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5 Things I Wish I Knew About Solid Hardwood Floors

A little self reflection never hurts, right? From the moment we began house hunting last year, I had my heart set on solid hardwood floors. They’re timeless, solid, and wear well over time. Many houses we found, including this one, needed wood floors continued or installed. So, I started doing my homework!

Right away, I met with several flooring professionals and read dozens of articles. Besides, I had all those hardwood floors pins saved up over the last few years.

white oak hardwood floors
Our finished white oak solid hardwood floors

Part of my design journey includes sourcing products so, naturally, some of my content includes affiliate links, which means, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission if you click and purchase.  This commission allows me to write more content and support our family, so thank you!)

I had thought we were ready for this huge undertaking. And overall, I’m so happy with our White Oak 4″ wide plank floors (they are the star of our family room!). But, there are some things I wish I knew before we installed our solid hardwood floors. 

What’s Your Interior Design Style?

If you’re curious about all my research, checkout my Wood Flooring Options Guide.

1. Long Time to Install

Just like any step of a remodel, solid hardwood floors take awhile to complete. I hadn’t realized though just how long. From scheduling someone (so many people were booked months in advance) to securing the material through demolition and installation it can be a lengthy period. The floor installation alone threatened to derail our entire remodel/move in timeline. 

solid hardwood floor installation
Hardwood Floor Installation Progress Pic

2. Several Steps Involved

The entire installation requires several steps. While this stands to reason, I really underestimated the impact of the several steps needed to finish a wood floor.

Not only is there demo and installation but there is sanding and a few coats spaced out over time. This meant we couldn’t access the home or complete other projects during this phase (If I could go back in time to scoop up those precious days, I might’ve chosen pre-finished wood floors).

white oak solid hardwood floors

3. Variations in Solid Hardwood Floors

Honestly, the idea of ‘imperfections’ shining through is actually one of the reasons we chose hardwood floors. I love the character they bring to a home. I wanted the same warm vibe as our open kitchen shelving.

However, I did not realize that these natural wood variations can cause the finish to absorb differently in some areas which can make it appear more like a mistake than a natural imperfection. 

4. Installation Outside the Box

Admittedly, I really focused more on the finish and type of wood for our floors and overlooked some of the smaller details. For example, I really had no idea how I expected the hardwood floors to be installed around the floor vents and fireplace.

I (naively) underestimated how many little tricky spaces there could be (I should’ve known in this quirky 70’s house) and wish I had thought more in advance about the solutions instead of brainstorming on the spot with our flooring installer.

5. Cost of Water Based Finish

To achieve the natural white oak look, I knew I wanted an water based finish as opposed to the more traditional oil based finish (which can yellow and get sort of orange). We used Bona Mega Wood Floor Finish in Satin. Water-based also dries quicker and emits less fumes (yay!). But it does cost a pretty penny. For something this important it was worth it, but still….the budget. 

solid hardwood floors installation tips for the home

Wood floors already installed? Check out my tips on How to Care for Solid Wood floors with suggestions and product sources. Also, I compare various flooring types including hardwoods, vinyl, and engineered in my Wood Flooring Options Guide.

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