Look Out For

Wood changes over time, but it can also appear different from different angles and lighting.

The walnut products are softer than oak and tend to wear a little faster; thus, so lower traffic areas would suit them much better.

Lastly, since many of these products are designed to look worn and distressed, they may have natural knots and minor cracks. This is part of the character of the wood and not a defect, so just be aware of that.

After investing good money into purchasing these floors, please do not take any shortcuts on the labor costs because you will be sorry.

I have seen it way too often - just find an experienced, qualified installer. It should be a breeze for them, given the ease with which these floors go down.

You can browse this collection here.  You can also contact me and let me know which product you're interested in. I may be able to get it for you at a competitive price, shipped to your door anywhere in the U.S.

3. 1/2" Thick - Canvas & Tres Collections

*Go with these products if you want the luxury of refinishing your floors up to two times, as well as colors not typically found in cheaper lines like greys and natural European maple.

Ash Vaila Sample
Ash Vaila
Nightfall Sample
Oak Mostra Color Sample
Oak Mostra

Available Colors: 20

These collections give you options between 1 and 3 strip floors.
Canvas is one strip, while the Tres gives you the three-strip option.

These floors can be glued down or floated.

The Canvas Collection has many currently trending colors, especially the grays ranging from very light to rich, while the other two have more of the earth tones.

You can sand these floors up to two times if you wish to change the color of your floor.

The joints are all Kahr's Woodlock®, so installation is straightforward and seamless.

Here are the two Collections:
  • Canvas Collection - Oak Cadence, Oak Mostra, Oak Muse, Oak Nightfall, Oak Pratica, Oak Morel, Oak Carbon, Oak Reiter, Oak Etch, Oak Tuft, Oak Tapa, Oak Curio
  • Tres Collection - Ash Ceriale, Oak Lecco, European Maple Gotha, Ash Vaila, Oak Bisbee, Red Oak Nature, Oak Prima, Oak Supai

Overall Thoughts On These Collections 

We have installed products from this line quite a bit. The best piece of advice I can give here is the extra money you put into these floors is very much worth it.

Some other products are just overpriced; not so much here. I noticed that working with these floors is not just how easy they are to install, but you can see the quality.

Grain and color are so vivid and clear; they have that wow factor even with the darker shades.

They all come with 20-25 year warranties, but in my entire flooring career spanning over 19 years, I have yet to have a client make a claim on any of Kähr's floors.

Things To Look Out For

Do not take any shortcuts on installation because incorrect installation is the leading cause of warranty claims. I cannot emphasize this enough!

Take your time with this range because the selections can be a little overwhelming.

Quite a few places online attempt to sell these collections for too good to be true pricing, and there's always a catch. So if you're buying online, always buy from legitimate online retailers.

If you're investing good money in a quality product, a reputable retailer will stand behind it.

You can browse this collection here.  You can also contact me and let me know which product you're interested in. I may be able to get it for you at a competitive price, shipped to your door anywhere in the U.S.

4. 5/8" Thick - Chevron, Småland, Da Capo, Scandinavian Naturals, European Naturals, American Naturals, Founders, Artisan, Harmony, World, European Renaissance, Capital Collections

*Go with these products if you want more variety in your selections like maple, cherry, ash, beech, and white oak together with unparalleled quality in the wood floor industry.

Maple Carob Sample
Maple Carob
Black Silver sample
Black Silver
Walnut Montreal Sample
Walnut Montreal

Available Colors: 56

These are Kährs flagship series giving you the widest range of looks and colors to choose from.

They range from the parquet wood floor look in the Chevron Collection to the cracked barn look in the Småland Collection.

They also have sought-after colors like silver and dark grays very highly.

Spanning across 13 different collections, you will not be short on options! Quite a few of them offer a unique floor that is difficult to find elsewhere.

Check the World, European Renaissance, and Scandinavian Naturals collections to get an idea.

Each collection has an underlying theme.

So, for example, the American Naturals Collection contains North American hardwoods spanning across the continent like walnut, cherry, and Canadian Maple.

These collections give you options between one and three-strip floors. The Sonata and Canvas are both one strip, while the Tres gives you the three-strip option. Installation-wise, they can be glued down or floated except the Chevron Collection, a glue-down only product.

The joints on all of these collections are either Kahr's Woodlock® or Woodlock® 5S.

Here are all of the collections:

  • Chevron Collection - Chevron Grey, Chevron Light Brown, Chevron Dark Brown
  • Smaland Collection - Aspeland, Vista, Handbörd, Kinda, Ydre, Möre, Vedbo, Sevede, Finnveden, Tveta
  • Da Capo Collection - Indosaati, Sparruto           *Special order. 8-12 weeks for delivery.
  • Scandinavian Naturals Collection - Beech Viborg, Ash Kalmar, Ash Gotland 
  • European Naturals Collection - Oak Verona, Oak Siena
  • American Naturals Collection - Hard Maple Toronto, Cherry Savannah, Walnut Montreal
  • Founders Collection - Oak Olof, Oak Gustaf, Oak Sture, Oak Johan, Oak Fredrik, Oak Ulf
  • Artisan Collection - Oak Oyster, Oak Concrete, Maple Carob, Oak Linen, Oak Camino, Oak Earth - *Special order. 8-12 weeks for delivery.
  • Harmony Collection - Pale, Ash Alabaster, Oak Limestone, Oak Cirrus, Oak Creme, Oak Alloy, Oak Granite, Oak Smoke, Oak Lava
  • World Collection - Brazilian Cherry La Paz FSC, Brazilian Cherry Brasilia FSC, Jarrah Sydney
  • European Renaissance Collection - Oak Palazzo Bianco, Oak Palazzo Rivere, Oak Palazzo Fumo
  • Capital Collection - Oak Dublin

Overall Thoughts On These Collections 

The overriding theme on the entire 5/8" product line is uniqueness.

It's been Kahr's mainstay for quite some time for the fact these products offer you originality unavailable elsewhere.

There is something for everyone in these collections, whether you like the classic hand-scraped look or a more exotic one with a wide color and shade variation between boards.

Installing these for my clients has been a breeze - just be sure to only glue down anything from the Chevron Collection (the parquet looking one).

Yes, you may pay a little extra than competing products. However, try and find a similar product with the same quality in construction and finish.

This is one reason why this particular line is my go-to for anyone after the very finest in wood flooring.

Things To Look Out For

These collections have quite a few products that vary significantly in color and shade variation, so my tip is to make sure this is the type of look you like before purchasing.

The other thing is even though this line is not cheap when compared to similar products, it does allow you to refinish it between 2-3 times completely. 

If you're investing good money in a quality product, don't just source it from the right places but be sure the installer is experienced and can put it in according to the specified instructions. 

You can browse this collection here.  You can also contact me and let me know which product you're interested in. I may be able to get it for you at a competitive price, shipped to your door anywhere in the U.S.

5. 1.18" - Activity Floor 

*Go with this product if you're looking to put it in a sports application. It is specifically designed for this market to withstand plenty of impact and foot traffic.

Beech Activity Floor Sample
Hard Maple Sample
Hard Maple
Oak Activity Floor Sample

Available Colors: 3

This floor has the mother of all construction, and for good reason - it's built to take a pounding.

Superior to traditional solid wood flooring, it is constructed using four layers (instead of 3 for its residential line) and comes in at a whopping 1.18" thick. 

In a commercial sports setting, this allows for both superior sound absorption and three refinishes. That's a lot of mileage!

It comes in three beautiful, neutral colors in three different wood species to give you other grain options.

This floor must be installed as a floating floor over a level, smooth surface like concrete or plywood. Please see its installation instructions here.

The three color options are:

  • Beech Activity Floor 
  • Oak Activity Floor
  • Hard Maple Activity Floor

Overall Thoughts On This Collection 

I have never personally put this product in before, but from all the reviews I've read, and feedback received, it's noticeably better than traditional solid wood flooring. It's superior in its sound absorption and stability because of its construction.

The color range is right on point, making it perfect for basketball or other sports applications. 

You would only need to buy this floor once, given the number of times you can refinish it.

I did see samples of this in the Hard Maple, and the grain and finish were exceptional, so it appears this line is just following down the path of Kähr's manufacturing excellence.

Things To Look Out For

There's no better time to emphasize proper installation than for this series.

Commercial applications demand different knowledge and skill levels. Incorrect installation will absolve Kährs of any responsibility for their product. Of course, it may also cause serious injury to someone, so get it done right!

I have yet for the life of me, throughout my flooring years, managed to work out why someone would cheap out on the installation when this is the most critical factor in the entire floor buying experience.

If you're a contractor putting this in a commercial environment, follow the manufacturer's instructions enclosed in each box, acclimate it as required, and you will not have a problem with this floor.

You can browse this collection here.  You can also contact me and let me know which product you're interested in. I may be able to get it for you at a competitive price, shipped to your door anywhere in the U.S.

 4 Other Very Important Factors

Taylor glue

1. Adhesive - This is extremely important, so please listen up!

Don't just buy any adhesive. Insist on what's approved/recommended by Kahrs like Taylor 2071 or Bostik's Best ®.

See, in the unlikely event you ever run into a warranty claim, the first thing the inspector will do is ask what adhesive you used.

Now, if you tell them it was anything other than a satisfactory and/or approved adhesive, they will go back and file a report stating denying your warranty request. The reason is "incorrect adhesive used."

I'm warning you now, don't buy just any glue (no matter what a salesperson tells you) because it will void your product warranty.

2. Transition pieces - All of these collections come with their coordinating transition pieces, so be sure to order what you need. Generally speaking, T-Molds transition between two hard surfaces like hardwood and tile and reducers for hard and soft surfaces like carpet or ones that are thinner like vinyl. Ask your salesperson or installer if you are unsure.

3. Leveling/float - Before your floor is installed over concrete, the slab must be floated to eliminate low spots.

There's a difference between a level slab and a flat one.

I have yet to see a single-level concrete slab in all my years in this industry! Don't confuse the two. Floating doesn't level your entire slab; it just means you fill in the natural topography of the slab with concrete to get rid of low spots for a better installation. 

Please consult your installer or contractor because this incurs an additional charge.

As a guide, a bag of float supplied and installed ranges anywhere between $45 - $90/bag.

4. Internet Purchases - Familiarize yourself with Kahr's Internet Purchase Policy and decide if this is for you or not.

It is your floor, so you bear the full responsibility of where you source materials from.

As a personal anecdote, I've experienced zero issues with Kahrs hardwood irrespective of where it was bought.

Hundreds of others online have also vouched for Kahrs via their customer reviews.

Final Thoughts

Kahrs Quality customer review

My personal experience with Kährs has been positive, starting from the material quality to ease of installation to high client satisfaction rates.

I found the small things this company does to its products make for a terrific end-user experience.

For example, their products are factory sealed in their boxes at a specific temperature and humidity to ensure the materials inside the box are kept stable.

Translation: It completely minimizes the need to acclimate the product. Of course, always consult each product's instructions.

The boards are rich in grain where they need to be and perfectly calibrated at the joints to make for seamless installation.

Brilliant color and finish are distinguishing features separating them from competing products. Some lines come with considerably heavier (denser) boards than what one is used to.

The products are manufactured mainly in Sweden with very high-quality control and manufacturing standards, so they don't use cheap labor.

They also happen to be a very ethical "green" company and only source their materials from suppliers with particular environmentally friendly accreditations. 

The various collections give you a vast range to choose from. This will depend on the look and finish you like and your anticipated frequency of refinishing them.

If you're undecided on which product to go for, start with the overall look you like (hand-scraped, heavy grain, greys, log-cabin feel, contemporary, etc.) or color scheme, and go from there.

I hope this review has been helpful to you if you're considering Kahrs hardwood flooring.

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