FAQ About Our White Oak Floors
At least a few times a week, I’ll get a question about our white oak floors that we had installed in the summer of 2019. Do we like them? Would I buy them again? How do I clean them? I figured it would be helpful to write an entire blog post answering all of those FAQ, while also reviewing how these floors look a year after installing them.
Our White Oak Floors – The Details
When we bought our house back in May 2019, we wanted to simply refinish the oak hardwood floors…sand them down, stain them a light color, and seal them up. Unfortunately, they weren’t salvageable and we even found that the subfloor underneath them was rotting and unstable. That was one of the curses of buying a 100-year-old house! We ended up removing the oak flooring and donating the wood locally. That meant I had to quickly find new flooring for our house while my contractor worked on fixing the subfloor.
On the first floor, my contractor laid new plywood over the floor joists to make everything stable. Upstairs, he ripped up the carpet and we found that the plywood underneath was in good shape so we were able to keep it!
We ended up going with these white oak floors from Stuga Studio. The color was called “Oak Muse” at the time, but now it looks like they call it “Moonlight” on their website. It’s a great color (not too pink, yellow, or green) and the plank size is 5 inches wide.
Adding this new flooring transformed our entire house. Here are a few before and afters…
Now, let’s dive into some of the frequently asked questions I receive about my white oak floors.
Are they real hardwood?
Is it real hardwood flooring or engineered flooring? 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. The locking system prevents separation from seasonal humidity, which is what I really like about the product.
Did we float, glue, or nail them in?
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 (which is where they started the install). I ended up buying this underlayment to make things cushier and give some extra padding.
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. It felt kinda bouncy. 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 and it feels really solid without any bounce. If you’re going with these floors, I recommend nailing them down, but talk with your installer because every floor is different.
What about the 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. Sorry, I don’t have the exact stain color he used.
How have they held up?
BEAUTIFULLY. Honestly, I’m so surprised by how sturdy these floors are. In our old home, we had hardwood floors that we refinished when we bought the place. Unfortunately, they got really beat up, even with us being extra careful around them. High heels were the enemy of those floors, so I was always worried when we entertained. I didn’t want to make guests take their cute shoes off, so our floor had quite a few divots. Eek.
This floor doesn’t have one divot or scratch on it. The only area where we had any damage was underneath our old fridge. It was constantly leaking, hence the ever-present towel underneath it, and the water got under the floors and bubbled it up. We knew we would be replacing the flooring there anyway, with our kitchen renovation, so we didn’t sweat it. And the good thing about these floors is you can easily take a section out and replace it if you see any damage. For that reason, I would highly recommend buying extra flooring just in case! We bought extra, knowing that we would someday renovate the kitchen.
Do they show a lot of dirt?
Our old floors were dark and I felt like they showed a lot of dirt. These are better. I mean, if our floors are filthy you’ll definitely see the dirt. But I don’t think the color of the floors or style highlights the dirt any more than it should.
How do we clean them?
I try my best to follow the maintenance instructions that came with the flooring. They recommend dry cleaning most of the time, so I typically just zip around with my Dyson vacuum a few times a week. I also just got a robot vacuum for our first floor, so we’ve been using that too. (More on that little gadget coming soon!)
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 it works great. If I really want to deep clean them (which let’s be honest, doesn’t happen as often as it should!), I will get on my hands and knees with a rag and hot bucket of water with a splash of Lysol in it. It makes the entire house smell amazing!
How much did they cost?
All in, the flooring project cost about $25,000. This included removing all of the old hardwood and carpet, as well as disposing of the materials ($5k), repairing the subfloor, laying new subfloor, and laying the new hardwoods ($8k). It also included the cost of the hardwood for the entire home, totaling 2,200 square feet ($12k).
Keep in mind, not all floors need to be replaced like mine did. Most can actually be stripped and resurfaced at a much lower cost. We did that in our first home and you can read about it here.
Would we buy them again?
YES! If anyone ever asks me, I always tell them the truth…these floors are expensive but they’re worth it!
So there you go, all of the details about our white oak floors. It’s a year later and I still absolutely love them. If you have any other questions about these babies, be sure to ask in the comments below and I can update the post!
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.