White Oak Wood Floors

Originally we planned on putting in unfinished white oak floors so I could customize the stain color and finish. We were going to have a company come in and lay the floors for us since we were in a time crunch and there's a lot of floor to be laid. To save money we were just going to do the demo ourselves. It's a long story with not a lot of interesting take-aways, but the short version is that the floors weren't going to be able to go down before the moving truck arrived with our stuff, so there was no reason to pay the extra money to have the flooring company lay them for us. We are saving about $25,000 by laying the floors ourselves and by going with a pre-finished wood. $25k is a pretty insane amount of money to me. I don't mind putting in the work myself at all so that I can save that cash for other projects and especially for the kitchen reno we're planning down the road.

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At first I was a little sad about not getting to customize the stain and finish on the floors, but I actually don't think the custom stain would end up being so different from the pre-finished wood I ultimately selected. When I was trying to figure out a stain formula, I kept thinking I wanted a more gray look. Then I would look at my favorite inspiration images and those floors were definitely more golden-natural than gray.

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(more after the jump...)


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So I figured I should take my own advice about finding color balance in my home. I usually pick very cool-tones for my wall colors (grays, blues, white), and if I went gray on my floors too, the overall look wouldn't be quite right for me.

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So I went shopping and picked up samples of pre-finished hardwoods. Just like with paint, I think it's always a good idea to see how the samples look in different lighting throughout the day. 

The top three samples are from Lowes. I liked the color on the right (#3), but that stain and species (white oak in natural) only came in 2.5" planks. Also the Lowe's wood was more pricey than the Lumber Liquidators options here on the bottom row.

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Number 4 is actually a bamboo that looked really nice in the LL showroom, but wasn't right for me. Number 5 is a cheap-o laminate from Home Depot. I picked up a couple of samples because I really liked the golden gray color and thought I would try to match the stain on my unfinished wood (which is #6). Number 7 is a 3 1/4" select grade white oak from Lumber Liquidators, made by a company called Builder's Pride. The select grade just means there aren't any hardcore knots. It's a nice and clean look, but still has the character I want to see in wood floors.

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Lumber Liquidators was so nice and seriously wonderful to work with. They aren't sponsoring my blog in any way - I'm just genuinely impressed with their customer service level and the way they run their business. None of their salespeople work on commission so everything is low pressure and very friendly. I didn't even have to ask about sales or promotions - they automatically knocked 30 cents per square foot off the price because I was ordering 2500 sq feet of wood. And tonight they are delivering my wood free of charge (which normally is a paid-for service) just because there was going to be a truck in my area. So, so cool of them.

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Soon my freshly painted dining area floors will be stacked high with boxes of wood. The wood will need to acclimate to the house for at least seven days before we can start laying it. But there's plenty to do in the meantime. We need to lay a plywood subfloor on all the concrete on the ground floor and we're going to start all the miter cuts for the chevron floor in the library now. My handy man Jason (who is amazing - email me if you need a guy in the east valley Phoenix area) framed out all our demo work earlier today. It was CRAZY to see how fast he got that wood up! He's going to install my front door early next week too. And we'll have some drywall guys come in this week as well so that I'll be all ready to put down the floors the second the seven days of the acclimation period is up! In the meantime I'll be practicing my mallet-swinging form for working the floor nailer and stretching out my hamstrings, which are apparently what will ail me the most while hunching over the nail gun. :)

33 comments:

Heather said...

I'm really impressed that you know how to do all of this! Laying that much flooring it a little more than your standard DIY-er can accomplish!

Grif MC said...

It's going to be beautiful and such a great savings doing it yourself. My husband and I just started looking into hardwood for our first floor your insights are really helpful!

Lynn said...

Good for you - you are amazing! Can't wait to see how it looks!!

Jennifer Flores said...

That's a lot of flooring to lay yourselves but, wow, what a significant savings! I can't wait to see the herringbone floor. I don't think I've seen a DIY version before and am sure yours will turn out spectacular!

My Interior Life said...

Can't wait to see your floors and am SO impressed you're doing it yourselves!! I agree about the color. Great choice. And good to know LL was such a great company to work with!

stephanie said...

omg very impressive -- good luck!

Shawna @Dakota Creek Chic said...

All I can say is Wow...looks so professional. I can't believe the amount of money you saved!!
Shawna

Kyla Dutcher said...

We are so lucky that bro-in-law installs wood flooring for a living...you are so brave to do it yourself!! We put pre-finished hardwoods all throughout our house (2300 sq ft). It's hilarious to see people's reactions when they realize we have no wall-to-wall carpet. Most people nod politely but you can tell they think we are insane. But I love it.

I've been without internet access for a while so I'm working backward through your posts. So fun for me as a reader! Now that I'm looking at them on your site (RIP Google Reader) I feel the need to comment on everything lol.

Sarah, Steve, and Dalia said...

$25,000?!?! A year of college!! That's insane, but awesome to save so much at the same time. I'm thinking I will be er be able to afford a house, though! I had no idea the cost if flooring. I'm loving being educated-it's really helping me to think about my own future purchase.

Sarah, Steve, and Dalia said...

$25,000?!?! A year of college!! That's insane, but awesome to save so much at the same time. I'm thinking I will be er be able to afford a house, though! I had no idea the cost if flooring. I'm loving being educated-it's really helping me to think about my own future purchase.

Gwen, The Makerista said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gwen, The Makerista said...



That is really amazing that you are tackling this all yourself! $25,000 heck yes! I'm sure it will be a ton of work, but so well worth it in the end. I think your color choice is just beautiful! We have the pre-finished flooring as well, but ours is really dark and smooth with almost no grain at all to it. Looks pretty for about 5 minutes! You were smart to pick what you did. I can't wait to see the herringbone. Best of luck and I hope your legs make it! :)

Camille said...

I also really like the look of the yellow tones in floors, even though a mid range or dark tone has been more popular in the last decade. It has taken me some time to learn that it's important to balance warm and cool colors when decorating so your words really resonated with me. Those floors are going to look spectacular!
Camile

Kelly West said...

Wow! It amazes me that you do all of this! AND you have kids. Teach me your ways! haha Quick question...did you have to buy more wood due to your chosen pattern? If so, how much more, approximately? Love the herringbone wood floors.

carolinabound said...

My husband and I laid our bamboo floors in our whole redo about 3 years ago. We also got our wood from lumber liquidators and saved a bundle. It was hard work but well worth it. Don't forget to wear. The knee pads they really came in handy!

lifecomposing said...

I love the floor color. For so many years, it seems to be a thing to have really dark hardwoods, which is nice in theory but completely bonkers in a reality that includes a dog and kids. Our new-to-us house has golden oak (not orange) floors that will look nice with a little love. Since we left AZ for the east coast (the opposite of you!) we're leaning to cooler tones and I liked your point about having something warm-toned on the floor

Erin said...

That is a massive amount of work, but then, $25K represents a pretty decent amount of work too. Go Jenny go! Just think, you'll be getting plenty of exercise - you may just need a bit of yoga to work out all the kinks :) Good luck and can't wait to see!

4monkeys said...

You go girl! My husband and I just finished laying about 600 sq feet of hardwood floor...nothing compared to what you are doing. Definitely keep those hamstrings stretched, you'll feel it into your butt. There's something about hard labor tho'...makes you feel very accomplished!

4monkeys said...

You go girl! My husband and I just finished laying about 600 sq feet of hardwood floor...nothing compared to what you are doing. Definitely keep those hamstrings stretched, you'll feel it into your butt. There's something about hard labor tho'...makes you feel very accomplished!

Michelle Panting said...

Wow. You're so adventurous, Jenny. I don't think I could ever lay my own floor, but you make believers out of all of us!

http://www.fullbellywornsoles.com

Daphne said...

I looked at the samples before I read the text, and my eye went to #7 right away. It's a winner! We have charcoal gray walls with golden oak floors in the dining room our 1940's Cape. We still love the cool/warm combo after 7 years. Good luck with the installation!

ashleigh: said...

Really? No one's giggling about the handy man and how crazy fast he got that wood up?

colleen said...

I have a great room in my 1940's colonial (1983 addition) with a wood ceiling and the same color floors. I had mistakenly painted the walls a warm color around 7 years ago ( thats how often we paint here) and w/ the new paint job read up on what I should do w/ the wall color and put up a beautiful cool gray. As the design magazines predicted... it made the whole room pop d/t the contrast btw. warm floor/ceiling and cool walls. We also just completed a full house reno and kept the wood the same golden tone rather than the very popular dark and do not regret the way the dirt continues NOT to show! Good luck you are an amazing mom., who will inspire her daughters in the future.

Lisa @ Shine Your Light said...

Good for you for tackling this yourself!! My brother installed wood floors for years and so I know it is a lot of work, but SO worth the effort and savings!!!!! Your floors are going to be beautiful!! I can't wait to see the library!!

Lindsay Steele Vogt said...

When I laid the floors in my house, it was such backbreaking work. I have never been more sore than I was doing that - and it was only about 900sq. ft! Lots of ibuprofen and also hot bath soaks! Good luck!

Linenqueen said...

Don't forget to lay down some black felt paper on top of the plywood and glue it down. Reason is if you don't as you walk on your finish floor the wood will squeak. I like your choices. I live in the Washington DC area and was able to get Brazilian Cherry from a freighter in Baltimore at $1.75 a foot. My assumption was that the freighter had done some funny business with an insurance company and was eager to get rid of the flooring. The end product turn out beautifully. The compromises you are making will pay off for you. $25K is not chump change. Good luck.
Ann

Creative me said...

The flooring is going to look great, so much work! You're fab. tackling all that work! All the savings can definately be used on other projects!!

erin williamson said...

We have golden white oak floors and I must say they are super versatile and look great with both warm and cool colors. Great choice!

I'm, ahem, FLOORED that you're about to install all that wood by yourself, though. DANG.

jennifer said...

I just had a chevron floor installed in my den. My installers nearly pulled their hair out. Apparently, it is a very difficult pattern. I didn't have the courage to DIY. I am looking forward to seeing your progress.

NotesFromAbroad said...

Our / This new (old) house has all white oak floors .. a nice warm golden color. Every room is painted a shade of "warm white" so the floors keep it all from being too sterile and dreary.
I am very impressed that you are doing this yourselves.

Darci said...

Have you seen porcelain faux-wood tile.? I would love to know your thoughts about it.
icrad(at)Hotmail(dot)com

Sarah said...

This project is beyond me. I am so impressed you can do all of this. Love your blog and can't wait to see more home reno posts!

J Scanlan said...

I'm also getting ready to put down new wood flooring (also in the east valley) and really love the idea of a chevron or herringbone pattern in our living room. Were you able to order the flooring for your patterned floor in specific lengths from LL, or will they be random and you will cut them to size? Just curious (so I can copy) how you're going to connect the planks, since you'll be cutting off 2 of the tongue/groove edges for a chevron, and one edge for a herringbone. I suppose you'll glue and follow up with a weight to prevent buckling while the glue dries, or nail, or ...? Thanks in advance for any advice or insight. Just recently found your blog (and love it), and am psyched to learn you're in the valley!

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