Home Reno: Hardwood Flooring Fun

building permitDo you want to build a custom home? Do you want to renovate your existing home? My husband Mike and I have done both. 

Joe Walsh and his team provide and install some of the most beautiful real wood floors I’ve ever seen. Joe and his long-time employees installed the original solid hard wood floors when our home was built almost 17 years ago. Back then, we could afford to do hardwood in the office, parlor, main hall, and dining room. And Joe and his crews had enough energy (and were so cra-zy busy back then) that they installed our floors beginning at 2 am! I got to the house at 8 am when they finished up.

Years passed and we saved more $$. We upgraded our kitchen — granite countertops, lovely tile backsplash, stainless steel appliances (do I sound like House Hunters on HGTV?!) — in 2012. Joe returned and installed hardwood in our kitchen, breakfast room and butler’s pantry that matches our existing white oak floors exactly. Joe also installed hardwood flooring in our family room prior to our third-floor buildout.

Although we opted for natural sealed oak floors on our first floor, I wanted something a bit different for our third floor. Joe agreed 100%. He suggested a slightly wider board than what we have on the first floor, but we kept it in oak.

Yes, we had pink-painted plywood floors for many years. You got a problem with that?

Yes, we had pink-painted plywood floors for many years. You got a problem with that?

“Back in the day,” the paid staff lived on the third floor. And those thrifty Victorians used plainer fit and finishes “up there.” I’m not a Victorian (duh) and I don’t have a paid staff. I wanted a wow factor on our third floor so that family and friends who stay over could enjoy it. So although we downsized the wood baseboards and window surrounds, we kept them the same multi-pieced style as on the first and second floors. And Joe and I decided his guys would stain the floors. Something in a medium tone that would complement our stained and sealed staircase spindles and newel posts, yet (hopefully) not show a shit ton of white cat fur. Joe said the guys would custom blend the color on site so I could choose the depth of color in the stain. Woo Hoo!

Decisions made, Joe ordered the materials and his crew delivered it…bundle by long bundle, the men carried each carefully through the front door, up the second floor staircase, through the zipper door, up the third floor staircase. By the time the men got all the bundles stacked neatly in the tower room, our cats (safely ensconced behind french doors in our home office) needed a nap. All that staring exhausted them.

Neatly stacked flooring. Note how air can flow around the wood...so it can acclimate.

Neatly stacked flooring.

Did you know you shouldn’t install wood floors as soon as you bring the bundles into the house? The wood needs to adjust to your home’s humidity. It needs to “rest” a bit. Wood is cool. It’s full beauty comes out when you stain or seal it. I was really looking forward to the install and choosing a stain!

It took the crew a bit more than a day to install the hardwood floors. Once installed the rest of the trades came back in to work. We didn’t stain and seal the floors until all the other trades were done with their parts of the reno. We didn’t want to take a chance that the floors would get “mugged.”

hardwood before staining sealing

So fast forward! This is what the floor looks like completed stained and sealed. Gorgeous, right??

hardwood finished

Next Up: Home Reno: Sheetrock Shenanigans

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