The Biggest Decision
I’m so excited to write this post, flooring is SUCH a big decision and one we did not take lightly. Whether you are renovating a home like we are or starting from scratch, your flooring choices, whether solid or engineered, will set the stage for your home, and quite frankly it’s a GIANT decision.
We decided to go with engineered hardwood floors from The Home Depot, and I ordered a half dozen samples to see if it was really something we were going to do. I was kind of like “well, if I fall in love with one of these samples then maybe it’s a sign.” And no surprise, I totally DID. Honestly, I wish every square foot of the house was covered in our final decision. I love it that much!
Truthfully, we went back and forth for weeks and weeks on whether or not we would be removing our tile floors and putting in wood flooring. It’s such a GIANT project and we weren’t sure it was worth it, but I can say with 100% certainty that it was totally worth it. I’d do it again in a heartbeat, dust and all! For us it came down to two factors:
- This is something we’ve ALWAYS wanted to do, and
- If we wanted to reconfigure our kitchen island, then it was the only way.
Choosing The Right Wood Flooring: How We Managed
First off, we went into the process with the mindest that it was going to get REALLY messy before it got better… and I am so glad we did. We rented a Pod and had it delivered to our driveway. We moved all of our belongings into both the pod and the garage. We kept only the essentials.
We were in a unique position becuase of needing to stay in our home due to the fact that we were still in the process of DIYing the kitchen. So our home truly turned into a workshop. TOOLS EVERYWHERE.
Once the house was cleared, we hired a local dustless tile removal company to come in and take out all of our old Florida tile. It was incredible; our entire house was done in a day! In a perfect world, we would have had the installers come the very next day to install hardwood floors, and if you take one thing away from this post let that be it! Line up your installers!!
We ended up spending almost four weeks with just sub-flooring (e.i. bare concrete), which I think was the very worst part of the entire process. The tile removal wasn’t nearly as bad as just living with unfinished flooring. All three of us (Dolly included) were constantly covered in concrete dust. At one point, we had gotten completely used to just being “dirty” all the time so when the flooring install team came, we couldn’t have been any more grateful!
Picking The Flooring:
If you’re in the market for solid hardwood flooring, you probably know the three big choices:
- Flooring Type
- Style (width, color/stain)
- Floating or glue-down
Here are is a simple pros and cons list of the top three flooring choices you’re likely to see. Of course, engineered or laminate options may have sub categories like “bamboo” or “cork”, but the following breakdown generally applies:
- Low Cost
- Easy Install / DIY friendly
- Waterproof Options
- Durability/Scratch Resistance
- Does not need to acclimate
- Highest end, adds value to home
- Can be sanded & refinished numerous times
- Visually beautiful
- Medium cost (lower than solid wood)
- High end, adds value to home
- Can be sanded & refinished (usually)
- Visually appealing
- Can be installed as floating or glued own
- Stable/Does not need to acclimate
- Visually beautiful
- Cannot be refinished to change the look
- Synthetic materials
- If damaged it must be replaced
- Floating install is most common, which can create a hollow/tapping sound when walking on it.
- High cost
- Complex install
- Can be scratched
- Solid wood expands and contracts (meaning floor must acclimate and be installed correctly)
- Best result is glued down which make a more complex installation
- Limited number of refinishings
Why We Went With Engineered Flooring:
For us it was important to get something that was sturdy, and had good wear and tear, but to also know that if the next homeowners (we are not selling anytime soon!) would want to sand down and change the color, they could. The thought of building a home that will stand the test of time was also super important.
The Malibu Wide Plank line from The Home Depot checked all of our boxes. Honestly, after doing hours (and I mean hours!!) of research on the type of wood (wider planks were a nonnegotiable) we wanted, we felt so confident with the Malibu; almost all of the samples (with all of the grain patters) I ordered were from their line, and I couldn’t have been any more impressed with both the quality and the colors. If you are looking for a great source for wood flooring, you might not think Home Depot, but WOW. Think again.
Not to mention, The Home Depot can also do the install!
The Right Flooring Color/Style:
Choosing the correct color flooring for our home and taste felt like a lot of pressure. It’s not like paint, so I wanted to get it RIGHT. I ordered all of the samples below but knew from the get-go that I really wanted something traditional. Our home feels very traditional to me, and I was going for timeless. Not too red, not too orange, not too light, etc.
Once the flooring samples came in, I compared it with both our kitchen paint color and countertop choices to really narrow down the “feel” that we were going for. I also took pictures of the samples in every single room since the lighting is different in each. I kept coming back to the same sample.
I texted my entire family and a handful of friends just to make sure I wasn’t absolutely insane… and everyone agreed, French Oak Stinson was totally our vibe!
Once we placed the order on Homedepot.com, the pallets were delivered in about a week, and the installers came just a few days later. Thankfully, since it was engineered wood, we didn’t have to let the wood “acclimate” in our house, and were able to keep the pallets in the garage. That was a huge plus. The installation took about three days in all, which honestly wasn’t that bad. The first day they came and leveled the concrete, and then took two days to install flooring and new baseboards. It was actually incredibly quick.
Glue Down or Floating Floors?
We ended up gluing the wood down to the concrete, and we are so happy with it! Gosh it just feels so good. The house feels sturdier, do you know what I mean?! Floating is not a bad option either, essentially creating a top layer of flooring up above the concrete, and can make a lot of sense within a budget, when fast updates are needed, or if you just don’t like the permanency of glued-down floors. The tapping/hollow noise below isn’t the end of the world and for the most part, it’s all that noticeable (we had floating for YEARS in different parts of the house).
- Easy Install / DIY
- No glue expense
- Can easily be torn out/replaced
- Can have a tapping/hollow sound when walked on
- May require expensive underlayment (what the floor “floats” on)
- No tapping/hollow noises
- High end feel
- Somewhat permanent
- Complex install
- Cost of materials (glue)
- Difficult to remove
What a Difference!
All the beautiful unique wood grains throughout the house just make it feel so cozy. If anything, we wish we had done it sooner!
For us, this process took about a month and a half, but next time I will do a better job at timing things out. Like I said though, the finished flooring was worth it times a MILLION. We are SO happy with our new flooring. It has completely changed our home, and I can’t say enough about the selection at The Home Depot. The process of finding what we needed and getting it ordered was absolutely seamless.
In partnership with The Home Depot