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Q: One visitor asked, "We are considering replacing carpet with a real wood plank floor in our family room. This room is on the first level of a 2 story house and is above grade. My concern is that even though we plan to use a hardwood, hickory to match our cabinets, wood still dents pretty easy. Would it be best to use solid 3/4 , or is the engineered as good on the hardness scale? Also, is hickory a good hardwood or, is something a lot better?"

A: The best engineered I have ever worked with is Mirage.
The solid wood surface is about as thick as the wear layer on a solid 3/4 board, which means it could be sanded as many times. Having said that, I don't believe that the product is any harder on it's surface just because it is engineered. If the elevation is good for solid wood and there are no other reasons to consider anything different, I would go with the solid 3/4 floor.
I have never had opportunity to sand a hickory floor. It is only recently that I have seen it appearing in my suppliers show room. My kitchen cabinets are hickory with a light stain, and if my timing was a bit better, I would have gotten the Hickory to match. I went with Birch instead, and I like the look but, and it has, as I expected, proven to be a little too soft for that room. I have to live with it now. Hickory is very hard though. Harder than Maple, I believe. I would just make sure when you get the product that it is not a low grade and that the milling is good, and that there are not many severely bent boards. Anything wider than 3" and up is hard to straighten. Harder is not always better. Maple is harder than oak. However, it shows marks much more severely than oak does since it has a very tight grain which shows all. The wide grain of oak tends to hide little scuffs, dings, etc. Each type of wood species has it's own characteristics, plus and minus, but this does not make one type better than another in all situations. Personal taste and your environment play a big part too.

Related questions about wood floor installation:
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Types of Flooring
>Where can I find ebony flooring in Toronto?
>Is it a bad idea in general to screw/nail down part of a floating laminate floor?
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>Should we buy the thicker engineered hardwood?
>Would wide plank flooring would be suitable in the Edmonton, Alberta region, with its cold, dry winters?
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>Should a water vapor barrier be put down if the hardwood flooring is to be installed over osb over a full unfinished basement? How should the flooring be laid? Parallel or perpendicular to the floor joists?
>I'm planning to install 3/4" Hardwood in our rooms, but there are some uneven spots. Is there any kind of leveling compound we can use?
>Do I have to remove the old flooring in the kitchen for the transition to the rest of the house without having to put a subfloor under the rest of the house to bring it up to level with the kitchen floor or can I use some sort of transition strip?
>I understand that we have to install solid hardwood over 3/4" plywood. I'd like to install the plywood now and paint it. Can I later put hardwood down over the painted plywood?
> I installed 3/4 OSB directly over a concrete slab, above grade, with a vapor barrier Rosen paper and Nailed down 3/4 Maple. What problems can I look forward to?
>Is it possible to put something overtop the particle board before putting down carpeting or hardwood to help with sound proofing?
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>How can I level out the subfloor with the cement lips for installation?
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Ripping out Old Floors & Salvaging
>How do I remove an old floor?
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>Is there anyway to remove and relocate 3/8 strip flooring?
>How do I tear up these floors without damaging them further?
>Should I remove the glue on the parquet I tore out before I install it somewhere else?
>How do we remove the plywood sheeting and tiles that are on top of our hardwood?
>My foyer has 1/4 inch plywood glued down over the old hardwood. How do I remove it?
>I'm in the process of removing laminate floor titles that had been glued on oak hardwood floors in the dining room. eventually, I'll be getting the floors in the whole house sanded and refinished, but until then, is there aneasy way to get the sticky glue residue off without harming the wood? Or canI at least put something down that won't be a problem come sanding time butwill keep me from sticking every time I walk on it?
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>Installing damaged salvaged maple flooring?
>How do I remove tile to install a hardwood floor?
>How and how long do I dry this salvaged maple?
Radiant Heat and Sound Proofing
>Can I install hardwood over radiant heat?
>We have some concern about noise/sound insulation. what is the best product to use? How should it be installed?
>I would like to have my floors redone so there will no more uneven floor and sound proof a little in the process. What do you suggest here?