The more I think about the idea of v-joints, the more I think they actually reduce the lifespan of the floor. The joints, regardless of how “micro,” will tend to collect things like dirt, or other abrasives. Although Mirage and Lauzon are suposedly well-rated, they don’t seem to offer unfinished, non-v joint wood.
Is there a high-quality (Select and Better) brand of wood you recommend that doesn’t have v-joints? As you indicated, sanding v-jointed wood is like throwing money down the drain.
I only hope more people are using their common sense like you and are returning to well sanded and finished hardwood flooring. My poly finished floor will last at least 23 years now and counting. Should go about 40 years before cracking a crazing sets in on these reactive varnishes.
As to brands, choose something locally made by a reputable mill. Almost all hardwood mills still make unfinished wood flooring. It still makes up half the wood flooring market. Check with your local flooring contractors as to where they buy their material. Every major city will have several of these stores. It will still be at a wholesale type store, but one that caters mostly to tradesmen. Use local material, also because long distance shipping will add too much to the final cost, and a local supplier using NOFMA grading standards (and the NOFMA stamp) cannot cheat you. Don’t confuse NOFMA with NWFA (the later is just a wood floor marketing association).
Visit the NOFMA site and see the standards they certify flooring with at http://www.nofma.org