Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Picking out the floors

Well hello! I’m happy to announce we have some progress with the floors in the kitchen and family room. Nothing is torn up, nothing is laid down, nothing is even picked out. But the insurance company has given us the green light to move forward and that is AWESOME news!

I’m clicking my heals over here! (OK, in my head…I’ve tried doing it for real and it ain’t pretty.)

I told  you a couple of weeks ago about the water issues we had in the kitchen – and since then we’ve lived with a big rectangle cut out of the floor, down to the plywood. Thankfully most of that plywood is covered with our island again (I’ll catch you up on that soon), but we’ve got that pesky problem of covering the hole to deal with.

That means picking out floors. And if I thought buying a new sofa was bad, wowza…that was nothin’. This is BIG people. Very, very BIG.

One thing we know for sure – we aren’t going back to laminate. I know – I professed my love of laminate here and I have loved our floors:

image

But that’s back when they looked pretty and shiny. ;) Over the years they have lost their shine – they are dull and will not clean up no matter what – I’ve tried absolutely everything. The only thing that works is getting down on the floor and working on one square foot at a time, and even then they are just dull and yucky.

Secondly, the water issue. Overall our floors have held up GREAT – but you just don’t mess with water and laminate. I’ve discovered it takes VERY little time for the water to seep into the floors and then spread. And they can’t be dried out – at least ours couldn’t. I believe there may be laminate flooring you can “patch” now (replace sections), but at least with the kind we got, it’s not easy (if even possible). And once bitten, twice shy you know…I just want to avoid this situation ever again if possible.

With real wood, or even engineered, the floors can be dried out and then repaired. Even then I know it’s not fun, but it can be done. (We’ve already ordered these to try to avoid water damage in the future.)

And now…because we’re tearing out the floors in the back of the house…we’re considering tearing out the carpet in the front of the house too. Mostly because of things like Christmas trees falling:

image

And (lots of) red ribbon staining the carpet. :) And our beautiful (late) pee cat (in the pic above) did her share. And the dog. And the cherry that was stuck to the bottom of my shoe while I walked around the living room the other day – that was awesome too.

Let’s just say, it’s not pretty. I will spare you the pictures. :)

So anyhoo…the insurance will cover most of the flooring, and we’re deciding if we’ll pay some extra to have the whole bottom floor done. I’m leaning toward yes. Hubby is leaning toward putting his hands over his ears yelling “nananananananaaaa I’m not listening!!” because of all of our mishaps this summer. I can’t say I blame him. ;)

I started out looking at engineered flooring, but our “Guy” says his “Guy” is saying we could do real hardwood for the same price. Specifically unfinished wood, finished on site (our house).

Say whaaaaa?

I’m still looking into all options – engineered, prefinished and unfinished. The unfinished and all the work involved is already giving me hives. With the sanding and staining and moving furniture out and US out and three animals and a fish out – HIVES.

Our Guy swears we won’t have to be out of the house, but I think he’s sweet talkin’ me. I’m definitely leaning toward engineered or prefinished. So he brought  me a prefinished sample today and I’ve been showing her around the place. ;)

I picked out the laminate floors to match our kitchen cabs, which I will do again – umm…never. Wayyyy too much reddish going on. I like the contrast with these dark beauties:

Check them out against the black island:

Oh la la!! :)

I tested her out with the sofas – in the living room:

And in the family room, with the rug:

My heart was beating a bit faster. ;)

But I think I may have squealed a little (out loud) when I tried it up against the white dresser in the living room:

OH my gah. That. is. gorgeous.

And then I about passed out when I put her up against the white molding and the drapes:

Oh be still my heart, I am in LOVE. Is it bad to pick the first sample you see? (Those last few pics are more the actual color – it looks reddish up above.)

But I still need to look around – I’m a compare 342 options and then research it on 289 web sites kind of girl. This site is by far the best I’ve found to explain the different options in flooring and what you should look for. Check it out if you are trying to figure out the flooring conundrum yourself.

I’d also like to check out wider planks too – the sample has 3 1/2 inch planks and I’d like to see the four inch. I also love the look of the hand-scraped wood, but our Guy has mentioned that many he’s worked with have had issues with those. I’m not sure of the specifics yet, but I’m going to dig deeper on that one.

And of course there’s the budget – if engineered is cheaper, we’ll most likely go with that. But he keeps telling us we can do real for the same price. I don’t even know how that’s possible, but I want to trust Guy. ;)

So…again, I ask you to help a girl out! Any advice? I know I’ve asked before, but I would LOVE specifics! If you could pick between engineered and wood, what would you do? What reasons? Have you had issues with either? Happy with one over the other? Did you go prefinished or finished on site?

I’ve never had wood floors and never thought in a million years I would – but here I am, looking at wood floors.

That is why I never say never. Ever. ;)

I’m hoping to make this the fastest, most well informed decision ever, so hopefully I’ll have an update for you soon! Thanks in advance for all your help, my Squeeeeezies. I REALLY appreciate it! :)

173 comments:

  1. We just did a major remodel and I faced the same decision when it came to flooring. We chose site finished floors for a variety of reasons: resale value, the ability to refinish them if need be and the maintenance. We had prefinished flooring in our previous home and all those grooves where the boards meet seemed to be a magnet for dirt and forget if any liquid gets in there and you don't get to it. The wood will warp fast. My new floors are pretty much the same color as your sample and I LOVE them. A simple solution of vinegar and water cleans them and I love having a classic hardwood floor. Hope that helps. It's a big decision. Also, you didn't ask but we put a faux hardwood tile in the bathrooms and the color matches our hardwoods almost perfectly. Most people don't even realize they are standing on tile and not hardwoods.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have no practical advice for you at all, since I have laminate myself. Just want to say that the sample you showed is simply gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love the dark color! I don't have a lot of advice but on Nate Berkus yesterday he showed of his apartment an din his office he had the floors laid in a zig zag pattern which was amazing!! I don't know if it's a possibility for you but it looked like chevron or herringbone. Gorge!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I {heart} the color!!! And just for the record, your post had me crackin' up the entire time! :) xo

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am all about the real wood floor. Would never have a carpet again if I had my say! We put down real wood and it wasn't as horrible as I thought it was going to be. Even the dust wasn't that bad. Would highly recommend it :)

    One quick thing is if you pull up any flooring and there are urine stains from pets, make sure that you use Kllz Ordorless "Seals in Stains". It is a great product and the only way to totally eliminate any smells. I used it on our sub floors and would highly recommend it :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. (I love reading your site!!) Um, okay. I've never gotten to choose engineered floors. But I have refinished hardwood floors. TWICE. When I was in high school, my dad decided that we should rip up all the carpeting & refinish all the floors (aside from the kitchen & bath - tile). While we lived there. UGH!! It's definitely do-able, but you get to live with plastic drop cloths sectioning off rooms at a time, and the dust getting everywhere. The second time I refinished hardwoods was not even 2 years ago, in our first home as a married couple. We bought the house, and did it ourselves, before moving anything into the home. It was very hard work, but I loved being able to go elsewhere to sleep for the night & not wake up to an on-going HUGE project in our front room.

    I feel like I kinda know you from reading your blog...and I think you'd get twitchy from the rooms being worked on one @ a time w/ the hanging drop cloths. And did I say dust? Everywhere. Dust. Since you're so clean (a good thing!), I'd do whatever you want for floors, but take a vacation while they're being worked on. Go to Disney. Or the local organizers convention. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  7. The SAME thing happened to me in my kitchen. Our fridge leaked and we didn't know it until it was too late and the laminate floor was starting to get "wavy" and was lifting! What a nightmare!! I don't know why we didn't use our insurance...Maybe our deductible was really high (my husband was unemployed at the time.) My husband learned how to install vinyl flooring and we found a piece for a very reasonable price. I LOVE it..for now. We still have the laminate in the living and hall and plan to replace with real wood when we can afford it. Bottom line, laminate is cheap and you get what you pay for AND NEVER, NEVER install in a kitchen or, God forbid, a bathroom!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I say only do tile in your kitchen. There is a tile that looks like wood planks and I love it! Atleast look into it!

    ReplyDelete
  9. this sample looks just like the wood we just put down in 3 of our rooms (thats all we could afford). It is amazing and looks great with everything, just don't do what we did which is let the "guys" put down the same color quarter round as the floor. According to hubs its supposed to match our white baseboards and NOT the floor and everytime he looks at it he's irritated. I said I would paint it and I just got one of those "looks". Good Luck and don't drive yourself too crazy looking at too much!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I've been reading your blog for a while now but have never chimed in. I felt compelled to do so now. I work for a high end custom home builder in Park City and we install a lot of hardwood floors in our clients' homes.

    In my personal home, I have engineered hardwood (it came with the house). My advice to you is to go real wood all the way and avoid anything super dark. Ask your guy for a sample that's a shade lighter than the color shown in your pictures. Here's why, real hardwood floors can be easily refinished if they get minor surface scratches but you'll notice them more the darker your floors are. (not to mention general foot traffic, dust, etc). We have two dogs and no kids so I can only imagine the cleaning upkeep a bigger family would require.
    Is the wood shown oak? That would be your least expensive option. Hand-scraped will cost you more but is one of my favorite floor treatments. Getting unfinished wood and having it finished onsite is a great way to go.

    Engineered wood cannot be refinished and will show everything, especially in a darker finish. I asked our go-to floor guy what to do about the scratches in my floor and he told me not to walk on them. Ever. Like that's reasonable. We're hoping to replace them with 4" walnut. Someday.

    Can't wait to see what you go with. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  11. THANK you for posting about your 'flood'... i had my own this MONDAY! my dishwasher hose disconnected... and well- laminate wood was toast! im living with the fans and dehumidifier now... yuck. those alarms?!?!?! omg- im buy 2 packs!! i never want this to happen again! thank you for sharing them!!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. our 1948 place has hardwood in the entire place-♥ that. It's light in color, but we are cool with it. If I could choose,though, I would go dark too :)

    BTW A friend of mine has hand scraped wood and they are gorgeous! On site color would be the way to go too...hit a hotel for a few days. Whatever you chose, enjoy the silver lining that your kitchen "flood" has brought you...

    ReplyDelete
  13. I've been a readerfor a while but never chimed in. Here's my humble opinion.

    We bought prefinished oak 3.5 inch planks and installed them ourselves. If you have a compound miter saw, a table saw, and a brad nailer, you could install them yourself too. However, there is a learning curve and it would be good if you knew someone who could come over and help. But we were able to do our entire main level, the stairs, and the landing because we supplied our own labor.

    Prefinished or not, they will look the same the first time you have them refinished (in 10 years or so depending on use). I haven't had any issues with dirt in-between boards because we nailed them in pretty tight. Professional installations should be similar. We love ours, and I think the real hardwood (instead of engineered) is totally worth it simply because you can refinish them and they add such value to your home.

    And we got our real hardwoods cheaper than engineered and even laminates like pergo. I think the materials were $2.49 a square foot. Check out lumber liquidators if they're in your area. Hardwoods are 100% worth it. But keep in mind that little dings and scratches add to the character, and don't expect them to always be perfect. If dings and scratches will bother you, be sure you get a "hard" hardwood like oak. The softer ones will scratch much easier.

    ReplyDelete
  14. If you are in your "forever house", go with hardwood that you love! Hardwood holds a shine better than any of the fakes and can be buffed and waxed to be GORGEOUS! It's your home so why shouldn't you enjoy beautiful real wood floors?? They take a bit more work but anyone coming to visit will be stunned by how lovely they are! Get the best you can afford without selling your first born child!

    If you see another home for yourself within two or three years, go with engineered. Don't spend the extra! You might get some of it back at resale, but not all. And leaving a beautiful wood floor behind for someone else to enjoy is reeeeealllly hard! Trust me on this! I've done it twice!

    Quarter round should match baseboard. I wouldn't trust a floor "guy" who tells you otherwise!

    Dark is good, but not so dark it has no life! My opinion.

    Good luck.

    ReplyDelete
  15. i think the quarter round should match the floor, and you can get real hardwood for the same price and some times cheaper. i've been pricing it out for the next house and what i've found for me is the hard wood i want is cheaper than the engineered. i can't wait to see what you do! congrats!

    ReplyDelete
  16. We've just almost finished our house (1 hall to go) with engineered and I've been where you are with all of the choices!

    In our last home we had Bruce hardwood (glue down) put down. It was the real stuff but our color choices were limited so I really was never crazy about the orangy oak color. Also what got us here was the glue was so expensive.

    In the new house I was determined to get a darker walnut color. So many people said don't go with the dark and I just ignored them. I now see what they mean. It shows every speck of dust, crumb etc. I must have been crazy to put it in the kitchen! I swear I have scratches right in the middle where I drop the groceries lol.

    But our decision basically boiled down to what I wanted to pay a square foot ( I think I hit around $2.20 a sq ft) and that we needed it to be click lock so we could do it ourselves. We've laid around 2000 sq feet so far and can lay a room in a few hours so it has been awesome from that aspect. I do miss how I could clean the floors at my old house and they would shine. You could hear them squeak clean. The engineered is more of a flat finish and never really shines like that.

    Also someone said above you can't refinished engineered. If I remember correctly you can do it once. If I had a choice I would have loved to do onsite hardwood but we had to stay in our budget :)

    Oh and in our kids rooms we decided to lay cork for our underlayment. It was the 6mm I think. It took every bit of the hollow and sometimes popping sound out of the floor. We loved it so much we are actually considering pulling up the other floors and putting cork underneath them as well. That is the nice thing about click lock since we can just label the boards and put them right back down.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I just chose a prefinished hand scraped engineered wood floor for my parent's house. And OH. MY. GOSH. is it gorgeous! You just need to educate yourself about the options and the different types of wood.
    ENGINEERED wood is actually STRONGER and HARDER than most solid hardwood flooring options. You just have to get yourself some good quality! The more plys in the engineered wood the better and harder it is, just like plywood is stronger and more dense because it is glued together, same concept.
    What we just got is 9 ply engineered Maple. Maple is also a pretty hard wood. If you want it to stand up to high heels, dogs and flying toys make sure that you choose a very hard wood, and a high ply engineered is a great option.
    The hand scraped feature is gorgeous, we didn't have any problems with installation so I'm not sure what your Guy is referring to... Prefinished flooring (from the showroom we got it from, not sure if this applies to home depot versions!) has two coats of an aluminum oxide finish to harden and resist scratching. This stuff is made to last forever, ask about how thick the veneer is though, ours can be refinished up to 3 times if necessary, of course then you would have to re-do that hand scraped finish so we aren't planning on needing to do that! The main reason I liked the hand scraped was that if it does happen to dent or scratch you cant even tell!
    This is long.. lol but I hope it helped a bit! I am actually a HUGE fan of engineered and I don't think I would spend more for hardwood if given the option myself!
    xoxo!
    Sharai

    ReplyDelete
  18. OH and also make sure that you get the "glued together" wood as well! Our floor is floating, but instead of the "click together" kind we got glued, it will not ever separate like the others can and it creates a super tight seal so that WATER and dirt won't sink in nearly as easily!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I encourage you to install real wood on site in a lighter finish. Our engineered floor is a dark finish. We've had it for about four years and I can't wait to rip it out and get real wood with lighter finish. I feel the engineered was a ginormous waste of money. It is worn and even though they say you can refinish once, I doubt it'll work. Also, the dust, hair and every little crumb shows up. My brother's real hardwood has a clear finish and I swear you can't see any dirt on it even though they have two kids and a dog it always looks awesome.

    Excited to see what you choose!

    ReplyDelete
  20. No advice here. We have fish grain real wood in the living room but that was already here when we moved in. Need to have it refinished though after all the DIy-ing we did already.
    On the top floors we put in laminate ourselves. Looked great but we can see the wear and tear, especially in the office, it did NOT hold up to the desk chair. Have been contemplating a chance there (shss don't tell my guy).
    I love the sample you have, I love that dark tone, looks wonderful against the white (be careful though it might make you want to paint your kitchen cabinets white too :-) ).

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hardwood rocks. So durable, lasts a lifetime or longer.

    But, if you're still considering engineered, you might look into what kinds of chemicals are in the ones you're considering. Yeah, I know this is a totally different take on the whole subject. Is the flooring made with pressed wood that is held together with formaldehyde? How will it affect your indoor air quality? An unfinished floor can at least be finished with low-VOC stains and poly or something even more people-friendly like tung oil. But maybe not so for engineered or even pre-finished floor.

    This might be kind of a unique opportunity to improve the air quality in your home and take away some of those chemicals (from both the carpet and the hard flooring) that trigger all kinds of nasty diseases.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Sarah I don't know if you should do real wood or engineered. I've had hard wood in almost every house I've lived in. To the shock of most people, I would rather have carpet.

    Anyhoo, I wasn't commenting to give you advice on what kind of floor, but as to what color. Just keep in mind the darker the floor the more crumbs, lint, dust bunnies, etc. show up. We have dark charcoal gray slate floors in our kitchen and bathroom and I HATE them!!! I can't vacuum and right after they already have dust, lint, or who knows what showing. Some friends of ours have the super dark hardwood throughout their main floor and the wife complains about the same thing.

    My suggestion would be choose a couple shades lighter than the sample color you were showing in your pics. Although it's gorgeous, It. Will. Drive. You. Crazy!! Trust me! = )

    ~ Catie

    ReplyDelete
  23. I had engineered wood put down in 2008 and it's not holding up very well. There's just my daughter and I and a couple of dogs and cats, and if urine gets on them or water is spilled it ripples and doesn't go back down again. It's also wearing in some spots where there's chairs on it. I wish we would have gone w/the real wood. I'm sure you won't be sorry if you do. You also have to be careful and just use a very light damp cloth to wipe it up with.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Now, thanks a lot, Sarah, I have just laid rustic oak laminate in my living room, hahahahaha:) But we have the same one in the kitchen (it is sealed) and so far it has been great. So fingers crossed.... The sample you were trying is GORGEOUS! Go for it, absolutely. This colour is fantastic and it does suit everything you have in your house:)

    ReplyDelete
  25. We just last week had prefinished hardwoods installed in our entire upstairs (minus the bathrooms) and I can not believe how fabulous it looks and how it just changes the whole house. My neighbors installed engineered hardwood themselves about 5 years ago and can't wait to replace it for all of the reasons others have already mentioned. Best thing about installing the hardwoods was it took just a day! I just had to move fragile knickknacks, lamps, pictures, etc. and they moved the furniture around as they worked. The guys worked hard all day, but by 7pm the floors was finished and all our furniture was all back in the right spot. I spent the next day dusting, but it was soooo simple. Now, having the floors finished on site was not an option for us, but I would be tempted to do that if the cost was the same. It definitely can give it a smooth finish over the grooves between the preto usher boards, but we haven't had a problem with the grooves being a dirt magnet in our downstairs floors which we had done years ago.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I have dark floors as well, and they show everything! We joke that our only regret in this house is we should have went with lighter floors or darker dogs (2 golden retrievers). You will notice a huge difference between that color you have now, and how many times in a day you will want to grab the swiffer when you have dark floors! That being said, I love the look of dark wood, and will likely have it in the next house as well - I'm a glutton for punishment!

    ReplyDelete
  27. I have regular prefinished bruce hardwood oak flooring in my kitchen and love it. Even after 8 years of wear and tear it still has an amazing finish on it.

    ReplyDelete
  28. we put down unfinished 5" and 3" oak and had them stained and finished on site. I love the different widths and all I ever do to clean it is a dry swifter and maybe water if it gets a little dirty. NEVER use a wax based cleaner on wood floors I learned...and yes the benefit of real wood is that it can be refinished. it does get the ocassional scratch and dent, but it is a floor. we have throughout our house including the kitchen. best thing I did.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I didn't time to read all the comments, so if this is a repeat of information please diregard.

    We installed Bamboo flooring and they are a soft and don't hold up really well. They are beautiful, but scratch really easy.

    I believe the only way to go is th real deal - hardwood floors - you can refinish and in 10, 20 years you can change the color because they can be re-stained on your prefence.

    It will be worth the mess and the temporary inconvinence in the long run. Hardwood only adds value :-)

    ReplyDelete
  30. I have the engineered and real wood floors both. The engineered are prone to denting or chipping when things are dropped on them. I have both the dark stained and the traditional oak stained. Be aware that a the dark stain does make a room darker because they absorb so much light. So if you have them in a room with good sunlight it will be better. They do show much more dust than lighter stains. If you go with dark, get the best you can afford, because if the top layer engineered is too thin, the wood exposed from a dent will be lighter underneath, and you have to touch up with a marker. I love my wood floors but these are things to consider in your purchase. Good luck.

    ReplyDelete
  31. We have a 1950's ranch that had carpeting... Took me 5 years to convince my husband to let me pull up the carpet and enjoy the hardwood floors underneath. We needed to refinish them. About a month ago, I had them sanded down, stained a darker stain, and water based poly sealed. I absolutely love them! Wish I had done it sooner...

    That being said... I did every room including closets except for bathrooms and kitchen... I needed to be out of the house for a total of 8 days. I chose a water based poly finish for added durability. (Have 2 large dogs) I rented a POD to store all of our stuff while the floors were being done. We were here the 1st day to pick out the stain color, then took a vacation while they finished up everything else. It is a huge undertaking but in the end it's totally worth it. Coming from carpets, the hardwood is so easy to keep clean... Now I am in the process of changing all the moulding to white as you already have.... Such a clean crisp look.

    Good luck deciding... I know the feeling, I did not have as many choices as you but it still took me forever to choose a stain color... :-) Also don't forget that every piece of furniture being moved back in will need some kind of felt pads under them to protect your floors....

    ReplyDelete
  32. Wow, what a big decision. We recently removed a dark Bruce floor. My main concern when I saw your sample was that it might be a tad too dark. I know you love it, so I'll be curious to see what you decide. A concern I have is that your sample is only a what, 16x16 piece or something, and looks great against each item, but what about covering an entire first floor.

    Thanks for posting the flood buzz, I plan to look into it. I want to ask them if it will stop shrieking when it is removed from the water. (I don't dig shrieking. Ha) I live in PA, very near people who had serious, severe flooding. We are so grateful to have escaped that. Horrible.
    Best to you in this very large decision.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Go with site finished! You will be very happy and the process is not bad.
    They can be sanded and refinished time and again over the years.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I got engineered hand scraped wood floors, as far as I was told, they are better than laminate, but not as great as hardwood floors (why, I don't know) everyone who sees them always comment on how gorgeous they look, and yes, we can refinish them a couple of times if we wish to down the road. I would say, go with what you feel would work foe you! I know two things that turned me off from hardwood was the crazy labor and the crazy price. The only other advice I will give is that with either choice, get your pup some doggie boots, because there will be scratches...I got my two little ones booties from ultra paws, it keeps them from scratching the floors during their marathon, and also, they don't slip as much. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Definitely go wider planks, make sure the edges are slightly rounded (or they will collect and keep crumbs between the boards) and go with the handscraped! I getmore comments on my floors than on any else I put in our new house. Plus, when they get scratched, all it takes is a sharpie. I love the color you picked out- it is very similar to the color combo I have too, so I guess I'm biased! Good Luck!

    ReplyDelete
  36. We used engineered oak, in jacobean finish for our entire house when we built 6 yrs ago. I love it so much, BUT it shows dirt and wear like crazy! I now wish I had the forthought to go over it with a couple of coats of poyurethane because I think the finish from the factory was very thin, adding to the quick wear factor. Now to refinish them would be a huge undertaking!! So my advice is lots of protective finish!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  37. We used engineered oak, in jacobean finish for our entire house when we built 6 yrs ago. I love it so much, BUT it shows dirt and wear like crazy! I now wish I had the forthought to go over it with a couple of coats of poyurethane because I think the finish from the factory was very thin, adding to the quick wear factor. Now to refinish them would be a huge undertaking!! So my advice is lots of protective finish!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  38. Each picture had me loving her more and more, but you're right... the curtains sold me. She fits right in!! I think you need her (is it odd that we're referring to a piece of wood as HER??)

    ReplyDelete
  39. We are wood floor lovers and have had houses filled with them but kids and dog have torn them up and I was always touching them up. This time we went with Mannington Adura Walnut floors...it is a urethane coated vinyl plank. Not cheap but it has held up so well and looks like real wood. Never thought I would have considered a non wood product but this has been a decision that hubs and I have been very happy with. We have it in 100% of our house. No carpet!

    ReplyDelete
  40. How fun! We installed oak laminate in our last home, and loved it. It kept its shine for 10 years, through kids and pets. Luck of the draw, maybe. I've also had prefinished cherry. It got some water damage, and that was a nightmare. Never again. And tongue-in-groove will get dirt in the grooves. No fun. Our home now has huge expanses of oak. Yes, it gets scratched. Living will do that to a floor. A little orange-glo and we're good. They aren't perfect, and I like 'em that way. As others have said, go lighter. Dark is VERY popular right now, but all that dark floor may be a bit overwhelming, especially in a few years. Good luck with your decision - try not to overthink it! (Says one overthinker to another :-)

    ReplyDelete
  41. I would carefully consider the dark color.I've had the very dark colored wood and it shows every little last spec of dust and when the sun is shinning on it... FORGET IT!!!
    I know I am bursting your bubble but maybe consider bamboo?

    ReplyDelete
  42. As for the color - I have dark walnut wood floors and love them!!! No pets, but two boys. I was worried that every crumb would show - but it hasn't been a problem for me! Go dark if that's what you want!!!

    ReplyDelete
  43. I posted a pic of my Kitchen/Family Room on your Facebook page of the flooring that hubby and I decided on. It is Brazilian Koa ENGINEERED from the "big yellow" flooring store ;)

    One thing that we kept in mind was SQUEEKING...hardwood flooring must be nailed down and offer some squeekability which was a turn off for me. ENGINEERED flooring offered a tongue and groove FLOATING floor that does not squeek (and it was super easy to install resulting in saved costs by doing it ourselves!) - I like me some quietness!!!

    Right now with the girls as small as they are (2 and 5) its great! But I am thinking maybe we should have some squeeking when they are...lets say... 16 and sneeking out! LOL!

    ReplyDelete
  44. Gorgeous floors, but like a lot of other people who have all ready commented, I would strongly urge you to look at a lighter floor color. My inlaws have almost the exact color and there are only two adults and for a very short time, one dog, that lived there. They have been in the house for six years and their hardwood floors are an absolute mess. To the point that they now need to sell their house and they will be taking a major hit in their price because the floors need to be refinished all ready. They were gorgeous when they were new, but it wasn't long before the "honeymoon" wore off :) I don't envy you the choice that you have to make at all - good luck!! :)
    Wendy

    ReplyDelete
  45. I have real wood, oak, floors that we put in when we built our home in 1973. At that time we had them stained dark walnut, upstairs and down. Now at the time we had a dirt driveway, actually dirt everywhere, no grass yet. Did I mention 2 puppies who turned into big dogs and a kitty. Then come 2 babies. With those ride on toys, tonka trucks, you name it. Well all in all those floors took a beating and kept on shining....About 10 yrs ago we moved everything out and had them refinished, just the downstairs, because the upstairs looked great still. We had them stripped right down to the natural wood, I wanted a change after the dark for all those years. Two men came in sanded and dusted the first day, then gave it one coat, and then came back the following two days did a light sanding and another coat. We stayed at home and yes there was dust, but we closed off the upstairs and they clean most of it up. The men told me to use a swifter duster on the wall. That worked great. I have the wood in the kitchen and I did do tile in the bathroom. All in all I LOVE the floors even after all the years! I was so much more careful after we refinished the floors. Felt under the legs of stuff and such. I use a bit of dishliquid and a mop. My poor floors have seen thier share or spills, bumps, pet accidents, you name it, but I would never do anything else. They truly wear like iron.
    Good luck with your decision.
    Hugs,
    Donna

    ReplyDelete
  46. Dark Walnut-ish floors, wide planked and real add such a warmth, resilience, duarbility, re-sale value, and are easy peasy to clean, or fix, or match anything else.

    ReplyDelete
  47. We just built a house and we used reclaimed hardwood - more reasonable than new wood and far more charming. We harvested the floors from our old house and we bought more planks locally from houses being torn down. They were all installed with their crazy different color finishes, then sanded and stained together. We are thrilled that we were able to add a bit of our old house to our new house. The floors aren't perfect with that "fresh out of the box" look. We wanted them to look like they had been here a while and they do.

    I will join others in cautioning you about the dark stain. We had dark floors put in our garage apartment and I quickly realized that was not going to be good in the whole house. If you choose to have wood stained on site, consider choosing a stain just a bit lighter than you would like because the poly coat will darken the stain as will sunshine and age.

    Good luck. I'm sure you will love whatever you choose.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Here's my 2 cents worth ~ go with real wood. Yes, it's probably going to be messy putting in and finishing, but the thing is YOU CAN refinish it when it needs to be...you can't do that with engineered wood, etc. If you have animals with claws, you will understand after a while. We have 12" wide pine plank flooring. We installed/finished it ourselves when we built the house and we love it. Yes, pine is very soft and we do have the gouges, etc. from the dogs and large dings from all the places where I missed the nails when we were hammering in the finishing nails, but it just adds character to our rustic home. We are now 12 years in and desperately need to refinish, but I'm glad we have that option because we sure couldn't afford to replace. We will refinish one room at a time and just deal with the mess.

    ReplyDelete
  49. I highly recommend taking the advice of your 'guy'. Installing unfinished wood and then staining is the way to go, at least I think. :) The floor planks are flush against each other, unlike the prefinished floors that have little grooves between the boards. Those little grooves collect stuff!

    ReplyDelete
  50. I would pick wood. We have put i prefinished throughout our living room and hallway and it is wonderful. If you ever get to the point where it needs repaired that can be done - but not with engineered wood.

    My MIL has had wood floors for over 25 years and has refinished it once and she gets LOTS of traffic - much more than the normal person.

    Can't wait to see the finished look.

    ReplyDelete
  51. We just built a new home in the last year. We were very fortunate to that my dad is the contractor that built it. When it came to solid wood/engineered/laminate he couldn't stress enough to go with the real wood. We ended up with solid oak floors and we love them. We have had several guys in my dads crew staying with us, we have had two dogs on it constantly, and also live on a farm so it has had its fair share of abuse and it still looks great. It is also very quiet when you walk on it and very easy to clean. Another thing he pointed out was how much more wood there was there to refinish if you ever wanted to vs. the engineered which only had less than a 1/4 or an inch. It was our experience that if you go with a wood that is more common such as oak, cherry, pine etc you can get solid for the same price if not less than the engineered. In our case our solid ended up being less than the engineered we liked. We ended up with the 4" size.

    ReplyDelete
  52. I am loving that dark wood. So excited for you!

    ReplyDelete
  53. Great choice. We have wood( laminate0 floors in our kitchen and dining room.I wish we would have done more rooms with the wooden floors. big Hugs!P.S>I'm having my very first blog hop today Please stop by and link up your lovely blog.

    ReplyDelete
  54. We just gutted our entire downstairs and discovered red oak in our dining and living rooms. I was an instant lover of hardwood considering it had been covered up for at least thirty years and was beautiful. I think laminate is very pricey for not being a lasting flooring product. Could it be covered up for thirty years and be unloved and hold up so wonderfully? We then had pre-finished red oak laid in our kitchen and I am loving it. Mind you, we have only lived with this for 36 days so far. I love the look of the darker walnut floors, but I am not sure how timeless the look will be in comparison to a lighter version. After the love of dark flooring fades you can't change them like upholstery or paint as cheaply.

    I have noticed that you have a black top stove, if that doesn't bother you (the dust) I am sure darker floors wouldn't either. It also depends on the amount of natural light that hits your floors directly. I sound crazy, but I am a lover of seeing dust bunnies because that must mean you need to sweep! I do, however, have an addiction to sweeping and cleaning wipes. I have discovered Dyson now makes a cordless vac specifically for hardwoods. That could possibly be on my Christmas list

    As for living with the dust. Do it, it will be making a memory. It is comparable to natural child birth. At the time you will want to poke your eyes out, but when your done you will be so proud of yourself! We lived three months with our gut job and my kids thought it was fun, we had a makeshift kitchen on our front porch. My twelve year old thought it was like living in a hotel with a "Continental Eatery." Also when we had our floors re-finished the amount of dust was to a minimum with the new sanders they have out. I barely had to wipe down our molding, sanding walls is far worse.

    Good Luck!!

    Oh, one more comment: I feel so sorry for the couple with the quarter round that has been stained. Paint it out, mine is so sharp against the hardwood floors.

    ReplyDelete
  55. I don't usually comment here, but I'd strongly encourage you to do the site finished floors. Any reputable vendor knows what they're doing--everything is taped off and there is almost no dust. We had our first floor refinished before listing our last house; I was expecting a major mess and was surprised that there was virtually nothing to clean up afterwards.

    On the prefinished floors...I know it *seems* easier, but there's just something weird about the grooves in between the planks that I can't get over. My sister and mother-in-law both have prefinished floors and it drives me nuts that I can feel the grooves when walking in bare feet. My sister, in particular, did TONS of research and went with prefinished because of durability, etc,...I don't care how much "better" they are, I just wouldn't be able to get over those darn grooves. Also, as someone raised in New England, a prefinished floor just *looks* prefinished and will never have the look of what I think of as a traditional hardwood floor.

    I don't know what to think of the handscraped thing either. We just moved to a suburb of Dallas (from NJ) and need to replace the horrible tacky laminate in our dining and living rooms. People here only use the handscraped and I'm just not feeling it.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Sarah we have the exact same floors and LOVE them. Go for it! The only thing is the dark color definitely shows cat hair and dust bunnies. They are easy to vacumn though. Use apple cider vinegar mixed with water to mop them and hey gleam.

    When did pee cat pass away? I'm so sorry...:( She was beautiful.

    Warmly, ~Melissa

    ReplyDelete
  57. Hi :) Last year our entire house flooded because of a busted pipe... while we all sleep. It was not fun cleaning and moving our stuff. Well so when it was time to pick out new floors I knew I wanted the same floor through the whole house. We live in a small open house so transitions seems all wrong to me. I wanted laminate and the contractor showed me this ceramic tile that looks exactly like the laminate I wanted. Whoa can I tell you I wanted that in my whole house. It's easy to clean and looks like wood but I don't have to worry about the water factor. The compromise I made once I saw the price was to have the tile in the bathrooms and the laminate everywhere else because I couldn't afford the tile throughout the house. I can't even tell the difference between the two unless I'm really looking. The tile even has little warps and imperfections to make it blend in better. When I get some more money I'm going to rip up the laminate (because just after a year it's already showing wear) and do the whole house in the tile. You should look into it.
    http://www.woodlooktiles.com/

    ReplyDelete
  58. Go with hardwood, better resale, you can mention that it can be refinished to any color they (future buyers) like. Or you can refinish it again if your style changes. Quarter round? Def match the baseboard.

    ReplyDelete
  59. I LOVE the wood. I went with the super dark, but I had them finished on site (it was about a week) and had them custom mix the stain. If you take a peek at my kitchen make over you can see how it looks in a large area. You are going to love it Sarah.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Hey Girl, how exciting and overwhelming at the same time!!! I know you will do your "do-diligence" and fully research all your options, but please heed the advice of those with dark wood floors,(myself included) who regret the choice after realizing EVERY speck of dust, hair, etc. will drive you CRAZY! We're in the process of finding our next home after selling ours that had a beautiful dark finish. I can't wait to find a new place, but a dark wood floor just might be a deal breaker! Good Luck!
    Jules

    ReplyDelete
  61. P.S. engineered has a laminate bases, so it's no different than laminate when it gets wet...

    ReplyDelete
  62. I loved my real wood floors in our previous house. We had then in the kitchen and the only issue was me getting them wet everyday loading the dishwasher (should have been more careful). One thing to keep in mind with the dark floor is although it looks great (makes molding pop!) it also shows dust and dog hair. You might consider going a bit lighter even though you don't want to blend in with your kitchen cabinets (one reason I like white cabinets!). Good luck, you will love them!

    ReplyDelete
  63. We have wood floors in much of the main floor of our house, and we LOVE them! Very easy to take care of. I woudl like to warn you about the very dark wood, though. It shows every little speck of dust and every smudge to perfection. Ha I had a dark wood floor in a previous house, not even as dark as your sample, and I was driven nuts. And it was just in our kitchen, not everywhere. We couldn't walk on it in bare feet or it looked like I hadn't mopped for a week with all the smudges that were left.
    Our floors now were the unfinished kind that they finish after they are installed, but we bought the house new, so we weren't here for that part.
    You can see some pics with our wood floors in them on my blog, if you are so inclined. ;-)They aren't light at all, just not super dark.

    ReplyDelete
  64. LOVE the new flooring you've chosen! We also have dark wood floors, (LOVE them) but be warned-they show dust pretty bad. Make sure you get a dust mop with a nice comfy handle, cause you'll be usin' it! BTW, it's worth it! :)

    ReplyDelete
  65. How could you POSSIBLY read all these comments?!!! omg....and they are all long.

    I have owned 7 homes and done it all. Hardwood all the way....and consider a lighter floor over that dark color. More forgiving with marks and add LIGHT to a room. We all could use some lightening up!! Good luck

    ReplyDelete
  66. My parents just laid new flooring in their utility room. They did a tile that looks like wood. It looks really good finished. Just looking at you would never know its tile and comes in several different shades. If you haven't ever seen it google wood tile. I am thinking aobut puting this down in our kitchen and laundry room.

    ReplyDelete
  67. I don't know what brand of enginnered wood you're looking at so I can't say that what I have to say is 100% correct. In Canada at least, Engineered Wood IS real wood. Its real hardwood that has been ENGINEERED to be more stable. EW can be sanded and refinished ... depending on which manufactuer and grade you buy. Engineered wood can go into your basement and on concrete - whereas solid 3/4" hardwood cannot. EW is perfect for areas of North America where you get humidity in the summer and dryness in the winter because its ENGINEERED and will not contract and expand to the same degree that solid hardwood does. Most engineered woods have several options of installation ... glue down, staple/nail down or floating. If you don't mind the hollow sound, staple/nail and floating is great option. Glue down (like you would solid hardwood) is a more permanent install but would give you the sound of solid hardwood.

    Lots of pluses and minuses on both sides! :)

    ReplyDelete
  68. Lynn in Downers GroveSeptember 15, 2011 at 10:09 AM

    I've done it all Sarah-FLOORwise that is! And all DIY.
    In this era it seems prehistoric to do unfinished. Waaay too much mess headache and smell (even if they tell you it won't)especially with a child in the house. Our first floor pre finished med oak has held up beautifully. Although I wish I would have gone with the dark tones like you have. Yes, they show more dirt and dust but when you realize that your carpets have been storing all that crud over the years you gag.
    Sadly, I despise our engineered wood that we put throughout our second story. Maybe it was cheap but it is NOT durable, splits and dings very easily. Never again. Do real wood.
    Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  69. We used a dark wood vinyl plank and I love it! It is waterproof for the kitchen which was important to us because we've had water issues in the past (not fun)! We also have boys who love to play trucks, Legos, anything rough and tough so this was more durable. We have it in the mudroom, dining, kitchen, family room, and front entry. It is easy to clean and I've been really happy with it.

    Amy

    PS - We bought similiar water alarms for our new house!

    ReplyDelete
  70. Love the darker floor! :) It looks so pretty!

    ReplyDelete
  71. WOW, 63 comments already? I was jumping on to share my experience with picking out wood floors. We bought this house last year and got to choose all the finishes (yes it was awesome) since it was new construction. We chose dark engineered wood floors and love them. But there are some caveats. They match our cabinets almost exactly. We did NOT intend this. Make sure you have enough contrast! Really look at them in different light and remember a whole floor of the sample will look darker/lighter than just the sample. For us, it makes for a lot of dark wood. It is beautiful, but its a lot of dark, especially in the kitchen. :( Second, if I were to do it again, I'd probably get real wood versus engineered. We haven't had any problems per se with the engineered but I just feel like the real wood would hold up longer and look a little more genuine. Third, dark wood shows A LOT of dust. That is something that never occurred to me. But it does. I abhor cleaning my floors. I am a sahm and this is one thing that I acknowledge I don't do enough. Our home is large and at least half of our downstairs is the dark wood floors. SO much dust! And a surprising amount of footprints show up too (we have 2 little ones and a dog). That being said, they are beautiful, they contrast wonderfully with our white 5" baseboards and I love the look. My biggest change would be to contrast them with the cabinets. We tried to do that in the showroom, but it didn't work out. GL!

    ReplyDelete
  72. Oh P.S. We have the 5" wide planks that are distressed/hand hewn (whatever) and I really like the look!

    ReplyDelete
  73. I have hand-scraped floors and I'm not really in love with them. The bumpy texture seems to distract from everything else and give it a little country twist. I doesn't help that they look exactly like the flooring they use in Cracker Barrel. The previous owner of our house put them in, and they'll probably stay since I wouldn't want to rip them up in pay for a smoother flooring. Anyway, I think a smooth, shiny wood floor is much more versatile, and appeals to more people so if you sell the home in the future, it will probably be in your favor.

    ReplyDelete
  74. Chiming in with ANOTHER vote for lighter REAL wood. I have an 113 year old house with original wood floors. I have refinished one room. Yes it was a pain, but really, flooring that lasts 113 years? Um, yeah!

    And, lighter, lighter, lighter. Dark wood is beautiful but it always looks dirty. You see every fleck of dust and every smudge and every crumb. They never look clean, ever. Light wood always looks shiny and fresh, even when it's technically filthy. Go for basic oak finish, it's classic and goes with everything.

    ReplyDelete
  75. I just wanted you to know that I have the same floors as your sample. I have 2 kids (boys), a professional baseball player husband and a geriatric cat who misses the counter every time she jumps...BUT...the floors have been dinged , scratches and divoted but you can't tell because they are the same color as a brown crayola marker...get the washable ones...color on your floor and wipe off excess...ta da!!! No more scratch!
    Samantha

    ReplyDelete
  76. First - I NEVER realized there was so much controversy over the quarter round!?! Mine matches the floor but now all I can think about is pulling it all out and painting it to match the baseboard. Geez!!

    I have both real hardwoods and engineered. We did engineered in the kitchen b/c our original hardwoods (40 yrs old) are thin and I wanted it flush between rooms (make sense?) Engineered hardwood looks like engineered hardwood = fake. Nice enough, but your not fooling anyone.
    1st choice would be prestained hardwoods installed on site. 2nd choice sanded and stained onsite. I know you've read this but we cannot emphasize enough the DUST. DUST, DUST, DUST. LOTS OF IT! But totally worth it! :)
    I actually have three different colors. Yes, the dark colors are gorgeous but yes they do show every dust bunny/crumb/hair, etc. Get a good portable vacuum for bare floors and keep it handy - then enjoy the fabulousness!
    Good luck. Thanks for sharing your journey with us. (and being brave enough to ask for advice!)

    ReplyDelete
  77. The color looks beautiful with your decor! We had real hardwood floors in our last house and LOVED them. In fact, we are in the process of having someone come in to do them in our new home. With 4 kiddos and pets carpet just feels dirty. I will say I would go with onsite finished if possible. Someone mentioned the grooves and they are so right! Also, I look at handscraped as a fad and when you are looking at hardwood that is something that can last forever - I'd be worried that handscraped would begin to look dated. For me - I plan to go with a more knotted rustic look and a little lighter - only because my parents had the darker wood back in the 70's and I remember in the 90's it was so dated looking... just a thought. Love your blog!

    ReplyDelete
  78. We just had the chance to restain the hardwood floors in our home and I was thrilled to go to a darker color, but when our flooring guy was done the color was totally different than the sample I gave him. We also took the carpet off our stairs and made them wood, but these stained a completely different color than the rest of the floor because the grain of the wood was much wider even though both were made out of ash. I tried to live with it, but ended up redoing the floors. Thankfully I have a very patient husband. I would suggest going with something prefinished so you can make sure you get the color you want from the beginning.
    My other suggestion is to avoid going too dark because it tends to show dirt a lot easier.

    ReplyDelete
  79. We have solid wood floors through most of our downstairs. Our bedroom had carpet that we had to replace- we chose the pre-finished wood and did it ourselves. A couple of things to think about- the pre-finished has grooves that will catch dirt, dust, etc. (The grooves are there to accommodate variations in your floor level.) BUT the prefinished has a more durable finish on it b/c it is applied/baked on in factory. I prefer the look of our solid wood floors because there are no grooves and the finish is more natural (the grain makes the stain vary in color somewhat from board to board, which I love).

    As others have said, dark floors will be a nightmare if you don't like to dustmop constantly.

    Oh, and I prefer the look of the stained shoe moulding against painted baseboards- brings that contrast up a little, and doesn't show scrapes and dings as much as the painted shoe moulding does. (I've had both.)

    ReplyDelete
  80. Hi- I love the floors you have tentatively picked out. We replaced all the carpet in our house downstairs with engineered wood. It is a similar tone to what you picked out, but in hickory hand-scraped. We absolutely love the floors. We have had them for almost 2 years and have not had any problems with them. We have 4 children, a dog and a cat and thought that hand-scraped floors would be less likely to show damage than the smooth finish. (we use a wood stain pen we found at WalMart to "color in" any scratches that happen and you can't even see them!) We went in to the showroom wanting solid hardwood, but the salesman talked us into the engineered. The price difference was not as different as you would think, but the advantage for us in our house is that we would have had to re-adjust doors and a lot of molding to allow for the thickness of the solid wood floors. Either choice will make a huge difference in your home. Wood is so much warmer than laminate and it is absolutely beautiful. We never fail to get compliments on the floors whenever someone comes over. Good luck with your choice. You will love your new wood floors! It's the best remodeling choice we have ever made.

    ReplyDelete
  81. I have the Bruce prefinished from HD... and it is niuce, it can be refninished if we ever need to... the downside is each piece has a beveled edge along it's length, and the doglet [like your cat] who has issues finding her way to the bathroom [she IS blind] pees on it, it gets down in that groove between boards and ICK! I would say hardwood, finished on site in hindsight. Do it once, with no regrets. Get what you know you need and will work longterm, not what is more convenient for now.
    Just my $.02

    ReplyDelete
  82. I agree with Nicole. 7 years ago we decided to install prefinished hardwood flooring in our home because we could do it ourselves without all of the mess. The floors turned out beautiful and they are still beautiful today. We have very little scratching even in high traffic areas. The ONLY thing that I do not like about them is that I sweep and then vacuum in order to make sure I get all of the dirt out of the grooves between the boards. This is especially important if you are going to put it in the kitchen where a few drips of milk, an egg, flour, etc will dry like concrete in the groove. You'll be down on your hands and knees with a knife trying to get the gunk out of the crevice. In my next home we will do hardwoods finished onsite. I think that the dust would be a small inconvience that you will deal with once instead of the ongoing cleaning. Also if we were ever to refinish these floors the finish applied at the factory is so hard and the grooves are pretty deep I think that it would be a nightmare of a job to have done. Hardwoods are beautiful and you will not make a bad decision whichever way you go it's just how much cleaning you want to do. P.S. I also agree with everyone else about the dust bunnies and footprints. The darker you go the more it will show.

    ReplyDelete
  83. As for as my opinion is concern dark wooden floor is good to see but not durable.The article is informational. I appreciate it.

    ReplyDelete
  84. Did you know you can get cabin grade hardwood for way less? It has a lot of character. I have cabin grade hickory and love it. It's pre-finished. Don't let finish the wood in-home. The smell will make you sick for weeks. WEEKS maybe MONTHS. ack.

    ReplyDelete
  85. We also had a "small" kitchen flood in the beginning of June that ruined our kitchen floors. The water line from the fridge had the tiniest leak you could ever imagine, but it leaked for days... maybe longer. If I gave you all the details, well, this would be a long story. Basically, the laminate floors were torn out one evening, so was the island (which held our cooktop). We decided that since insurance was paying for the kitchen, we would splurge and put hardwood throughout the first floor. After the same dilemma that you are facing, we went with solid red oak, finished on site. We had it stained dark with a custom blend that gave us a beautiful warm brown with only a hint of red for warmth. Fortunately, it was summer because we had to move out for a week while the sandy dust clouds took over the house. My inlaws live by the beach and kindly took us in for the week (I know, nobody feels bad for me about that). The smell from the stain was pretty strong for a few days too. It was completely inconvenient, but did I mention, I LOVE MY NEW FLOORS?

    I will warn you of one thing, the gorgeous floors have made everything else look a little shabby. I am constantly repainting or rearranging something. Also, our kitchen isn't completely back together yet, but that's because when we removed the island and cooktop, I decided to redo the kitchen layout and put the new stove in a new spot. Don't worry, you are already in better shape than we were, we had to cook on a hotplate for about 6 weeks while everything was ordered, removed, reinstalled. I would tell you more, but my paint brush and nail gun are calling me. If you need any advice, feel free to email me.

    ReplyDelete
  86. Not that your head isn't spinning out of control with all of this valuable input, I forgot to mention one important thing about dark wood. Because I still insist that we are twins separated at birth, I know that you like to change up a room's floor plan quite often, just like me. When I was about to change my large rectangular rugs to round ones, I was horrified to see that the wood underneath the rugs was substantially darker than the surrounding exposed wood. I was bleached quite a bit lighter, but sadly still showed every speck of dust:( I'm sure you are planning on using your gorgeous area rugs, but keep in mind if you plan on changing things up in the future, you may encounter this dilemma as well. Not sure if this happens to light wood too, so maybe another poster could shed some light on this so we'll know for our next home? Again, best of luck and try not to go crazy!
    Jules

    ReplyDelete
  87. LOVE the color, it is gorgeous! The 3 1/2" planks look good, but the 4" would be even better. Replacing the carpet is a great idea. I don't think you could ever regret spending the extra money.

    ReplyDelete
  88. Sorry I can't help with what to go with...except to tell you that whatever you choose, GO WITH THAT STAIN! Ah!!! L.O.V.E. I.T!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  89. My husband and I recently renovated our 1850s Greek Revival house, and we put in hardwood floors, stained and polyurethaned on site. I have absolutely no regrets. I know it's not cheap, but it will last forever. We went with oak, which is extremely hard and sturdy, and with three kids and moving furniture around all the time, the floors still look awesome. We know it will help the resale value of the house, too.

    One thing I was going to say was that if you go with hardwoods, I would rethink the dark stain. Wood floors are a pain to restain lighter, and I think the dark floors I'm seeing everywhere are really trendy. In 10 years, you're going to be tired of them, and changing the color will take sanding a layer off the floor, restaining, and re-varnishing. That's a lot of work. We went with a lighter stain, a golden oak color, that made the floors look like they had been there for a long time and aged naturally. When you see old Victorian homes where hardwoods were installed 100 years ago, that golden color is more like the natural, aged color of the wood, and I think there's real beauty and timelessness to that look. Plus, as another commenter mentioned, the lighter floors don't show dust and dirt nearly as fast. :)

    ReplyDelete
  90. Just wanted to share with you my AWESOME flooring experience! I (well, I didn't do the work!) installed "Bruce Hardwood Flooring " in my home approx. 12 years ago. I originally saw it in a model home of a neighborhood which I couldn't afford to live in at the time. I chose a dark stain very similar to the one you like. It really "elevated" the look of my home and makes a gret backdrop for other colors and furnishings! Everything just looks BETTAH!
    The house in question has been a rental house for the past 5 years and has had some MAJOR wear and tear. The carpets and walls have had to be repaired/replaced,etc., but the floors are holding up SHOCKINGLY well! I dreaded going into the home after the last tenants vacated--particularly because I didn't want to see the beautiful floors trashed! I can honestly say that they still look new--both in finish quality and complete lack of scratches,etc.!! (There have been numerous dogs and children in the house,too!)
    Best of luck!

    ReplyDelete
  91. Hello! I didn't have time to read all of the comments, so I don't know if this has been said, but here's my two cents.

    LOVE the sample color you have! LOVE the idea of hand-scraped flooring and have considered it myself, but... My in-laws have dark, hand-scraped flooring, and while they are absolutely beautiful when they're clean, they're kind of gross when they're dirty... With the hand-scraped, you get all these lovely grooves which are really great at collecting and showing off any dirt, crumbs, pet hair, etc. I swear the in-laws clean them once a week, but they still look dirty a lot of the time. I think it doesn't help that the floors are super dark and they have 2 light colored cats.

    Anyways, hope that helps! :)

    ReplyDelete
  92. We just bought a fixer-upper and it had 80% hardwoods in place..so we added real unfinished wood to the kitchen/family room. It blended really well with the old. But they still sanded the new when they sanded to old...we didn't have furniture in place, but it was messy in spite of their "clean" efforts. And we were told we had to be out for about 24 hours after they poly'd it....which they poly 3 times. So I think that would be at least 3 days out....that's just what our guy said and did. And it takes a few days for official curing to take place....We love the real wood...have had no experience with engineered..but I'd say go real...it always looks better and holds up over years and years....

    ReplyDelete
  93. As a decorator I can tell real wood from the fake stuff the minute I walk into a home. It sounds different, it looks different, it feels different. Mind you the new fake stuff out there is much better than the earlier versions. Now all that being said, one does have to look at budgetary considerations. However, if the Guy says he can get you real wood for the same price as engineered...do take a serious look. Sometimes the real wood is poor quality and very thin. Check that out too. We are fortunate to have real oak flooring put in the house when it was built in 1955. We refinished the entire main floor ourselves! What a project! Dust everywhere and stink from stain, etc! Yes, we lived in the house while it was being done (with two little kids and a visiting mother in law!)but if I was to do it again, I'd move things out and go to a hotel while the pro's did it in much less time! I love our real wood floors. Easy to clean,durable and they were once a living thing, so there is some "life" in them that engineered doesn't have. (Sorta goin' feng shui on ya there. LOL!) Seriously, if you can afford it, go with the real wood.

    ReplyDelete
  94. We've had laminate, real wood and engineered wood floors in our past 3 houses. First off, agree with you on the laminate situation. It is lovely, and durable, but just ain't the same as wood. We currently have a light real wood upstairs, and love it. It does scratch (we have 2, soon 3 kids and a dog and cat), and my hubby stresses over this, but I don't mind as it adds character. We have medium toned wide plank engineered floors in the finished basement, and I've gotta say, I LOVE them! They look great (just like the 'real' hardwood, but are much more durable. I adore the wide plank look. I'd surely look into engineered floors if I were you. I was once a flooring snob, and wouldn't have even considered a non-real wood option, but I am in love with our eng. floors. Also, just a thought, while I adore darker floors, and the sample you chose is FAB, many of my friends with dark floors curse them daily as every speck of dust and dirt shows up on them, and they are swiffering constantly to keep up with it. Not trying to be miss negative here, but thought you'd like their feedback =) G'luck with the decision. It will be gorg either way!

    ReplyDelete
  95. If that flooring is beveled be prepared for dirt to get in the bevels and make cleaning a chore. Ours floors are beveled and after 3 years on them we're are so over the little groove between every board. You can only go up and down the grooves with a vacuum hose so many times before you lose your mind. We'll be picking out new floors probably next year, and I'm already stressed about it!

    ReplyDelete
  96. Love the pics...here is my 2 cents- for what it is worth. LOVE hardwood....can't have it- hubs won't rip up the tile (grout is my nemisis). In our previous house we had real hardwood installed in a foyer with a fairly dark stain. This was the entryway that was used all the time, by us, the 3 kids with wet snow boots, wearing roller blades, etc. For 11 years- I never had any problems- the only dent was from when a child thew down a can of spray starch from the 2nd foor (Crazy Kid), and scratches inside of the hall closet from a rubbermaid box everyone slide in and out, where we kept hats, mittens. Be still my heart real hard wood!
    BTW- just installed dark wide laminate in a beach house- hope it holds up- couldn't put real wood at the beach...too humid- UGH.....

    ReplyDelete
  97. I live in Hot, dry, Phoenix AZ area and we have a new home under construction. We chose engineered hardwood because our dry temperature is super hard on traditional solid hardwood. With shrinking, the sun beating it up, etc. Engineered, because it is layered like plywood with many different layers before the actual hardwood wear layer, is much more stable for where we live. I wish I could do finished on site but our dry, hot sunny weather gives it a beating. The factory finish of the engineered is supposed to be more durable too...so they are telling me. Hardwood here is starting to happen more and more but the tradition is for tile. I HATE TILE almost as much as I hate carpet. We are putting engineered hardwood throughout the entire downstairs of my house (except laundry and master bathroom which sadly tile is most practical.) Good luck - and quarter round should match the baseboards!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  98. Have you considered tile? I have a friend who is an excellent custom home bulder and he HIGHLY recommends a linen tile (I like it layed on the stagger) and there are so many color and texture choices. I also have cherry cabinets and went wwith a linen tile because I didn't want to paint my cabinets white and I thought wood flooring was too much wood.

    ReplyDelete
  99. Don't get the dark floor! We put in dark floors in our house a couple of years ago (laminate though, not hardwood). I hated it within a week. It shows every speck instantly. If it was clean, I loved it... but it was impossible to keep clean for more than 10 min (What was I thinking... with 4 kids, and now a dog?) Our dishwasher leaked after Christmas, and insurance covered it. We replaced all the dark laminate. To pick the replacement I dumped crumbs on each sample sheet... The ones that hid it the best were the contenders :) We settled on a rustic oak one... hides everything better, and the house is much lighter and brighter with lighter floors.

    ReplyDelete
  100. *laughing* I literally squealed a little when the picture came up with the sample under the white dresser. That is gorgeous.

    ReplyDelete
  101. Still reading after 100 comments? Hmm. 3 inch planks just don't do it for me, I insisted on 5 inch, which is generally engineered. We have strand woven bamboo, and we love it. Caution!! It is not 3/4" thick like solid wood, do not let them install with the nailer-guy! It will leave bumpy-lumpies at each nail that you will see when you look at an angle. We had about 1000 sq feet torn out and replaced b/c hubby got those hives you speak of.

    ReplyDelete
  102. I love the dark color also. I changed all of my floors on the first floor of my home last year. I choose Porcelain tile wood look floors. It is in long strips so easy to clean and wont buckle with any water. If you don't touch them you would think it is real wood.
    Stephanie

    ReplyDelete
  103. We have the same dark colour on our main floor... and they are impossible to keep clean! Dust, paw prints, soggy socks, etc. - it shows everything. And then add the living room & kitchen regular spills... super frustrating! However, ours is a laminate & not real hardwood, so maybe the finish has a lot to do with it. If we were to re-do the floors again on that level, I would definitely do tile for the kitchen, and hardwood elsewhere. I love the idea of being able to refinish them if they need it. But I would do a lighter colour.
    Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  104. I have had dark real hardwood floors for almost 10 years and they still look fabulous. We have four kids and there is a constant stream of people in our house...but no pets. We do have the kids take off their shoes but not guests when we have parties and such.

    They do show dust a little more then lighter colored wood, but we have a big janitorial dust mop and we can sweep the whole floor (all hardwood) in seconds.

    I have never grown tired of the darker color and it makes our furnishings and wall color really stand out. Ww always get comments on how beautiful the floors are.

    I say go for the real wood!

    ReplyDelete
  105. Hello!! I highly suggest you look into Allure Traffic Master Vinyl Flooring...I know it sounds horrible...Vinyl?!?!? Gasp! I thought the same thing, until we researched it and realized it was a perfect match for us. It looks JUST LIKE WOOD, but is easy to put in, VERY affordable, WATERPROOF!!!, and super easy to clean. We did our entire living room ourselves for under $800 two years ago and are still in love. It is easy to rip up if you need to...we decided to continue the same flooring into our office and easily removed some of the "boards" to continue the transition. We fully intend on continuing this throughout our entire downstairs when we get around to revamping the kitchen. We have two cats and one dog- all of which have had accidents- easy peasy cleanup with nothing left behind. Amazing!! Check it out- as far as I know it is only sold at Home Depot. Here is the link I found...not sure if it will work on here. http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1vZ87z/h_d2/Navigation?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053#/?c=1&87z=87z

    Best of luck in whatever you decide..I can't wait to see what you end up with!

    ReplyDelete
  106. We just (and by just I mean- finished < 1 month ago) finished upgrading our main level flooring (all except for kitchen- that will be tile someday) to a sold hardwood naildown. We went with a prefinished 4 1/2 or 5 inch wide plank style in maple- it is hand distressed with scraping (mild on the scraping) and with just a few occasional distressed marks. I went with it because I love that my 3 kids (all still under 3) can whack the heck out of it and any dings they add will blend into the already dinged up distressing. They are gorgeous- the installer told us this is one of his most favorite floors he'd ever done. They are about 3/4 of an inch thick- when you look on the side view of each plank (sample and out of the box when they came) they are just solid wood mama- no engineered layers, no thin top layer- all solid hardwood that I want to kiss and marry. Someone told me that scraped/distressed finishes wear more unevenly- because the higher parts get worn quicker- but others with the floor and the seller assured us that it'd be impossible to wear a floor down that much to tell a difference. The main thing is that someday, down the road, if we ever want to refinish them, then obviously we will loose the scraped/distressed feature- it's be sanded down into a perfect smooth again. That's okay by me. We can refinish over and over and over to our hearts content and still have great solid maple floors for-eva! That sold me. They clean beatifully- the smell in my house was a yummy wood loveliness- not a chemically/stain smell and I wanted to lay down on them and hug them when they were done. Our install of everything (moving out all furniture, tearing up carpet and vinyl and grinding down the old vinyl adhesive- all said and done was about 4 days. It was chaotic with 3 kids and having to stay out of the house for fear of them hurting themselves- but worth.every.dang.nickel. We felt like we added a big old chunk of value to our house and our realtor (we consulted before our redo began) assured us that engineered wood and laminates look nice and can help sell a place quicker than carpet or vinyl, but they don't really add any $ value to the cost or asking price of a home the way that hardwood does. Can you tell what my vote is for??! :)

    ReplyDelete
  107. The dark wood does look gorgeous! But being that I have the same color wood throughout my kitchen and entry and mud room. Let me warn you as beautiful as it is because of the dark color is shows EVERYTHING! Footprints, dust, crumbs. EVERYTHING! I have to sweep after every meal, or snack because well I have 2 messy boys, but it is amazing how much bread crumbs really show against the dark color.

    Don't want to be a Debbie downer, but just wanted to warn you.

    ReplyDelete
  108. I say hardwood all the way since being able to refinish is great. Though I will echo a previous poster about not going with the dark floors. My parents have a beautiful dark hardwood in their home and it constantly looks dirty. You can see every spec of dust and dog hair. We have really light floors and I cant even tell when they are dirty (which they are often since I inherited my mother's love of cleaning. I love the look of dark floors too but unless you clean the floor daily I wouldn't suggest them.

    ReplyDelete
  109. My house has engineered hardwood floors (Bruce) and it's the worst part of my home. Absolutely horrible! Three years after installing them, they're dull, dinted, scratched, and disgusting. Spend the money and get REAL hardwood flooring...it's worth it!

    ReplyDelete
  110. We did a real hardwood floor together in the house previous to the one we own (and decorate) now. We loved the look. It was super, super, easy. You can tell by just looking at it that it's real! I would go for real any day of the week. Our realtor told us that it also has a higher resale value. Sold! P.S. I stumbled onto your blog and have read it for HOURS each night. I'm having my hubby do a ton of moulding like yours. My stairs are plywood (sigh) or I would have copied those as well. Thanks, Thanks, Thanks for your ideas. I know we would be besties if you lived in Casper, WY!

    ReplyDelete
  111. After reading 110 other responses I am sure you won't be needing my advice! :) But we did laminate four years ago and never again. I am a neat freak and ALWAYS cleaning my floors and they get so warped it isn't even funny. One of my kids spilled water on the floor in the corner, went unnoticed and then two hours later huge gaps in the floor. UGH. So you are making the absolute right decision and I love love love love the color! I have always wanted the dark dark dark wood floors and against the white cabinet?? Swoon.....

    ReplyDelete
  112. My husband remodels houses for a living, and he always prefers hardwood that are finished in the house. If they get scratches on them or anything it is easy to just sand them down and refinish them. The only thing is they warp really easy so you have to make sure to not let water sit on them. Also something to consider if you go with that dark of a wood, scratches will show REALLY easy with real wood floors. We have real wood floors though and I love them, make sure you get a bona!!

    ReplyDelete
  113. We're going through similar. Dishwasher leak has caused me to be without a kitchen for 3 weeks now. No telling how long it was leaking because it seeped under the wall and caused the hardwoods in the living room/dining room to buckle. So, all the way down to the sub-floor for 3 weeks. Finally got the kitchen floor down, went with vinyl tiles that actually look like ceramic. Very sturdy. Going back with pre-finished wood floors in Oak Saddle finish for the living room/dining room. I'm looking forward to the day I don't have to wash dishes in a dishpan and rinse in the bathroom sink... I considered unfinished but our guy told us it was much more expensive and all of the time we'd have to be out of the house was out of the question. Our only way in/out of the house would be across the wood floors.

    ReplyDelete
  114. We have real wood floors (original to our really old house) and we love them. One thing to think about is the finish you use on real wood floors. I have a lot more kids than you do, so I did a lot of research about repairs before we chose the finish (we refinished them ourselves). My friend had wood floors and had them finished with polyurethane. After five years, they really looked like they needed to be sanded and refinished. I knew I wouldn't want to do that in 5 years, so after lots of research, I ended up finishing the floors with Waterlox. I love the way the finish looks, although I would probably add stain underneath to darken the wood a bit more. The best thing about Waterlox is that you don't have to sand to refinish or repair spots and you don't have to recoat the entire floor, you just feather out the edges when you cover your spot. It is a bit pricy, but I think it will save us a bundle in the long-run. Like I said, we love it!

    ReplyDelete
  115. I pulled up the carpet in my house the day after I closed on it even though I knew the hardwood floor I wanted at the time wasn't in the budget. So I lived on bare concrete (LOTS of rugs) for a looong time. Finally saved up (thanks Dave Ramsey) for the teak flooring I'd been drooling over at Lumber Liquidators. It's prefinished with a 50(!) year warranty. They can be refinished up to 2 times if needed. However, my dog runs all over the place and there are no scratches. The floor has some color variation from plank to plank, so it looks very warm and natural. Teak is just about the hardest wood you can get. Check it out.

    ReplyDelete
  116. That new floor piece is gorgeous!
    I don't know if it's bad to chose the first but if it's what you like then I would go for it!!!
    ~RustiAnn
    www.borrrowerisslavetothelender.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  117. REAL WOOD!!!!!My sister has harwood and a friend eng..Both put in around same time.The real wood still looks great.Eng. has traffic patterns.Wear marks.Go with 4in planks,no groves.Easier to clean.I love the dark color.Have fun picking out your floor.Go visit open houses to see the floors.Just a thought.
    Mary
    RENONFL@YAHOO.COM

    ReplyDelete
  118. I am a new follower please follow me back thanks =D

    ReplyDelete
  119. The coloris gorg, but When I was considering it I was told it shows everything and you never feel like they are clean. So I have medium color oak and will probably refinish them in the same color.

    ReplyDelete
  120. luv luv luv them! We have been debating on tile for months now and just this past weekend i said, I want a dark wood floor! I think they are beautiful... just incase you have left overs.. i'll take em! HAHAHAHA

    ReplyDelete
  121. We have 600 square feet of that almost exact color and while they are GORGEOUS... they are only gorg when they are clean, which is like never with 2 dogs and a kid. Just keep that in mind. I vacuum mine daily now cause I can't deal.

    ReplyDelete
  122. I just read 121 comments and all I have to say is good luck! :) I wouldn't know what to choose after reading so I would say go with what you love. All your options have a downside and an upside, it's just a matter of what upside you prefer. Can't wait to see the end result.

    ReplyDelete
  123. My husband is a timber flooring guy, we run our own business here is Australia. He would never go down the engineered path if you have the option of hardwood. Alot of comments here have already highlighted the reasons why but I just wanted to touch on the colour.

    If you want a floor that dark you can go have a light colour timber laid and have it directly stained. The benefit of this is that after each coat of stain is placed down you can see how it is showing the floor and can either leave as is or have another coat put down to get further depth of colour.

    Real hardwood definately add value to a house because it can be so easily repaired if required, maintenance is so easy and when it coems time to refinish it that is easy as well.

    Good luck on making a decision it is not an easy one but I do love the colour you have chosen in that sample.

    ReplyDelete
  124. Wow! You have a lot of comments to read through, but I thought I would throw in my experience:

    I just had engineered bamboo installed in my house. I only had the option for glue down floors since I am on a slab. I choose a color similar to the one you have pictured. While I love them, I am constantly cleaning them! You can see everything! I sweep daily and spot clean smudges about every other day. I bet a hand scraped engineered option would hide some of that.

    Good luck! I know it is a big decision!

    ReplyDelete
  125. I have floors the same dark color as the sample and they look so pretty except...you can see every speck of dust and every dog hair. They are impossible for me to keep clean. If I had to do it over again I would prob choose more of a medium color.

    ReplyDelete
  126. I have been going thru the same! Love the solid wood flooring! The dark shows every step and any dust. Will not do dark again! This time I am going a medium color, that will not show your shoe marks or sand.

    ReplyDelete
  127. Think twice before dark wood in the kitchen. In the house we are renting, our landlords chose a dark wood floor to carry over from the office and dining room. I fell in love. ABSOLUTE love. Until about 2 months into living here. Between my trucker other half, a puppy, and two cats- I wash/swiffer them daily. Sometimes twice. I still love them in the dining room, but when we buy/remodel our place, we will not be imitating this look.

    ReplyDelete
  128. We're completely remodeling our old beat-up foreclosure, including choosing and installing engineered hardwoods, which we finished a couple years ago. Can I tell you our lessons learned?

    1. - We are SO happy with our choice of engineered hardwood. We didn't choose it because of the price (I don't think it was cheaper), so just because you CAN get the "real" stuff at the same price, doesn't necessarily mean that you SHOULD. Engineered can stand up to moisture better than the real stuff, and if you buy the good engineered wood, you can still sand and refinish it later.

    2. - We chose dark hardwood, and while it is GORGEOUS and my favorite thing EVER, it scratches and dents if you just look at it wrong, and you can see every. speck. of dirt. If I could go back, I would do whatEVER it takes to buy floors in a matte finish. I think that makes ALL the difference in long-term viability, especially with kids and pets. And maybe you won't need to vacuum every 15 minutes. (Not that I do. But I should.)

    3. - Don't let them install floating floors in your house! We have glue-down. Nail-down is great if you're not on a slab. But we did the whole downstairs with glue, then a year or so later did a closet that we'd previously left unfinished. We did floating floors in that closet, and they are MUCH louder and more hollow-sounding. Overall they "feel" cheaper, even though they're the same floors, just installed differently.

    Good luck! :)

    ReplyDelete
  129. We just had our house done as well. We struggled with prefinished or on site. The two issues that helped us make our decision were color and the bevel. I hate the bevel on the wood because it just seems to collect dirt and not as easy to clean as a smooth continuous surface. The color issue was I had my heart set on a prefinished wood but they had to come out and do a special mixture (about 15 samples) to get the color I wanted that matched the prefinished wood. Hope that helps.

    ReplyDelete
  130. Oh! I LOVE that color. And I would say go with real wood if it is the same price because it would last you forever! And you could even sand and re-stain if you like a few years from now...

    just saying! ;D

    ReplyDelete
  131. I think there is something to be said for the real deal. Take a look at an old house - even after 100 + years in a high traffic area, a little sanding and some new stain/varnish and you are back to bran new. Plus nothing shows the warmth of age, love and use quite like wood does. Sure, it's expensive, but I think it's worth it in the end.

    That being said, I have never purchased wood floors, but I do live in a 80 year old home with heart pine floors and they are spectacular so maybe I'm a little biased :)

    I think the walnut 3 1/2 is GOR-JUS, and you can't go wrong with some Gor-jus ;)

    ReplyDelete
  132. i've had laminate(hate) and hardwoods(love), but never engineered hardwoods. However, I've seen quite a few homes with engineered and I always have to ask if its a high end laminate or hardwood. To me, they look like high end laminate. Go real hardwood, finished on-site. You won't regret your decision. And I LOVE the color!! Can't wait to see the finished look.

    ReplyDelete
  133. Wow...I am about to pick out new hardwoods for MY kitchen. We are starting a major renovation project next month. So glad you confirmed my thoughts...I cannot have my floor match my cupboards. Contrast! That's for me. Enjoy!

    ReplyDelete
  134. Funny you should ask about wood floors. We are having new floors installed also. We chose engineered Brazilian Tigerwood in a 3 inch plank. Like you I love the rich dark color against the white baseboards and cabinets.

    Engineered wood looks the same as solid hardwood. It can be re-finshed at least once and possibly twice or more depending on the thickness of the top hardwood layer. Where we live, engineered wood is preferable if you are installing the floors on a slab foundation. On the second floor, hardwood performs equally well.

    I prefer pre-finished floors because I know exactly what I am getting. There is no question about how the stain will look and I am not concerned about changes in the color when the final protective coat is applied.

    If you can handle it financially, I think you should install wood floors in the additional areas, as well. Why endure the mess more than once? (Since, this is the fourth time we have redecorated/renovated in this house, I am invoking the "Do as I say, not as I do" clause.)

    I prefer a more traditional look, so I passed on the wider planks and the hand-scraped look. I think the hand-scraped floors will have a "time stamp" on them in much the same way wood-paneled family rooms scream 1980.

    I hope you enjoy your new project.

    ReplyDelete
  135. Never chimed in but love your blog, I read it frequently.
    Felt I should chime in since I am having flooring replaced this week. We are replacing our Bruce hardwood in foyer carpet in the den and dining room and ceramic in the kitchen . We have two large dogs and they ruined the hardwood. dull and scratched! We decided to go with ceramic wood look planks and it is absolutely beautiful !
    Having had ceramic in my kitchens and baths I know it is the easiest flooring to clean!
    You may want to check it out. Personally I think wood is the hardest surface to keep nice.
    Good luck with your decision!
    Love your blog!

    ReplyDelete
  136. We built our house 16 years ago and had site finished oak hardwood floors installed throughout our main floor. It was surprisingly affordable and we were told that the larger the area, the moe affordable it actually is. I have enjoyed our floors. If the site finished floors are the same price as pre-finished, I would go with the site finished--especially for resale value.

    ReplyDelete
  137. I love your blog, so I thought I'd chime in on something I actually know about :) I used to be a flooring salesperson (glamorous it was not, but I learned a ton!) and I recommend prefinished floors. Not only do you save on the dust and smell of having the floors done in your house, but the factory finish (7 coats of aluminum oxide) is much, much stronger than the on-site finish (2-3 coats of polyurethane).

    I'd recommend a high quality engineered wood, it's still "real" wood! It's just engineered wood v. solid wood. In engineered wood, the layers of glued wood prevent warping with moisture and are generally more stable. The higher quality the layers the better it will perform as well, so pine layers v. oak layers, oak is better. If you choose one with a thicker veneer you can refinish it in the future, although with a prefinished product you shouldn't have to refinish it for 25+ years!

    And as far as cleaning products, don't use the beater bar on your vacuum so as not to dull the finish over time, and never use an oil product or anything that would leave residue because that will dull it over time. I recommend Bona or another product specifically formulated for prefinished wood! Water and vinegar is good, just don't use too much moisture.

    And one more piece that I learned: the darker and shinier you go, the more footprints and dust will show. A medium-dark is perfect for hiding everything! Hope that helps; I know there's a lot of info out there but from professional experience, that's what I'd recommend!

    ReplyDelete
  138. We're going to be replacing the carpets on our main floor next summer. We've pretty much decided on finished-on-site hardwoods. We had hardwoods at our last house and absolutely can't stand carpet now. :)

    @Nicole Reid - what tile did you use in your bathrooms? We're thinking about doing hardwood-looking tile in our bathrooms and basement. Where did you find it, and how much did it run a sq ft?

    ReplyDelete
  139. Real ... Engineered fade over time too and can get a haze on them. Also, many engineered can not be sanded down to be fixed and those that can, can only be sanded once. We had permanent damage occur to our engineered with someone's high heel. We learned the hard way! Not to mention, engineered and water do not play well together. We have real wood and I wouldn't change it for anything.

    ReplyDelete
  140. I know you didn't mention bamboo flooring but just incase you come across it in your research or someone suggests it, I would tell you to steer clear. My parents did a remodel about two years ago and were debating on flooring. They had several flooring people suggest bamboo saying its fantastic. But it isn't. At least we don't think so. It scratches so easily. Our dogs and the chairs have really done a number on the flooring. While it's only a few years old, it looks like its been down for ages. My poor mom hates it. I'd hate for you to go through all that and end up with floors that can't hold up to dogs and chairs.

    ReplyDelete
  141. I LOVE that color!! I wish I could talk my husband into wood floors, but he had a 'bad' experience and said he'll never switch. Boo Hiss to him! ;*)

    ReplyDelete
  142. I have to say, DO NOT get engineered floors. We built our house six years ago and went with engineered wood. At the time we were told that it would be just as good and less cost.

    Well. The less cost part I believe, however, "just as good", I am unsure about.

    What I do not like is this: I had an incident while watering a plant where, unknowingly, a little of the water seeped out. When I found it, the top layer of our flooring had buckled. Not the floor itself, just the top layer of the planks that were wet. It looks more like the water caused the under layers to raise, therefore cracking the clear top coat finish. It isn't terribly noticable, but it is one of those things that I know is there, and with engineered hardwood there is no option to refinish.

    Also, one night while cooking supper, I look up and notice that there is water coming in from the laundry room. I was there almost immediately as it came off of the tile and onto the hardwood. We had company and they too, armed up with towels and started soaking it up as my husband stopped the water coming from the washer. Within minutes we had everything dried out. However, the next morning, despite our efforts, every plank that boardered our tile had split (as I stated before) apparently from the underneath swelling. The floor itself is level, but it did something to the finish.

    Not good.

    Still it is up to you.

    However, regardless of whether you go with engineered or the real deal, DO NOT go with the kind that has grooves in between each piece. It is a magnet for filth. I have been on my floor on many occasions armed with toothpicks, knives, toothbrushes and cleaner, trying to scrape the crud out of the crevices.

    Good luck.

    ReplyDelete
  143. You are so so right, that dark mahogany is DREAMY! We just put CORK flooring in our Kitchen! They are awesome, we are loving them. We just have to make sure water doesn't sit on them too much, so I'm constantly making sure of that, especially when doing the dishes! I should post pics on my blog sometime!

    ReplyDelete
  144. I'd go with the unfinished hardwood. We've had it downstairs for 22 years and they have done great! About 10 years ago one of my kids flushed the toilet and it overflowed while I was upstairs with the newborn. It overflowed for about 10 minutes before I found out. The water on the floors literally splashed when I walked in the bathroom, foyer, living room and dining room. It was a very bad thing to happen to the floors but it didn't hurt them in anyway. After 22 years I would like to have them refinished because of a few bad spots, but they look great for 4 kids, dogs and cats. & my quarter round matches the baseboard. Alot of people do it to match the floor but I think its part of the trim, not floor.

    ReplyDelete
  145. We have prefinished, put them in 5 years ago and love them! I have never had a problem with the little grooves, they are hardly noticable. We also got "builder grade" to save money as I loved the hand scraped look but it was too $$. The builder grade has a little bit of "character" and saved us some $ so it was a win/win! Good luck with the decision!

    ReplyDelete
  146. Have had both engineered and real wood. Much prefer the real wood for durability and upkeep.

    Good luck making final choices! Fingers crossed that the process goes quickly!

    ReplyDelete
  147. I've never posted before, but thought I should let you know our experience. I LOVE your wood color choice, it looks very similar to the hardwood color we chose for our home. It's gorgeous, but it's a huge pain with kids and a dog. It show dust, dirt and every kind of smudge imaginable. I can never get it to look clean because two seconds later there's a spot staring at me. Drives me crazy, but I still love the color. Good luck deciding!

    ReplyDelete
  148. Just catching up on my blogging & read this post.I feel I have to comment since my husband does this for a living (flooring not blogging. Lol) our first home had laminate, it was a spec home & we found it after the flooring had been done. They finished construction, we signed the papers closing the house and went straight over and ripped up the brand new laminate....my husband wanted hand scraped plantation teak wood so that's what we went with.it was GORGEOUS but it was about the color of the sample you are considering and let me tell you I hated it after the first person walked across it! It was a constant battle to keep clean. We sold the home about 8 months ago and bought our dream home. A foreclosure that needed a ton of tlc when it came time to pick out the new flooring we went with real hardwood and a much lighter color. Best decision ever! It gets a scratch I rub a little floor plush on it and it looks brand new. I am a clean freak but these floors never look dirty and I have a three year old son who lives outside. I have gone two weeks without mopping. I love that one day we can sand and refinish them a different color if I choose to for a little of nothing versus having to have new flooring installed a difference of about $ 10,000...so while the sample is beautiful if I were you take your son outside let him walk around, play, etc then as soon as he comes in have him walk across the sample. You will know then if its the right color for you. that's how I chose the stain I went with in or current home. If you don't mind moping a little more go with the dark color its beautiful. I will also say this my old home had a ton of windows and three doors across the front but I spent everyday trying to decorate so that my house looked "brighter" inside because the floors were so dark. Just a thought don't want to discourage you. You know what's best for your home and your family. Just wanted to throw that out there. Your home will be gorgeous whatever you choose.

    ReplyDelete
  149. I've had all three types and will definitely go engineered in the future - easy to care for and beautiful to look at. Dark is gorgeous, but you.will.see.every.spec.of.dust. My daughter chose dark and now regrets it in spite of their beauty.

    ReplyDelete
  150. I have real wood in most of my house (it has been there for 45 years) and prefinished wood in the kitchen (we installled it 4 years ago). If I ever get to choose again, I will go real wood, finished on site without a moment's hesitation. The prefinished is so easy to damage (drop a can of beans and you have a dent) -- they went on and on about the 30 year warranty, but that only covers walking on your floors -- dropping a can of beans is considered abuse and not part of the warranty. I also find that they are very difficult to keep clean...a steam cleaner and a swiffer wet jet both left streaks, the only way to get it looking really good is to get down on my hands and knees with Murphys Oil Soap. In the rest of my house (granted the wood is lighter in color), I could go weeks without doing anything to them.

    ReplyDelete
  151. Forgot to add, the real wood looks better after 45 years than the prefinished does after 4 years!

    ReplyDelete
  152. Hi, l absolutely love your blog and follow you daily :)
    We built our house three years ago and did real hardwood in the whole house except one bath that has tile, and I absolutely love it! My husband and I had originally wanted a darker stain, but once I saw the stain on the floors and how the lighter color brought all the details in the wood I loved it!!

    ReplyDelete
  153. I LOVE your blog and follow it faithfully. I got a lot of ideas from here when we moved into our new place. We've always had wood but in our last home the wood came with the house, which was 1930's. It was under carpet and we refinished it. Of course it had a lot of scratches and dents, etc., but we loved it. In our new place we have wood floors finished before installation. They're a honey colour, which is gorgeous, but we also have a dog and she leaves scratches. I'm getting used to less than perfect floors.:) And still love them! I use a spray hardwood cleaner and a mop and find them easy to clean. But I think I'd go with finished on site if we ever do this again - from what I'm reading above, those floors don't dent as easily.

    ReplyDelete
  154. We used #2 oak floors and varied the plank widths...I believe it is 4", 3", and 2" and I love the look. We stained on site, but it was when the house was bing built and we didn't have to deal with the mess (and the odor). I could send pics if you like.

    ReplyDelete
  155. also...if hardwoods get scratched, you can rub a little peanut butter onto the scratches, and the oils from the PB cover the scratches very well. I also like the patterns and natural variation of shades in the midgrade hardwoods. I wanted dark stain also, but was talked out of it for many of the reasons already stated. (It is a beautiful look though.)

    ReplyDelete
  156. We just finished a major Reno and we tore out our prefinished orange-y floors on 2 levels and replaced with site finished WALNUT. They are amazing and nothing beats the look of real wood. It's not a hard wood but we don't have kids and our 2 dogs total 10lbs. The color is to die for. Dark but in such an awesome natural way as all they need is 3 clear coats. I say go for the real thing. They can be refinished years down the road to look brand new. The refinished floors could change colour over time and then can't be matched which means you are ripping them out again if damage occurs.

    I work in insurance (as an adjuster) and I will say that the price the insurance companies contractor gave is probably so outrageous (cuz that's just what they do) that I would not be surprised one bit if you could take that amount they have authorized and put it towards your choice of floor and contractor and get the real thing. Because no sane human would pay insurance contractors pricing on their own. Yet insurers really are put up against a wall by the contractors. Oh the conversation we could have!

    ReplyDelete
  157. That meant to say the prefinished floors could change colors (die lots etc) over time and then you can't match them should damage occur again.

    ReplyDelete
  158. I have to chime in on this... We have dark wood floors and love them I don't see the dirt thing as an issue but we clean/swiffer frequently and shoes are not allowed in the house. Get the HARDWOOD floors you want , not something that covers dirt well, lets be honest here, whether it shows or not, it's there. I personally rather see the dirt and clean it then know it's there-blending in with the floor. Also we all still get white kitchen, and stainless steel--and those are awful for showing marks/dirt, but we get them cause we love them right?

    ReplyDelete
  159. I have had hardwood floors installed & finished on site twice. Both times were select red oak. One of those houses has been a rental for 3 years- and the floors are 11 years old. They look better than the prefinished cherry floors that we have now. As much as I love that dark sample (ours are not quite that dark, but close)- they show EVERY.SINGLE.THING. Dust, pet hair, scratches, water drops- you name it. And I clean them at least daily. And they scratch MUCH more than the oak. They shouldn't, but they do. Not sure if it's the diffence in finish or wood. Also- if you're a type A person, the grooves in a prefinished floor WILL make you nutty. I promise. Ask me how I know.
    I'm sure whatever you choose will look fabulous and you will love it!!
    Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  160. We are in the same boat as you, in the process of picking colors etc.

    what brand/color , any info on the one you chose would be greeeeeeeeeattt!! love the way it looks.

    ReplyDelete
  161. We had a similar situation with laminate in the kitchen that just looked awful after a few years, and carpet in the family room that a dog and two cats had done a number on. When our baby was born and we realized she'd be crawling on that carpet (ewe) we decided to go for engineered hardwood. We LOVE it. We chose a similar color to your choices, and it's hand-scraped. I love the hand scraped because it looks a little more rustic and if it gets scratched or nicked, a little wood marker from Kirkland's makes it look like it was there all along! My mom had her real hardwoods refinished and there is an INSANE amount of labor and dust involved. Don't let your guy sweet talk you. Engineered, handscraped hardwood all the way!!!

    ReplyDelete
  162. We put in a real hardwood floor in our living room about 2 years ago and I love it! We chose the real thing because if anything were to happen in one spot, we wouldn't have to replace the entire floor...and it's easy to match up if we decide to extend the floor to other places where we currently have tile. Anyway...the inconvenience of the install wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Granted, we didn't do a huge space but the guys installed it in one day and then put our furniture back on it. We lived with raw wood for a week or so (they let the wood expand and contract and adjust to the temp in your home before finishing)and then they came back, moved our furniture for us and then finished the floor. Furniture was back on within 24 hours of them staining and sealing. They also kept the dust to a minimum. I was pretty impressed. My in-laws had just gone through a major flooring mishap when their engineered wood floor had to be replaced (the whole house!) because of a leak in the kitchen. They couldn't match the existing floor. They went with engineered again which looks fab but it was a major hassle. Hope that helps...good luck!! Can't wait to see the results.

    ReplyDelete
  163. Wow, we are in the middle of picking out flooring...2 kids and a dog who dribbles water from her muzzle after she drinks. So much information!! I think we are going with a pre-finished stranded bamboo. One of the hardest woods. We don't want the mess but we need durability.
    I found this chart that rates the hardness scale of woods. Called the Janka scale. Its very helpful!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janka_hardness_test

    ReplyDelete
  164. We've been in the process of researching flooring for our house too, which we're thinking of doing throughout our whole house (holy cats, it's EXPENSIVE!!). We've done the real vs. engineered. Never at laminate, I couldn't stomach the fake look of it (snobby of me?). I think in the end, we're ultimately going to wait for our older lab to go (he's 12, arthritic, and his legs splay out from under him often), because I don't think that even the hardest of hardwoods, which would be putting us in the "eating ramen for the rest of our life category", would hold up to his gouges and scratching.

    Anyway, yes, you CAN get solid hardwood for cheaper, but you're going to compromise on the hardness for that. Solid hardwood maple isn't going to cost you the same as some other harder engineered pre-finished flooring. It's just not done. However, you also have to factor in your subfloors and whether or not they will have to be build up, or if the width of the pre-engineered floor is too high, etc. If you're lucky, your floors won't need an extra layer of sub flooring or anything done to the sub floor, which costs extra money. Which is why a salesperson will tell you that you can get solid for the same price. There are so many factors that you have to take into consideration when choosing one vs. the other. It's so convoluted and exhausting. My one requirement with having hardwoods installed, be it pre-engineered, or solid, is that it had to either be floating, or nailed. I didn't want the VOC's from the glue in my house. Even the "eco friendly" stuff. Glue is glue. We thought about DIY, and in that case, it HAD to be floating. We don't have time for messing around with nails and that mess with two small kids, and limited babysitting options.

    Build direct will also send you five free samples, (they're small, but a good starting point when you're looking for hardness). I gouged the crap out of them with keys and matchbox cars. :o)

    Good luck.

    ReplyDelete
  165. I grew up with hardwood floors (maple) and loved them! Easy to clean and upkeep. I like that hardwood can be redone where engineered really can't. I'm not a fan of handscraped as I also lived in our family homestead with wide pine planks - gorgeous, yes - pain in the neck to clean grooves. Bottom line? Hardwood definitely! The most beautiful I've seen was my cousin's 1st floor and they ran the wood diagonally! Have done onsite and keep yourself occupied with other projects! (Uhmmm...you do have some to work on? lol)

    Ciao!
    Guerrina in CT

    ReplyDelete
  166. Hi Sarah!
    Picking out floors can be a challenge, but as you're finding out - a fun one! You asked for more information about the difference between solid hardwood and engineered hardwood, and I thought I would send you the link to this informational area of our website. [http://www.armstrong.com/flooring/hardwood.html]

    Good luck!

    Kim with Armstrong Flooring

    ReplyDelete
  167. Don't go dark, you'll regret it! It will show every speck of dust, every crumb, every scratch.

    Also don't do grooved floors, because the dust and crumbs will get stuck in the cracks. I had grooved floors in my old dining room and hated it.

    ReplyDelete
  168. Hey girl!
    I just read your post to my hubby and for what it is worth, here is his opinion:
    He said the engineered wood is good, depending on how long you want to stay in that house. It is a good 10-15 year product, and it usually comes with a good warranty. However, if it ever needs sanding, it isn't as good as the real wood floors. There is just a small amount of wood on top that can be sanded and may wear through. Real wood can be sanded over and over without hurting the wood. You may not ever need to do that though. If you can afford the prefinished hard wood, my hubby says that is the best choice.
    Can't wait to see what you chose. We will be installing wood in our addition soon. We are leaning toward real unfinished wood, but we do not have to worry about moving out furniture to sand and stain it, so that makes a difference.
    Goodluck, girl! It's going to look fabulous. I love the dark stain you chose. :)
    xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  169. Wow - just read through nearly all of these posts! Not sure you'll even get to mine and I'm totally the minority. To be honest, I'm shocked at all the hardwood only suggestions!

    We are getting new flooring and are going with engineered wood. :-) We currently have engineered wood in our house that is probably 14 years old. It has held up beautifully (we've only been here 4 years). We are replacing b/c it's a bit too '90s for our style. It's a yellow/blonde oak color and small planks. We are getting 4" Hickory hand scraped dark wood. We are in Texas on a concrete slab, so going the glue down route and with our weather engineered wood is preferred.

    I'm eager to see what you go with .. whatever, it will be beautiful!! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  170. I have been a reader for a while, but have never commented before. When we moved to our new home, we pulled up all carpeting in the house, and installed oak flooring throughout the house. It is almost identical to what you've fallen in love with. I think it looks gorgeous, but I have to say that I do regret putting such dark wood floors in. They show everything. Constantly. Minutes after I've swept and mopped. They look nice, but are very difficult to keep clean. I agree with another reader when she advised going a shade lighter. I would actually go a lot lighter if I could do it over. Unfortunately that's not an option (given how much we spent putting the floor in). Just make your decision carefully, and weigh all your options. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  171. My husband owns his own hardwood company, and this was his comments to me when I just asked him: hand scraped... never had issues with from any customers (unless you pick a wood that shrinks, or unless the wood isn't acclimated before installation). It hides any scrapes that kids and life might leave in it's path as well. He said definitely real over engineered... and price solely depends on the wood. Some engineered are more expensive than the real wood. His website is utah-hardwood-floors.com and can answer any FAQ's you might have just to pick someone else's brain (and to find the pros and cons of various floors he has dealt with). He would have our entire house in hardwood if I let him. We have all but our downstairs family room and the 2 boys' bedrooms in hardwood, and it is SOOOO easy to clean and make look amazingly beautiful. Hope this helps.

    ReplyDelete
  172. I refinished my first hardwood floor back in 1983...and after working in Biotech for a dozen years started my on remolding and carpentry business...Since then I have install a gazillion sq feet of floor...here is some real time advice form working in dozens of peoples homes.

    PUT TILE IN THE KITCHEN....dishwasher, leaky sink..your fridge problem...all of that could have been avoided with a tile floor...Tile should also alway be used in bathroom, laundry rooms and Outdoor entry spaces....PERIOD.

    If you do choose wood go with a site finished...the grooves of a prefinished floor collect dirt and water can soak through the cracks...site finished floors are sealed by the surface finish and lake these gaps.

    Bamboo Engineered and laminates are all disposable floors.

    http://kmswoodworks.wordpress.com/2010/04/18/the-great-green-washing-of-bamboo-flooring/

    another concern with bamboo is the embodied energy...which is way higher than concrete...(considered to be one of the highest energy products ever)

    ReplyDelete
  173. We have the SAME flooring! They are gorgeous, but I have to say they show EVERY. SINGLE. PARTICLE. They drive me crazy because of it. Again, beautiful but it shows everything!

    ReplyDelete

I LOVE your comments, thank you! (I read every single one.)

If you have a specific question I will do my best to answer you back here! Be sure to check out the FAQs tab at the top of the site and my Projects page for paint colors and DIY projects as well.

THANKS so much for reading!