When we decided that now was the time to install new floors throughout the majority of our main floor, it wasn’t without a lot of consideration. I wanted to share with you how we made our decision and the source we used for our beautiful floors.
What We Started With
We had old narrow strip hardwood in the foyer and dining room. In between those spaces was the living room floor where we had already taken out many layers of carpet and laminate to get down to the original floors, really subfloors. Full of holes, gaps and cracks and painted many times over we knew these LR floors would not be saved. In the kitchen, layers of laminate and tile were piled high one after the other.
The house is on the small side; 1.5 stories, 3 bedrooms and a total of 1140 square feet. So some consistency in our flooring felt like the right thing to do. I like wood. Adam likes wood. Wood wins. Wait – we have a dog. And, let’s be honest, we’re not the gentlest people when moving furniture around [again]. Renos are ongoing and we wouldn’t want things to get damaged before they’ve even been used much.
Bamboo: Great looking, some of it is certainly harvested sustainably, hug variety of looks, textures, colours, and it’s pretty hard. But wait – you can’t really sand it down if you need to fix a gouge of some sort AND it’s not as hard as some hardwoods. Bamboo’s out.
Tile: Winter in Canada is cold – who knew? So may be heated tile? Um, a little costly for this space and the budget. And really, I didn’t want tile throughout the main floor – it just didn’t seem right for this space or this climate.
Okay – for those carpets lovers out there, I’m not one of them. It just doesn’t work for our lifestyle (and the amount of fur produced in our house) and wouldn’t fit with our ideal situation of having it carry through to the kitchen.
Research and Results
We looked into HARD hardwoods – like, super hard. But also wanted something sustainably produced. What did we learn? That Hickory is pretty darn hard, followed closely by white and red oak. The Janka Scale is what tells you how hard each wood is. We also learned that hickory is not the cheapest flooring option. First rounds of looking around online and in stores let us know that many places don’t carry it (in this part of Canada) and when they do it’s upwards of $6.00/square foot. Our budget was hoping for no more than $4.00/square foot pre-tax. So we kept looking…
The mill closest to our place is about a 40 minutes drive away. Yes – the actual mill! We drove out one day, walked around the small onsite showroom and were really impressed with the level of service. Beyond knowing the product, being able to tell us where it came from (within a 90km range of Tillsonburg, Ontario, Canada) and having a SALE ON while we were there – well, let’s just say it felt like fate. We were sent home with several samples in hickory and oak and a couple of hours later we knew what we wanted. I drove back to return the samples and place the order – boom – two and half weeks later we have floors!
Alex from the mill was great with checking in around the delivery – especially since it was February and the weather was not great. See my lamenting the weather here.
The flooring is sustainably sourced and meets FSC requirements here in Canada. Bonus!
This business also has a huge variety of custom options from different types of woods, widths, finishes. Everything from the high gloss low variation among the planks to the 6″+ truly rough planks that look like they’re reclaimed, but they’re not. Really amazing. And it felt good to support a [almost] local business instead of a some nameless warehouse company.
So – now we have floors and they really are wonderful. They were not too difficult to install and feels great knowing we did it ourselves. [read about that here]