Our New Stained Hardwood Floors

The first renovation project in our new place is officially done and we are LOVING the results.

Family-Room-Before-AugustaYou guys remember our shiny, yellow hardwood floors…reminiscent of a high school gymnasium?

living-room-augusta-dark-hardwood-floorWell those are officially G-O-N-E and in its place we have dark stained hardwood that is polished & scratch-free!

augusta-master-bedroom-floors-dark-hardwoodAren’t the floors just beautiful?

scratches-in-hardwood-floorBut let’s back track shall we? When looking at our new home for the first time, one of the first things we both commented on were the floors. Not only were we both not in love with the color & sheen, but there were lots of scratches and dents throughout the home. Not cool. We didn’t want this to be a deal breaker if we got the home or not, but as first time homeowners we had no idea how much something like that would cost to change. $500? $5,000? #clueless

scratches-in-hardwoodI contacted a friend who had just had her hardwoods redone here in Chicago and she reassured me that the price would not be astronomical. That conversation helped seal the deal for our new place. We were in, and the first thing on the to-do list would be to fix the floors prior to our move-in date. I got quotes from a few companies in Chicago, and ended up going with someone who had stellar reviews. I booked him to start the day after we closed on the unit.

hardwood-floor-suppliescovering-kitchen-with-plasticWhile waiting for our closing date I spent many hours pinning hardwood floor images on Pinterest, looking for the perfect shade & sheen. I knew I wanted something dark, without any traces of red in it. After reading other blogs and posts, I found out that dark hardwoods show everything. Like everything. Any crumb, dust, or dirt is fairly visible on that color hardwood. Yikes. That’s not good for this clean freak.

But digging even deeper, I read that the sheen of the floors can play a big role in what is visible on the floor. The more matte you go the less scratches, dents, and dirt that show. That made me feel more at ease and I decided that a dark color with a satin sheen was going to be our winner. Yes it would definitely still show dirt (wah wah), but to me it’s worth it for the “look” I want in our home. Plus I am a swiffering machine.

On Day 1, our flooring contractor sanded down all of the floors in our place with a huge machine. We stayed out of the way as he got to work because dust and wood chips were flying everywhere. A few hours later we came back to pick out the exact stain color. I told him I wanted to see some dark options, but needed to see them in the space before we gave him the green light.


He put down 5 shades of stain directly onto the floor. When he first poured out the stain I gasped. It’s crazy to see a whole bucket of stain being POURED onto your new home’s floors…so I was a little freaked. But he’s a pro, so I got over it very quickly! Then the hard part came. We had to choose a color! I was between the color “Dark Walnut” & “Jacobean” (top 2 on the left), but ultimately went with “Jacobean” (middle left). What sealed the deal was that it has gray undertones and the flooring contractor said our maple floors would take that color a bit better than the other.

I told him to go for it, and we left our home in his hands so he could get to work.

Fast forward a few days, and I get a call from our flooring guy saying he has a big problem. Uh oh. The floors were stained and he was getting ready to seal them when he noticed a puddle of water on the ground near our bedroom sliding doors. There was a crazy intense storm the night before (picture sideways rain!), and that was the culprit for the water. He cleaned up the water, but it did damage the hardwood a bit. I wanted to rush over there immediately to take a look, and have a professional come seal our door better…but we couldn’t because of the floors! He had already put the stain on the ground and you couldn’t walk into the unit for at least 48 hours.

Finn-tarp-augusta-homeowner-water damageOh-em-gee. Our first trial as homeowners and we couldn’t even rush to our new home to check out the damage! Ahhhh. I was obviously freaked out, but Finn & I calmed down, thanked God that it wasn’t any worse, and put up this big ol’ tarp on the outside of our glass windows, all the while peering into our windows to try to get a better look at the damage. I’m sure our new neighbors think we’re complete crazies with the big blue tarp…but there was no way in heck we were letting any other water come into our home until a pro could come fix the seal on the door.

Luckily it all worked out and both the floor & the door seal are now good to go. And I must say it was well worth the wait to come home to these shiny new floors…family-room-wall-dark-wood-floorsDark-jacobean-wood-floors-hardwood-augusta-familyroom

Augusta-guest room-hardwood-floors

So now instead of this…


We have this!

master-bedroom-floors-augustaAnd those scratches from before?scratches-in-hardwoodThey’re all gone!hardwood-dark-jacobean-floors-augusta

We can officially cross our first big to-do as homeowners off the list! Number 2 on that never-ending list? Paint!

I’ll be back next week with all of the details about our new wall colors. And in the meantime, anyone have any good recommendations for hardwood floor cleaning products? I want to keep these babies lookin’ good and can use all the help I can get!


  • Summer Hogan

    Wow, they look great! Love the dark color!

  • Those floors are beautiful!

  • Heather

    They did a top notch job! I love using Murphys oil soap (the smell of clean to me), but I have also heard good things about Bona. I haven’t used it personally.

    • Totally agree, Heather. And yes, I’ve heard good things about Bona too. I actually asked the floor guy and he said to do water & vinegar….that sounds like it’s gonna be very smelly. Hmmmmm

  • Trang

    What a change that made! Absolutely beautiful. So exciting to see!
    I have hardwood floors and over the years with young kids and pets, it’s taken its toll so some day, I will also need to re-finish mine. I’d have to move out for a few days though during the process I hear.
    I use Bona on my floors currently and have no issues with it.

    • Thanks Trang! It totally transformed the entire place.

      Yeah we wanted to wait to do the floors (since we feel like we’re spending money like crazy), but seemed like it would be difficult to do with anything in the home. It made quite a mess!

      And thanks for the Bona tip! I’ll have to look into it since that’s what everyone has been recommending.

  • Mila

    Any suggestions on professionals to seal doors? We have some doors that blow ALL of winter into our apartment, but I dont know where to start!

    • Mila,

      Great idea to seal the doors before winter comes! We used a place called ROMA which was recommended by a contractor friend. We worked with Kristy and she was super nice & very helpful.


      good luck!

  • What a difference!

    And do tell the story about having to scale the wall to get access your patio to put up the tarp!

    • hahahaha Elise..that would be hilarious. We have a rear entrance to our condo as well, so luckily we have stairs that go to our balcony. Oh em gee though…how crazy would it be if we had to scale the wall!? I can just picture it now. I think we’re too old to be that athletic anymore. 🙂

  • Ashley Sorrick

    Wow your new floors are beautiful!! I had no clue that you could redo them like that!

    • I didn’t either, but I’m so happy we did! Made a world of difference.

  • Excellent choice! Oh I am so in love with your new floors!

  • Colleen Bansley

    OMG the floors look gorgeous! Need your guys info! And eesh I can’t believe the door/water damage. Ugh unneeded stress. I am freak about my floors and we have the dark stain too. Yes you can see everything but you get over it. Dry swiffer sheets for sure! Do not use the swiffer wet jet! I clean our floors with warm water and vinegar combined in a bucket. I read on someone’s FB page that they add a teensy bit of dawn to that combo so I just tried it and it was fine, no damage to the floors. I invested in a dyson and use the attachment on the hardwood floors. The suction is great and it doesn’t scratch the floors. I have 2 kids who play with lots of toys on the floors so I have given up on being a spaz about scratches, but they are there. Oh well. No one else notices but me. Can’t wait to see the paint colors!!

    • Thanks for the tips Colleen! can’t wait until you can come see them in person.

  • Thanks for the information, Sandy!! I will have to pick up one of these mops!!

  • Nicole

    Your floors look awesome!!! Could you tell me the name of the company the you used to refinish them….. Thanks!

    • Hey Nicole!
      We used premier floors online. We worked with a man named Radu, and he really is a wood specialist!

      Good luck!

  • michelle dunn

    I love your floors. How wide are the planks? I have wanted to redo my woods floors and thought I would have to start over from scratch but yours look amazing and I would rather just refinish what I have .

    • Hey Michelle! Thanks so much. They’re actually not too wide. I’d guess about 4-6 inches in width? Just refinishing and re-staining made a huge difference for us! Hopefully it works for you too!