Oh I have sooo much to say about our floors. As a very indecisive, lover of all-the-things kind of person, many of my choices come to be based on the question “what will I not get tired of right away?” Sort of backwards processing, but it works for me.
The other factor can be the skill level required for a certain product installation, and are we up to the time/labor/skill level challenge? I’ve said it before, but our ultimate DIY goal, is not to have our projects look DIY!
Both of those definitely came into play when choosing our floors. I had originally planned on using a solid unfinished white oak floor. I found a supplier online with reasonable prices and one or two tutorials where homeowners actually installed their own. I felt like I would have the freedom to finish and re-finish them to my hearts desire, and loved knowing they were a solid product.
I took my hubby to a few flooring stores one day, just to make sure we were on the same page as far as the look I was going for and we fell in love with an engineered pre-finished hardwood. We were so tempted by the ease of installing our floors and being done with the process (no sanding, staining, applying 3 coats of sealer and sanding in between each- which frankly terrified us). However, the price tag knocked us back down, and we gave up the dream.
Knee-deep in demolition, I was just about to pull the trigger on the unfinished floors, when I did a quick internet search and found the exact engineered floors for almost HALF the price! When we figured in the final cost of finishing the other floors, these became a viable option. And at this point in the renovation, the thought of the extra steps and uncertainty of our abilities in finishing the floors like a pro, made the engineered option even more attractive than ever.
So we did it. Now I have to tell you, the exact floors we ended up with are not the original ones we loved, but very very similar. I saw the ones we choose in an IG picture of a builder in Texas and messaged them for more information. After checking out a sample from a local store, we loved the quality of these and the fact that they came in an even wider width more. I was able to find them at the same online retailer for so much less than I could source locally.
I didn’t plan on choosing a floor that was as dark as this, but I could not for the life of me find one with a realistic looking rustic texture in a lighter tone I loved without being too red, too gray, too orange, etc. And hubby has always been drawn to dark floors, so we went for it!
I was soooo nervous for them to arrive. It was our biggest purchase for the renovation yet, based on a small sample and a few internet pics, and for heavens sake we ordered them ONLINE! But when I opened the first box, I breathed a sigh of relief- they were exactly what we had envisioned and we love them!
We watched hundreds of you-tube videos, thoroughly read the manufacturers instructions, and got to work laying them.
The first day was a little slow as we figured things out. Where to start, how to go around corners and keep a continuous flow between the rooms, how to do doorway transitions, how to keep everything square?
We measured the different start/stop points throughout the space to make sure we wouldn’t end up with any slivers of pieces after we worked our way to a wall, and then finally we just went for it! We lost a few boards to inexperience with our nail gun, which is one of the reasons they recommend you order a little more.
By the end of day two, we had the majority of the space finished. Similar to when we did the fireplace stones, you really want a random look, which takes quite a bit of intentional placement to achieve. We would lay out two or three rows at a time to ensure we were staggering the seams nicely and varying the different length boards, and then would nail them all down.
It felt so amazing to start moving our furniture back in, eat dinner together at our table, and of course, put up our tree in time for Santa.
We finished up the last few spaces over the next week and weekend, and were overall pleased with how easily everything came together. So much easier than laying tile!
I have to admit, part of me still wishes we would have attempted the unfinished floors. I think we could have done it, but I truly do love what we ended up with. Maybe in the next house 😉.