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What I Learned Installing Hardwood Floors For The First Time

I can remember rising in the early hours of the morning, tip toeing quietly out my bedroom door, careful not to wake those still deep in their slumber. As I journeyed down the hallway all too eager for that first cup of coffee, the wooden floor would give way, creaking and groaning in protest. The wood beheld stories and memories of its own, filling our home with a distinctive quality. Its very smell, touch and sound gave our home so much character as it aged over the years with us. Whether you visited your Grandmothers house, or vacationed in a cabin in the woods, we likely all have a similar story to tell, remembering the quality and feel of something so simple as wood flooring.

Fast forward a few years later…

In our first fixer home, we installed laminate floors as it was a price-friendly, no-brainer option. Shortly after, our dog started developing a skin condition and we discovered she was allergic to the laminate floors; meaning, the toxins being off-gassed damaged her health. I started looking more closely into the materials that we chose for our home and quickly realized hardwood floors were a better way to go for everyone’s health! (more to come soon on toxic building materials!)

So began my newbie journey for the perfect swoon-worthy, story-telling hardwood floors…

1 Make a list

I knew the type of look and feel I wanted for our floors, so I soon started following designers on social media who used a similar flooring aesthetic on their projects. Since designers rarely tag where they purchased their materials, I found answers in the “comments section” of their post, where the designer would share the vendors name. This was my base point and allowed me to compile lists of flooring collections to check out! #ThankYouSocialMedia

2 Visit showrooms

I then sourced local showrooms that carried the products I had on my list! Once I visited the showroom, I would learn more about each flooring collection and how it held up based on the salesperson’s recommendation. This was the time I could ask questions about how the material was made, what kind of synthetic or aluminum coatings were used on the product and if it received a low VOC (volatile organic compounds) score by excluding toxic substances such as formaldehyde. Looking back, I wish I would have looked further into if the product was sustainably sourced.

While visiting the showrooms, I also learned about other brands I had not heard of before and started understanding ranges in price point for the look I was going for. I also discussed the options to custom make a stain for our floor, which was really fun!

3 Test your samples

It’s time to bring the samples home! This step is essential. I can’t tell you how many times I thought I found the perfect flooring only then to realize it looked completely different in my home. I tested each sample at different times of the day and in different rooms to gauge how the light changed its color. Often times, the flooring would turn yellow orange or pink. I finally found the perfect floor stain that held up better than its competition in our lighting, and I highly recommend it! We went with the Reward Collection Costa European Oak Luna.

4 Compare quotes

After we found the perfect hardwood floor for our home, it was time to compare prices for the material and installation. Since our home was not built on a concrete slab foundation, we knew we would install the floor by nailing it down to the wood subfloor (you would use glue to install the floors over concrete). The quote also needed to include any leveling of the subfloor prior to install. Since we shopped many different providers, we received a wide range of quotes. Finally, I was able to find our floor material for wholesale pricing and purchased it ~$1.00 cheaper per square foot. Wooo!!!

Recommended Material Locations:

+ Wholesale Woodfloor Warehouse, Sacramento – Ask for Jason!

+ Fine Floorz, Walnut Creek – Ask for Mitchell!

5 Delivery

After our flooring was delivered to our home, we let it acclimate in our space for ~72 hours. Wood retains moisture and based on the humidity level of our environment, the wood would swell or shrink depending on the climate. This step is incredibly important so that your wood does not warp when installed. After the flooring has had ample time to adjust, it’s go time! Make sure your subfloor is leveled and that your installer is clear on which direction you will run your floor pattern throughout the home.

6 Cleaning & Maintenance

To be honest, I am still learning the ins and outs of hardwood floor upkeep. Though the industry recommends Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner for maintenance, I personally use Truce Wood Cleaner as it is toxin-free and good for everyone I love!

I’ll keep you all posted on how this hardwood holds up over time and if I have any regrets! In the meantime, feel free to reach out with any questions!



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