Would I do it again? (The floors)

Hello and good Thursday to ya! I’ve always loved Thursdays for some reason. The anticipation of the weekend and all…I just love them.  :)

Anyway, I am going to try to update you more often on things I’ve done around here – mostly big projects, just let you know how they’ve held up, if I still like them, would I do it again?

I am always honest with you about how things turn out and I gotta say, usually I’m pleased with my big projects in the long term. This is because I sit on ideas/thoughts/plans for SO LONG…I make sure I have all the pros and cons weighed out in my mind and think of solutions along the way.

Today I’m talking about our hardwood floors. If you’ve been with me for a while, you might remember the leaking fridge we woke up to about a year and a half ago.

It had died overnight and everything in the freezer defrosted and came out of the fridge…in the form of water. :) I was shocked at how much water that amounted to. We had laminate floors in the kitchen and family room at the time and after some moisture testing by the pros it didn’t take long for the kitchen to look like this:

water damage to laminate

It had seeped into the laminate and traveled across the floor underneath. They found water across the room. :(

With our floors (Pergo we installed about six years ago) you couldn’t just replace sections. And it had worn down over time anyway and was not holding up well. (I felt like I couldn’t get them “clean” to save my life.)

So we weighed our options – new laminate, prefinished hardwoods or finished on site hardwoods.

The laminate was nixed immediately because I did not want to go through this same experience again. Then we thought we would go with a pre-finished wood:

pre-finished hardwoods

Simply because it would have been much simpler to install, in terms of time, mess, and hassle.

But when a few of you mentioned your experiences with stuff getting into the small grooves between the planks of wood, it changed my mind. I never thought I would do hardwoods finished on site in my house – I thought it would be way too expensive. But if I remember right the price was the same or even a little less to finish on site.

When I say finish on site, it means they bring in all the wood (let it acclimate in the house for a few days), then lay it down, sand, stain, sand, stain…and then put a protective coat or two on top.

At least I think that’s how it went. ;)

We didn’t do anything fancy – three inch wide oak boards (we were told anything wider may have issues with cupping with the weather in Indiana):

unfinished hardwood floorsunfinished hardwood floors

I knew when I saw them unfinished and loved them that we had made the right decision – they just looked seamless and like they were always meant for our house.

It’s been about 16 months since we had them installed and I have to say, I’m thrilled with them. We are NOT easy on them either – big and little toys are pushed around on them every day:

finished on site hardwoods

And they still look as good as new.

I love love LOVE how they look up against crisp white trim:

finished on site hardwoods

It still makes my heart flutter a bit. :)

We do have had plenty of scratches – nothing too horrible. The first one happened with weeks of them being done and I did freak just a little…come, on, it was the first one!! But now I can’t even find where it is. :) And since I’ve totally let go – I don’t notice them and I know no one else does. All together I think we have maybe four or five scratches, all small.

A few weeks ago the cat knocked a pitcher off the kitchen island – the pitcher survived. (Wow!) The floors got a couple decent dents:

hardwoods finished on-site

There are two -- one is pretty deep. But that’s by far the worst of it, and you still can barely see them. It was hard for me to get a pic of it, even close up. (There are two right in the middle of the photo, if you can’t see them.)

There is an additional cost to hardwoods to consider – you will want some rugs:

jute rug

It’s a bit cold feeling without at least a couple – at least it was in our house. (Not cold on your feet, just sparse.) That is an added expense for sure.

Overall they have been very low maintenance for use, way way less work than the laminate. I think the biggest reason for this is that I chose a satin poly – not a shiny one. It has helped tremendously when it comes to stuff showing on them. And ours are dark but not too dark (the color is Jacobean by Minwax) – I was warned that I would notice every little thing on them and I don’t.

Here’s the pros and cons, as I see them after living with hardwoods:

Pros (finished on-site):

Look more “original” to the house
You can have them stained whatever color you want and can mix stains to get the right look.
I never, ever have to clean them. For real. I’m not going to tell you how often I do.
(I think) they hold up GREAT. We have had very few scratches, dings, whatever. (And over the past 16 months we’ve had four cats, a dog, and three humans on them every day.)
They can be dried out and *should* go back to normal if we ever have another water issue. (Which I’m sure we will someday…water hates loves us.)
They can be sanded down and refinished over and over again. They will be in this house forever.

Cons (finished on-site):

Installation is no fun. We had to move every bit of furniture out of the main floor, then we had to be completely out of the house for what I think was two nights when they stained and poly’d. (The smell was bad and we obviously couldn’t walk on them.)
I was really worried about all the dust from sanding, but it honestly wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. The machines they use now really cut down on that.
The cost is a big issue of course – it’s not cheap. I don’t think there is any way we could have swung them if we hadn’t had a decent insurance check. (Well, we could have, but we would've had to save for a while.) We only paid about 30 percent of the whole cost. But keep in mind our total cost included the remediation from the water – all the clean up, tearing out the floors, removing and reinstalling our island. So with all of that taken out it wouldn’t be as bad.

We are actually looking to get a quote on hardwoods upstairs now too – our carpet is going on nine years old and it’s either those or new carpet. Hubby’s allergies are awful and he actually suggested the hardwoods – I didn’t argue. ;) The square footage up there will be about two thirds of main level, (when we take out the bathrooms), so I think the price will be more manageable.

So there you go! Would I do them again? YES, in a heartbeat. I LOVE our floors. I would go through the hassle to do them again for sure…but not for a long time. :)

Here’s the deets on ours one more time:

Three inch wide oak flooring
Finished on site
Stained in Jacobean by Minwax
Finished off with a satin poly

Do you have hard floors? Laminate, prefinished or on site like ours? Do you love or hate them?

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