A very typical conversation with a potential client goes like this:
“What do you want in your home?” -Me
“Blah, blah….and wood floors.” -Client
And they aren’t alone. A vast majority of home buyers are looking for wood floors. They typically increase the selling value of a home. Not to mention, they are beautiful, especially older restored ones.
You may remember, in this Flip, there were original hardwoods. Hardwoods in terrible, terrible shape. But after hiring a professional company to restore them, they received a new lease on life.
And they look gorgeous. Definitely a show stopper when people enter the home.
But what I’m about to say might just be blasphemy in the home remodel world.
I don’t like wood floors.
[I can hear you gasping!]
Despite how beautiful they are, despite the value they add…they have one pretty dominant flaw.
They are so fragile.
Yes, it depends on the type of wood you have. There are harder woods than others, but they all have the same flaw- they’re fragile. Everything, and I do mean everything, you put on the floor must be prepared in advance so it won’t scratch the floor. If you spill something, the products you can use to clean it up are greatly limited. I’m a household of 1 adult. I couldn’t imagine preserving these floors with multiple people, especially children. Every scratch is there and visible.
Case in point.
One of my contractors that was working on the laundry room remodel laid a piece of trim with a nail in it on the floor. And, without thinking, scooted it over with his foot [with me screaming in the background]. But the damage was done…a 13″ deep scar on the floors.
I called the company that did the floors hoping for a miracle. Since the scar covered so many boards, they are unable to fix it. I was hoping they could buff just that one little area. I was grossly mistaken. To fix something like this, the entire room (which would be the living room and the kitchen since it’s now “one” room) would have to be stripped, sanded, and restained. The reason they can’t do just that one area is because it would not match the rest of the room. So my only option is to get a stain pen from Lowe’s and fill int he scar so it’s not as noticeable.
Scars like mine don’t just happen from careless contractors. Furniture can cause several scars on a floor. Another downfall of the hardwoods is that every single piece of furniture has to have furniture pads on the feet to prevent scarring the floor. The felt bottoms protect the floor.
You may recall that in Flip 2, I used engineered wood floors. And just to clarify, because I see this mistake happen frequently in the world of real estate, engineered wood floors aren’t wood floors. For hardwoods, we are talking real, honest to God wood floors. Laminate floors aren’t wood. They can’t be stripped and stained. Engineered wood floors and hardwoods do not add the same value to a home. At any rate, I loved the floors because they had the historic charm of old wood but the durability of laminate.
In Flip 1, I also used laminate wood floors–but in a more fresh, clean, and modern tone. I think those were my absolute favorite floors. They were beautiful and a great contrast to the gray walls. They were extremely durable and the furniture did not require felt pads for protection.
Another option I’ve chosen, but not as economical as laminate, is faux wood tile. This has become more and more popular, and there are so many varieties now. It’s tile, so it’s durable and not fragile. I added two very different tones in Flip 2, and I loved both.
When you buy a home with original hardwoods, and I think we can all agree…there’s really only one choice. You keep them. Duh. You restore them. Duh. I couldn’t stomach ripping them out.
But if I’m building a new house? I’m not going to add hardwoods. If I’m gutting old, ugly floors like I’ve done in previous flips, I’m not going to add hardwoods. Gosh, I’m in love with their beauty, but their fragility is the deal breaker for me.
What are your experiences with hardwoods? Any tips or lessons you’ve learned?