In a previous post we mentioned that our style was pretty clean and simple, so three types of floors on an 800 sq. ft. level was not happening for us. We also had to tear out some of the kitchen flooring when remodeling the kitchen and let's just say that the existing floor was looking a little beat up from all of the work that we were doing.
|OLD KITCHEN FLOORS|
We ordered about a dozen samples from SimpleFloors.com and visited several Lumber Liquidators. What we kept noticing was that the majority of the pre-finished flooring (meaning flooring that had been coated with a color and polyurethaned in a factory) scratched very easily. Bob kept insisting that we stay away from flooring like that because of those very reasons. Due to that, we started heading in the direction of unfinished flooring that we could then hire someone to stain on site. An on site stained flooring as opposed to a pre-finished flooring allows the stain to penetrate through the wood and, if scratched, the color shows through rather than the natural wood color.
When researching unfinished flooring we wanted a species of wood that would stand up to considerable foot traffic (remember, this is our main level of living), but that would also, when stained dark, give us the look that we wanted. We investigated both white and red oak but didn't like the look of the grain before or after it was stained. We investigated American and Brazilian cherry but didn't like the redness that is inherent in that species of wood. We then investigated walnut and we fell in love with the grain as well as the way the wood accepted the dark stain. We knew that we wanted to get walnut flooring.
Two of our three requirements were met with walnut. It was real hardwood, it stained well, but it would cost us an arm and a leg. Enter engineered flooring! Engineered flooring is real hardwood, but only has a thin layer of real walnut on the top. We knew that we wanted as thick of a layer as possible so that if we decided to ever refinish the floors the layer was thick enough to be sanded a couple of times. So, we were looking for engineered unfinished walnut flooring, and we found it on hursthardwoods.com! We knew that we definitely wanted to get a wider plank as opposed to the very common 2 1/4" width.
When choosing flooring there are three types of grades:
Natural- knots and natural color variations are evident
#1 Common- Some knots and color variations are evident but less noticeable then the natural
Select- Very few knots and color variations are evident
We opted for a 1/2" x 5" #1 Common with a 3.2 mm wear layer (which is quite thick in the world of engineered flooring) in 12"-90" variable lengths.
|#1 COMMON UNFINISHED ENGINEERED WALNUT|
We got a great square foot price and shipping was extremely reasonable considering that Hurst Hardwoods is located in Florida. Our flooring was ordered for the entire first floor! Keep in mind that all of this research, waiting on samples, staining samples, back to research, etc. took about a month! It was something that we had to get right the first time around so it was worth the research time.
The flooring arrived about three days later in bundles of different sizes (which makes it easier to maintain the random length effect) and we began installing our own wood floors.