anyway, open ear here on advice before i spend nearly $4,000 on flooring. i really did want to keep the cost around $2.00sq but the quality seems to suffer down there quite a bit.[/quote]
I'm sure you have heard the old adage about quality and cheap price. You can't have both. When you look at LL's better stuff, they have quite a selection. So if you are looking for something different, I would give them a second look. Most of their better stuff is from Bella wood. Seems to have a very nice, tough finish and carries a 50 year warranty, whatever that means. If you are leaning toward the hickory, make sure it's straight. Hickory is pretty tuff stuff. If you get a bunch of bowed wood, you'll have a fight on your hands. I recently put in some some Australian cypress from LL and was very pleased with it. You could also check into renting a flooring nailer for a few days. Should be quite a bit cheaper than buying one. Nails aren't that expensive.