Choosing Hardwood Floors for the New House
When we first walked into our new home, I was delighted to find hardwood floors throughout the main floor and most of the second level. I thought that I would be able to have the floors refinished just like we did in our condo. We had them sanded and stained before we moved in for about $1,500, so I figured our new house would be in the $3-5k range. Not cheap, but not terrible.
Then I brought my contractor through the house and he squashed my dreams of keeping the floors. After close examination, he showed me that there was water damage, buckled boards, and lots of separation between the wood boards.
Plus, if we were taking down walls and ripping out carpet, we would want all of the hardwoods to match throughout the entire house. The only way to get amazing looking floors again was to rip them out and start over. Ughhhhhh.
Choosing New Floors
After that conversation, I started doing my research to figure out the best kind of flooring for us. We babied the hardwood floors in our condo, not allowing anyone to wear heels in the house and being extra careful with them. And our maple floors ended up getting pretty beat up. Scratches from chairs, dents from dropped items in the kitchen, and just regular wear and tear happened over the almost 4 years of living there.
So my main goal was to find something that would be a bit more durable, yet still stylish. After seeing Chris Loves Julia use flooring from Stuga Studios in their cabin, I was immediately intrigued by this company. All of their floors are a bit more fashion-forward with wider planks and lighter colors. After reading about them, I learned that Stuga only carries floors from Kahrs of Sweden, which is basically the oldest hardwood flooring company in the world. Plus, when you lock two boards together you can hang a car from it…it’s that sturdy! I liked the sound of that since we dealt with some board separation in our condo.
Picking the Perfect Color
I ended up looking at lots of samples from all sorts of flooring companies, but I kept coming back to the floors from Stuga. I decided to order a few large samples so I could see them in person and also test them out in the space.
I got samples of Oak Crisp, Oak Muse, and Oak Nouveau Gray to try out in the house.
While I liked the look of the Oak Crisp online, it was far too light and whitewashed when I checked out the sample. In some light, it even looked a little pink. So I knew that we could take that one out of the running immediately.I really liked the Oak Muse color when I pulled it out of the box. It was light, but not too white. Plus, it didn’t have any pink or green undertones. It stayed in the running.
Here’s Oak Nouveau Gray. It’s really pretty and I love that it’s dark, but not too dark. Plus, gray is a favorite of mine.
But in the end, I decided to go with Oak Muse! I’m trying to make my choices in this home different from our condo. So, since I did dark flooring there, I wanted to try out a white oak look in the new house. I think it will really brighten up the space and make it more contemporary.
Oak Nouveau Gray came in second, but I worried a gray hardwood floor may be a bit too trendy. I want these floors to be a classic choice so we can enjoy them for years to come! And I think the Oak Muse is the perfect one for us!
The Cost of New Hardwood Floors
Guys, hardwood floors aren’t cheap. In fact, the biggest chunk of our renovation budget is devoted to the hardwood flooring costs. Installation is $2.50 per square foot and these floors cost $5.75 per square foot. This doesn’t include the cost of ripping out the old floors, tearing up the carpet, and disposing of all of the materials. Yikes. You do the math for a 2,200 square foot house…it ain’t cheap.
But replacing flooring is one of those tasks that I would urge everyone to consider before moving in. Replacing hardwoods (or even staining them) is a big disturbance to your everyday life, so you don’t want to be living there when it goes down. We figure these floors will be an integral part of our home, so we might as well spend money where it counts! Or at least that’s what we keep telling ourselves…
Prepping to Install The New Floors
Most wood floors need to acclimate to the humidity of the home for up to two weeks before installation. Stuga floors don’t have to acclimate and you can install them right away. I ordered the floors online and had them delivered to the house within two weeks. Then, ginormous pallets of flooring boxes were delivered to our garage (which was exciting, but also slightly terrifying). The floors can be floated, glued, or nailed down and after chatting with my contractor about all three options, we decided to go with floating. We’re using this underlayment to protect from moisture, and he’s confident that floating is the best way to prevent any gaps or buckling in the long run. Plus, it’s a bit cheaper than the other installation methods and I’ll take any cost savings I can get!
Installing the new floors should happen by the end of the month, so I’ll keep you guys updated as we make more progress. Immediately my contractor ripped all of the flooring out, so it’s been an interesting sight for the past few weeks. But I’m sooooo eager to see these white oak floors laid down in the new home. It’s going to make the entire house feel more contemporary and fresh immediately. Stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks.
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.