New Wood Floors

When we purchased this house we knew there were a few things we wanted to do to it right away.  The floors were in bad shape all across the house: the carpets had some pretty bad, very permanent stains, and a few holes; and the wood floors through the kitchen and dining room were worn through their finish and were unlikely to be able to be refinished.  Our Realtor was great and had someone come out to measure and give us a quote for replacing all of the floors during our inspection, and at the time we decided to go ahead and replace the carpets before we moved in, but to live with the wood floors for a bit to see what we really wanted to do with them.

It’s a bit hard to see in pictures, but there were several places where they had been badly worn and at some point someone had a runner down that stripped most of the finish off of the top layer, which would be difficult to fix.


We spent a lot of time debating what to do about our wood floors, since they back up to the door that goes out to the pool and are destined to get wet and dripped on during pool season (our only downstairs bathroom is across the wood floors, near the staircase).  So we talked about going back with tile, and leaving the wood floors in the dining room, but after talking to the flooring lady she assured us that the floors that we put back wouldn’t be damaged too badly from water on them as long as we didn’t let the water sit for long periods of time.


And I just love the look of wood floors and the fact that i would make the flow from the dining room to the kitchen/breakfast area seamless.

Next we had to decide on color.  Although the stairway balusters are currently the same reddish brown wood, we like the look of the dark brown floors so much that we went with a darker and more distressed look.  We are hoping the distressed look helps hide some of the inevitable dirt and dog hair that will be on our floors! Since one of the complaints about dark floors is how much dirt they show! We ended up choosing Havana Hickory flooring in Prado.  It shows a lot of grain, and has a hand scraped finish which gives it the more ‘rustic’ look that we like.

I know a lot of people install their own wood floors, but since this was something we wanted done pretty immediately and is such a large and prominent area of our house, we decided to let the professionals do it! We used the same people who installed our carpets, they were professional, cleaned up after themselves and did a great job in a short amount of time! They will move the furniture for you, but charge you a little extra to do it, and since we don’t have a ton of furniture on our floors we enlisted my brother’s help to move a few of the bigger pieces and then Reese and I moved the rest onto the carpeted areas.

They came in Monday morning and made quick work of tearing out our old floors.  Pretty soon it looked like Dexter was about to come kill a few people in our living room:


Oh and they hadn’t gotten all the glue off the floors, so everywhere you walked was sticky.  So needless to say, the hubs and I ate out for dinner and holed up upstairs in our bedroom for the part of the evening we were home.   newfloors2

The original estimate was that it would take two days to finish, but all the angles in our kitchen proved to be fairly difficult, so it ended up taking them about two and a half.  But check them out now!  We will be moving all the furniture back shortly, and I’ll be sure to take some updated pics of that for you too, but I just couldn’t wait to show you what they look like!


Aren’t they pretty??


I can’t wait to get our furniture back in and the whole space put back together, but this area is hard to recognize from where it started a few months ago!


Lexie was a little unsure of how she felt about having the whole house torn up.  Actually that is a lie… she knows exactly how she feels about it and it is NOT POSITIVE.


This space was hard to get a picture of with the light coming in from those windows, but once we have the table and chairs back I’ll snap a better pic for you!

It’s hard to tell whether the paint or the floors made the bigger difference in how this house feels, but all of a sudden it is feels way more updated and a whole lot more like us!


Its gonna be CLOSET WEEK here on the blog!! I have two awesome closets to show you! My about-to-be-sister-in-law (whew that was a mouthful!) is working at the Container Store part-time right now and snagged us a friends and family coupon for Elfa.  At the same time, my twin brother (whose kitchen you got to see last week) is installing it into his closet.  So I thought I’d show you some of the pieces that went into those closet transformations, because who doesn’t love a well organized space??  And The Container Store is the Queen of organization!

But before any of that can be installed, we had to prep the closet.  AJ’s closet had some built ins already in the closet, but it weirdly broke up the space (I imagine for a his/hers side?) so they decided to go ahead and demolish those and do Elfa throughout the whole closet. The closet is hard to photograph, but here is a ‘before’ for you (that clothes rack came out through the center of the closet):


From here I feel like the story becomes typical of DIY projects.  You have some wins and some losses:

Loss: the previous owners (or builders) had carpeted AROUND the built ins, not under them, so tearing out the built in shelves meant there were several squares of missing carpet.

Win: The previous owners also left a box of leftover hardwood floors

Loss: Its not QUITE enough to cover the whole closet.

Loss: That particular color has been discontinued

Win: There is a contrasting color in the same size/style that will look pretty good interspersed with the previous color.


So this is where I came in.  AJ had done the demolition, bought the new flooring and the underlayment, but needed some help installing it.  This was my first rodeo at hardwood flooring, but this type was SUPER EASY to install.  Like dummy proof.


The first step was to remove the baseboards (in the picture below the floor wasn’t actually put in place, just laid out.  So we gently removed each of the baseboards with the intention of being able to put them back on.  I don’t have a good picture of this step, but you basically cut the caulk with a knife, then use a 5-in-1 tool (seen above… like a paint scraper but better) and a crowbar to gently pry them away from the wall.


Once that was done, it was time to start laying it out. This type of flooring is intended to go on top of the concrete slabs that are frequently in Texas homes.  It requires  simple foam type under-layment and then the flooring ‘floats’ on top of that.  Nothing secures it to the floor.  It seems a bit strange at first, but sure enough it looks great and stays locked in place!



The pieces are similar to tongue and groove planking, each end has a little ‘extra’ that fits underneath the piece next to it.



And you interlock the pieces by tilting them up until it slides into the piece above it like this (ps in case you were worried about my extra manly arms… that’s my brother in the pic below):



After we had a few rows in, we decided to lay the rest out to check out color placement since we were interspersing two different colors.



Q gave his supervisory approval…



And it was pretty easy to just keep plugging away at the rest.  When we would get to the end of a row, we cut the piece off using a circular saw and used the remainder to start the next row, leaving a 1/2 between the wall and the flooring all the way around.  That 1/2 inch leaves space for the floor to expand and contract because of head and cold without causing any buckling and will eventually be covered by the molding that we put back so you won’t see it. This whole part took about 2.5 hours from start to finish.



This is the last picture I have of this process, because like a good sister, I left right before he had to make all the complicated cuts to allow for the doorframe.  But I’ll be back with a post tomorrow with the finished floor and the installed Elfa! So check back in tomorrow to see the finished process.

If anyone is curious, the flooring is Bruce Interlocking Hardwood similar to this but I’m not sure of the two colors.  The reddish color is the color that is not discontinued.