White oak hardwood floors

October 12, 2011

I’m THRILLED to announce that the great floor install has begun!! Wait -- that should probably be The Great Floor Install. It deserves caps cause I’ve been been waiting for this for a loooong time. (Six weeks and three days. But who’s counting?)

The process started bright and early Tuesday morning – the handymen came to pull up all of the carpet and laminate. But first all of the furniture had to be moved out! Initially we were going to try to move furniture back and forth (from the front of the house to the back) but I’m SO glad we didn’t mess with that. It would have been a total hassle, and I’m not even sure we would have had room for all of the furniture in one place.

By the way – before this I didn’t think we had much furniture. We do. Have much furniture.

While the guys moved furniture and pulled up flooring, I took all of the little stuff – lamps, baskets, knick knacks, pillows -- down to the basement.

Can I get a hollaaaaa for basements? I don’t know what we’d do without ours. Double thump to the chest at it.

After everything was out, the flooring guys got going pretty quick – they started with the front of the house and moved back. I was shocked at how fast the floors went down – it’s just the measuring and cutting that takes time.

By the end of day one, the dining and living room were DONE!:

unfinished hardwood floors

I am SO IN LOVE!!! Even in the natural color – I. am. giddy.

I cannot even express to you the difference it’s already made in our house! It feels HUGE! I know the whole no furniture thing plays a teensy roll in that, but STILL. :)

They worked their tails off today, and would have gotten all of the floors down, but we had some little problems to work around in the family room and kitchen.

Thousands of them:

See that line of itty bitty staples? When we had the laminate installed years ago, the installers had to put down a layer of plywood to even out the floors. The plywood came up easy – the staples did not.

It seems like there are (pinky to mouth) meeeellions of them.

So the guys have to pound down each and every one before they can install over them – it took hours this morning. Tomorrow they will finish that up and finish the floors!

We were told the whole process would be done by this Friday, and HA! that makes me laugh. ;) It will be next Tuesday at the earliest, unless things go magically fast over the next few days. I’m going to plan for mid-next week and be pleasantly surprised if it’s finished up earlier.

The finished on site process obviously takes much longer than a prefinished or engineered wood would take. With either of those, they would go down and then be done. The version we chose is installed, spots are filled, the floors are sanded, then stained and finally coats of poly are put over all of it.

So a one or two day process for prefinished will be at least five for the finished on site.

There is one BIG reason that we went this route. I know myself. :)

The little crevices in the prefinished flooring would have driven me nutty:

Quite a few of you mentioned this (actually, a TON of you) when I asked about the floors on this post. You all were so helpful!!

Many mentioned how it drives you MAD when you have to vacuum out those little cracks. I know it would put me over the edge. Really. You just have to know what makes you tick. Or itch, in this instance. ;)

I had hoped to do the wider boards – maybe four inches wide. But the contractor and installer both explained that the wider the boards, the more the chance of cupping. Indiana weather isn’t exactly what I’d call stable – we get freezing cold, super hot, insane humidity and major dry spells – all within days of each other sometimes. (You think I kid.)

The extremes in weather are a great recipe for cupping floors. The thinner the width of the board, the less chance of that happening:

Ours are 3 1/4 inch wide I believe? They are also 3/4 inch thick (top to bottom)– so there will be plenty of chances to sand them down and restain in the future – which is another reason for this method. They should (please Lord) last forever.

That’s also the reason we didn’t go with the hand scraped look – we were told those can be hard to sand down and stain because of the texture. I’m not sure if that’s 100 percent true, but it makes sense. They’d have to be sanded down to almost flat if they were going to be restained.

I decided to go basic and what I hope is timeless – flat, crevice-free wood floors. ;) I can already tell little bumps and nicks aren’t going to bother me – scratches yes (I may cry the first time!!), but the rest will give them character. :)

I told myself I wouldn’t work on any projects this week because the house is such a mess – but that lasted all of ten minutes. I just can’t sit around watching – I have to do something!

One of my dirty little secrets was revealed when they moved the furniture out – I had even forgotten about it!:

Ha!! I never painted or finished the molding when I did this project a couple years ago.  (I posted a how-to video in this post!) I always meant to go back and do it, but the sofa hasn’t moved in years. ;)

So I’ve been working on that…painting and installing the additional boxes. And then because they finished the floors in the office:

I took that opportunity to finish up the baseboards in there. I’ve been waiting forEVA to do this and I’m SO thrilled!! When I installed the B and B in there, I put the mdf right over the top of the baseboards:

board and batten on top of baseboards

It didn’t really bother me – but I knew when the floors were installed that I could fix this, and I’m SO happy with how it turned out!

One of my lovely readers mentioned that they just installed baseboards right over the top of the whole thing – and I thought that was brilliant.

Because our old baseboards were a bit thinner than the mdf I used on the walls, I used a bunch of paint sticks and nailed them over the old baseboards:

baseboards over baseboards

I offered to pay for them, but Paint Guy at Home Depot told me to take what I needed – rock on Paint Guy!!

Doing this prevented the bottom part of the new baseboards from caving in when I nailed them in – does that make sense? Otherwise the bottom part would have been against the old baseboards and the top part would have been sticking out – it gave them an even surface to lay on.

It worked like a charm!:

Sorry for the night pic! I got this done late!

Here’s a before and after to see how looks:


OH MY I am so happy to have this done! After the floors are stained the quarter round will go down, completing the baseboards.

Goodbye shorties – helloooo tall baseboards!

You could easily do this over carpet as well…I plan to. :)

So, that’s the update on our new floors – it’s not the easiest route but I think it will be the best one for us. So far I’m dealing pretty well with the mess. I’m just so excited about everything I don’t even care!

I won’t have any reveals to show off till next week -- I’ll talk more about our stain color then. (Cause I’m still deciding!)

So…can you see the potential? I think it’s going to be gorgeous!!

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  1. Wowza!!! Those are some gorgeous floors, can't wait to see them finished!

  2. Your floors are going to look gorgeous!! I can't wait to see the finished product!

  3. Looking Good Already!! Love Hardwood Floors!!!!!

  4. Bee~utiful floors! Handy free shims with the paint sticks ;) Smart girl! The baseboards, well, the whole ROOM is yummy. What an office. Can't wait to see them all done.

  5. I love the floors! I am so glad to see you mention about the crevices in laminate flooring vs the wood floor you went with. I care for LOTS of cats and two dogs. {Spay&Neuter Advocate that gets animals dumped on me}

    Now I know I will NOT be buying laminate because you stated readers complained about having to vacuum the crevices. I'm a DIYer with a lot of injuries so I am trying to figure out what is the minimal cleaning for anything I DIY!

    I'm looking forward to seeing more of your progress! Congrats on getting this in motion!

    Kelly on FB

  6. Are you for real?! I love it!!! It is going to be incredible!! So excited for you!

  7. Gorgeous! I totally feel you on the wacky Indiana weather... I live about an hour south of Indy, and the weather here is nuts. One week it's 80, the next it's 40 with a frost in the mornings!! Thank goodness for clothes I can layer!

  8. It will look amazing when its all done...are you going light or dark stain wise?

  9. It looks so lovely, even unfinished!! WOW!

    I'm gonna go out on a limb, since ya said you're a contrasty kinda gal. . .


    Question: Is this super duper expensive? I would love LOVE to have my carpet ripped out (honestly, and pardon my french, but it is the lightest carpet from hell), and hardwood installed throughout. But the price! Oy.

  10. You are going to love those floors even more when they are stained!! My Mom had the same thing put down in her home in 1973 and they still look amazing! We get crazy weather variations here in arkansas too and they have never warped at all. Course back in the day wood was the only option but hers have held up well to kids pets and lots of life. Can't wait to see the finished project!

  11. Once finished, you'll love it!
    Wehave hardwood floors for the first time and looooove it. The only thing I wish we'd taken the time to do is stain each individual board before it was layed. May sound overboard but if we'd stained the sides first then we wouldn't see the colour difference as the boards shrink out and then the shrinkage wouldn't bother me!
    Can't wait to see the finished effect with all your furniture back in.
    Loving it so far!

  12. Beautiful flooring. Look's great in your home!

  13. You already have a beautiful home and these new floors are enhansing that..
    ps~thanks for showing a cheap way to bump out the new baseboards:)I need to do that here in the family room.


  14. Love it! It looks so bright and fresh!

  15. They are going to be beautiful! Can't wait to see the finished product! Where did you put all of your furniture?

  16. Looks great!! You might want to take down your curtains when they start sanding the floors-its MESSY!! Where are you hiding out with the kitty and that cute little dog of yours??

  17. Your floors look fantastic! Choosing a stain is tough. We had our guys make stain samples right on the floor for us to choose and that was very helpful. Here's a little tip: if you are torn between two shades, go with the lighter one because the polyurethane top coats will "brown up" your stain. We followed that advice and it worked out just right for us. Also over time, sunlight will darken not lighten (weird, I know) your stain.
    Just a little unsolicited advice from a gal who built a house and has done the whole floor thing. Hang in there!

  18. Fabulous! And your baseboard trick makes me laugh ;-)

  19. It's so great that you are going with REAL wood floors. There is no equal to them. Our house is a 1950's Ranch with original floors and I love them so much. Although I have been known to curse them and how much work it takes to keep them clean and pet hair free, I would never trade them. Congrats on an exciting change up!

  20. These are going to look amazing! You're so lucky to have a basement. We live in Michigan, where most homes have basements, but ours doesn't. Plus our house is only 800 sq feet, so it's rough. We have one tiiiiny bedroom that we use for storing things when we need to, but it's also the guest room in theory. Our garage leaks MAJORLY too, so keeping stuff in there isn't really an option either. Again, you're so lucky :)

  21. They look so great! That's so fun and exciting!

  22. Oh my gosh!! This is already looking SOOOO amazing, I can't wait to see it when it's all finished. I am also really interested to hear about the stains that you're considering, as that is a BIG decision too! I think you picked a great floor though - I never would have thought about the grooves in the floor or anything like that. Good info!

    I love the look of hardwoods and I think it just really opens up a space. I would really love hardwood in my great room, but I'm not sure how it would flow with the tile that we have in our entry/kitchen/etc... Lots to consider here! But, I can't justify ripping out my tile since it's pretty (and more importantly, it hides dirt!). But if money weren't an issue, I would LOVE hardwoods throughout!! I'll live vicariously through you for now.

  23. Wow!! So Pretty!! Is it bad of me to wish for my own household disaster so I could get new floors?? Kidding -- kind of!


  24. You mentioned you hadn't picked your stain color yet... If I was picking a color for an unfinished floor, I think I would have picked something close to the (dark) color of the flooring in the 'Something's Gotta Give' (AKA my DREAM) house. BUT. I mentioned this to my sister. Who happens to have that color flooring - and she said that it does wear unevenly, and you can see the lightness of the natural wood eventually showing in heavy traffic areas. I'm thinking that maybe you can just have them do an extra coat or two of poly to avoid this if you DO want dark flooring? Just a thought, if you don't want to have to re-finish within the next 5-10 years!


  25. I'm so happy for you, Sarah!! And I'm glad you chose the site-finished floors. They really are so much more durable than the prefinished ones. And those grooves really would have driven you nuts!

    As for stain color, I'll pass along one bit of knowledge. I've had natural, golden oak, reddish-oak, and dark-stained oak floors. I thought the dark ones were really pretty, but they stayed pretty only for a few minutes in our house. Every little speck of dust and EVERY SINGLE DOG HAIR showed on those floors. As much as I loved them, I vowed never to do a dark floor stain again. Of course, I have three sons and two dogs, so this might not be such an issue for you. But I thought I'd pass that along.

  26. Looking good. It's amazing how changing the floors changes the look of everything.

  27. Looking good! I can't wait to put up big baseboards too. We currently have nothing up since we installed the hardwoods.

    We did a super dark stain on our floors. I LOVE the way it looks but we have 5 pets and no kids yet. I have to be on them daily to keep them clean. I'm anal so it doesn't drive me too crazy but if you don't want to deal with that don't go too dark.

  28. Weird, we have laminate and I've never had a crack issue. Hee hee. Okay, crevices. Maybe we have some fancy schmance laminate? Anyway, please do a post on your baseboards! I'm drooling over them. In particular the 3rd photo is gorgeous! But then you mentioned something about quarter round (which i'm sooo trying to avoid). Any thoughts on this would be awesome! You'll never regret the dark floors. :)

  29. Can't wait to see it finished! We're in the process of picking out flooring for our main floor and will soon be going through the transformation.

  30. Wow looks great! Can't wait to see it all finished!

  31. Wow! The floors are looking amazing, even unstained! Ha! I never even thought about the crevices in between floor boards - I actually don't have much of a problem with it though. My main problem is with my darling little monster Maxwell (my lab) scratching up the floors all the time. Ahhhh, to have beautiful smooth floors once again... I envy you right now!

    Can't wait to see what you decide to stain them!

    Take care,

  32. You are going to love the floors when they are done! Last year (two weeks before Christmas.....YES, we are CA-RAZZZYYYYY!) we had our hardwoods refinished. They were the original floors of our house, which was built in the 70s. The floors were in good shape, but not our style. We had a crew come in, sand the floors, stain them and seal them.....OMG.....the best money we have ever spent! The floors look great and have held up well to our 70lb chocolate lab. I did cry at the first scratch....like a baby. But, there are ways to touch them up (just as your installers). We were out of our house for 4 or 5 days and returned to a stinky, smelly house. I think we were high off the fumes for a few days! Stay away as long as you can handle it! LOL! Can't wait to see when the floors are finished!

    Michelle from http://www.the236.net

  33. Wow!

    What amazing detail! (I loved it when you showed the unpainted section behind the sofa.)

    If I ever need my humans to build a pyramid in honor of me, I'll make sure they consult with you, first.



  34. I can totally see potential, and I am totally jealous of your gorgeous hardwood floors. Wow!!

  35. Love love love the hardwood floor!!! Girl, take the curtains down before they sand. And pictures off the walls..... The saw dust gets everywhere!!!! You will be dusting and wiping and diusting for a bazillion years! Seriously....get it all out of there, trust me :-)

  36. Count your blessings! We had hardwood floor stored in our garage for FIFTEEN YEARS. This summer was our Great Floor Install go-time. However with chronic illness being especially bad this season (you guessed it, that illness started around fifteen years ago)... and zero helping hands to speak of... Fall is here and one single solitary bedroom is done, though the house remains pretty ripped up. It's sick (and not in the slang, "that is so cool" kind of way). Sigh. Well, congrats on your living space. It does look nice.

  37. You probably should remove those baseboards you just installed.

    It will make their sanding, staining and finishing a lot easier.

  38. Your floors are looking awesome!!!

    I am puzzled by something, though! You said, "Many mentioned how it drives you MAD when you have to vacuum out those little cracks."

    Does your floor NOT have the little cracks?! I live in a house that was built in the 1870s, which has original hardwoods, and there are most definitely cracks in it!!!

    So, how on earth *does* one go about getting the junk out of the cracks? (Vacuuming hasn't done a thing, and I'm not desperate enough to start with toothpicks *yet*!)

  39. It will look great! Adding wood floors was the best thing we did too! I have a new blog at loveofhomes.blogpot.com. Your blog has always been one of my favorites!

  40. Beautiful! We just had our 40 year old hardwoods sanded, stained and refinished and I love them. If you are going with a traditional poly finish though, just a warning that it smells SO bad! We were out of our house for almost 2 weeks (our floor guy said NO throw rugs, etc for 7 days after the final coat) and when we finally went back in it STILL smelled. Even now, a month later, if the house has been closed up all day we can smell it (faintly) as soon as we walk in the door. Just beware, especially with your little boy and dog.

    It will be SO worth it though!

  41. Fabulous, there is nothing better to my eye than continuous flooring throughout a space, opens it up and does make it feel larger! It looks great and it will be fun to see it complete. Janell

  42. so jealous right now! i cant wait to see it all done

  43. They look wonderful! And I know the feeling...I remember when we had allll the carpet ripped out of the entire main floor of our former home, I floated on a cloud for a couple of weeks because I loved the hardwoods so much! They elevate the style of a room immensely! Plus, area rugs are SO much fun! Enjoy, they look great!

  44. Yes, it will be wonderful! Wow, glad you are holding up with all this. Looks like sooo much work moving everything out.
    But I'm sure it will be worth it.

  45. I love the new floors - wish I was getting some of my own. *wistful sigh* Maybe someday. :) I want to do B & B in my living room. Love the new base boards. Can't wait to see the reveal.

  46. we have the same 3 1/4 inch oak floors and i love them. it took me a while to decide on a stain color as well. i knew i didn't want light but didn't want anything TOO dark because it can be hard to keep them looking nice because it shows dust much more. i went with a color called "chestnut" and i have no regrets. also, i would recommend you use water-based polyurethane. it has much less VOCs and it is much more durable than oil-based poly. of course, because of that it does cost more but i think it is well worth it!

    i know you get TONS of advice from all your readers, but just thought i'd add my two cents in case it helps!

  47. Your floors are looking awesome! I have waited 20 years for my hardwood floors! LOL! Or maybe I should say COL (cry our loud)! We started installing them ourselves in January. We are also using the unfinished wood and finishing it ourselves. We have half of our house completely done. We still have four bedrooms to go. Since we are installing them ourselves we are moving the furniture around. You are so lucky you did not do it this way! But our floors are looking awesome too and it will be worth the 20 years of waiting when they are done! ~ Barbara

  48. Hi Sarah! I'm a faithful follower and when I want to do something to our home, I check your blog and see if you did it and what you thought about the process. I'm buttering you up, huh. Well, what I need is some info on how you found your Floor Guy. We are going for hardwoods (ripping out carpet) and were considering laminate but we also have a hate-hate relationship with water and I know it would only be a matter of time. So --- how does one go about finding a good floor guy? Thanks for any info you can give me. I love your floors. At first I thought oh, too dark!, but your pics of them looking so good won me over. Thanks again.

    1. Thanks Karen! Anymore when I'm looking for someone that does a good job for a decent price I ask friends on Facebook. :) I have found some really great contractors that way. Our flooring guy was used by the restoration company that did all of our water repairs so that's how we found him. His prices are crazy good because it's just him and another guy he employs.


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