Welcome the dedicated hardwood flooring post! (Alternate titles were: ‘What Wood You Do?’ and ‘Oak-la-Home-Ahhhhh!’) This will either be FASCINATING to you if you’re in the market for some yourself or completely BORING if you’re not! I grew up on carpet but later acquired a renter’s sense of entitlement for hardwood floors so they were always the biggest priority on my list of home improvements. The way bad shoes can ruin an otherwise great outfit I think applies to flooring. So floors are the shoes of the home, which I suppose would make rugs the socks of the home? Anyways, the point is – it’s a worthwhile investment in my eyes.
I did a lot of research on hardwood floor options, engineered wood vs solid and then solid pre-finished vs solid finished on site. Each option seems to have its strengths and weakness depending on what your priorities are. In the end, because a little more than half of our main floor already had solid red oak floors that also needed refinishing, the most cohesive option was to have unfinished solid red oak installed and finish everything together at the same time. We ended up using a floor guy our realtor recommended and tried to undertake as much of the prep work involved ourselves.
We had the option of installing the new floors on top of the linoleum and plywood which would have created a noticeable transition because of the height difference with the existing wood floors. But Ben was willing undertake the labor (even while sick!) of removing the plywood layer the carpet was tacked into to get down to the subfloor in the living room. BONUS: The top layer of plywood came up in whole sheets and was a high quality grade so I’m hoping to reuse it for some projects around the house like a custom desk for the office.
A shot during the installation. All that unfinished wood made the house smell amazing.
Above you can see where the new floors met the old in the hallway and then how it looked after they were finished. Because we got down to the subfloor in the living room and kitchen we were able to lace into the existing wood floors to make the transition as seamless as possible.
We chose not to stain the wood, only to seal it so the natural color was enhanced and then to use a water based finish. One thing the floor guy we used pointed out is that a lot of pre-finished wood is finished with some very harsh products so if you wanted to refinish them someday the dust/debris is not good for the ol’ respiratory system. We left the baseboards off since we still had to paint everything at this point and we’re now slowly getting around to reinstalling them.
I’m happy with the decision not to stain, the red in the floors goes great with the stones in the fireplace and entices magical creatures to hang out in our living room and take naps.
And because I just can’t stop, won’t stop with the Photoshop I made an animated gif to show the time lapsed progress in the living room.