Let’s talk wood flooring. Spoiler, I ordered wood flooring last week! Yay! I’m so excited, well nervous, but excited. Let’s talk about what we considered first and then I will tell you what we ultimately went with.
Our town has a mill, called Vermillion. They mill red and white oak in 3″, 4″ and 5″ planks. Their flooring comes unfinished, meaning that you have to have it installed, stained onsite and then have a clear coat put over that. The process for the install is much longer because of the dry times for the topcoats. I had originally gone to Vermillion last year and loved their milled flooring, prices and just that they were local. I was scared off because of the extra work the unfinished flooring would be. Vermillion also sells pre-finished hardwood and engineered hardwood but everything I liked was way out of my budget. #storyofmylife
So, basically last year, I had gotten my samples from Vermillion, checked out other local flooring businesses and ordered samples from BuildDirect. It all seemed overwhelming. Money was tight on being able to do the main rooms that we wanted to do (1500 sq feet) and having it installed. So, we decided to wait. We DIY lots of things around here, but the flooring is just too much for us to tackle. We have a custom circular staircase in our entryway, which we knew would be a huge undertaking to create custom stair treads for, as well as two different circular trim pieces. So, this wasn’t going to be a DIY project for us. As usual though, I have found ways to save on it and will share those at the end!
So, fast forward to this year and the last few months. We are finally ready to pull the trigger and just get ‘er done.
Over the last 6 weeks, I have ordered more samples (mainly from BuildDirect) and gone back to the stores in our area (including Vermillion). Luke and I both love lighter wood flooring, similar to these:
If we went with pre-finished flooring (either engineered or hardwood) then we could have the installers do room by room. This would mean that we could move everything out of one room to the room next to it each day. This is much easier than having them install unfinished flooring. With unfinished flooring, you have to move everything out of the rooms that are having the flooring put in all at the same time. This is because they have to do multiple coats of stain and poly and they are doing those all at the same time. Moving everything out 1500 sq feet and up/down multiple sets of flooring seemed crazy and not brealisitic. So, I was determined to find finished flooring (meaning, it could just be installed and then it would be good to go).
But, I couldn’t quite pull the trigger.
Well, I just put my foot down and told Luke that we needed to just figure it out. He knows he’s married to a crazy person who can’t make big decor decisions and I think he was secretly just thrilled that I wanted to just make the decision to get it over with.
I narrowed my choices down to two and posted this on Instagram:
It ended up being a pretty lively discussion, which totally helped me! I LOVED the left sample (Baltic Oak from Build Direct) but it’s engineered hardwood. There’s lots of discussion on engineered and what a great product it is. Lots of people chimed in saying they loved theirs and others chimed in saying to only go with hardwood because it can always be refinished. I think, in our neighborhood, it would be considered a negative to go with the engineered. I think it could be viewed as a cheaper product. Not that it is a cheaper product, but, where we live, I think people would expect hardwoods. Our area tends to favor simple and traditional.
Now, this is our forever house (or our house until we sell everything and become life travelers – when Greyson leaves for college). So, we aren’t thinking resell value anytime soon. But, it is in the back of my mind.
Back to the samples.
The right one is a natural oak hardwood (European Oak). This one was Luke’s favorite. I like it and actually like it quite well in the online pictures, but it pulls a bit peachy in person. Would the whole floor look peachy? I’m not sure.
So, I went back and forth over these samples. Both were pre-finished and both were from Build Direct. One was engineered hardwood and one was regular hardwood. I wanted the color of the left but the quality of the right. I just couldn’t decide because neither was perfect. When I’m spending over $10,000, or even over $200… I want things to be perfect.
After reading through all the comments on IG and Facebook and talking to our installer, I went back to our local mill.
I browsed the showroom and found this:
It was the one. Seriously, the color is a bit off in that picture, but I did find it online here. I loved it. Well, I loved it until I found out how much it was – $9.75 a sq ft. What?! No!! For comparison, we were considering finished flooring up to about $5.50 a sq ft. So, this was completely out of our budget.
But, once I saw that flooring I knew it had to be. After quite a bit of talking, we decided to go with Vermillion’s unfinished flooring and have our installer stain it on site.
We went back through the factory to determine if we wanted select, 1, or 2 wood.
Basically, the wood is graded from no variance in colors or knots to variance. Select is the highest (no variance) and it goes down from there. The larger the plank, the more it costs.
They weren’t running white oak when we were there so this is red oak.
On the left you can see hardly no variance in colors (that’s a one, common) and the right side shows variance (two, common).
I thought I’d want the one, common but when I saw a few pieces laid out, I realized that it was too perfect. All my inspiration pieces showed variances. So, I went with two, common in 5″ planks. They were $2.55 a sq ft.
A huge plus side for getting unfinished is that I was able to order flush-mount wood registers (for the floor vents) that are going to be a perfect match as well as all the trim work around our circle stairs. The install price goes up considerably with the unfinished.
In our area it costs:
$1.75-$2 sq foot for the install
$2 sq foot to finish
We are at $4 sq foot with our installer to lay the wood and finish it. That doesn’t include ripping up baseboards or old flooring. That part is going to be grunt labor (Luke and I).
The circle stairs are another thing entirely. For all the custom moulding, planks, and finishing, it’s running us $3,000 for them alone. Jaw-dropping expensive, right?! I thought so. A few installers didn’t even want to touch them, another seemed not-so-confident on the trim work, so we went with one of the best in the area. He is supposed to be one of the best stainers and woodworkers in town. Let’s just say for $3ooo, he’d better be.
So, total cost is definitely up there.
I considered doing herringbone in our library/playroom (which I don’t believe I have ever shown on the blog). It was going to be an extra $560 to lay the herringbone. That price didn’t scare me, but after doing quite a bit of research … I decided that I didn’t love the herringbone in the larger planks. I really loved it in the 3″. So, I nixed that idea.
So, the wood has been ordered and will be milled the second week of April. I should have it all installed and be able to move back in the house by April 25th. We are so excited. Sorry for the super long post! It got a bit away from me.
Do you have hardwood in your house? If so, tell me you love it?!