Kahrs Hardwood Flooring Reviews - 2018 | Flooring by Sammer

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

They. Are. Not. Cheap.Kahrs Logo

I wrote this review on Kahrs 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 they are made and why they cost more, you will 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, I also thought to give you a quick overview of the best places online to get Kahrs products from if you’re going that route.

I did some homework for you and compared the stores across a few variables so you get an idea of which store works best for you.

Whichever direction you go, both stores are legitimate operations with employees, warehouses and staff on hand to assist you.

 

 
Fastfloors logo
wayfair logo
Pricing
Best
Good
Beat Competitors Price
Yes
No
Free Shipping
No
Yes
Selection
18 Collections
19 Collections
Service
Excellent
Excellent
Overall
Excellent
Very Good
Availability
Browse Styles Here
Browse Styles Here

 

Yes, you may pay similar pricing between the stores but considering there are so many shady folks online these days, the alternative is to risk dealing with some unknown, untrusted person on Craigslist working out of their basement with no warehouse offering you “too good to be true” prices.

Speaking of which, Kahrs has a Minimum Advertised Price Policy (MAP) all retailers must comply by so I would be very wary of anything outside these guidelines.

 


Kahrs 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 and were the very first to pioneer the concept of engineered hardwood flooring so a they know a thing or two about them.

They currently have a large product range to choose from varying in sizes, species, patterns as well as finishes like hand scraped, 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 to them.

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 round far less sensitive to changes in humidity and temperature so they will not move around anywhere near as much.

Their 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 22 different collections:

Thickness
Collection
Number of Colors
Can Be Sanded?
1/4"
Living
7
NO
Habitat
4
NO
3/8"
Unity
8
Once
Rugged
5
Once
1/2"
Sonata
8
2-3
Canvas
16
2-3
Tres
8
2-3
5/8"
Chevron
4
2-3
Smäland
10
2-3
Da Capo
2
2-3
Shine
5
2-3
Scandinavian Naturals
3
2-3
European Naturals
2
2-3
American Naturals
3
2-3
Founders
6
2-3
Artisan
6
2-3
Harmony
8
2-3
World
3
2-3
European Renaissance
3
2-3
Capital
1
2-3
Grande
4
2-3
1.18"
Kährs Activity Floor
3
3

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

Let me make it really 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 cannot be resanded. 

The 3/8″ products in the Unity and Rugged collections can be resanded once while all the 1/2″ and 5/8″ products two-three times. Anything greater in thickness can be resanded three times however…

Please keep in mind it’s quite uncommon to resand your pre-finished floors if you buy them new. In fact there are only two cases I can think of where you would want to resand your entire floor anyway:

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

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

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

An alternative to completely refinishing your floors many are unaware of is you can 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 the cost of a new resand and restain and when you just want to give new life to a worn floor.

Here’s an overview of each different thickness and collections…


1. 1/4″ Thick – Living & Habitat Collections

 *Go with these product lines if you are looking for oak in both narrow strips and wide planks but with options of different stains ranging from snow white to almost black.
Oak Sugar Sample

Oak Sugar

Dark Kährs Oak

 Oak Gate

Oak Truffle Sample

Oak Truffle

 

Available Colors: 11

Comparison Shop This Line Here

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

They come in two Collections:

  • Living Collection – Oak Coffee FSC, Oak Meringue, Oak Shitake, Oak Sugar FSC, Oak Taro, Oak Truffle, Walnut Cocoa
  • 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 you’re 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 including installing over heating systems as well as floating and glue over concrete and plywood sub-floors.

 

Overall Thoughts On These Collections 

For an entry level product, these are among the very best I have seen and worked with.

Super easy to install with impeccable, 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 and because they are milled with such precision, you get as good as a fit as possible.

Clients immediately praise the product’s distinct look particularly the oil based finishes which really bring out the wood’s otherwise hidden hues into vivid, deep color. Kährs is able to achieve this effect 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 as well as being 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 clearly note this on all of their samples on their website so be sure to understand this before install. They note if the color change is mild to drastic so if this is going to cause any issue for you, then simply select one that has very little color change over time.

Now natural change in color over time is quite different to how they show once installed.

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

I am going to repeat the following point for each series because it cannot be emphasized enough: Depending on who installs this floor, make sure you or your installer know exactly what you’re doing.

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

The boards are longer than what most are used to working with but it should still be a very simple, straightforward and problem free installation if the instructions are followed correctly by an expeirenced installer.


2. 3/8″ Thick – Unity & Rugged Collections

*Go with these products if you like 1-strip white oaks and walnuts that have either a contemporary or rustic look without any red undertones.

Colors: 13

Sand Oak Sample

Sand Oak

Orchard Walnut Sample

Orchard Walnut

Husk Sample

Husk

Comparison Shop This Line Here

These collections of white oak give the floor a distinct true color and completely eliminates unwanted red undertones common in red oak products.

These floors can be glued down or floated.

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

They come in two Collections:
  • Unity Collection – Arctic Oak, Sand Oak, Reef Oak, Tin Oak, Harbor Oak, Garden Walnut, Orchard Walnut, Forest Oak
  • Rugged Collection – Oak Trench, Husk, Safari, Crater, Groove

You can sand floors in these collections once but please keep in mind you should only do this if you’re looking to change the color or remedy major damage throughout the floor.

The joints are all Kahr’s Woodlock® so installation is very simple and seamless.

 

Overall Thoughts On These Collections

The color options within these collections are on point and coordinate very well with any decor so they are very 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 not only changes over time but it can also appear different from different angles and lighting.

The walnut products are softer than oak and tend to show wear a little faster as a result 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.

Please do not after investing good money into purchasing these floors, 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 and it should be a breeze for them given the ease which these floors go down.

 


3. 1/2″ Thick – Sonata, 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.

Oak Grisailles Sample

Oak Grisailles

Oak Impasto Sample

Oak Impasto

Ash Vaila Sample

Ash Vaila

Available Colors: 27

Comparison Shop This Line Here

These collections give you options between 1 and 3 strip floors. The Sonata and Canvas are both 1 strip while the Tres gives you the 3 strip option.

These floors can be glued down or floated.

The Canvas Collection has a lot of the currently trending colors especially the greys 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 in the event you wish to change the color of your floor.

The joints are all Kahr’s Woodlock® so installation is very simple and seamless.

Here are the three Collections:
  • Sonata CollectionAsh Serrant, Staccato, Oak Meno, Oak Legato, Oak Tempo, Oak Forte, Oak Crescendo, Oak Dolce
  • Canvas Collection – Oak Strobe, Oak Moire, Oak Shade, Oak Sacra, Oak Chalk, Oak Hue, Oak Suede, Oak Nuback, Oak Bristle, Oak Impasto, Oak Grisailles
  • 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 and the best piece of advice I can give on this line is the extra money you put into these floors is very much worth it.

Some other products are really expensive for nothing but the thing I noticed most about working with these floors is not just how easy they are to install but believe it or not…you can see the quality.

The grain and coloring are so vivid and clear, they definitely have that wow factor even with the darker colors.

They all come with 20-25 year warranties but in my entire flooring career spanning over 17 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. This cannot be overstated!

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 going the online rote, always buy from legitimate online retailers.

If you’re investing good money in a quality product, it just make good sense to source it from the right places as well.

Comparison Shop This Line Here


4. 5/8″ Thick – Chevron, Småland, Da Capo, Shine, 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 as well as 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

Comparison Shop This Line Here

These are Kährs flagship series giving you the widest range of looks and colors to choose from ranging from the parquet wood floor look in the Chevron Collection to the cracked barn look in the Småland Collection.
They also have very highly sought after colors like silver and dark greys.
Spanning across 13 different collections, you will not be short on options and quite a few of them offer a unique floor that are difficult to find elsewhere. Check the World, European Renaissance and Scandinavian Naturals collections to get an idea.
Each collection is based on 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 1 and 3 strip floors. The Sonata and Canvas are both 1 strip while the Tres gives you the 3 strip option.

These floors can be glued down or floated except the Chevron Collection which must be glued.

The joints on all of these collections re either Kahr’s Woodlock® or Woodlock® 5S so installation is very simple and seamless.

Here are the all of the collections:
  • Chevron Collection – Chevron White, 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
  • Shine Collection – Opaque, Pearl, Fumoir, Black Silver, Black Copper 
  • Scandinavian Naturals Collection – Beech Viborg, Ash Kalmar, Ash Gotland 
  • European Naturals Collection – European Maple Salzburg, 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
  • Harmony Collection – Ash Alabaster, Oak Limestone, Oak Frost, Oak Cirrus, Oak Dew, 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 entire 5/8″ product line has been Kahr’s mainstay for quite some time and you simply get styles, colors, looks and overall appeal that’s hard to get anywhere else.

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 own 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 but then again, try to find a similar product with the same quality in construction and finish.

This is one of the reasons 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 greatly 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 this line is not cheap when compared to similar products but it does allow you to completely refinish it between 2-3 times. 

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. 

 


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

Beech

Hard Maple Sample

Hard Maple

Oak Activity Floor Sample

Oak

Available Colors: 3

Comparison Shop This Line Here

This floor has the mother of all construction and for good reason – it’s built to literally take a pounding.

Superior to traditional solid wood flooring, it is constructed using 4 layers (instead of 3 for it’s residential line) and comes in at a whopping 1.18″ thick. 

This allows for not only superior sound absorption but in a commercial sports setting, it allows the floor to be refinished 3 times over its lifetime which gives you a lot of mileage.

It comes in three good looking, neutral colors in three different species of wood to give you different grain options depending on your preference.

This floor must be installed as a floating floor over a level, smooth surface like concrete or plywood. Please see it’s 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 for it’s sound absorption as well as it’s superior stability because of it’s construction.

The color range is right on point since one can picture any of the available colors in a basketball court type setting without overwhelming it with details homeowners typically seek out like hand scraping, distressing, etc.

It’s designed to be purchased once and that’s it since it can be refinished up to three times which is way more than what’s usually required.

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

Always get a qualified, experienced installer especially with this floor as incorrect installation will be grounds for Kährs to dismiss any claim filed against it.

Throughout my flooring years, I have yet for the life of me 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, just follow the manufacturer’s instructions enclosed in each box, acclimate it as required and you will not have a problem with this floor.

 


 

 3 Other Very Important Factors

Taylor glue

 

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

Don’t just buy any adhesive but insist on what’s approved/recommended by Kahrs which is either 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 and if you tell them it was anything other than a satisfactory and/or approved adhesive, they will go back and file a report stating your warranty request is declined and the reason is “incorrect adhesive used”.

I’m warning you now, don’t buy just any glue because it will void your product warranty.

 

2. Transition pieces – All of these collections come with their own 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. Levelling/float – Prior to your floor being installed over concrete, the slab must be levelled to eliminate low spots.

There’s a difference between a level slab and a flat one. I have yet to see in all my years in this industry a single flat concrete slab! Don’t confuse the two. Leveling it doesn’t flatten it out, it just means you are filling 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 on this if they are doing the installation as this incurs an additional charge to your project.

As a guide, a bag of float, supplied and installed ranges anywhere between $40 – $80/bag.

 

4. Internet Purchases – It is vitally important you familiarize yourself with Kahr’s Internet Purchase Policy here 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.

Having said that, I have never had a single issue with these products such is their quality however that’s just a personal anecdote.

Hundreds of others online have also vouched for Kahrs via their own customer reviews but it’s important you understand where you stand when purchasing these floors online.

 


Final Thoughts

Quality custome review

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

I found the small things this company does to it’s products make for a terrific end user experience.

For example, their products are factory sealed in their boxes at a specific temperature and humidity so the materials inside the box are kept stable. This means it completely minimizes the need to acclimate the product but 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 as seamless joint as possible. The color and finish are noticeably more brilliant than competing products and the boards themselves are considerably heavier than what one is used to.

The various collections give you a very wide range to choose from depending on the look and finish you like as well as your anticipated frequency of refinishing them. If you’re undecided on which product to go for, simply start with the overall look you like (hand scraped, heavy grain, greys, log-cabin feel, contemporary, etc.) or color scheme and go from there.

The products are manufactured in Sweden with very high quality control and manufacturing standards where no cheap labor is used. As such, their products are among the world’s very best and as outlined above, it really shows.

They also happen to be a very ethical “green” company and only source their materials from suppliers who have very specific environmentally friendly accreditations. 

So should you buy these floors?

My answer is if you can afford it – absolutely.

I hope this review has been helpful to you if you’re considering this brand of hardwood flooring.