Our New White Oak Hardwood Floors

When I realized that we would have to replace all of the flooring in our Finn Fixer Upper, I was a bit overwhelmed. Overwhelmed at the high cost of labor and materials for this project (ouch!), but also overwhelmed when it came to choosing the perfect flooring for our entire home. I explained my thought process back in this post and I’m sooooo excited to share that I’m obsessed with the white oak hardwood floors we ended up using! They’re just soooooo pretty.

Narrowing Down the ChoicesOur dark hardwood floors in our Chicago condo

In our last home, we had our hardwoods refinished in the color “Jacobean” and they were a lovely dark shade with gray undertones. Wanting to do something a bit different with our new house, I knew right away I wanted white oak hardwood floors.

Choosing hardwood floors for our new home

I ordered these samples from Stuga Studio and ultimately decided to go with the color “Oak Muse.” The color is exactly what I wanted…light, without any pink or green undertones. Plus, the plank size ( 5 inches) is really nice – not too wide and not too thin.

Note: It looks like Stuga recently changed the name to “Moonlight” on their website. It’s the same color as Oak Muse!

Oak Muse hardwood floorsA lot of you guys have asked if it’s hardwood flooring or engineered flooring. And the short answer is…both, kinda. It’s real Swedish wood that can be refinished over and over again, just like any hardwood flooring. I like that because a future owner could always sand and stain them a different color down the line. And they should last for 100+ years! But unlike traditional hardwood floor planks, these are engineered into a wood locking system so there isn’t any separation between boards.  In our condo, we had one spot of water damage by our back doors where the floor planks bubbled and separated. The locking system prevents separation from seasonal humidity, which is what I reallllly liked about the product.

Installation Options

The floors we went with have three installation options…glue, nail, or float. I honestly had no idea which one would be the best for our home and I chatted with my contractor, Patrik, about all three options. The most labor-intensive (and therefore most expensive) was the glue option and the cheapest was the floating option. He recommended the floating option for our house, so we went that route for the second level.

I was worried about the floating option feeling hollow or “bubbly” on certain parts of the floors. I ended up buying this underlayment (similar) to make things cushier and give some extra padding. It’s also important that your floor is level because if it isn’t, you might have some bubbled spots with the floating installation.

Running Into an Issue

On the second level, the master bedroom floor isn’t super level. Because of this, we noticed a few hollow feeling spots in the room after the floor was floated on top of it. Not loving that feeling, we had Patrik pull up a few boards and nail them into the plywood underneath. This made things a lot sturdier!

After that, we decided to go with the nail down technique on the first level. Wow, it turned out great. It feels really solid and there aren’t any “bouncy” spots. If you’re going with floors from Stuga, I recommend nailing if possible!

Getting to the Finish Line

Old flooring in the house

If you guys remember, we had to replace all of the subfloors in the front of the house because they were unstable, rotting, and sagging in some parts. Patrik then laid plywood over the floor joists to make a level floor from the front of the house through to the back.Plywood subflooring

Upstairs, he ripped out the carpet and the area underneath was already plywood, so that was easier to prep for the new white oak hardwood floors.

Oak wood stairs

The stairs were actually in great shape and Patrik was confident he could color match the stain to the new white oak color. He sanded, stained, and sealed them instead of ripping out the wood completely.

White Oak Hardwood FloorsBefore and after home renovation

Here are our new white oak hardwood floors. I’m in l-o-v-e. The light color is perfection and really brightens up every single space. Each plank has so much character, yet it isn’t overwhelming with too many knots or too much detailing.

I also adore the matte sheen on these because they don’t have a glare at all. And the best part? They hide so much dirt, which was actually a big surprise for me. Our place has been a mess with so much construction dust, yet these don’t show it at all. It’s crazy how dirty they are, yet they still look pretty damn amazing! Yessss!

Before & After – Our New Flooring

Master bedroom before
Our new hardwood floors
Before photos of the railings in our home
New hardwood floors after
Stairwell before
White oak hardwood floors

Maintenance & Cleaning

The floors come with special maintenance instructions which I plan to follow closely. They recommend dry cleaning most of the time, so I’ll just plan to zip around with my Dyson vacuum on a regular basis. Then, when they need a really good cleaning, I will use the cleaning solution from Stuga. I bought the kit that comes with the floors and I plan to use that to keep them looking their best.Our new hardwood floors

We are all about furniture pads and rug pads, so we will use those when it’s time to move in. We’ve also had lots of success with these Furniture Feet on chairs that we use all the time. Sometimes those dang felt pads can fall off and these stay nice and secure on the legs of your furniture (yes, they may look a little silly, but they get the job done).Our new white oak hardwood floors

We’re also a no-shoes-in-the-house type family. Not to say that we’ll shame anyone who walks through the door with shoes on, but personally, we like to take our shoes off at the door to prevent excess crap from coming into our house. We’ll definitely take our shoes off when we finally move into our place!Our new white oak hardwood floors

Overall, I’m very pleased with the floors we chose for our house. Yes, they were expensive in both labor and materials. But I know we’ll love them for years to come and they really set the tone for the rest of the transformation.

Have you used floors like these before? How have they held up for you? Any tips for keeping them looking good?


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.

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